Most conflict of interests (COI) policies require employees to disclose ownership in another business.
However, how do we handle ownership by a candidate if we learn about it after extending an offer but before they accept it?
We need to answer the following questions (and perhaps a few more):
- Was it reasonable for the candidate not to disclose her ownership before an offer was made?
- Should the candidate have known about our COI policy?
- Does the ownership actually create a conflict of even the appearance thereof?
- Can we modify our offer based on this newly discovered ownership (by adding conditions that would resolve the conflict)? Should we?
- Can the conflict be mitigated if our offer is accepted as-is? If not, can we rescind our offer based on this newly discovered conflict? Should we?
- What message do we want to send the candidate about our culture of compliance?
This situation offers a great opportunity to reflect on the character and values of the candidate – and of our organization.