update: should I tell a recruiter about the unprofessional CEO I interviewed with?

It’s the final day of “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, where I’ve been printing updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer wondering whether to tell a recruiter about the unprofessional CEO they interviewed with (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

I wrote in back in February about seeing too many red flags in an interview and then receiving a string of demanding texts from the CEO after I rescinded my application. My update is not about that particular company… I blocked the CEO but weirdly the person they did end up hiring for the role looked me up on LinkedIn recently… maybe they talk about me? *nervous laughter*

Instead, I wanted to say how I was inspired in part by the Ask a Manager comments section to start forging my own path professionally. Some of the community gave really positive feedback about my ability to spot the red flags and set firm, appropriate boundaries, and talked a lot about how bosses like the one in my letter can’t continue to go unchecked. Bosses like that may not listen to the cold hard truth, but that doesn’t mean the cold hard truth doesn’t need saying for the sake of their employees.

So, I decided to take some time off and spring boarding off my People Operations background, develop my skills and education in workplace well being and psychological safety. I am in the process of launching my own consultancy service for start ups and other small businesses to help them develop cultures that actually serve their teams (throughout the employee lifecycle including interviewing!) and not just some egotistical founder. I’m also going to be offering coaching to individuals about trusting their instincts and setting clear professional boundaries.

{ 14 comments… read them below }

  1. AGD*

    This is amazing – way to go, OP! Hoping to see at least one future interview with you by Alison here, as long as everyone’s interested in that.

  2. BatManDan*

    Welcome to the world of self-employment! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. (As an aside, I found some excellent guidance on creating cultures that “stick” with an org called Xchange Approach – I’m sure you can guess the URL from there!)

  3. Squid*

    Way to go, OP! I’m in employee engagement and would love to work with a company like yours one day – the work is vital to the health of our society!

  4. nom de plume*

    Such a wonderful, uplifting update, OP! It’s fantastic that you’ll be bringing real change to the workplace. Please write back soon to let us know how it’s going!

  5. the cat's ass*

    Your consultancy service sounds like a timely and fantastic idea-i wish you the very best of luck with it! And yikes, bullet dodged.

    1. Mimmy*

      It’s very timely, given some of the trends occurring in the last year or so. I wish you much success!

  6. I am Emily's failing memory*

    About the person they ended up hiring finding you on LinkedIn – I suspect the CEO wouldn’t tell that person about you because he would feel embarrassed (not at his behavior, but the perceived slight of you rejecting him). But in an HR role she’d presumably have access to their application files/portal and may have come across a record of an offer being made to you before it was made to her, and looked you up out of curiosity.

    If I heard someone else had turned down my role before I took it, I would probably be thinking, “I wonder what they passed over this job for?” and would be curious to see what they did instead. I think as humans we’re always curious about the roads we don’t take, and there can especially be a curiosity about people who were at a similar crossroads as ourselves and went a different way – perhaps we look at them and wonder what in our lives today might be more like theirs if we had made the choice they made instead of the one we did, or we briefly live vicariously through imagining ourselves having had those experiences.

  7. redflagday701*

    I’m torn between getting glad for OP (congratulations,OP, and best wishes!) and mad we didn’t get an appropriately wild update about this CEO.

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