Kevin Donnellon, president of Macali Communications, published a list of seven tips for managing prospective public-relations disasters under this headline: “Preparing For Your Jared Fogle or Spokesperson Crisis“. Mr. Donnellon’s syntactical and grammatical challenges notwithstanding, he does offer some rather practical, if obvious, advice.

But as a public service — and in the interest of getting the list of tips to constitute an even number — I offer one more. Modesty precludes my suggesting it might be the most important one of the lot. At the very least, Subway’s experience might have been less painful if it had been first. I’ll let you decide. Here it is: Don’t hire perverts.

I know. That sounds way too obvious. But apparently it’s not. So, along with my public-service tip, I offer a few subtle signs that the person you might be about to put on the payroll is a whack job:

  • The candidate claims to have dropped more than a tenth-of-a-ton of body weight from eating fast food. If you’re reluctant to simply drop the candidate like a bad habit at that point, tell him you need to postpone your hiring decision for about a year. Then try the diet yourself. If it doesn’t turn you into a mere shadow of your former self … ’nuff said.
  • The candidate prefers sexual partners who may or may not have gotten their Learner’s Permits to drive. In some countries, like New York or Los Angeles, this simply means you prefer being chauffeured to driving your own car. In other countries, like Alabama, it means you’re normal. But in the rest of the world, it’s generally considered to be an indication that something is amiss (that’s amiss, not a miss).
  • The candidate has founded — or wants to found — a charity organization for children. Since you should never believe anything until it’s officially denied, this one should have your Spidey Sense tingling like a bad case of hypothyroidism. While no single response to the expression of such a desire will cover all such instances, this one is generally appropriate: “Say hello to Agent McGillicuddy from the FBI.”

As they say on TV, your experience may vary. But heeding those three signs should keep your next hiring decision from becoming worldwide bad news.

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