The candidate looks great on paper. They ace the interview process and are extended the offer. But once on the job, it quickly becomes apparent they don’t have the right experience, skill set or personality to lead the team.

It’s a costly mistake to make. But the good news is that it’s also one you can avoid it the future by taking a few steps in the hiring process:

Resume review.

As a leading executive search firm in Sacramento, CA, Pacific ExecSearch knows it’s important to make sure when you’re reviewing a candidate’s resume that it contains plenty of substance and not a lot of fluff. Look for accomplishments and achievements quantified in dollars, percentages or by other numbers. This will give you a far better sense of a candidate’s abilities over a simple a list of duties and responsibilities.

If there is an area on a candidate’s resume that is a red flag for you, don’t automatically make assumptions. Ask questions to find out what happened. In many cases, a candidate can offer a good explanation.

Evaluate their online presence.

In addition to their cover letter, resume and email communications, look to a candidate’s online presence, as well, to evaluate them. Make sure there isn’t anything on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that puts their integrity into question. Chances are, these social media profiles will give you a better sense of a candidate than a carefully constructed resume.

Take a deeper dive during the interview.

In many interviews, candidates offer boilerplate answers to common interview questions. But in order to hire the right leader for the job, you need to get behind these formulaic answers so you can dig deeper into the candidate’s background and uncover the information you need about their skill set and experience. One way to do that is through asking follow-up questions in the interview after the candidate answers your initial question. These include: “Tell me more.,” “How did you achieve those results?,” and “What was your biggest mistake along the way?.”

Assess before hiring.

Once you have a few candidates you’re interested in, test them out before making a hiring decision. For instance, have them make formal presentations based on a specific business objective or strategy.

Trust, but verify.

Here’s a frightening statistic: Out of 2.6 million background checks, ADP discovered that 44% of candidates lied about their work history, 41% lied about education and 23% falsified credentials and licenses. With those numbers in mind, it’s clear you can only make a successful hire once you’ve checked references and verified credentials for each candidate. When it comes to hiring executive level candidates, ask for five to 10 references from peers, as well as past supervisors and subordinates. Before you contact each one, make sure you know the candidate’s relationship to them.

Every organization makes hiring mistakes. However, you can avoid most missteps by following the tips above and taking a deeper dive into each candidate’s background so you know exactly who it is you’re hiring.

If you’d like more help hiring executive-level talent for your company, call Pacific ExecSearch. As a leading executive search firm in Sacramento, CA, we have extensive experience sourcing, evaluating and helping companies hire mission-critical professionals for leadership positions.

To learn more about how we can help your organization, contact us today.