Considering hiring someone who’s wanted by police? Do this first.

Question:

We’ve just learned that our very best applicant for a hard-to-fill position has an outstanding warrant against her. My business partner says this immediately rules her out of consideration, but I’m having a hard time accepting this.

This candidate has all the skills we’ve been looking for, along with a truly charismatic personality. She could do great things for our business. I’m hoping you’ll say something that I can pass on to my business partner to get him to agree to keep her in the running while she resolves this situation.

Answer:

Before you and your partner make a final decision, ask your candidate to explain what the warrant is for and why it’s outstanding. Warrants may be issued by multiple agencies for behavior covering everything from felonies to the failure to appear for traffic violations.

An individual’s failure to have responded to an outstanding warrant may signal criminal behavior, a character flaw, disrespect for laws and regulations or be the iceberg tip of a serious problem. If any of these prove true, I agree with your partner that you don’t want this applicant, even — and especially — if she’s charismatic, a quality true of both awesome individuals and con artists. Be especially cautious if your candidate blithely excuses herself, “Oh, I tossed those parking tickets in the back seat and forgot them.” Do you really want to hire someone that disorganized for an important job?

If you keep this candidate in the running, you’ll want to conduct a deep background check, along with the standard reference check. Previous employers may tell you about problems that didn’t result in legal action; for example, some employers agree not to sue embezzlers if they’re repaid in full.

Although Alaska’s Court View (www.courtrecords.alaska.gov) gives you initial information, if your applicant has spent time in another state you’ll want to check that state’s court records as well. If you discover problems, or don’t trust the answers you’re receiving from this candidate, re-advertise and find a new best applicant.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com

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