Not too long ago on ActiveCare we tackled a touchy subject – the apparently incomplete and/or lackadaisical vetting of CEO’s, upper management and other C-Suite candidates. Click on the headlines below to read the entire articles:

Honesty in the Hiring Process: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
What Big Name Companies and Their CEO’s Can Learn From the Bill Cosby Scandal

Here are some highlights from a couple of the studies we referenced:

  • 47% of managers believe job seekers include dishonest info on their resumes somewhat or very often
  • More than 4 in 10 of employees surveyed report knowing someone who stretched the truth on hiring documents
  • Job duties and education are embellished most often
  • A whopping 45% of HR leaders know organizations where CEO’s get less background screening than entry-level graduates

Well, obviously, we were flabbergasted. Not so much at the shock value of the results, but that in today’s world of constant and available information through background checks, databases, social media and the internet, C-Suite candidates are still getting through doors without being properly vetted.

How and why does this keep happening? There really is no concrete answer. But we do know about the damage that bad CEO’s bring to their companies reputations and results (not to mention to themselves and their families). One thing that is indisputable, though, is that smart and effective hiring decisions in upper management, C-Suite and CEO positions are vital to the success of a company and one of the only ways to ensure you’re getting smart, effective, reputable and results-driven people is through background checks. Here’s some must-follow tips to help you vet your incoming C-Suite candidates.

Screen All Candidates
Regardless if you’re hiring someone for the mail room or for a corner office, that person needs to be background checked. A CEO candidate should not feel, nor should she or he be allowed to feel, above the law of the company. Your corporate culture should dictate that it takes the vetting of its CEO candidates seriously, and that C-Suite applicants are held to the most rigorous company standards. A standardized and transparent screening process helps maintain a level of respect and trust between the CEO and her or his employees, too. Employees will know that this person passed a thorough background check (just like they did) and that she or he is capable of leading the company.

Remember Your Job is to Verify the Truth
We’re not going to sugar coat this. Resumes, or more accurately the people behind the resumes, lie. Even CEOs. It can be something as ‘minor’ as listing a degree when the person didn’t actually graduate, or something as major as lifting an entire employment history from somebody’s else’s resume. The important thing to remember here is that you’re vetting the lead representative for your company – your figurehead and you want to make sure all the t’s get crossed and i’s get dotted. As this article says, “It’s not crass, unrefined, or impolite to do a background check on your new CEO — it’s your fiduciary duty, and you owe it to board members, current staff, and yourself.”

Protect Their Information
Screening candidates gives you access to private, personally identifying information. A background check verifies information like criminal and credit histories, education, substance abuse. But through the screening process you also learn a ton about a person’s skill set, managerial style, personality, flaws, health, leadership challenges, anger issues, etc. The interview process and reference checks will give you a pretty good glimpse into the gal or guy you’re looking at. This makes it extremely important to keep all of this information close to the vest. If word leaked about a candidate’s information, it makes your company look bad and reduces the likelihood you’ll get other C-Suit candidates eager to knock on your door.

Use a Nationally-Accredited Screening Firm
One of the best ways to safeguard yourself in the screening process of C-Suite candidates is to outsource your background check to a third-party Credit Reporting Agency, or use a CRA in conjunction with your in-house hiring or Human Resources team. Sometimes performing these types of rigorous background checks are too taxing or simply too time consuming for in-house HR operations. A nationally-accredited agency like Active Screening has an expert team of researchers and screeners who know how to perform high-level background checks discretely and efficiently. Active Screening has developed screening solutions that protect a candidate’s personally identifying information while still delivering the results companies need to make informed decisions.

When you’re ready to bring a new CEO on board, give us a call first at 1-800-319-5580. We’ll work with you to customize the right plan for your organization to vet the candidates. And if there is a liar in the bunch, we’ll find out.

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