Vetting is a process most often spoken of when it comes to political candidates. A potential candidate can go through extreme forms of background checks and research into anything from family matters to finances. Because they are backed by political parties and face media scrutiny, this process remains essential and goes unchallenged.
Why then do people of similar position in the private sector often go through the hiring process unchecked? In 2012 Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was one such case when he was found to have lied about his educational history when he added a dual major for a degree that didn’t exist at his alma mater. After this information was made public, he was fired, others in charge of hiring forcibly resigned, and thus became a monster headache for the struggling corporation.
This is just one example in long line of upper management being improperly hired, leading to scandals down the line: impacting the company, the brand, and the bottom line. In order to avoid such public pratfalls, a thorough vetting process would be wise to implement for the most influential positions of a company.
Proper Vetting Techniques, Facts, and Myths
1. Make sure the right employees are involved in the hiring process. Especially in large organizations, certain members can do more harm than good. For instance, in Yahoo’s case board members were heavily involved in major hiring decisions, causing strife with the HR department (aka people who are trained to hire others). This led to some obviously poor decisions including informal interviews without HR knowledge and/or going through proper vetting channels.
2. The higher the position, the more detailed and stringent the hiring process should be. Makes sense right? You’d be surprised at how this can often be reversed. Some suggested this occurs from not wanted to upset your potential CEO who might find it undignified. An HR exec at Pepsi-Co Suggests that the “more senior you are, the more its about relationships and less about filling out an application.” Whatever the case may be, this backwards thinking has lead to many a company’s PR department having endless migraines.
3. Vetting process isn’t just for the companies benefit. Being properly vetted helps the potential hire and not only through avoiding embarrassing public scrutiny. By having certain exaggerations or falsities come up through vetting, it allows the candidate the chance to correct the error and move on before it can scar them for life.
4. Utilizing a third party for this process can avoid in-house biases. Hiring objective, experienced investigators can produce the best results without leaving hiring or HR department of the company in compromised positions. However, said department should still work closely with the investigators in order to receive the necessary information.
5. Trying to understand the candidates psychology. Just because they passed a background check and have the necessary credentials doesn’t mean they should become the face for your organization. Trying to suss out cases of candidates too consumed with power or narcissism can be tricky, but there are options available. Going beyond a person’s references can stem from asking a reference particular questions or interviewing the potential hires previous employee underlings. Taking the time to go through such measures can help determine if he/she would be proper fit for your company.
6. Not just CEOs. Vetting techniques can and should be used for candidates of many industries. From the coach of professional sports organizations to higher ups in various form of academia, if you can be hired in a position of power, then the organization should take the time and due diligence to make sure you won’t come back to haunt them.