Comprehensive pre-employment background checks are an absolute necessity. Your time is a valuable commodity. When you consider taking on a high-touch candidate destined for executive placement it is of even greater importance, as the time you spend performing comprehensive background checks may be considerable. Above all, you don’t want to lose on your investment.
Knowing what potential dangers lurk before you put a lot of effort into somebody makes good business sense. If it were a business acquisition, you would be performing the same sort of due diligence on the company you intend to purchase, so why not apply this to your human assets also?
Conducting comprehensive pre-employment background checks prior to in-person interviews is one of the surest ways to confirm that your candidate is representing themselves with verity — your brand reputation and the company’s future depends on it. When it is a leadership, management or customer-facing role, it is even more important to know exactly who is sitting on the other side of that desk. In this age of lawsuits and litigation, being armed with verified, up-to-the-minute information is your best protection.
Performing comprehensive pre-employment background checks before you hire is important. Performing a background check during the course of the recruiting process is just as crucial. The more you know about a candidate, the better you will be able to predict their success or lack of it.
Making sure you are placing the right person in the right position is so much more than just job experience and having the appropriate demeanor: ensuring that your candidate will meet all expectations and does not present a danger to you, the on-boarding company, their brand or their staff assures a return on your investment. It also gives you a stronger platform to work from when negotiating the deal. If you are committed to presenting the best candidate for the job, having a thorough background check in place is not just an option – it is a necessity.
Most HR departments, hiring managers, and recruiters ask their candidate to supply several references. Let’s be honest – these are peers, friends, and by and large 50% are therefore biased. Retained executive search firms like NextGen dig up and cold call references we find who are past internal customers the candidate interfaced with, vendors, external customers, and those who reported to him/her, as well as his/her former superiors. These names we dig up are caught off guard, are honest, and really do help to provide an accurate balance of professional references in comprehensive background checks.
SSN trace, search and validation: This verifies your candidate’s identity. A social security number is specific to the state and city where it was obtained, and can tell you a great deal about an individual, such as their residential history. A verified SSN can also help to verify other information that the background check might reveal.
County criminal record searches: This will reveal if they have been in trouble locally.
Current and previous residences: Frequent moves can be a harbinger of trouble to come, revealing transiency or any kind of trouble in holding down a residence.
National criminal file: This is a validated result that is cross-referenced to known addresses. Care must be taken to verify this information against a known quantity, such as an individual’s SSN. There are likely thousands of William Smith’s in the world, for example.
Federal criminal record searches (last 7 years): Any federal criminal offence will appear here. Federal offences are far more serious, and include many ‘white-collar’ crimes such as fraud.
Federal civil records searches (current and previous residences): this will illuminate problems with money, handling money, securities and bad debt–very important in hiring for fiduciary positions. It will also reveal past marriages or any civil proceeding that the candidate has been involved with.
OFAC terror watch/sex offender check: It probably goes without saying, a history that includes terrorism, violent crime or a sex offence has the potential to cause a great deal of harm to your company, your customers and your workforce.
Education verification (2 highest degrees): Education verification to prove your candidate’s claims.
Employment verification (last 3 employers): Verifying past employment, positions held and more proof of claims.
Professional character references (past superiors, direct reports, internal/external customers as applicable): How your candidate interacts with others should be of great interest to you. This is the trickiest part as most HR departments lack the skills to conduct job references pertaining to those whom the candidate interfaces with. It’s not just the interactions, but the mentor and coaching capability, listening skills, ability of the candidate to sell their ideas, examples of conflict resolution, and teamwork.
Social media reputation reports: Many people reveal their true character online in ways they never would to your face. It’s not about the kids, the cottage or the kittens, but if your candidate is a drunk or has a tendency to bad-mouth their employers or even worse – their customers – online, you’ll want to know.
PEER credit report: A PEER credit report takes an individual’s personal credit, residential and employment history into account and is a little more detailed than a standard background check. The PEER report is more a gauge of dependability than credit worthiness, and does not result in a credit inquiry for the candidate. Use for C-Suite level, VP and fiduciary roles.
‘Ban the Box’ laws impacts comprehensive background checks
In states or municipalities where a ‘ban-the-box’ law is in place, access to your candidate’s criminal history in comprehensive background checks could be limited until later on in the hiring process. You might think that this legislation has limited influence with regard to executive search and placement, but it still has the potential to lead you down a blind alley every once in a while. You might, for instance, spend a great deal of time on a candidate during the on-boarding process only to find that there were some legal or ethical issues that you just cannot afford to take a chance on.
The legislation itself applies to federal government job applications, some private contractors and companies operating in specific regions that have adopted the policy. While it is arguably a useful and constructive way to level the playing field, it could still impede your process when hiring mid-level to senior management.
Since the legislation can be enforced at the state, county or municipal level, it is important to find out what the laws are in your area, and understand what you can and can’t legally ask up front.
Most ban-the-box laws do not prohibit an up-front comprehensive pre-employment background checks, but some do require the employer to wait until after the first interview or even later in the hiring process.
Your HR department can check references and social media, but a verified background check ensures the information you obtain is bona-fide and that the person whose life you are looking into is actually the one you intended. Additionally, there is a lot of information that cannot be uncovered in a limited search.
Some data can only be accessed by a licensed firm that specializes in comprehensive pre-employment background checks. Such companies have the experience to get you what you need in an expedient manner, and will help to prevent you from looking at personal data that might put you in violation of state or federal law. If you are in doubt, consult your legal department first. Most states require that you obtain a written consent from the candidate prior to conducting a search. You should also expect to provide a copy of that search to the subject in addition to any related communications or recommendations.
Above all, look at a broad spectrum of information. Don’t just look at the negative, and don’t focus too closely on any one thing. The sum total of your candidate’s data should tell a story – hopefully a good one – that will help you decide how best to proceed.
Loads of companies and recruiters use some type of screening tests but few look at the all important concept that faster productivity + team dynamics in whether a potential new hire is both a role fit AND a team fit We know that a new hire impacts team dynamics. While some have a one-size-fits-all behavioral analysis testing for the candidate only, what are the recruiter or hiring manager comparing the candidate to?
Some measure job skills, others measure interpersonal and communication skills, planning and organizing, and some measure aptitudes, and still others cognitive ability. There are even some that test applicants on their ability to make presentations or on their behavior pattern in a simulated meeting, however they still fail to consider profiling hiring teams in order to form a target candidate profile as part of measuring team fit to make a new hire impacts team dynamics positively.
Productivity in how New Hire Impacts Team Dynamics
One way to understand the first part of performance based recruiting is in the discovery step prior to planning a search strategy. Sadly too many internal recruiters and HR managers put too much emphasis on matching potential candidates to a “one-size-fits-all” corporate culture. They fail to take into account that EACH TEAM is UNIQUE.
Each team has it’s own culture that is not a clone identity to the corporate culture. If you want to achieve faster productivity, recognize how new hires impact team dynamics in recognizing the positives and negatives. You must take that individual team culture the new hire will work within as part of your search strategy. What the executive search consultants at NextGen do is to ask the stakeholders (listed below) to take a brief less than 10 minutes online survey that can be taken 24/7.
his/her direct report/hiring manager
at least 2-3 internal customers
for sales, product management, product marketing, and sales engineering roles, we recommend at least 1-2 key external customers on whom this position will have an impact.
This is where many internal hiring managers miss the boat. Many in Human Resources and even some executives fear asking external customers (who can be direct customers, partners, or vendors) to participate. Their immediate thought is to perceive this as negative. Rather it is completely positive as those external stakeholders value and appreciate you have included them on designing a target candidate profile. It makes for better customer interaction because you are taking into account how not only how they interface with this role, but also the impact the potential new hire will have on productivity + team dynamics.
Achieving Longer Retention | New Hire Impacts Team Dynamics
It is designed to gauge and measure each respondents view of the role and team in terms of values and motivations, relational communications traits, decision making and conflict resolution skills. These questions in the survey, combined with how each stakeholder views the OBJECTIVES of the role instead of the requirements and responsibilities, is used to create a Composite Team Profile.
With the information gathered the original job spec, the discovery step, and the composite team profile, the recruiter can effectively construct a Search Strategy including a Target Candidate Profile for screening and assessment.
The end goal is to identify, recruit, assess, and determine a shortlist of candidates that are both a role fit and team fit, meaning that they have a high likelihood of achieving the objectives of the role. In other words, new hire impacts team dynamics becomes a positive impact. NextGen’s award-winning Leadership Vault search process has resulted in 94% of our placements still working for the company we staffed at 3.5 years of employment.
In addition, the most common feedback is that the candidates we presented not only met, but exceeded client expectations. Combined with an industry leading 24 to 36 months replacement guarantee and performance based recruitment fees, we are often called upon when other search firms have failed to deliver.
How do you improve talent acquisition to be more efficient, less costly, and produce results when it comes to executive management and functional leadership roles? Today companies have a hectic schedule due to keeping up with the competitiveness of the industry. Resources and time becomes constricted and companies do not have the time to implement a thorough recruitment and screening process.
Relying upon job boards, LinkedIn, focusing on branding and “social responsibility” on web site career portals brings in hundreds of applicants, but rarely the right applicants and most of those applicants are “C players”, the 55% of the workforce that can show up to do a job but don’t add to increasing revenues, lowering cost, or creating new intellectual property.
Many companies employ internal recruiters of contract recruiters, and while they can produce more applicants, the quality of the candidates is at best “okay”. Contingency search firms are internally measured on the number of sendouts (resumes) emailed each day, the focus in on quantity, not quality. If a company must conduct a phone screen, simply put the recruiter failed to do a good job in screening and assessment.
Companies engage a retained search firm to manage the recruitment process and to get down to a shortlist of highly qualified candidates ready for in-person interviews. Retained search firms that are niche or boutique working in the company;s industry NEVER look at active job seekers who dominate job board and Linkedin job postings, but instead use their vast internal rolodex, identify and cold call, and reach out to those contacts to being them an opportunity and a challenge.
Client-focused in time management – retained search improve talent acquisition as we only work on only a few select searches at a time per executive search consultant. Because the lead recruiter has a team behind him, each task from sourcing to pre-screen to deep interviews is assigned. Since the focus is on quality, retained executive search consultants are not measured by the contingency search firm focus on sending out x number of resumes daily.
Industry Expertise in Your Market – possess a higher level of proficiency when it comes to finding potential candidates for a specific niche industry and market. These firms specialize in what are the trending news in the market, recruiting, executive changes at your competitors, and news about the current and future strategy of your market and your competitors.
Instead of focusing on a checklist of x number of years’ experience and skills, retained search focus on what the potential candidate will do with those skills to meet the performance objectives of the role rather than just having x years of experience with that skill.
The costs are much lower in the Long Run – utilizing the expertise of a good recruitment team shows that retained search lowers the expenses used to screening applicants and potential sourced candidates.
Improve Talent Acquisition with Onboarding Tools
A custom onboarding tool that works is one that uses a psychometric composite team profile with the corresponding candidate profile and performance objectives of the role. No lengthy involvement of time and effort by multiple executive staff members. It is customized and easy to use. It should include a personal action plan for the new hire that identifies his/her strengths and weaknesses and provides the designated mentor with an effective coaching and evaluation tool.
Retained search improve talent acquisition like NextGen Executive Search as clients has shown that the 72% who use the custom onboarding tool realize quick assimilation into the corporate culture and team dynamics, faster productivity, and longer retention.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Talent Acquisition
This relieves the company’s HR department of the expenditures that are used in screening processes such as background information, investigating previous employment records, filling up Hiring Managers inboxes with unqualified flypaper (resumes). Searching for the ideal candidate for the job can take a lot of time and expense if the company does it alone.
Much Higher Retention Rate with Low Turnover – retained search improves talent acquisition with a much higher retention rate for candidates they’ve placed (NextGen Global has a 93% retention rate for placed candidate still working after 3.5 years of being hired and 87% still there at 5 years).
Retained search improve talent acquisition with a competitive edge as the people they place outperform, meet, or exceed your expectations and significantly contribute to the success of the organization. Hiring the right staff, not just at the senior executive level, can propel the company towards success and development, but hiring the wrong ones stagnates the progress. Improve Talent Acquisition by Elevating your Recruitment on Improve Talent Acquisition by Elevating your Recruitment to improve talent acquisition.
Leadership traits are defined by what we do, not the role we are in. Leadership is action, not a position. Some people in leadership roles are excellent leaders. But too many are bosses, “snoopervisors,” technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs, and the like. Whether in enterprise mobility, manufacturing, or consumer devices, strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across these key areas.
Leadership Traits in Functional Management Roles
To lead is to show the way by going in advance. To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behavior or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role.
This starts with inner leadership traits in self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others.The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being. Leadership development is personal development.
Effective leadership traits ultimately shows itself in what we do “out there.” But it starts “in here.”It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps.
But the journey of personal growth means finding our own way. There are, however, critical areas of personal development based on timeless principles. The distance we need to grow along each of the leadership traits dimensions will differ for each of us, but defining and continually growing along each of these paths is the way of the leader.
Expanding Key Personal Leadership Traits
Strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across many areas, however these areas are key:
Choose Not to Lose. Whether we choose to focus on our problems or our possibilities is a key leadership issue. When we are faced with obstacles and failure, those with the leadership traits who can overcome adversity and learn from their experiences, turning them into opportunities, are the ones who will be truly successful.
Focus and Context. The core of my being: This is central to our growth along all the other leadership traits dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (my vision); What do I believe in? (my principles and values) and; Why do I exist? (my purpose or mission).
Responsibility for Choices. If it’s to be, it’s up to me: Good leadership traits means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the “Victimitus Virus” (“it’s all their fault” and “there’s nothing I can do”).
Authenticity. Getting real: Leadership isn’t just what we do, it’s something that we are, which then drives what we do. Great leadership traits are authentic, and based on honesty, integrity, and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.
Passion and Commitment. Beyond near-life experiences: Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them ever closer to who they are. They have the leadership traits that overcome apathy and cynicism, develop a burning commitment to their cause, and with discipline achieve their dreams and desires.
Spirit and Meaning. With all my heart and soul: What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within their leadership traits and find something more. In what is too often a mad dash from cradle to grave, we need to take time in work and life to nourish our inner selves.
Growing and Developing. From phase of life to way of life: The popular goals of security, stability, and predictability are deadly. The closer we get to these dangerous goals, the more our growth is stunted. Good leadership traits will reflect true and lasting security comes from constant growth and development, based on regular reflection and renewal.
Mobilizing and Energizing. Putting emotions in motion: Leaders don’t motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves. Highly effective leaders who possess ethical leadership traits boost the energy of others with their passion and appreciation. They engage people’s hearts as well as their minds.
Effective Leadership Traits Make a Difference
The more the world changes, the more leadership principles stay the same. And effective leadership traits apply to all of us; no matter what role we play in society or organizations. NextGen Global Executive Search uses a proprietary Performance Based Retained Search to recruit exceptional executives with good leadership traits. Contact us today for a free consultation or demo of our proven executive recruitment process.
The HR recruiting process with the highest business impact often has a failure rate of 50 percent according to Dr. John Sullivan on ERE in his article “The 6 Ugly Numbers Revealing Recruiting’s Dirty Little Secret” In this article we will address the problems in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition and how to avoid common pitfalls to recruiting efforts. For the company’s senior executives and board of directors, the dependence and overhead on HR internal recruitment and Talent Acquisition groups does not produce the results desired for the company to achieve success.
Stop treating every potential candidate as active job seekers and applicants
In a soaring economy where the supply of good candidates is far outweighed by the demand to fill jobs (7.5M jobs currently remain open), the company and the recruiters are the seekers, not the other way around. Posting job openings on job boards and social media by and large generates applicants who are underemployed or unemployable. Most good potential candidates are happy with their employer, their current role, and are paid well. These successful people are not looking at job postings and are so inundated by emails and social media messaging from HR, TA, contingency, and RPOs they don’t read or respond.
Avoid Common Pitfalls to Recruiting in the HR Process
Forcing potential candidates that you’re looking for to go to your website to fill out an application is untenable. Just because you have an HRIS or ATS process that governs every candidate perform this, remember it is you that came looking for him/her; they are NOT applicants. And demanding potential candidates at the very beginning to reveal their current compensation is unethical or in many states, illegal.
If you want to attract the ideal candidates, first HR must stop the age old process of creating job postings and messages that don’t work.
The same old blah-blah corporate culture, responsibilities, requirements, and benefits overview is boring to successful people, whose actual interests will be one of the following: a new challenge, more authority, a particular product or service where they can make an impact on the market, location, company and team size, and a competitive compensation package. Appeal to their desires to attract them.
Failure to build relationships with professionals who can become future candidates
The HR recruitment process focuses on building a resume database rather than real relationships. Good executive recruiters are successful because they consistently foster relationships based on common interests with professionals – not by approaching them as potential candidates but as peers and colleagues within an industry by sharing ideas, making introductions, and asking for their advice.
Many Hiring Managers assume they are great recruiters
All hiring managers like to think they are excellent recruiters. But the track record is such that only “A players”, the top 10% of the workforce can claim that distinction. Think about it – regardless of title your primary time is focused on building sales, engineering, product management, operations, etc. How can you possibly excel at something you spend very little time doing when retained executive search consultants spend most of their time on actual recruiting.
Avoid Common Pitfalls to Recruiting in Dual Role Reality
Those dual roles of being a CXO or VP with outstanding capability to lead strategy, manage a team, and deliver while at the same time having the skills and time to conduct recruiting is very, very rare. Want further proof? About one-third of the hiring managers today just want a few notes and a resume. The resume is by far the worst presentation tool ever created. It is generally a one-size-fits-all document. It reveals experience, skills, education, and accomplishments.
It is generalist in nature and rarely delves into how a person used those skills and expertise in relation to the objectives of the role you need to fill. Worst of all…and the reason to always avoid looking at the resume as a presentation tool, is once a hiring manager views the resume, 75% of their mind is already made up. Makes no matter if you provide comprehensive interview notes, measured KPIs, numbers, relevant details of similar accomplishments, and depth of industry relationships to prove the candidates can meet and exceed the objectives of the role; often their mind is already made up based solely on the resume.
Salary ranges and corporate culture fit ignore the rule of supply and demand.
Many companies have this set-in virtual stone salary ranges. Thinking that a cyber wireless engineer or AI architect are just software engineers and must fit within the SW engineering salary range is not reality. Ask Google, Uber, Microsoft – many of these types of engineers make higher compensation that their boss. It is reality with the law of supply and demand. Some companies even offer candidates less than they are making now, believing that the in-person interview revealed how much the candidate liked the company and team and expressed desire to come on board. It is simply absurd and insulting to offer someone less if in same location where cost-of-living makes no difference.
Having HR or TA make offers to candidates is not the right way to go
The person who has built a relationship of trust, usually the recruiter or hiring manager, should always be the person to make the initial verbal offer. When someone in HR or TA group makes an official offer, it is usually someone who has no real relationship with the potential new hire. The results can often be negative as the candidate feels his/her value is not appreciated and they are negotiating and speaking with someone they do not know. Avoid common pitfalls to recruiting where the HR process often fails by causing the recruiter or hiring manager to have to come in and save the day while the damage has already been done.
Low retention rates cause teams to not develop properly
Most companies have some type of onboarding but, it is more orientation and documentation. And even expensive one-size-fits-all onboarding plans fail because they require too many people to be involved. A custom onboarding plan should always consist of two parts: a self-development plan for the new hire and a mentor / coaching plan for the person the new hire will report to.
This simplifies the onboarding process by focusing on utilizing the strengths the new hire brings to the team creating action plans to address potential weaknesses. This ensures the new hire’s impact on team dynamics is positive by ensuring the objective of proper onboarding is met, which is to promote quick assimilation into the team, faster productivity, and longer retention. If you adapt your HR process and learn to avoid common pitfalls to recruiting, you will make a positive impact on your business growth.