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June 2, 2021

Knock Out Your Risks When Hiring High-Level Executives

High Level HiringHiring the best applicant is important, but there should be more weight focused on executive-level hires. For one thing, they will be at the company’s helm, driving vision and planning goals.your another, executive employees are watched more closely by the media than their lower-level counterparts. The news is full of Presidents and CFO’s who have faked degrees, lied about their experience, or been involved in unsavory behavior. A single act of bad judgment on their parts could negatively affect your company for months, or years, down the road.

HR Pros should implement special processes for screening top-level new hires. Make sure your screening process includes these five components, along with your regular background checks that you run on everyone.

Verify Education Claims

One of the most embarrassing media frenzies a company can fall victim to is finding out a member of their leadership team faked their education. Degree fraud is rampant and shockingly easy to do online. Don’t assume your top pick is immune to the temptation. Use a trusted third-party screener to check into any claims of degrees. They should be able to verify dates, classes, field of study, and any graduation honors. It’s also a good best practice to write and follow a policy of how your company will deal with degree fraud if you happen to uncover it. 

Check out our Education Verification Infographic!

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Thoroughly Investigate Employment History

Make certain the applicant supplies several work references. These references should be verified by calling a phone number that is found online for the company where the candidate says they are/were employed. Do not utilize personal phone numbers when verifying a reference, as this could link you to the applicant’s friend or family member. Your background screening vendor should be able to return the dates worked, title, salary, and whether they are eligible for re-hire.

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Ask the Right Questions

During the interview process, make certain the applicants answer real-world questions that showcase their expertise and knowledge. Ask them to explain projects they are proud of along with the goals they accomplished and how they affected the company. These answers provide evidence of their ability to perform your job well. They also offer insight into the validity of the claims they make on their CVs.

Use Assessment Surveys

Sometimes it’s what a candidate doesn’t say that can be detrimental to your company’s growth and viability. This stands true even more so with top-tier hires. Assessment surveys measure a candidate beyond their experience and education. Information on their morality, attitude, and behaviors paints a full-circle picture when it’s added to other screening tools. Assessments help discern an executive candidate’s inner core values and perceptions, which are important components of functioning well in a leadership role. This information is a valuable tool in deciding if a person will fit well into the company culture.

Employ Social Media Screening

Investigating a candidate’s social media sites is becoming an increasingly popular practice. Tweets, posts, likes, and shares give a company a sense of a potential new hire they can’t find in a resume or job interview. Social media screening shows negative information on a candidate (lapses in judgment, drug use, inflammatory racial comments, bad-mouthing a current or former employer) that may be evidence the individual isn’t the right fit for your company. A third-party screener keeps you FCRA compliant by redacting certain private information and only showing actionable pieces of information that can be used in the hiring process. Proceed with caution about using social media, because you can’t unsee protected class information once you see it. Using a third-party screener to review a top-level candidate’s social media presence is a smart move to gain information on their attitudes and opinions, while still maintaining compliance.

*Keep in mind to NEVER ask for a candidate’s online passwords, ALWAYS get a written authorization, and DO NOT friend a candidate to dig for information.

Screening top-tier job candidates must be done strategically and thoroughly to make sure you fill the position with a person who exhibits the attitude and morals of your company and possesses the experience and education needed to do the job well. By expanding your screening process to account for executive-level hiring, you can be confident you’ll onboard someone who will uphold the organization’s core values AND perform their job with the savvy that comes from their experience.

Susan McCullah

Susan McCullah is the Marketing Project Manager for Data Facts Background Screening Division.

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