Back in law school, I submitted a letter and resume for a summer internship at a Chicago lawfirm. (We did this via letters back then. Ask your parents.)
Imagine my surprise when a week or so later I received a letter offering me a position at the law firm. No long interview sessions. And, well, no interviews at all!
But alas, I was quick to realize something was amiss. The letter was addressed to a Daniel J. Schwartz and referenced Northwestern University; I was at Washington University in St. Louis. I called the firm and they apologized for the mixup.
I did not get a job offer.
Flash forward a year or so, and I started work at firm in Hartford. I was placed into the employment law department, which I was thrilled with.
However, to my amusement, there was already another attorney with the last name of “Schwartz” in the department.
And the first name “Daniel”.
Was the employment law world really big enough for two of us?
And yet, with that placement, thus was born a decades-long acquaintance with Daniel L. Schwartz. And while I no longer work with the “other” Dan Schwartz, the confusion that has arisen from that coincidence (as well as the humor) continues to this day.
So much so, that the Connecticut Law Tribune recently did a profile and interview with us regarding the names. The title? “Which Dan Schwartz? Don’t Mistake These Two Connecticut Employment Lawyers for Each Other.”
Which brings me to my tie-in with employment law: When running your background checks or doing even Google searches, you need to be sure you’re getting the “right” candidate. Even names as relatively uncommon as “Daniel Schwartz” can bring up differing results.
In fact, did you know that there’s a Daniel Schwartz who runs Burger King? I am not that person either.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act actually gives candidates the opportunity to correct the record. I talked a lot more about the pre-adverse action letters in a prior post, but the name confusion reveals it’s importance. You wouldn’t want to reject a candidate named, say, “Michael Burnham” based on something that happened with a different “Michael Burnham“.
Names are easily confused, but perhaps I have my revenge in the end: A Google search “ranks” the attorney Dan Schwartzs. I’ll let you decide whether a higher ranking matters.