I got to thinking about yesterdays post on Billy Smiths 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, lets never forget that every single job applicant is just thata single job applicant.
Perhaps you will find those rare times and circumstances when some of the traditional red flags need to be reexamined. And Im 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 lets 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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