When you run a couple of companies, you often find yourself moving fast. And sometimes it’s that lightning speed that can be your Achilles Heel in business.
Today… I want to share with you how a couple of simple background searches saved our butts.
First… some background.
Some information had been shared with our team about a “media outlet” that is known for making egregious and unfounded attacks on law enforcement. And so, in light of our pledge to support police against garbage like this, we decided to call them out.
About two hours later, we received a tip that the owner of that “media outlet” had an incredibly long rap sheet, including construction of improvised explosive devices and attacks on police officers.
And so we reached out to our friend and trusted partner, Stephen Komorek. Komorek runs all U.S. operations for Conflict International, and so we asked him to do a little homework.
What he came back with was incredible.
Dozens of pages of charges, arrests, and a history that shows that the reason this person runs an anti-police publication is because of his long record of run-ins with the law.
“Run it”, right? Our first thought was to expose the criminal. We had already revealed that he had been doxing police officers and releasing private information about who they are and where they live.
“You might want to think twice about that,” said Komorek.
“I’m sorry – what? Why WOULDN’T we publish this?” I asked.
“Look closer. Dig deeper,” he told me.
I was lost.
“These should have been open and shut cases,” he said. “But in most of them – cases where he should have been sentenced to heavy jail time – the case was either dismissed or greatly reduced.”
“So?” I argued. “The history is there.”
“Look closer,” he said.
He pointed to a list of other court cases.
A LONG list of court cases.
“This guy sues EVERYONE,” he said. “Literally EVERYONE. Our background research shows he’s now incredibly wealthy simply from long, drawn out cases that resulted in big settlements just to make him go away.”
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It wasn’t Conflict International’s first save for us.
About two years ago, the marketing agency I run – The Silent Partner Marketing – made internationally headlines when we launched “The Snowflake Test”. It’s part of our hiring process.
It’s 30 questions – short answer and essay style that’s basically a glorified personality test. The media surrounding it was absolutely massive, and within a week we found ourselves with more than 10,000 applicants.
You’d think that the only people who would have applied would have been those who align with our core values, right? Wrong.
One of the most common questions we got after the test exploded was,
“How many times have you been sued?”
And this one:
“Surely you’ve had people try to infiltrate the company and only tell you what you want to hear, right”?
Well… we hadn’t. But those points – and that threat – wasn’t lost on me.
“You might THINK you’ve vetted a candidate, but you probably haven’t done it nearly thoroughly enough,” Komorek told me over bourbon one night. “What about those four new people you’re thinking about hiring?”
I had already done my homework.
“They all check out,” I told him.
“I don’t have the greatest feeling about Christine and Ryan,” he told me. “Why don’t you let me look a little deeper?”
I figured he was just being paranoid. After all – isn’t that what friends are for? Especially friends with highly specialized government spook-like backgrounds.
“Go for it,” I told him. “Your gut has kept you alive, so it’s worth the few bucks to cover my ass.”
Boy was it ever.
Christine, as it turned out, had some old photos from college circulating around the internet. Some photos that would probably not have been super well-received. She was able to get those taken care of. Other than that, she was clean as a whistle. Hired.
The other guy? Not so much.
What Conflict International turned up was that one of the prospective hires had successfully scrubbed his social media accounts on the surface and put out tremendous amounts of content on a new page that made it seem like he aligned with our company values.
Spoiler alert: he didn’t. He also had strong ties to Antifa.
“I think you need to ask about some of this information,” Komorek told me, handing me a profile.
That prospective employee never called me back or returned my emails.
Sometimes as business owners we’re cheap. Sometimes we make the mistake of not trusting our gut and putting in the time and due diligence into making sure everyone checks out. And it’s a mistake that could cost us big time.
How’d it all end? We didn’t publish the story. And the Snowflake Test lived to see another day.
All thanks to a little elbow grease by a team that’s a helluva lot smarter than me.
- READ: TEEN PLANNED TO KILL ROOMMATE IF HE DIDN’T GET INTO FRAT: “NOT GOING TO BE AN OUTCAST ANY LONGER”
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