Background Investigation of Prospective Executive Hires: a Necessary Evil

By: Kathryn L. Simpson

The headlines are everywhere. Every day another occupant of the “C-Suite” in a large company is accused of sexual harassment or physical assault. Many of the instances of harassment may have occurred while the person worked for another employer but the sins come home to roost on the current employer. The public is left to doubt the employer’s credibility and its attention to detail when it hires a person with a history of sexual harassment.

What can you do to prevent hiring a harasser?

– Ask the candidate why their prior employment ended.
– Get a signed waiver from the candidate to allow former employers to speak openly about prior conduct.
– Check all references.
– Do a criminal record search to find felony or misdemeanor convictions.

There is no way to repair the damage resulting from hiring an executive with a history of sexual harassment. The only effective way to avoid disaster is due diligence in the hiring process.