When it comes to hiring, the most important decisions often involve those who will lead your organization. They’re the ones to set the tone, hire and inspire others, and make key decisions that can spell out success or failure for the business.

That’s why, as a leading executive placement firm in Northern California, Pacific ExecSearch knows when you’re hiring a C-level executive, due diligence has to be an important part of the process. There are too many candidates out there willing to exaggerate or falsify their credentials in order to land a lucrative opportunity. Plus, when you consider statistics like the fact that 40% of executives fail in their first 18 months in a new job, due diligence becomes even more vital for hiring success.

To help ensure you recruit the best people during your next executive search, here are a few useful tips to keep in mind:

#1: Get a signed NDA.

This is particularly important if you’re recruiting passive or active candidates from your competitor companies, or firms in a similar industry. You want to a) make sure lukewarm candidates aren’t just trying to pry into confidential company information and b) that they don’t disclose any trade secrets they learn during the hiring process. If you don’t already have an NDA in place, your company attorney should be able to create one for you.

#2: Request all necessary paperwork.

When you hear stories like the one of ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, who claimed he had computer science and accounting degrees from Stonehill College, when in reality he only held an accounting degree, you wonder how this could have happened. Likely, the hiring committee simply didn’t perform the proper due diligence – requesting and verifying documentation.

Don’t make the same mistake. Require that all candidates you’re considering hiring provide you with the appropriate degrees, certifications, memberships in professional associations, awards, military honors, and licenses.

#3: Conduct reference checks before the interview.

If you’re flying candidates in from all over the country to interview, you don’t want to waste their time – or yours. That’s why it’s important to conduct reference checks in advance of any in-person interviews or meetings. A candidate might ace the interview, but if they have poor references, you’re never going to hire them. So check references first to save time and hassle.

#4: Ask for the right references.

Checking references obviously takes time. So you only want those references who can provide you with the details and information you’re after. So if you’re hiring for a financial leadership position, it’s important to ask the candidate for references who can confirm their integrity, honesty, and the precision and timeliness of their financial reports. Likewise, for those positions in sales management, you want references who can verify a candidate’s ability to budget and perform sale forecasting.

It’s your job to hire proven performers. And when the stakes are high, the better your due diligence, the better your chances of making a smart hiring decision.

Do you need more help with your executive search? Call Pacific ExecSearch. With more than 25 years of experience as an executive placement firm in Northern California, we can not only help you recruit top executive talent, but we can also shorten your time-to-hire and reduce the associated costs. Contact us today to learn more