do I have to help someone I can’t stand?

A reader writes:

“Monica” is a few years younger than me and is a friend of my parents through a church community. Smply put, she irks the heck out of me. There are a number of little things that she does that get under my skin, so I just try to avoid her in my personal life.

At my most recent former job, Monica ended up interning while she worked on her Master’s degree. She talked over people, interrupted my director while he was talking to vendors, and offering up ideas as solutions — all starting on her first day. Even though I tried to work with her in a professional manner, I just can’t get past being annoyed with her.

I am now at a new firm in a new position, working with someone who thinks the world of Monica. Monica is now applying for a job with this new company. I don’t expect to be working directly with her, so I think I can keep up my keep-to-myself policy and not be overly annoyed with her. However, she just messaged me on LinkedIn asking for advice as she prepares for her interview. How terrible would I be if I just ignored her request for help?

I answer 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 sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Coworker has drama-filled calls with his girlfriend 10 times a day
  • Talking to a new hire who’s been frequently out of the office
  • Recruiter wants to prep my references
  • Reaching out to an employer multiple times after applying

{ 121 comments… read them below }

  1. Cassandra*

    With my evil hat on… I would be awfully tempted to respond to OP1’s Monica with lots of bad and/or gumptiony advice. “Oh, ignore the receptionist, we all do… and make sure to wear all your bling… and show up super-early, it shows you’re interested!”

    I know, I know. But I’d be tempted.

    1. Jennifer*

      Send the hiring manager a batch of brownies and a framed photo the day before your interview.

      1. Phoenix Wright*

        Better yet, OP could send the hiring manager a photo of Monica, without explaining that she was the one who sent it. That way she’d be framing Monica by framing her.

      2. SherSher*

        That might be a good tack for the last OP also. They really haven’t even tried to let the company know they’re interested. Only an application and two emails!?!? COMe on!!

    2. CD*

      I always thought that it was important to show up early. My dad was in the military and is obsessed with being early to everything, and I really carried that with me. I always signed myself before an interview approximately 15-20 minutes early. I will say that it didn’t stop me from getting any of those jobs, but it’s still good to know to avoid, so I’ve stopped doing it.

      1. Magenta*

        Ahhh people who turn up super early to interviews are really frustrating, we never have anywhere to put them!

        One time someone was 45 mins early and I ended up giving her directions to the nearest coffee shop because we didn’t have a room free!

        I try not to hold it against people though.

      2. GreyjoyGardens*

        Sometimes people show up extremely early because they take public transit, and because of bus or train schedules, it’s either get there super early, or get there late or at least cut it awfully close (especially if there is heavy traffic or unforeseen delays). When that was me, I would try to find a coffee shop nearby or at least wait outside somewhere if it wasn’t raining. It’s harder when the interview is at one of those middle-of-nowhere suburban office buildings though.

  2. MommyMD*

    Just ignore it. I check LinkedIn at most every few weeks. If she asks says you didn’t see it. We all have a Monica.

    1. epi*

      This is what I would do too. I like Alison’s suggestion to just respond later and apologize for not getting back to her sooner. Plus this method encourages people you don’t want to hear from to think you are flaky/hard to reach, and to just not bother asking in the future.

      I probably wouldn’t tell anyone about Monica’s performance in her internship. It sounds like brand new to the working world type stuff so unless she never improved, or it was really recent, or she had more work experience before the masters and should already have known better, it doesn’t sound worth getting involved. It will be hard to avoid drama and hurt feelings if it ever gets back to her– and it might they have another connection and it sounds like Monica is likely to get hired either way.

      1. MommyMD*

        I would definitely not try to interfere with her hiring. I’d let her sink or swim on her own merits.

    2. ssssssssssssssssssss*

      Every few weeks? You’re good! I just went on to check out things and it’s been a year since I was last on there. Only a handful of my contacts are actually active on there.

      Yeah, just say, if she ever asks you about it, gosh, I’m never on LinkedIn…

      1. MommyMD*

        Yeah just to see who is trying to recruit me but I’m happily employed. There’s a shortage in my field.

    3. MaraEmerald*

      I check LinkedIn when I leave a company, when a coworker that I want to endorse leaves a company, or when I’m looking for a new job. That’s basically it. It’s 100% believable that you wouldn’t see a LinkedIn message for long past when it’s relevant.

    4. Talkin' truth*

      OP, you don’t have have to help Monica, but if you try to marginalize her and Monica still gets the job, be prepared for her to rise within the company quickly and marginalize you.

      1. Jennifer*

        I don’t think giving the hiring manager honest feedback about someone’s past performance is marginalizing them.

      2. MommyMD*

        I’d stay out of interfering with her hiring as well. That’s for super egregious stuff.

  3. Jennifer*

    #1 I’m team ignore her. I don’t check LinkedIn messages everyday. I’d imagine a lot of people don’t. It’s not outside the range of possiblity that you would miss the message or not see it until after her interview.

    #5 They’re just not that into you.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      Re. #5, no, not necessarily. Some companies check resumes and schedule interviews as resumes come in, but some wait until they have a selection of resumes before evaluating and trying to schedule interviews. It really varies from company to company and from manager to manager.

      But assuming they are not into him/her *is* definitely the best way for the OP to handle it. OP, you’ve done all you can – and maybe a bit more than you should. :-) So just move on and assume they aren’t interested, and as Alison always says, it will be a nice surprise if you do get a call after all.

  4. Lily in NYC*

    I think ignoring her completely would be rude if there is a family connection. You can turn down her request and say you are too busy, but not responding at all seems off to me.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      OK, I completely missed that the message came through linkedin – I thought she sent an email or called. Feel free to ignore and say you didn’t see the message. But this is a rehash of an old post so I don’t know why I am acting like the OP might actually see this.

      1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

        Pretty much everybody ignores LinkedIn when they’re not in PR or job hunting.

      2. Phoenix Wright*

        Even if it was an email, sometimes stuff just falls through the cracks. I keep my inbox tidy, but I’ve seen family and friends with hundreds of unread mails (Facebook updates and such), so it wouldn’t be that surprising if they miss some from time to time.

    2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      It definitely seems weird to me since they have a (loose) connection, but maybe Monica thinks this is more professional than contacting your personal or work email or social media. If it is going to eat at you in anyway, take charge. Sure, I can meet for coffee next Thursday around 7 at coffee shop that is convenient to OP.

  5. Autumnheart*

    I currently have a member of my team who’s in a senior position, and probably in the highest pay grade next to our manager. (Hierarchically, she’s a peer–we all report to our manager.) And she is also frequently late or absent, and uses 150% of her allotted PTO, apparently without repercussion. It doesn’t necessarily “impact” our ability to complete projects, because I get tapped to jump in whenever she’s unavailable. It sure doesn’t mean that she’s such a great employee that her frequent absences aren’t affecting the output of our team, it’s because the *rest* of us put in 110% to make up for her 75%. Meanwhile, she gets paid more than the rest of us and gets more time off, which directly impacts *my* ability to take PTO because I have to be the reliable one. It’s infuriating and morale-killing, especially to see our manager take the approach of “Well, the work’s still getting done, so I don’t want to make a fuss by disciplining one of my reports.”

    1. Trek*

      Talk to your team and stop picking up the slack of her absences. When your manager tries to pass on her tasks say you don’t think you can get to that today or this week so it will have to wait until she returns- unless they want to complete it but I wouldn’t state that directly. You as a group need to pull back so the manager feels the impact of her being gone. If they insist you take something complete your work first rather than hers. Also be on the look out for feedback or company survey’s where you can share what’s happening.

      1. Phoenix Wright*

        I like Alison’s advice for these cases: “I can either continue doing my original tasks or take Hermione’s tasks. Which one do you want me to prioritize?” That way you’d be letting her know you can’t do both at the same time, and one of them will have to wait, or assigned to someone else.

      1. LCH*

        can you talk to HR about how you are having a difficult time using your benefits since this one team member is always out? or would it be better to say to the manager?

    2. irene adler*

      Thank you!
      I have this situation where I work. Why can’t I take unearned PTO, or be late or leave early regularly, too?
      If nothing else, it’s a morale-killer.
      I know there are situations where someone is dealing with a giant personal issue and needs to take the extra time. In which case, management should let folks know that they are aware of , and approve of , the situation (they should not reveal anything personal about the employee’s situation).

    3. ssssssssssssssssssss*

      “Meanwhile, she gets paid more than the rest of us and gets more time off, which directly impacts *my* ability to take PTO because I have to be the reliable one. It’s infuriating and morale-killing, especially to see our manager take the approach of “Well, the work’s still getting done, so I don’t want to make a fuss by disciplining one of my reports.””

      This, without the higher pay, sums it up nicely. I’ve had vacation turned down (one full day because we can’t leave so and so alone) and opportunities within the company denied because I was reliably present and my peer was reliably absent.

      I would survey the people he works with, discreetly, and see how they feel about it. There might be a “this is not fair” feeling growing.

      1. Autumnheart*

        Oh, trust me, all of us have told our manager, “Fire her! Please!” in exactly those words, on more than one occasion. My coworker is multiple levels of awful, but I focused on the absenteeism because that alone can be detrimental to team chemistry, even if projects still get out the door.

        And yeah, it’s also infuriating to see my colleague continue to get the plum projects and annual review fodder because she’s the senior position, while meanwhile I get a pat on the back in the moment whenever I save a project that she blew up, but my accomplishments never seem to accumulate into a perception that “Autumnheart belongs in a senior role” as opposed to “Autumnheart is a reliable team player.”

            1. valentine*

              What’s stopping you? This guy has you spinning your wheels. If he promotes you and you take your PTO, who’s going to cover for his pet?

              Is he approving her 150% PTO but not your <100%? If you can take PTO, but it would leave others in the lurch, that's on him. Do what serves you.

              1. Autumnheart*

                I don’t want to quit. I like my job, my department, and the company I work for. I make decent money, and working here is a world-class opportunity, the kind of job people spend years working their way *into*, not out of. It’s a great company to work for. Senior Dimwit is a problem I can work around. I *will* consider leaving if there’s no other way to get out of the situation, but that’s a last resort, not something I’m going to do just to prove a point.

                The reason I posted is because I wanted to emphasize how there are more ramifications to having a person on the team who has a million excuses to not be in the office. Being flexible is good, rewarding productive employees with perks is good, but you have to be really careful to make sure that it’s not requiring the other team members to work MORE so that this person can work LESS. That isn’t fair. If Bob is a new hire in a leadership position, it’s even more important that he be seen to lead. What does it say to the people under him, that he gets the credit and reward for completing work when he’s literally not even in the building? IS he making up the hours later so that his reports have the input from him that they need, or are they just expected to handle things while he goes to Junior’s soccer game?

                Rewards and perks should go to people who have a proven track record. I don’t see how a new hire should be allowed to come and go as he pleases. That’s not a good precedent, and it’s bad optics to the people who *do* show up.

        1. Glitsy Gus*

          I was in that boat once and I started keeping track of all the times I finished up someone else’s project in a notebook, then I brought the notebook into my review. It didn’t make a big change right away, but it did make all the stuff I did more visible and they didn’t have much room to say no when i asked for a raise a little later that year (again, with my notebook in hand).

    4. Blue*

      I know it’s reallllly hard when you’re used to being the reliable one and the high achiever, but I really think you have to stop cleaning up after them. When it was me, I gave my boss the heads up that I could not continue to pick up so much of the slack because it was dramatically and adversely effecting my mental health, told him that I’d be deprioritizing the less-critical things, and then I did it. Probably not as dramatically as I should have, but I backed off enough that stuff started falling through the cracks and he was suddenly much more motivated to act. And it wasn’t like he suddenly started seeing me as a slacker or a bad employee – rather, because I’d proven to be valuable to him, it was more of a, “Oh, crap, Blue really is reaching the end of her rope and I can’t afford to lose her.”

      1. Autumnheart*

        The nature of our team and our work doesn’t allow that. Instead, I’m doing just the opposite: I take ALL her work and fix all her mistakes, and now I’m literally writing my cover letter for a senior position that opened up on an adjacent team. The worse she screws up, the better she makes me look.

        1. Scout Finch*

          YAY you! Pulling for you. It’s been a year since I left (place where I told them for 2.5 years that we were understaffed and could not carry the workload). They had to hire consultants when I left. They were dumbfounded (“why didn’t you say something?” – “I did – this is the only way it seems that you will listen”)

          Keep us posted!

    5. Autumnheart*

      Oh, I also wanted to point out that our department does value flexibility. If people need to wait for the repairman, take the dog to the vet, doctor’s appointment, etc. then that’s allowed, and people aren’t dinged for that. It’s not a rigid “butts in seats” environment. But when someone comes up with a new thing every other week, to the point where others are noticing the frequency, I’d say that’s a problem.

      Just to use my disappearing colleague as an example, she’s been out of the office for various reasons for 4 days out of the last 3 weeks, and that rate is consistent throughout the year, and has been consistent throughout the duration of her employment. That’s why “Well, be flexible, and is it preventing the work from being done?” isn’t a sufficient answer IMO.


    #1: My go-to in these situations is “I’m not really the best person to help you on this.” It’s both true and vague. If they keep pushing, I keep being vague: “You’ll likely get much better advice/help from someone else. I’m not really good with this. Good luck!”

    1. Name of Requirement*

      My thought too. Just be vague, a bit ignorant, with generic advice.
      “I’m not that familiar with the role. Just ask good questions. Best of luck.”

    2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

      I once used, “that’s going to be reporting to other department, and I only interact with them briefly once a month” (fill in what works best for you).
      Got me off having to help person I didn’t think would do well but that had to be nice to because “reasons.”

  7. Classic Rando*

    As a support rep, I’m imagining what I would do if I received a message like in #5. After I stopped cackling like a Disney villain, of course.

    I work for a small company, so all of management would know about it pretty much immediately, and the concensus would be that it was an overstep. Many of our clients are bossy oversteppers who like to try and play extention roulette when they get an answer they don’t like, so seeing similar behavior in an applicant would not be seen as a good sign. I could definitely see that application going straight to the trash at that point.

    1. straws*

      Yup, there’s a 99.99% chance that this person would be immediately rejected after 3 points of contact like that. On the one hand, it would likely get me to look at their application sooner. On the other, it would be with the mindset of “is this the most perfect unicorn candidate I’ve ever seen?”, because that’s the only way I’d be willing to even move them into the active candidate pool.

  8. TootsNYC*

    regarding the prepping of references:

    As a person giving a reference, I like it when I get some “prep” from the applicant.

    I like to hear what the duties of the job are (especially with younger workers), because that tells me what stories about them to pull to the top of my list. (Especially w/ younger people, I might even tell them which stories I’m going to tell, in order to make them feel more confident as an applicant,a nd help them recognize their strengths; I think it’s also a way to teach them how to recognize skills, and how to recognize what a good story might be).

    I also like to hear about any worries or weaknesses they feel might still exist for them, or important stuff they left out. Like, maybe they wish they’d said something about the project they handled because it demonstrates their ability to work without supervision.
    Then I can pump up that example, and their skills in those areas to compensate. (I never lie, but I choose which stories I can tell.)

    I know that I can sometimes see a connection that other people can’t (a former research/fact checker was applying for a job as a recruiter, and the hiring manager said she’d have to call up people cold to tell them about jobs. I pointed out that she had experience calling people she didn’t know, and who sometimes were not expecting her call, to ask for verification of facts. And that she had experience figuring out the interior organization of a business in order to figure out which person knew the info she needed.)

    So yes, I like some level of preparation from the people I’ve agree to be a reference for.

    I LIKE them, I admire their skills and abilities, and I want to be as helpful as possible.

    But I do not want to talk to their recruiter.
    I wouldn’t blame them, but I would be really short with the recruiter.

    1. lyonite*

      I’m like 98% sure that recruiters do this in order to build their contact lists. I’ve been recently dealing with one who keeps asking for my references, (her reason isn’t prep, it’s to “put together my application package”) and I just keep putting her off by saying I need to get in touch with them about being references first. (I’ve already done this, but she doesn’t need to know.) I get that it’s a commission-based business, and you need to hustle, but sorry, not on my time.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        I’m quite puzzled why the recruiter would feel the need to call the references and prep them. It smacks of heavy handedness at best and conniving at worst. Now, I’m all for contacting references when it gets to the offer stage as that is part of the process for a good recruiter, however the candidate should be letting the references know the recruiter will be calling them so the call isn’t unexpected. I’ve done hundreds of candidate preps and I’ve never once done reference preps. Very strange.

        I do echo TootsNYC comments on the candidate talking with their references about the role so the potential reference can give a reference with more ‘teeth’ (geez that was using reference a lot).

      2. The New Wanderer*

        It’s possible (maybe probable) for sure. But I did have a good experience with my recruiter who wanted to talk to my references in order to get a better idea of how to market me for various opportunities. (I did ask the references up front about doing this on my behalf.) The reasons I don’t think he was building his contact list were 1) I gave him 5 names and he only called two or three before he got the info he needed, and 2) I talked to one of the references after the fact and he said it was really all about my potential candidacy, no attempts to recruit the reference.

        But I will say, I was still hesitant to give my references to the recruiter. It felt like an extra step that shouldn’t be needed, and I would have been pretty upset if I found out it was just to snag them as clients too. And there’s no way I would want the references to agree to additional prep calls with the recruiter before actual reference calls with a company!

      1. Working Mom Having It All*

        All BEC have some annoying traits that are the root of the BEC designation.

        To me, yeahhhhh, the crux of all the advice about Monica depends on whether she is actually bad at her job/someone everyone at the last company agreed they didn’t want to work with, or whether this is just “I’ve never particularly liked this person and it would be useful to me if they did not work for my company.”

        If the former, I’d talk to the hiring manager and others at the company, actively discouraging them from hiring the BEC, based on legitimate information that you have about whether she would be a good fit for the role. If the stuff about interrupting people on her first day as an intern was just a thing LW noticed that annoyed her, having already come into the situation not liking Monica, and nobody else cared/it didn’t otherwise affect how she did her job or what others thought of her, I would leave it be. Everyone makes small mistakes sometimes, and it’s petty as hell to pick out those sorts of things and deliberately use it to sabotage someone you don’t like, just because you can.

        In terms of whether to help her, as someone who is polite to a fault, I’d probably just send some platitudes that aren’t specifically helpful, don’t require any real work from you, and wouldn’t actually represent a true leg up. Or even just say “I don’t have any specific advice, I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

      2. Engineer Girl*

        I disagree. Monica’s traits are common enough among clueless interns. My question – did OP actually correct her on these traits or did she just work with her in a professional manner and say nothing? I would argue that you do need to say something to an intern (Vs a regular employee)
        This strikes me more as a “Mean Girls” vibe. A person of integrity would at least make an effort to correct the behaviors. A mean girls person would say nothing and grouch about her behind her back.
        As far as the request for info – you have an obligation to be honest. Even if it is “I’m not sure I can help you.”
        In short, this has a very passive agressive bitchy feel about it.

        1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

          How bizarrely uncharitable. Quote: “I tried to work with her in a professional manner.”

          There’s not a word in the letter that suggests “lack of integrity,” and that’s a very heavy accusation.

          How on earth would it have been OP’s place to correct Monica’s behavior? She’s only a few years her senior, and didn’t supervise her.

          1. Rainy days*

            In my experience, a lot of people (myself included sometimes) do not go through the effort to train/correct certain interns because they pass through so quickly–our local university is on a quarter system which means that some interns rotate in for only 10 weeks, during which period they may come in 4 hours per week. Someone who is putting in that little time is often not worth our while to formally train in professional behaviors. It’s not fair, and in a perfect world the intern does deserve some kind of feedback in exchange for their time and the fact that they are likely getting no or little money, but OP and OP’s company would not be the first to fail to do this, and it’s not clear whose responsibility this would have been anyway.

          2. Engineer Girl*

            It is the obligation of all coworkers to guide an intern in correct office behavior.

            1. Observer*

              No,it is NOT. It’s an unfair burden to place on staff. And in many places it would be seen as a major overstep.

              1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

                In every place I’ve ever worked it would be seen as a major overstep, and would indicate that the “corrector” was the one who didn’t understand workplace norms.

                If you have major issues with an intern’s behavior or attitude, you speak to their manager.

                1. Engineer Girl*

                  That would be OK too. But there’s no mention of that in the letter.
                  Tolerating someone is nowhere near helping them.

          3. AMT*

            I agree. Being honest about someone’s bad work behavior can be a kindness, but it’s not an obligation. There are extra layers of difficulty when (a) this person hasn’t asked for your feedback on their professionalism, (b) you’re not in a position to mentor them, (c) they’re friends with your family and part of the same church community, and (d) their personality makes it difficult to give them feedback (just guessing here, but the interrupting and offering ideas makes her seem like a bit of a know-it-all).

            The only time I’d really feel a sense of obligation to give feedback would be with someone new to the workplace who seemed like they might be receptive to it. Otherwise, if someone is a pain in the butt to work with, I’m going to feel just fine spending my Mentoring Bucks™ on other people.

            1. AMT*

              Oh, and also, “intern” in this context doesn’t seem to mean “someone new to the workplace” if she was interning for an advanced degree. Someone with a master’s likely already knows about workplace norms (and, really, *people* norms — don’t talk over anyone, not just your boss!). The LW shouldn’t feel guilty about not helping someone she dislikes, especially given that the LW isn’t that much older or more experienced.

              1. Engineer Girl*

                There’s a huge chunk of people that haven’t worked their first job until after they’ve graduated.
                It’s almost as if the students are two separate groups. Those that had to work their way through school and are very work savvy Vs those that went all the way through school with little to no experience.

                1. AMT*

                  True, but to be honest, self-inflicted workplace ignorance well into someone’s twenties or thirties doesn’t do much to arouse sympathy in me. I agree that it would be a generous thing for the LW to do, but in no way should they feel guilty about deciding not to.

                2. Autumnheart*

                  It might be someone’s obligation to coach a grown adult into how to behave in the workplace. But if I’m that person’s peer, it’s definitely not my obligation. Part of the privilege that experience earns you is that you get a leg up over the inexperienced competition. That’s kinda how it should work, not the other way around.

                  I had to start working in high school so that I’d have money for basic expenses, whereas someone who had parental financial support had the privilege of being able to focus on their studies, and not split their time between school and job. They got a privilege that I didn’t, but that doesn’t obligate them to make it up to me. Conversely, their having that privilege meant that they made a choice that gave them a disadvantage later on. Okay, well, that’s life. It’s not my obligation to make it up to them.

                3. Engineer Girl*

                  Autumnheart – not necessarily so.
                  Some parents won’t let their kids work for a variety of reasons (control, pride, etc). The kid grows up without practical experience.

                  I was one of those kids. I finally broke away and put myself through university. It was an incredibly tough learning experience because people assumed I had privilege and support when I did not. I would also say that the blue collar jobs I worked to get through school were not at all sufficient for showing me how to behave in a professional environment. The “rules” were totally different.

  9. Ali G*

    #4 if the recruiter insists, you could proactively reach out to your references, tell them what’s up (and apologize for the inconvenience if you want) and let them know it’s OK to ignore the recruiter if she makes contact with them. Make sure they are aware of when a real reference check is happening so they don’t ignore that too.

  10. TootsNYC*

    Precisely because our OP doesn’t like Monica because of her personal contact w/ the woman outside the office, I can totally see why she might not feel good about going to the hiring manager and saying, “Monica was an intern at another place I worked, and she was really frustrating for people. She talked over people frequently, and had all sorts of solutions for things on her first day.”

    Also, this is a lot about personality and not as much about accomplishing the job. It’s also the sort of mistake a rookie makes.
    Maybe Monica got better (she certainly got a little older and more experienced)–and our OP wasn’t her direct supervisor.

    So I know I would feel really mean about going to the hiring manager and saying, “because of her personality, maybe you shouldn’t hire her.” It just feels like an unfair interference. Someone else might be able to deal with Monica; maybe Monica has learned; maybe those mistakes aren’t such a big deal to someone else, but our OP is at “eating crackers” w/ Monica.
    If Monica is too annoying for words, that ought to come out in the interview.
    Plus, I’d be showing my personal annoyance in a place where there’s someone else who thinks the world of Monica–I run a big risk of looking petty.

    But I’m TOTALLY ok w/ either not replying until later (“sorry–saw this too late”) or replying now, “Sorry, I can’t really help.” You don’t even have to say “good luck” if you don’t want to (maybe be really short w/ the rest of the message so it looks like you are a breezy note writer).

    1. Delta Delta*

      I think it’s safe to tell the hiring person OP worked with Monica in the past and is able to give information about how she is as a coworker. I’d even keep the initial conversation about it bland and neutral so that it doesn’t seem like OP is trying to torpedo her. Also, if OP thought she was great she would telegraph that up front.

    2. Arctic*

      And there is actually someone in this firm who thinks the world of her. So, LW is being advised to overrule this other person, who may have more experience with Monica, based on behavior from when she was an intern.
      It’s a really bad idea.

  11. SheLooksFamiliar*

    OP 5, you wrote: ‘The person responsible told me that my application was indeed received and that I would hear back from the team should there be mutual interest. I’m getting pretty impatient that it’s close to two weeks and I haven’t heard back. ‘

    I don’t mean to be unkind, OP 5, but you already got an answer – you would hear back ‘should there be mutual interest’ – and you now have confirmation that they are not interested in you – they have not contacted you. Reiterating your interest will only make you look less appealing and, frankly, out of touch with the interview process. I promise you, they already know you’re interested: you applied, and you followed up inappropriately twice. Please, move on to other companies,and good luck to you.

    1. MonteCristo85*

      I was pretty much coming here to say the same thing. That was a pretty clear “no” as far as I’m concerned. You should move on.

  12. Delta Delta*

    #2 I worked with a guy like Bob. His wife and kids called ALL THE TIME. They’d call straight to his desk several times and if they didn’t reach him they’d call his cell. If he was in a meeting he usually wouldn’t take his phone so there’d be 2 phones blowing up on his desk. (And so so so loud. Why so loud? No idea) Finally I got sick of it after a year or so and went and answered once. His wife, who is great, was surprised and it suddenly dawned on her that his phone was disrupting everyone. It stopped after that.

    1. ursula*

      UGH I have a manager (our Executive Director, actually), who regularly fields calls from her GROWN ADULT children in the middle of meetings. They are not of the “house on fire” variety, sometimes are under a minute long but often more than a few minutes. As a result I now know uncomfortable things about her family life, eg that she does not think her kids (who are roughly my age) can manage simple things like finding an apartment and signing a lease. I did not want this, and I do not want it! It bothers me so much. I wish I could pull a power move and answer her phone for her.

    2. Horrified*

      What if this was a woman receiving calls from her boyfriend/husband umpteen times a day? I think we might look at it differently and consider that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship.

      So, how do you handle it then? Say “Bob, these calls are really disruptive”, have him pass the word on to his girlfriend and then reap the punishment at home? I honestly don’t know the correct course of action.

      I’ve been in a couple of office situations like this. One where there were dozens of calls a day from the controlling boyfriend, and one where the boyfriend showed up at work all the time. In the first example, I was the manager and just had to flat out ask her if she was being abused and if I could put her in touch with a crisis hotline. Yes and yes were the answers. It helped for a small time, but she stayed in the relationship and eventually left the job.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        I’ve been in situations where what was happening was that my supervisor’s wife was just going through something. I don’t know what thing, but a thing. She’d call him to talk her down. Luckily it only happened for a month or so, and was only once a day or so.

        1. valentine*

          What if this was a woman receiving calls from her boyfriend/husband umpteen times a day?
          You can only manage the workplace and your employees, not anyone else’s relationship, especially if it’s abusive. You tell the employee what you need (phone off or silent, metrics) and let them decide if they can meet those requirements. If they share the constraints and you can think of a job they can do while meeting those, share that, sure, but getting involved will blow back on you, like the OP who let their abused employee stay on the property (a hotel or the like), only for her to invite the abuser there.

  13. Amber Rose*

    I checked LinkedIn for fun. It’s been so long that I found an unread Merry Christmas message from my aunt.

    LinkedIn isn’t one of those social media sites that lends itself to daily use I find.

  14. nnn*

    Another option for #1 is “Unfortunately I don’t have any advice for you. I’m an X, so I haven’t interviewed as a Y.”

    1. Jill*

      I like this approach better than ignoring the request, especially if it is true. There is something to be said for integrity.

  15. Le Sigh*

    LW#5: Back off immediately. I know two weeks is an eternity to you, but it’s not to the company. And I’m really sympathetic to how you’re feeling–I’ve been there. But some factors to consider:
    -Last time I hired, I got 100+ applications for one opening. I was hiring because I was underwater, so it took me at least three weeks just to sort through them and figure out who met the basic hiring qualifications–while doing all of my regular work.
    -I rarely check LinkedIn so I probably wouldn’t see messages from candidates. And even if I did, I might choose not to respond for any number of reasons. Like I said, 100+ applicants, and even if a quarter or half reach out to me on LinkedIn, I’m underwater, I don’t have the time to respond to all of them!
    -Applying and initially reaching out is fine, but at a certain point, repeatedly trying to make them respond through multiple channels starts to feel like someone is harassing me and throwing rocks at my window, trying to make me respond. If a candidate kept this up, I’d question their fitness for the role.
    -The last time *I* was hired, it was three to four weeks before I heard back after applying. Two weeks is normal!

  16. Fergus*

    You don’t owe Monica anything and there is a reason LinkedIn has a block feature. It’s there for a reason and I am more than happy to engage that feature for any reason.

    Here are some reasons
    Monica is annoying
    Monica is over bearing
    Monica is a liar
    Monica is a know it all
    Monica wants things but will not give in retun
    best reason for me

    I just don’t like Monica and that is my go to all the time to block Monica whether in be LinkedIn, email, phone, etc

    1. No Mercy Percy*

      I found their block feature very useful, almost as useful as their “delete account” feature.

  17. No Mercy Percy*

    #1 my instinct is to just ignore her request. I don’t have LinkedIn anymore, and I hardly ever logged on when I did.

    Alison’s advice is definitely kinder to Monica, but being chilly towards Monica will probably make her less likely to pester you with such requests in the future, which is something you probably want. Any potential blowback from your family/church can easily be covered with “I hardly ever check my LinkedIn.” Plausible, because it’s true for so many people.

    1. L. S. Cooper*

      There’s definitely ways to be chilly and polite that (hopefully) Monica will understand!
      (And I like your username.)

  18. Elizabeth Proctor*

    Oh LW 5, do not reach out again. Forget about this application. If they want to talk to you they know how to find you.

  19. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    Another point for OP1. Be prepared to listen. Especially if there is any chance you are going to blurt anything about how you really feel. She just wants to talk about the job, herself and how great she’ll be for it. Let her. Don’t point out that this is exactly what people find annoying about her.

  20. Bopper*

    “Sure, Monica…may I offer you some coaching? Don’t talk over people, don’t interruptthe director while they are talking to vendors and don’t offer up ideas as solutions …that is what I saw you do on the first day of your internship and it was very offputting. Instead, Listen to people, don’t interrupt, and talk to your mentor about ideas before bring them up before everyone.”

  21. Clue Phone*

    OP#1, this Monica situation needs to be nipped in the bud. Alison’s advice is great here – you should utilize *both* a message (“sorry can’t help, super busy rn, you’ll do great!”), *and* a chat with the hiring manager.

    You have specialized knowledge about a candidate, and your workplace needs to know that she isn’t a good fit. This isn’t gossiping – this is you steering your workplace away from some rocks. That’s both looking out for your workplace *and* self-care.

    No sane hiring manager would let any candidate know that you had spoken with them, but it’s worth the gentle reminder to keep it under wraps that you weighed in.

    Monica will find something else. Your primary responsibility is to yourself and your co-workers. Being Nice is so ingrained into many of us, but there’s no reason you need to put yourself through the pain of working with her again!

  22. Clue Phone*

    OP#5, this recruiter is just using you to look for leads. Nope nope nope.

    Lots of recruiters, especially at a staffing agency, are paid by the number of phonecalls they make in a day, and this one is wasting your time for their own paycheck.

    Recruiters are middlemen (I hate this term, is there one that’s less gendered? “Interloper”? “Blockage”?) at best, and near-scammers at worst. This one is looking at your resume, looking at past places you’ve been, and thinking *there’s* a lead, let me call that person with the excuse that I’m “prepping” them; I’ll make my daily quota, and while I’m at it I can ask that past job if they have any openings I can fill.

    If this recruiter is in-house at the place you’re applying, all this may not apply, of course.

  23. Clue Phone*

    OP#5, if it’s a small field you’re in, you’ll want to tread very carefully. You could end up the kind of anecdote people share at industry conferences. You’ll apply at a different product design firm, and you won’t know this, but they’ll already know your name, because you bugged Alice and Bob so much at the first place that they gave others a heads up.

    I risk adult-splaining here, and for that I regret. You mentioned you really want this job, but – your feelings aren’t really at play here. Lots of other things are in the mix about how a place gets back to you and when, and your feelings are among the most minor things anyone in this situation cares about. It’s OK to not react to your feelings as if they are deeply meaningful. What’s meaningful is how you come across to this firm.

    There’s a good reason I know these things in my bones, and you don’t want to hear the story ;-)

  24. Lygeia*

    Question #5 makes me wish everyone read this blog. I work at a recruiting firm, and people will try to contact us 5 different ways in the same week. Look, we know you want a job. Chill out or we really will never talk to you.

    And yeah, #4, that’s not normal. Interview prepping for the candidate is one thing (though this sounds kind of excessive unless you’re really junior), but reference prepping? No. Recruiters shouldn’t want to give a reference any reason to feel put upon or resentful either.

  25. Arctic*

    I think going to a Hiring Manager, when people in the firm love Monica, and saying she made some blunders on her first day as an intern will make LW look petty. She’s going against people established in this firm who love Monica based on what is mostly just personal annoyances and examples of bad behavior on her first day as an INTERN (when she is supposed to be learning.)

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I think I’d tell LW1 to keep her mouth shut if someone higher up than her loves Monica and LW1 is at BEC with her. LW1 is going to have to live with Monica in her life for a long time, apparently, and it’s easier to just pretend to get along.

      I’d nth to either ignore the request or say “Sorry, I don’t know much about X so I can’t help!”, but if you just find Monica annoying and the higher-up doesn’t, I’d be worried about it blowing back on me.

  26. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP3… You say the team was close to meeting its goals. Are you upset because you think his team is doing extra work to cover for him? Or just because you don’t like the way it looks? He could simply be keeping up with his share of the work by staying late when he has a morning emergency or coming in early when he had to leave early the day before.
    That kind of flexibility can keep a good performer in a job for years when they’d otherwise have left.
    In which case what it looks like from the outside is that NewHire got a great boss who uses flex time to encourage loyalty in good employees.

    1. JayNay*

      Also, for OP3, I think there’s a middle ground here. You can, for example, ask the manager in question to give you a bit more notice, as in “can you let us know at the beginning of the week if you need to leave early on specific days? that would really help with our planning.”

  27. Hiring Mgr*

    Monica sounds a little annoying sure… but just curious–what does it mean when OP says she offers ideas as solutions?

  28. High Heels*

    #1 Please show kindness towards Monica, it won’t take anything away from you. She may have since improved since you last worked with her, give her a chance (we all deserve) and pls don’t go to your manager about her past. Never bring up the past of a person who is trying to improve their life.

  29. StaceyIzMe*

    You’re connected, but not in a good way. I think it might be overkill to forward your prior experience with her as an intern to the hiring manager unless it is actively solicited. Because she has an advocate at the company that LOVES her, you have no way of knowing how that will play out. You could come across as credible and a valuable source of insider data. Or you could come across as a know-it-all/ tattle tale. I think the most you could do is give your own boss a heads-up and see if they want to pass it along or have you speak with the hiring manager. Since you don’t have to work directly with her, you don’t have much of a stake here. You also don’t have to advise her on how to get hired. That’s an easy “ignore”. But I have to ask- is she really that bad all of the time, or are you just put off by a few select memories of some of her foibles? It’s good to check out your frame of reference, because sometimes when people truly irritate us we become disinclined to see them clearly thereafter. That’s an understandable reaction but one that would not serve you well long term.

  30. Last_codon*

    #1 I support either ignoring or giving a polite vague refusal. Given that Monica is several years younger and was an intern when OP first met her, I’d also give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible she grew out of the annoying traits.

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