BLUF: My boss makes me hire a technically highly qualified candidate despite my bad feeling about him. Is following my gutt feeling just me being unreasonable? Is that unprofessional?

We are small company and struggle to find qualified employees. We are understaffed in the R&D department. Both my boss and I agree that the canditate is highly qualified and has limited social skills. The candidate describes himself as slightly authistic (not diagnosed). Both my boss and I have a bad feeling about this candidate. To be honest this candidate give me the creeps. I often stay late and then lock up, but would not wish to be left alone in the company with this person once we hire him. Still my boss wants to hire him, because my R&D director wants to hire him for his technical skills. The candidate demonstrated his technical skills by achieving a straight A in the R&D directors test sheet with programming tasks.

I was hired to take over all managerial tasks from the R&D director and so I am in charge of all developers. The R&D director has been there for 15 years. I have been there for 10 months. So I have limited personal capital there. I am also not experience in hiring.

I am high D/I. Boss is a high D. R&D Director is a high C.

What should I do in this situation? Should I ignore my gutt feeling? My boss seems to be happy to ignore his.

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

If the decision is yours to make, stick with your gut.   If you've put this person through a comprehensive interview process* (which is more than filling out a test) and you've got a bad feeling, then IMHO you've got enough reason to say "No" - even if you can't articulate it (although you should try to).

Remember two things: (1) The Biggest hiring mistakes come when you "just want someone in the position & quickly".   (2) You're not just hiring on individual skill, you're hiring someone to be part of a team.   Someone who gives you "the creeps" probably will do the same to others on the team - that's not good for anyone.

Let me say something else:  if you're worried about your "capital", it will only go down if bring a loser in to the company.   Your judgement will be questioned.   AND you'll have made a rod for your back trying to manage this person and an unhappy team.  Hiring is the most important management decision you make so make sure you're happy with the decision.

Now if the decision is being forced upon you by your boss, that's a separate problem.   But I don't think that was the question you were asking.

Good luck!

* I say comprehensive interview process because D/I's don't like to dig down too far for data.  I bet your gut already is a big reason for your success.    Not saying you haven't - but I would advise making sure you've done your homework first, then listen to your gut.


mrreliable's picture

I have a situation that sounds similar. All of the people we hire must survive an extensive interview/evaluation/training period that can, and has, lasted two years or more before they are brought in to what we call the inner circle. It takes at least a year before we know this person can maintain motivation, and it also takes that long for the person to learn enough about the position to know if they want to do it long term. This process resulted in a complimentary chemistry among all the directs.

Then one day I was presented with a highly-qualified candidate who was being promoted by important people in our company. Hiring this person would help solidify a relationship with a powerful company in our field, and we did need to add horsepower to our staff. I went along with it because it seemed like a good idea, and it would save weeks or months of recruiting/interviewing/evalulation.

The chemistry that had made the workplace a comfortable, productive, creative environment quickly eroded. The new person came in with a swagger, and a very assertive personality. People who had worked for years to establish their postions were resentful of a new colleague being anointed and placed on a pedestal. This was no fault of the new hire, but it turned what most of the employees would rate a "10" in workplace satisfaction into a "6." All of us have worked on improving things, and things have improved, but it will never go back to what it was.

I've made the comment to other directors in the company that I will never do that again. It was a mistake, and was as unfair to the new hire as it was to the people who had to graduate from the school of hard knocks to earn their positions.