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Screening At The Top

Posted in News & Events, News Articles on 09/25/2012

What do the following people have in common?

• Former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson
• Former Notre Dame Football Coach George O’Leary
• Former Radio Shack CEO David Edmonson
• Former Bausch & Lomb Chairman and CEO Ron Zarrella
• Former Veritas Software CEO Kenneth Lonchar
• Former President of U.S. Olympic Committee Sandra Baldwin
• Former MIT Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones
• Former Lotus Corp CEO Jeff Papows

Over the past ten years all of the distinguished individuals have been found to have “embellished” their resumes regarding their educational credentials.  All of them had inflated or completely falsified their degrees for many years before they were caught.  Not only were they vilified in the press causing severe embarrassment to themselves, but their actions tarnished the reputation of the companies where they worked.

Statistics state that up to 25% of the C-Suite executives either falsify or embellish their resumes, and many like those listed above have done this for years without being caught.  How can this happen?  For many reasons.

Many companies do a more thorough background check on their janitor than they do on their CEO.  Most senior level executives have moved from company to company and are well-known within their industries.  Companies either believe that the former employers have already verified the credentials listed on the company biography, or companies are reluctant to insult or offend C-level employees by making them go through the background check procedures before they are hired.  Unfortunately these companies have found that those assumptions can be false and can cause irreparable harm to their brand and reputation. 

How can companies help to protect themselves from these issues?  Make and enforce a policy that states all employees must have a background check done with no exceptions.  Depending on the level of the job, the specific requirements for a background check may vary, but every employee should have a background check completed. 

Have your background checks done by a third party screening company, such as BackTrack, instead of your company or the recruiter.  Working with a third party who is impartial to the results of the background check may help alleviate some of the issues or pressure on the hiring manager.

Educations are a relatively quick, cheap, and easy component to check through background checks.  Protect your company by verifying the educations for all of your executives before your company becomes the next one “outed” on the internet.

For more information, contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.