Background Screening Your Next Manager: What to Look For

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You need to hire a new manager. This role is crucial to your organization because the person in it will have some degree of autonomous control, and you need someone you can trust to use it well. This manager has to mirror your concern and commitment to the organization.

You want to learn everything you can about the applicant for such an important position. That means in addition to the face-to-face interviews and tests you conduct, you will include background screening to get a complete history of your applicant and to verify the information you get on the resume and/or application.

The specific types of background information you will research will depend on the managerial role. The first step in determining exactly what to look for regarding a manager role is to do a risk assessment of the role at the same time you develop a position description.

Think of it this way: on one side of the coin, there are the positive work responsibilities of the role that will drive your evaluation of an applicant’s skills, experience, and qualifications. On the flip side, the exact same responsibilities can be paired with risks inherent in having access to organizational assets, customers, employees, and partners.

For example, if you are hiring an accounting manager, you may want to know if his or her CPA credential is valid and current, but also recognize that this position has significant access to the company’s financial assets. You will investigate the applicant’s background as needed.

Despite the infinite variation between roles in our huge economy, there are some general types of risk to consider in defining the screening process for a manager:

  1. Does the role have unsupervised access to cash, financial assets, or accounting controls?
  1. Will the person have unsupervised contact with customers, suppliers, subordinates, or other people where liabilities exist?
  1. Does the job involve contact with vulnerable people, including children, the elderly or disabled persons?
  1. Does the role represent the organization to the public or a stakeholder in any way that could damage reputation or brand?
  1. Will the person in this role have the ability to commit the organization financially or otherwise to any course of action without prior authorization?

In many cases, when hiring for managerial positions more background information is better than less, so if you have to err, err on the side of caution. More than one manager has been hired with high expectations based on puffed up claims that collapsed with costly consequences.

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About Michael Gaul

A security industry professional since 1988, Michael has extensive expertise in the fields of human capital risk management, physical security, and background screening process management. Michael leads Proforma’s sales, marketing, and strategic customer relations efforts.


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