Election Day is fast approaching, and the campaign for the presidency is really heating up. As I write this, the third and final debate between Hillary and the Donald is an hour away, and everybody knows it’s going to be a doozy.
Why? Is it because so much is at stake – Supreme Court appointments, the fight against ISIS, illegal immigrants, the economy – that the candidates can’t help getting impassioned? Of course not! This year’s presidential campaign has become less about the issues and more about personalities.
It’s the equivalent of a mudwrestling match: no matter who wins everyone comes out dirty.
So what does the average voter gain from all of this mudslinging? Not much. As far as I can tell only one segment of the population has anything of substance to gain, and that’s human resources professionals.
That’s right. HR people all across America are learning a lesson they should never forget. Simply stated, anyone might have a personality flaw that can damage your company, no matter how far up the corporate ladder they’ve already risen.
And that’s why it’s so important to hire clean candidates at every level by consulting an expert background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901).
This year we have two presidential candidates who admit – or at least can’t deny – wearing a stain of shame from past mistakes, and they’re duking it out over whose past is worst!
This points up a valuable lesson: even indiscretions as serious as sexual misconduct and sexual harassment aren’t confined to any particular level of the workforce. We know this to be true from this election campaign because each candidate has either admitted to such conduct or remained silent on the subject – which in politics is tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Recently, Donald Trump got called out on treating women barbarically when a video surfaced of his “locker room” talk. When a number of women came forward and accused him of the very sort of behavior he bragged about in the video, he denied it. But that wasn’t even the point. The fact he talked about it so blatantly when he thought the microphones were off says he thinks that way. For a lot of women that’s enough reason not to vote for him.
For an HR person it would be reason enough to think twice about hiring the man.
But before you think I’m dumping on Mr. Trump, read on. Trump has started an offensive maneuver of his own, bringing up Hillary’s past vis-à-vis her husband Bill. We know President Bill had an affair in the Oval office with a White House intern, which not only raised questions about his moral character, but could have brought down the office of the president if she’d threatened to (ahem) expose him. Of course he fervently denied it, until cornered by his own stain of shame. Although impeachment proceedings did not result in his removal, Bill was suspended from the bar for his lies and left the White House bathed in shame.
And what did Hillary do when this was brought up again a few weeks ago? Dodge, dodge, dodge. She subtly made it appear that Donald is reaching for straws. After all, she’s not the one who slept with these women. Yet Trump does have a point: Hillary supported Bill when it happened – sometimes lashing out maliciously against his accuser – and that says something about her judgment and character.
But my purpose is not to judge either candidate. I’m only making an important point, which is that character problems can crop up at any level on the corporate ladder. Just because someone has made it far in the business world doesn’t mean he or she is a choirboy.
And a sexual harassment lawsuit can cost a company BIG BUCKS!
The best lesson coming from the presidential election these past few weeks is this: it doesn’t matter how high and mighty one has risen, whether it’s in politics or business. All job applicants should be screened as carefully as possible to avoid trouble down the road.
So make your first hire a highly skilled background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901). And may the best – and cleanest – job applicant win!
Author: Michael Cormier
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.