How to Hire Business Executives the Right Way
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Business executives and C-Suite personnel are among the most important employees in any organization from a strategic perspective and are responsible for driving the organization into periods of growth, sustainability, and profit. Your business is counting on their education, knowledge, and experience to meet the challenges they will face in their new roles and hopefully exceed expectations along the way. But what happens when the candidate you interview doesn’t have the background that they claimed?
Hireright published in their 2017 Employment Screening Benchmark Report that candidates, even at the highest seniority levels, are regularly embellishing on their resumes. In fact, up to 85% of survey participants indicate that they’ve found a misrepresentation or outright lie on a candidate’s resume. This upward trend increased from 66% over the last five years.
There are certain things that a company can do to ensure that they are properly vetting candidates for executive and C-Suite roles. Executive background screening goes beyond the traditional pre-employment screening mechanisms that are offered to human resources departments and selection committees. There are certain aspects of a candidate’s background that are critical for top level positions. Education is certainly a strong consideration in a candidate’s resume especially when advanced degrees such as MBAs from prestigious universities are desired. Falsifying academic achievement has traditionally been a common area where executive candidates misrepresent their education or have outright lied about the college they’ve attended or the degrees that they’ve received.
In addition to education, work history is also of critical importance. Executives are molded into the leaders that they are through the experience they’ve gained in prior positions, and often from other companies. For those internal candidates that have worked through the ranks into executive positions, verifying employment and performance is a relatively easy task. But for those candidates that come from other companies it is critical to be able to verify not only work history, but performance as well.
These two aspects of the executive background are the tangible components that make up the resume. Verifying education and experience are pretty straight forward, yet some companies fail to do so. What is often more important than the tangible are the intangible aspects of the candidate’s background. I’m referring to character traits, aspects of their personal life to include criminal and financial histories, personal conduct, business associations, and references beyond those that are provided.
It’s worth noting that by gleaning into a candidate’s personal life the intent is not to cast judgement based on past behaviors, but rather to understand if an executive candidate exercises sound judgement and discretion, demonstrates reliability and trustworthiness, or presents any conflicts of interest in their potential role. A history of alcohol abuse, adultery, or personal bankruptcies point to the lack of sound judgement, and raise question about their reliability and trustworthiness; even for the candidates with verified academic and employment backgrounds.
Hiring the wrong candidate to executive or C-Suite positions can have serious implications to your business including the loss of reputation, decreased stock prices, loss of revenue and market share, and a drop in productivity. Executive background screening on each and every candidate allows your business to make an informed business decision based on the candidate’s verified background and identifying if the candidate has the character to demonstrate sound judgement, reliability, and trustworthiness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christopher Kaszak is a partner at Brown, Kaszak, & Associates, a licensed private investigations firm in Maryland. He is a 22-year industry veteran and has conducted numerous criminal and civil investigations during his tenure in law enforcement and in the private sector. Brown, Kaszak, & Associates has been featured on Dateline and TrueCrime for investigative work that brought resolution to a cold case homicide.