A Case Study in Executive Recruiting Gone Wrong: the USC-Sarkisian Debacle

A Case Study in Executive Recruiting Gone Wrong: the USC-Sarkisian Debacle

executive recruiting servicesExecutive recruiting is a high-stakes affair, and no single hiring decision will have a bigger impact on a company for years to come.

For a parallel to the executive search process, it’s helpful to look outside the world of business to another high-stakes industry. A recent controversy from the world of sports provides an insightful case study in the recruiting process and how easily it can go wrong.

This summer, the University of Southern California fired its head football coach Steve Sarkisian mid-season because of a drinking problem. It was an embarrassing incident for an elite college football program, and now the school is facing a lawsuit from the ex-coach. Sarkisian recently filed a $12.6 million lawsuit against the school, which alleges the university failed to accommodate his alcoholism disability.

Essentially, this scandal was the result of a failed recruiting process, in which obvious red flags were missed:

“It could have prevented him from becoming a head coach in the first place if those doing the hiring had bothered to arduously vet a man who has strewn 3-figure bar tabs across the West Coast for the better part of a decade.

From the looks of recent reporting by The Los Angeles Times, red flags flew about Sarkisian well before his tenure at USC and back during his days in Seattle at the University of Washington. During one apparent drinking spree indicated by receipts, Sarkisian and a few of his UW assistant coaches polished off eight shots and five beers — before noon.”

Like many top executives, head coaches often receive six or seven-figure salaries, and they’re required to lead an organization under immense pressure. The USC incident shows just how disastrous a single poor hiring decision can be. And like many disasters, it’s one that could have been avoided completely.

Ultimately, enterprises that want to hire elite executives need to utilize elite executive recruiting services. Not only do executive search firms have the reach to find the widest range of qualified candidates, they also have the resources to properly vet and filter those men and women. A professional executive recruiter has vast personal experience to draw on when selecting a list of potential candidates, and thus can spot red flags that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

If you need to hire an executive for your company, you need more than a job posting and a traditional background check. You need executive recruiting services with a proven track record for success.

Only an experienced executive search service will know how to properly find and vet employees who are perfectly suited for your company’s needs. While some hiring committees might try and go it alone, the wrong hiring decision can have have a disastrous affect, sending ripples from the top to the bottom of your company.


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