“It makes you look negligent,” said Dr. John Sullivan, a retired San Francisco State professor of management who has advised numerous Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, on how to vet candidates for past sexual harassment issues. “You should have checked. You should have known.”
“You need to make double sure you’re not hiring someone whose behavior is going to make everyone else’s life miserable,” said Sullivan, who has worked with two major league teams in recent years. “What is the cost of hiring a jerk? How many people will suffer? Baseball needs to do better.”
In addition to the standard reference checks, Sullivan suggests teams hire private detective agencies to conduct FBI-level background checks, which include interviews with colleagues from past jobs and thorough reviews of publicly available legal and divorce records for evidence of sexual harassment or domestic violence.
Sullivan also recommends hiring social media experts to seek out pictures, jokes, comments and behaviors from candidates that could embarrass the team.
“Private detectives, former FBI agents, can find out anything, and social media experts can find anything you’ve posted in your entire life,” Sullivan said. “The FBI literally visits people. They come into the office to conduct interviews. They don’t just call or send a text message.
“They don’t ask ‘yes’ questions. They know how people lie and tell mistruths. They check every place you’ve been. They go through the whole nine yards. The FBI has a process. It’s just incredibly expensive, and it takes awhile. … I’ve never known anyone in pro sports to do that. I don’t know why they don’t.”
Another must, in the eyes of Sullivan: Teams should make candidates aware that if they fail to reveal any past sexual harassment issues, they will be fired immediately. This clause should be included in every contract.
“It scares them from lying,” Sullivan said. “If you lie and embarrass us, you’re not gonna work here.”
Read the article here.
Dr. Sullivan’s relevant articles:
This “think piece” is designed to stimulate the thinking of board members and executives about the need for a corporate program for predicting where sexual harassment is likely to occur.
Recruiting leaders must realize that they are exposing their firm to “negligent hiring” charges if they fail to do everything possible to prevent the hiring of candidates who later go on to sexually harass. Prevention is key, because once sexual harassment occurs in your workplace, irreversible damage has already been done…