Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Be careful who you hire!

Businesses in Baltimore are cautioned about hiring people who recently worked for the city. The word on the street now is that the "city will hire anyone". Buz knows that that has been true for a while, except for certain positions, such as police and fire. Recent incidents of employees of the city participating in misconduct while working have once again raised the issue of the degree of managerial oversight and discipline exercised over the city work force.

We agree that people in the city need jobs, but don't go abusing your job, violating the public trust, and join the group of people out of work because you can't control yourself. And then whining you can't find a job!

Some of these schemes make you ask the question: is anyone minding the store?
  • One supervisor from Loch Raven reservoir used a city vehicle to assist in the robbery of a person in East Baltimore--while he was working. Good luck on getting your next job!
  • A big scheme was going on at the city salt dome on Falls Road that had employees and the security guard involved in offloading stolen water onto private owned vehicles. Hope they all have lots of water to drink at their next jobs! Wonder which security company the guard worked for!?
  • And apparently city-worker-criminals are still using city vehicles to go out and buy drugs.  The police recently arrested a worker from the city's yard at Pulaski Highway who was observed in a group buy-in. Hope he has luck finding his next job!
Funny, this stuff has been going on for years. When Buz worked in one of the city's districts, our drug squad often used an ex-city vehicle for surveillance and buys. Best cover ever! 

The city treats it, as councilman Jack Young says, "a health problem". And well it may be. The city usually gives them one chance in rehab, then fires them.

But if you're running a business for profit nowadays, you can't afford to do handholding. You have to look out for YOUR business. Let them get their treatment, but don't you take the risks.

So, if you are one of the nowadays few employers needing to hire new employees, some little tidbits of advice:
  1. Do a criminal background check on all new hires. See if they were honest on their application. It's well worth the money. And you can get a lot of info on Baltimorons for free nowadays. Decide on a case by case basis. There are a few adults who want to change their lives and become good citizens and workers; look for evidence to support that.
  2. Do a drug test before hire. Now, I don't know what you all think about marijuana use, but you should certainly consider that a lot of applicants are smoking weed in many cases. You have to weigh that in the totality of other factors with the applicant. I don't want to have any employee driving my vehicle or train, or on a ladder, though, who tests positive for mj. The general rule of thumb for any other illegal drugs: if they're actively using, they're probably not going to do a good job for you for very long (of course, there's always exceptions). And they're likely to steal from you to assist with their true love's cost, whether booze, coke, or heroin.
  3. Do a driving record check, even if they say they don't drive. It's good if you don't find anything. If you find a record, you might be surprised what's there. (DWI's perhaps?!)
  4. Ask: "Why did you leave your last job?" Have your BS detector activated. Remember, most government jobs are civil service; be especially cautious if the person left for reasons which seem odd before they retired.
Good luck! This list is not all-inclusive. Your hiring needs to be attuned to your industry and your workforce needs.


Carol Ott said...

One more thing to add to your list:

6. Go with your gut feeling.

When I was hiring people with the cafe, boy oh boy...I'm so glad I listened to myself when I got the feeling that one guy was a closet stalker and one woman was a total flake. Sure enough, both turned out to be a waste of space, and I'm glad I didn't get stuck with them!

buzoncrime said...

Ah, yes, gut feelings at the interview are very important! If you let them talk, sometimes, they'll say things which may make you wonder: do I really want this person working for me?