Monday, May 14, 2012

Lessons from the Scott Thompson story

Usually I avoid talking too much about “current events” in recruiting but I think I’ll start doing more blogs that give my views on such things.  So, here we go...first try.

By now you should all know the story of Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo who resigned because of a discrepancy on his resume.  If not, you can read about it here.  Crazy story, but honestly I think there are a lot of lessons for anyone either looking for a job or involved in hiring.  In no particular order:

Don’t lie on your resume - OBVIOUSLY!!!  Come on man, don’t like on your resume!!!  This is like being a decent human 101.  And while I’m at it...lying about the kind of degree you have?  Really?  I mean, come on people this stuff isn’t hard....

Blaming the recruiter is for jerks - Apparently Thompson blamed the recruiting agency who placed him for the discrepancy...please!  This whole part of the story makes me sick.  Seriously, this kind of thing gives recruiters a bad name and it shouldn’t.  If you get busted doing something shady, suck it up and admit it.

Background checks matter - I’m pretty horrified that neither Yahoo nor Heidrick & Struggles did a background check to confirm degrees on Thompson.  Frankly, what was Ebay doing too?  Now, some of my Exec Search friends might chime in with a “finding a CEO is different” response but I’m sorry...if you’re going to do a background check on a $35K a year entry level hire you’d better be doing it for C-level hires too.

Know your candidates - If you’re a recruiter out there reading this, you have to know your candidates.  Spend the time to check references from when they were in school and get to know them.  Companies are going to pay you big bucks for the service, do them right and take the time to know your candidates.

Admit it - Thompson was outed by and then proptly went all Watergate and tried to blame everyone involved....rather than take the blame.  The moral as always here, the coverup is frequently worse than the crime.  When busted, suck it up and admit you were wrong.  People love a comeback and are likely to forgive you.  No one like a lying jerk who digs a deeper hole.

That’s it, sitting here I feel like this could be a REALLY long blog so I’ll cut it short.  Now, I don’t know all the facts (clearly) but from what I’ve read (see the link to the WSJ story) we can all learn a ton from this story about recruiting, HR, a job search and working with an external agency.

1 comment:

  1. Agree on all points, Jeff. In particular, I was shocked that Yahoo! never conducted a thorough background check. It's one thing to let this slip for an entry-level employee, but the CEO?! Sheesh.