Im stuck. I am a newish supervisor with hiring responsibilites. I have an internal candidate from another department. My team is highly specialized and small and I prefer experience but may have to settle for the right person and train as I have recieved very few applicants in several months (too many jobs in the field and too few trained candidates.) This candidate is a no. She has made some errors in her current position that I was actually directly involved in conversation with her about and were documented. Her limited experience and personality in her current role are factors in my "no". I let her come in and observe our workflow when she requested. Now she has applied and I have an interview scheduled that I have spent a lot of time preparing for. I thought interviewing her was the right and fair thing to do and want to use this as an oppurtunity to give feedback. Im thinking now that maybe just a conversation with her would have been better, but interviewing is good for both of us. Then she did something outlandish last week that involved one of my team. There are 2 incidences that I was involved in that have direct bearing on my knowledge about this candidate and her unsuitability for this position. Is it fair for me to rehash these during the interview, flipping them into a question about decision making without being cynical and genuinely asking what she learned or how she would have done things differently, if she would have at all?

Brett Engineering's picture
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Hi JT,

Thanks for checking in on this. I would say absolutely not fair.

It appears that you felt some pressure to set this interview up, and your heart was in the right place. This person has (unintentionally) been set up to fail. It is certainly not fair to be ambushed in an interview. This is a person's livelihood we are talking about.

What i would recommend is for this person to be given the opportunity to interview. 1) Out of respect for their dignity and 1) your professionalism- you made a judgement and now there are human consequences.

As your decision has been made, it is not relevant to discuss any further details of this employee's previous behaviour. leave it to their manager.

You are under no obligation to accept this person in to this position and you certainly do not owe them an explanation.

Following the interview, you certainly do owe the person a timely decision in a respectful manner worthy of the dignity of your position.

One further point to note, have you considered the ramifications of not hiring this person and this position remains unfilled? Would any further attrition cause a larger problem for you?


Future guidance- If i ever stop and i ask, ' should i do this?' the answer should be no. Let your conscience be your guide. if you don't have one, then let Mark and Mike be your conscience!.


All the best mate.

Jessica Technology's picture

Thank you very much. I started out vaguely open minded to the possibility that she could work, with reservations, and the more I read and listened to these podcasts, I realized I was being waaaaaaaaay too optimistic. She is very motivated and I work literally next door to where she currently works and sometimes I mentor her in another role. Since I am stuck in this now, I will use this as a way to be positive and give honest feedback. I guess I have a conscience because this was really bothering me. I've learned something, thanks again.

Brett Engineering's picture
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No problem JT. 

I don't think you're obliged to give feedback- in this situation it could certainly create an uncomfortable scenario. 

Standard 'Haven't been successful for the role. Thank you for your interest' would cause much less drama in this situation.

Jollymom's picture

Tell her honestly about her poor performance so she would have a chance to improve herself in future work. Try saying it in a constructive criticism for her not to be offended. 

Breanna_Ileen's picture

How can you say it in a constructive criticism without hurting her? I guess, in any way, she'll still get hurt. 

jrb3's picture
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Since it's not a manager-direct relationship, manager-feedback is out.

As for the "hurt" part, well, we (as professionals, managers, colleagues, and humans in society) are responsible for giving feedback respectfully;  recipients are responsible for their actions and reactions to that.  Refer back to Mark's "poke in the chest with an umbrella" parable.