should I have to hire my replacement, I don’t want my boss to represent me at a meeting, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. Should I have to hire my replacement?

At work today, my boss started a meeting about our summer scope of work by asking me if I plan on staying with my job in the fall (I work at a college program). The truth is, I was accepted into grad school and I am not going to be able to work full-time come September. However, I wasn’t planning on telling my employer until closer to the end of the summer. We often talk about next year and I’ve never indicated I will not be returning. My boss must have caught wind about my plans from someone else in the industry (which is small). I am a very bad liar and I also hadn’t expected to get that question, so I answered it honestly. I immediately regretted it. Without missing a beat, my boss said it will be my responsibility to rehire my position over the summer in addition to my role.

I wish I had just lied to maintain my privacy. This would be so much easier if I had! But now I’m stuck doing a job I don’t want to do and that I don’t think I should have been asked to do. My current role hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park, which only made my decision to go to grad school easier. It feels like yet another unlisted responsibility is being added to my to do list. Am I off-base in thinking it’s odd to ask your entry-level employee to rehire their own position? If I had chosen to be dishonest, I wouldn’t have saddled myself with this extra work. But is it even work that I, someone without any subordinates, should be asked to do?

I am trying to be reasonable, but this has honestly put a bad taste in my mouth to the point I’m considering putting in a standard two-week notice with haste.

It’s not unheard of on small teams. The thought is often that you know what it takes to do the job well and will also be able to capture it accurately for candidates. Typically a manager wouldn’t delegate the entire thing, but might ask you to do things like screening candidates and doing first interviews, with your boss coming in at the end to interview finalists — and if you’re entry-level typically you’d be getting support from your boss or someone else with hiring experience to ensure you know what you’re doing. If you’re being asked to do the entire thing with no involvement from anyone else, that’s more unusual … although still not really a quitting-level outrage.

To be clear, “not a quitting-level outrage” doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! It’s a bad one. Hiring is a skill like any other and at a minimum someone needs to make sure you know what laws to follow (and that’s really only a bare minimum) … but it’s not an outrage to the point that I’d advocate quitting over it. Another option would be to tell your boss that you don’t feel equipped to manage the hiring without a ton of support and/or that you won’t have time for it if she also wants you to do X (X should be something she cares about getting done before you leave).

2. I don’t want my boss to represent me at a meeting because he’ll mess it up

I know this is the opposite of what most people would want, but how do I convince my boss NOT to be a spokesperson or advocate for me? I have no fear of him trying to undermine me, or take credit for my work or ideas; he’ll attribute everything to me and do his best to help … and that’s the problem. Although he’s a good boss in other areas, he’s not a great listener or communicator. He interprets what people are saying rather than takes them at face value, and he’ll latch onto a minor detail and blow it out of proportion or add extra information because he thinks it helps make the message more important. For example, if you asked him to communicate the phrase, “The brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” he’ll say, “the dog was sleeping and the fox was bothering the dog, and then they got into a fight and the dog bit the fox, and then the fox jumped the fence…” Sometimes the results can be benign, but other times it leads to other departments to get upset with us.

Now, a top level committee at my org wants to discuss with us how we can make a large annual project run more smoothly, and since I’ve been the primary person on the project for several years, I have some suggestions I’d like to make about the whole process … except they picked a date that I’m on vacation. My boss decided I should give him my talking points and he’ll deliver them. I don’t want to undermine my boss by contacting them around him, but I just don’t want him to be my spokesperson at all. Can I ask that my boss not represent me (because he’s bad at it)?

“You’ll mess this up” is a tricky message to deliver to your boss, but can you credibly tell him that you really want to be at the meeting and so are going to ask them to pick a date when you can attend — either because you’re just that enthusiastic about the topic, or because it’s nuanced enough that you really want to be there for the discussion? If not, can you tell him that you happened to have detailed notes already written up that will work perfectly for what they need and so you’re going to send them those?

(There are some boss/employee relationships where you could be pretty blunt about your concerns, but I suspect if this were one of them, you’d have already said it.)

Read an update to this letter here

3. Should I tell my new company that their third party recruiter (maybe) sucks?

I was recently headhunted by a third party recruiter for a dream position that I would not have otherwise known about. I was super excited and after a lot of work, I’m delighted to say I got the job! However, the recruiter was not very helpful outside of their initial contact. A list of some of things they did which rubbed me the wrong way:

– I told them my availability on three separate occasions (including my initial email), and yet they…
– Called me during my work hours 5+ times and sent several “Are you there?” messages on LinkedIn when I didn’t respond immediately (I’m a teacher and can’t step away to take a call).
– Rescheduled our intake call because they had (without asking) booked a time when I was working .
– Rescheduled my first interview twice because they misunderstood the hiring company manager’s schedule.
– Absolute radio silence for weeks at a time, and then suddenly demanded meetings. Once, they gave me 12 hours notice for a 5 am interview (I pushed back and asked for a later date).
– When I expressed my frustration about these scheduling issues (something like “please help me understand the challenges here — there have been numerous scheduling conflicts although I was clear about my availability”), they insisted that I had not informed them of my schedule… although it was there THREE TIMES in our LinkedIn chat.

One or two of these issues I think would be understandable, but all of them together led to a very stressful experience. I was also in contact with their manager, who was likewise disorganized and unclear in their communication.

At first, I was nervous that the job I was applying to was causing the issues. But after my interviews, it was clear that they are well organized and the problems were on the recruiter’s end. I didn’t have direct contact with the company, so I was forced to continue communication via the recruiters.

Now that I have the job, I want to say something about the behavior of the recruiting company. I feel that as their job is to find local talent for international businesses, they should be more cognizant of time zones and scheduling, and double check so they don’t cause conflicts. I don’t want any other job hunters to go through this rigmarole. At the same time though, I’m grateful that they contacted me, as there is no way I would have found this position otherwise. The recruiters were also obviously kind people and were excited for me to get the job. I don’t want to cause any trouble for them, but I do want them to understand that they made this a stressful process. Should I say anything to the recruiting company? To my new job about the recruiting company? Am I totally overreacting and this is normal in the recruiting world and I’m being a baby?

It’s pretty common in the recruiting world, but I’d also want to know about it if I were the hiring manager.

It sounds like you tried saying something to the recruiter directly and it didn’t have much impact, so if you want to speak up further, it makes sense to direct your feedback to either HR or your new manager. But you should wait a bit until you’re more of a known quantity and so you aren’t starting the relationship with a complaint about someone they use as a business parter. A few months from now, though, you should feel free to share your experience as a candidate, framing it as “I wanted to mention it because from the outside I wasn’t sure if it was them or Company that was so disorganized, and now that I know that it was them, I figured I should let you know that they’re giving candidates that impression.”

4. Should you withdraw from a hiring process once you know you’re not interested?

I left a workplace I enjoyed several months ago for a bunch of reasons – no growth opportunities, I would really like to relocate, the actual position I held was not enjoyable, etc. Since then I’ve been lucky to have the resources to enjoy my life without worrying too much about getting another job right away after spending the pandemic working from home, living alone, and feeling very unfulfilled and isolated.

Several people who work for a contractor from my old job reached out to me and asked if I was interested in their company. They have locations all over, so I indicated I’d like to hear about opportunities elsewhere in the country. They said there could be a role at a new branch in a place I’m mildly interested in, so I agreed to an interview. In the interview, it became pretty clear I wouldn’t be leaving my current city for this mythical “new branch” anytime soon if ever, and that they predominantly wanted me to work on projects for my old employer. I have a good relationship with everyone I used to work with, but staying here and basically just doing my old job is just not aligned with my personal or professional goals. I also thought the interview was awkward, and after they didn’t call for several weeks I assumed the whole thing was going to blow over, which didn’t bother me.

Long story short, they called eventually and asked if I’m still interested and we talked about my salary expectations so they could make an offer. It’s a good offer and I’m currently “considering it,” although I know I will turn them down. I guess I thought if it had been an *incredible* offer, that could have changed my mind on the whole situation. My question is, should I have just declined to move forward before they made an offer? It’s been good practice for me to get this far along in the process (I’m young and pretty much accepted my last job because I wanted any job, so I’m still learning about negotiating and what questions to ask about benefits and culture, etc), but I feel kind of icky about leading on nice people. Do you think it’s better to ride out every new opportunity as far as it’ll go, or to be more up-front? I guess I’m mostly worried about damaging my relationship with the people involved – maybe I would have fostered better connections by letting them know early this particular role is not for me, but to keep me in mind for other opportunities.

You didn’t do anything wrong. I wouldn’t say you should ride out every potential opportunity as far as it will go; if you know for sure that you wouldn’t accept an offer, it makes sense to withdraw at whatever point you become sure of that. That’s partly out of courtesy to them, and partly because it means someone else who really wants it might get a shot at it.

But you weren’t sure in this case. You weren’t terribly enthused, true, but you were open to being convinced by a really good offer. Given that, it made sense to see what they came up with.

Now that you know you’re going to turn them down, though, you should tell them now rather than delaying. (For all we know, their second choice candidate really wants it but has a deadline of their own to meet.)

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. MK*

    Honestly, OP1, the only thing I see wrong with your boss is that they are apparently overworking you, so tell them that, ask them what to prioritize. Your reaction is out of proportion, and I am assuming it is fueled by other issues with your job. Also, lying in this situation would have been really weird and harmed your reputation, which you might not care about, but you mention your industry is small.

    Also, I do wish people stopped invoking “privacy” about anything they would prefer other people not to know. You might have a vested interest in keeping things like planning to quit quiet, but you don’t actually have a right to privacy about things that involve others.

    1. Not A Manager*

      LW didn’t say that her RIGHT to privacy had been violated, though. She just said that she wished she’d been able to MAINTAIN her privacy. Those are really different things.

    2. PollyQ*

      you don’t actually have a right to privacy about things that involve others

      Maybe not legally, but in fact, OP did have a basic human & professional right to keep her future job plans to herself up until 2 weeks before she planned to leave. Many decision we make will affect other people, but that doesn’t mean we’re always required to tell them at the first possible moment.

      1. Curious*

        Dignity is a basic human and professional right. So is safe working conditions, and medical privacy. Your plans to leave to attend grad school in the fall? Not so much.

        1. Delphine*

          The only folks using “right” in this correct are commenters. LW said she wished she’d been able to maintain her privacy, which is her prerogative.

      2. pancakes*

        I’m not sure how useful it is to frame this as a right because to the extent it is one, the letter writer violated it themself. They didn’t answer the question because they were required to, but because they felt put on the spot. That’s pretty understandable, but whether it was or wasn’t the right thing to do, they now need to figure out where to go from here. I think Alison’s advice is good – if they want to push back, they should frame it as a matter of needing more guidance or needing to prioritize (i.e., how much time they should spend on hiring vs. other aspects of their work).

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          I agree.

          I also think she had a right to deflect, and preserve her privacy, but she’s asking for advice on what to do now. It is her right to make the choice between lying, deflecting and answering a question she wasn’t obligated to answer. I might have done what she did. I also might have answered noncommittally along the lines of “I’m thinking about going back to school full-time, but there’s plenty of time between now and the time it would be appropriate to discuss it. Nothing is set in stone yet.” After all, no matter how certain she feels, a lot can change over that course of time.

    3. OP 1*

      Thanks for validating my not lying. I actually just cannot do it. Maybe I should practice saying things like, “I don’t see why that’s relevant” etc. but that also seems like a dead giveaway.

      You are correct. I have way too much on my plate – overworked and underpaid! I wouldn’t be so confident this is true if it weren’t for my decade of work experience in another industry before a career transition. I have handled hiring before and I don’t understand why anyone would want their subordinate to do the entire hiring process. When I asked the scope of what I would be doing, I was told I would rewrite the job description, work with Hr to post it, prospect and recruit, screen resumes, conduct interviews and make a final recommendation. That seemed like an abdication of responsibility by the hiring manager to me. And frankly, I have been caught in a similar position with this boss before over things like finance and curriculum – things not in my job description and technically above my pay grade. Not saying I can’t or didn’t do them, but our brand new curriculum and our FY 23 budget are truly all my work (which I was shocked by). I have other examples, but these are probably the strangest. I think this situation was a red flag for me based on those past experiences at this job. Perhaps an overreaction, but there is context nonetheless. Basically, my scope of work this summer is going to be, once again, a lot more than was expressed to me. I’ve been told all along that summer is “easier” and “less stressful”. I’ve been skeptical and now find out that it was with good reason. I have zero time or desire to conduct an entire hiring process without any support. I know if I bring these concerns up, they will likely be dismissed like my other concerns have been, but I will try and see what happens.

      Regarding personal information & plans: Based on past experience, it’s a weird situation to be in to have a known departure date well in advance. I would have much preferred to let my employer know a month in advance.

      1. mlem*

        So what if you just … decline? Is the reference going to be good if you go along and bad if you refuse, or would not doing the hiring have no significant effect on it? Do you risk being fired, and if so, are you in a position to weather that? If you give the hiring process your all but can’t secure someone in time (because … look at the current market), what will that do to the reference? (You will still leave on time, right?)

        If you really can’t bear the thought of doing the work, you do have alternatives; you just have to weigh them.

        1. The Tin Man*

          I’m with you mlem. OP 1 remember that, unless you feel it will trash a reference that you really need, you are in a strong position here to say something like “I don’t feel comfortable to do the entire hiring process as you describe. I’d be happy to pre-screen some candidates that you/HR choose to assess fit because I know the role so well but I can’t run the entire hiring process”. I wanted to add “alongside my other work” but that leaves the door open for the boss to try to make it work.

        2. OP 1*

          This is the best suggestion I have gotten and I think it’s the only one if I don’t want to be overworked but still keep this job. In my work, I have rarely declined to do what I was asked or done a knowingly bad job at my tasks. But I think it might be okay to do that in this instance.

          1. Mockingjay*

            Alison often mentions a prioritization script: “Boss, I already have A and B on my plate and those are full-time efforts. If you add C (hiring), I won’t be able to complete A and/or B by their deadlines. Which items do you prefer to be completed?”

            In your particular case, perhaps offer a partial solution: “Hi Boss. I’m full up on projects for this summer: A, B, and C. I really won’t have the time to conduct a full recruitment for the new hire. I am happy to draft the job description [and participate in the interview panel? whatever], but my intent is to complete my projects and prepare turnover documents so the new hire can step right into the role.”

            I’ve had a lot of success with offering Solutions A and B to bosses, because both offers are solutions I am happy with.

            1. JustaTech*

              Yes! We recently discussed at work the phrase “I will if …” as in, “I will take on the hiring for this role if I drop projects A and B.” Or “I will take on the hiring for this role if I get [specific resource] for project C.”

              That way you’re not saying “no”, but you’re being really specific that it can’t all get done by you in this timeframe, and then you’re making it easier for your boss (and better for you) by saying what *specifically* will have to be dropped.

          2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            I think you’d be in a pretty solid place to decline to do the extra work due to your existing workload and getting ready for grad school (e.g. researching courses/professors, work-study/internships, financing, looking for housing if you have to move). Personally I’d put an apologetic spin to declining (even if I wasn’t sorry) in a, “Were it not for going to grad school I’d be able to help out [note HELP not DO], but I’d be happy to read over the final draft of the job description when you have it”

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Preparing for grad school would presumably be done in OP’s spare time, the boss doesn’t give a toss about that. The only concern they would have would be if OP doesn’t complete the tasks she was hired to perform, so it’s best to explain that some tasks would have to be reassigned if OP takes on the hiring responsibility

      2. Lauren*

        See the things not in the job description means you have the ability to tell the truth to the new hire that all of these things are part of the job where your boss doesn’t see how much it adds up. You also have the opportunity to ask candidates what they are looking for in terms of salary and go back to your boss saying you are having trouble screening candidates because they are asking well over your current salary and removing themselves from the process. This is a great way to push back, you are going to grad school and won’t need the reference. Use your privilege here! State facts to your boss. The job expanded exponentially and no one is biting. The ones who are expect double the salary. This position should be 2 positions. Hell, throw in a ‘I didn’t realize how underpaid I was until all these people starting asking for double what I make.’
        You knew, but politely shove it in his face.

        Writing a job description and doing screening phone calls are fairly easy work. For in person, make him be with you after the first 5 min and bow out for him to continue.

      3. AdAgencyChick*

        If you’re overworked and underpaid, what’s the worst that’ll happen if you simply decide you’re going to do what you can in 40 hours a week and let the rest go? If you apply the “I can do X, Y, and Z in a reasonable work week; if you want A or B, I’ll have to get rid of X or Y” conversation to your boss, what will happen? They’ll fire you? Probably not; probably you’ll get some harrumphing from your boss, perhaps a “you need to do all of it,” to which you can respond, “I can’t get all of that done in a reasonable amount of time, so I’m going to go ahead and prioritize A, X, and Z.”

        You can also go through the motions of hiring a replacement, but not actually care whether you’re successful in the end. Decide how much time you’re going to spend on it, and spend that much time; then if that doesn’t actually produce a crop of good candidates or it does but your boss nitpicks them, you can say, “I devoted 10 hours to this last week; I spent 3 hours messaging people on LinkedIn, 5 hours trying to call candidates, and 2 hours assembling candidate dossiers to send you; should I take more time away from my work to do more of this, or can we assign looking for candidates to someone who’s more expert at this than I am?”

        Yes, this may sour your boss’s reference a little bit, but a) I’m not sure this boss will give you the reference you deserve even if you work double overtime getting everything that they’re asking for done, and b) if I were a hiring manager and I heard a reference say “ugh, OP did such a bad job of hiring her replacement” I would assume I was speaking to an unreasonable boss, not hearing about a bad employee.

        1. Jax*

          This–practice the art of the Slow Quit.

          I left a toxic job that had me managing two office locations and 3 mental health service lines. I was completely overwhelmed and couldn’t staff the TWO full-time assistants who were supposed to help me because no one wanted a $12 per hour job in a HCOL. Senior leadership wanted me to devote hours to sourcing/interviewing candidates for these roles, but after several failed rounds of, “No thanks, the wage is too low,” and leadership who refused to raise the wage, I quit bothering. I focused on the work that needed done for the health (and insurance coverage) of the patients, put in my 40 hours, and ignored everything else while I road out my notice period.

          (And yes, that meant that when I left, there was NO ONE who could step up and manage my offices. That’s what happens when leadership decides to run way too lean and bets their employees won’t quit. Pure stupidity.)

          You’re in a lose/lose situation. No matter what you do, you’re not going to impress anyone on your way out the door. So focus on doing the Must-Get-Done job duties and ignore the rest.

          And congrats on graduate school!

    4. The Tin Man*

      “You might have a vested interest in keeping things like planning to quit quiet, but you don’t actually have a right to privacy about things that involve others.”

      This take feels a bit weirdly aggressive to me. It is coming across that you feel it would be unethical for OP to have plans to leave but not to tell their employer until much later in the summer. I am going to give that a hard disagree. OP has a right to privacy about their plans and their employer has zero right to knowing of their plans ahead of an appropriate notice period. Zero.

      OP was put in a difficult position because they (understandably) don’t want to lie or be evasive with their answer when they knew their plans. At the same time there is nothing wrong with keeping their plans to leave to themselves until there is an appropriate notice period.

      1. quill*

        Perhaps to clarify the issue, we should frame it as the employer does not have the right to demand that information from OP, rather than what privacy rights OP has.

      2. SnappinTerrapin*

        I agree. LW1 didn’t present her privacy interest as an inalienable right. She expressed a preference, and told us why she chose not to make that hill her last stand.

        It is reasonable, in many cases, for a worker to weigh the impact of a private decision on colleagues or the organization. That absolutely does not mean those third parties enjoy a participatory right in the decision.

        When I am ready to move on, management finds out on MY timetable. When that proves inconvenient to them, it is almost certainly because they didn’t plan far enough ahead. My decision to change jobs is going to be less disruptive than a sudden health emergency. Then again, I had a doctor tell me once to take medical leave when I was overworked. I spent two days taking care of transitional briefings before I left in that case, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to give customary notice and let the managers manage.

        I think Alison’s advice on how to handle the current situation is sound. Decide what she feels comfortable doing, approach it in a collaborative manner, and let management decide what the priorities are. Don’t feel obliged to take on more than is reasonable. This is a business transaction, not the dissolution of a marriage with responsibilities owed to children. That involves actual responsibilities to others that can reasonably entail some sacrifices on both parts.

    5. anonymous73*

      Hard disagree. People don’t want to disclose that they are leaving jobs because 9 times out of 10 it will come back to bite them before they’re ready to leave. Part of a manager’s job is to be prepared if someone suddenly leaves/is absent for an extended period of time. A notice period is merely to wrap up your projects, and leave the team with documentation as needed to continue doing your job until a replacement is found.

      And telling someone that it is their responsibility to find their replacement is wildly out of line for an entry level position. Assisting with a job description/interviews/etc. sure, but having to do it all yourself is a big ask.

      1. Office Lobster DJ*

        Agree. In addition to all the reasons not to disclose, OP’s plans don’t actually “involve others” yet — is any job truly entitled to (or in need of) nearly half a year’s notice to replace an entry level position?! OP did an honorable and risky thing by disclosing their plans, and unfortunately it came back around to bite them.

        As for quitting in frustration over it, that feels to me like this must just be one more incident of OP having something dumped on their lap without support, and in that light, I can understand it. I liked mlem’s advice above for weighing your options carefully. Whatever happens, this job will be in your rearview mirror in five months or so.

      2. Hazel*

        I agree. And in this instance, it HAS bitten the OP. The manager now wants them to run an entire hiring process, and that wouldn’t have happened with a 2 (or probably even 4) week notice period.

      3. STG*

        Yea, this feels like a manager trying to foist off her work on the OP.

        Should they be involved? Yep. Should they be running the process? Probably not.

      4. LarryFromOregon*

        I retired last year, from a director-level job, which I held for 9 years. I gave 3 months notice, to facilitate a smooth transition.

        The transition would have been smoother with more notice, but the executive to whom I reported never once initiated a mature conversation about succession planning or retirement (even though I was 66 years old at the time). Since she never indicated that she would NOT respond to a retirement announcement by scheduling my departure for an earlier date than I wanted, I chose my notice date deliberately so that she’d be likely to accept the timeline I specified.

        And yes I had every right to do so.

    6. Jackalope*

      Hard disagree on the privacy comment from me as well. Nearly everything in our lives affects those around us, and yet we still can choose to keep things private. My family would be strongly affected by my spouse and I having a baby, but if there was a new pregnancy we would keep it to ourselves until it was far enough along that a miscarriage was unlikely. Our finances affect what we can spend money on and how generous we can be with those around us, but we still keep that mostly to ourselves.

      On a more work-related note, there are all sorts of reasons that one might leave work for a period of time short or long, and those are definitely things that should be kept private if the person wants them to be. You aren’t required to tell people why you’re going to be gone unless you want to. You can keep interviewing for another position to yourself even though it affects your colleagues (and in fact you would generally be wise to do so). If you’ve applied for a promotion in the same company, even then you can keep it to yourself even though it will affect both the team you’d be leaving AND the new team you’d go to if you get the job. And so on. There will eventually come a point when colleagues will learn at least some of this information (the date you’re leaving or the time period you’ll be out, for example), but even then you aren’t required to share all details with them.

    7. Firm Believer*

      I agree that the response is out of proportion. Now is a good time to leave a great impression so you have a good reference in the future.

    8. Batgirl*

      But her plans for the next academic year don’t “involve others” at all, unless you mean the grad school. They certainly don’t involve her current employer who should expect employees to leave as a matter of course. It might involve them a bit when the customary notice is upon OP, but in April? That’s rather entitled. I don’t think she should have lied but it was nosy and presumptuous for them to ask.

  2. Tech Writer*

    OP 3: 99% of external recruiters are like that. I’m thankfully at a point in my career where I don’t have to deal with them anymore, thank goodness. The companies themselves are often perfectly fine and the external recruiter is not a reflection on the company. But I don’t know if you can find an external recruiter who isn’t terrible.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I have heard plenty of shitty, shitty, shitty recruiter stories from my friend who works with them. They sound super awful, frequently lie about what the company offers, and flake to boot. I’m not sure they can do their “job?”

      1. KRM*

        I have found that third party recruiters are very terrible. I’ve had them try to talk up “temp to hire” positions, send me job descriptions that require a degree I don’t have in a field I have zero experience in, and at an old job there was a company who would just constantly call anyone they had numbers for to “talk about a great job opportunity” for months and months. I have never gotten a viable lead from a third party. However, I have found that recruiters who work with specific companies have been quite valuable, more knowledgeable about open positions, and also willing to match you with a position that suits you better. I got my last job when I spoke to a recruiter and she told me she thought I’d actually be a better match for a different job, talked me through the description, and when I said I’d be interested, she said if that job didn’t work out for whatever reason she’d still put me forward for the original job. So I guess it’s context dependent, and may be quite valuable to ask who exactly the recruiter works for at the outset?

        1. WomEngineer*

          I agree! Why would I want to go out-of-state for a temp-to-hire that does the same exact work as someone who’s salaried but with absolutely no benefits?

          I’d much rather chat with a company rep on LinkedIn who’s trying to match you to a role… not just fill a seat.

          1. quill*

            My favorites are always “3 months contract in [state nowhere near me]” emails. Like buddy. Friend. Hon. There is a REASON you can’t fill this job, and it’s that the terms suck.

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I’ve had ones try to convince me to apply for Ob/Gyn MD, NP, and RN positions because my MPH was maternal-child health focused. Hard no f-ing way!

          1. Junior Assistant Peon*

            I recommend applying just to expose the recruiter’s idiocy to the client!

        3. Applesauced*

          I’ve also had a hard time with recruiters who have a job you’d be PERFECT for, but it turns out they just want your resume on file so they can carpet bomb you with temp positions that they get paid bookoo bucks for and you don’t benefits or job security.

    2. Fikly*

      This is what happens when you have people who legally profit from buying and selling human labor. They are terrible.

      They also have a profound financial incentive to lie to the potential employee to get them to take the job, and to the company to get them to hire a person. Thus the result.

      I’m unclear if it’s all selection bias, or if after a bit in the field, anyone who isn’t terrible flees.

      OP3: When you tell yourself they are kind people who were excited for you to get the job, you justify their actions, and tell yourself that it’s ok for you to be treated that way. Kind people don’t behave the way you did, including multiple times where they lied to you. They’re good actors, that’s all. You almost certainly can’t change how recruiters behave, but normalizing it in your head is harmful.

      1. Sleepy cat*

        “This is what happens when you have people who legally profit from buying and selling human labor. They are terrible.”

        This is a really weird way to spin the idea of recruitment. It’s not like they’re trafficking people.

        1. A.N. O'Nyme*

          That is kind of what they’re doing though. A lot of things we consider normal sound really weird if you describe them right (I recommend googling “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” for an example of this – once you figure out the trick to the text it’s actually very fascinating)

          1. PollyQ*

            Couldn’t we say that every employer is buying human labor and every employee is selling human labor though? Are we all just trafficking ourselves? In the most ideal case, recruiters are matching two parties with important needs — one to find an employee and one to find a job. Perhaps in practice many recruiters are bad, possibly because they don’t actually bring that much to the table. But I don’t believe that what they’re doing is inherently unethical or exploitative.

          2. ecnaseener*

            The difference between trafficking and recruiting is consent. A pretty big difference IMO!

            The Nacirema piece is about how if you approach a culture in bad faith, expecting them to be backwards, that’s what you will find. It’s not…advocating that you do it on purpose.

            1. DevilDoll*

              So much word. Not gonna lie, I was so put off by the Nacirema story when I read it in college that if it pops up in an argument (like here) I’m immediately thinking, “yeah no, this argument is no longer valid or relevant.”

            2. Butterfly Counter*

              Trafficking involves force, fraud, or coercion. So one can consent, but still be trafficked.

              However, trafficking involves the trafficker getting all (or the lion’s share) of the profits of someone else’s work, so that comparison doesn’t hold up here.

          3. Dinwar*

            The English language is all about nuance, and calling recruitment “buying and selling human labor” completely misrepresents the situation. If you said “Dinwar buys and sells human labor” no one in their right mind would think you were calling me a third-party recruiter.

            Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you’re doing. Hyperbole is fun, and there’s far more to truth than the mere literal truth of a statement. Sometimes you have to look at things sideways to see them for what they are. My dad was an estimator for a construction company and routinely described his job as “gambling with the boss’s money.” But I also don’t go around calling Roman Catholics cannibals (well, not after proving to a priest and a few nuns that it was an inescapable consequence of RC dogma).

            A more accurate statement would be that they are identifying opportunities and acting as a go-between. When it works well, it works really well. It’s a recruiter’s job to know what opportunities are out there and to find people who fit those opportunities really well. Most recruiters are just really bad at the job, and the incentives are screwed up. The job itself is no more dehumanizing than management (which considers humans as resources to spend on tasks) or medicine (which often looks at the human body as a machine, not a person).

            As an aside, if you like this sort of linguistic game, there’s a Creepypasta of “Animal Crossing” that looks at common gaming tropes sideways. I consider the game a horror game after reading that story. When you sit down and think through what the game asks you to do, and how the mechanics work, and ask yourself how it would play out in real life….”horrifying” doesn’t describe it.

            1. BethDH*

              Yes, I think it worth identifying the conditions that are likely to result in ethical recruitment. The easy one to me seems like a small or close-knit industry where people change jobs relatively frequently. The need to do repeat business with the same people helps force the recruiter to think longer term.
              The more common one would probably be a recruiter who works with the same company a lot. If they place people who aren’t good at the role or who are so misled that they don’t stay long, the company will stop using them.

              1. Dinwar*

                I think it’s less about the field in question and more about the culture of the recruitment company. There was a letter yesterday asking how to figure out what jobs there were, with a number of replies saying essentially “I’ve got the same question.”

                Ideally, recruiters would fill that role–it’s their job to know what opportunities are available, and what people are available to fill them. It’s a real value added to the company and individual, because it saves both of us time. I can go to a recruitment agency and say “I’m revamping my training systems; what can you do for me?” and they’d respond “I’ve got 13 teachers looking to get out of call centers; let me reach out to them.” The teachers likely aren’t looking for engineering firms in terms of employment, and most engineers aren’t going to consider teachers–but it’d be a good fit.

                Again, it’s the culture of the company that’s the issue. If the culture is to treat people with respect and dignity, and to understand what their role is (basically, facilitating communication), it can work. If the recruitment center wants to do bulk business and just get people through the process as quickly as possible….not so much.

            2. DevilDoll*

              “But I also don’t go around calling Roman Catholics cannibals (well, not after proving to a priest and a few nuns that it was an inescapable consequence of RC dogma).”

              In the parlance of this blog: wow, can we not? No one cares how fake edgy you sound with this anecdote.

              1. Dinwar*

                That’s rather the point. Your reaction to my statement is the appropriate reaction to Fickly’s statement. Fickly is being as “fake edgy” and dehumanizing, and frankly disgusting as you accuse me of, by intentionally distorting language by overly focusing on a limited portion of the strict definitions of the terms involved. The two situations are the same.

                If you object to my statement, you have identified what I object to in Fickly’s statement.

                1. Neptune*

                  I don’t think they’re missing the point at all – the anecdote about you apparently schooling a priest and several nuns on their own faith is the zomgEdGy part here. I mean, this is only a point that’s been raised about Christianity since the Roman Empire so they’d probably never heard your very innovative argument before.

          4. Lily*

            Re “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”:
            I read this when I was 12, and it changed the way I looked at people, cultures, religions, jobs, education, language, and pretty much everything from that point on. And it helped me recognize and look differently at “stories” (a la Brene Brown) I identify/identified with.

          5. For heaven’s sake*

            That’s like saying “doctors profit from human misery.” Like, they DO – their source of income would evaporate if the whole world was suddenly immune to illness and injury. But that framing puts a rhetorical spin on it that I think all but the most conspiracy-minded among us would disagree with.

            Recruiters are not trafficking people. They are paid to introduce people to each other. They have no power over the job seekers they recruit. We don’t all need to read a middle-school intro to sociology concepts short short to be able to orient ourselves to the world around us.

          6. Coconutty*

            It is absolutely not what they’re doing, and to suggest otherwise is completely outrageous. That’s not describing it right, it’s purposely describing it wrong and with tremendous exaggeration for the sake of shock value.

        2. mal*

          Recruitment is sales, with the full range of salesy behaviors, and a lot of bad behavior excused if it gets results.

        3. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Recruitment is sales, with the full range of salesy behavior from okay to terrible, and bad behavior is often tolerated if it is a means to an end. It doesn’t mean all recruiters are overbearing hard-sales edgelords, but the potential for that to be rewarded is there.

      2. pancakes*

        No, that’s an odd oversimplification. If that in itself explained why recruiters are terrible there wouldn’t be any good ones, but there are. As with any other profession, competence varies. And finding good candidates for particular positions is both a worthy thing to pay for and requires various skills to do well. It’s not as if companies are likely to get a desirable mix of candidates for, say, a CEO adept in restructuring by putting an ad in the newspaper.

      3. Glomarization, Esq.*

        people who legally profit from buying and selling human labor

        No. Recruiters do not buy and sell human labor. Good lord.

      4. RagingADHD*

        My gidyard. Buy and sell human labor?

        That’s like saying a dating app is the same as sex trafficking because they make money off people hooking up.


        Recruiters perform a normal job function every business needs – finding and screening job candidates. Third party recruiters are simply outsourced instead of being in-house.

        Do you think outsourced legal services are blackmailers because they get paid to keep privileged information secret? Outsourced mailroom services are stealing people’s mail and holding it hostage?

      5. DevilDoll*

        Oh honey, no :-(

        It’s spring now so please go outside for a few minutes and touch some grass, for your own sake.

      6. marvin the paranoid android*

        I mean, legally profiting from buying and selling human labour is capitalism. This phrasing makes third-party recruiters sound uniquely terrible, but they’re just an outgrowth of a system that often (usually? always?) incentivizes bad behaviour. If your main goal is to maximize your connections (hence profit), of course you’re not going to invest the same amount of time in communicating with clients, listening to their needs, reviewing previous communication, and being mindful of their schedule.

      7. anonforthis*

        I mean, all companies “buy and sell human labor”. I’m not a fan of recruiters but this isn’t why they suck.

      8. LilPinkSock*

        I’ve worked in recruiting before, and I know I’m not the only commenter who has. I don’t appreciate your implication that we’re human traffickers.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      Reading this while taking my first sip of coffee of the morning, I read this as “3.99% of external recruiters.” That seemed oddly specific.

    4. anonymous73*

      Just because it’s the norm, doesn’t make it okay. If more people spoke up about it, maybe that norm would change.

      1. pancakes*

        What norm, exactly? Are you expecting people who are looking for work to swear off responding to any and all recruiters to discourage their existence?

        1. Feral Humanist*

          I believe anonymous73 meant speaking up to the new employer about the sub-par experience with the recruiter and how it might be affecting the hiring process. The agency of individual job seekers here is limited, but the company pays the recruiter’s fees and could choose to go elsewhere (or do their own recruitment).

        2. anonymous73*

          What in my comment makes you think I’m saying to stop working with external recruiters? The original comment is stating that 99% of recruiters behave in the manner which OP describes. I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration myself. Yes I’ve had some bad experiences with recruiters but never to the extent of OP’s situation. I get it – recruiters are salesman and get paid when they find candidates. But ignoring the candidate when they explain their availability and scheduling interviews without their confirmation over and over with the same candidate is not okay.

    5. Daisy-dog*

      Well I’m special because I’ve encountered the opposite a few times. Perfectly fine recruiter, awful company.

      And if there’s that many awful 3rd party recruiters, the focus should be on overhauling the process as a whole because I can’t imagine that many incompetent people self-selecting into the same job.

    6. anonforthis*

      I’ve only dealt with internal recruiters and even they sucked. I would never bother with external. Basically, the internal recruiters were bad at placing candidates and didn’t have a good understanding of what the hiring managers were looking for. I would be fast tracked to interviews only for the hiring manager to be surprise-disappointed at the fact that I wasn’t a good fit, since they didn’t select my application – the recruiter did. After dealing with this 4 times, I eventually gave up and only applied directly. It’s a slower process but at least if you get invited to interview with the hiring manager, you know it’s because they themselves selected you and the interview isn’t a waste of time.

    7. Junior Assistant Peon*

      As a current hiring manager, I need help from a recruiter about as much as a fish needs a bicycle. I never understood the point of paying some moron to give me a bunch of wildly ill-fitting resumes when I can just put an ad on Indeed.

    8. TrixM*

      I am not a citizen of the country where I live and am therefore unable to get security clearances (unless an agency sponsors me, but none of them can be bothered). I put that pretty succinctly at the top of my LinkedIn profile, but barely a week goes by without some recruiter trying to connect with me about some role that requires a clearance.
      I used to rely to the ones that actually inboxed me with specific details pointing out that I can’t apply. But now I’m at the “CAN YOU READ?” level of response, so it’s best for all concerned if I don’t reply.
      The cherry on the cake not four days ago was the unusually well-written message I got from a local recruiter I’d actually heard of … asking for me get in touch for job requiring [high-level clearance] at [well-known international tech company] (that I specifically say I won’t work for in my profile). Reading comprehension still needs work!

  3. PollyQ*

    OP2 — Another option might be to write up your suggestions and send them to the meeting leader/attendees ahead of the meeting.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I agree. LW can email her thoughts to the committee and CC her boss saying she’ll be away, here are my thoughts, Boss can talk in more detail at the meeting, if needed. Or just propose a different date if she really wants to be there.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Having Boss talk in more detail is apparently the problem. If Boss just presented her notes, it would be fine. He feels it necessary to add his own … unique .. touch to things.

        OP tell them you are not available that day. Say you are sure they will have questions that you are best positioned to answer due to being more familiar with the day to day aspects of the project. Boss knows the overall details but for questions they really need you.

    2. BatManDan*

      A general observation; some people just process language in “chunks” and not at the level of individual words. One of the more benign examples of an interaction between my wife (who does this) and me (I make every effort to be precise in my language):
      Me: I’m going to go hang out with the foodies
      Me: why the laugh?
      Wife: what makes you think you’re a foodie?
      Me: I didn’t say “I am going to go hang out with the OTHER foodies. I just said “I’m going to go hang out with the foodies.”

      Another example:
      Wife: what day is that ?
      Me: Monday, it starts at 7, so I think we should plan to leave about 6:40
      Her: Okay, and when does it start?
      Me: 7.
      Her: How long will it take us to get there?
      Me: about 20 minutes, so I think we should leave at 6:40.
      Her: that’s sounds like a great plan

      1. BatManDan*

        edit – apparently things in brackets don’t show in the thread- missing lines are Wife: laughs and, at the bottom, Me: sighs

        1. linger*

          Yep, angle brackets are read as enclosing HTML code.
          Text-formatting instructions are followed, but otherwise the contents either get sent to moderation (as with links) or are just automatically deleted.
          Other delimiters such as square brackets can be used (together with HTML tags for italics, boldface, etc) for stage directions and the like, e.g. [laughs] [sighs]

      2. ThatGirl*

        Sounds like you need to giver her information in chunks, then, if she can’t process it all at once ;)

      3. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Ha, that’s a good point! I recently texted a few friends “Do you want to hike X trail at Y location?” And one of them immediately wrote back “Y location or Z location?” which I had obviously just specified. And it’s not like my text was a giant text, that was literally the entire point of it. (To be fair to my friend, both Y and Z locations have a trail with the name X (confusing!), but again, I’d been very specific to say Y location.) Of course, that is reading comprehension, not verbal/aural, but now that you put it in terms of “chunks” and written your excellent lines of dialog as examples, I can totally see how this friend and others also interprets spoken words that way. I shall now consider this going forward when I have these kinds of interactions. How very eye-opening for me, thank you, BatManDan!

        It’s also entirely possible that I do this myself. Hmmmm….

      4. Jack Russell Terrier*

        Oh my Goodness the language precision. I use language precisely with a paintbrush and my husband sort of uses a roller all over the wall, hoping to blind me to his point of view. Then he *misquotes me* to others. To use your example, this would be something my husband would say to someone:

        ‘So JRT said she’s a foodie,’ snort. (Some joking about that ensues).

        I am so often misrepresented … .

        1. Jack Russell Terrier*

          Bless – thanks! That’s something of an exaggeration, he doesn’t joke about me like that.

      5. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        It sounds like your wife only listens until she’s got the info she was asking for, and decided what to say next.
        ToxicBoss1 used to do the same (except he’d rudely interrupt speech).
        Once my colleague left a note to ask “should I do X or Y” and he wrote underneath “yes”. She was baffled, but I told her, he only read the first four words, he’d switched off by the time he got to “or”, so you should do X.
        She was a person who needed everything to be crystal clear though, so she emailed to clarify, then got into trouble because the deadline for X expired before ToxicBoss1 could get back to her.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      Please do this.

      My dad is the absolute ruler of this obnoxious habit and we spend a ridiculous amount of time either preempting or re-informing people of his exaggerated reports.

    4. Khatul Madame*

      Slides! OP should prepare slides to be distributed prior to the meeting.
      I’ve found it useful to include as much background as possible in “backup slides” – in your case, facts that are most vulnerable to embellishment by Boss.
      You can probably tell that I BTDT and have wrinkles from cringing…

  4. AcademiaNut*

    For LW 1, it’s entirely reasonable not to feel capable of hiring your replacement on your own, particularly as a very junior employee, and it’s entirely reasonable to say that if you get a new duty added to your workload, you need to cut something else out to have time.

    However, helping with hiring your replacement when you’ve (essentially) given an extra long notice is pretty reasonable, and it can be excellent professional experience to be on the other side of the hiring process, for the benefit of your future job searches. I know as a grad student that when I started being the person marking essays I learned a lot about how to write good essays that I hadn’t learned as the student.

    Quitting with 2 weeks notice four months before you planned to leave a job seems like a wild over-reaction to me, unless there’s a lot going on that you haven’t mentioned.

    1. A Person*

      100% agree on everything above.

      It’s a bit unfortunate how early they found out, but in a job where I had a good relationship I’d probably tell them earlier than the usually 2 weeks notice – like 2ish months out. And assuming you are *helping* with hiring rather than doing everything it’s great professional experience since it’s something you’ll need to do eventually.

    2. Glomarization, Esq.*


      And gently, the LW’s expressing this development as a “privacy” problem, and wondering if they might be justified in quitting over it, really does come across as an over-reaction.

      1. WellRed*

        I agree. Why latch onto “privacy”? It seems there’s more going at this job besides the hiring piece.

        1. Office Lobster DJ*

          Oh, I didn’t feel the OP latched onto the privacy aspect, per se. To me, that seemed more like a language choice to emphasize the fact that they could have lied for their own benefit. I guess they could have phrased it as “I wish I’d kept my mouth shut,” but a single use of the word “privacy” didn’t strike me as amiss.

          I do agree that more seems to be going on besides this issue, which to me makes it less of an over-reaction to a single incident and more of a final straw.

      2. Nanani*

        What? No. They are not blowing the privacy angle out of proportion.
        It is completely reasonable to not want to give your current workplace a headsup on future plans so early that it disadvantages you.

      3. Batgirl*

        That’s hugely dependant on the workplace and management style. There are lots of workplaces which are bad-but-manageable if you look like a permanent fixture, but where you become the dogsbody if they know you are leaving. Privacy about your plans is less important in reasonable places, but still a disadvantage to some extent because you may still be replaced before you’re ready.

    3. BethDH*

      I left my first job to attend grad school and told my work early and was very involved in finding my replacement. My boss at the time told me that it is rare to be in that position, but that it’s one of the best ways to increase the likelihood that the individual projects and procedures you developed continue after you leave.
      As someone who has been a boss during hiring now, it’s also really helpful to have the current person involved because all sorts of things come up that they hadn’t thought to articulate as essential job components that the people at the higher level might not realize either.

    4. Hannah Lee*

      In this job market and with LW currently full schedule, my suggestion would be for LW to just plan on getting the process started, and approach it in steps ie 1) develop/update the job description including essential duties, qualifications, etc 2) work with HR to ID candidate sourcing approach and establish target pay range 3) place ads 4) review resumes etc etc . But then kind of slow roll each of those steps. Do a couple of iterations of #1, if possible in ways that require your manager’s review or input, so that THEY are a gate to you moving forward. The idea is that by the time you leave you’re handing them an active recruitment campaign and a bunch of candidates, but leaving the rest up to them. Which in theory is better for the organization, manager as they get to choose who will fill this role.

      Continue to do the core elements of your job well. No one is going to think less of you going forward if the one ding on your accomplishments in that job is “failed to hire their replacement in one of the tightest job markets in decades”

      Note, the key to this is to appear to your boss that you’re working to do what she asked within the constraints of your primary responsibilities and the current job market. But if you frame it for yourself as an ongoing thing you’re going to set in motion for the boss but not complete, it should make it easier and remove the baggage you’ve attached to it.

      (Because at the end of the day, if you fail to complete this by your last day, it’s not like they can fire you. Plus they will think much worse of you if you leave them with a bad hire than they will if you leave them a solid job outline and potentially good candidates in the pipeline)

      1. BethDH*

        This brings to light something I didn’t notice before too. I assumed the boss meant essentially the earliest few steps here — rewriting the position, recruitment, maybe screening. That’s what it’s meant when I’ve been in this position. I wonder if OP can ask the boss to be more explicit and clarify this, or if the boss has a track record of throwing things at them that are not appropriate to the role already that makes OP fairly sure that this is also that kind of thing.

      2. Smithy*

        This is fantastic advice.

        I will also say that this is an area where thinking of your performance as pass/fail may also help. Certainly a job description was already created when the OP was hired? It can often be a lot easier to take that description and adjust it, and again – thinking of the job description as pass/fail and not a task where you’re aiming for perfection. If your own job description is truly lost, then asking HR for postings of similar jobs or jobs in a similar band to make sure you’re matching style. Again, this will slow the process but hopefully take away that effort of starting from scratch.

        Depending on your office’s approach to calendars – you might also help slow the process by heavily blocking off your calendar with time you need to spend on other projects. That way if interviews are ever set by HR, if again helps you indicate how full your plate is but can also stretch out the process.

        As Hannah Lee points out, if you show effort on the process – you can’t get knocked for not doing it. But then if it doesn’t make it to fruition – it’s a competitive market, a number of candidate pools have been very thin, and starting the process will ultimately be helpful. Also, if you get the ball rolling and its clear that one applicant is clearly an Amazing Superstar To Not Be Missed, just be mindful of your industry’s norms and standards and start putting them forward to your boss as the top candidate with a window juuuuuust too short for your paths to cross. If I knew I was leaving September 6, if by August 1 I went to my boss and said “this person is really great” – I know that they would initially believe there’d be enough time to complete the process and for our time to overlap. But the reality of both internal processes as well as the likelihood of something giving at least two weeks and potentially as long as 4……no way on earth we’d ever be in the office on the same day.

    5. anonymous73*

      Helping yes. But if OP’s boss meant that it is her responsibility alone, no. I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I was told to find my replacement.

  5. tamarack and fireweed*

    LW#3 – this is a situation that I classify under “does not need to be resolved urgently”.

    Their choice of service provider to handle their recruitment was made by someone in the organization, and the recruiter’s shortcomings are in this person’s problem area. If a new hire came in guns blazing and the very first thing they are trying to change in their new role was THIS I would on the one hand be thankful they brought it up, sure, but on the other I’d also be slightly wondering about the new hire’s sense of priorities. Now of course, if hiring or even just interviewing is part of your job, then you’re empowered to bring it up sooner rather than later. But if not I would certainly wait until I have established myself as a known quantity and made connections to go to my manager or whoever ran the hiring for my role, and ask if they are interested in feedback how this hiring process looked from your side.

    1. Mockingjay*

      I got Current Job from a recruiter via LinkedIn. The recruiter was very professional; he worked for a small, local agency so they were vested in attaining a good rep for placements.

      HR at Current Job asked me how my recruiting experience was. They didn’t ask for huge details, just wanted to know was it a positive experience or did I have any issues? I did have one small glitch with him – he got a piece of incorrect info about the offer, which was quickly corrected.

      OP3, maybe mention your experience to HR, instead of the hiring manager. “Overall, the agency matched job requirements with a qualified applicant (main purpose), but the individual recruiter was disorganized, resulting in some schedule and contact problems.”

      1. kiki*

        Yeah, I’m kind of surprised nobody asked for a review of the recruiting and hiring experience. I feel like I’ve always been asked that, either directly or through a survey.

      2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

        Right now, companies want to know if their recruiter (internal or external) is driving away good candidates. It might be a lower priority when they have more good candidates than they can hire, but few people have that luxury currently. I’d contact HR with the concerns, then let it drop. The only time they are going to hear this is from a new hire – or someone who didn’t complete the process when it can be written off as sour grapes m- after all, once you’ve been around a few months, you aren’t going to bring up your hiring process.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Yes! No need to say anything at all if you’re hired to work the payroll. But if you’re responsible for hiring at all, you can mention it when first discussing your first hire. “By the way, the recruiter who found me was absolutely terrible, do we have to go through them?”

  6. Sleepy cat*

    #3 Let’s be clear: they were excited for you to get the job because that’s how they make money.

    You mentioned you communicated through LinkedIn and I’m wondering if that might have been part of the issue – maybe swapping emails would have helped.

    1. Nanani*

      The channel isn’t the problem when the recruiter had been given their availability AND said availability was readily available -on linkedin-

      The problem is this person just had an inconsiderate and pushy recruiter who doesn’t bother to check.

  7. Viette*

    Re OP#2 — “He interprets what people are saying rather than takes them at face value, and he’ll latch onto a minor detail and blow it out of proportion or add extra information because he thinks it helps make the message more important.”

    It’s always been a mystery to me why some people do this! Does OP’s boss tell himself he’s ~seeing through~ all the B.S. and truly perceiving the matter? Does he find the real circumstances too boring and wants to punch it up? Does he hate being the messenger and feel compelled to insert himself into the message?

    Some people are genuinely very good at rephrasing others’ messages, but man, if you cause drama with other departments enough times, maybe look into yourself, boss, and see the problem?

    1. ecnaseener*

      My guess is a genuine comprehension problem – some people just aren’t good at processing what they hear, and then intentionally or not fill in the gaps with whatever pops into their head as probably true.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      My dad is the KING of this and it drives us all nuts. Seriously, if I didn’t know for a fact that he was retired I would suspect my dad had a secret job somewhere as this LW’s boss.

      I don’t know what Boss’ motivation is here but we think Dad does it to hold an audience’s attention longer since he’s retired and no longer has the status of being the go-to guy at work. But he also does it with things that don’t involve him, to I guess make other people look more important? But he does it with the dumbest things!

      I mentioned that I was going to get a new phone case and thought I would get a thicker bumper case this time in case my phone fell out of my pocket at work (we have a semi-warehouse environment where we often need to retrieve things from very tall shelves). He related this to visitors as though I were climbing ladders to the ceiling and had obsessively researched all the best bumper cases. Well, no–we have rolling staircases with sturdy railings; it’s only about 15 feet; and I just got a mid-range silicone case. It was mortifying, though, to listen to him relate this and wonder if our friends thought that *I* thought I was some kind of genius for, what, buying a phone cover? But there also wasn’t any way to cut it off without being really snippy.

      1. jane's nemesis*

        My grandpa wasn’t this bad, but he definitely embellished stories. When I got married, I got my wedding dress on super clearance – I only paid about $100 for it (its list price was much higher) but I still purchased it from a big bridal chain store. I was proud of my find and told my grandparents, who had gifted me some money for my wedding.

        I learned about halfway through my wedding reception that my grandpa was telling everyone that I got my dress at a thrift store. :|

        (I adored him and miss him greatly!)

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Like my dear Dad who told everyone I worked for UNESCO… er no Dad, I translated a book for them once several years, by way of a friend who worked there.

      2. BethDH*

        I used to do this. I think it was a mixture of social anxiety and also feeling like an extremely boring person myself. I don’t think I was consciously lying, but more that I would hear details abou lt other people’s lives and assume the most exciting possible interpretation. It was like living vicariously in a dream world.
        I don’t get the sense that that’s the case with OP’s boss exactly, but it could be anxiety for sure — not knowing answers to things so making them up, or wanting to make sure their staff/budget doesn’t get cut so overselling the workload.

      3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        Some people don’t hear what they don’t want to hear. We emailed someone “you cannot legally do X until after you do Y,” and they responded, “Right, we’re going to do X and then down the road, think about Y.”

    3. Office Lobster DJ*

      I’d add another possibility: OP’s boss doesn’t understand the full picture, but he latches onto the piece he does understand and makes it into the important and exciting part.

      This isn’t meant to be quite as damning as it sounds, by the way. There may very well be better uses of the boss’s time than knowing all these details.

    4. Dinwar*

      “It’s always been a mystery to me why some people do this!”

      My family is notorious for embellishing. Which is really weird, because the bare facts of some of our stories are pretty remarkable to begin with–and I mean stuff where there’s video evidence, photos, police reports, and such to back us up. We still tend to exaggerate when we’re sitting around the fire telling stories.

      For us, it’s about emphasis. There’s the literal truth of the events, then there’s the point of the story. We tell stories to teach, to re-enforce ideas, and not infrequently to get a good laugh, usually at our own expense. It’s not necessarily important how far my uncle flew the day that the tree he was in fell wrong. The important thing is that there was a series of errors, and he did in fact end up air born, and could have easily been killed, so don’t ever ever ever ever ever do that. How far I had to run when I got lost at field camp isn’t the important thing; that I got lost and was nearly stranded in a desert mountain range due to an error reading a map was.

      This sort of thing is fairly common in human history. The whole idea of the bardic tradition in Germanic cultures was based on this. It’s the idea behind The Iliad and the parables of the Bible. Humans remember stories, not data; if you put the lesson into a story it’s easier for people to recall when they need it.

      That said, there are limits.

      1. Software Dev (she/her)*

        Yeah, this is a great/interesting point—I think a lot of people exaggerate personal stories that way but its really cringy if its your boss telling the company how impressive/heroic something your department did is when you know it’s exaggerated or misinterpreted or the actually impressive things are ignored. I had a boss that used to create his own narratives around things that had happened, like claiming a user error was an intentional hacking attempt. Very frustrating.

      2. Batgirl*

        My family is like this too, we’re real story tellers but we keep it pretty internal amongst ourselves for specific purposes, and we know from gestures and tone, or improbability, when someone is telling a big fish detail and that it’s a situation where we should juggle the metaphor with the literal truth. My cousin however, does it with everyone, everywhere and it’s almost as though she couldn’t tell a straightforward detail with a gun to her head. She doesn’t expect to be believed which is interesting, because I have no idea how she expects people to know the truth in situations where details matter.

    5. marvin the paranoid android*

      I think most of us underestimate how much we’re all guilty of constantly editorializing our own perceptions. We like to believe that we have the capacity to neutrally record and recite information, but everything passes through the filter of our preconceived ideas, our priorities, and our emotional state. All that to say, I doubt he is conscious of doing this. He’s delivering the emotional truth of how he perceives the events.

  8. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – I’d maybe mention to the HR Manager / internal recruiter who was involved in your hire that the process was disorganized, and you felt that it was the external recruiter’s issue – with the repeated scheduling snafus, the lack of contact, and the last-minute demands. That’s a service quality issue, and since HR generally manages relationships with recruitment service providers,

    Keep in mind, though, that the last-minute demands are likely ones that came from the company that hired you. Recruiters don’t sit on interview requests for the fun of it: they want to get roles filled. Also, while the recruiter wasn’t in touch for weeks at a time, it’s probably because the hiring manager wasn’t in touch with them for weeks, or they were working through the interview process with other candidates – again, if the recruiter would have had something to tell you about your candidacy moving forward, they’d have done so.

  9. LN*

    I think it’s the first option, although it’s tough to say for sure. Everyone tends to fill in the blanks and jump to conclusions a bit, but some people turn it into a varsity sport.

  10. TechWorker*

    LW2 – is there anyone else on the team who has worked on the project and you would trust to represent it accurately? (Or you are senior to and so it wouldn’t be weird to coach them on it before you go?)

    ‘I think this would be a really great development opportunity for Jane, and I’ll work with her on the presentation.’ is a much easier pitch than ‘I don’t want you to present because you’ll fuck it up’ ;)

      1. OP 1*

        LOL! Nooo!! Actually, this job has been a lot and I was completely misled about a lot of the responsibilities. If I just said the responsibilities in line with the salary, I think people would run away. I wouldn’t want someone to feel blindsided the way I did regardless if it’s salary, location, hours, responsibilities, etc. Plus the lying thing – just can’t do it!

        I took this job after being unemployed for 6 months and I honestly am underemployed, but it was a job!! Lesson learned. I will never again go into something thinking it’s temporary or I could make it into something it’s just not.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I took this job after being unemployed for 6 months and I honestly am underemployed, but it was a job!! Lesson learned. I will never again go into something thinking it’s temporary or I could make it into something it’s just not.

          I found being unemployed for a few months really messed with my boundaries when I started a new role as well. I found it took almost 2 years to really get them back where I wanted them to be.

        2. Filosofickle*

          Maybe this is the upside of helping hire: You can make sure anyone coming in isn’t misled. Think about the objective facts of the situation and focus not on what is bad but what someone needs to have/be/do to feel good in the role so you can be honest but not heated or disparaging. You might have to practice to figure out how to tell the truth without telling the WHOLE truth. Give them the information, and let them decide. Many candidates may drop out because of what they learn, but that’s ok! And they may not drop out if they have different priorities than you — some people would see opportunity in doing stretch work above their pay grade. Personally I’ve taken jobs even when I knew there was a lot wrong with the situation because I knew what I was signing up for and it met a short term need.

        3. Dinwar*

          Patrick McManus put it this way: Any temporary fix that lasts longer than 6 months becomes permanent.

        4. STG*

          I mean, I’d be tempted to tell the boss that if you were leading the hiring process, you would be driven to be completely honest about your thoughts on the business and the position. That may be enough on it’s own to get your manager’s attention.

  11. Tangy Tangerine*

    #1 letting an employee hire their own replacement can be a terrible idea because the employee, letter writer in this case, doesn’t really have much stake in hiring a really good replacement. They just need to hire somebody who the boss probably okays, or maybe the decision is even left entirely up to them.

    Ask your boss if this is a priority or not and go from there.

  12. Glomarization, Esq.*

    LW#1: Your “boss must have caught wind about [your] plans”? I mean, consider: You’re in a college program, and so your boss obviously understands that your workplace’s complement of staff will almost certainly change every September. To me, it sounds more like your boss was asking a very reasonable question a few months out and in advance of summer, when people tend to take vacation time.

    And no, I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all for your boss to ask you to hire your replacement. If the tasks involved in that get to be too much on your plate, then ask for some guidance as to how your boss would prefer you prioritize the work. It sounds to me like a good opportunity to learn a few things about the hiring process, which most people who are just entering grad school wouldn’t ever get.

    1. mreasy*

      I’ve hired many people and I’ve been involved in the process even more often. Being in a group interview or interviewing candidates is one thing, but managing the entire hiring process is another entirely. It’s not fair to the candidates, who will be vetted and evaluated by someone without training or experience in hiring. Some of the most difficult hiring practices to learn are those about implicit bias and how it can inform hiring if you aren’t very vigilant, so it could potentially be huge disadvantage to candidates.

      1. WellRed*

        But it doesn’t sound like OP has even asked what the boss means by hiring. Do they mean place the ad and screen out candidates before passing them on or managing a whole complicated process?

        1. OP 1*

          No, I did. In that very same meeting, I asked scope of the project and was told: rewriting the job description, working with Hr to post it, recruit and prospect, screen resumes, conduct interviews, make final recommendations.

      2. Glomarization, Esq.*

        I mean, it really does sound to me like a learning and growth opportunity for someone who is probably still pretty young (likely under 25 since they’re entering grad school). The LW should ask for more information about what they’ll be doing in the process, because we don’t have much to go on in their letter, as written.

        1. OP 1*

          I’m in my 30s, have ten years in another industry, and have hired several people. I think my reticence comes from the fact I really don’t have time for it on top of the fact I’m not sure I’m paid enough for that responsibility. The first part, I can at least raise the flag and say hey I need you to take some other things off my plate if this is the priority. I’ve had issues with doing similarly in other areas of the role, so I’m not confident it will actually yield any change in my workload. But that is what it is I guess. The second part I’m genuinely curious about… I’ve always been under the impression that people managers, whose jobs necessarily include hiring, should be receiving managerial pay. I am at the lowest tier of my org, so my status and pay does not reflect a managerial status and nobody in my tier is able to have a subordinate. Maybe that’s just some cockamamie bullshit I’ve made up in my own head, though.

          1. BethDH*

            This is really helpful context, though I understand why you needed to keep the letter brief.
            I have seen a range of answers to whether someone has to be a manager to hire someone, but most places I have worked have had some flexibility on that as long as the person making the final hire is manager-level and is overseeing the process for things like discrimination. To be fair, I work in roles where there often isn’t a manager who does the kind of work I’m doing and they really do want a subject matter expert to do most of the job description and review. That ensures that we get job descriptions right and that we screen out the people who bs the technical requirements.

          2. Glomarization, Esq.*

            Well, if you feel you’re too busy already and it’s above your pay grade to boot, then you can definitely choose not to do it. Personally I don’t agree that it’s unreasonable for you to hire your replacement — especially since now we know that you have experience in hiring people, which may be a big reason why your boss wants you to do it. But that’s just my opinion. And absolutely I don’t know anything about your workload or pay to have an opinion on those.

            You should talk to your boss, explain your point of view, and explore solutions/consequences if you don’t do the hiring. At the very least it will be helpful to others in the program, since then your boss will be able to give the task to someone else in time to find your replacement by the fall.

        2. Batgirl*

          I actually think it’s really gross to expect younger people to do more than their role entails, but get paid in “experience”. See also: “it’s good exposure.”

          1. Glomarization, Esq.*

            If “younger people” never “do more than their role entails,” then they’ll end up as “older people” who didn’t advance in their careers because they never took advantage of a development opportunity.

            The LW doesn’t have to do this hiring work if they don’t want to, and they don’t need to increase their workload if they already feel overworked. But taking the problem to their boss and maybe saying, “Sure, I’d like to be involved in hiring my replacement, but I’ve got a lot on my plate already, so in light of that, how do we think we can prioritize my X, Y, and Z work in order to best serve the program?” is a more professional way to handle it than “I won’t do more than my role entails.”

            1. Nanani*

              No, they’ll end up as older people who are underpaid for the skills they have because their last employer didn’t pay them appropriately either.

              1. Glomarization, Esq.*

                Are we talking past each other? How, honestly, do you think people get raises/bonuses/promotions in their workplaces or get higher-skilled and higher-paid jobs in subsequent workplaces? Because a lot of people “do more than their role entails,” and then they use the experience to advocate for a raise/promotion at their current job, or justify why they should be paid the upper end of the salary range at a job they’re applying for.

                1. Batgirl*

                  I completely take your point that development for the next role is important too. I just think that developing your staff can be done in a more nuanced way than dumping free work on the nearest young person and expecting them to be grateful for the opportunity. People of all ages need development! They should all also have input on their development, if it’s for their sake. In two fields I’ve worked in, I was actually paid more during those development opportunities when going above my pay grade! Or given certifications. In other workplaces I’ve been sized up for exploitation just for looking young, when I actually already had the necessary experience. I’m certainly not slamming all workplaces who work with their employees to develop them, but there’s a lot who don’t.

    2. Melonhead*

      I think it’s ridiculous to demand an inexperienced, entry level employee be responsible for hiring their own replacement. It certainly presupposes a high level of loyalty to the organization.

      1. OP 1*

        LOL! Right!? I mean, this company should not want me trying to hire for them. If they ever asked, I would have told them all the things I struggle with there. But when I’ve raised a flag, it’s been dismissed. Anywho, I think it’s rather trusting to expect a departing employee would do a good job. Maybe I should just say that: I don’t think that is wise based on my high level of job dissatisfaction in this role.

      2. KRM*

        I think it makes a lot of sense to have the employee *involved* in the hiring, but to have them be responsible is definitely a bridge too far. But normally I’d say OP should consider being involved (except for things they’ve said elsewhere in the comments about dissatisfaction) because it truly is a good skill to learn!

      3. pancakes*

        I’m not sure what you mean by “loyalty,” but it requires skill and support (time available, for a start) to do well.

        1. STG*

          No reason the OP couldn’t bomb the candidate or wouldn’t speak poorly about the position or company. They are going to be out the door in no time and if they aren’t concerned about references…well *shrug*. The manager is assuming a LOT by doing this.

          That was my perspective on the loyalty comment.

    3. eastcoastkate*

      I agree with what everyone else is saying about hiring/screening candidates/interviewing being a great opportunity to learn- hopefully their boss would help out with a part of it- I only say that because as an incoming candidate, you’d want to interview with and understand who would be your future manager.
      Yes it’s super helpful to interview and understand the person who held the role previously, but I would make sure to walk through with the boss exactly how the process would go to make sure it’s not FULLY on OP #1- boss should definitely be involved in interviewing.

    4. OP 1*

      Can confirm: the person who let the beans spill told me yesterday. I didn’t ask – they just volunteered it. I didn’t ask because I don’t feel slighted. Odd they somehow knew to tell me though…

      What I do think is weird is asking your employee to confirm rumors that don’t really concern you at the moment unless you don’t trust the employee will do the right thing in the end. Maybe I’m just scarred from a situation in the past where I put in my notice 2 months in advance. It was brutal. I worked until 11 most nights just to complete all the work piled on me and I was still told I wasn’t doing enough! My current boss isn’t a mean person, but I really don’t want to tempt fate.

      My boss is not a linear thinker and would not have been asking questions based off the time of year.

      I don’t need hiring experience. I had a ten year career in another field prior to a career transition and have hired plenty of great people!! But I would generally agree, it’s good experience to sit on that side of the table. That being said, the scope of what I was told to do is more an abdication of the hiring manager role, less just sitting in interviews and screening resumes.

      1. zfd z*

        Maybe they are having you do the hiring of your replacement because you already have hiring experience then

        1. OP 1*

          I would have asked for a higher salary if I had known there would be people management involved.

          1. zfd z*

            One time doing the hiring is not people management, imo. I’m pretty sure “other duties as required” would cover that. But, that all doesn’t really matter, you’re on your way out. You know the old adage “What are they going to do? fire you?”

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        I got where you were coming from right away. I can tell from your letter that you are a responsible person who gets things done that need to be done even if they are not yours to do. It actually would be easier to give two weeks notice to get away from the situation than to do what I am about to suggest, because then it will be “out of sight, out of mind” and you won’t have to witness the messy disaster you will feel obliged to fix so you can leave feeling you left everything as neat and tidy as possible. But, I am going to make the suggestion anyway: Just don’t do it.

        Seriously, what if you just said no? I’m sure the boss would be a lunatic and push back and and tell you that you MUST do this! It is your responsibility! But…it’s not your responsibility. You can very simply say “I am not the person who is going to have to work with the new hire so I am not comfortable making that decision for you. Hiring people is the responsibility of management and I am not a manager.” You can write a job description and hand that over if you like, but nothing else beyond leaving notes for your replacement. It’ll be hard, but it is up to you to set the boundaries.

        It is likely the boss will just refuse to even start the hiring process assuming you will cave and do it for him…and that’s not your problem. Since you’re leaving anyway, it’s kind of a low-risk way to get practice setting boundaries and sticking to them.

    5. anonymous73*

      It is completely unreasonable to expect someone to lead the full process of finding their replacement.

      1. Gracely*

        I don’t know that it’s unreasonable, but it’s definitely stupid. Especially if there’s any chance the person leaving is dissatisfied with the job in any way.

        Honestly, OP, you could half-ass this and not worry much about it, since you’re leaving anyways, and anyone with sense would not ask you to do the entire hire process–be involved (esp. with updating the job description), sure, but the whole thing, when this isn’t a matter of retirement/being promoted into a better spot? Stupid.

        Do the hiring process exactly how you want to in the way that’s easiest for you, and let the chips fall where they may. It’ll be what your boss asked for, literally and figuratively.

        1. anonymous73*

          It’s unreasonable because it’s not part of her job. She doesn’t work in HR and she’s not a recruiter. There’s a reason why companies generally have a full department (or at least one person) focused on hiring. And yes, it’s also stupid for the reasons you mention.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            It’s also unreasonable because there are too many reasons that the Law of Unintended Consequences may yield a result that don’t meet the needs of the business, and which aren’t likely to come to light until LW1 is gone.

            Then again, it might be a feature in the plan instead of a bug: Boss may want to deflect blame to someone his bosses can’t reach if it does go sideways.

  13. Doctors Whom*

    LW2 – how did the committee meeting invite come? Was it to you? Or to you and boss? Because if it came to you, my first choice (and how I always handle stuff like this) would be to reach out to the organizer (likely someone’s admin) and say you’re eager to talk about the project, but you will be on long-planned vacation. If it’s possible to reschedule, you are available before X and after Y. If not, Boss is “happy to fill in.”

    Chances are that people above Boss know Boss’s tendencies:)

    Alison’s suggestion about sending notes ahead is good – generally speaking any high level meeting like that is going to involve sending short read-aheads so that the bigwigs have some handle on your part of the discussion. Do read-aheads always get read? Not necessarily, but they give the participants something to bump off of in the conversation. So if you can’t get the meeting moved, I’d “helpfully” tell the boss that you have notes prepared and will happily send read-aheads to the committee so he doesn’t have to do extra work:)

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I don’t understand at all why someone would schedule a meeting about a large annual project that LW is the primary person on WHILE LW IS ON VACATION. LW, they seriously need to reschedule the meeting. To me that’s akin to starting a court trial while one of the lawyers is on vacation. It doesn’t matter how many people are involved in the meeting, it should be rescheduled so that the project leader is actually present to ask and answer questions. LW, do you have the capital to push back on that?

      Otherwise, yes, giving your notes to the person leading the meeting is the next best solution, but it’s so very far from the ideal of having you at the meeting.

      1. Delta Delta*

        Courts routinely schedule lawyers to have hearings and trials when they’re on vacation. Ask me how I know.

      2. urguncle*

        My organization is half US-based, half EU-based. We unfortunately don’t always have the luxury of waiting through someone’s 3 week summer vacation at times to do important meetings, especially something where there’s a set-in-stone timeline.
        OP2: What I do and what I’ve seen done in these circumstances is to request that the deck be available (at least in a rough draft form) so that you can add your slides in and notify the person running the meeting that you have a talk track. You can pitch this to your boss not as not trusting him, but that you have gone above and beyond and provided him with as much information as possible already in the talk track.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          My organization is half US-based, half EU-based. We unfortunately don’t always have the luxury of waiting through someone’s 3 week summer vacation at times to do important meetings, especially something where there’s a set-in-stone timeline.

          That makes sense but it’s not summer yet and also LW is the project leader so seems kind of important to me that LW be at the meeting. It’s not quite “You had one job!” territory, but leaning that way, at least IMO.

      3. Doctors Whom*

        Honestly I see it all the time. I get invites for meetings with members of the C-suite or division leadership when I am on PTO or stacked on top of another commitment because their exec is only looking at THEIR calendars for hard commitments and expects everyone else to think about whether they can rebook their existing conflict. (Or because the exec in one case seems to just never check other people’s calendars which has to ultimately create more inconvenience for their boss because we all decline meetings that then have to be constantly rescheduled. DOn’t get me started. )

        It’s not how I handle things, but it happens enough to me to be not unusual.

        If this is a regularly scheduled bigwig meeting, OP could even say “I can be available for the X date or Y date meeting before or after” which would set things up nicely.

      4. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

        Agreed. If there is a meeting where it is imperative that I attend, the organizer should use Scheduling Assistant to schedule the meeting when I am available. It’s bad form to just schedule a meeting and expect that everyone will rearrange their schedules to attend. I can see where it isn’t always possible to have everyone involved available at the same time, but the organizer should try and resolve any issues with anyone key to the meeting. It is amazing to me how many people don’t use Scheduling Assistant. It’s not that difficult.

  14. anonymous73*

    #1 – Your reaction is not unreasonable. There’s a reason people don’t want to disclose that their leaving a job prior to them having something to move on to and your experience is an example of how it can go wrong. I probably wouldn’t have been able to lie in your situation either (I have no poker face and can’t usually think of things to say on the spot), but your boss expecting you to find your replacement is ridiculous. You assisting in the process is reasonable, but running the whole thing is not. I would tell him that you would be happy to assist, but that you won’t be taking on the role of hiring manager and ask for resources who can start the process. Set your boundaries and stick to them.
    #3 just because this is common behavior doesn’t make it okay. I think you should speak up. Making a mistake or 2 is human. Being completely disorganized and ignoring what you’ve been told by a candidate about scheduling and contact (when scheduling and contact is the main point of your job) is not okay. Maybe if more people spoke up on bad recruiters, things would change. If I found out that an outside source was making my company look bad, I’d be looking for a new source.

  15. MrsJameson*

    For the second question, can the letter writer send slides or talking points to the whole group ahead of time with some suggestions about what to focus on? If they can’t get the meeting rescheduled, they can at least lay out a framework of “here is what I think are the major issues and solutions to consider.” That way the boss isn’t just walking in with talking points that no one else is familiar with. If he riffs and goes off topic, everyone in the room will still have the same concrete information provided in writing that the writer does want them to be aware of.

  16. Applesauced*

    #1 – can you approach you boss and suggest assisting with finding your replacement rather than running the whole show?
    You could provide a detailed job description, a “wish list” of key skills – maybe things that you have learned on the job that someone from the outside might not realize are needed – or do an initial screening of resumes; rather than being the whole hiring committee yourself

  17. Green Mug*

    OP #1 – I feel like you have a bit of an opportunity here. You get to practice the skill of hiring someone, but without any consequences. If you knock it out of the park with a great hire, you’ve learned something about yourself. You know how to spot talent, hooray for you! If you make mistakes, you have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes now. You won’t be saddled with a dud for very long because you are leaving. I encourage you to think about the experience overall and how you can grow your skills. You can easily give two weeks notice at some future date.

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      an entry level person should not have to do the entire hiring process. The boss should be doing the majority of the work. Especially if the OP is also expected to do their other tasks as well.

      I can see creating the job description, especially if their tasks have changed. But not being the only one to be in contact with HR to post the job, doing all of the reviews and interviews. To me it sounds like the OP’s boss wants the OP to hand him a candidate on a golden platter. and of course if it doesn’t work out then they boss can blame op

        1. Lance*

          From a comment of theirs above, they state that their boss is telling them to work with HR to rewrite the job description and get a posting up, screen candidates, do interviews, make recommendations; basically everything.

  18. animaniactoo*

    LW1 – When I was younger and dumber I quit a job because I had more responsibility than someone who didn’t have a stake in the company should have had. If I had known then what I know now, I would likewise have pushed back on the idea that I was interviewing and hiring my replacements (they replaced me with two people). At least you have the advantage of finding out that you’re expected to do the interviewing and hiring before the resumes start coming addressed to your name.

    The thing I would add to Alison’s advice is to be clear about what you do feel comfortable doing to assist the process. Are you willing to review resumes? Are you willing to help compose the ad for candidates (this can be really useful because I know that my boss has told HR what is wanted and then HR places an ad that… doesn’t have the info needed to attract the right candidates).

  19. P*

    LW3 – I would tread lightly. I got my last job through an external recruiter who made things awful for me. Turns out, he was a close personal friend of my boss’s boss. It would have been a bad look for me to go in complaining about him (even though all of my complaints were valid). I think you could ask something like, “How long have we been working with X?” and depending on any context you get, elaborate from there. If someone raves about them, you could say something like, “oh that’s really interesting, my experience was a bit different, so I’m glad to hear things normally go more smoothly,” or if the response is that the relationship is new and your company is looking for feedback, you can be a bit more unfiltered about your experience.

  20. Meep*

    #3 I have literally ghosted pushy recruiters. I had one who wasn’t happy with the salary I quoted myself but refused to give me a salary band he agreed with because I “had to decide”. Well, sir, I am being severely underpaid so $100k+/year sounds good to me. (He wanted to go for $190k which is ridiculous as the median for my experience is $105k). I am not looking to stress myself out more than absolutely trying to leave a stressful job.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      He wanted to push for a bigger commission on the higher salary. It’s easier to push your chips into the pot than to gamble with his own money, but even if he loses three or four prospects’ chances for a job, he might hit it big on the next one.

  21. Nanani*

    @1 – You’re leaving anyway so what if you just … didn’t do that?
    Don’t hire your replacement. Tell your boss you don’t have time, and persist on not doing it.
    Once you’re gone, it’s not your problem and you already have something else lined up.

    After grad school you will be looking at completely different jobs so what you did before getting your grad degree isn’t going to the burned bridge that sinks your career, even if your current manager is salty about it.
    I get that you care and want to do all the things, but sometimes you can just. … not.

  22. WorkLady*

    LW2 – Could you use the concept of “good exposure for you/nice opportunity for you to show your hard work on this initiative”? Meaning, rather than focus on your boss’s inability to present accurately, focus on your interest in presenting and the nice exposure it would be for you to a high-level committee. A good boss is interested in helping his team get exposure just like this, and appealing to that aspect may help prompt that reaction.

  23. Betty Bo Peep*

    LW2 – If all else fails with working with your boss and/or the committee to reschedule do you have any work buddies on the committee? Ideally someone who knows about the boss’ communication style? If you have someone in that position maybe you can relay an overview your ideas to them ahead of time and give them a heads up like “just FYI, because Bob will be presenting at the meeting, and you know how that goes ….. “. That way Boss gets to be validated and do what you agreed on – present, the committee gets the “facts” from the presentation and you have a little inroads on someone you trust who can interpret that presentation during committee discussions (because they know what you want/intended). From there if you can’t go to the meeting (which would admittedly be frustrating and lame of them to not include you) you might just have to let it be what it’s going to be. I know it might not end up making your life any easier when you come back from vacation and working on YOUR project that everybody messed up but sometimes that where I resign myself with work stuff – I’ve tried to make my case but nobody’s getting it and it’s above my pay grade to worry about so you’ll have to deal with the mess (note this works because I’m a peon not in a position with clout). You might have to deal with the day to day annoyances but in advocating for things it would be a place to point out this is a result of you not being included in the meeting.

    LW 3 – I agree with Allison’s advice however I feel like the discussion could be reworded. Bringing up after you’ve been at the company a few months that you were evaluating if they or the recruiters were disorganized feels uncomfortable to me. Like if I was the company it would kind of feel like a back hand compliment or something like “well I’m glad we proved ourselves to you”. Its one of those “compliments” or statements where I would respond with “thanks?”. And it implies that for the last few months you were covertly evaluating, scrutinizing and judging them. Plus what wold have been the outcome if they were the disorganized ones? “i wanted to see who was more disorganized and it’s you. sooo…… ”

    Maybe just bringing up that you waited a few months till you were settled in? or something like that – rather than you were evaluating if they were disorganized ones or the recruiter was.

  24. Arin*

    For #1:
    create event>
    9:00AM to 5:00PM>
    indefinitely recurring event>
    Monday through Friday>
    event title “recruitment interviews”>
    event location “out of office”


  25. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

    #2: This is why I don’t want my boss or anyone else to speak for me or speak “for both of us.” There will always come a time when the person speaking for you will mess something up for you, either inadvertently or even on purpose. I recently had to tell my pushy new coworker to stop speaking for both of us and he got really defensive with “well-I-was-just-trying-to-help” crap. I know he was trying to make himself look good but he needs to do that staying in his own lane without getting me involved. But I digress. If you can get the organizer to reschedule, that would be ideal. But if that isn’t possible, I agree that it would be a good idea to just tell your boss “Great! I will send the details to Jane and then you can speak to it at the meeting.” Then send the details to everyone you want to have them and cc your boss to make them feel included. You might also want to offer to schedule a shorter follow-up meeting with all key people when you return to talk through your information.

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