Conflicting offer

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.

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