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We are an early stage startup looking to hire our first senior developer (other than myself).

One applicant who applied and interviewed has no higher education or employment past sixth-form college (16-18years old; education before university). He claims that he and some friends started a company which they built for 4-5 years and then sold 1 year ago. He's now on the search for a job as he doesn't feel that he fit the new culture in the company he started.

How can we (or is it even possible to) verify that his claims are true regarding starting this company, helping to build it into a success and then selling it?

Some things to consider:

  • The Sixth-form exam results were very good
  • Questions in the interview revealed he does know what he is talking about (at least on the surface)
  • He is listed as an ex-director on companies house (a government website), but this does not prove his further claims. E.g. he could simply have given the company to a friend!
  • If his claims are true it would be a great bonus to him, since it would show independence and drive

  • We are based in Bristol, UK

  • We have Googled, there were no press releases regarding the sale. There was a post across the companies social media announcing it.
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    Can you edit or tag your location? There may be different ways to verify the sale of the company based on where you're located. Also, is it safe to assume that you've tried normal querying methods (ie searched on google for a press release about the sale of the company, looked up the company on typical startup/corporate research websites, etc). – dwizum Feb 27 at 20:32
  • Thanks, I have added this info to the question – Mark Feb 27 at 20:43
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    How is the fact that he may have started and sold a company relevant to his senior developer role? – sf02 Feb 27 at 20:46
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    Does the company he purportedly co-founded actually exist? If so, have you considered reaching out to them? The majority of the questions on this site could be solved if people just took the simple, obvious, and direct approach. There's no mystery or magic to it. If he said he co-founded and sold a company then why not ask this company? Why not ask him for contact info which you could then use to verify his claims? – joeqwerty Feb 27 at 20:53
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    In US you can pretty much build a company by paying one time $70 then maintain it by pay another $50 per year, I assume it's somehow similar in UK. Owning/owned a company itself has at best 0 value for a senior developer role. I would simply ignore this whole part of the company when evaluating this candidate. What's important is what he did (as developer) in that company, for which there's many ways to verify. – tweray Feb 27 at 20:57
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Check the company's website. Does it look professional? Does it list any products? Do the products appear genuine (not vaporware)?

Here in the US there are websites that list registered businesses along with their executives / major share holders. I would expect the UK has similar registries. Check when was the company registered. Is the person listed as founder and/or is he listed on the board of directors or executives? Usually mergers and change of ownership are also recorded.

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    Companies House has a freely searchable register of UK companies. It includes the names of directors both present and past. – Simon B Feb 27 at 21:43
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I have the same question on resumes that I get claiming to have many years of experience as a consultant. I've received resumes for junior staff claiming to have been "CEO" or "President" of a company while also holding down a staff position at some other company during the same span of time.

The problem is that in the US, anyone with less than $100 can form a company and claim to be whatever they want. I could be an "Independent Consultant" with no customers at all for as many years as I want to keep renewing the paperwork.

I usually discount these positions as not even appearing on the applicant's work history. If the resume still seems solid enough to warrant an interview, then we can discuss it in person.

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The easiest and most honest is to ask the person to provide (any kind of) proof of his claims. Ask him to tell you stories about the project and about the business. 4-5 years is not half an hour. There must be stories.

The sell of the company should be registered somewhere - if the company acted at least remotely legally. Discuss with the buyers of the company. They should have some non-confidential information which they can share.

Maybe he cannot give proofs for all details, but something - he must have.

Also, ask him about other ways how you can verify his claims.

If he really had that business, he will be cooperative. If not... you will judge yourself.

I mean, it is customary for companies to ask for proofs, documents, test their candidates... It would be just standard procedure.

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