In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
Interviewing: It’s A Lot Like Dating
The months of January and February are the best times of year to look for a job. Companies have new budgets, workers have returned from their holiday vacations and employers have a backlog of hiring that needs to be done. Coincidentally, according to Match. com, this is also a popular time of year for people to be active on online dating sites. The reality is that interviewing for job candidates can feel similar to dating. The goal – on both fronts – is to find the perfect match. Employers and prospective employees are seeking the perfect fit, the place where each side can envision themselves for the remainder of their professional lives. Planning the interview, similar to planning a date, can feel like a similar experience. For example, when you know you’re interviewing a candidate, you’re more apt to dress up a bit more formally for the day to create a positive impression of the company. But when the candidate calls just before the interview to cancel, it makes you feel like you may have “wasted the outfit” and the time. According to Darcel Rockett of the Chicago Tribune, in the dating world this is called getting “Glamboozled.” Apparently 58% of singles can relate to this. And what about when a candidate does show up to the interview, only to talk about himself for the entire hour? Picture yourself at the start of the interview, exchanging pleasantries and then asking the candidate, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Then he proceeds to act as if you’re his mother who wants to hear all of the intimate details of his career choices. Then, despite providing several openings for the candidate to ask about the company or the position for which he is being considered, he continues to drone on and on about himself. According to Rockett, in the dating world this is called being “Kanye’d.” Apparently 45% of singles have had this experience. Being Kanye’d never bodes well. No company wants a boastful person who is all about himself. We want team players. Have you ever had a very attractive candidate grace your office for an interview? They may not have the credentials, background, experience or education, but their looks alone compel others to want them on the team. Rockett refers to this as “white clawing.” In the dating realm, it’s when a person stays with people who are basic and boring merely because of their good looks. This doesn’t typically turn out well for either party in the workplace. If the attractive new employee is not competent, the team will quickly complain and demand change. And, finally, have you ever not hired a candidate, only to have the person connect on LinkedIn and ask for a favor, such as to “like” their page or support their charitable cause? Awkward. Rockett calls this “cause-playing.” This means that when a relationship fizzles, the person later circles back and requests a favor. Sixty-one percent of singles have had someone ask for a favor post-breakup. It’s easy to make light of the situations that frustrate human resources professionals and supervisors who do the bulk of the hiring. But those making hiring decisions also know when the right candidate walks through the door. It can be a magical and exiting experience. The feeling is right. It lightens the mood, brightens your day. There is excitement in the air. The right candidate plays no games, displays no immature behavior and is confident enough to pick up the phone and not hide behind a keyboard. They even send a prompt thank-you note. These are the (team) mates you want and who you can see yourself growing old with … as professionals, of course.
This article was previously published in The Daily Record and reprinted with permission.
Sometimes It Can Pay To Cooperate
We have written several articles in the Weekly Wright Report on various aspects of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) and discussed the nature of the exposure and potential damages. One aspect that we haven’t addressed yet is – cooperation in the face of an FCA circumstance or claim. On January 27, 2020, Deputy Associate Attorney General Stephen Cox gave the Keynote remarks at the 2020 Advanced Forum on False Claims and Qui Tam Enforcement conference hosted by the American Conference Institute in New York City. Mr. Cox provided valuable insight into several FCA enforcement priorities for the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) including the DOJ’s “Cooperation Policy” that was announced in May 2019.
The Policy is designed to incentivize corporate self-policing, cooperation, and compliance. Under the Policy, corporate defendants can earn credit — and a reduction in penalties and damages — by voluntarily disclosing misconduct, cooperating with investigations, and taking remedial measures such as improving corporate compliance programs. Mr. Cox stated that “[i]t is good for everyone when companies police themselves, detect problems early, conduct internal investigations, take corrective measures, and cooperate with law enforcement, and we want to reward companies that do these things.” For companies that provide maximum cooperation, Mr. Cox stated that the DOJ can provide substantial discounts such as removing double damages, waiving lost interest, costs of investigation, and, in a qui tam case, and the share that must go to the whistleblower.
In addition, the DOJ can notify the relevant regulatory agency about the company’s cooperation so that the agency can take that into consideration in connection with administrative proceedings. In some cases, Mr. Cox stated that the DOJ may be willing to publicly acknowledge the company’s cooperation or even assist in resolving qui tam litigation with a relator. In his remarks, Mr. Cox also noted that under the Cooperation Policy the DOJ is willing to take into account the nature and effectiveness of a company’s compliance system in making the determination of whether the FCA is the appropriate remedy. He stated “[a]fter all, a key element of the False Claims Act is scienter, and a robust compliance program executed in good faith could demonstrate the lack of scienter. On the other hand, a ‘paper tiger’ compliance program could demonstrate just the opposite.”
The DOJ Civil Division has issued formal guidance to the DOJ FCA litigators explaining the manner in which the DOJ awards credit to defendants who cooperate with the Department during an FCA investigation. The formal guidance policy can be found here in the Justice Manual Section 4-4.112. There are two takeaways here: (1) having a good compliance system in place can go a long way to mitigating FCA exposure or earning credit under the Cooperation Policy and (2) when faced with an FCA event, cooperation may be the most expedient method of resolving the matter on more favorable terms. If you need help with any FCA issues give us a call.
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