Bad for me, good for...
May 26, 2010 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I think I accidentally got a job for someone I really don't want to work with, at my company.

So, there hasn't been a job offer yet, but he's checking out the office soon, and my boss is into the idea. He asked me, and honestly I only have personal concerns - the fact that he's kind of a jerk - rather than technical concerns - he's proficient at this field. This sucks, because otherwise I really like everyone in my office, but I've lived with this guy - we were housemates recently - and he's just annoying - an only child who honestly believes he's the God's gift to men and women, and incredibly moody, to the point that he's smashed cups and appliances out of rage for silly things, like his annoying friends.

So, things are not incredibly great for the forecast here, and it's a little tricky to explain this to my boss without making it about the fact that I don't like him - because, honestly, I don't like him. And some of these things might weigh on his attitude at work, but I'm not sure to any extent - he really may be an excellent employee and I'd hate for my personal feelings toward him to prevent the company from acquiring a smart person when it needs another good employee at this point in time. But I can't shake the feeling that I wouldn't enjoy working with him at all. And, the company's small - far less than 30 in the office - so it's not like we'd be working on different floors or even in different rooms.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total)
John, I really don't think he's a fit for the company culture. He may look like an ideal candidate but I think if you have to deal with him on a day to day basis for six months, you'll think differently about him.
posted by Rubbstone at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2010 [10 favorites]

How long have you been in your office? Does your boss trust and like you on a personal level?

If so, I would ask for confidentiality, and tell him exactly what you've told us--he might be an excellent employee, you don't want your feelings to hurt the company when they need a good person. Then list specific, concrete examples of bad behavior. Not so much "he's an only child who believes he's God's gift" (even if true, it's subjective) as "he has smashed appliances in rage".

That kind of thing sounds like a liability/office violence/shitty morale killer that any boss would be happy to avoid. So in that sense, you are helping the company.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:16 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Rubbstone has it. No need to get into the unattractive behavioral details.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:40 PM on May 26, 2010

I would not proactively volunteer the info, but if asked I would say something along the lines of Rubbstone. Not a good fit for the culture...
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:49 PM on May 26, 2010

If I were doing the hiring, I would appreciate your insight into behavior that I have no way of knowing about. I should perhaps add that I wouldn't let you get away with "not a good fit with the culture." I would require some examples so that I could draw my own conclusions about that, what with my being the boss and all.

As was said above, avoid subjective judgments and stick to specific behaviors. Not only because you want to keep it professional but because if your boss decides to hire him anyhow, you don't want to be in too deep on the dislike thing.

Meanwhile, let's say that you remain silent and the guy gets hired. It's bound to come out that you were once housemates. If things go south, your boss and everyone who thinks he's a jerk is going to be pissed at you for not speaking up.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:12 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sometimes people who are total jerks in their personal life manage to not be so in their professional life. barring that, Rubbstone. But you have to say something, because it will reflect on you otherwise.
posted by micawber at 3:41 PM on May 26, 2010 the point that he's smashed cups and appliances out of rage for silly things

That would me enough for me to give a bad recommendation. I'd say something about his stress tolerance or his poor performance under pressure.
posted by clearlydemon at 4:08 PM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

So, things are not incredibly great for the forecast here, and it's a little tricky to explain this to my boss without making it about the fact that I don't like him - because, honestly, I don't like him.

The ability of a team of people to work together means something in an office environment. Most times the problems start after people have already been hired, so either everyone has to be accommodating about it or management needs to babysit the situation. They (by which I mean we) hate that.

Here you have a chance to head things off at the pass and possibly save management (and yourself) a major headache down the road. Make clear that you will be accommodating if they hire the guy but that you would rather they didn't because you believe it may lead to drama.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:29 PM on May 26, 2010

I'd go with Rubbstone's version but at some point add the phrase "without really going into the details here" maybe before "I think if you have to deal with him day after day..." What you want to offer here is that you have details but don't necessarily feel they're appropriate to share. Your supervisor can either defer or probe. Then, if your office culture is like ours, I still wouldn't go straight to saying he "smashed things," but to saying you saw "a few situations that suggest he has a fairly short fuse and maybe not the most productive approach to dealing with frustration." If you get a quizzical look then, it's at that point that I'd say: "He broke glasses and smashed appliances."

One caution, though. Equal Employment HR trainings warn about phrases like "not a good match for our culture" (in the US at least), because it could be code for "let's not hire [a minority]." So if your housemate is anything but a white male, I would couch your concerns in terms of skills and abilities.
posted by salvia at 6:01 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm lucky to work in a place where my input is valued in times like these. If I used Rubbstone's line, the guy would not get the job. Do you think that's the case in your workplace?

If he does get hired and he's as nuts as you say, he will will show his true colours soon enough.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:16 PM on May 26, 2010

Back when I sat in on job interviews, I would flat out say if a candidate was giving me the creeps or struck me as being a shifty person. We didn't hire them and were happier for it. (And since one of the people we rejected briefly worked in another area later, well... yeah.) In my experience, a reasonable boss will want to know if this person is going to get along with other people, or be a pain in the ass. You know for a fact this one is going to be a pain in the ass. At the very least, say he has anger management issues and smashes things. I'd sure as hell want to know that if I was pondering hiring him.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:46 PM on May 26, 2010

I am not clear on what you have already done to get him the job, but I agree that you have to say something. If you already gave him a recommendation on his tech ability, but he doesn't pan out on the company culture aspect, your boss isn't going to trust your input as much in the future.

If you feel conflicted because you already recommended him based on his ability, it is no problem to take your boss aside and add the personality aspect as an addendum.
posted by Vaike at 1:33 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

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