Seniority does not make you Exempt from Background Screening

Purushotham Salvani, MD, FirstAdvantageLeadership is more than a designation, they provide the necessary strategic direction which galvanizes employees, steering them towards productivity. This process begins with acquiring an accurate and in-depth understanding of the candidate’s background. Senior leadership is not exempted from criticism and must follow the same stringent compliant measures that junior level employees do. It is a common misconception that candidates for a senior executive position would not stoop to falsifying or hiding information. According to the First Advantage Q3 2016 Report discrepancies amongst senior executives remains two percent. This is an alarming number sustained from the previous quarter within the leadership. Having discrepant in this strategic position can be precarious. The risks that arise from discrepancies at a senior level cannot be taken lightly due to the following reasons

Growth, Productivity and Investor Relation:
One of the biggest impacts of bad hiring decision at a senior level is on productivity of the organization. Organization perception metrics are increasingly becoming the key metric for hiring new recruits. A defunct or less than optimal leadership leads to negative organization perception eventually not only effecting current productivity levels but future projects and also investor relations.

Work Place Safety: Senior leadership has the responsibility to create a safe and amicable corporate culture in an organization. Discrepancies in senior management’s records can sometimes range from employment history errors to graver indiscretions such as harassment. The risk of a leadership having such indiscretions could have a catastrophic effect on the company, corporate culture, and even brand and reputation of the organization. For example, a prominent IT services company had been hit by yet another sexual harassment case, with a senior executive accused of harassing a female employee who resisted his sexual advances.
The alleged harassment is doing irreparable damage to the repute and brand, dissuading promising talent to join.

Background screening cannot guarantee business success but it can certainly help ensure that the right leadership is in place

Financial Cost: When cost and speed become the most prevalent hiring metrics, hiring within a certain time period adds pressure and the mechanisms and processes in place become even more important. Vendor costs 70 percent, background verification 66 percent, referral cost 65 percent and assessments 50 percent account for the top four contributors to the hiring cost across levels. The financial implications of a bad hire have a lasting impact from the time of recruitment through on boarding but in the matter of senior leadership it has an impact on the future of the company.

Challenges with Mobility & Permeability: With greater permeability of companies, talent poaching and mobility across companies and industries, it is more challenging to decipher true backgrounds. In addition, as more executives live, study and work abroad, it has also become increasingly important that employers are able to procure such information.

Mitigate risk with background screening: The importance of background screening at a junior level is well known, how ever back ground screening at a senior executive level is more important because of the lasting impact they have on the entire organization. Today, many leading organizations opt for an in-depth, investigative background check, one that goes beyond the standard criminal record searches as well education and employment verifications, to proactively uncover ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ about a candidate.

For example, it t is good practice to conduct financial checks on a candidate to determine if they have negative records regarding bankruptcy, credit standing and money laundering, a risk heightened now. Post demonetizing, many bank employees have been caught opening fake bank accounts, doing irreparable damage to their CVs and the brand and repute of the banks, even prompting suggestions of taking away the banks license. Background screening and finding the correct candidates can avoid such occurrences, taking into consideration the complications that arise because of country specific complexities. The ideal provider should be highly capable and also up-to-date on the latest laws and legislations governing background screening process. Its primary role is to check candidate credentials in a safe and legal manner so that companies can continually hire the right talent for their business.

The success or failure of any company depends, to a large extent, on the people that govern the leadership positions. Rephrase Not screening leadership can have lasting impact on the company and its employees. Background screening cannot guarantee business success but it can certainly help ensure that the right leadership is in place , and in an economic downturn, or a hiring crunch such considerations become specifically crucial which could make all the difference to the survival of a company.