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HR dilemma
Old 07-19-2010, 06:28 PM   #1
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HR dilemma

My team and I are currently hiring into a position that is usually entry level and has a high turnover. We are interviewing 7 people and have met with the first two, both of whom are well known to us and meet the qualifications. One of my team members clearly has a bias against one of these people and a preference for the other, to the degree that I fear that he/she could sabotage the success of the person that he/she dislikes.

As the team leader, I assess the merit of these to candidates a little differently. It would be great if one of the people not previously known to us turns out to be the perfect candidate. But if it's between these two, it will be very difficult. Do I hire the person that I think can do the job, take the senior person aside and make it clear that my expectations are that the new team member is treated fairly, or do I bow to his/her opinion and go against my instincts? The senior person is very highly regarded within the organization, and is very controlling. He/she can also make my life difficult. Harmony is important, but so is performance.

Stuff like this might just make me decide to ER!
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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What you describe seems to be a lose/lose situation. I think your best solution is your parting thought...
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:57 PM   #3
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You didn't explicit state you had a strong preference. In that case, hire the person that has no biases against them.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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From your brief description I'd go with the candidate who is the best, independent of what the protesting colleague says. Then deal with the protester preemptively and preventively if possible.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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If you want to work a little longer, I'd go with harmony since the person at least meets the qualifications.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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Are you confused yet Meadbh?
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:22 PM   #7
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I think there are a lot of unknown factors here - but here are my thoughts.

1 - why is your team involved with this process? Is it to be sure the new person will "fit in"? Then shouldn't each team member's input be valued - regardless of whether you like the basis of their reasoning or not? What do the other team members think of the two people?

2- were they involved to help you assess technical skill only - not "fit in-ability"? If so, did you make it clear that was all you wanted feedback on? That way you can eliminate the other noise, when it comes up.

3 - when you involved them, did you make it clear that you would be making the final decision and that you were only looking for them to provide you with some feedback? Or do they think it will be a "majority rule" sort of thing. If they do and it isn't - this will cause a lot of resentment later. And it won't just be the senior person.

4- How much do you value this senior person? Other than controlling and annoying - are they well-respected because they do superior work or are they well-respected because they date the CEO's daugher......


Anyway, the statement ".....take the senior person aside and make it clear that my expectations are that the new team member is treated fairly, or do I bow to his/her opinion and go against my instincts?" gives me the feeling there are a lot of other issues beyond "who you hire" here.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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I think the obvious answer is ER. Run away!!!
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
My team and I are currently hiring into a position that is usually entry level and has a high turnover. We are interviewing 7 people and have met with the first two, both of whom are well known to us and meet the qualifications. One of my team members clearly has a bias against one of these people and a preference for the other, to the degree that I fear that he/she could sabotage the success of the person that he/she dislikes.

As the team leader, I guess you may assess the merit of these to candidates a little differently. It would be great if one of the people not previously known to us turns out to be the perfect candidate.
Whose decision is it?

If it belongs to the "team member" then you should probably distance yourself from it. If it is your decision, make it. You suggest that there might be multiple good candidates. One of them could possibly probably take the position of the "team member" who may be encouraged decide to leave because of your decision.

Besides, if you don't give the other five a fair chance you may have screwed both them and you.

If you are the "boss" act like it!
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:50 PM   #10
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We had a candidate we liked that everyone except one senior contributor wanted to hire. We went ahead and hired him. Since then our senior contributor regularly points out that he was opposed to the hiring, that he needs more assistance than the new hire is providing and we (and others in the company) get email "discussions" about everything new guy does that isn't to senior contributor's liking.

It's made it hard for the new guy to fit in and earn any respect. It's made it so that senior contributor will be downsized at the earliest opportunity as soon as his technical skills can be replaced. It's an ugly situation, but the alternative of not making a good hire to appease a problem personality would be ugly too.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #11
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It's an ugly situation, but the alternative of not making a good hire to appease a problem personality would be ugly too.
Any senior team member that acts like this is a problem anyway. You are hiring an entry level player, not the senior member's replacement. I'd say go with what is best for the team, not just for one senior member who doesn't play well with others.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:17 PM   #12
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Excellent post KM, thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KM View Post
1 - why is your team involved with this process? Is it to be sure the new person will "fit in"? Then shouldn't each team member's input be valued - regardless of whether you like the basis of their reasoning or not? What do the other team members think of the two people?


The type of work we do makes teamwork essential. I asked for the opinions of the other team members because I value them. Other team members think as I do about the candidates for the job.

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2- were they involved to help you assess technical skill only - not "fit in-ability"? If so, did you make it clear that was all you wanted feedback on? That way you can eliminate the other noise, when it comes up.


Success depends on many factors, including but not limited to technical skill. Organizational fit is important; we have a strong culture of service and collaboration. I insist on results. I have worked with the senior person for many years and it is clear in the organizational structure and in our previous actions that I seek everyone's opinions but that I make the final decision.

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Originally Posted by KM View Post
3 - when you involved them, did you make it clear that you would be making the final decision and that you were only looking for them to provide you with some feedback? Or do they think it will be a "majority rule" sort of thing. If they do and it isn't - this will cause a lot of resentment later. And it won't just be the senior person.


Yes, we are all clear on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KM View Post
4- How much do you value this senior person? Other than controlling and annoying - are they well-respected because they do superior work or are they well-respected because they date the CEO's daugher......


Well respected because he/she does superior work. In fact, he/she is annoyingly saintly. . There are people in this organization who believe he/she can do no wrong.

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Anyway, the statement ".....take the senior person aside and make it clear that my expectations are that the new team member is treated fairly, or do I bow to his/her opinion and go against my instincts?" gives me the feeling there are a lot of other issues beyond "who you hire" here.


You're very perceptive! Senior Person is actually quite rigid despite being an empathic leader, and can make life miserable for people he/she dislikes. He/she is jealous that he/she is not the team leader. He/she is older than I am but shows no signs of ERing anytime soon. He/she got a new lease on his/her career when I developed this team and avoided burnout, so he/she has some dependence on me. And yet, there is, I think, some jealousy that the whole thing was not his/her idea. Very noble person, well meaning, but resents my leadership. I am just getting tired of working with him/her. I am more interested in building new initiatives than I am in dealing with petty squabbles. I have already made my boss aware that I am looking for a change.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:20 PM   #13
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Whose decision is it?

If you are the "boss" act like it!
Ultimately it's my decision. I am the boss and I fully intend to make the decision and not second guess it. I also intend to listen to all the opinions and weigh the pros and cons of all options so that I make the best decision.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:47 PM   #14
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I manage several managers who manage teams.. Our goal is to develop high performance teams which produce exceptional results. We do this through hiring the most talented people we possibly can find. When hiring each individual I view it as a project for the team (as you do) and as you say the team manager has the final say. This is a difficult process.. the joy of management .. but when you get it right it truly is one of the great sources of satisfaction of being a manager. Each hire I am responsible for is carefully thought out and I do my best to be as close to 100% sure (you never can be) that this is the best thing to make the team perform to the level of excellence we desire.

So my advice (my two cents).. is.. Do you feel this individual will enter the team and perform to the level you aspire to in spite of the challenges they will have with your problem person? If so, I would hire them and they should be able to manage the situation. If you don't ,do you really think this is the right thing to do? I would not want to put a person in a situation they can't manage.

Good Luck .. Keep us updated as to how this worked out
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:31 AM   #15
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Ultimately it's my decision. I am the boss and I fully intend to make the decision and not second guess it. I also intend to listen to all the opinions and weigh the pros and cons of all options so that I make the best decision.
How comparable are the candidates in your and the rest of the team's estimate? Is one a 7 and the other an 8? Or one a 7 and the one the senior manager doesn't like a 10?

If they are fairly comparable, then I wouldn't let your dislike for the senior person's attitude cause you to choose the other one out of spite/desire to show your opinion is more important. Get an aggregate rating of the candidates from everyone on the team and make your decision from there. If the candidate the senior person doesn't like is rated higher, then hire the candidate and inform the senior.

Alternatively, hire one of the next 5 to interview and avoid some headaches if they are equivalent or better...
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:53 AM   #16
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Hire the one with the biggest ti&s


(hey, this was told to me by a girl!!!)...


It is funny... I hired someone that on paper was the better candidate... but he turned out to be a bust... I went on vacation after hiring him... but when I returned I got an earful.... seems that a couple of people knew him and did not like him (he made women feel uncomfortable)... I said I will have to give it a few days so I can observe him... he last 1 1/2 more days...

I did ask... if there was a problem that you knew... why did you not tell me BEFORE I hired him... no answer...


SO, I would ask... why do you think your candidate is 'better'... if the reason is sound... hire him... if you still think the other candidate is better... then right then and there you need to tell them why you are making the decision you are making...



PS... for you women hiring... the lady said after asking... what if you are hiring a male... "change your perspective".....
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:27 AM   #17
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I don't know (even in this awful economy) that I'd want to get hired for a job where one of the senior people on the team had it in for me. I don't know if it's really fair to a prospective employee to put them into that situation with no warning. I'm glad I'm not the person who has to make the decision! I think in your shoes I'd be hoping like crazy that one of the other 5 was clearly superior to both of the people you're talking about.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:57 AM   #18
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So, what outcome do you want? Harmony on the team with status quo on team dynamics? Then hire a qualified candidate that no one has a bias against. Attempt to deal with your issues with the dic* head senior angel? Hire the superior candidate that everyone else thinks is good then sit down with the angel, go over your reasoning and ask for cooperation in maintaining the team. But, in this case, if the cooperation isn't forthcoming you may have a tough longer term job dealing with the angel. The up side of the later choice is that things could 1) improve significantly; or 2) cause you much angst speeding up your ER date - either of which may be better than the status quo.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:09 AM   #19
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As a practical matter, this is a high turnover position and the senior person has expressed a prefference. Since you have no preference, go with the flow. Hire the qualified favorite. There should be no stress in that.
The situation would be different if the most qualified candidate was the one with a bias against him/her.
Good luck.
Also, this situation ads reinforcement to the goal of ER.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:10 AM   #20
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harmony is very, very important. I would go with the best no-bias candidate, even if not the very best.
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