Piers Morgan: A Recruiters Ethical Nightmare?
I don’t really know Piers Morgan. Having never read any newspaper he was associated with during his editorial career or watched any of his TV shows including his most recent platform Good Morning Britain, Piers has always just been a kind of horrible pantomime villain to me.
A media boogeyman who has never actually captured my attention.
But recent events have brought him into everyone’s life, much more than a pantomime villain, he is apparently an absolute ogre. Perhaps even, the Mainstream Medias very own Voldemort or He Who Shall Not Be Named — of Harry Potter fame.
So, for me, it raised the opportunity to play devil's advocate with the concept of ethics, morals, justice by media and society. Without engaging in the current and past misdemeanours of which I am led to believe Piers has committed many, how should we as recruiters deal with such people?
Legally, morally, ethically the Piers Morgan scenario presents us with compelling questions and perhaps a plethora of consequences. So here are just a few that I wanted to explore as a distraction from the heated debate around the man:
The Human Resources Manager Scenario
Imagine you are recruiting a Global Communications Officer. To guarantee equality, D&I and to eliminate unconscious bias the entire assessment and selection process is anonymous right up until the offer stage.
You introduced the selection process to the business 3 years earlier and have completely resolved every D&I and equality issue within your organisation, the system has never let you down and every employee selected has become a phenomenal asset to the organisation.
You excitedly walk down the corridor to reception to meet the perfect candidate, selected by the perfect system and find Piers Morgan sitting there?
Technically you could be on dangerous ground. Under the Equality Act 2010, it could be argued that Piers Morgan holds a set of beliefs or better still a philosophy defined as follows:
· is genuinely held
· is a belief, not an opinion or viewpoint
· is in relation to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour
· attains a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion, and importance
· is worthy of respect in a democratic society but need not "allude to a fully-fledged system of thought"
What do you do?
The Self-Employed Recruiter
You were let go by your recruitment firm at the start of the pandemic. You’ve set up your own business specialising in executive search for high-level media executives. It’s been tough, in fact, you’re barely able to pay the mortgage and your car is about to be repossessed.
The phone rings, it’s a Global Media Tycoon and he offers to pay you 30% of the first-year salary if you can successfully headhunt Piers Morgan for him. The Media Tycoon will also give you £100,000 in advance for your efforts regardless of the outcome.
Do you decline the engagement on moral grounds, or immediately start calling your network to get hold of the phone number of Piers Morgan?
Would you ever tell anybody if you were successful? Would you ask Piers Morgan to give you a video testimonial on LinkedIn?
The Established Soho Media Recruitment Firm
It’s the new Roaring Twenties, the post-pandemic world is literally in full on swinging party mode. Sitting in your office, sipping a Brew Dog Skunk Ale (limited production to 100 bottles) with the latest Deadmau5 album blasting through the Bose speakers, the door opens.
In stumbles a dishevelled, sorry excuse for a man who looks like he has seen better days. He has a CV in one hand and an old Motorola mobile phone in the other. He looks vaguely familiar, but you can’t quite place him. The guy mumbles that he is looking for work, any kind of work and adds:
“I used to be somebody…”
Suddenly you realise who he is. He is that old TV presenter and author. The loud obnoxious and shouty guy who fell from grace was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and spent a couple of years being hounded by the press whilst trying to get treatment.
It’s Piers Morgan.
What do you do? Morally, knowing the man suffered from irrational outbursts and emotional extremes because of a mental health disorder are you compelled as a recruiter to try and help him?
None of the Above
We all know that Piers Morgan has got more money than sense. None of the above scenarios is likely to happen. Without any shadow of a doubt, there will already be some off the wall media company bombarding him with calls to acquire his services.
He is that pantomime villain that divides opinion but unfortunately, we live in a world where viewing figures count and all that matters is the bottom line, the £ and the $ signs.
Wherever you look on social media there are groupies screaming blue murder at how harshly he has been treated, they’re boycotting Good Morning Britain in their thousands. They will probably flock to his incarnation in their millions.
Equally, there is a deep sense of outrage at his latest ham-fisted attempt to put his beliefs, his philosophy front and centre at any cost, regardless of the right and wrongs of the situation.
But just for a moment, turn the volume of that Deadmau5 album down a notch, take a sip of that craft beer and just imagine that this isn’t Piers Morgan. Imagine it is just some ordinary person who got caught up in the moment and overreacted. Without a great deal of thought, or perhaps the capacity for empathy or compassion they voiced the same or similar opinions publicly and got pilloried for it.
People make mistakes, admittedly Piers Morgan has apparently made many. But so, have other people: Gerald Ratner, Jordan Belfort, Caroline Flack to name a few. Some thrive upon the experience and some, sadly do not.
As Recruiters and Human Resource professionals, we have a duty of care, our job relies on us being impartial where possible and treating people fairly and ethically. How can we talk about diversity and inclusion if we instantly rush to judgement and make assumptions based entirely upon our own perceptions of what is right and wrong?
Do we have the right to deny someone the chance of employment, the opportunity to make good their mistakes and get their lives back on track because we don’t agree with what they did or what they said?
What do you think?