Sunday, November 23, 2008

Screening Job Applicants

It's not so hard as Gene Goeglein said in this morning's Northwest Herald to uncover unfavorable employment history or problems with the law of a former employee of a school district or any other employer. Mr. Goeglein is the Regional Superintendent of the McHenry County Regional Office of Education.

It definitely should not be the end of a conversation, after the caller is given only the start and ending dates of employment for the former person.

"Is s/he eligible for re-hire?" This is the killer question. This is the show-stopper. If I call a past employer and am told that my applicant is not eligible for re-hire, I am definitely raising the bar.
Now my applicant might not be eligible for that employer, and I might indeed find him an excellent, qualified, honest, no-problems-with-the-law employee.

The best H.R. question I ever heard, though, came from a young office manager of a law firm in Denver. His question? "Was there a great sigh of relief when so-and-so left?"

Just because an organization fires an employee does not automatically make that employee a high-risk applicant.

Check out what is happening right now at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Nygren fired Deputy Zane Seipler. Just wait until the rest of the stories come out.

And what about the Woodstock Police Chief's efforts to fire Sgt. Steve Gorski? Should coercion be used by an employer to force an employee to sign an unfair employment agreement without time to confer with his attorney and physician?

What was unfair about the agreement? As I understand it, the Woodstock Police Department virtually forced Gorski to sign a statement that he would not take two medications for pain control of his two back injuries, yet the same document said he could take any medications prescribed by his physician, which those two were! Talk about Catch 22!

What is the real reason that the Woodstock P.D. wants to get rid of Gorski? That part of the story hasn't come out yet, but I'll venture a guess that the employees there know about it and are very reluctant to talk about it.

Law enforcement officers are not supposed to air their dirty laundry in public. In fact, the sheriff's department has a policy that deputies will not do so. Is that a prohibition of free speech? If you see rules broken and laws violated - and tolerated, should you lose your job because you take it to the public after the problems don't get cleaned up by the bosses?

Both Deputy Seipler and Sgt. Gorski will get their jobs back. It will take a while and cost a lot of money.

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