I got to thinking about yesterday’s post on Billy Smith’s situation.  He was wrongly convicted of a crime in Texas he did not commit.  After 20 years in prison, the courts determined his innocence and set him free.  One of the extreme difficulties he faced afterward was finding gainful employment.

In corporate America, this kind of a situation may have broader implications.  As a businessperson, I will be the first one to say we want to be extremely careful about who we hire.  Background checks, references, drug testing, and other screening measures are all extremely important.  Nevertheless, let’s never forget that every single job applicant is just that—a single job applicant.

Perhaps you will find those rare times and circumstances when some of the traditional red flags need to be reexamined.  And I’m not saying we hire every single person out there with a criminal record nor am I saying we hire people who simply are not qualified for the job.  I am saying let’s please remember each applicant is an individual and should therefore be looked at as an individual.  Each person has a story.

Granted, we have to operate within the parameters and context of our organization.  Nevertheless, we have an ethical obligation to ensure we are using every possible avenue within our domain to maximize every legitimate opportunity for every possible job candidate.  In doing that, we ensure the best outcome for the individual and the best outcome for the organization.  That sounds like a win-win to me.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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