The New York baseball squad’s second major personnel crisis in the past year begs the question of how to hire and interview better. Our experts have the answers.
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January 19, 2021 3 min read
Despite new ownership and a splashy offseason trade acquisiton, Major League Baseball’s historically bedeviled New York Mets franchise still has a knack for generating the wrong kind of press. Billionaire owner Steve Cohen, who took over control of the team last fall, announced over Twitter this morning that recently hired General Manager Jared Porter was terminated after ESPN published details of Porter’s unsolicited, sexually explicit text messages to a foreign correspondent while he was employed with the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
This shakeup comes precisely one year after the Mets fired then-incoming 2020 manager Carlos Beltran for his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. In both instances, Mets executives professed ignorance to their employees’ past transgressions. Though in each circumstance, that line of defense strains credulity. (Rumors of the Astros’ pervasive, illicit sign-stealing circa 2017, while Beltran was a player on the team, were rampant for years and finally made public eight days after the Mets hired Beltran. And ESPN nearly published the incriminating informaiton on Porter in ’17 when he was still with the Cubs, only his accuser decided not to move forward for fear of blowback to her career.)
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There’s a lot to unpack here, from Cohen’s prompt and forceful show of leadership in immediately firing Porter to Porter’s horrific abuse of power and privilege in being promoted despite his actions. But at a minimum, this story should serve as a cautionary tale to all businesses about due diligence in interviewing and hiring. Fortunately, we have published ample guidance on the topic, and recommend reviewing the following stories from our archives on how to avoid the Mets’ repeated mistakes in both judgement and procedure.
Start with Mitchell Terpstra’s insights on spotting red flags, such as the “inability to speak openly about past work experience or reasons for leaving a position.” Then, move on and heed Aytekin Tank’s two cents on how hiring the wrong candidate can be both immediately costly and collaterally damaging, before considering Pushpendra Mehta’s recommendation to press interviewees on whether “they take responsibility for their failure, play the blame game or offer excuses” and if they “have they learned valuable lessons or are most likely to repeat the same mistakes.” Finally, and perhaps most pointedly for Mets brass and upper management of any organization: Follow Miami Marlins co-owner and CEO Derek Jeter — who knows a thing or two about greatness in baseball and business — and hire more women in positions of power. Just don’t be the company that continues to make the same mistakes and learns nothing except how to repackage the same old excuse.