Volunteer Reference Check

Go with Your Gut or Not


*** Disclaimer*** This is going to be an atypical post for this forum’s normal content.  There may be some statements/opinions that may or may not contradict past posts, but this post will also touch on a subject that to some may seem atypical while being more typical than we may have realized.

I attended the International Youth Protection Symposium October 17,2017 in Indianapolis.   The symposium was put on by Kiwanis International and Boy Scouts of America.  Our partner company SafeHiring Solutions was a sponsor, and so I attended as representative of both Reflynk and SafeHiring Solutions.  

 The second speaker of the day was Jason Lee.   Jason told a gut wrenching story of being targeted by a sexual predator in Alabama from the years of 1986-1992. He was only 12 years old at the time. He spoke in great detail about the horrific experience, and how he turned that experience into a lifelong crusade advocating for justice for child abuse survivors.   Jason founded the 30is30 foundation and I would encourage anyone that reads this to visit that site and be prepared for a reality check that will be like a punch in your gut. Toward the end of Jason’s talk, he spoke of the pillars that his foundation recommends youth organizations to follow in implementing a process that protects our youth.   

These pillars consist of:

  • Reporting Processes

  • Documentation

  • Screening

  • Training

There were even more pillars, but the one that really hit home was simply a reminder to “Trust your Gut”.   I normally write in this forum about HR and Recruiting best practices and the value of using data in making more informed hiring decisions rather than simply “Trusting your Gut.”   The explanation of the phrase was simple. If there is anything that does not feel right; act upon that feeling! I have preached long and loud about the power of data and taking the emotion out of the recruiting process and I will continue to do so. However, I found this reliance on data contradicted with what I believe in HR and Recruiting because of the talk given by a child sexual abuse victim.  After giving his comments much thought, I see a larger application in the pillar “Trusting your Gut.”  I have written in the past about digging deeper through automation.  Automation can and will greatly increase the amount of information collected about a candidate; whether that be for employment or for a volunteer opportunities.  

After reading this post, you may be thinking, How can this guy (me) draw a comparison between child sexual abuse to using technology in HR and Recruiting?  These two topics may seem far apart, yet they are very similar in terms of outcomes that can significantly impact one’s life. I cannot fully understand the lifelong effects of sexual abuse on a child, but I do know the long-term effects on an organization when bad hiring decisions are made.   

My goal in writing this was not to compare the damage of child sexual to the damage of hiring a misfit.   Instead, I want to encourage potential employers that sometimes you must “Trust your Gut” and dig deeper for further information in order to make a fully informed decision.   I would encourage all of you to look at Jason’s story, read it, and get involved.