Checking candidates’ resumes and backgrounds is par for the course for HR and recruitment professionals, so why are CEOs going through less background screening than the average graduate?
This is the finding from a new report from HireRight, which – worryingly – discovered 49% of HR leaders in the UK simply “assume” senior candidates have not lied on their CV or application.
The incredulously high percentage is on unverified CEO backgrounds is appalling, considering the power the head of the company has with regards to important businesses decision-making and the long-term impact they have on the organisation’s success compared with an entry-level candidate.
In fact, 27% of the 140 HR leaders polled went on to confess they have hired people that they probably wouldn’t have, had they been properly screened. Because when they have been carried out, these checks have exposed a leadership lie in 36% of companies.
“Leaders are no longer figureheads only at carefully orchestrated press conferences. An entire organisation’s reputation can be damaged with a mobile phone image or an inaccurate CV, followed by the click of a mouse,” Steve Girdler, managing director EMEA at HireRight, said.
“Yet companies are putting the reputation and success of their entire business at risk by not carrying out suitable levels of due diligence on their board members – who clearly pose a significantly greater threat than graduates.”
Despite these risks, the report found 66% of businesses do not consistently verify the background of new members of their C-Suite.
Almost half (45%) of HR leaders stated they know organisations where chief executives go through fewer interviews and tests than graduates and 37% admit this is the case in their own company.
In addition, 24% of HR leaders believed their board members may never in their entire career have had their qualifications, work history, criminal record or media profile looked into.
“There’s no doubt that preventable mistakes are being made when recruiting senior leaders, risking irreparable damage to company reputation, operations, culture and performance.
“But there are steps that can be taken to lessen your company’s own risk. Look around your boardroom and ask, who exactly are these people? If you are not certain, find out.”