It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. The person I helped hire confessed to me that she lied about her skills
I received a full capital sponsorship to start my own business. When I resigned from my job, my boss was very upset, as it is hard to find people with my skill set. I suggested to my former boss that they could outsource to me, which they are now doing.
One day, my former boss called me up and asked me to sit into an interview with a potential replacement for my position. I told him it would be a conflict of interest as I would lose them as a client. He promised me that they would never break their contract with me, but I was not convinced.
We interviewed the person, and in order to not sound jealous and to give her a fair chance, I said nothing bad about her and I was supportive of their decision to give her a 3-month fixed contract. Today, she confessed to me that in the interview, she lied about having skills that she doesn’t actually have. She told me that she should have been more forward in her interview, but she has never built a website from scratch before in her life. I don’t know how to respond to this because if I run to the client and tell him, it would look like I am being spiteful, not to mention that I would put a single mom out of a job. If I don’t and it comes out that I did not, they might lose trust in me and it may come back to kick me in the bum. How do I deal with this situation?
I think you’re being overly zealous about possible conflicts of interest and as a result are anticipating weirdness in your relationship with your client/former employer that just isn’t likely to be there. It’s okay to help them with interviews, and it’s okay — in fact, necessary — to speak up about concerns that you develop about candidates during those interviews. Assuming that you have a track record of integrity and that you can explain where your opinions are coming from, no reasonable client is going to think that you’re being jealous or spiteful. And the same is true now if you relay what their new hire said to you, especially if you’ve continued to do work for them, which it sounds like you have.
You don’t have to go on a witch hunt against her; you can simply say to your client, “Hey, Jane mentioned to me yesterday that she exaggerated her skills in the interview in order to get the job and she’s never actual built a website before. You should probably talk to her yourself, but assuming that’s right, I think the ramifications of this for the work are ___.”
You won’t be putting a single mom out of a job. You’ll be doing your job, which is to be a fair dealer and share information that will affect your client. If she loses her job because she misrepresented her skills, that’s an outcome she created for herself; it won’t be your doing.
2. I’m managing my boss’s spouse
I work for a nonprofit that has a staff of 25. There are 3 levels – the CEO, the VPs, and the rest of the staff. I am a VP who is managing a staff member (Bob) who is the partner (same-sex couple) of the VP/CFO (Tony, a very tenured staffer of over 15 years). Bob is a toxic employee who is constantly negative, demoralizes other staff, and points fingers at everyone rather than being a team player. Prior to my promotion to VP, I was on the same level as Bob and we worked fairly well together. Once I became a VP, that quickly changed. Bob cursed at me on several occasions, slammed a door in my face, and has basically said (in much nastier terms) that I had no idea what I was doing. As a newly appointed VP, I learned that in the prior eight years Bob was on staff, he was allowed to do as he pleased, when and how he pleased, basically unchecked. Tony is blissfully unaware of this because the previous VPs would never discuss it with him.
Bob is dragging down the morale and undermining the culture change we are working toward. He refuses to use our interoffice chat and online project management system, despite other staff and teams using it. He is not a team player and is consuming salary dollars (how much I don’t know, as Tony won’t disclose it to me) that could be utilized better. We have no formal write-up procedure in place, but I have made it my mission to confront him head on and let him know his behavior is unacceptable. I’ve also started a journal of it and our discussions.
The bottom line is that Bob needs to go. Tony does not hold his own team accountable so his leadership and accountability style is lacking to say the least. Any suggestion on how I can help Bob move on? Oh, and Tony is currently serving as the interim CEO too.
The only path to an outcome where you can get rid of Bob goes straight through Tony, at least as long as he’s CEO and/or your boss. If previously VPs refused to fill Tony in on what was going on, it’s no surprise that he’s unaware. So: are you going to be the person who finally says something? If you want to address the situation, it sounds like you’ll need to. Whether or not you should depends on your own standing, how reasonable or unreasonable Tony is, and how much risk you’re willing to take.
If at some point, Tony stops being interim CEO, you could possibly take up the situation with the new CEO (or HR, but on a staff of 25, I’m betting you don’t have an HR person, or at least not one with significant power — although if the organization has an influential second-in-command, that person could be an option).
For what it’s worth, it’s pretty awful that your organization apparently allows romantic partners within a chain of command, but I’ll save my rant on that for a different letter coming later today.
3. Employee was accidentally terminated in our system and now has to apply for job all over again
I supervise the tutors at my college and one tutor was recently terminated accidentally due to miscommunication among departments. Our new HR rep contacted my supervisor with a list of employees that had not received a paycheck for six months. My supervisor responded to terminate those employees. Neither the HR person nor my supervisor ever asked my input about this employee’s status. If they had, I would have requested they keep the employee as they are still an active student and a willing tutor; they just had not received any requests for work in a while.
As “luck” would have it, the employee in question had two tutoring sessions just as they were being terminated. I was never informed of their termination status so I did not hesitate in requesting their assistance. It was not until I went to approve electronic timecards did I notice the employee was no longer listed under my profile. I then contacted HR and was informed of why they were terminated.
I have been informed that the tutor will have to go through the entire re-hire process (application, background check, drug test, on-boarding) in order to be re-instated as an employee and receive a paycheck for the hours worked. My question is – is this legal? How are there no provisions made in the company’s policy to re-instate employees that were terminated in such a manner?
It should be perfectly legal as long as the person is still being paid in the timeframe required by your state law (state laws usually require people to be paid within a certain number of days after performing work). However, if you work for a public university, even that might not apply, since public employees are sometimes covered by different laws.
That said, it’s ridiculous and incompetent, and they should be able to fix it more efficiently.
4. Can I use a new offer to get more money from the job I’ve already accepted?
I’ve accepted a job in one city. It was a great offer, and during negotiation they offered an increased annual salary instead of relocation. I had asked for one or the other. I knew another offer was coming for another city, but it had been taking a while as there are more hoops to jump through and it’s never guaranteed, so I accepted offer #1. Well, now offer #2 has come in, and the salary is $5,000 less but they’re offering me a $5,00 signing bonus, $5,000 relocation, and a bonus structure. I technically want the first job more as I’d rather move to that city, but that $10,000 at the start would be very helpful as I’m moving from another country. Can I use offer #2 to get more out of offer #1? Even though I technically already accepted? I am considering backing out of offer #1 now I know what the money for #2 is. What could I say to #1 without seeming like I’m not still excited to work there?
Nothing. You accepted the offer, and the negotiations are over. If you try to open them back up, that will look like serious bad faith, and there’s a very good chance they’ll pull the offer entirely. (After all, how would you feel if you turned down other offers and the one that you’d accepted tried to lower the salary you’d agreed on?)
You can pull your acceptance of the offer if you want to, but you can’t try to reopen the negotiations.
As for whether you should pull your acceptance, (a) be aware that it will burn the bridge — which might be a price you’re willing to pay, but you should factor it into your thinking, and (b) think seriously about whether a one-time $10,000 payment is enough to warrant moving a city that isn’t your first choice, unless you’re very excited about the second choice city too and the job itself. $10,000 (or $5,000 after moving expenses) is a pretty low payment for a city you don’t want to be in.
5. Explaining why I’m moving, when the reason is the Flint water crisis
I’ve been wanting to leave my job for a while because the company is a mess, but circumstances in the area have changed so that I’m now even more desperate to leave.
See, I work in Flint, Michigan. If you’ve been reading the news at all lately, you know that Flint has serious water issues, chief among them being extremely unsafe levels of lead. I feel now more than ever that I need to leave, and soon. I have no personal ties to Flint; I didn’t grow up there, and I have no family here, so I don’t feel compelled to stay and stick out this crisis like some other people do.
My issue is this: how do I say that on job applications? Do I state that the water crisis is my reason for leaving, or is there a more diplomatic way to say it? I’ve never been in a situation like this before, where environmental factors are at play in my reason for leaving, so I’m not sure how to handle it.
I think you’re better off talking about why you want to move to the place you’d be moving to, rather than why you want to leave the place you’re leaving. People will probably figure that the water situation isn’t exactly helping matters, but mainly they’ll be concerned with what’s drawing you to THEIR area (because they want to know that you’ve fully thought through the choice, won’t regret in six months in, etc.).