SmartRecruiters Blog

Maybe You Should’ve Done a Background Check!?

Ever hire someone only to regret it later? Of course you have and there can be many reasons but the main ones could probably be avoided with simple background check.

When it comes to recruitment and talent acquisition, it’s easy to do your due diligence. Why is it that so many companies fail to perform a simple background check?  You can Google candidates, you can use Facebook’s search graph to find candidates and you can check candidates out on LinkedIn.  In addition to background and reference checks there are candidate assessmentswhich can uncover some critical information which employers can use to locate and engagement a better talent pool.


Let’s talk about the importance of background and reference checks. Contrary to popular belief, performing checks on potential employees was not developed to screen candidates out, they were created to ensure the candidates meet all the proper standards and qualifications required to perform the job duties successfully. Over time as inconsistencies and irregularities were discovered in employees backgrounds, performance and attitudes, reference and background checks became a must.

Companies can save themselves a lot of embarrassment, heartache and money by simply using these powerful and relevant tools. Here are a couple of prime examples of epic background check failures.

Rutgers fired their Men’s Head Basketball Coach Mike Rice after allegations and video evidence showed he was abusive to his players. He’d kick them, punch them, yank them, and use homosexual slurs. When the allegations and video surfaced, the Athletic Director didn’t act on it right away. He tried to dismiss it and reprimand the coach but that wasn’t enough, so ultimately Rutgers fired the coach and the AD.

They swiftly hired Julie Hermann as the new AD, in an attempt to bring integrity based leadership to the program – except there was a problem. As soon as the announcement was made a slew of former student athletes who played Women’s Volleyball under Hermann many years ago came forward to report Hermann was just as nasty and malicious as Mike Rice. It seems Hermann has been accused of sex discrimination and using intimidation tactics.

And they hired Eddie Jordan as the new Men’s Head Basketball Coach and they thought he had graduated from Rutgers, but he hadn’t. Probably should have done a background check on both of them first!

The higher the title the more rigorous the background check should be but in actuality the more prominent the position, the less extensive the background checks are. Here’s a prime example. The ex-CEO for Yahoo, Scott Thompson misrepresented his Bachelor’s degree for years. It was exposed and the embarrassment cost Thompson his job. That’s when Yahoo! hired Marissa Mayer. Scott has since been hired as the CEO for ShopRun. At least they know what they are getting.

In closing there are a lot of background and reference check tools available. SmartRecruiters has just launched a new initiative titled “Start Hiring Smarter.” It’s an assessment center with behavior tools, skills tests and reference checks. Only if Yahoo! and Rutgers had such a service!


chris fieldsChris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who also helps job seekers write great resumes. Photo Credit IZquotes.

SmartRecruiters is the hiring platform with everything you need to source talent, manage candidates, and make the right hires.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.