job candidate’s suspicious husband photographed me before her interview

A reader writes:

I had a strange experience yesterday, and I think I need some perspective.

I am a C-level department head. Recently, I volunteered to go temporarily to another location (very far from my home) that experienced a sudden and unforeseen leadership vacancy. Since I have no intention of staying here, I told senior executive leadership on the first day that one of my priorities during my time here would be to find them a permanent fill.

A few weeks and several virtual interviews later, we have a solid candidate who was invited for an on-site visit. This candidate’s current job is in the same region, but by no means close to the one for which they are interviewing. I was the primary guide through her day here, beginning with picking her up at the hotel that morning. At the appointed time, I was in the lobby and the candidate comes down along with her spouse. This is not a huge surprise since they were obliged to drive a long (but not unreasonable) distance to get here and, after all, if they are going to move it’s natural for them to decide together whether the location itself is a fit.

As the candidate and I are exchanging initial pleasantries, I become aware that the husband is photographing me. It is instantly apparent that this is not simply a little harmless shutterbuggery, but rather that he is essentially taking mugshots of me from different angles. His brusque demeanor contributes to my impression that he believes or suspects that I intend the candidate harm. I did not react and pretended to ignore it. It was clear the candidate was slightly embarrassed (though not mortified), and laughed, saying something to the effect of, “Spouse is just soooo protective of me.”

Spouse then insisted on knowing where we would be going and whether we would be walking or driving. I showed them both the day’s itinerary and that we’d be going to multiple locations, and so would be doing a little of both.

Obviously, this was all really bizarre, not to mention an unsolicited invasion of my privacy. For reference, I am male in my mid-forties and they appeared to be slightly older. I’ll also add that I was in a business suit with my credentials and photo on a lanyard around my neck. Not that this would preclude criminal behavior, but I think it does communicate a certain level of professional demeanor and above-board transparency that I feel ought to have been obvious.

I personally feel that anyone exercising this level of control over their spouse’s professional associations, whereabouts, and means of transportation is borderline abusive. Moreover, I can see where such behavior (or having to live with it) could potentially hinder success in the role for which the candidate is applying. On the other hand, the candidate has enjoyed a tremendous professional career, is both intelligent and talented, and would be a great fit. There is nothing substantive that suggests to me that the candidate’s spouse has in any way hindered or stifled her career up to this point. Finally, the candidate did not seem to be as bothered by her husband’s behavior as I was.

So here’s the conundrum: I most certainly don’t want to be the one to needlessly hoist a red flag and potentially torpedo the candidate’s further professional success, but this experience was disquieting. Do I mention this to the senior executive to whom the candidate would report, or am I overthinking and projecting my own personal feelings onto the situation?

Whoa. Treating your spouse’s interviewer with this level of suspicion while pointedly photographing him from all angles is … incredibly odd. And it’s so undermining to the wife — just look at the pause it’s already given you.

How is this guy going to handle his wife meeting with other virtual strangers who she might come in contact with through work?

And to be clear, it’s not that people shouldn’t be careful when they’re meeting with strangers. But they both knew who you were and what company you worked for. If something happened to the wife, they’d know you were with her, without any photographs at all. (Unless you’d set up an entire fake company for the purpose of fake interviews, I suppose … but then how can she ever go on any interview at all without him chaperoning?) But even if they felt photographing you was an important security measure, the husband could have done it more discreetly; doing it so pointedly makes it feel like a performance of suspicion — “I want you to see you won’t get away with whatever horrible deed you’re planning!”

In any case, there are two possibilities here, and they’re each concerning in different ways.

One possibility is that the husband is controlling to the point of abusive, and the wife — we’ll call her Jane — doesn’t welcome or condone his behavior but doesn’t feel safe pushing back. She shouldn’t be penalized for that. In fact, having a job away from him may be a lifeline for her.

The second possibility is that Jane is more or less fine with her husband’s behavior and doesn’t understand how bizarrely it comes across.

In both scenarios, you have to worry about how else the husband might interfere with Jane’s professional interactions if you hire her. Is he going to try to intimidate her male colleagues at work events? Call you to complain if she’s working longer hours than he’d like? Show up and stare at you hostilely if she’s late for lunch? What if she has to travel for business with a male colleague?

But in the first scenario, Jane wouldn’t be to blame, and it’s wrong to penalize her for the abusive actions of a spouse. And you don’t have any way of knowing if this is the first or the second scenario.

So I’d proceed with her without factoring this in. Check references thoroughly, as you should do anyway. And then if she’s hired and the husband’s behavior is a problem, it can be addressed at that point — either with her (“we can’t let Bob stand in the back of the conference room while we’re meeting; can you ask him to wait for you outside?”) or with him directly (“I can’t discuss Jane with you and I’ll need to hang up now”).

I do think, though, that you should mention it to the executive who Jane would be reporting to. Stress that Jane is smart, talented, and accomplished and that there’s no evidence that the husband has hindered her, but you wanted to flag it in case the husband pops up in other weird ways. That way the executive won’t be blindsided if he does continue to crop up as an issue — and if he does, she’ll know right off the bat that it’s part of a pattern, which can make it easier to address at that point.

The idea isn’t to hold it against Jane, but to pass on potentially useful info to the manager (and if Bob does become a problem, it risks looking bad that you didn’t mention the interview photo shoot when it happened).

And as a general public service announcement: The right role for spouses to play in interviews is behind-the-scenes support, not security officer or bodyguard or photographer.

Poor Jane.

{ 656 comments… read them below }

  1. StlBlues*

    Honestly, this would freak me out so much that I wouldn’t move forward with Jane. I would feel badly for Jane, but I would want to protect myself and other employees from having to interact with Bob.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Eh. If she’s the most qualified candidate they get, I don’t know that it makes sense to essentially penalize her for something incredibly off-putting her husband did, especially if you don’t know whether this was just a one-off incident triggered by something deeply upsetting that happened to them in the past.

      1. Anne Elliot*

        For me, the interview would have started right then, with me observing how Jane manages a family member who is acting inappropriately. I would have immediately said to Jane, “Why is your husband taking pictures of me? This makes me very uncomfortable” and then seen how she responded both to him and to me. If she is prioritizing her husband’s comfort over mine — the person interviewing her for a new job! — I absolutely would hold it against Jane and likely would not hire her.

        The potential that Bob is an abusive spouse would not change this. My role is to hire the best person for the job and that is not a person with a spouse who so aggressively demonstrates a refusal to observe professional boundaries and norms, before his spouse is even hired.

        1. chaco*

          Wow, this is all kinds of problematic. Jane is not responsible for managing her husband’s behavior and his professionalism or lack thereof should not factor into your decision because you’re not hiring him!

          1. charo*

            But she chose to bring him to an INTERVIEW, like she’d bring a dog who pees on your shoes.
            Or bring a bodyguard. What would you say to that? No problem?

              1. Poor bob*

                Do I feel sorry for her? Absolutely. Am I going to hire a person who’s spouse is a couple of bricks short of a couple of bricks? Absolutely not. What other bad thing could he do? They get in a fight, does he take it out on her coworkers? Not sure but he has already shown he is not all there.
                I say part of hiring is weeding out extraneous nonwork issues that you can see cropping up.

                1. Oh No She Di'int*

                  part of hiring is weeding out extraneous nonwork issues that you can see cropping up

                  True enough, but if you start screening for bizarre family members . . . um, pretty much no one would have a job.

                2. Ms. Ann Thropy*

                  Totally agree. The husband has shown he will be a problem for anyone in Jane’s workplace. He has shown a disdain for norms, and Jane, for whatever reason, shrugs it off. OP is not hiring in a vacuum but must consider the impact hiring Jane could have on the rest of the company. It’s understandable not to want to punish Jane for (maybe) being in an abusive relationship, but don’t bring a problem into the workplace when you have a choice.

                3. JSPA*

                  So you regularly screen people’s spouses (and maybe their parents and siblings and adult offspring), as part of the hiring process?

                  No, you almost certainly don’t, unless you work someplace with security clearance level background checks.

                  Discriminating against the one that you saw is pretty much meaningless as protection for you, but it’s sure enough hell for her.

                4. Yorick*

                  You don’t regularly screen for someone’s spouse or family members, but you screen for weird stuff that happens during the interview. If it seems like that weird stuff could interfere, you pick the other candidate who would do a good job and hasn’t already shown evidence that weird stuff will happen.

                5. Raven*

                  @JSPA

                  Regularly? No. But if the interviewee makes them a part of the interview process? Certainly.

                  Just like you don’t regularly evaluate someone’s pets, but if they bring Fifi to the interview and she bites the receptionist, that’s significant. It’s not the fact that Fifi (I’m imagining an overbred miniature poodle here) bites; it’s the fact that the interviewee thought that bringing this dog to an interview was a good thing to do.

                  In any interview, a candidate is displaying what they are like. They are saying, in effect, “this is who and what I am.” If you just wanted to know their qualifications, you could just read their resume. Jane has demonstrated that she is a person whose husband acts very intrusively, to a concerning extent. And people show off their best side at an interview; if they’re hired, things get worse, not better. Their attitude, presentation, grooming, promptness, and so on, won’t become better if they’re hired, any more than their skills will; if anything, they’ll get worse.

                  AAM has had multiple letters about spouses who constantly call to monitor an employee’s presence, demand that they leave at certain times, physically show up in the office, and so on. They’re management problems. And this is a management problem in the making.

              2. Anon 2.0*

                And if he’s abusive I do not want that introduced to my company. What if she chooses to leave him or he blames the company for her behavior? Is he going to stalk/follow/harass/or harm people at our company? I am not putting others at risk so Jane can have a job.

                1. chaco*

                  That’s a really messed up position. You’re going to exclude someone explicitly because they might be the victim of abuse?

                2. Max's Manager*

                  Wow so I guess good luck to all victims of abuse trying to flee through a better job with financial stability.

                3. Anon for this one due to a violent family member*

                  (Assuming it is an “abuse situation”) I feel for both Jane and the OP here. Jane because this job and financial independence may be a ‘way out’ or at least an escape for a while (for all the reasons others have stated) and also for OP as they are between a rock and a hard place. Jane would be great for the job and OP probably would want to give Jane the opportunity to get out, except that there’s this risk management perspective that says “what about the risk we’d be introducing to our other employees?”

                  I’ve gone anon for this one due to having a close (but ‘estranged’) family member with a history of violence and increasingly bizarre behaviour. I’ve gone to lengths to keep myself unknown to this person so that they can’t find out where I work, where I live, etc — as I genuinely fear for the consequences if they get into one of their ‘outbursts’ and have the potential to take it out on my co-workers, my pets, etc. It is a real fear and a real thing to be concerned about from a risk management perspective.

                  I’m sure I will be roasted for this but it isn’t OPs moral responsibility to ‘save’ Jane.

                4. nakto of shangor*

                  No roasting at all. You are exactly right. We all feel sorry for Jane, but we have a higher duty to ensure the safety of our current employees. They’re not coming to work to be proxies for the husband’s problems.

              3. Yorick*

                Well, if he wants to come to her workplace and watch everybody, will she have a choice then? They have to make the best decision for the company.

            1. chaco*

              She didn’t bring him to an interview. He walked her down to the hotel lobby where she was being picked up for her interview. It’s still weird but not at all the same.

              1. charo*

                It’s beyond “weird” because LW picked up on attitude.
                And the interview starts the moment you see each other.

                1. chaco*

                  Even the LW said he was picking her up for the interview, not that he was starting the interview in the hotel lobby.

              2. Quill*

                Yeah, the “being picked up from a hotel lobby” bit is where I thought that Jane’s husband may have taken safety advice in a new and bizzarre direction.

              3. charo*

                I didn’t say being abused = being alcoholic, that’s very poor reading comprehension. But making excuses for someone’s black eye or cleaning up vomit can = ENABLING.

                It means, aiding and abetting bad behavior while thinking you’re being “nice.”

                The wife walked to the lobby WITH husband, per the Question. They drove a long way together. She was with him.

                1. Pomona Sprout*

                  “I didn’t say being abused = being alcoholic”

                  Not trying to be snippy, but who said you did? I honestly can’t figure out what you were responding to here. I don’t see any comment mentioning alcoholism. Could be I missed something (it’s been known to happen), but is it also possible that you misinterpreted something?

                  If I’m wrong, please point me to the comment you were responding to, and I’ll apologize all over the place. I promise! :-)

              4. Sunshine*

                If he just walked her down, exchanged a greeting and exited that would be perfectly normal and acceptable. But, that isn’t what happened. He inserted himself into the “interview” by taking photos and asking questions regarding the itinerary.

            2. DinoGirl*

              In our state, at least, domestic violence victim status is a protected class. With considering although the logistics there become hard…tricky here because you don’t know, per se. But as Allison says, husband is a problem you can deal with after the fact, if it continues.

              1. charo*

                I’d push the husband while he had the camera going, to see if he’s triggered by confrontation. Better in the lobby than after she’s hired.
                And I’d speak to her about it too. Ask her questions. Because she allowed this.
                His or her answers may help rule her in or out. Ideally he’d take a swing at you and miss and lobby Security would grab him.

                1. chaco*

                  She allowed this? LW also did not try to stop it, so did he allow it? Should we question his professionalism? Or should we extend a little grace and consider that this situation sounds really awkward and unexpected all around.

                  Pushing someone to try to trigger them into a confrontation is a bad idea. Your comments make it sound like you have very poor understanding of abuse and violence dynamics in general.

              2. Artemesia*

                Until the day he shows up at the office with a gun. Once you have an abused employee the rules change but why would you hire someone with the judgment involved in having a potentially dangerous husband accompany her to the interview? Sometimes you have to deal with this and people have died as a result; you shouldn’t invite it in.

                1. Dahlia*

                  Because abused people can be great employees and you shouldn’t discriminated against victims of abuse???

                2. JSPA*

                  discriminating against people for being the victim of a crime is straight out illegal in some states, at least as far as housing and services. Not sure if and where it extends to hiring (but it probably should).

                  The thing is, literally anyone, at any time, can be a target; but statistically, women are hugely more likely to be targets of murderous levels of domestic violence. So are several minorities. So by screening out anybody who you deem likely to be a target for violence, you actually do discriminate on the basis of both gender and race, even if that’s not your intention.

                  It’s like presuming discrimination if people of a particular gender or race are paid (statistically) significantly worse than people of a different demographic, in substantially equivalent jobs. The discrimination does not have to be individual or discriminatory in INTENT, to be discriminatory in its EFFECT.

                3. Mayati*

                  That’s a very good reason to implement safety plans for the entire workforce (including sick-and-safe leave, security entrances, etc.), not a good reason for an employer to discriminate against people it perceives as being abuse victims — especially since that often looks like discrimination against women and members of certain minority groups that are stereotyped as having high rates of domestic abuse.

                4. Sunshine*

                  Why would you hire someone that you know/expect is bringing drama and baggage? I don’t know if she is abused or not but it does seem pretty clear that the husband has a high potential for bringing drama to the work place. She may be a great employee but that can be out weighed by “over protective” husband calling 50 times a day, or stalking business meetings taking photos of clients. It is on Jane to manage the husband ahead of time and if she doesn’t realize his behavior is crossing the line the I question her judgement.

              3. Yorick*

                This means you shouldn’t not hire her because you recognize her from your volunteer day at a woman’s shelter, or because you know she was in court about it, or she has bruises, or whatever. Here, the issue isn’t whether she’s abused or not, it’s about whether hiring her is going to invite unprofessional behavior into the office.

                1. Traffic_Spiral*

                  Yeah, there’s always a balance between how much you want to help someone and how much you’re willing to subject yourself and the rest of your team to possible threats.

          2. Mama Bear*

            I have always interviewed with the idea that the “interview” starts the moment I arrive – they see how I react to the front desk staff, to customers, to other employees, how patiently or impatiently I waited, how early I am… She was meeting her interviewer at the hotel at an appointed time. Clock started the moment he arrived and identified himself to her, IMO, whether or not he made any pointed remarks.

            1. charo*

              There’s a pop psych. saying:
              “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
              Not true every single time, but in general, it applies.

              I would NEVER be rude to the Receptionist. It could be the boss’s daughter.

              1. Swan*

                Even if the receptionist was the cleaner’s daughter, I’d still be nice to her. This sounds like you’d only be nice to people in case they might be powerful. Which is.. not nice.

                1. tangerineRose*

                  Yeah. It’s easiest to just default to be nice to everyone unless they’re mean first.

              2. Artemesia*

                Or it could be the boss’s boss as has happened in at least one letter here. Of course you should be decent and civil to everyone but it is really shooting yourself in the foot to not be civil to people you don’t know whom you encounter during an interview.

              3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

                I would NEVER be rude to the Receptionist. It could be the boss’s daughter.

                This is a bit of a strange sentiment imo! I wouldn’t be rude to a Receptionist (or anyone else) as it’s not nice to be rude and I am not that sort of person… not just because you never know if they are (unknown to you) in a position of more ‘power’ than you expected due to family connections or whatever!

                It’s not really a personal attack on you charo as I have heard this sentiment expressed by many people, but I always find it a little bit surprising!

                I find it’s really easier (and I am quite lazy so I always go for the easy option) to conduct myself politely rather than have to put on my politeness ‘face’ when it might matter!

              4. Raven*

                It could be the boss’s daughter. Or it could just be some random receptionist. But a good employer is going to pay attention to how prospective employees treat the receptionist in any event. The way to tell what a person is really like isn’t to watch how they treat people they consider superiors — it’s how they treat people they consider inferiors. And who those people are.

                It’s like evaluating someone on a first date by how they treat the waitress.

          3. Marzipan Shepherdess*

            And we don’t know the whole story here; Jane’s husband may indeed be abusive, but it’s also possible that there was some traumatic incident in their past (a narrowly-escaped attempted kidnapping, a threatening ex or an assault) that has led him to behave this way. Of course she should prioritize her own safety and get out if he’s abusive! That should go without saying.

            But if he’s NOT abusive, no interiewer or employer should expect their interviewees or employees to prioritize their jobs over their spouses – and they shouldn’t be doing that themselves either! Companies and agencies go out of business, all jobs are subject to downsizing and most employees eventually retire. When that happens, workers who’ve put their jobs before everything else can find themselves minus both job AND spouse, and very often facing a lonely old age. Companies may absolutely LOVE workers who neglect their family commitments for their jobs, but those companies are not the people who will have to live with the long-term consequences of doing so.

            1. valentine*

              no interiewer or employer should expect their interviewees or employees to prioritize their jobs over their spouses
              It’s fine to prioritize a job (especially if it stops you being homeless), or whatever else you like, over coddling a spouse who behaves inappropriately.

              1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

                IF your spouse behaves inappropriately / abusively, then by all means prioritize your safety, which often means prioritizing your job – it can be the lifeline that enables you to life independently! No argument here!
                However, I was describing the expectation (that I’ve read about far too often) that employees should ALWAYS put their jobs before their families. (And don’t get me started on companies that say “But we’re all family here!” Umm…no. Just no.) Would YOU like to be married to someone who makes it clear that you’re strictly second-fiddle to their job? (No, I didn’t think so! ;)

                1. Traffic_Spiral*

                  You’re confusing “second fiddle to a job” with “expectation that basic office norms will be observed.”

          4. Amaranth*

            That’s a good point, I’m wondering how to approach this topic with her references. You can’t really imply ‘I got the sense her husband might be abusive’ but is there a reasonable way to ask about whether her home life encroaches on work?

            1. 'Tis Me*

              “How long did you know Jane for? Her husband came to the interview and I met him when he walked her down to the lobby; he seemed very protective of her. Did their dynamic impact on her work when you worked with her previously?”

              If the reference asks what you mean a matter-of-fact” He photographed her interviewer from several angles and interrogated him about their itinerary” should suffice. Given Jane didn’t seem thrown by it this shouldn’t embarrass her but could open the discussion or at least alert somebody she trusts and respects that things seem potentially off.

              1. Jen*

                I have been the subject of similar photos by parents who dropped their children off in my facility for the first time when I operated a small private childcare and educational center. Women are disappearing at an alarming rate across the country and there are reports of elaborate trafficking rings being discovered constantly. These people had to drive a distance to a new area, a strange man was picking up the wife/ applicant and taking her to work sites in which she had never been before. While it might seem odd or over protective, it also is the reality of where we are in our society. What does Jane’s husband do for a living? Does he perhaps have a background in law enforcement?

                1. What*

                  This … is not true. It’s weird Q-adjacent conspiracy theory stuff. The vast majority of people who are being sex-trafficked are not being kidnapped during what appears to be a normal (high ranking!) job interview, they’re already marginalized people who’s vulnerability is exploited by traffickers.

          5. Beth*

            This would be true if she hadn’t brought him along to the interview. But she did. Maybe it was her choice, maybe it was her circumstances/something he imposed on her…either way it’s specific to her, it’s not something that comes with most candidates. I personally lean towards Alison’s perspective–this is worth noting but isn’t necessarily disqualifying, especially if she’s a very strong candidate in other regards–but I don’t think it makes sense to somehow pretend it didn’t happen or that it doesn’t reflect on Jane at all.

            1. chaco*

              She didn’t bring him to the interview. She brought him to the hotel in the region they were considering moving to. He walked to the lobby with her where she was going to be picked up for her interview.

              Is it unprofessional for someone to give their spouse a ride to an interview but not go in the building? Because that’s the closest comparison I can come up with. He did not attempt to go to the actual interview or even the business itself.

              1. Ash*

                He could have stayed in the hotel room. He chose to walk down to the lobby. I would have never let my spouse go down to the lobby with me where my interviewer was picking me up.

                1. Yorick*

                  I could imagine the spouse walking down to the lobby at the same time so he could go get breakfast or whatever. But I’d expect at the most a very quick introduction and then he leaves.

              2. Beth*

                All I can say is, when I’ve had interviews where I was put up in a hotel room, I assumed the interview was happening in any moment where anyone from the company could see me. I do actually think it’s weird that he walked her to the lobby. I think it’s weird that he stayed with her as she greeted the person she was meeting, instead of fading back as OP introduced himself. I think it’s a little odd he came along at all, even (not red-flag level weird, there are good reasons for a spouse to want to check out a new area, but it does strike me as a bit unusual). The weirdly aggressive photography and lack of response to it on her part is extra weird, of course, but none of the rest of this strikes me as normal for an interview either. I think a better comparison than a spouse dropping someone off outside the building, would be the spouse insisting on coming in and waiting in the lobby with them.

                1. 10Isee*

                  I ca’nt drive for medical reasons, so my spouse is usually my ride for interviews. They always stay as unobtrusive as possible, whether by staying in the parking lot or heading to the breakfast room or whatever, because the interview is about me and they don’t want to cause a distraction.

              3. Lady Meyneth*

                Your analogy would work if he had come down to the lobby and just sat somewhere until his wife left. He could even have discretely taken a couple pictures if he was truly worried. But when he demanded to know the details of the interviews’ itinerary, he absolutely crossed into deeply inappropriate.

                That’s not like getting a ride to an interview from a spouse, that’s having said spouse ask the interviewer which room the interview would be in and if they were taking the stairs or the elevator to get there. It may or may not be a red flag against a well qualified applicant, but it absolutely is information the interviewer should consider, especially since she made excuses for him (sooo protective).

          6. Biscuit*

            I respectfully have to disagree. I hire higher-level people, and if one showed up with a spouse or any guest I’d expect some explanation and not a “he’s soooo protective” comment. I would definitely have asked and taken the reaction as part of the overall package of information to evaluate.

        2. Themidnightmoon*

          Jane is NOT responsible for managing someone who is very clearly an abuser. I’m deeply disturbed by how many comments here think this. This is one more way that makes it hard for people to get away from these situations.

            1. Dahlia*

              The possibility of being homeless or losing your children or straight up dying from, say, a lack of health insurance, does tend to make leaving an abuser with no job a BIT harder.

            2. TyphoidMary (...my username seems in bad taste now)*

              I am literally a therapist who works with survivors of interpersonal violence and got my start working on rape crisis and domestic violence hotlines. Charo, you are basically hitting a bingo of dangerous myths about domestic violence. I’m glad you got to work on that documentary, I guess, but I’m really concerned about what you took away from it.

              To any folks reading this who are currently in abusive/dangerous relationships: I believe that you are making the best choice available to you for now. I hope you find the resources and support to get into a safer situation soon, but I understand that it may take planning and time. I also understand that you may feel love and obligation to your partner, and that does not make you foolish or somehow deserving of abuse.

            3. Mami21*

              Sure. You just have to ‘summon up the courage’ to leave the abuser, inevitably incurring their full and unrestrained wrath, and hope they don’t try to maim or kill you. I personally knew two seperate women who were murdered once they left their abuser, and there’s more horrific stories every day.

              But yeah, just takes a little gumption!

      2. charo*

        A “a one-off incident triggered by something deeply upsetting that happened to them in the past”? —
        If it happened in the past why would this be a “one-off”? Why wouldn’t it be ongoing behavior? She doesn’t even HAVE THE JOB yet. Why act like this when most are on their best behavior interviewing?

        Who does this? And in such an overt way? Not subtle, w/pretense.

        I’d ask her about this, privately.
        I’d bring it up as it was happening, too, and see if it triggers him, since he had attitude apparently. If you’re firm and take charge it can throw him, make him blurt out something. “What are you doing?” and “Why?” are appropriate.

        If he’d do this during an interview, what would he do when she had the job? If not dangerous, he’s at least ODD.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          If it happened in the past why would this be a “one-off”?

          People are assaulted, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that their loved ones become super cautious around everyone, but sometimes just around someone who fits the profile of the abuser.

          1. Amaranth*

            No, but it could be a fear-based overreaction. I wouldn’t immediately discount the possibility he is controlling but also not everyone reacts rationally to alarming situations. Even so, I wouldn’t discount there is something abusive going on just because she didn’t act alarmed or embarrassed – some people are great actors. Though if I were her, I’d have said ‘Tom likes to be careful after the mugging’ if that were the case. Its a bit strange if she didn’t even notice this behavior was beyond the norm.

        2. Rachel in NYC*

          I agree. And the fact that she’s had a successful job history doesn’t necessarily mean anything- OP doesn’t know when this marriage happened. Maybe this is a new marriage. Maybe it was an issue at previous jobs- she was great, he was a problem- and everyone agreed that she would move and no one would discuss it. (Which would make reference checks useless.)

          I’m just concerned with the answer of- “And then if she’s hired and the husband’s behavior is a problem, it can be addressed at that point.” This potential employee is being brought in for a leadership vacancy- are they really going to know if there is a problem with the husband?

          There are admittedly other potential explanations here for the husband’s strange behavior other then abuse or “a one-off incident triggered by something deeply upsetting that happened to them in the past”. Maybe the wife has a medical condition- thus the comment about walking or driving. That could also explain why he cared about where they were going.

          (I’ve got nothing to make medical condition connect to the photos. The photos is just strange. Maybe he was taking photos of the hotel? Any chance it was more then just a holiday inn express?)

          1. charo*

            LW was alarmed by the guy’s aggressive vibe, it’s there in black and white.

            Let’s read the QUESTION, it’s all we have.

            “Maybe they’re aliens and he was taking pics of this hotel for his report.”

          2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            I’ve got nothing to make medical condition connect to the photos. The photos is just strange. Maybe he was taking photos of the hotel?

            It seemed clear to OP that he was taking ‘mugshot-type’ photos of OP from various angles (front, sides, dorsal view). Sorry, I don’t buy that he could be just taking photos of the hotel, even if it is more than just a Holiday Inn Express, at the exact moment that she is greeting the interviewer!

            1. valentine*

              I don’t buy that he could be just taking photos of the hotel
              Jane knew he wasn’t doing that.

              There’s no need to try to make his behavior seem reasonable. It simply wasn’t and OP needs to focus on the facts in order to properly assess the threat.

              1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

                Yes! Not sure if you were disagreeing with me but just in case: I agree with you. OP, and Jane, both knew that he wasn’t just taking scenic pics of the hotel.

          3. Yorick*

            I’m also pretty concerned with Alison’s answer here. Are her direct reports going to feel comfortable reporting the husband’s bad behavior? If he calls and yells at her assistant when she’s not available, will the assistant know this is part of a pattern?

            And this is outside the fact that we don’t actually know she’s the victim of abuse and this COULD be an indication that she herself will act inappropriately or won’t really recognize when others do.

      3. Littorally*

        Is it penalizing her to have concern for the wellbeing and safety of employees besides her? Jane is not the only person OP needs to consider.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          And that’s why Alison said OP needs to do a thorough reference check to ensure her husband hasn’t overstepped in her prior workplaces. If he hasn’t and she’s the best qualified for the position, then I agree with Alison’s advice to alert the actual exec who’ll be making this decision/overseeing Jane about what happened, and then let the chips fall. But to not even put her forward without doing due diligence when she’s a good candidate is, IMO, a mistake.

        2. charo*

          People trying to stand up for Jane’s rights as an independent woman are actually implying that her “husband” has special rights that others don’t.
          If she brought her intrusive brother to the interview, it would seem more odd, and you wouldn’t defend him this way, but “husband”? You’re making excuses for him.
          The flip side of this debate is, “Do spouses have standing” here? Does a husband get to act proprietary and intrusive at his wife’s job interview? Or her job? Does he have rights her brother or cousin or friend don’t? Where does it end?
          Obviously a spouse gets some standing at a retirement party, but in the interview?
          She can care what her spouse says or does, but as an employee, she has a legal contract to be loyal to her employer, and if she brings unruly spouse along to any meeting it reflects on HER.

          And, “ooh, he’s her HUSBAND” doesn’t give him ANY special badge of honor.

          1. Helena1*

            It’s not that, it’s that if you live with somebody abusive, it is that much harder to stop them following you to interviews.

            Re: brothers, if the candidate was from a culture where it is normal for extended families to live together, and not unheard of for aggro brothers to “defend the honour” of their unmarried sisters (and I can think of multiple cultures where this is the case), then actually you might want to give some leeway to a younger woman attempting to assert some independence from her family.

            1. charo*

              There are lots of scenarios being projected here, and we don’t know.
              But he didn’t just “follow” her to an interview.

              We DO know what our standards and norms are, and LW says the man was out of line.

              An American company can’t change it’s hiring to fit every culture, the hire has to fit into the corporate culture.

          2. chaco*

            I don’t see anyone saying anything close to that. Almost everyone is saying that the husband acted inappropriately. Jane shouldn’t be held responsible for the actions of her husband (or brother/friend/cousin).

            1. charo*

              She has to be questioned about this incident, alone. Or do you insist husband gets to sit in on it?

              And if she brings anyone who’s intrusive or gives an aggressive vibe, which the Q. says he did, then she has to be held responsible for HER actions bringing him. She’s supposed to know him. What was she doing when he was aggressively photographing LW?

              1. chaco*

                Why are you arguing against things I’m not saying? LW should totally ask Jane about the situation and of course her husband doesn’t get to sit in.

                She brought him to the hotel to check out the area before they moved there. That is completely normal and the LW does not indicate that it is a violation of industry norms at all.

                Both LW and Jane opted not to confront him when he took pictures. If her actions are unprofessional, so are his, but I think freezing up or not confronting someone who is acting strangely is a perfectly acceptable response.

          3. Sharon*

            I see this as the same as when a candidate brings their mom to the interview. Jane is the one they are considering employing and it’s inappropriate to have anyone else involved. I would have shut this down right away and told the husband he did not have permission to photograph me and then ask JANE if she had any concerns about the interview we could address (e.g. maybe she’d prefer to take a cab to the interview site).

      4. soon to be former fed really*

        Her husband should not have been there! This is bizarre! It doesn’t matter why this nonsense happened, interiewers are not social workers. The commentariat is really bending over backwards to find justifications for strange behavior and there simply is no need. Any candidate who felt allowing a spouse to come to an interview does not abide by professional norms. I like to think women are empowered individuals. Just no to the entire scenario.

        1. Insert Clever Name Here*

          … he didn’t come to the interview, though. Jane was being picked up for her interview in the lobby of their hotel and he was in the lobby when she got picked up. His behavior is strange enough without adding in something that didn’t happen.

          1. charo*

            And many agree that the moment you see each other is when the interview really starts. You don’t belch and scratch until you’ve actually sat down at the table and pulled out a resume.

              1. charo*

                ha! Thanks for a laugh!

                This is a frustrating bunch of comments, because it reveals how often people mean well — yet tolerate the very behavior that we need to call someone on.

                Commenters want to be “nice” to a possibly abused woman by allowing her to bring the abuser to an interview and not call him on his nutty behavior.

                What would the husband have to do before some would say he’s gone too far and wife is part of the problem?

                1. chaco*

                  Literally no one is saying it’s ok to take her husband to the interview. He was in the lobby of the hotel. He is allowed to be in the lobby of the hotel, which is not even the location of the interview.

                  Should she be on her best behavior as soon as she meets people from the company? Yes. Does that somehow give her control of her husband’s behavior? No.

            1. Zombeyonce*

              Considering the number of people that are rude to office staff before they meet with an interview panel, the idea that an interview starts when you arrive is not an accepted standard just because some people here believe it to be so.

              1. charo*

                You don’t know if the parking lot dispute you had was w/your interviewer. You don’t know if the Receptionist is related to the boss.
                You don’t know and it’s tempting fate to think the clock starts only when you sit down at that table. But go ahead if you like to take chances.

                1. Zombeyonce*

                  You’re missing my point and I think disingenuously. You saying that some people believe an interview begins when a person arrives doesn’t translate to everyone in the world agreeing that Jane’s interview beginning when she arrived, thus her husband was definitely part of her interview and the LW should treat his actions as part of her actual interview. While things that happen outside of an interview may be taken into account, that doesn’t mean that they are part of the interview. You can believe whatever you want, but what I was calling out was that your belief is not universal. I also did not say whether or not I personally agreed with it.

              2. Yorick*

                Maybe not to interviewers, but don’t the hiring managers take that into account? (If they care about rudeness to office staff, of course)

            2. DashDash*

              But what could she have done if an abuser said “I am following you” and then followed through? Hog-tie the guy in the hotel room before she leaves? There’s aren’t a lot of ways to make someone not walk down the stairs a step behind you.

          2. Gymmie*

            It’s a bit weird he even showed up in the lobby and been introduced! I mean, if he were walking by with coffee or something. I think we are splitting hairs here. This was egregious and super weird.

        2. c-*

          Going by OP’s description, the husband is controlling to the point of abuse. Continued contact with abusers twists your mind and undermines you to a point akin to a toxic workplace, and results in diminished independency: the victim’s choice is usually to relinquish autonomy in an effort to mollify the abuser, or to deal with hell behind closed doors.

          My point is that Jane likely could not keep him away from the interview, not for lack of trying. I wouldn’t hold his actions against her when assessing her as a candidate.

        3. Raven*

          “Interviewers are not social workers” is exactly it.

          The OP’s duty is not to make Jane’s life better — it’s to select the person who brings the greatest net positive to the company.

          And a spouse who shows up uninvited, overtly photographs the interviewer, and they — not the interviewee — ask questions about the itinerary, etc., is a mark on the negative side of the ledger.

    2. glitter writer*

      Totally understandable perspective, because Bob is a big problem… but then what ends up happening is circumstances beyond Jane’s control destroy Jane’s career. It’s a lousy position for the interviewer to have been put in but if Jane really is a great candidate it’s manifestly unfair for her husband’s behavior, outside of the interview process, to count against her.

        1. glitter writer*

          did she really, though? because to me everything described in the letter sound like red flags for a controlling and abusive situation. also, as the OP noted, bringing your spouse along to a new region, when the job would require moving, is not beyond the pale.

          1. Artemesia*

            If she couldn’t come without him how will she prevent him from showing up and threatening a male co-worker she has to travel with? Or from disrupting the office when she is hired. This is a giant red flag. The concern is that she is allowing this — if she has no choice and no control – well do you want that risk for your business?

            1. chaco*

              Why is it her responsibility to keep another adult from harassing people or committing a crime? His actions are his responsibility, not hers.

                1. chaco*

                  Her actions were to not address it. That’s not ideal, but it’s also exactly what the LW did at the time, which makes me think they both thought it was the safest/smoothest course of action.

              1. Artemesia*

                My responsibility as a hiring manager is to not invite danger into my workplace — there is enough that is unpredictable — this is not unpredictable.

          2. soon to be former fed really*

            With all due respect to OP, it IS beyond the pale. It’s not coming to the region, but coming to the interview that is totally unacceptable. And taking pictures! No way I would not have shut that down, it was rude and obnoxious. Ridiculous.

            1. blackcat*

              Eh, given that they were in a hotel, it’s reasonable he came. I could see a totally normal exchange where Jane and her husband were sitting together having coffee in the lobby, waiting for OP.
              Then an exchange like
              OP: Hi, Jane? I’m OP, let’s head out, shall we?
              Jane: Yes! By the way, this is my husband, Bob. He’ll ne checking out the area during the interview.
              OP: Nice to meat you I encourage visiting [X local place] for lunch!
              Bob: Nice to meet you too, and thanks for the tip!

              OP and Jane leave.

              If anything, something like that would indicate how serious Jane is about the position.

              I’m in academia, where fly out interviews are the norm. One place (which would have involved moving abroad) actually pushed for me to bring my husband and child with me for the interview (at the University’s expense). We didn’t because my husband couldn’t take that much time off of work, and jet lagged toddlers are literally the worst. But it was a recruitment strategy for them–it was worth thousands of $$$ in extra airfare to make sure candidates would be confident about moving.

              1. charo*

                LW indicates the guy showed ATTITUDE. He picked up on that.
                I’ll take him at his word.

                People are reframing the question to suit their own POV but read the Q. again and it’s clear why he’s asking.

                I DO think he could just be socially awkward and clumsy, rather than dangerous. So I’d speak to him firmly in the lobby — you have a right to ask why he’s doing that.

                1. Zombeyonce*

                  Not everyone feels comfortable confronting strangers about their strange behavoir, charo, even if you do. You’ve repeatedly said that LW should have called out the husband on his behavior but they didn’t and cannot go back in time to change that if they’d even want to, which they may not! All they can do is now move forward with the knowledge they have and the advice they are given. It’s no longer helpful to say what they should have done, let’s help them out with what they can do now.

              2. LunaLena*

                I don’t think it’s unreasonable that he came. I also don’t think it’s unreasonable he was in the hotel lobby – it would have raised my eyebrows, but I would probably shrug and move on if things had happened the way blackcat scripted it. But it didn’t! I think it’s completely unreasonable that he overtly took pictures of the OP (and clearly circled around him to do so), and demanded to know the itinerary and modes of transportation. By doing so he was inserting himself into the interview (or at least making out that he was going to), and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually at some of the locations, unobtrusively watching from a distance, or tracking her phone to make sure they were indeed going to the places on the itinerary at the specified times.

                I too work at a university and have been a member of several search committees where candidates were brought to campus from out of state. I’ve never seen or heard of a single one bring family or spouses, and frankly if any of them had and displayed this level of entitlement, it would have given me an extremely bad impression of the candidate on top of simply being over-the-top bizarre.

                1. blackcat*

                  Yeah, I think what *did* happens is bonkers. But he could have been there without it being bonkers!

                  What I’ve seen as more common is that, post-offer, an institution may fly out a candidate + spouse to investigate the area more. I think the offer to fly out my family was due to the international nature of the search. And, it’s fair for them to be concerned about spouse buy-in. I wasn’t offered the job, but after my interview, my husband thought about it and decided he was unwilling to move to a country where he did not speak the language (I do). Which is totally fair.

            2. Insert Clever Name Here*

              What is it with people thinking this guy was in the backseat of the car and in the conference room? He was in the lobby of the hotel when Jane got picked up by her interviewer. Yes, he was creepy and weird and aggressive and inappropriate…but he.was.not.at.her.interview.

              1. Koalafied*

                I’m also finding that really frustrating, especially because LW himself said that he didn’t consider it particularly unusual that the husband was there, only that what the husband did was alarming. LW knows the norms of his own industry and out of town interviewing in his field; if he says it was reasonable then we should take his word for it.

                1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                  YES. His actions were alarming. Not his presence. (bangs head repeatedly on desk)

              2. charo*

                Do NOT scratch or pick your nose as you sit in the waiting room for an interview. Not only does the interview start when you’re seen by them, but it also starts when the Receptionist sees you doing something creepy. How do people not know this?

                You can bet they might share what they saw w/other employees.

                Also, don’t get into a road rage parking lot incident — it may turn out it’s your interviewer.

                1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                  IT

                  IS

                  HER

                  HUSBAND.

                  I can be 100% on board with “you see the interviewer and you’re interviewing” and still push back on the “zomg hEr hUSbanD attendED heR inTErviEW” attitude.

                2. Sarra N. Dipity*

                  I can’t reply to “Insert Clever Name Here” because I think the nested replies only go so far, but I just wanted to point out that using alternating lowercase and capital letters in words like they did is really bad for people who use screen readers. As in, it makes it essentially unreadable. (As does using a space between each letter for emphasis: D O N ‘ T D O T H I S)

              3. BRR*

                Yeah there’s a lot of answering of other questions (which we don’t know if they apply or not). Is it ok to be in the lobby? In my opinion it’s slightly odd but a lot of people, including myself, have gotten more lax about meeting strangers and they were out of town so really it could have been fine. Is it ok to want to know the itinerary and whether they were walking or driving? No not really. Is it ok to take pictures? Absolutely no way.

                I think the argument could be made for either side and a lot depends on the type of role they’re hiring for but he didn’t come with her into an office or anything like that. Not that it makes anything about this ok (I would personally be very unsettled).

              4. Yorick*

                I’ve done days-long flyout interviews, and I definitely felt like the moment somebody picked me up in the hotel lobby was part of the interview. It was at least a gray area between interview and regular me-time.

                And it’s not like OP ran into them at a restaurant the next day and the husband’s behavior was weird. He intruded into the first meeting that his wife had with her interviewers. And she could have prevented it or at least tried to smooth that moment over by giving a much better explanation.

        2. BuildMeUp*

          I mean, did she? The possibility of her being in an abusive relationship is too big to ignore. And if she is, we can’t know that she had a choice in whether he came with her.

          1. ElizabethJane*

            You’re not wrong but also (as crappy as it is) it wouldn’t be unreasonable for an employer to decide that dealing with the spouse is something they are unwilling to take on.

            I mean either Jane shows remarkable lack of judgment by not telling her spouse to cut it out or she actually has no say in his actions and it’s a liability. I don’t know what type of company the letter writer works for (industry/size/etc.) but I don’t think I’d fault them for deciding it wasn’t worth the risk of exposing their other employees and clients to the spouse.

            1. Sharon*

              I’m with you here. The interviewer’s duty is to see whether Jane is a good fit for the job. I’d be asking Jane if she felt she’d be able to fulfill the main duties of the job without interference from the husband and how this has played out in previous roles. If there are indications that this will be a problem that will negatively affect Jane’s ability to do the job, or her colleagues’ ability to do their jobs, that’s a key consideration in the hiring decision.

      1. Raven*

        The problem is, this behavior is *not* outside of the interview process. It’s directly within it.

        1. Cringing 24/7*

          This, right here!!! ^^^
          Why is everyone saying that the pre-meetup to drive to the interview isn’t *actually* a part of the interview? The moment you get together at a specific time and place with a potential employer, that’s an interview (at least of sorts)!

    3. Q without U*

      I agree. I think this letter, and the response, would have been very different if the interviewer was a woman. To me, it reads like an attempt at intimidation, and I would have been pissed off by that and likely also afraid of what the husband might do.

      1. Jill*

        This is what struck me as well! If the LW were a woman there would be so many other aspects to this conversation we’d be talking about, which means at the very least Bob has some gender stereotypes to work through, and if Jane is this blurred on professional lines already that she joked about it I’d be too afraid it would transfer into the workplace. This was an interview, don’t bring a chaperone.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Joking could have been an attempt at dealing with a situation that she recognized as extremely awkward. It doesn’t mean she actually thought it was funny.

          1. Jill*

            There are professional ways to respond to awkwardness. In my opinion Jane made some choices separate from Bob and LW that would make me question hiring her. It’s not usual to bring someone else in to interviews, Jane and Bob both know that and decided safety was more important, fine, but Jane didn’t let LW know that Bob was taking photos of LW, he just noticed it, and instead of clarifying Jane brushed it off and didn’t think it needed further explanation even after they were alone, that doesn’t show good situational judgement to me. I would also be nervous that Jane wouldn’t have a problem with Bob secretly taking photos of people in the office, or thinks sitting in on video meetings is appropriate, or would call a client if she had to have lunch with them.

            1. Koalafied*

              There’s no need to wonder about whether those things might happen, though – that’s what reference checking is for. If it hasn’t been an issue in past jobs it’s reasonable to write this off as a one-time incident that happened in an unusual context.

              1. Jill*

                He was secretly taking photos of LW. If he was doing this to her coworkers, colleagues, or clients, how would the references know? What if this was just the first time he was caught taking photos of a person without their permission, which is literally a crime in some instances, the references may just think he hangs around a lot. I think it is an error of Jane’s judgement that she thought anyone secretly taking photos of another person is ok in any circumstance, especially without an apology, enough not to hire her.

                1. chaco*

                  Why do you think Jane thinks secret pictures are ok? She may not have stopped him, but neither did LW and we know he didn’t think it was ok.

            2. chaco*

              Did Jane know Bob was taking photos of LW in order to warn him? That’s a big assumption to make.

              Jane didn’t address the issue, but neither did LW. Neither of them confronted Bob or talked about it later. I agree that it probably would have been better if they had, but I don’t know that it’s a professionalism issue so much as just an awkward moment issue.

              1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

                What I took from the description of Jane’s response was that she wasn’t necessarily aware ahead of time that he was going to take photos but that he has done either this and/or other similar things in the past, hence her comment about Bob being ‘sooo protective’ — I inferred (admittedly it wasn’t stated in the letter, but I did get the impression) that Bob has a history of doing stuff like this.

              2. Jill*

                Maybe I’m wrong, but the paragraph starting “As the candidate” led me to believe that LW tried to ignore it but it was so obvious that Jane brought it up and tried to brush it off instead of being genuinely apologetic. LW is not the one being interviewed on decision making skills for a C-level position right now and neither is the husband, so I’m just speaking as to whether or not I would question hiring Jane.

      2. LTL*

        If the interviewer was a woman, the dynamics of the situation would have been different. In the event that a man is acting oddly and/or rudely, a woman is typically in more danger than a man. This is in no way to belittle or invalidate men feeling unsafe or afraid. But it goes along the same logic of the joke “if you’re a man and you have a crazy ex, you have crazy ex stories, if you’re a woman and you have a crazy ex, you’re dead.”

        There’s a reason why switching genders would have a different response. I think Allison’s response would have changed if LW indicated that he was afraid but that’s not in his letter.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          If the interviewer was a woman, the dynamics of the situation would have been different.

          If OP was a woman, I doubt this would have happened at all.

          1. valentine*

            If OP was a woman, I doubt this would have happened at all.
            I originally thought OP was a woman and the husband’s assumption was the same: Jane lied about interviewing so she could cheat on him.

    4. Mazzy*

      I think I would have reflexively started a fight with the husband, that’s just my personality. Not the fight part, but to bring stuff out in the open asap instead of ignoring obvious problems like this. I’m not always confrontational but in situations like this, it can be hard to control myself. I might’ve ended the interview right then and there. I know that for some people that would require gumption, but for some people that’s just the way we’d proceed. It could’ve been ended professionally with a “let’s put on a hold on this and maybe revisit an interview when you’re more comfortable with the company.”

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Yes, I would have halted the interview then and there, and said why. I would also have requested strongly that the pictures of me, taken without my consent, be erased immediately.

        But that is colored by the fact that I am a woman, and I would have serious concerns about a strange man taking a lot of pictures of me, well any pictures really.

        1. Jenny*

          I see this as a “put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”

          Look I’m sorry if someone is in an abusive relationship but if her husband is going to pose a risk to me and my staff, I’ve got to prioritize my own safety and the safety of the people currently in workplace instead of sticking my head out for someone I don’t know. If this were an existing employee, the conversation would be different.

      2. TRexx*

        Absolutely this. Quite frankly, as a C-level candidate especially, this candidate and by default her husband will more than likely be quite visible at events etc., probably more so than your individual contributor employees. So, the position she is interviewing for should be taken into account. She voluntarily brought her husband on the interview to meet the interviewer; therefore she voluntarily opened the door where the husband’s behavior could be taken into account for the final decision to hire.

        If the interviewer was indeed uncomfortable with the strange photo session, imagine how her direct reports may feel should they ever come in contact with her husband. Would they even feel comfortable to speak up?

        Definitely do a thorough reference check. Perhaps you should also consider asking the candidate about her husband’s behavior directly in a diplomatic unassuming way. Ask why he was taking photos, and what your photos will be used for etc. See how she responds and the language (including body language she uses) when responding.

        If you like her so much as a candidate, give her the chance to explain herself directly.

        1. Sam.*

          I was wondering about whether it would make sense to ask her about it directly if they were seriously considering her. I would definitely probe in reference checks, but her response could be telling, as well.

          1. Dual Peppin Whiskey*

            With respect to Alison, I’m puzzled why her advice did not include just asking the candidate directly about her husband’s behavior. Not only in the lobby, but asking other questions such as if he has done this in the past with other interviewers, and depending on the candidate’s response and body language, following up with other questions, such as whether or not the husband has caused any problems with her previous employers. I realize you would need to be more delicate that I’m being here, but I don’t understand why only asking the references was suggested, and not also just talking to the candidate directly.

            1. Joielle*

              Agreed. I’d want to get the candidate’s reaction outside the husband’s presence. And it’s a legitimate line of questioning! “I was surprised to see Bob this morning, does he usually get pretty involved with your work?” And if she downplays his behavior – “To be frank, it seemed like Bob was concerned about you meeting me. The person in this role will often be meeting new people in unfamiliar settings. Do you think that would be a problem?” And maybe “Has it been a problem in previous roles?”

              Maybe she’ll have a reasonable-ish explanation – she was recently mugged, or there have been a string of kidnappings in the area, or he’s particularly anxious about moving to a new city. Or at least acknowledge that it was weird, so you know her professional norms aren’t completely out of whack. If not… at least you indicated that it was a problem and gave her the opportunity to explain.

              I feel like the usual position on this blog is that if there’s something you’re considering rejecting a candidate over that could have multiple explanations, you should give the candidate the opportunity to explain. Even if it’s a bit awkward, I think the OP should bring it up with her directly before deciding what it means for the company.

              1. This is She*

                Great answer. Once again I wish there were a ‘like’ button available on AaM comments.

        2. Alli525*

          That’s such a great point – I was so disturbed by the spouse’s behavior that I completely forgot the candidate was interviewing for a C-level position. I have so much sympathy for people who are trapped in abusive marriages (assuming that’s what’s happening here), but someone with that large of a weak spot/pressure point in their life may not be the best candidate for such a high-level position. The amount of stress and time needed in the office are going to exacerbate the problems in the marriage as the abuser loses control.

          And if it’s not an abusive marriage, and the spouse is just that weird/inappropriate/controlling and the candidate is unwilling to address it… then that person is probably still going to struggle with being an effective leader.

      3. charo*

        YES! There are ways to prod an aggressive guy to see what he’ll do next — and the hotel lobby has Security if he gets worse.

        Act like “the boss” and ask him what he’s doing, sternly. Push him to explain himself to you. Repeat his answer back to him, press him, the way the boss does.

        If he’s got a problem he may get triggered. Be the one asking the questions, and gauge both of their responses. Don’t answer his questions. It’s like asking your kid questions, when you’re looking at the evidence of misbehavior.

        He doesn’t have the RIGHT to aggressively photograph you in this setting.

        1. Dual Peppin Whiskey*

          While I agree that asking the husband directly what he’s doing and why, and asking him to stop, is completely within the OP’s rights, my concern with pushing him because there are security guards around is that does not at all take into consideration that if Jane is in an abusive relationship, more likely than not the husband is going to retaliate against her later in private for that.

          I think it is at least possible Jane actually appreciates what the husband is doing, and made a joke about it upon seeing that OP was uncomfortable with the situation. I think we should at least consider that Jane and the husband agreed for him to do this in advance, and that the husband poorly executed what they talked about (perhaps the pictures were coming out blurry due to him being technologically deficient, which I’m suggesting as a possibility since the OP mentioned that they are older, and that’s why he was taking so many). If this is, in fact, the case, and were I the husband and the OP started aggressively pushing back on me for taking his picture, my response would be to push back on him (verbally), since why would the OP care unless there was something he was trying to hide? (I certainly acknowledge that there are other reasons why the OP would object, I’m just trying to suggest what would possibly cross the husband’s mind in this scenario.)

          While I do think there is a very real possibility that Jane is in an unhealthy relationship, I think the OP also needs to consider the fact that he is a he, and I would be willing to bet that he has never had to take even half the precautions that women do on a regular basis just to keep themselves safe; I would imagine that being confronted with such protective behaviors when you’ve never had to deal with them yourself personally would be jarring, at best.

          This excerpt has a direct compare and contrast of things that women such as myself do on a daily basis just to be safe vs men:

          https://cafemom.com/lifestyle/215107-things-women-do-to-protect-themselves/255361-katz_then_compares_the_reaction_and_responses_from_the_men_in_the_room_to_the_women_and_unsurprisingly_they_are_drastically_different

          Ultimately, all I’m trying to say here is that there is a lot of information we don’t have, and I think we need to consider that there are other scenarios and motives at play.

          1. Gymmie*

            But this is weird. If she were to push back and think the interviewer “had something to hide” because they didn’t want their picture taken from many angles, then I would probably end the interview then and there, because that is not normal.

          2. Gazebo Slayer*

            Can we not do the “women have to be super paranoid all the time” thing? Women are really not at greater risk from strangers than men are, in most situations. Although women are at much higher risk of sexual violence and the more extreme forms of domestic violence, men are actually more likely to be mugged or murdered.

            This narrative tends to be used to convince white women that we should be afraid of nonwhite men, which has often had awful consequences for people of color. It’s also often used to control and diminish women in general – to tell us “don’t go out at night, don’t go anywhere alone, don’t take public transit, don’t work in male-dominated jobs or have male-dominated hobbies, don’t drink, don’t go to parties, don’t go on business trips, don’t go to concerts or clubs or sporting events, because OMG SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU.” It’s paternalistic, restrictive sexist nonsense dressed up as feminism.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        I agree, I would have to find out what this is before the interview could proceed.

        Lots of good points in this thread, I especially like the point about what if OP was a woman? It feels doubly creepy for a husband to be taking pics of a woman- but reality is that this is just plain creepy and Not Normal.

        I think that if both of them are that uncomfortable then she should not be doing these job interviews. This could have been handled very differently. I have gone on interviews that were not my norm. Once the interview space was very rural. I called a friend and asked them to call me- wellness check style- at a preset time. I also gave the friend the address of where I was going. The interviewer never, ever knew. I got back home in ample time to call my friend and say all was well.

        The fact that she did nothing to stop the process of picture taking tells me that she either a) condoned it or b) could not say anything because hubby is abusive. She could have asked OP for an itinerary before the day of the interview. She could have set up a check in time with her husband, “oh, I have to use a restroom, brb.” Then she could have used the restroom moment to call the hubby.

        I remember one interview my husband went to, the time got very late probably around 9 pm. The interviewer asked my husband if there was someone he needed to call. My husband seized the opportunity to call me and say that it would be at least another 1.5 hrs before he got home. (Wrap up time plus drive time.)
        The interviewer was also a man. I really appreciated the check-in as my husband was just over an hour away from home.

        1. valentine*

          The fact that she did nothing to stop the process of picture taking tells me that she either a) condoned it or b) could not say anything because hubby is abusive.
          Or it was equally surprising to her and she thought objecting was best done privately, lest OP reject her for starting a row in both public and a work setting. If Jane were a first responder, her choice not to confront Bob might matter. It’s understandable not to jump to shut down every inappropriate and/or awkward interaction. OP doesn’t need to factor this into his decision.

      5. Gazebo Slayer*

        I’d probably have confronted the husband with something like “excuse me, WHY are you photographing me from all angles?!” because my instinctive reaction to highly inappropriate behavior tends to be anger and confrontation. However, I would not hold the husband’s bizarre behavior against Jane. He is almost certainly controlling and abusive, and I would want to help her escape from him. Letting him sabotage her career is enabling his abuse; treating her like any other job candidate and potentially hiring her is allowing her access to the financial resources she needs to get free.

        I’d also hope that confronting him in front of her, in a semi-public space like the lobby, would both make it clear to him that other people can see and disapprove of his actions, and make it clear to Jane that his behavior is not normal. A lot of abusers try to convince their victims that what they’re doing is normal, or somehow extra loving, and maybe this would be a way to push back on that without intruding.

    5. Less Bread More Taxes*

      I agree. And I disagree that we can’t blame Jane for at least some of this. As Alison said, she might have a backwards view of what is and isn’t appropriate when interacting with a company with your spouse right there. If that’s the case, who knows what else she doesn’t understand about the workplace? Could she take company data home to discuss with her husband? Could she feel comfortable taking off every Friday afternoon to have a long lunch with friends? That’s not something you want to have to deal with when it’s someone who’s supposed to be C-level.

      Another possibility is that she knew how inappropriate her husband was going to be and chose to do nothing about it. If that’s the case, she needed to have told you beforehand. A short email explaining that she is trying to use this job to leave an abusive relationship and apologizing in advance for any concerning behavior from him would have gone a long way.

      A third possibility is that she’s had a recent experience of being attacked or some other horrible situation that has made both of them extremely wary of strangers. Again, this either needed to be communicated somehow beforehand or she is simply not ready to enter the workforce.

      1. merp*

        These feel like unnecessarily harsh options to me. Presumably the interviewer has talked with Jane several times at this point about the role and any information they needed about her work abilities would come through that. We should trust the letter writer that she is the best for the job/has had a great career/etc.

        1. blackcat*

          I feel like if you are sufficiently traumatized to need someone to “protect” you at a job interview…. then, yeah, you’re not ready to be in a job that would involve meeting with lots of new people. I say this as someone who has had PTSD. If it’s causing that type of disruption to your life, you need major treatment.

      2. BuildMeUp*

        If it truly is an abusive relationship, the husband may be doing things like monitoring Jane’s communications, which would make your insistence that she should have told the interviewer beforehand incredibly dangerous for her.

        Or, as is often the case in abusive relationships, the husband may have manipulated and gaslighted Jane into seeing his behavior as normal.

        It’s just not possible to blame Jane without knowing the full context.

        1. Lady Meyneth*

          I don’t disagree but the thing is, it’s not about blaming Jane, it’s about deciding if she would be a good fit for the job. And in your example, I cannot think of a worse possible hire for a C-Level than someone whose communications are being monitored.

          I’m sorry for Jane if this is abuse, and if LW has the opportunity to ask about it and maybe try to help, the he should! But his first responsibility here is not in getting Jane a job or getting her out of an abusive situation. It’s to his company, the good management of a remote location, and the safety of its existing employees; in his place I’d be questioning if all that can be reached with Jane, and I probably wouldn’t hire her.

      3. starsaphire*

        #3 is actually where my mind went after a second read. If Jane is actually someone with a history similar to that of Elizabeth Smart, this might be something that comforts them both. Still, in that case, an explanation should have been provided at the time of the photographing.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          My mind went there too that something traumatic had happened to Jane for the husband to be taking pics from all angles (and I knew the OP was male long before he brought it up).

            1. Sam.*

              He mentioned it in the letter – paragraph that starts, “Obviously, this was all really bizarre.”

              1. Environmental Compliance*

                Thanks – skipped over the first word there and thought the OP had commented somewhere.

        2. Kesnit*

          A lot of people who have been subjected to violence feel shame about the issue. It isn’t as easy as saying “my last boss sexually harassed me” or “I was the victim of a kidnapping” or “I have PTSD.” Or even “I have a famous family member and have lived all my life with wackos who want to get close to me.”

          Here is the situation. Jane is going off with a man she has never met in his vehicle for what sounds like an all-day interview. Man shows up with ID (which can easily be printed) and says he is the interviewer. Jane only has his word that he is who he says he is. Husband is expecting her to be gone all day, so won’t think anything of the fact she doesn’t make it back to the hotel before dinner. That’s 9-10 hours for “not-real-interviewer” to run off with her before anyone even starts to worry.

          Is this an extreme circumstance? Yes. Does that mean it is impossible? No.

            1. valentine*

              Is this an extreme circumstance? Yes. Does that mean it is impossible? No.
              It doesn’t have to be impossible for Jane not to act on it. The only scenario I can think of where Bob’s behavior makes any sense, the one akin to photographing a first date’s driver’s license and plates, is a real estate agent meeting with a client. But even there, Bob should not be involved. Jane can arrange for all manner of security while her husband minds his own business elsewhere.

              Far from adding security, the photography robbed Jane of the element of surprise. It would’ve told a kidnapper he had to neutralize Bob ASAP, or accept fewer than nine hours to do his dire deeds. And a stalker who does this much work to kidnap Jane is yet another reason not hiring Jane is the easiest way to avoid people obsessed with her assaulting the company and its employees.

          1. migrating coconuts*

            But there have already been multiple virtual interviews, meaning she has probably seen him before. Also, if this guy is that paranoid, it is very easy to contact the company and verify who is meeting her. Especially in this day and age of everything being out there online to see.

          2. OpsAmanda*

            If this really was the worry, there are other ways to handle it such as requesting to drive her own car and be provided the itinerary in advance. Blatantly and rudely taking photos of the interviewer is not the professional way to handle these concerns.

          3. Yorick*

            If she (and/or her husband) are so scared of new people and can’t find a professional way to deal with that, then she’s probably not the right person for this job.

      4. Dr. Rebecca*

        No one owes another person, regardless of the situation, an explanation or rehashing of their personal trauma.

        1. Artemesia*

          If you bring a thug along on the interview to photograph me from all angles, then yeah, you owe me an explanation. I’d have ended the interview before it even started.

            1. Artemesia*

              I am not interviewing the thug with the camera — he belongs to Jane — SHE owes me the explanation.

              1. Gymmie*

                Right! You are hiring here, you only have a few facts and need to judge based on them. It sucks, but someone who thinks this behavior is fine or HAS to put up with it, is just not needed on my team.

          1. Dr. Rebecca*

            Absolutely, end any interview, at any time, for any reason, if you’re not comfortable with it. But you don’t get to retraumatize someone on top of that.

            1. TRexx*

              You’re assuming there is trauma. Asking why someone took photos of you from different angles is a fair question.

              1. Dr. Rebecca*

                I’m *not* assuming there’s trauma, I’m responding to people who have assumed that *if* there’s trauma, they should be alerted to it.

              2. Courageous cat*

                Yeah, Jesus. How many assumptions are we going to make here?? Are we really going to extrapolate that asking her about it would be asking her to rehash her trauma? From what little we know?

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Of course not. But you do owe another person SOMETHING. It doesn’t need a lengthy explanation. “Bob wants to take your picture, it’s a safety thing” is enough. Unusual, for sure, but enough.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            That would have helped for sure. The fact that Jane seemingly brushes this whole thing off is probably what’s throwing the OP.

        3. Dust Bunny*

          Nobody owes anyone the right to photograph them up close and treat them as a possible criminal without their consent and without basis, either.

          I’d have walked away and ended the interview. If Janes allows this to soothe herself because of past trauma, she’s bringing a lot of personal baggage into the workplace.

        4. Observer*

          When you act rudely and inappropriately to people, you DO owe them an explanation of why. The explanation is something that’s difficult to talk about? I have sympathy. But it is NOT the fault of the person you are mistreating. And absent an explanation, that person can – and should – think poorly of you.

        5. fposte*

          This is true, but no one else is required to accept the way that person deals with their trauma, either.

          I think this is where some people are getting stuck. It doesn’t have to be Jane’s fault for it to be something that makes Jane’s hire a problem.

        6. Joielle*

          I mean, you certainly don’t OWE anyone an explanation for any kind of weird behavior for any reason, but if you want that person to give you a job it’s in your best interest to say SOMETHING about it.

      5. merp*

        Oh geez, I skipped over this, but expecting her to send written communication that she is trying to leave if she is in an abusive relationship is WILDLY dangerous. That is in no way what an employer should expect.

      6. Guacamole Bob*

        Eh, I think a warning email beforehand would come across really strangely. That’s a lot of personal info to give to someone you’ve never even met. I’d be incredibly thrown off if I got a message like that from a candidate prior to the interview.

        Plus, not everyone trying to leave an abusive relationship can send communications that are certain to remain private.

        If this were the situation, I’d much rather Jane apologize briefly after the husband leaves and the interview proceeds. Maybe find some neutral language about “things are a bit complicated right now, my apologies, but it won’t be an issue in this job”.

        If Jane were an existing employee, then yes, go ahead and disclose more if it feels right. But from a job candidate that’s way too much.

        1. Less Bread More Taxes*

          I agree, her apologizing profusely at some point during the interview and offering some kind of assurance about the whole situation would have been great too.

          1. ES*

            Right, as problematic as the husband’s actions were what would give me pause about hiring Jane is the way she normalized it and never explained once she had the opportunity to do so.

      7. Ace in the Hole*

        I don’t think it’s fair to Jane to assume that having a warped sense of normal boundaries in an intimate personal relationship automatically means she’s out of touch with professional norms. She has an excellent work record and presumably excellent references which should demonstrate she knows how to handle herself in professional settings. Abuse messes with a person’s sense of reality and normalcy… but that doesn’t necessarily extend beyond intimate relationships. This probably is a weird combination of circumstances that rarely comes up and Jane didn’t know how to handle it in the moment. How often does travelling out of town for an interview come up in her line of work? For most careers this is a very rare thing. Job interviews are already stressful even when you’re not being trailed by a controlling, abusive partner. Even if she knew it was weird and crossed a line she may not have known what to do other than play it off as normal to keep her cool.

        I do think it’s worth bringing up to Jane though (in private, verbally, in a way her partner can’t track or snoop on). If she’s job searching it’s important she knows this affects how she’s perceived… and also might help her see just how abnormal her partner’s behavior is if she doesn’t already know. If she does know already it will be embarrassing, but not any more dangerous than the situation already is.

        1. Koalafied*

          Thanks for saying everything I wanted to say!

          I totally get seeing this as a red flag and would never argue the interviewer should just ignore it and give it a pass.

          What I don’t agree with is the idea that this one incident, in an unusual context, of behavior committed by the candidate’s spouse and not the candidate herself, is sufficient to terminate her candidacy all by itself.

          Certainly this warrants probing during reference checks about how the husband has or hasn’t been in issue in previous jobs, and talking to the candidate herself about it directly is also good due diligence. But how many letters do we get here from someone saying that something weird and off-putting happened at work and in the moment the LW was so flustered or taken aback they didn’t know how to handle it in the moment? It’s a common enough phenomenon that I don’t feel comfortable assuming that on the basis of a single weird incident that was poorly handled, we should just assume the woman is incapable of basic professionalism without any further investigation or probing and strike her candidacy.

      8. chaco*

        If she has professionalism problems like taking excessive lunches or sharing company data, then the interviewer can find that out by checking with her references. As it is, nothing *she* has actually done is unprofessional.

        Sending an email beforehand saying she’s leaving an abusive relationship is all kinds of dangerous! What if her husband sees it? What if the interviewer backs out rather than dealing with the “drama” and “bad judgment”? What if the interviewer tries to confront the husband or does something else well-intentioned but ill advised?

        She is not responsible for preemptively disclosing her trauma just to prove she’s “ready to enter the workforce”. Come on. That would open her up to all kinds of discrimination.

      9. TootsNYC*

        A third possibility is that she’s had a recent experience of being attacked or some other horrible situation that has made both of them extremely wary of strangers.

        Or they’ve recently been watching videos about women who have been lured to other countries with the promise of a job and trapped there in slavery or sex slavery.

          1. Joielle*

            Omg, I wonder if you’re right. I don’t know that it really changes the advice to the OP, but that honestly makes the most sense out of any potential reasoning people have suggested. Yiiiiikes.

          2. redflagday701*

            I think this is actually a strong possibility and would explain why Jane was embarrassed while allowing that there might not be any history of abuse. QAnon is turning formerly relatively normal people into paranoiacs. It’s not great.

            1. redflagday701*

              This could be an instance of the well-documented phenomenon of otherwise-normal-seeming husbands going off the political deep end over the past five years. No reason to think she’s into it.

        1. Helena1*

          I don’t think those kinds of jobs generally fly candidates’ husbands out though? (Or masquerade as c-suite level jobs)

          1. TootsNYC*

            is he sophisticated enough to make that reasoning?
            The guy is meeting them at the airport, meeting them at the hotel….
            No sign of anyone else.

            When people are afraid, they don’t necessarily act rationally.

      10. High School Teacher*

        I agree. A lot of commenters are rushing to say it is an abusive relationship so she needs to get the job so that she can leave her husband and I mean…we don’t know if any of that is the case. Jane might be totally fine with her husband’s behavior, and if she is I wouldn’t hire her.

    6. Artemesia*

      Me too. I would fear that he would be threatening to other employees who work with her. I would certainly do very detailed reference checks with her other employers around this issue at minimum. This is the guy who shows up with a gun.

      1. AnonInTheCity*

        Yes, this makes me think of several scenarios described in The Gift of Fear. I’m very sorry for Jane if she’s in an abusive situation but I would be more concerned about the safety of other employees if she were offered the job. Innocent people have lost their lives to a coworker’s abusive spouse before now.

        1. LTL*

          LW doesn’t say he was afraid. He said he (rightly) feels that his privacy was invaded and is questioning whether Jane’s husband will hinder her job. I haven’t read The Gift of Fear, but my understanding was that the book tells you trust your instincts when you feel something is wrong. We don’t see that in the letter.

          Jane’s husband was completely out of line but I think “This is the guy who shows up with a gun” is a big leap. I agree that LW should definitely do some very thorough reference checks.

            1. LTL*

              I mean, if you define it more broadly, I feel something is wrong when my privacy is invaded, when someone is rude, when my boundaries are ignored, when someone hits an emotional trigger than has nothing to do with them, etc. I don’t suspect someone is capable of doing something awful every time I don’t feel great, even when their behavior is subpar. That’s very different than an instinct nagging you that something is wrong which you don’t fully understand but shouldn’t ignore.

      2. Wintermute*

        This is where I’m at. Okay so she may be being abused… that sucks for her, but a business has a higher duty not to invite danger into their sphere and endanger employees. they are not a charity for abused women nor can they try to act as one. If an EXISTING employee is being abused then there’s some moral obligation to assist, and as a practical matter doing so can help minimize risk.

        But I’d never go out of my way to invite that dynamic into the workplace where other employees may be placed in danger. You have a moral and legal duty to them.

    7. soon to be former fed really*

      I agree. I would just nope out. There must be other fitting candidates who don’t present with such odd spousal behavior. Thi is just not normal! Someone photographing me without asking me for permission or receiving consent would skeeve me out totally. Alison was entirely too nice here. Wife went along with it so she is weird too.

      1. TRexx*

        I agree, too nice. Taking a quick foto or two would have sufficed if concerned for safety, many photos from various angles, is a whole different scenario.

        1. TootsNYC*

          If he has decided that his wife might be in danger of kidnapping or murder, or assault and theft, he’s not going to be all that measured. And he may feel that obviously taking pictures will be a prevention, and surreptitiously taking them will only be useful AFTER she’s dead.

          1. Yorick*

            If they’re that concerned about her meeting with new people, they shouldn’t hire her to be a C-level executive at their company. She’s going to be meeting a lot of new people. She’s going to be setting the standard for appropriate behavior. She’s going to be in charge, so how will lower-level people be protected from her husband if she won’t do it?

    8. Mediamaven*

      Me too and honestly I’d let her know why, focusing on the fact that I was uncomfortable with being photographed. I don’t see any reason the LW should have to put up with being violated which is what happened.

    9. SMH*

      Completely agree. I would have explained how inappropriate their behavior, not his, but their behavior was and cancelled the interview and left. If she doesn’t have the sense that this is bizarre and not OK then I don’t want her on my team.

    10. JSPA*

      I’d see someone who, with a better job in hand, and a decent excuse to temporarily be someplace separate from the spouse once or twice, might be able to leave an abuser. And I’d make it happen, if I could.

      If it comes to the point of making an offer, I do wonder if there’s a way to let the candidate know that the level of spousal involvement was highly unusual, off-putting, and indirectly offensive, and that if she were not such an obviously stellar candidate, you would not consider making a job offer; but in fact, you would like to make her an offer, but it’s contingent on her acknowledging that this sort of behavior by her husband would not be appropriate nor welcome in the workplace, and that it will not be tolerated, and that she will need to weigh that in when making her decision.

  2. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    Perhaps if you employer her she’ll start asking everyone in the office to start calling him her Master…?

    Seriously, though, I’d be tempted to be upping the provision of leaflets and posters about DV support in the bathroom and communal areas for a while if she does become an employee. Her spouse sounds seriously creepy.

    1. Jaw Drop*

      It’s actually so sad. Blessings to Jane. And to her future employment prospects. So sorry this happened to you OP.

    2. David Levine*

      I feel the husband was not as off as some might think. This is kind of a strange interview. The wife isn’t meeting the interviewer at a company site. She is meeting the interviewer in a hotel lobby, getting into a car with him, and they are going to drive to different sites during the day. So perhaps the husband could be nervous without being too far out.

    1. TimeTravl_R*

      I need some follow up from Jane! I am betting she has been so gaslit over the years she doesn’t see how this comes across.

  3. CDel*

    I feel like asking in the moment why he was taking photographs would have shed a lot of light on this. But totally understand it can be hard to address something that jarring as it is happening.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Right. I think I would be too stunned to say anything myself other than maybe, “What in the world?!” It’s just such a weird thing to do to.

      1. Ubi Caritas*

        I’m a big fan of saying something at the moment something happens: “Are you taking my picture? Why?” Not as a confrontation, simply asking why.

    2. Threeve*

      I feel like it would be totally okay to ask her for an explanation after the fact. “You mentioned that your husband was protective, but photographing an interviewer is very unusual and invasive. If this is typical behavior when you are encountering strangers, I’m not sure it’s something I’m comfortable asking potential coworkers or clients to deal with. Can you give me some more insight?”

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        +1

        The problem is that it’s hard to think clearly about something so odd in the moment, and now that the interview is over the only way to do this would be virtually, when the husband could well be monitoring Jane’s communications. But I think it could still give you valuable information.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        This. So much of the discussion is about trying to guess what is going on here, without actually asking. Either she can address this adequately or she can’t. So let’s find out!

      3. garretwriter*

        Yes, for sure. Who knows – a one-on-one conversation might give her the opportunity to even ask for help if she’s under that much control.

      4. Annony*

        I think it is especially important to did into whether he will do this to people she manages. She is interviewing for a leadership position so it could really put them in an awkward position if their boss’s husband starts taking pictures and interrogating them. Also, will this affect her ability to have meetings alone with men? Or who she chooses to take on a business trip? I think it is very important to talk to her about where this behavior is coming from so that you can understand if it will impact her ability to do the job.

        1. Shirley Keeldar*

          The point about how Bob might treat Jane’s direct reports is extremely important. It’s awkward and invasive enough to have an interviewee’s husband taking pictures of you and treating you as a potential predator (!), but imagine if it was your boss’s husband doing this. The power dynamics are entirely different and very, very bad.

          1. Yorick*

            Not just your boss! This is a higher leadership position, so it could your boss’s boss’s boss’s boss!

      5. Perpal*

        Yes please. Talk to Jane directly, whatever the situation at least give her first dibs at speaking up for herself.

      6. Glitsy Gus*

        Yeah, this was my thought. Not to totally exclude her, but will this be a problem with traveling for the job? How about if you were traveling with a male colleague? Or attending industry events?

        I don’t think I would count her out completely for this, it isn’t her behaviour, after all. I would want some idea of what the office was in for, though. If being in a strange place with people he didn’t know just put him on his back foot and he was a little overly concerned, OK, weird, but whatever. If this is going to hinder her being able to travel the places she needs to go and attend the events she needs to attend, that is relevant.

    3. Anonys*

      Yes, I wish he had said something in the moment. I think it’s always a perfectly legitimate request to ask someone not to take pictures of you, but I’m also from a country where the law actually forbids you to take pictures of someone who has asked you not to, so maybe that makes me feel like I have more standing in situations like that.

      I also think the reaction of both the job candidate and the husband to a polite request to stop taking pictures would have provided some valuable additional insight. I also think this is the kind of thing OP can still address now. I don’t think it would be out of line or overly adversarial to tell Jane that he was taken aback with her husband’s behaviour and to ask how she views separation of personal and professional in general and see how she responds.

    4. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I think I would have stopped the interview right there. If someone starts taking photos of me I’d be likely angry that they didn’t ask.

      (Have issues in the past of people taking my photo to mock me online, it’s left me a bit paranoid)

      But yeah, I can understand being so WTF that you freeze up. It would be like if he’d pooped in the plant pot.

    5. Heidi*

      Yeah. I would probably be friendly about it, but I would ask. (“So what’s up with the photography?” but in the same tone I would use to ask, “How was your vacation?”) Genuine curiosity rather than suspicion at first. Then you can elaborate on more concrete concerns (Do you do this every day? Would you be photographing our clients also?)

    6. fposte*

      Yeah, I think that would have been ideal, and I agree it might have been hard to pull that one out of the hat in the moment.

      One thing that’s bugging me is this kind of policing is pretty stressful to receive; there’s been some discussion of the possibility of Jane’s trauma, but there are a lot of people who would have found being obtrusively tracked by a strange man very upsetting indeed.

    7. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I agree, but Security should intervene in this case, they’re trained to deal with these kind of situations.

    8. SunnySideUp*

      Yes! These are experienced career professionals. Even if LW is someone uncomfortable w/confrontation, I would expect LW to say, in the moment, as he’s being circled by the husband,”Excuse me, why are you taking photographs of me?”

      Common damn sense.

  4. Tex*

    I would take a pass on her unless the job was in-house only. What if the husband behaved this way to clients she had to meet?

    Jane also didn’t say anything about husband’s behavior during her time alone with OP (even pro forma stuff such as, husband will settle down once he gets to know everyone, etc.).

    1. Random Commenter*

      The LW didn’t say anything about the behaviour either.
      Some people are just bad at dealing with awkward situations.

      1. MK*

        Sure, but she was the one who brought the awkward situation to her job interview. I think the onus was on her to address it.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          She did address it: “It was clear the candidate was slightly embarrassed (though not mortified), and laughed, saying something to the effect of, “Spouse is just soooo protective of me.””

          This reads to me that her comment was insufficient explanation for spouse’s aggression, but that she was far more embarrassed than she let on and wanted to minimize the weirdness so they could move past it quickly. A pretty normal response, I think, when a loved one is doing something really embarrassing. Laugh it off, minimize it, move on asap.

  5. Ominous Adversary*

    “There is nothing substantive that suggests to me that the candidate’s spouse has in any way hindered or stifled her career up to this point.”

    Jane may have had a fantastic career before she married this man. Or he may have developed his controlling, creepy behavior recently. Or she might have had an even more fantastic career but for her “protective” husband.

    1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      This!!!! I also wondered if this was new, or how on earth she’s dealt with it in the past

    2. Amy Sly*

      Maybe … but most people don’t end up in the C suite. The fact that she’s qualified for this position suggests a very successful career, the kind that has involved frequently meeting strangers without her husband present. If he really is abusively controlling her, this development had to happen recently.

      My hunch is that one or both of them have been reading too many Qanon theories and mommy blogs about how “I escaped from a sex trafficker because I hid in the bathroom after a stranger smiled at my child!” without any recognition that menopausal age women aren’t targeted demographic.

    3. Delta Blues*

      Was coming here to say this as well.
      Totally possible this is a new husband or, because this new job involves a move, someone that feels insecure about not being on their “home turf”. Like they knew folks who “kept an eye out” for wife back home, but they don’t have that perceived (creepy) support in the new city.

    4. Sacred Ground*

      It’s a bit weird. This doesn’t seem to have “hindered or stifled her career up to this point” and yet it clearly IS hindering her career AT this point. He’s a CEO who is reconsidering her candidacy for a top-level job because of her husband’s aggressive and rude behavior.

      That’s evidence of hindrance of her career right there. That she’s managed to advance in spite of that hindrance speaks well of her. Either this is new behavior that she’s not had to deal with before or previous employers had been much more tolerant of such (which may be why the guy didn’t tone it down in the slightest, figuring he had every right to be aggressive and rude.

  6. Roja*

    Everything about this is just so strange. I’ve never once worried about being harmed by my interviewer, even when I’ve traveled to interview with someone I don’t know! And I say that as a petite woman who’s relatively cautious in normal life. It simply never occurs to me. I’ve never been the interviewer, but behavior like that would really have creeped me out and I’m not sure I could have resisted saying something in the moment. I’m also weirded out by the spouse just… accompanying them for the entire visit? I’ve heard of spouses coming along on interview trips but they usually go sightsee or house hunt during the interview itself.

    I’m no domestic violence expert, but it seems like if she’s otherwise the right candidate and former references say that her husband hasn’t interfered, it seems a safe bet he won’t this time either. But yeah, the higher-ups in that location should have it flagged for them so they can keep a sharp eye on things. She deserves to have jobs that she’s qualified for, but your other employees deserve not to be randomly photographed by their coworker’s husband too… or whatever other weird behavior he has up his sleeve.

    Good luck, OP, and I hope your candidate is safe.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      but it seems like if she’s otherwise the right candidate and former references say that her husband hasn’t interfered, it seems a safe bet he won’t this time either.

      This is where I come down on it.

      1. Kage*

        Same. This is definitely an area where I would be probing more for nuances/details with her references. Particularly if the job will require a lot of interactions with outside clients/vendors. I would want to know if they’ve seen any strangeness/over-stepping with her husband before I would be willing to move forward with an offer.

        The other question I have for internal discussion by the OP is whether the new location is excessively larger than her current location such that there was an element of “big scary city” in her husband’s behavior? If so, that could maybe dissipate after they relocate/actually experience the city and so maybe the behavior never appears again… In either case, I think a detailed reference check is definitely in order as you consider proceeding.

        1. TurtleIScream*

          Yeah, I was thinking maybe they were moving from his hometown. So, either he knows and trusts people from there, or they know him and don’t dare cross him. I’m not sure I would take the previous lack of escalated behavior as a clear signal to move forward.

    2. WellRed*

      I think the reference checker will have to flat out ask about the husband, lest the references brush this under the rug.

    3. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I don’t think the husband came along for the entire interview. My understanding is that job candidate and the husband traveled from their home to the interview city/location and were staying the night in a hotel. In the morning the OP came to pick up the candidate at the hotel and that is where the husband came down with her to greet OP. The husband was asking where they were going to be going because the husband was not coming along. I do think that even the husband coming down was a bit weird. If this were my I would have seen my spouse/partner off at the door to the room and wished them good luck.

      As a side note: I twice traveled with my then girlfriend (now wife) for an informational grad school visits. We were both 21ish and still in undergrad. Both trips were 12+ hours away and we were broke so I was partially coming along to help drive and because I would be moving with her. At the time we thought it was just a regular school visit that kind you might do in undergrad with your parents, so I was along for the entire school visit. At one of the school they had her meet with a professor who ended up giving her a job and being a mentor. She said yes and I came along both of us assuming is was still part of the usual visit/recruitment process.

      After she gets accepted and is close to graduating the professor that she/we met told her that he was worried because he thought it was weird that I came and sat in on what he saw as a job interview. I think I only ever saw him once or twice after the initial meet n greet/interview, and one of them was at her graduation. This was just a big miscommunication, I don’t think the people that organized the meeting realized that the professor was seeing this as a job interview, either. But I was mortified once she told me that I sat in on a “interview” for her.

      Looking back I still don’t know if I/we made a mistake by having me accompany her during the school visit or if I should have entertained myself? After she graduated we traveled (5+hours) for a job interview for her, this one was clearly a job interview and I just dropped her off at the interview site and entertained myself until she was done.

      1. WellRed*

        I don’t understand why you *went with her to any interview, job or not? But it sounds like it didn’t hinder her. Lesson learned.

        *I also don’t understand guys who follow their wife/girlfriend around shopping either so may have a harsher view on this.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          It was not posed as an interview, if we had been told it was an interview of any kind I would not have attended for that part. But in the middle of the school visit while the student guide is showing us around they said lets stop by John Smiths office and see if he is there so you can meet them. Looking back I should have just waited outside the office while the three of them met.

          What I still don’t know is if it is weird to bring someone along to a grad school visit. At the time both our experiences visiting colleges/undergrad had been that parents/family came along.

          1. Bricolage on the Brink*

            It makes sense that it felt “normal” at the transition to undergrad to grad to bring family along, but grad school is generally thought of as a more professional experience. You’re visiting campus to do the “mutual interview” thing. That said, it’s extremely unfortunate that they did not formally schedule the interviews/meetings with potential faculty advisors – those are important meetings and you probably don’t want that to be off the cuff on either side. But, from my experience of interviewing at multiple institutions for both master’s and doctoral degrees, each department/program handles these things in very different ways, even in the same fields. But, I’ve never seen spouses or significant others on any of those visits, and I’m in a relatively touchy-feely field.

          2. Paulina*

            Speaking as someone who administers a graduate program: yes, it’s weird to bring someone along for the detailed parts of a grad school visit. Being along for the “look around campus” part isn’t problematic, especially in a situation such as you describe where you were planning to move there along with the prospective student. But once a student is embarking on grad studies, they’re expected to be autonomous, and we would not normally expect to see parents either. I’ve occasionally had parents/siblings/husbands (and only husbands, not other partners) come along to meetings about our grad program, and it’s always been a sign of a lack of autonomy of the prospective student. It’s not normal to have to deal with a parent or partner in that situation, even less so if research is being discussed since what is this other person doing there? Basically it wrecks the tone of the meeting and implies a lack of independence. It’s common for prospective undergraduates because the assumed autonomy is less for those coming straight from high school.

            Stepping out / waiting outside would have been just fine, and being there on the trip wouldn’t have been a particular issue. Being on a high-level tour is a bit grey, unusual but it’s not a reach to suppose you would get something out of it, since you were moving there too; it’s being there for a department-level tour and in discussions where you’re unlikely to have anything to contribute or significant to learn that raises red flags.

      2. Helena1*

        I’m based in the UK, so academic interviews may be different, but we have pre-application “Open Days” open to everyone, undergrad and postgrad. You just get a general tour of the whole campus.

        Post-application visits are absolutely informal interviews, and no, nobody else should be there. You tour the specific lab you’ll be working in, meet the rest of the team, gladhand the professors etc.

      3. TootsNYC*

        Here’s the husband’s reasoning:

        The OP met them at the airport, picked her up from the hotel.
        Does anybody else in the company know that she’s here? If the OP has bad intentions, is there anything to stop him, like “other people know where I am”?

        The husband is trying to provide that deterrence.

        Is it sensible? nNo. Is it paranoid? Yes. We live at a time when Facebook is full of videos about women being lured to strange cities or countries with the offer of a job, and then disappearing.

        Sure, those are younger women. But he doesn’t think of his wife as old, and he’d rather be safe than sorry, and he’s been steeping in an environment full of those sorts of conspiracy theories, and QAnon’s focus on child sex trafficking, etc.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Right? I watch trashy murder TV for hours at a time, and it’s really easy to be super cautious in your everyday life when your internal monologue has been taken over by the Forensic Files narrator who can make buying a bag of candy at the grocery store sound suspicious, but if my husband was like “I need to take a picture of your interviewer” for literally ANY reason, there would be Words. (Besides, spouses are more likely to be the murderer than random strangers, so my trashy murder TV brain jumps straight to “What if this is how he’s going to frame someone else for my murder and get away with it!”)

      1. Yvette*

        “…the Forensic Files narrator who can make buying a bag of candy at the grocery store sound suspicious…” So much this. I picture him at a family picnic, “What did Aunt Edna put in the potato salad? What made the twins decide to wear matching t-shirts? Had Uncle Jerry told that joke before?”

    5. Annony*

      But would there be someone there to keep a sharp eye on things? It sounded like she was being interviewed to run this location. I would be hesitant to hire her for such a high level position without first talking about what happened and making sure that that would not happen again. For a lower level position I think they can just keep an eye on things but for such a high level position you need to be able to trust her judgement and professional behavior and that includes being able to trust her to keep her husband from making her employees uncomfortable.

  7. Eleanor Konik*

    I don’t understand why OP can’t address this privately with Jane during the interview process? As in “this was unprofessional and can’t happen, so what will you do if it comes up again in a different professional context?”

    1. Less Bread More Taxes*

      This definitely needs to happen. Her response will tell you everything you need to know.

      1. Yorick*

        My concern is that her response might not tell you what you need to know. She might brush it off in a way that makes it obvious she’s part of the problem, but she might be able to say it won’t ever happen again when she knows it will. Unless she was far better than the other candidates, I’d pass.

    2. Llellayena*

      I like this. I was coming here to say something similar but I like your wording. I’m not sure if I would ask during the interview process or after an offer was made though (if after, the answer should NOT harm the offer). If it is DV, having it affect the interview process by being a factor in the decision would be unfairly harmful to her. If it’s not DV then it could become a non-issue if Jane is told it could be a problem in a work context and fixes things with her husband. I’d probably only bring it up pre-offer if you decide it does need to be a factor in the hiring decision due to company safety concerns (legal or physical).

      1. Perpal*

        “if after, the answer should NOT harm the offer” I’m gonna have to say they should figure this out before the offer stage. Yes we want to advocate for those in a DV situation but 1) we don’t know it is a DV situation 2) without asking about it there’s no way to tell how much this might effect work, and it’s already effected her interview. If it is DV, he’s already invaded someone’s privacy, what if he harasses subordinates, or worse, gets erratic enough to start attacking people? Behavior described is so strange and invasive right off the bat that it could mean major impacts on work and that means a clear risk assessment and plan should be in place prior to offer stage?

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          I’m with you – this needs to be addressed long before an offer is made (if one is even forthcoming – there could have been other candidates after Jane that were a better fit). This behavior is so alarming that you want to make sure it wouldn’t come up consistently in her role, especially if she’s managing others. Her judgment is in question here.

    3. Myrin*

      I got the feeling that OP’s involvement with the candidates ends at the on-site visit. Re-reading the letter, I can see that that’s not actually spelled out anywhere (only that he doesn’t intend to stay in this location, but that doesn’t automatically preclude at least staying there until he brought his successor up to speed), but the fact that he didn’t ask “How do I bring this up to Jane before an offer is extended?” or something similar and also specifically mentioned saying something to Jane’s future boss made it seem that way to me.

      1. Van Wilder*

        Yeah, my thinking is that since she’s not local, this was the one, in-person chance to talk to her alone. I wouldn’t address it over the phone for fear that her husband (if abusive) would be listening in.

    4. Absurda*

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Something along the lines of outlining her duties (any travel, meeting with others inside/outside the organization, etc) and point out that her husband cannot be present/photograph anyone. Then ask if that would be a problem.

    5. GS*

      Agreed. Certainly, Jane-including-husband is not a good fit for a company that’s too conflict averse to raise the issue and state clear boundaries around it.

    6. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      Yeah, I think laying out, “This role will include travelling to conferences with coworkers/going to dinner with clients/etc, and in those situations we cannot have someone acting suspicious toward those coworkers/clients. Would that be a problem?”

  8. Phony Genius*

    Since they were on company property, if the interviewer had asked him to stop photographing, and he didn’t, what action should he take? Should he even go forward with the interview?

    1. BuildMeUp*

      I don’t think they were on company property at the time – it sounds like the interviewer went to pick the candidate up at her hotel, and they were in the hotel lobby.

    2. sunny-dee*

      They were at the hotel, not the office, but I think the point still holds. I get being unable to address it in the moment because it can take awhile for your brain to process something that weird. But if he had simply told the guy to back off .. what would have happened next? What response would the company have had?

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      They weren’t on company property. OP picked her up in the hotel lobby.

    4. DominoMama*

      They weren’t on company property in this case. He came to pick her up at the hotel lobby which is where husband started taking the photos.

    5. fposte*

      I think he always has the option not to go forward with the interview, whether it’s on company property or not.

  9. Important Moi*

    Let’s consider the couple is in new town and doesn’t know LW. Identification badges can be faked. I understand the LW doesn’t like being considered a potential kidnapper. I wouldn’t either.

    Was the husband being excessive? Strange? Weird? Yup.

    I would be cautious not to punish Jane for her husband’s behavior. As Alison stated, Jane may not mind.

    I’ve come to accept that all the relationships I don’t approve of are already taking place.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      Possibilities: Go down the rabbit hole of possibilities, without also including probabilities, and you end up living in a heavily fortified compound in Idaho.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      If you lived your life in constant fear of potential instances like this, you’d never leave your house. The husband’s behavior was uncalled for and excessive, and highly inappropriate. It screams of abuse to me.

    3. Laura*

      True, and we don’t know their story. I remember being told at a job that if I travelled to the office in another country that I would be given a name, license number and license plate number that all had to match. Not saying this is the case here, but we don’t know if Jane or a family or friend had a bad experience that led to them being more vigilant than normal.

    4. blackcat*

      IDK, I’ve flown across the country, met alone with multiple men in strange cities, and driven in cars alone with men in those strange cities as a part of interviews. I have never once assumed this put me in danger, and neither did my husband.
      It seems really, really weird to treat an interviewer like a potential criminal.

    5. TootsNYC*

      There are videos circulating right now with stories about women being lured to other countries with the promise of a job (one woman in a Reddit comments section said that someone she considered a friend had arranged for her to get a job working for a law firm in Dubai, and when she got there, they wanted her passport and to take her to a town outside the capital where the “law firm” was; she resisted and bailed, and firmly believes this was the intent, based on how insistent they were).

      With Qanon’s focus on sex trafficking right now, and the age of this couple, I think this is what was on their mind. And their fear and paranoia are being indulged, even in the face of all the “I’m a legit businessman” signals.

      1. Nevercomments*

        I mean if the defense of their behavior is that they might be a QAnon supporter- then that’s a whole other can of worms

      2. Amy Sly*

        The age of this couple?

        For reference, I am male in my mid-forties and they appeared to be slightly older.

        Granted, I’ve known some women in their 50s and even 60s so vain that they thought they were still the sexist belle at the ball, but I just would like to think people old enough to be concerned about sex trafficking would know that she’s too old to be in the target victim demographic. Maybe these people doesn’t understand that, but they really ought to.

        1. TootsNYC*

          the husband is the one who seems to have a problem with it. And he probably doesn’t really focus on the actual facts behind who gets kidnapped, etc. He also doesn’t think of his wife as all that old, I bet.

    6. Annony*

      If they were really that concerned though, she could have asked for the itinerary in advance and given her husband a copy and then told him not to pick her up from the hotel and that she would meet him at the office (or wherever stop one was on the itinerary) and either had the husband drop her off or driven herself. None of that would have really been that weird so long as the tone were friendly.

        1. TootsNYC*

          but both of those things don’t really send a message of warning to our “nefarious” OP. Prevention is more important than being able to find her dead body lady.

          The obvious photographing, and obvious checking of the itinerary: those say, “you better not do anything, buddy.”

          it’s like the difference between putting up a big sign that says “premises under camera surveillance” and installing a discreet security camera.

          1. Littorally*

            At that point, though, why even interview? It’s hard to get more wrongfooted for a job interview than to kick off with the blatant presumption that your interviewer has nefarious intent.

          2. Yorick*

            This is just silly. If they’re this worried about kidnapping or whatever, how does she function as a professional? Honestly, I think this is even less reasonable than an abusive husband – you can’t hire someone who will stand by while her husband is aggressively rude to strangers she has to meet in a professional context. Unless she gave a reasonable explanation later, or she was way more qualified than any other candidates, I’d pass.

          3. Jaybeetee*

            I’m commenting super late and maybe no one will see this, but if husband’s behaviour is about him or the both of them falling down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole, they’re not just paranoid, but dumb.

            If they’re concerned about her being in a car or alone with a strange guy, there are other ways to address that – like simply saying she’s not comfortable in a car with someone she doesn’t know, offering to meet elsewhere, etc. If Jane had said that to LW, he might still find it a bit over-cautious, but it wouldn’t be setting off the same bells the husband’s behaviour did.

            If husband, who is apparently in his 50s, was looking to “intimidate” the LW, that’s even worse. If it’s an actual fear for her safety, look for ways to address that, but don’t go around posturing and putting on a tough-guy act. If LW actually was some psycho, that probably wouldn’t deter him at all.

    7. Caramel & Cheddar*

      That’s where I came down on this and was surprised so many didn’t. Husband’s behaviour = totally inappropriate. While I appreciate that the LW doesn’t want to be viewed as a potential kidnapper, I don’t think it’s hard to take a step back and think about the larger context of why they might want to take extra precautions, especially since the things that LW thinks make him seem “safe” (business attire, lanyards, etc.) are the types of things people purposely fake in order to gain your trust.

      A few people have said “You’d never leave the house if you were this paranoid!”, but that argument is weird to me given that we exercise different degrees of caution for different situations in our lives every day. I might be fine to interview on my own at Local Business in my home town that I’m deeply familiar with. I might be more inclined to bring someone along with me if I’m travelling far enough away that I require a hotel in a place I’m unfamiliar with, and doubly so if that the person I’m interviewing with *also* isn’t local.

      1. TootsNYC*

        And the OP met them at the airport, met them at the hotel. Not at an office where other workers are obviously part of the organization, etc.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          Both of which are entirely normal in business travel. If this entirely normal behavior justifies fear which in turn justifies aggression, and the candidate herself agrees, then neither of them understand business travel.

          If she can’t guarantee that this sort of thing won’t be a regular problem whenever she has to travel to meet with subordinate managers or vendors or clients (and I’d think for a C-suite exec at a nationwide company this would be an essential part of the job), OR if she tries to minimize it and doesn’t seem to see it as a problem, then OP should pass on her.

          This “overprotective of me” attitude they have, justifying rudeness by paranoia, is imo closely related to the “never meet with the opposite sex in private” rule some conservative couples have. Both are based on the assumptions that A) all men are dangerous, B) all women are vulnerable, C) men and women are incapable of working together without sexual drama, D) it’s the husband’s prime duty to protect his wife from all other men and this duty overrides all normal conventions and standards of business culture.

      2. Sacred Ground*

        Are you saying it’s a serious concern that OP isn’t who he says he is? That it’s within reason to consider the possibility that he invented the company and his own role in it? That it’s difficult to confirm the existence of said company and the identity of its CEO? Or that the aggressive behavior presented is somehow a better way of dealing with that remote possibility than just doing that confirmation ahead of time?

        Now I’m seeing it as not just rude, but lazy AF. I mean, if he’s scared enough to justify to himself such rudeness, then why didn’t he do the due diligence and research the company and CEO beforehand? If he had, maybe his fears would have been relieved enough to not be an aggressive jerk at their first meeting.

        Another sign of the times: not only does one’s fear of the highly unlikely justify rude aggression, it justifies immediate aggression without even thinking of making an effort to verify that a danger exists.

    8. Joielle*

      I think it’s almost worse if Jane doesn’t mind though – if she doesn’t understand that it was a major violation of professional norms, that’s a big problem. And it was just plain rude! You don’t meet your interviewer, immediately do something SUPER rude and weird (or watch as your husband does it on your behalf), and then just never address it again, and think you’re going to get the job. You at least have to acknowledge that it was weird and hopefully apologize. Otherwise it looks like you don’t understand professional norms, or basic manners.

    9. Employee #24601*

      I’m going to guess that the number of interviews of C-level executives that have ended in kidnapping because someone faked an ID badge and met the interviewee at a hotel is zero.

      This for me would have been the end of the interview and I would have put the candidate on a never, ever, ever hire list.

    10. Sacred Ground*

      “I’ve come to accept that all the relationships I don’t approve of are already taking place.”

      This reads to me as “I assume the worst of people I don’t know.”

      What gets me about this is the aggressive, rude, entitlement attitude. Ok, so one is weirdly afraid of highly unlikely dangers (OP wasn’t exactly a stranger, spouse knew who he was, the company he represented (as CEO!), this was a planned meeting at the company’s expense, etc.) but one’s own fear doesn’t excuse rudeness and aggression. There’s a way to handle that situation, including getting a picture of the suspected person, without being a jerk about it. One could start by simply asking before snapping photos.

      I can excuse paranoia, we are living in paranoid times. I can’t excuse the aggressive attitude, the sense that one’s suspicion, no matter how flimsy, excuses any behavior, no matter how rude.

      “I’m afraid for no real reason and so I am entitled to treat you like crap.” seems to be the guiding principle here.

  10. LGC*

    …it’s definitely Wednesday, I see.

    Would LW have been able to ask the candidate privately about this? Like, I know you shouldn’t talk about candidates’ family lives, but this is actively impacting the hiring process! Her husband creeped on her possible employer! (Yes, I know LW is male, but “creeped” is the best I can do.)

      1. LGC*

        True, but I’m a bit at a loss as to how to address it without going into that!

        I guess LW could ask why her husband took photos of him and ask if that’s normal for him, but…it’s still asking about her husband.

        1. Random Commenter*

          What I meant was that they could say that in the future, permission would be required for photos (and for having him along for business-related activities) without getting into whether they have a healthy relationship dynamic or not.

          1. fposte*

            Yes, that’s roughly where I land. I think this is something worth raising in subsequent discussions to make sure the candidate would be up for traveling and meeting alone with clients and have a clear understanding that this invasive behavior would be unacceptable to repeat.

  11. North Wind*

    Why not address this openly with Jane before bringing her on? “It’s important in this role that you meet with and potentially travel with clients/business associates who are men, and it isn’t ok for your husband to hostilely photograph or vet them beforehand. Will this be a problem?”

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      That’s what I was thinking. Maybe not that exact wording, but it is possible to probe a bit and find out if this is more abusive relationship vs. Jane thinks this is the norm and ok. If it’s the latter, then I’d be wary of putting someone like that in a position of power over others. If someone else in the office was involved in an abusive relationship, but Jane thinks that behavior is perfectly ok, then she might make things worse for the victim in that case.

      If nothing else, it puts Jane on notice that the husband’s behavior was noted, and not in a good way.

      1. LTL*

        Jane thinking this is ok and normal doesn’t negate the possibility that the relationship is abusive. But I agree that it might be good to ask Jane a bit more about this, so LW can potentially get some more information on where/whether Jane’s husband could show up if Jane was hired.

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      Yeah, I wouldn’t use that exact language either, but I would definitely ask about this prior to extending an offer.

  12. migrating coconuts*

    This is really beyond disturbing. If you are C level, presumably it is pretty easy to verify who you are and what you look like before meeting you. Not to mention the fact that there have been multiple virtual interviews previously. Asking about the day’s plans, or to see the itinerary is not unreasonable, but this was just creepy. It’s too bad you didn’t speak up in the moment, and ask for clarification as to what was going on. I would be extremely hesitant to hire this person. Not without finding out what kind of controlling behavior this man exhibited at her previous jobs.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        In this context yes, I agree. If it were a different one with a less creepy spouse, then I wouldn’t find it super weird to ask about the itinerary. Things like, when she’s finished, where she might be if she forgot something and needs it to be delivered, where they’re having lunch so he can be sure not to show up… I can see asking about it without being inappropriate. But in this case, for sure, this was just odd.

      2. LTL*

        I feel like if everything was otherwise normal, it wouldn’t have been strange for Jane and her husband to casually ask if husband could see the itinerary.

        1. soon to be former fed really*

          Wut? It’s very strange for the husband to even be there! Is the candidate a minor child or something?

          1. Annony*

            It sounds like this is a late stage interview and would involve a move. In that case it is normal for the spouse to want to check out the new city. His presence at the hotel is relatively normal. His interrogation wasn’t.

            1. Sacred Ground*

              That it’s a late-stage interview makes it weirder to be this paranoid. Husband has had plenty of time to verify the company’s existence and who is its CEO. If they’d had little or no prior contact that’d be one thing. This is not that.

          2. feministbookworm*

            In different circumstances (absent the creepy photography, AND absent COVID) for high level positions engaging the spouse in some activities (ex: lunch/dinner), particularly when taking the job would involve a big move and/or the position is involved in schmoozing activities, can be part of the recruitment process. It’s a little weird for that to happen during the interview stage, but not unheard of, especially if the candidate is unlikely to be able to travel to the location after an offer is made. I can see a version of this where the itinerary check from the husband is more of a “Hey, am I expected to show up to something at some point, or can I go watch a baseball game?”

      3. Annony*

        If Jane wants him to see the itinerary it is fine. I always send my husband my itinerary when I travel for work. I want him to know where I should be just in case something happens and to know when it would be a good time to call and not risk interrupting something important.

      4. Absurda*

        I don’t have an issue with the husband seeing the itinerary, though in a perfect world wife would have received it ahead of time and shared it with him prior to day of.

        I travel quite a bit for work and will often send my mom a copy of my flight and hotel information; I don’t have an SO. I’ll also email or text her when I arrive at the hotel (then when I arrive home at the end of the trip) to let her know I’m okay. I’m 42 years old. She doesn’t need to know this stuff, and never uses it for anything, but it makes her feel better to know, generally, where I am and when.

  13. juliebulie*

    I really think OP should have asked Jane about this. Not in a confrontational way, just to ask how much she expects him to be around while she’s on the job.

    It’s possible that something happened to her (or them) in the past that makes them want to take extra precautions and they don’t care if some people find it weird.

    And +1000 points for “shutterbuggery.” There’s a word I don’t see every day.

    1. Mediamaven*

      I agree. By not addressing it you are legitimizing it and enabling it to continue. Jane needs full transparency regardless of what she chooses to do with it.

    2. Glitsy Gus*

      I agree, there may be a reason we don’t know about, he could just feel off base due to being in an unfamiliar place. It’s an unusual reaction, but there are possible explanations.

      If this means, though, that she is not going to be able to travel without him or spend time with male coworkers without him meeting them first, that is something that could affect whether this will be a tenable situation. Even if she is 100% OK with that and they are in total mutual agreement there, that may not work for you, depending on the job requirements.

      I don’t think you need to give the third degree on this, but it is something that does need to be addressed at some point.

  14. Batty Twerp*

    If I read the latter bit of the letter right, after husband’s bizarre behaviour, the candidate participated in the rest of the interview without her chaperone? I.e the walking/driving to the various locations? Or did the husband follow along to these as well?
    If she was “allowed” to be alone with the interviewer for the remainder of the itinerary, how did she behave? Was it otherwise an ordinary interview experience? Because I can’t help think this should carry some weight as well.

    1. migrating coconuts*

      But can you see the husband doing this with everyone the wife comes in contact with? Co-workers, bosses, clients? I would not want to expose my company to that kind of behavior. This at least merits some digging into past places of employment to see what he did there.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yep. It does seem entirely possible that this was a one-time thing for whatever reason. And it’s also entirely possible that it’s not. I’d raise some very probing questions with her references.

      2. Shirley Keeldar*

        I said this above, but I’m going to repeat it because I think it’s a big deal–its not just Jane’s co-workers, bosses, clients. It’s her employees as well. Will this man follow and photograph any men who report to her? Can you imagine your boss’s spouse invading your privacy and making you feel unsafe like this? Would her employees feel safe pushing back?

        1. Batty Twerp*

          That’s sort of what I was leaning towards but failed to adequately put into words.
          There were two parts to it – how does she behave when he’s *not* around, and did he actually back off for the rest of the interview?
          If the answer to the second part is yes, this shows that there are at least *some* boundaries in place that need to be considered.

          Look – I think what I’m trying (and struggling) to make is that she shouldn’t be penalised because her husband is a jerk. Her interview should be considered on her merits, not tainted by her husbands skeevy behaviour. *His* involvement should be considered as part of the wider picture.

      3. Mockingjay*

        But how often do you interact with your spouse’s coworkers? I see my husband’s maybe once a year, at the holiday party. And we work in the same industry and have many of the same contacts.

        1. Helena1*

          But you wouldn’t expect to see a candidate’s husband at an interview either – is this guy going to show up to random stuff once she’s hired too? Visiting the office to photograph her direct reports? Hanging out in the car park taking photos of people leaving? Coming with her to client meetings?

          Hopefully not, but turning up to an interview and getting in the face of the interviewer with a camera is weird enough that I would want cast-iron guarantees about all the rest.

        2. EventPlannerGal*

          That really depends on if you have a spouse who behaves normally, though. I recall at least one letter from someone whose boss’s spouse frequently called and visited the office, yelled at employees on the phone when they couldn’t be put through to the boss and generally made themself a very intimidating pain in everyone’s necks.

          You see your husbands coworkers infrequently because you are normal, but if you were the sort of person who covertly photographs their interviewers and demands to see their itineraries, maybe you would also be the sort of person to call their office all day, turn up randomly and want access to the building, yell at their PA, whatever. We don’t know that, but this guy has already demonstrated that he doesn’t behave normally around his wife’s potential employer.

      4. Migrating Coconuts*

        I’m betting this is not a one time thing. Who’s to say this guy, now that he knows the itinerary, didn’t get in his rental car and follow? I’m a big believer in gut instinct. This sets off warning bells. What happens if this guy loses his sh*, comes into the office one day with a gun and starts firing? and then you look back and say, gee I should have looked into this a little bit? There is nothing wrong with doing due diligence.

  15. starsaphire*

    This is just… so weird.

    Alison says that a spouse’s position during a job interview is behind-the-scenes support. I agree wholeheartedly — my spouse’s position during my job interviews has always been to not make it glaringly obvious that I can’t drive. It would never cross either of our minds for him to go any further than the parking lot — and then leave immediately, to go back to his own work or to find a nearby S’bucks and wait for me to call.

    I’m sorry that the OP’s candidate is in this situation, and I honestly hope it’s just something quirky and not something malevolent.

  16. Master of None*

    I wonder what part of the world this took place in? Not that it would read as normal in any business setting, but there are different cultural norms for men and women meeting privately in different areas. *(heck, my CEO in the US won’t have private lunches/meals with female employees.) Of course LW indicated this was concerning for him, but he also indicated the region was well outside of an area where he would live.

    1. Llellayena*

      Your “CEO in the US” is illegally discriminating against women if he has private lunches with male employees but not female employees. There have been at least a couple letters on this site about that very issue.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I think the federal government has exempted itself from those laws, though. (If Master of None doesn’t work for the US Executive department, this is illegal as well as unethical discrimination.)

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      If the LW were in an area where this is a cultural norm, there would be no point to writing the letter. (“A candidate and her husband conformed to local norms! What do you think about that?”)

      (And yeah, what everyone else said about your CEO.)

      1. MissBliss*

        But if the letter writer is from far away, they may not be familiar with local norms. (I think that cultural differences being “the thing” is unlikely but still possible.)

    3. High School Teacher*

      If your male CEO refuses to have lunches or meals with female employees, that is a big problem.

      1. Perpal*

        Yeah, policy has to be all genders or not a policy. If they are concerned about say, sexual harassment accusations, that can come from any gender. If it’s for personal/religious reasons then just extend the same restrictions to everyone legal and general ethical reasons and there will be no problem.

    4. WellRed*

      But it was presumably still in the same country, which I am guessing is US. Creepy husbands are creepy whether you are in New England or the Southwest.

      Your CEO is part of the problem.

  17. Bookworm*

    Whoa and yikes. I don’t have any thoughts that haven’t been already said, just sending you sympathy. People are really, really weird.

    Sending you the best and wishes that you stay safe.

  18. CupcakeCounter*

    My FIL started developing some paranoia shortly before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve heard from my MIL (who got the information from various support groups and Dr’s appts) that increased paranoia and anxiety can be early warning signs of neurological conditions and/or a side effect of some of the medications. Its possible given the candidates age that it is possible he is in early stages of some un-diagnosed (or very recently diagnosed) neurological disease and is both new and/or temporary and the candidate shrugged it off because they knew the root cause and didn’t want to reveal private medical information. My MIL went through this fairly often for a few years and it was usually an indication that his meds needed to be adjusted or his condition was deteriorating significantly. We kind of got used to it but strangers and people who had known him for years but didn’t see him often would be shocked and very concerned about what was going on.

    1. OyHiOh*

      Given that LW says Jane has otherwise had a stellar career and several remote interviews previous to meeting her, this would have been my thought as well (near relative who had Parkinson’s – the reasonable explanations we come up with are those we have experience or knowledge of ourselves.)

    2. ES*

      I feel like in a situation like that the candidate would probably have chosen to reassure the interviewer in some way once they were alone. Even without revealing private medical information there would be room for some version of “I know this wasn’t in line with professional norms, this is something we are working with with his doctor, this will not have an effect on my work.”

      1. LTL*

        Depending on whether Jane knew her husband would do this beforehand, she might have been caught off guard by the situation as well.

        1. fposte*

          Maybe, but I’d still want to close that loophole in conversation rather than assuming that things will be different in future.

    3. Guacamole Bob*

      But if you’re dealing with that while interviewing for jobs, you need to find a way to keep him out of that process, or at least to apologize/explain once he’s no longer in the room. “I’m sorry about my husband’s behavior, he’s adjusting to a new medication that’s affecting his behavior” is more than you should have to disclose, but is way less unsettling than saying nothing. As it is, medical issues seem less likely than weirdly controlling and probably abuse behavior, and at the very least it seems like Jane is okay with this behavior and the OP has real concerns about whether it will continue in the long run.

      I’m sorry about your FIL.

    4. SomehowIManage*

      My mind went to autism spectrum, which would explain why Jane was so calm and used to this behavior. But recent onset dementia or Parkinson’s would also make sense.

      1. Dual Peppin Whiskey*

        +1

        Also, is your username an Office reference? Assuming it is, it made me smile :). (Everybody likes the guy who offers him a stick of gum.)

        1. SomehowIManage*

          It is! I look back at some of the cringey but well-meaning things I did in my early career and I think I could have co-written that book!

      2. Loni*

        Wait, what?! I’m autistic and I do not see how the husband could get to be in his 40s/50s/60s without learning that this is not acceptable behavior. I am so so tired of every time a man is creepy people making “oh maybe he’s autistic” excuses for him. He’s not taking mug shots and aggressively demanding to know the interview schedule because he’s autistic.

        1. SomehowIManage*

          I honestly don’t have much experience with autism. In addition to spousal abuse (which is where most commenters went), some of the things that I was considering were developmental disorders, mental illnesses, or other things that might cause someone to have routines that seem out of the norm, but may not be maliciously intended.

          As for how someone might get to middle age doing things that are socially unacceptable? I think that happens a lot when people have not been taught correctly or have not been challenged about those behaviors. That’s definitely not limited to people with autism.

    5. Courageous cat*

      I thought we weren’t supposed to speculate, particularly not THIS wildly, in the comments.

  19. BuildMeUp*

    If it truly is an abusive relationship, the husband may be doing things like monitoring Jane’s communications, which would make your insistence that she should have told the interviewer beforehand incredibly dangerous for her.

    Or, as is often the case in abusive relationships, the husband may have manipulated and gaslighted Jane into seeing his behavior as normal.

    It’s just not possible to blame Jane without knowing the full context.

  20. bleh*

    Anyone taking my photo without my permission would get some words from me. I don’t have a picture on my faculty profile; my Zoom photo is a bird, not me. That is so invasive.

    1. Lucy P*

      I was going to actually suggest that it would have been easier look up OP’s photo online. We’re in property management. One of the first things we do when someone wants to view a property is to look up their photo online to see who we’re meeting with, because we’re often going into a property where it is just us and a prospective tenant. I’ve known real estate agents who request, or even demand, a photo ID be provided in advance before showing a property to anyone.

      But you’re right, not everyone posts their picture in their profile. Like you, my profile picture often is not a personal photo.

  21. it happens*

    Is this something that the reference checkers can address during that process? If the OP is making the calls, can he ask the normal questions, and then ask if husband has ever been an issue? Perhaps even reference the odd interview behavior? It’s probably not something that would come up in a normal process, and perhaps this behavior was very out of character due to the strangeness of these particular times…

  22. Blue Eagle*

    Perhaps rather than rushing in and telling Jane that this type of behavior is unprofessional, start by asking Jane why her husband was taking the photos. Then ask what she thought about her husband taking the photos. And perhaps a couple of follow-up questions too — has her husband ever come to her job site in previous jobs, why did he come to the job site, did she ever discuss the job to get his insights and how did his input affect her decision-making, did she ever take materials home and show them to her husband etc.
    If you start by asking questions and receiving information, you will be in a better position to evaluate her candidacy. And if the decision is to hire her, at that point you can have the discussion about non-professional behavior.

  23. mreasy*

    The husband was out of line, but I, a physically strong woman who lives in a big city and walks home alone after dark without hesitation, would not be willing to go to multiple sites in a male stranger’s car for a job interview, period.

    1. BuildMeUp*

      Yes, I did find it a bit odd that the interviewer was picking the candidate up. I wonder if that’s the norm in their area or industry.

      Obviously doesn’t excuse the behavior, though!

      1. No Tribble At All*

        I can see it if the interview site is somewhat far away from the hotel and it might be difficult to get a taxi, or the interviewee is worried about expensing the ride. But getting the interviewer to pick you up seems to imply a greater level of communication/coordination, which makes the interviewer *less* suspicious, imo. The only other thing I can think of is if the interview is held in a secured location (no visitor cars allowed onsite?) or between multiple locations (first you do the interview, then we’ll drive 5 minutes down the road to our factory tour).

    2. Khatul Madame*

      Interview schedules usually include names, durations and locations of meetings if there are several. They are sent to the candidate days in advance. One can make other arrangements, i.e. rent a car and drive herself.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I assume that if the itinerary had been shared in advance with the candidate, the husband would not have had to ask for it of the OP, they could have gotten it from the wife. I think with the letter we need a little more information to assess how out of line the husband was.

        If OP told the wife “We need you all day or for 6 hours to interview you, and don’t worry about transpiration we will pick you up from your hotel and going to several locations.” OP was just trying to be nice/accommodating by picking them up, but didn’t give the wife the option of meeting at the places via their own car, and if OP didn’t give the itinerary in advance it could seem a little shady. A job interviewer wants to pick me up from my hotel but won’t tell me where we are going?

        I do think OP was out of line. There are better ways to keep tabs on a partner if you are worried for their safety, google maps allows you to share your location with someone, they can see your current location and battery status.

    3. Alt*

      After several weeks of communication and multiple prior interviews? It would definitely be odd for a first interview, but at that late stage of the process it doesn’t seem strange to travel together to multiple locations for a final interview.

    4. AnotherAlison*

      Yeah, I think people are discounting the weird set up of this interview. I remember 15+ years ago picking up a candidate for an interview, but I believe there were 3 of us and we all met him at the hotel and then went to lunch to kick off the interview. I didn’t think it was weird then, but I’ve watched a lot more Dateline since.

      My son also nearly got scammed in an apartment search this week. The scam was to take money, but without getting into the details, the same setup could be used to have someone posing as a leasing agent with other nefarious motives meet a prospective renter inside a home. You could do something like that with this type of job interview set up, too. Maybe I watch too much Dateline.

    5. Important Moi*

      It can be the norm. I’ve had business travel where I was picked by a male representative and visited sites all day, because it was that representative’s job to pick people up and visit sites with them all day.

    6. thatoneoverthere*

      It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but I found it weird as well.

      I listen to, way too many true crime podcasts to let a stranger pick me up at a hotel in a city, that I am unfamiliar with.

    7. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      How is it any different than getting into a cab or an Uber? At least in this case you have a short history with them and a bit of knowledge about them and the company.

    8. Observer*

      WHich is fine. But that is YOUR decision to make and communicate. And to figure out with your interviewer how to handle the logistics.

      What happened here was Jane apparently being fine with it and her husband showing up to do some pre-meeting forensics to “warn” the OP not to try any bad things.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, exactly. It’s a worst of both worlds compromise–it affected Jane’s status without making her much safer.

    9. CTT*

      What alternate option would you propose in this situation? Finding a cab or uber may be difficult based on the location (and has the 50% chance of also being a male stranger’s car) and as the interviewee I would be worried I would get lost if I were driving a rental car in a new area.

      1. Sacred Ground*

        A hotel that caters to business travelers in a large US city is not a difficult place to get a cab.

    10. Absurda*

      I don’t think this is too weird. It sounds like they were visiting multiple sites so it would make sense for the local person to do the driving and for them to carpool. Plus, the husband and wife may only have 1 car between them and hubby might want the car to do his own sightseeing.

      If they were going to stay in one location the whole time, it would probably make more sense for the interviewee to arrange their own transport to and from that office (either cab or hubby drops her off).

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        OP wasn’t local either: the site was another location (very far from my home) that experienced a sudden and unforeseen leadership vacancy.

        1. Absurda*

          okay, local-ish. He volunteered to go there and lead while they looked for someone to fill the vacancy. I took that to mean he’d physically been there long enough to learn his way around. He’d still know the area better than the candidate.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            This is also potentially pandemic related– normally I’d be perfectly happy with cab/uber or public transportation. Right now if I know my interviewer’s CV19 precautions march mine, I’d be much happier in a private car (sitting diagonal front/back with windows cracked open).

    11. London Lass*

      There’s a big difference between just any ‘male stranger’ and an identifiable professional in a senior position at a company you are seriously interested in working for. Presumably she knew who she would be meeting and they had an itinerary arranged for the day, which for some reason linked to the nature of the business made it necessary to visit multiple sites. I’m not saying you chuck all sense of self-preservation out of the window, but there are proportionate measures you can take, short of refusing to get in his car.

    12. Ellie*

      It depends on the field – I’m in defence and I do it all the time. Everyone’s been vetted, everyone knows where you are and where you’re going, because its all approved in advance, so the security issue doesn’t seem so bad. This is really normal and you couldn’t get on in the field if you didn’t.

      I see your issue though because I avoid taxis now because of all the harrassment I’ve received, and frankly, I wouldn’t accept a ride home with a lot of the people I’ve met with at those sites. But this is a normal thing in a lot of jobs and you just have to get on with it.

      I do feel sorry for this woman but I would at minimum mention it to the hiring team and to the candidate themselves, to try and get a feel if it will be an issue in future. She’s not your employee yet and technically you don’t owe her anything – and I’d be mad if this kind of information was witheld from me if I was considering hiring someone. I wouldn’t necessarily not hire them over it, but if she’s hired and then says she can’t visit clients due to religious reasons or whatever, I’d be pretty angry. And she deserves to know how her husband is coming across.

  24. Good Wilhelmina Hunting*

    This sounds like the sort of thing my schizophrenic ex might have done. He never took pictures of anyone, by the way, but if he had have done, in his mind, he would have been taking the pictures to more easily enable the police to ID the culprit had anything happened to me, which he was perpetually terrified would happen.
    Where I live it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of someone’s personal circumstances or caring responsibilities, but the firm I worked for hated the fact that I had a paranoid partner that used to phone me up during the day. It wasn’t much of a career compared to the candidate being described, it was only secretarial work, which as a widely self-taught person I was privately utterly bored by, but it got me out of the house and I relied on having that. He had a whole catalog of physical and mental health problems (but had never received any diagnosis for the latter), and they were not only unsupportive but hostile and when the firm decided to lay off one-third of the support staff the ringleaders of the hate campaign against my partner made sure my name was at the top of the list.
    This was the beginning of a whole year of hell for me until I overcame my revulsion about walking out on a very unwell man who relied on me, as it was just me and an undiagnosed, unsupported schizophrenic 24/7, and any time someone phoned me up about a job all they could hear was his paranoid questionings in the background.
    I would suggest therefore that dropping this candidate from the running could be cutting off a potential lifeline for her. And you don’t know the husband is abusive to her; there could be another explanation.

    1. redflagday701*

      Thank you — I was coming here to say this. Abuse is obviously what jumps to mind at first, but this could also be the husband’s mental illness flaring up or something else awful like early-onset dementia. The fact is that we don’t know, that it would not be fair to the candidate to drop her on the basis of one uncomfortable encounter with her husband, and that OP will have more information once he’s spoken to her references. Alison’s advice is solid, as usual.

    2. disambiguation*

      I’m sorry you had to deal with that, but I do wonder if your partner’s calls were disruptive to the workplace. I worked with a gentleman whose (now ex-) wife was mentally unwell and would jam up the switchboard with call after call to the main line when he didn’t pick up his own line. It got so bad that we had to take legal action against her. It wasn’t the employee’s fault, but it was very difficult to conduct business while this was going on.

  25. Jostling*

    Although this is outside of “normal,” it reads to me as more of a safety thing than a control thing, similar to texting your friends a photo of your blind date. Jane and her husband should have handled it more gracefully, obviously, but this isn’t a red flag on the hire or the relationship to me. It might also be a sign that LW needs to build more transparency into the interview process, specifically around sharing the itinerary via email in advance and introducing the “players” in the interview process, again with a paper trail and LinkedIn links that include photos. Just putting myself in her shoes, I would also be uncomfortable travelling to a strange city alone without knowing the people I’m meeting, the itinerary for my visit, or the transportation arrangements. (Personally, I would do it anyway, and I wouldn’t bring my partner, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about it.)

    1. Khatul Madame*

      Maybe the company office is located in an area known as unsafe. This would somewhat justify the husband’s interest in the itinerary, but certainly not his adversarial conduct.
      But again, IME the candidate receives the interview schedule with names, locations and times well in advance, so I am interpreting the husband’s questioning and overt hostility as a bizarre power play.

      1. Jostling*

        Yeah, I agree. The letter doesn’t specify that those details were shared with the candidate, though, only that they were produced on-demand day-of. If it’s information that Jane could have shared with Bob in advance and Bob didn’t find it sufficient, that’s pushes the needle of Bob’s behavior from “hostile and overcautious” to “wildly inappropriate.” If not, however… that’s a legitimate safety concern, which Bob proceeded to handle poorly.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Here’s the thing: it is not inappropriate, at least as far as I’m concerned, to introduce your spouse to your interviewer in this situation. That’s smart, actually. If they’re both in town because a relocation is involved, then ok– bring Bob down to the lobby, everyone shakes hands, Bob gets a good look at the guy, see you later and have a good day, text me when you’re done. THAT is a safety thing. Also, presumably Jane had the guy’s name before the interview, so she could have looked him up on LinkedIn and shared that info with Bob. That would be fine.

      Surreptitiously and suspiciously taking several photos? Speaking brusquely to the interviewer? Insisting on knowing about walking or driving? That’s designed to be intimidating and goes beyond simple safety precautions. This goes beyond “they could have handled it more gracefully” in my opinion, because they didn’t attempt to handle it well at all. They just bulldozed.

      1. Sam.*

        Yes, if it was truly a safety thing, I think looking up OP’s picture online beforehand and then meeting him in person to verify it was the same person would be sufficient. MAYBE take one photo (actually surreptitiously – they weren’t trying to hide it here) and check ahead of time that there are security cameras in the lobby so you know there’s additional footage if worse comes to worse.

        And presumably Jane could’ve asked for the schedule ahead of time if she was truly concerned about her safety – I probably would’ve asked just to be sure I was wearing appropriate shoes, because I’m not wearing heels if there’s a lot of walking involved. The fact that Bob was being so incredibly obvious about it – that he was performing suspicion, as Alison said – and that he was going well beyond what was seemingly necessary throws up giant red flags for me.

        1. kt*

          Yeah. I would think it was a little weird but not weird weird if Bob for instance had said, oh, can I take a pic of your itinerary so that I can coordinate our schedules? It’s the performance of suspicion that’s particularly weird & creepy.

    3. Diahann Carroll*

      It might also be a sign that LW needs to build more transparency into the interview process, specifically around sharing the itinerary via email in advance and introducing the “players” in the interview process, again with a paper trail and LinkedIn links that include photos.

      This would definitely make me feel more comfortable if I were Jane. Also, sending a car to pick her up would have been better as well. As a woman who travels alone often, I’m not too wary of having someone pick me up, but if you aren’t used to traveling solo and a man you never met before tells you he’ll be picking you up from your hotel, I could see that being slightly unsettling (especially when you add interview nerves on top of that).

      1. EnfysNest*

        The company… *did* send a car to pick her up. A car driven by one of their employees. Who was also her interviewer and who had presumably been in contact with Jane through the previous portions of the hiring process. She knew the name of who was supposed to be there and that’s who showed up. If she had really wanted to take a taxi instead, she could have arranged that when she was first told that OP was going to pick her up at the hotel, but it’s not like he surprised her there. This was something they had planned. She expected to meet someone with his name at that location and she did, that’s enough of a screening process in and of itself.

        If Jane and/or her husband actually believed that the entire job advertisement and hiring process was somehow a kidnapping scam or that someone could have found out about the interview and decided to incapacitate and impersonate the real interviewer or some other action-movie evil plot, they have left reasonable expectations far behind.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          The company… *did* send a car to pick her up. A car driven by one of their employees.

          A hired driver from a reputable company is probably a much safer bet to send to pick up job candidates when you’ve never met face to face and don’t know people’s comfort level with that sort of thing. Ideally, if Jane or her husband wasn’t comfortable, they would have said something in advance. My comments here are for the OP to think about how, going forward, they can conduct their interviews so weird stuff like this doesn’t occur again. (And OP, you may not have the standing to change interview procedures, but it’s something to also consider bringing up with the actual hiring manager/exec when you bring up this encounter.)

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Again I have to point out that a hired driver is less safe from a covid-exposure perspective.

            1. Sacred Ground*

              I was a cab driver until recently and drove for a limousine/towncar service before that and can confirm. Some of the people I worked with in taxi service were pretty shady but at least had passed a criminal background check by a state agency. Not so at the limo company. When I started there, the parent company had just settled a lawsuit by someone who’d been sexually assaulted by an airport shuttle driver.

              I do think a pro driver for a reputable transpo company is far safer than Uber/Lyft. But I’d think you can’t get much safer than meeting the CEO of the company you’re interviewing at.

              1. Sacred Ground*

                And I see I misread your comment. I’d responded to safety concerns about a potentially dangerous driver, not exposure to COVID.

    4. Wintergreen*

      I agree, based on the story by the OP, I originally took this to be a poorly implemented safety thing and I’m taken aback by all the negative motives being applied to the husband. Could there be abuse or controlling issues within the marriage, possibly. But why go there so quickly? When the OP mentioned the couple was older, my mind went to “Oh… the husband probably read or heard about some scam where the criminal was using some kind of fake job interview to commit his crime.”
      If the interaction is bugging the OP so much he needs to address it with Jane. Maybe with something along the lines of “I was a little thrown that your husband took my picture when we met for the interview.” and leave the comment sit and see how Jane responds. Her response will tell OP if he needs to be concerned or if the situation was just odd. She could come back with a perfectly understandable response (along the lines of where my mind went), she could become visibly uncomfortable and make vague excuses (in which case OP’s worries could be entirely valid), she could show signs of embarrassment and try to laugh off the incident like at the introductions (which may be worrisome, or just that she is aware her husband is a little strange).

      1. Joielle*

        Yeah, but did the husband have to be so RUDE about it? If it had been more like “So sorry but I’m just going to take your picture real quick, we’re a bit paranoid about safety with strangers in a new city, nice to meet you, have a good interview” then ok, weird but if it makes you feel safer, whatever. But the husband was a total jerk about it. If someone associated with me was rude to a person I wanted to work for, I would be mortified and apologize for their behavior as soon as we were out of earshot.

        1. Wintergreen*

          Joielle, I don’t see where in the OP that the husband was “so RUDE” or a jerk. He took a few pictures of the letter writer** then asked about the itinerary and travel arrangements for the day. Maybe it wasn’t husbands place to do so and I see where it put Jane in an awkward position but that doesn’t necessarily mean as some posts have indicated that the husband was rude, a jerk, interrogating or accusing the letter writer of anything. I know several men who would behave similar to this husband (including an ex-in law LEO) that are not rude, abusive or mortifying to be around. There is a lot of negative assumptions going on that have nothing to do with the letter or how the letter writer should handle the situation going forward.

          **Agreed the picture taking was a bit much and odd but not so out of bounds as to generate this reaction.

          1. Joielle*

            I mean, the OP said the husband was “essentially taking mugshots of me from different angles” and had a “brusque demeanor,” which gave the OP the “impression that he believes or suspects that I intend the candidate harm.” That reads as quite rude to me. I can’t imagine a situation in which taking obvious pictures of someone you’ve just met from different angles, and then acting like they’re going to kidnap your wife, is polite. I’m inclined to trust the OP’s impression of the situation.

          2. Courageous cat*

            …. since when is abruptly taking pictures of a person you don’t know without asking NOT rude?

          3. Jostling*

            I definitely think this is where the different perspectives of the husband vs. letter writer come into play. The behavior that LW (rightfully! as he is entitled to his opinion!) saw as rude and hostile could have been an awkward and panicked response from the husband. Especially, as LW mentioned in a comment above, because they were wearing masks – if the husband came downstairs to introduce himself and freaked out, that would explain so much of his behavior: he was worried he wouldn’t be able to identify OP to the police because of the mask, so he took photos and did it in a weird/creepy way because it was an on-the-spot reaction; similarly, the worry/fear/panic translated as hostility/rudeness; husband and wife had discussed the safety concerns, but the mask and lack of inclusion in the process threw the husband off script, also explaining why the candidate didn’t handle it decisively in the moment… in trying to assume positive intent, I’m seeing a lot of these behaviors as explainable, if not appropriate.

            Of course, a lot of things should have gone differently in this scenario. The husband should have kept his cool. The candidate should have explained their concerns in the moment or excused herself to talk to her husband privately about it. OP should have asked about it in the moment or in a moment of privacy during the interview. The candidate should have pushed for more information or better safety precautions before travelling for the interview if she was uncomfortable (though, the combo of a big company and the current economy would make me hesitate to assert myself to a job prospect). OP should have sent a car service or reimbursed an Uber (because those modes of transport are traceable and not quite the same as “getting into a stranger’s car”). There are a lot of things that could have been done differently all around, but I’m not getting “abusive husband” out of this interaction.

  26. Alt*

    Someone in a leadership position who can’t meet with a stranger without her husband photographing the other person, vetting the itinerary, and generally being creepy? That just seems like a non-starter. If she is willing to allow him to treat others like this, I’d feel like she cannot be trusted in a leadership role if there is any chance she will ever again need to meet with a stranger to represent the company. This is really regardless of why he’s doing it; doing it at all is a huge barrier, and OP needs to consider the company with this hire.

    1. Tex*

      Agree. Additionally, the commentariat here goes bananas about helicopter parents exhibiting the same behavior as the husband in this situation. It’s either a red flag regardless of who the candidate is.

  27. What Day Is It?*

    So weird and not professional. Clandestine photos are never acceptable.

    It would have been one thing if Jane had introduced her spouse to the LW before going off for a day- “Bob this is Spouse, he came along with me to check out the area. Spouse, this is LW, he’s my guide for the day”- and leave it at that.

    This level of acceptance of unacceptable behavior raises red flags. What else would Jane overlook in a professional setting? What other norms does she have blinders on about? Serious reference checks are needed for sure, with pointed questions about possible Spouse interference.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Were they “clandestine” (but badly executed as OP was on to it) photos or were they really more of a “display” by the husband of taking photos “for future reference by the police” or whatever (to communicate e.g. “so you’d better not try anything”)? I’d love to know this detail from the OP, as I think the answer to that changes everything.

  28. winter frog*

    Bob’s conduct here was unprofessional and disturbing. It sounds like Jane is being considered for a position as site or regional manager, and that Jane’s supervisor would not be at the same location as her. I would worry about what kind of harassment Bob could inflict on employees at the site. If Jane is the highest level local manager, I would be worried that it would be difficult to monitor this from afar. Jane’s reports might be reluctant to bring up any Bob issues until the situation gets out of hand.

  29. Perdita*

    I’m curious, why didn’t the LW address this behavior with the husband right away? “Pardon me, but why are you taking pictures of me right now?” The choice to ignore it is interesting to me. I would think addressing it right then would have gotten you valuable information about what is really going on with the situation.

  30. Jeff Winger*

    How explicit would it be appropriate to be with references? My inclination would be for the OP to ask them point-blank if her husband had ever made himself known in strange/alarming ways before, but I worry that, especially if he hadn’t, this would seem really out-of-line and maybe even reflect badly on OP.

    1. WellRed*

      I think the chances that he’s never done anything like this are very slim and they absolutely should ask the references, but maybe there’s a better way to couch it.

  31. LTL*

    I don’t think there’s enough here to say whether this is an abusive relationship. But I would like to point out that if it is an abusive relationship, Jane’s husband could have been intentionally trying to put the LW off so she doesn’t get the job and/or to damage her relationships at work.

  32. Jean*

    Jane may have had some sort of traumatic experience in her past that makes her husband feel like he needs to take extra precautions, which is overall a good thing, but in this case the behavior was overkill and a major faux pas. Presumably Jane and her spouse have had adequate time to independently vet this company and make sure that the interviewer is legitimate. They have his name, employer and contact info, which is more than enough to take action should Jane go missing during this interview. So yeah, I wouldn’t hold it against Jane in the hiring process, but I would be extra vigilant for other signs that she might need help in her personal life. Hopefully this was just an aberration by an otherwise reasonable, sane person who just watched a disturbing movie the night before or something. These things do happen. Definitely update!

    1. soon to be former fed really*

      It’s not the responsibility of an interviewer to suss out possible abuse or motives for disturbing behavior on the part of candidates and/or their families. I would have stated that I do not want my picture taken, and the fact that a spouse even showed up would have been a tremendous turn off to me. This is not standard business practice in any way, shape, or form. In 42 years of full time work, and dozens of interviews, I never took anyone with me! . This is as bad when parents hover over their children and try to handle their work life, employers don’t need it. There are other candidates without this baggage. Move on.

  33. TootsNYC*

    If this is recent, I smell a Qanon believer.

    This really sounds like someone who has recently heard the stories of women being lured to other countries, or new areas, with the promise of a job and then disappearing into slavery.
    There’s a video going around right now that shows this sort of thing.

    So the husband’s behavior may not be anything that normally happens. If the wife is the one setting up interviews, etc., with coworkers, or people that SHE contacts, he may be totally fine. After all, she’s the one in control, in an area she’s familiar with.

    This guy has obviously not thought through the credentials of the interviewer/OP and the company. But that fear and that abduction tactic are a huge conversation right now.

      1. Nevercomments*

        Right- QAnon is a conspiracy theory which spouts such crazy things as Tom hanks being involved in a global sex trafficking ring, cannibals and aliens. The FBI considers QAnon a domestic terrorist threat. Any job applicant that was basing their behavior on this conspiracy theory would be a hard pass.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          What I love most about it is the realization that millions of Americans and a significant minority, perhaps majority, of a major party, as well as prominent leaders in that party, are rejoicing at the notion that all the officials of my party are soon going to be mass-arrested by the tens of thousands. They are openly celebrating imminent mass arrests of all their political opponents yet refuse to act responsibly during a deadly pandemic because THAT’S government overreach.

      2. Joielle*

        Yeah, especially if you’re hiring someone who would have direct reports. That’s a hard nope.

    1. blackcat*

      W….T…..F…..?!

      This is a QAnon thing? I thought that was about child sex trafficking conspiracy theories, not adults.

    2. Third or Nothing!*

      Ugggggh Qanon needs to stop. All that nonsense is making it so much harder for actual anti-trafficking organizations to do their jobs. One that I used to volunteer with back before I had a kid said that they’ve been overwhelmed with calls lately and real cases are slipping through the cracks.

      And luring women to another country with promises of a job DOES happen in real life. But like all traffickers, they target the most vulnerable people. A C-level professional is not part of that demographic.

      1. Helena1*

        And OP says Jane and her husband are “an older couple”.

        I’m a middle aged woman myself, and i imagine that is an extremely niche market for sex traffickers. Individual murderous nutjobs, fine. But organised crime/international gangsters luring in 50yr olds with the promise of Director of Marketing jobs? Not really.

        1. TootsNYC*

          it’s not about whether it’s factual or statistically likely. It’s about what this particular guy believes. And I don’t think he’s all that likely to be relying on statistics; he’s probably influenced by the stuff floating around to be suspicious everywhere.

          He may have seen those sorts of dramatic stories. My MIL was watching TV just two or three weeks ago, and there was a story about John Robinson of Kansas City, who lured women to KC with the promise of a job, killed them, and put their bodies in a barrel.

          So he decides this “I, a man you don’t know, will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel, but not to the office,” and it makes him worried because he’s already steeped in that sort of fear.

    3. Observer*

      That’s a huge leap.

      To be clear, if this were a QAnon thing, it would probably be a deal breaker for me. But there are so many other possibilities here, many of which are at least as likely, it makes no sense to jump to it.

      1. Artemesia*

        I don’t know, in these times, it seems the most likely explanation for this nutty behavior. And yeah you really don’t want that crap in your office, especially in the boss.

        1. Observer*

          I disagree that it’s the most likely.

          I know a surprising number of people who don’t even know that qanon existis. And, no not people living under a rock. On the other hand, I know very few people who haven’t heard the scary stories about the lunatic serial murderer who lures women and kills them. In fact, as another commenter mentioned, there is one case that’s recently been making the rounds about a guy who lured women to KC with the offer of jobs then killed them. It’s actually an old story, but the news accounts make it seem relatively recent

    4. Bippity*

      QAnon and their believers are just horrendous, and the dangerous mistruths they spread about trafficking are so incredibly dangerous and actively harm genuine trafficking survivors. (And of course they worship Trump, whose actions in separating migrant children from their families has probably done more to make large numbers of children vulnerable to being trafficked than anyone else.)

      The myths around how trafficking works and attempts to exploit trafficking to push a racist right wing agenda is just so terrifying. I don’t understand how anyone can fall for it.

      Any link with QAnon would be an immediately deal breaker for me.

  34. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    As bad as I feel for Jane to potentially lose out on a job for being in an abusive relationship, which is of course no fault of her own, this is a HUGE can of worms for the company to open and subsequently take on, and it is 100% in LW’s right to say it’s something they’re just not up to doing.

  35. hbc*

    Sounds to me like he’s completely paranoid and not too bright–like the people who started the hysterical warnings about having those stick figure families on your rear windshield because now some ne’er-do-well knows to follow your minivan to steal your kids or something. So yes, someone *could* set up a fake company and do several rounds of interviews and put you up at a hotel just to kidnap people, but no one does that because it’s ridiculous.

    If he’s like this all the time, then her sense of what’s reasonable is probably skewed, and him hanging around taking pictures for the potential manhunt is an annoying quirk rather than the jaw-dropping behavior most of society would agree it is. I would specifically ask about family interference during the reference check, but if nothing is there, I would chalk it up to the situation bearing a passing resemblance to the opening of some crime drama (“woman lured to hotel by stranger”) and unlikely to recur.

  36. Esmeralda*

    OP, you are not torpedoing Jane’s professional success unless you go around telling everybody and his dog not to hire her because she can’t manage her creepy husband.

    Follow up with the exec as AAM suggests. It might mean Jane does not get hired, but that does not mean Jane’s career is ruined, nor does it mean you should feel guilty. You have an obligation to your employer and to the people who work in the office Jane would oversee.

      1. LTL*

        1) We don’t know that the relationship is abusive, 2) Esmeralda didn’t say that Jane was responsible for anything, only that the OP has to consider the interests of the company’s other employees

        1. Jenny*

          Exactly. I feel like as an employer you can’t create a dangerous situation for your other employees. If this guy is going to stalk or photograph your employees, it creates a bad situation for them.

          You can feel sorry for Jane all day. But the safety of your existing employees MUST come first.

  37. Perbie*

    I’m not sure I understand this response; shouldn’t op try to ask jane directly and in private) what’s up? I know abusive situations mean you might get an inaccurate answer, but it seems disrespectful not to at least try to ask about a concerning behavior.

  38. boop the first*

    Good idea to pass it on so that they can ask more pointed questions of her references (hopefully, they’re real).

  39. kfhjk*

    As a woman who has volunteered at a battered women’s shelter, I would not hire this woman.

    I feel sorry for her, and I would not smear her reputation in your professional community, however, the interview should have stopped as soon as hubby started talking the mug shots. “Spouse is just soooo protective of me” is exactly the sort of thing that women with black eyes and broken bones have said to justify creepy controlling behavior. “Ike Turner” is not just a danger to his wife, but also if the sh*t really hits the fan, any of your employees. What happens if he surreptitiously follows here to a business lunch, decides he doesn’t like how friendly the candidate is to a male colleague and then proceeds to crash the event and beat the cr@p out of the male colleague? What if he decides to come to the workplace fully armed and shoots the candidate as well as bystanders?

    A dear friend of mine in is a wheelchair because the abusive ex of a colleague decided to come to the office armed and confront here about the end of the relationship. Unfortunately for my friend, both she and the battered colleague have shoulder length red hair and were both wearing navy dresses they day is ex stormed into the office. The ex shot my friend in the back because he assumed she was his ex. Domestic violence can have unintended consequences in a workplace, and this husband seems inclined to believe that any many who interacts with the wife is upto no good.

    If there was a way to arrange a conference call with here away from the hubby and tell her that the way she is treated is unacceptable not only to the employer, but it is not respectful to her. I would also ask if she needs help getting hooked up with domestic violence resources.

    1. redflagday701*

      The upshot here seems to be “I wouldn’t hire this woman because you’re aware that her husband might be an abuser, but I wouldn’t stop someone who didn’t know that from hiring her,” which is kinda messed-up in terms of outcomes!

    2. Cedrus Libani*

      My parents were in a similar workplace incident – they survived because they were in a meeting, but seven of their colleagues died. I would not endanger my colleagues by hiring this person. I would endanger MYSELF by offering to take her to a shelter, but that’s as far as I’d go. Ultimately, she’s an adult, and she has the right to stay with her abuser. But that is a journey she should take by herself. Somewhere else.

  40. Robin Ellacott*

    I think before moving forward with Jane I’d want to have a conversation in which I explained that even though her husband may be protective, if she were to take the job he could not be protective in this way with her colleagues/clients as it would be disruptive to business and undermine her role. Hopefully there are some policies that could be cited about dealing only with employees, confidentiality, and practices in place to prevent harassment (ideally in a way that shows these policies would also protect her in the workplace if she worked there).

    1. Sam.*

      It’s very possible she does know that was inappropriate and, like OP, was too thrown in the moment to know how to handle it. Assuming she (a professional who’s a strong candidate for a C-suite job!) doesn’t know that would almost certainly come across as quite condescending, so I think it would be better to ask her about the exchange and see what she has to say.

    2. Artemesia*

      What do you think ‘explaining’ that would accomplish. If she is married to someone who does that, your explaining won’t mean anything.

      1. Ellie*

        It gives her a chance to say if there’s some other explanation for his behaviour. E.g., ‘we are recent victims of a violent crime, and that’s affected how my husband sees the world. But we’re seeing a therapist and it won’t be a problem going forward’, etc. At a minimum, it should reveal whether she shares her husband’s paranoia or if she knows its inappropriate and is embarrassed by it… and that might make a difference over whether to hire her.

  41. Ubi Caritas*

    What does “my husband is overprotective” mean? Does he follow her cell phone so he knows where she is at every moment? Does he run background checks on all her colleagues? Does he drive her to work/pick her up in the evening? Is she forbidden to travel with a male colleague?

    I’d want to be clear about what Jane means.

  42. Name Required*

    The advice asks us to ignore the husband’s behavior and focus on Jane’s professional reputation, assuming that in past jobs her husband has not interfered and that she could be a victim of abuse. But wouldn’t past employers do the same? If everyone is always assuming a context of abuse and ignoring the actions of the husband, wouldn’t references be inclined not to mention her husband’s past bizarre behavior so as to not jeopardize Jane’s future prospects?

    1. Themidnightmoon*

      No, I ‘ve worked for MANY companies that do not do this. I’ve seen women fired because their stalker shows up at work. You’re giving WAY too much credit to employers.

      1. Name Required*

        I’m not giving credit to employers, I’m pointing out that there is an incongruency in the advice if it’s expected that an interviewer ignore Jane’s husband’s behavior but also expect references to not ignore Jane’s husband’s behavior and tell the interviewer about them during a reference check. I don’t understand why Alison considers one to be unprofessional but the other isn’t.

  43. Sasha "Potato Girl" Blause*

    This is so weird and undermining and reads like a deliberate attempt at intimidation. If it were purely about safety, there are far more reasonable possibilities. Bob could’ve asked Jane to forward him the email thread with logistics so he’d have the interviewer’s name and company, and the rough itinerary. Maybe use the hotel’s business center to print a copy and write the number of the local police department on it. Instead of photos, why not just sit in the lobby and discreetly make a mental note of the interviewer’s physical appearance. And if there’s a history of trauma and they need more reassurance, there are family-finder phone apps and USB power banks that easily fit inside a purse.

    Instead Bob decided to make a huge show out of it, which is really weird. And I’m not sure if it should count as a strike against Jane, but you’d probably want to use conversations with her and her references to get a sense for how she sets and maintains boundaries especially with difficult people.

      1. Sasha "Potato Girl" Blause*

        Yes he might be an abuser but it’s not the employer’s responsibility to save her.

        Also, I think most people would be OK with DQ’ing a candidate if their parent were behaving this way. I’m an older millennial, I’ve heard countless stories about overbearing parents costing their grown children a job. The standards shouldn’t be any different for a spouse.

  44. A*

    I disagree. This speaks to Jane’s judgement and availability as much as any other employee. She didn’t manage a personal situation even though it impacted on her getting a job. Would you have thought the same about Jane if her 8 year old showed up for the interview because she couldn’t get childcare?

    She’s not seeing that this is unprofessional for herself. Also, if she supervises others, she can’t see boundary crossing behavior or look out for an employee who may be under coercive control of a partner.

    Why not have Jane address how she handled this? If she can’t come up with an understanding of why this was odd or how she would address in the future, I would look for another candidate.

    1. Themidnightmoon*

      How dare you put the onus of stopping abuse on a victim. People who are in abusive situations have zero control over this.

        1. LTL*

          I also disagree with the statement about zero control. It’s also counterproductive to describe people going through abuse that way. But I do think that LW shouldn’t put the onus on Jane to figure out this out because if there is abuse, Jane might not be in a position to do so. If this is an abusive relationship, a better approach would be for LW and Jane to come together to find a way to address how to handle her husband. Support from your workplace is a great asset.

          But given that we don’t really know the nature of the relationship, I think it’s best for LW to follow the advice to just investigate how/if Jane’s husband might disrupt other employees.

      1. Grapey*

        They have zero control over their abuser’s actions, but they do have control over addressing questions asked by a potential employer for a C suite role.

      2. A*

        I am putting the onus of being professional on the professional looking for a job. I don’t know if she’s being abused or just has an out of control husband who she exercises no needed judgement over. Regardless of what is going on in your private life, you mainly have to act like a professional when looking for and holding a job. If you don’t show that in all aspects of the interview, you chance being looked over for the job,

      3. Joielle*

        Even if she has no control over the husband’s behavior, she has to understand that it’s inappropriate and be able to reassure the OP that it wouldn’t affect her work. The onus IS on her to present herself well in an interview as best she can, which in this case would include at least acknowledging that her husband’s behavior was weird. Otherwise, as far as the OP knows, she thinks this is fine and would let her husband harass every client she meets.

    2. Artctic*

      I actually wouldn’t have held it against her if she brought an eight year old because she couldn’t get childcare. Especially not right now.

      1. Joielle*

        This, and also – if she had turned up with a kid and said “I’m SO sorry, I just found out that my daycare provider tested positive for COVID and I couldn’t leave him at home, he’ll read a book in the back of the conference room and be very quiet,” that would be reasonable, but if she had just turned up with a kid like “This is my son, he goes everywhere with me,” that would be a dealbreaker. Just like in this situation – if Jane had said “I’m so sorry, my husband is paranoid about safety in a new town, but it wouldn’t be a problem if I were to take this position,” that would be reasonable, but she was just like “haha, he’s so protective,” which is… a red flag.

        Moral of the story is, if you do something in an interview that seems unprofessional or weird, you have to acknowledge it and give at least a vaguely reasonable explanation. Otherwise the interviewer can only assume that it isn’t an isolated incident.

    3. IRV*

      Totally agree with you. If Jane sees nothing improper about her spouse’s behavior, then she is truly lacking in judgement and interpersonal skills.

    4. Observer*

      You’re making a lot of assumptions here. You don’t know what she did or didn’t see or whether she had a choice etc.

      Of course, the OP does need to address the pragmatics of this, but there is nothing here that speaks to how she would react to boundary crossing behavior involving other employees.

    5. chaco*

      LW was not concerned that the husband was at the hotel, just about the husband’s actions. The husband being in the hotel lobby is within the professional norms of that industry, unlike bringing an 8 year old to an interview.

      Jane and LW handled this situation basically the same, by trying to smooth things over and move on. We don’t know what Jane thinks about her husband’s actions because LW didn’t ask her and Jane didn’t write in.

  45. Ryan Howard's White Suit*

    My first thought went to the possibility that Jane had experienced some kind of assault in the workplace and this is something they came up with to make her feel more secure. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, even though none of the possibilities seem good. I agree with previous posters that if this were the case there are probably better and less accusatory ways to go about making Jane feel safe, but I also have to acknowledge that sometimes in hard situations we don’t make rational decisions, for the two of them Bob making a big show of taking OP’s picture in an intimidating way and getting itinerary may have helped communicate an appearance of security to Jane.

    1. EnfysNest*

      If that was the case, the thing to do would have been to ask before the meeting for a picture of the interviewer, just to confirm that she was meeting the right person. That would actually be a safety precaution – a bit odd, but she could have explained it. But taking the picture once they met wouldn’t *prevent* anything, it would presumably just be a way to track him down if they did go missing, I guess? But that wouldn’t do any good for Jane herself during the meeting if this did turn out to be some evil plot.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        You can also take the photo surreptitiously, since cameras are in the back of phones and we are all on our phones for everything nowadays.

  46. Student*

    This seems like the kind of thing that merits a brief follow-up call with Jane to clear up. It is off-the-charts bizarre, it didn’t get addressed in the moment, and it’s impacting the OP’s consideration of her candidacy. Seems very reasonable to just ask her a few pre-planned, open-ended question about it to get her response. That’ll probably help you figure out whether this will impact her ability to do her job.

  47. I'm just here for the cats*

    I’m going to be a bit of a devils advocate here. I can see haveing some concern for a woman to go to a new city to meet someone for a job. Especially if it’s a long distance away where you would move to. You would want to bring the husband along. They would want to get a feel of the city too. And I can see the husband coming down with the wife. Maybe they woud be leaving the hotel at the same time. I also think it was smart to introduce the husband to the LW. This is my reasoning. If you meet someone online in person you should let someone know where you will be and who your with. Perhaps Jane and her husband are using the same strategy, but the husband took it overboard. I don’t think it was right of him to be so controlling but it shouldn’t affect Jane’s chance at the job.

    1. Observer*

      Why not?

      The problem is not that the husband came along etc. And the OP explicitly says that they didn’t have a problem with those things. The problem is it was THE HUSBAND who did this and that he didn’t just go a little overboard – he was waaay over the top. THOSE are the issues and the OP has standing to consider them.

    2. kt*

      He should have been polite, then! It was not managed professionally.

      Come down to hotel lobby, shake hands, make introductions, “Oh, what’s your itinerary? Can I get a copy?”, make a joke about paranoia, get a pic of the interviewer with interviewee or something, by saying, “I’d love to get a pic of you…” or just take it surreptitiously.

    3. Sacred Ground*

      Everything you describe is fine and normal. It’s his behavior in the lobby that’s the problem.

      As commenter Ryan Howard’s White Suit pointed out above, as a reasonable safety measure it makes more sense to ask for a photo before the meeting, to confirm the person she meets is actually the person she’d been interviewing with already. Of course, they’d had video meetings already so the candidate already knew what he looked like.

      Taking the pics at the meeting doesn’t prevent anything other than to put the potentially dangerous stranger on notice that they are already under suspicion. It’s a warning to a stranger: don’t try anything, we’ve got you if you do. When the potentially dangerous stranger is the CEO of a nationwide company with multiple locations around just this one city with whom you are interviewing for a senior executive management position, that’s just really weird. Taking pictures of ANYONE (including friends and family) without first asking is just rude. And doing so in a brusque manner (described as like taking mugshots) is downright aggressive.

      Weird. Rude. Aggressive. The candidate needs to at least acknowledge that it is all that or else how can she be trusted to know what is or isn’t acceptable? How will she deal with such behavior among subordinates? Will she recognize when something is over the line? These are legit questions about her leadership judgement that wouldn’t have been raised if not for his actions.

      Fear justifies caution. Fear does not justify aggression. Or maybe it does these days. The police certainly believe it does.

  48. dustycrown*

    There’s another possibility, and that is that the husband wasn’t so much worried about safety, but that he is irrationally jealous, suspected the wife was meeting up with a man for some other reason, and he’s documenting the interviewer to add to his dossier of other men in her life that he finds suspicious. I’m not saying that suspicion makes total sense, particularly in this scenario, but the actions of people who are motivated by jealousy and suspicion often don’t make sense. If jealousy is his problem, it’s likely to interfere with her work more than his concern for her safety, IMHO.

  49. DoubleE*

    The letter writer mentions that Bob doesn’t seem to have hindered Jane’s career up to this point, but I assume he doesn’t actually know how long Jane has been married to Bob. I agree that it’s natural to assume a middle aged couple has been together awhile, but people do get married later in life for a variety of reasons. Maybe the reason Bob didn’t impact Jane’s career earlier is that her relationship with him didn’t start until she was already well established in her previous job.

    1. Sacred Ground*

      Another possibility: his behavior absolutely has hindered her career and is the reason she’s not a CEO now herself.

  50. IRV*

    I’d have pushed back at the spouse when he was taking the photos and requesting a detailed itinery, and asked him to leave. If the interviewee did not give any indication that she saw a problem with her husband’s behavior, then this would be a huge red flag as to her judgement and interpersonal skills and her interview would end with a hard “no” from me.

    1. Observer*

      Pushing back on the photos? Definitley. The itinerary is a bit different. In a different context, it would have been a reasonable question if the OP had not already shared that information.

      In any case, you don’t really know what Jane thinks about this.

  51. TimeTravl_R*

    Jane has been gaslit so long she probably doesn’t even understand how it’s an issue.

    1. Amy Sly*

      I really want to know how you think a woman that gaslit manages to also be qualified for a C suite.

      1. DoubleE*

        Either that or she hasn’t been married to Bob all that long. Being middle-aged makes them less likely to be newlyweds, but it’s not impossible.

        1. Amy Sly*

          True, but then you’re talking about a highly successful mature woman choosing a gaslighting husband and being unable to recognize that the control he is exhibiting is inappropriate. That also seems unlikely, as that kind of mental abuse takes time to become the new normal — that’s why abusers prefer people without experience of what’s normal.

          It’s a puzzle all around. “Gaslit and controlled” just doesn’t normally match up with “strong contender for the C suite.” “Paranoid about being kidnapped by the sex traffickers around every tree” doesn’t match up with “older than mid-forties.” Best suggestions I’ve seen are that this was a one-off thing because of the strange location or that the husband is degenerating into paranoia due to a medical issue.

          1. E*

            Gaslighting absolutely can and does happen to “strong contender for the c-suit”. It’s a dangerous myth that only “weak” or “stupid” people (women) are at risk for an abusive relationship. The fear that people will think you were weak or stupid if you were/are in an abuse relationship absolutely helps keep people in these relationships longer.

            1. Jaybeetee*

              Something ridiculous like 30% of women will experience DV in their lifetime. No, it’s not just dumb or weak or inexperienced women. Doctors, lawyers, extremely successful and powerful people can be abused at home.

        1. Amy Sly*

          Seems hard to believe that she both has managed to be sufficiently successful at business to be considered for the C suite — which involves meeting new people and traveling — but that she also has been gaslit into believing that his actions are completely normal at the same time.

          This isn’t the same as a wife having been gaslit into thinking her husband crapping on the walls is okay but being successful in business — the concept she’s allegedly been gaslit into believing would make her success nearly impossible.

          1. chaco*

            People can have all kinds of blind spots and weaknesses. Skilled abusers can gaslight their targets regardless of their previous experience.

            The reason the husband is there at all is because they are considering relocating for her job. If relocation has never been on the table before, it’s entirely possible that her husband has never had a reason to go with her on work travel and so this kind of behavior around people outside the relationship hasn’t come up at work.

        2. Cedrus Libani*

          Right. Strong, accomplished people can struggle with abuse. They can also struggle with addiction, or with mental illness. It may well be the case that they’re not healthy enough to work at a particular moment, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak – or permanently broken.

          1. Amy Sly*

            Let me try to explain this again.

            I do not understand how someone can simultaneously be successful in a certain area and be abused in ways that would prevent success in that area, which is what is suggested by this woman being abused.

            I totally get that people can have mental illnesses and be successful in the workplace — I’m one of them. I totally get that people can have addictions and be successful in the workplace — I’m a lawyer. We have the highest alcohol use of any profession. I get that people can have crappy home lives and be successful in the workplace. I do not understand how someone reaches “C suite in a very large company” rank while being manipulated into thinking her husband controlling her in this way is appropriate.

            Of course, I’m not someone who knows people at that level. Maybe there’s some upper-class privilege in play here where this woman got born on corporate version of third base and could get to the C-suite home plate without ever going outside her bubble that might make her husband nervous or that might suggest to her that this isn’t normal.

            My experience has been, though, that women this controlled by their husbands never have a serious career.

  52. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Ugh, I would think abuse here. And it reminds me of something super cringey that happened when I was 21.

    I graduated in 3.5 years from college and applied binding early decision to the best law school in my region. So, I was 21 when I did a spring tour of said school, and I lived with my family while working, to save money during the nine months in between.

    My mother flatly refused to “allow” me to go on the school tour by myself, which was normal for GRADUATE school. I argued, saying it would make a bad impression of me, and she wasn’t paying, but she said she owned the car I was borrowing, so either let her come with, or I wasn’t allowed to drive it to the tour. There was no public transit, Uber, or friends to take me from the small town to the city, so I really had no choice!

    She forced her way into the tour and stepped on my foot to stop me when I started to ask the guide about organizations and offerings for LGBT students. Luckily, she left me alone for a meeting portion with the aid office, so I apologized profusely and asked them not to hold it against me.

    That’s why this situation with the husband seems like red flags to me.

    1. TimeTravl_R*

      But I am betting you got out from under that thumb! You sound pretty strong! I know a lot of people who were on the 5 year plan for their undergrad. Not a lot finish it in less than 4. (You and my hubs are the exceptions!)

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        Thanks, foreign language College in the Schools program and extensive AP testing! I also received a few summer credits while studying abroad in Germany. I attended my first Pride there in 2011, which was another forbidden thing! It made me so happy to be around people like me.

    2. Joielle*

      And you did exactly what I would have expected Jane to do, which is apologize for the other person’s behavior when you were out of their earshot. That makes it clear that you have a good sense of professional norms and aren’t generally a rude person. I wish the OP had brought up the husband’s weirdness to see what Jane said about it!

    3. Sacred Ground*

      The profuse apology in private told them that you recognize the behavior as out of bounds. That’s what’s missing here and why the candidate’s judgement is now in question where it wasn’t before.

  53. Nashville*

    I have been apart of a company who famously interviews their candidates multiple times AND includes a dinner interview where you must bring your spouse so they, along with you, ARE INTERVIEWED. The company has it in their head that “if you married crazy, you are crazy”and will not hire you based on what transpired at that dinner. Since it is usually the last interview you need to endure, your spouse can literally jeopardize your chances based on how they behave. This company is really well-known and even wrote a best selling book on how to hire “the best” using these kind of weirdo tactics. I am glad I came across AAM to run from these wacka-doodle things.

    1. TimeTravl_R*

      While I think either my husband or I would know how to act at a dinner like this, I agree that it’s a weird tactic. They aren’t hiring my husband. I keep my private life very separate from my work life, if only for balance.

    2. Amy Sly*

      Eh, I can see the justification of “if you married someone diagnosably crazy, you have poor judgment in one area and may have it in others.” On the other hand, I certainly would be reluctant to bring my husband to such a dinner party interview because it would result in “if you married a shy introvert with poor table manners, you aren’t qualified to work here.”

      1. Observer*

        Well, just because someone acts oddly or (very) inappropriately, it doesn’t mean that they are “diagnosably crazy”. And being married to someone with a noticeable mental health issue is in no way a reflection of their judgement.

    3. Good Wilhelmina Hunting*

      My ex was a 6’1″, 270lbs working musician who exhibited the same larger than life personality and mode of dress – cowboy hat and boots and denims – in daily life as he did at gigs. He literally didn’t own a suit or any “smart” clothes or shoes. I could just imagine him at such a dinner interview with me! I suppose that could have gone one of two ways. Scenario 1 I’m simply dropped for having an eccentric old blues-rock musician husband. Or Scenario 2 the boss has a stage-struck young relative who they hoped could leverage my partner’s music industry connections. Either way I’d rather be interviewed on my own merits and not those of my partner.

    4. MeTwoToo*

      My husband had such an interview. He was being recruited for a higher up position in a private lab. He had two interviews prior. Then the CEO and CFO took us both to dinner to discuss. Their main concern for me appeared to be if I was prepared for the long hours and on-call nature of the position.

      1. Observer*

        That does have some logic. If a spouse is not on board with that kind of position, it can cause real problems.

  54. LCH*

    could you have a follow up interview with her regarding her ability to take meetings with a range of people in a range of locations? or whatever other questions you may now have about her acting independently. i’ve definitely had companies ask me some additional questions after the main interview.

    and also have very specific questions for her references about any interference in her work by people in her personal life. and decide from there.

  55. Elenia*

    No way. I would not ever hire this person. My responsibility is to keep my current employees safe and I would never feel safe with this. I would immediately move to my second rate candidate.

  56. Original Poster*

    Thank you Alison for a well-reasoned response! And thank you everyone else for your insightful inputs as well. Let me provide a few more points that I didn’t, but probably could and should have included in my original submission:
    1) My employer is massive and well-known. There were no questions about whether this was a shell game or set-up for “Jane”. At the same time, this position requires a very specific and specialized background and skill set. Candidates as qualified as “Jane” are extremely rare. That fact alone is why an appropriate way forward has been difficult for me.
    2) I’ll elaborate a little more on the lobby interaction. The picture taking was over in a matter of seconds. Yes, I was taken aback, but I was not paralyzed, and made a conscious decision not to engage him on it because it had nothing to do with my business with her, or hers with me. I am certain that my eyes betrayed me when I realized it (all wearing masks), because my look to her seemed to be what triggered her “explanation” of the behavior. Finally, right after my response about walking or driving, he drew a breath to ask another question. I quickly, politely, but very firmly said: “we’ll be taking a fleet vehicle; no idea which,” and then in the same breath to her: “ready?”. Now, I have no idea if that was what he was going to ask about, but it was my way of saying: 1) “I see what you’re doing, and I don’t like it”, and 2) “Your Q&A period is now over”. I believe both messages were received exactly as intended because he did back off at that point and we left.

    1. virago*

      Thank you for weighing in and clarifying a few questions that I had.

      I’m impressed by your quick grasp of what was unfolding in the hotel lobby when you went to pick up Jane, and the fact that something was off (as indicated by her reaction to Bob’s photographing you), and I laud your quick thinking and action on Jane’s behalf.

      Thank God Jane has an in-demand professional skill set. Anything that makes her less tied to Bob.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      Interesting!! I like your method of ending the interaction. Did you ask Jane about it later? (Also, thanks for replying!)

    3. Absurda*

      Just a quick question: You said she’d already had several virtual interviews, were they just phone or also video? You did a good job shutting the husband down.

  57. TiredMama*

    I get everything Allison said and why the op felt the way he did, but I would not immediately put in the needs mental help bucket.

  58. Exhausted Trope*

    Wow! Astonished he actually took photos. Didn’t even try to be discrete. And then quizzed on the itinerary. Surprised he didn’t demand to ride along.
    I am wondering if he thought that his wife might be planning an escape and using the interview as an opportunity to run?

    1. TimeTravl_R*

      Wouldn’t that have been a twist? She acts all nice and like this is normal behavior then as soon as she is away from husband she asks the interviewer to take her to the airport or something?!

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Astonished he actually took photos. Didn’t even try to be discrete.

      I think he wanted to make it obvious that OP was “on notice”.

  59. Leila*

    This is a HUGE red flag. I commiserate with the job candidate but I would not consider her based on what happened. I would make sure to let the hiring panel/ hr know why.
    As callous as it sounds whether she is a victim or commiserate doesn’t factor in hiring decision. Recruiting is for the best candidate. Although she is. Credentialed this intrusiveness is going to escalate after she’s hired impacting corporate culture relationship with vendors and partners.. you can’t assume she is not ok with his behavior although she seemed embarrassed.

  60. disambiguation*

    “have very specific questions for her references about any interference in her work by people in her personal life”

    I like this phrasing.

  61. redflagday701*

    Yikes, so many folks are so quick to say, “I feel for Jane, but I would instantly wash my hands of her regardless, and you should too.” I wonder if there’s any connection between that pervasive mind-set and the world being on fire right now?

    1. fposte*

      I think that that’s a really strained reading, and it’s falling prey to the fallacy wherein the problem most narratively salient is the one that matters.

      When I hire, I have a responsibility to my employer and to all my staff. That doesn’t change if a candidate’s in need or in distress. In any decent-sized workplace there will be already people who suffer or have suffered from trauma and from domestic abuse. In any decent-sized client set there will be people who suffer or have suffered from trauma and domestic abuse. They matter too, even though they’re not characters in this particular story. I would not expose those people to somebody who seems okay with overstepping to the point of aggression for business reasons unless I had a clearer understanding that that was never going to recur.

      1. redflagday701*

        I don’t think it’s that strained, given that we don’t actually even know what the story is with Jane’s husband, and we’re already dropping her from the running based on his purely hypothetical behavior. Yes, bosses have a responsibility to their current employees, no question. But that can also be a deflection whereby hypothetical concerns are given priority over someone else’s actual needs. I just don’t see this as very far removed from “Of course these people need somewhere to live — but I’m worried about what they’d bring to our neighborhood.”

        If OP contacts Jane’s references and they tell him that Bob has indeed been a problem, that’s a legitimate reason to talk with her and possibly drop her at that point. But dropping her because of one instance of bad behavior on her husband’s part, without any due diligence, is different. I really don’t want to run afoul of the commenting policies here, so I’ll leave it at that.

        1. fposte*

          I fully support asking her about the issue before making a decision. But you hire assuming that you’ll get what you’ve seen, and what was seen wasn’t okay. This isn’t about “these people” and some amorphous concern, it’s about demonstrated problematic behavior.

      2. Mystery Bookworm*

        Yeah. I keep wondering how we would be viewing this if the husband did something like this if Jane was meeting a younger, female subordinate. The company has a responsiblity to ensure that something like that doesn’t happen.

        1. fposte*

          And men get to be intimidated by aggressive behavior too–it happens that the OP doesn’t seem to have been, but it was behavior designed to be intimidating.

          1. Mystery Bookworm*

            Agreed. But I think a lot of people in the commentariate are really focused on how the power dynamic must feel to Jane and I wonder if it’s fact that it’s two (older) men is making people not think about how the power dynamic would feel to the person being photographed!

      3. Jenny*

        Can you imagine if you were on staff, you got harassed by this guy and you knew your employer knew about this beforehand but decided to ignore the potential risk to you? I’d job hunt.

    2. Sacred Ground*

      What’s got the world on fire is the pervasive mindset that MY fear justifies aggression towards YOU. One need not be rational, need not respect others, need not be basically polite, need not restrain one’s aggression as long as the justification is based in fear, no matter how unreasonable.

  62. Jennifer Juniper*

    I’m guessing that Jane’s husband is jealous and wants to make sure she stays faithful (which is just as stupid as the reason Alison cited).

  63. Butterfly Counter*

    There is also a lot of misinformation online about human trafficking. A lot of people believe that it always involves kidnapping, often with weird or elaborate set ups. In fact, just last year I saw something circulate specifically about supposed human traffickers advertising bogus employment opportunities and kidnapping those who applied for fodder for the sex trade.

    As someone who works in combating human trafficking, I can say that almost zero percent of those who are sex trafficked are actively kidnapped (and those who are, are usually kidnapped away from one pimp to work for another) and rather are conned or coerced away from their normal lives into trafficking.

    However, the husband of the woman interviewed may have been exposed to the myths and misinformation out there about human trafficking (right now actively being spewed by places like QAnon) and were thinking that this behavior was appropriate from that perspective. I have a hard time faulting them for this because there are so many people who believe the myths out there about human trafficking because the truth about it exposes our society’s structural sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia.

    1. Amy Sly*

      I think comes from a psychological blind-spot, where we focus on faraway dangers to avoid recognizing the closer risks. Most child abductions nowadays are by family members violating their visitation rights. The person most likely to physically and/or sexually abuse a child is a household member, with a mother’s live-in boyfriend in particular being a high risk.

  64. Shirley You Must Be Joking*

    If Jane was a strong candidate in the interview, I would say something like, “In this position, we will need to you meet one-on-one with various clients and candidates — both men and women. Sometimes, we will ask you to travel alone for these meetings. Will you be able to do that?”

    Then I would follow up with, “We would need you to be able to do that without your husband photographing and meeting our clients/candidates/business contacts. Is that something you will be able to do?”

    Her response will be very telling about what was really going on there. If she’s not able to explain what-the-freak happened in the hotel lobby and thinks it was totally normal, then I’d nix her as a candidate.

    Her husband was harassing the interviewer and she wasn’t able to manage that situation appropriately. I don’t think being fair and compassionate means that you have to put yourself and your employees in danger. I’d be really disappointed if my company hired someone knowing that there was a chance their spouse was going to show up and start photographing me and interrogating me about where we went for lunch.

    I’d be tempted to help her on my own time to get help if she showed any signs of being interested in that.

  65. Orphan Brown*

    This has happened with a nanny my spouse and my were trying to hire. We found her through care.com and she was 19, which is younger than we would have liked, but otherwise good on paper. A day before she was to come over to meet our family, including my son, she said her husband insisted on coming as well, not just to drop her off but to sit through the interview.

    I canceled the interview, not just because the husband weirded me out, but if a person is not mature enough to handle an intern by herself and needs someone to accompany her even for safety reasons, she is not a person I can trust to handle my kid alone.

    1. LeighTX*

      So last summer my 17-year-old daughter was offered a pet-sitting gig on care.com. She was contacted by a woman who said she was acting on behalf of her boss, who needed someone to pet- and house-sit. You can bet 100% that if she had progressed to meeting either of these people in person, I or her father would have gone with her. I’m sure you understand that not everyone online is who they say they are, and I can completely get why your nanny candidate would have wanted someone to come with her to a first meeting.

        1. chaco*

          Right, so it’s comparable to the situation in the letter. The husband went to the hotel and lobby with Jane but did not attend the actual interview or attempt to go to the business itself.

          1. fposte*

            Right, but it wasn’t being compared to the situation in the letter; it was being compared to a situation where a husband *did* want to sit in on the interview.

      1. blackcat*

        19 is different than a minor, though. I’ve hired teen and early 20s sitters, and for teens, I always offer to talk to the parents. For any sitter, I send a link to my professional website (that makes it easy to verify I am who I say I am, since I’m affiliated with a local university, and includes things about me being a teacher in my previous career). On my first page of google results, there’s also an interview I did with NPR last year, so you can even check my voice matches who I say I am.

        And I 10000% understood when a 14yo I hired to due yard work had her dad check in on her a few times.
        But a 19yo sitter who insists on someone else sitting in on the interview? Nope. That’s a deal breaker for me. Particularly a 19 yo who is *married.* If you’re grown up enough to be married, you shouldn’t need a chaperone at a job interview.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          Indeed, hiring a 19 year old nanny for one’s child is not the same as hiring a middle aged executive for a large company.

  66. CommanderBanana*

    A lot of people have commented on this thread, but I work in a domestic violence shelter and unfortunately many of our clients have their employment disrupted by abusers engaging in behavior like this.

    The LW has a responsibility to his company to flag this and also to consider how this may affect people who work with Jane in the future. I think he, or whoever is going forward with the selection process, should address it with her upfront. While being a domestic violence victim should not count against you, the reality is that this company has an obligation to its current employees to keep them safe. I’m not saying not to hire Jane, but this absolutely needs to be addressed.

  67. TootsNYC*

    In all seriousness, I suggest:

    No more meeting them at the airport. Have them take a cab to the hotel and then to the office. So they are traveling under their own steam, and are meeting you in an office setting around other people.

      1. Midwest Manager*

        And yet, in some geographic locations and cultures, that would absolutely *not* be the impression you want to give the candidate. I’m in the Midwest, a good sized city, but public transport (including cabs and Ubers) can be thin on the ground. Furthermore, in my work culture (University) and because we have trouble competing with the Coasts and larger urban areas, one thing we really pride ourselves on is focusing on the candidate and making their visit as smooth as possible—we want them to feel “we got this, you don’t need to think about it” about everything. So I (a middle aged female, granted) have absolutely picked candidates up at the airport, sometimes at night or on weekends. I always pick them up at the hotel and transport them during their visit, including walking them between every single appointment on their itinerary. And driving them back to the hotel afterwards. If I were to suggest that we should leave candidates to travel “under their own steam” to avoid some weird spousal reaction to what is a normal recruiting visit in our culture, I am confident my boss would suggest I find other employment.

        1. blackcat*

          As someone who interviewed at a Midwestern University, this checks out.
          I also got a an hour long “tour of favorite neighborhoods”…. which was in a car, with a man twice my age.
          It never struck me as odd! Or uncomfortable! It did strike me as slightly over the top hospitality and very Midwestern.

          And, having done a bunch of on-campus interviews, I was picked up at my hotel in a car by someone in the search committee at all but one of them. The one exception, my hotel was across the street from the university and two blocks from the building I was going to. It was actually closer to the building than the parking deck.

          In fact, now that I think of it, every. single. faculty interview I did had me (female, 30ish) alone in a car with a male, much older, potential colleague at some point. So 6 different interviews across 5 states and another country (academic job market sucks, yo).

          So I find it really odd that so many people are saying job candidates should take cabs or whatever. That’s just not been my experience with multi-day, fly out interviews. Though academia is weird with it’s own norms.

    1. redflagday701*

      You keep saying this in the comments, but OP did not meet them at the airport. It’s right in the letter: “I was the primary guide through her day here, beginning with picking her up at the hotel that morning. At the appointed time, I was in the lobby and the candidate comes down along with her spouse.”

    2. Sacred Ground*

      The dynamic changes when it’s the company specifically trying to recruit the individual. They are trying to be welcoming and inviting. They want to make it easier for the candidate and their spouse to complete the interview process. “We’ll pick you up and take care of everything” is how they do that. “Get yourself around this strange new city, deal with parking and traffic, be here on time” isn’t really a strong recruiting tactic. It’s what you do when you have many candidates seeking a job and you can make them jump through hoops, but not when you are seeking to hire a specific candidate for a high-level position and want to make a good impression compared to their other options.

  68. I Need That Pen*

    There’s a lot going on here that we can only speculate of course. Is there abuse, possibly. And that sickens us all to the core. I think OP and all of us would have felt way less weirder (I’m not paying attention to grammar today) if the husband had come down at the same time, there was a casual introduction “Oh my husband has joined me for this trip,” exchange names and pleasantries, and then they all parted ways. If the husband was so concerned at least his “presence” would have been known and hopefully a successful interview followed. Guessing about what this guy could do down the line is only that, guessing. The biggest hurdle you have in any interview is first impressions and although our minds and hearts want to go where they’re going, I probably would move on to another candidate, and in reality be worried about this woman day and night for the rest of my life.

  69. Beth*

    OP, was there any point in the interview process where you could have asked Jane about this incident? I understand that it might be awkward and feel out of place to bring up in an interview, especially since it has potential to touch on some sensitive topics (for example, if he is abusive and controlling, or if he’s unusually protective because she was assaulted recently). But it does have implications for her work, if for whatever reason she can’t meet with a vetted, company-vouched-for stranger without this kind of thing from him, or if their dynamic genuinely does involve this behavior on the regular and she sees nothing wrong with that and would expect it to continue at work. And it is odd enough that a casual “what was that about?” in the car wouldn’t be out of line, I think.

  70. RestroomTimeExtraordinaire*

    Anecdotal input coming! First the opinion: I’d say take that behavior is a major red flag that the husband doesn’t understand professional boundaries or behavioral norms for supporting his wife’s career, especially as a c-level hire. How else that might manifest if she is offered the role is up in the air, and no it’s not fair, but I’d stay away. Or if you want to give her a chance, ask her references. I couldn’t begin to phrase it appropriately, because asking if her husband did anything weird and creepy is not a good approach.

    Anecdote: my best friend’s spouse is a c-suite type in tech, and based on their experience with interviewing, it can be a family affair. Like of the last 4 times he’s moved jobs, after getting to the short list, for three of those, whole family events have been planned, like location and campus tours and benefits reviews, as well as meeting some of the team and other closely related c-level positions both individually and as a couple. Since these positions are very responsible and generally do involve major time commitments and relocation (one tech hub to another and back, if you can imagine), the spouse’s input is significant to evaluating the right fit for the candidate and for the hiring organization. And the one that didn’t include that? job didn’t last because he didn’t think to ask how much international travel would be required and it was 3 weeks a month. And the other week was in an adjacent city’s office that required 3.5hr roundtrip commute.

    1. valentine*

      the husband doesn’t understand professional boundaries or behavioral norms for supporting his wife’s career
      Oh, he understands, alright. Maybe he’s sabotaging her: how can she ever go on any interview at all without him chaperoning?

  71. Urbanchic*

    Oh dear. If it weren’t a pandemic, I would suggest having Jane and her husband come down for a second interview, and include a lunch or breakfast with the spouse. It’s fairly common in my field for C-suite hiring that requires re-location to include the trailing spouse in a meal/cocktail. This would be a super idea if someone in Jane’s roll is ever expected to entertain clients, vendors, etc, where Bob might be going. You could get a much better sense of this dynamic there.

  72. curtangel*

    I tend to think that the LW would have been in the right to request that the husband delete the photos right then and there and I think the husband’s response would have given useful information.
    I’m a little surprised LW didn’t ask the candidate questions about it when they were in a more private setting. It sounded like a startling situation and there might be context or at the very least she might say something that makes it clearer “this is something odd”.

  73. Solar Moose*

    That does not bode well. Please think of your employees and keeping them safe – this isn’t just about Jane. If a strange man came up to me (a woman) and started taking photos, I’d be worried about stalking, harassment, physical assault.

    The safety of your employees and coworkers should take precedence over one person.

  74. Always Late to the Party*

    I started to read through the comments but had to stop. The number of people whose attitude is essentially “i wouldn’t want to subject my company to the messiness of hiring an abuse victim” is *extremely* upsetting. I’d say I expected better but with the ever-dwindling compassion for others we’re experiencing (in the US at least) I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. For goodness sake, people, be better.

    1. redflagday701*

      Not even hiring an abuse victim! Going forward with the interview process for a candidate who might be an abuse victim, without even getting more information about the situation. It really sucks to see.

  75. Pumpkin215*

    This is an odd one. I try to apply situations to my own life. Would my husband have walked me down to the lobby to maybe get coffee or see me off? Possibly. He’s caring like that. Would he have stuck around once he realized the interview was starting? Absolutely not. Would I have let him stick around if he tried to? Nope. Would he have taken pictures of my potential new employer? For the love of everything Holy, NO. No, no, no, he would not. If he had somehow developed a brain tumor and even attempted this, I would have been mortified and put a stop to it immediately (and then sought him medical attention). There is no way to spin this to a way that looks appropriate. I think the interviewer should mention it to Jane and tell her how uncomfortable it made him feel. Hire her or not, I’m not sure but he should let her know how this looks to other people.

  76. Aphrodite*

    I’m just beginning to read the responses but it occurs to me that it might be a good idea to check Jane’s professional references. Perhaps some questions can be phrased to give you an indication of whether her spouse interfered with her professional duties in the past. Was Jane independent? Did she travel as part of her duties either for a day or mulitple days? Did she attend conferences, workshops or seminars with colleagues?

    Obviously, you can’t directly ask if her spouse hung around the office or her inappropriately, but I would think that checking her out with professional questions that offer room for more information might be helpful to you.

    1. Anon for this, experienced in bdsm*

      Absolutely no!
      I have been in the D/s, bdsm, petplay, genderbender etc. etc. scene for years – you name it, I’ve seen it. I’m a regular reader/occasional commenter but have changed my handle for this comment.
      And this is so very, very NOT a legitimate play situation or a D/s relationship.

      I have been a security guard and paramedic in scene parties – we can tell the difference between what we call “play” (consensual kink) and jealousy/ different culture/ religiously based weirdness/ plain abuse. I am getting a bit of an abuse vibe here, but possibly also a mental health problem on the husband’s side.
      Alison can see my email address and tell me if I should enlarge on this…

      1. restingbutchface*

        Agreed 100%. If this is their version of a BDSM scene that is still extremely worrying but there’s nothing here to suggest they were in a scene. Even if they were in a 24/7 D/s relationship, it would be utterly inappropriate to take that to the workplace or an interview scenario. If (and I repeat, IF) it was a scene, that speaks to Jane’s incredibly poor decision making ability and is the reddest of red flags – but I am at a loss to see how we get from the OP’s letter to a D/s relationship. Unless we seeing D/s relationships as unflexible, unhealthy and damaging which I hope isn’t the case.

      1. Anon for this, experienced in bdsm*

        Exactly. It doesn’t.
        As explained by restingbutchface, it would be a scene/relationship gone horribly wrong, highly inappropriately carried into a public and professional setting.
        “Vanilla” (non bdsm) people don’t bring their favorite d1ld0 to the interview or talk about last night’s action in a professional setting either.

        And yes, in spite of a lot of joyful experience, I cringed at the AAM stories about wearing obvious collars to work, colleagues demanding their boyfriend be called master etc.
        It’s one thing to gently, carefully explain a bruise to be the result of consensual interaction and not abuse to prevent an unwanted intervention, and a completely different cup of tea to push things sexual in other peoples’ faces. Otherwise I would turn up at work…. not… wearing clothing…. but I won’t. :-D

        1. restingbutchface*

          “Vanilla” (non bdsm) people don’t bring their favorite d1ld0 to the interview or talk about last night’s action in a professional setting either.”
          Best comment I’ve ever read on AAM. That’s it.

  77. valentine*

    I’d say I expected better
    What would your advice be to these OPs?:
    ~employee’s “Queens don’t drive” husband arrived early and honked horn until she left the building
    ~manager’s husband was calling customer service line repeatedly and shouting down the phone
    ~employee called her husband so he could rock up and shout at any male colleague who spoke to her; she couldn’t sit next to a man, either
    ~employee reunited with her abusive husband and wanted to invite him to the company Christmas party
    ~allowed employee to live at hospitality workplace, employee invited abuser overnight

    Employer’s should avoid aggressors. There are a lot of murder cases where a spouse or another employee escalated over a long period of time and no one intervened. Most employers can only make abusive situations worse and, even if trained to help someone leave and remain separated, can only be disastrous while the person stays or repeatedly reunites.

  78. What the What*

    I want to play the devil’s advocate here… It seems very unusual to pick up the candidate at her hotel. Why not let her transport herself to the worksite?

    The problem that the OP has overlooked is that he did unintentionally create a suspicious situation by not allowing a female candidate the opportunity to meet him at the work location, which would have verified his identity by default, and made everyone feel safer. In the future, the OP should allow adults to arrange for their own transportation to the work site and go from there. This gives the candidate the opportunity to enter the workplace, ask for the interviewer, thereby confirming that he is legitimate and confirming his identity when he is verified to be actually working at that place. I also think that the itinerary should be provided in advance.

    That said, “Hee hee, my husband is sooo overprotective” is never a good look for a professional woman. We are talking about a C-level candidate here. This is a person who is expected to be a confident leader. She should have had the confidence to speak up for herself and say in advance, “Hello, I would prefer to meet you at the office. Can you send me the itinerary?” Weirdo husband aside, I would have a hard time hiring this woman for a leadership role (although would likely set the whole scenario aside if she was a candidate in a non-leadership role).

    That all said… the OP should avoid picking up candidates at their hotels in the future.

    1. datamuse*

      We *always* pick up candidates who’ve had to travel to interview with us. It’s cheaper to reimburse mileage than an entire rental vehicle, after all.

      1. redflagday701*

        Also pretty typical for C-level candidates in general, as many will expect to be courted, at least a little bit, by a prospective employer. It is very bizarre to say OP created any kind of suspicious situation by picking Jane up. It’s a completely normal thing to do.

        1. What the What*

          Clearly, Jane and her husband felt uncomfortable. Personally, I’d rather take an Uber. I understand their discomfort, just not their reaction.

          1. Yorick*

            I would definitely rather someone pick me up at the hotel rather than having to pay for an uber and submit for reimbursement plus figure out how to get to the exact building and office.

    2. Observer*

      If there were a legitimate safety issue, it was for Jane to bring up and deal with. Also, the way Husband dealt with it was simply ridiculous and over the top.

      Also, the OP makes it clear that Jane and her husband had enough information to know very clearly that this was a legitimate situation.

  79. Malarkey01*

    I have real sympathy for potential abuse and tread very carefully, but there are two things that sway my a little here.
    1) She’d be a C-suite employee heading this remote office. If her employees feel harassed by her husband it will be difficult for them to complain about the director and that opens the company up to liability. If he’s willing to do this with an interviewer I have no doubt he’d do it with customers or subordinates.

    2) She didn’t seem to recognize or acknowledge that this was inappropriate. It is absolutely one thing if an employees abusive spouse comes to the office and makes a scene (of course you protect the employee) it’s quite another if the employee is unlocking the door participating in an argument and then doesn’t understand why that’s not okay. I worry based on how blatant the behavior was and how she laughed it off that she may not understand s behavior is not appropriate.

  80. Courageous cat*

    There is an unbelievable amount of wild speculation in this comments section that I’m surprised is still around. We have literally nothing to go on other than this guy was rude and weird, and I think it should be addressed in some form before making a hire. No, we do not know that he’s been gaslighting her or that he has Parkinson’s (!) or anything else. The most you can do is ask.

    1. SpicySpice*

      Agreed. Everyone’s decided he’s abusive but I can think of other plausible explanations right off the top of my head. What if he’s got some anxiety issues and has decided that Jane is going to end up violated and murdered unless he’s super vigilant over her? I mean, that’s still not great and shouldn’t have been part of the interview situation, but the truth is we just don’t know what it was about. I also would ask her WTF just happened.

      1. Sacred Ground*

        Before using words like “everyone” maybe actually read the whole thread.

        Several comments along the lines you describe along with several others giving other possibilities including the one you mention. Plenty of comments here calling it a problem with anxiety and/or recent trauma. I notice you are “agreed” about wild speculation and that you go off on your own speculation about his motive before suggesting what a hundred commenters and AAM have already said, that OP should ask her about it.

  81. Jaybeetee*

    So it sounds like LW thought Jane was a strong candidate who interviewed well, but this incident is justifiably sticking with him.

    As I get older, I become less of a fan of speculation and guessing games, and become more of a fan of asking for information if I need it.

    Ask Jane what that was all about. See what she says. If she was a mediocre candidate you might not bother, but it sounds like you don’t want to drum her out yet. Ask her. She might tell you something reassuring, she might tell you something alarming, but she’ll hopefully tell you something that helps you make a decision.

    In terms of the theories floating around in the comments, personally I’m favouring the conspiracy theory/too much true crime theory, where husband, or husband and Jane, were acting weirdly in an unfamiliar city out of concern for her safety. If that was the case, there were WAY better ways to address those concerns than what he did. But it makes weird sense. LW might have found Jane a bit precious or over-cautious if she, say, didn’t want to ride in a car alone with him. But LW probably would have been willing to accommodate that, and it would have felt way less flaggy than what happened.

    It could be abuse… but what I know about abuse, that would be unusual – possible, of course, but unusual. Abusive SOs don’t usually flex so obviously the first time they meet someone. Usually they’re pretty invested in keeping their behaviour behind closed doors and putting on a good front, and the incidents we’ve seen letters about have been in response to some perceived “provocation.” If this is an abusive SO who felt like intimidating a stranger interviewing his wife was a totally normal thing to do that wouldn’t raise eyebrows, he’s really far down a rabbit hole. But that’s me with my detective hat on.

    But for the LW, the pertinent advice would be not to engage in wild speculation, and probably don’t try to ignore it (because you can’t). Ask for more information.

  82. cncx*

    i was in an abusive message and this letter made the hairs on my arm go up.
    i hope jane is ok and will be ok.
    if she is otherwise qualified for this job, remember that it may be a lifeline for her, like my job has been for me.
    My first job my now ex flexed hard on my then boss, “accidentally” replying all to an email to ask re salary negotiations after i forwarded my acceptance letter. So yeah, it’s possible for abusive spouses to show their cards from the get-go.

  83. CommanderBanana*

    Also, if no one’s suggested it yet, the LW could reach out to a local DV hotline for some insight on how to handle this.

  84. Des*

    I’m curious if it’s ever a good idea to bring this up with Jane after the fact and ask if this is normal behaviour for her hubby. I think the behaviour was extraordinary enough that it’s worth for Jane to at minimum be aware of how it’s coming across. If she doesn’t get an offer this time, she’ll at least know what played into the decision instead of thinking it’s her own fault.

  85. RF*

    Just want to note that some jurisdictions, including NYC, prohibit discriminating against people experiencing domestic violence in employment, and in fact impose affirmative obligations on an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to those individuals related to their status as victims/survivors of domestic abuse. The definition of who is protected under NYC’s law is narrowly drawn (the conduct would have to rise to the level of a crime under the criminal law, though it doesn’t have to have been charged as one), and the events witnessed by OP likely don’t constitute a crime, but as with many areas of employment law, extra caution where anti-discrimination protections exist may be warranted (above and beyond the important issues you’ve raised in your response about why the husband’s conduct, while alarming, shouldn’t affect Jane’s application). https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/domestic-violence-law.page

  86. TWJ*

    Not sure there’s a place in any Western law system for people to be filmed or photographed without their consent on property that doesn’t belong to the person doing the filming.

    1. TakeMyCommentWithAGrainOfSalt*

      I doubt it’s illegal to photograph someone in a public place (even a hotel, which technically may be owned by someone but the lobby is still “public”). In lots of jurisdictions there’s no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in a public place. Not that that makes it right — I think it’s awful to photo people without asking — but I doubt it’s illegal in most places.

  87. not this time*

    This is a failure on the part of the LW. He’s interviewing for a C-suite level job and didn’t address this during the interview? That’s on him, not Jane.

    Also, there is too much storytelling in this thread. No one knows other than the people in it if the relationship is abusive, or if there is a previous trauma, whether Jane was okay with the pictures or caught off guard, etc.

    I also don’t figure the comments would be the same if a man was interviewing and his wife snapped pictures – probably a lot of bashing on her and more sympathy for him.

    If this hasn’t affected Jane’s career in the past, she deserves benefit of the doubt rather than judgement for another adult’s behavior.

    But again, a C-suite interviewer should have addressed this at the time.

  88. Christi*

    Having lived in an abusive relationship that included educational and professional sabotage and progressed to much worse for 16 years, this story made my skin crawl. That is not normal. And the fact that she didn’t think it was abnormal demonstrates that it is her normal. I bet it’s much worse at home.

  89. I was Jane*

    I’ve been…Jane. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about this for years and years. My (soon to be ex) was the guy who would drive me – even though we had two cars and he had a job – would stand in the back of conference rooms, etc. He too would have said he was supporting my job endeavors or protecting me from the big baddies or whatever.

    I wish I’d have known what was in store. Pushing me, isolating me, sabotaging all job prospects. I didn’t see it coming. Please hire Jane, though. She’ll likely need the autonomy one day.

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