Due Diligence at the Top - What to Expect as an Executive Candidate

21 May 2020
By Laura Grierson
Due diligence at the top

As an executive search firm, it’s a privilege fulfilling mandates that influence the future of our industry. A privilege, that comes with a great deal of responsibility.

Quite often our executive and board level candidates are surprised by the thoroughness of our background checks. We’ve found along the way, that some businesses forgo the candidate due diligence process entirely.

For us a comprehensive understanding of our candidate’s education, work history and integrity is a no-brainer. Particularly, when the wrong hiring decision could cause irrefutable damage to a company’s reputation and bottom line.

Why we are so thorough.

We’ve all heard of people fibbing a little, to get ahead. The problem is at this level the stakes are so much higher.

In a recent case, an Australian women lied on her resume and provided fake references to land a high paying job as Chief Information Officer. She had also used the same false information, to obtain her two jobs prior.

The deception not only negatively impacted the regional government department that hired her, it resulted in her being fined and sentenced to 25 months in prison.

And, she is just one of many who have been publicly shamed for lying in their applications.

Its not that we don’t trust you.

We meet amazing people. Engaging executives and board members that know how to build and sell a story. 

It’s not that we don’t believe you’re talented. In fact, if you’ve made it to this point in our process, we are convinced you’re great.

It’s about confirming that belief objectively, to give your prospective employer the same confidence.

What can you expect from Acacia’s executive due diligence process?

With your full knowledge and consent, our due diligence provides critical background to your future employer about your education, work experience and integrity.

We start by confirming your professional and educational credentials.

We verify all past relevant employment and educational claims, to ensure they are legitimate.

You will be asked to provide copies of any qualification you have listed on your application. As an executive candidate, it is important to have these kinds of documents readily available on file. Even post recruitment process, companies should keep record of these qualifications for audit and compliance purposes.

Our verification process also includes a thorough media and internet review, along with a series of reference checks.

To an employer, lying or hiding this kind of basic information can speak volumes to your integrity.

Our reference checks are comprehensive.

We minimise risk of speaking with ‘fake referees’, by asking targeted behavioural questions. Our previous referees will vouch for their thoroughness.

The questions we ask are tailored to the individual and any areas we want to seek more clarification on. Including any flags bought up in the psychometric testing process.

Not only does this method confirm we are speaking to the right people, it helps us obtain firsthand examples of our candidate’s previous performance to prove their fit.

Our tailored background checks ensure we cover all the required legal governance.

We will always ask for your work rights in the form of a birth certificate and/ or a passport and visa (if applicable) to verify that you are legally allowed to work in the country.

In Australia, employers are lawfully required to cite your work rights before offering employment. The penalties for getting this wrong can be costly.

We always recommend a National Police Clearance and Bankruptcy Check to companies considering new executives and board members. These are particularly important for those who will have access to corporate accounts or influence over fund management.

These checks will detect whether the individual has been fined by any government authority for misdeeds or named in investigations launched or penalties issued against past employers.

They are also useful for revealing potential stress points that may leave the person vulnerable to fraud or bribery.

Due diligence ultimately safeguards your reputation.

While hiring new executives and board members can be a lengthy process, due diligence ensures peace of mind for all parties involved.

For a business, it’s assurance that you have the right one for the job. As a worthy candidate, you’ll start your new role with a glowing reputation and the company’s full confidence.


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