Hiring a new CEO, CFO, or COO can be a long and arduous process for many corporations. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook risks in a high-ranking executive or trust dishonest information. Before making a decision, corporations should consider hiring a private investigator to perform executive background checks of a potential corporate officer. Doing so can stop an unscrupulous individual from tarnishing a company’s reputation and prevent possible litigation for negligent hiring.
Risks to Consider
Do you know if the candidate has a criminal record? Do they have a good reputation among other businesses in the market? Past mistakes aren’t always a deal-breaker, but they can provide some insight on a person’s character and ability to perform in a high-ranking position. Individuals will go to great lengths to hide their offenses or lie about themselves. A DUI may be an indicator of someone who has had a substance abuse problem, or a record of domestic violence could suggest a history of anger problems. A bad credit report could be a sign of future embezzlement problems. Some of the most common red flags that an executive background investigation should uncover are as follows:
- Domestic violence arrests/restraining orders
- Bad bredit reports
- Reasons for leaving past companies
There have been several cases of executives who lied about their credentials or fudged their resumes. Consider the case of Scott Thompson, once CEO of Yahoo!, who lied about having a computer science degree. Or take note of Marilee Jones, Dean of Admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who never earned any of her supposed degrees. These people are able to get away with dishonesty because no one had thought to question them in the past. It’s easy to look at a candidate’s job history and assume that the other big companies they worked for had already checked their credentials, but clearly that is not always the case.
Too often, executives are able to hide these red flags for years until they are discovered by an investigative reporter or through someone within the company. A corporation that hires a shady CEO can face public embarrassment and loss in shares. In 2002, shares for Veritas SoftWare Corp. dropped 20 percent after it came out that their CEO had lied about his education. Thefallacies that jeopardized these corporations’ reputations could have possibly been prevented if a comprehensive executive background investigation had taken place.
Hiring a Private Investigator
Most basic background checks will uncover things such as names, addresses, past employers, and a criminal record. It may be tempting to perform a Google search of a candidate and call it a day, but this will only give you a very general outline of a candidate and won’t always be accurate. Nowadays, people have become more aware of their presence online and have found ways to cover things up. An online search won’t turn up as many results as an investigation will, either. Many official documents and records are not available publicly online, and some states have different laws regarding arrests and offenses. Hiring a private investigator to check out a candidate’s background can uncover information that an online search cannot. A typical executive screening may include a search of:
- Employment history
- Criminal records
- Driving records
- Civil history
Executive background history investigations will provide corporations with a detailed report of a CEO’s character and work ethic before a hiring decision is made. An experienced private investigator knows what to look for and where to find it, in an ethical and legal way.These investigators will work with companies to provide an in-depth assessment of a potential executive’s background and ensure that a company has a clear view of the person they are hiring.