A reader writes:
I was just promoted at work, into a position that comes with an assistant. The hiring process for the assistant was already underway. I really like one of the candidates and I was ready to hire her. But at the last minute, the person who is temporarily in the assistant role applied. I like her, too, and she has done a good job. But she is out-competed by the other candidate, who has better technical skills and seems more adept with software. The other candidate is also much more personable and it is a job that involves a great deal of interaction with people; the internal candidate seems brusque until you get to know her. My preferred candidate also has relevant work experience that is not required, but is an asset to the job…we provide services to a particular group of people, and she was previously in that group, so she has a very good idea of how to deliver those services in the best way. She also generally seems more enthusiastic.
I hate that one of my first acts as a new manager is to turn down someone I work with, and the guilt is increased because I myself was promoted from within. But I think it is the right thing to do. Any points on turning down internal candidates for those of us with little experience?
You can read my answer to this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and often updating/expanding my answers to them).