DSML Policies and Practices, Executive Search, Industry Experience

Reference and Background Checks

In a recent internal conversation on the topic of reference checks it was noted how rare it is for us to receive employment/reference requests for former employees.  This is an area, reference and background checks, that we, at DSML Executive Search, take very seriously and, “checking” is a key part of our process.  We always find it startling that other search firms and internal employer recruiters do not actively, or consistently, check for employment references.

We have addressed this topic previously, in a 2019 blog posting, however feel it an important topic to speak to again.

Here are some solid reasons for checking employee references:

  • As a defense for a negligent hiring claim. Performing reference/background checks, in which you did not discover an issue, is a defense for not knowing about a problem, should it arise
  • It provides an additional perspective, from someone who has worked with the candidate previously, that may reinforce or negate the findings during the interview process
  • Reference checks can answer factual questions that arise from the interview process
  • Our clients, for the most part, are European firms who have operations in the USA, and determining cultural fit of candidates is very important.

In addition to reference checks, prior employment verification, criminal record checks and verification of education, new concerns relating to behavior, and thus cultural fit, on social media platforms need to be examined.

Social media applications allow users to post content, share photos and opinions with virtually anyone. Examples of social media include: Social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and Professional networks such as LinkedIn.  It’s not surprising that we’ve discovered some questionable postings on these sites.

The key to an effective background check is to “not be of the mindset that we have found a great person and only focus on positive elements”.  Be prepared to eliminate a candidate … we have done it, our clients have done it, and so must you.  And, without exception, we have found this to be true no matter what industry we are engaged in.

If your company is seeking to recruit for a key position, such as CEO, COO, President, VP or other Senior level role, have a conversation with DSML Executive Search to ensure your search includes a “thorough” process and a “success based” strategy.

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