Crisis Management Tips for Trinity Graduates 

We all know that if you want to get the inhabitants of the land of Saints and Scholars up in arms, then attacking or comparing scholarly institutions is a sure thing. Summit founder and Trinity alumnus, Paddy Cosgrave has opened a can of worms and spilled them all over himself.

I missed the interview on yesterday’s Pat Kenny show on Newstalk but not to worry as I’m not interested in the content of the show – I’m interested in the aftermath and what was or wasn’t said or done to resolve such an impassioned debate.

So if you’re ever in the happy position to employ people, well done, congratulations and thank you for contributing to our economy.

HR, PR and Social Media Tips for Trinity Graduates:

  1. If you have inklings or gut feelings or instincts or personal preferences about the demographics of your applicants (others might call these something ending in an -ism), then my professional advice would be to keep those personal opinions, well, personal. Yes that’s right, don’t share them even with your team. Although the awarding body of an academic programme is not one of the nine grounds for discrimination in the Equality Act 2004, who’s to say such subjectivity isn’t a gateway drug to the harder stuff?
  2. I would advise against discussing recruitment screening criteria on national radio. Anyone hiring in the past five years knows what it’s like to receive an inundation of applications. In another hat, I work with a companythat solves this problem for companies in a fair, standardised and non discriminatory way but that’s another story.  Candidate selection is an emotional business, particularly for those being rejected, so it’s best to keep your process internal and off the air. Do, of course, give feedback to individuals but on a one-to-one basis.
  3. If you let slip a clanger, blunder, humdinger or major boo boo on live radio/tv then there is a protocol to follow. It doesn’t matter if you were misinterpreted or misunderstood, your words were taken out of context or if you’re getting second hand guff from people who haven’t heard the actual content (like me, refer to point 5),  there is no right and wrong. There is only perception. Whether you’re right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, if you’re being perceived or portrayed as wrong, you need to apologise for the offence you may have caused, which of course was unintentional.
  4. A well crafted and clearly thought through blog post is probably your best bet. Distance your apology from the company you’re representing and post it on a personal blog, not the company blog. An organisation does not need to apologise for a personal opinion of an employee even the founder.
  5. If your glitch was audio or visual, I would advise getting a transcript of the content and pasting it within your blog post above. I know we can go online and find the snippet and play it back yah de yah but the reality is it’s Friday night and I just don’t want to go to the trouble. I’d prefer to speed read the transcript on my smart phone or tablet.
  6. Then I’d write a snappy apology for any offence caused (but unintended) in a pleasant, friendly yet humble tone in less than 140 characters including the url to the blog post above. I wouldn’t advise sending grumpy replies to tweets telling people to get their facts right. It is up to you to show them the facts and do it with an appropriate amount of humility relative to the offence caused.
  7. Find the comments posted on social media and respond to each one individually with the same content and tone above (6). I love interns too!

So that would be my advice. Take it or leave it. I have a 2.1 from TCD that I paid £200 back in the day before DIT could award its own degrees so I’m not sure it would qualify but to paraphrase Groucho Marx, would I want to belong to a club that would accept me as a member?

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