On Memorial Day, the Bears issued a statement that they are releasing newly signed defensive lineman, Ray McDonald, after he was arrested over Memorial Day Weekend and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment. In this post Ray Rice domestic violence era, the Bears acted swiftly and correctly when making the decision to release Ray McDonald from the team.
However, the Bears are not without blame in this media debacle, especially since Bears' Chairman, George McCaskey, initially voted not to hire him, but changed his mind after meeting with Ray (who paid his way to see McCaskey) and speaking with his parents. Any decent HR consultant would tell you there are many candidates who interview and present well, but end up being poor employees, and Ray McDonald is no exception.
There are four HR lessons that can be learned from this debacle.
1. Ray McDonald has a history of arrests related to sex-assault and domestic violence charges. As the saying goes, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it's a duck! According to the Bears, they wanted to give Ray a "second chance" to prove that he was worthy of being a Bear. When making a hiring decision and there's clear evidence supporting this job candidate is a ticking time bomb, follow your gut or at least the evidence spelled out in front of you that suggests he will explode again.
2. Some candidates are awesome at interviewing and can hold it together long enough for you to offer the job. That's why it's important to interview the candidate more than once and have a trained psychologist or human resource professional accompany you during the interviews so there is more than one person accessing the candidate's words, behavior and demeanor to questions and can objectively look at the data to determine whether a job offer should be made.
3. Always seek reference checks from former employers, and not from a family member when seeking to fill a position. In Ray McDonald's case, George McCaskey spoke with his parents during the interview and selection process. This was not a prudent move because Ray McDonald's parents are invested in their son getting this job and of course, will be say anything to help their son get the position. That's why it's a good idea to always ask a former employer, "Would you ever hire the candidate again?" If they say they wouldn't, don't think the candidate's behavior will miraculously change because you are the next employer.
4. Lastly, hiring is an expensive process that should not be taken lightly. The Bears can afford to gamble on a new hire when most small to midsize businesses cannot. That's why it's important to get hiring done right the first time to avoid wasting priceless treasures trying to rehire the same position twice.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.