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Cream Of The Crop: Why You Need To Screen Senior Hires For Your Enterprise For businesses to hire with confidence and mitigate employment risk, a consistent level of due diligence should be undertaken for all candidates to verify basic details such as identity, previous employment, and education history.

By Steve Girdler

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Any organisation looking to recruit a new senior figure faces an age-old problem: finding someone with the passion and creativity to be inspirational, and the experience to make sound business decisions.

Not only do executive employees represent the company's brand to its shareholders, clients, personnel, and the media, they may also have access to the company's most private and confidential information. Employees at all levels could cause harm through poor performance, fraud or theft, but a wrong step by those at the top could damage shareholder confidence or gain unwanted media attention.

HireRight's 2018 EMEA Employment Screening Benchmark Report revealed that discrepancies are continuing to be identified at all candidate levels, and that many businesses may be opening themselves up to internal threats by not implementing effective screening processes for their senior executives. 38% of EMEA and APAC respondents said that they knew of issues that arose as a result of senior executives not being screened during a merger or acquisition.

Furthermore, 29% of the EMEA and APAC businesses surveyed admitted it's possible that people on their board may have never in their career had their qualifications, experience, and criminal record checked. 31% thought that candidates go through fewer steps to get a job as a CEO than an entry level position.

Hiring for senior positions can be a challenge, because each individual has a unique professional history, and the candidates may have been educated or previously employed internationally. There can also be an expectation of a white-gloved approach to the hiring process, particularly if the candidate has a personal connection to the company. However, whilst the recruitment path may be different to that of junior and mid-level hires, this does not mean that senior hires should bypass best practice.

Related: Making The Right Choice: Building A Screening Policy For Job Candidates

For businesses to hire with confidence and mitigate employment risk, a consistent level of due diligence should be undertaken for all candidates to verify basic details such as identity, previous employment, and education history. In addition, senior executives may have other affiliations, such as board memberships and corporate ties that may pose conflicts of interest, which should be disclosed and looked into before a hiring decision is made. (Find out more about HireRight's Executive Intelligence screening, which has been designed with senior hiring requirements in mind.)

When considering a current employee for a senior position, rescreening can validate a decision to promote an individual and help facilitate a safe workplace. Somebody who was hired at a junior level and has progressed through the company over a number of years may not have been screened when they joined the organisation. Alternatively, whilst it is quite possible that someone may have passed a background check when they were first hired, their circumstances may have changed, meaning they could now pose a greater risk to the business.

Placing any person within an organisation requires confidence, trust, and belief in their ability. Whether hiring externally or promoting from within, background checks are an essential last port of call in the recruiting process, enabling employers to mitigate business risk and appoint a new senior team member with confidence.

Related: Building Your Startup Team: A Guide To Finding The Perfect Hire

Steve Girdler

Managing Director for EMEA & APAC, HireRight

Steve Girdler is the Managing Director for EMEA & APAC at HireRight
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