should I hire a qualified candidate who comes with a ton of baggage?

A reader asks:

My team recently created a new position. A colleague from another department got wind of this and asked when I planned to advertise the vacancy. I’m in no hurry to fill the position, so I said “hopefully by the end of the year.” He let me know that his wife is very qualified for the position and that I should consider her. I haven’t even written the job description yet, so it’s impossible for him to know whether or not his wife is qualified for it. A few days later, he asked if I’d advertised the position yet and said to keep him posted because he wants to make sure his wife gets in. A day or so after that, he handed me her resume and assured me again that she’d be the right person for the job (remember the job doesn’t even exist yet).

Here is where I should tell you that this particular colleague has been an unkind, uncooperative, disrespectful, manipulative pain in my backside the entire time we’ve worked together. I would never accept any professional advice from him, least of all give him input on my hiring decisions. If I hired his wife, I would not put it past him to utilize their relationship as leverage in unprofessional ways.

The wife emailed me a day or so later and informed me that she already has a job, but is considering changing fields and asked for an appointment so that I could tell her more about the [non-existent] job to help her “determine if it would be a good fit” for her. I was half-amused, half-incredulous and had 30 minutes to spare, so I accepted the appointment. The entire interaction was underwhelming. She’d ask vague questions like “so, what does your department do?” and expect me to expound for her. She didn’t dress professionally, obviously hadn’t browsed the website before coming in, etc.

I did eventually post the position, the wife applied, and it turns out she is actually an intriguing candidate on paper and has perhaps the most relevant experience of all the applicants. I haven’t begun interviewing yet, but my initial instinct is not to touch her with a 10-foot pole (because of the husband) and that instinct is reinforced by the “informational interview” we already had.

On the one hand, perhaps it isn’t fair to allow my opinion of the husband to impact the wife’s candidacy. But on the other hand, she involved her husband in her candidacy from the beginning, so I don’t think she can reasonably expect her candidacy to be evaluated in a vacuum. Hiring her could turn out fine. But it could also be a complete disaster, and I’m very concerned about the latter coming true (and have good reason to believe it could). Where do you stand on this?

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 109 comments… read them below }

  1. Chilipepper Attitude*

    OP, you will likely need to think about how the husband interacts with whomever you do hire. Will he be professional or make it difficult for both the new hire to do her job and others to work with her?

      1. Jellyfish Catcher*

        Document, document!
        Ideally, beginning when the husband was “unkind, uncooperative, disrespectful, manipulative,” etc.
        But it’s ok: document beginning now and how long in the past this has been occurring.

        That would include: the guy’s behavior not related to the wife, behavior related to the wife issue AND the wife’s lack of qualifications.

        The husband will be an even worse PIA to you and any new hire who is not-the-wife.
        Your manager needs to know all this.

    1. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. He’s already shown that he’s willing to intervene on her behalf and is really pushy about it. What if she gets hired and goes home and complains about some aspect of her job (because not job is perfect) and/or is she applying because she wants it or is she applying because he’s pushing *her*, too? She didn’t prep for the meeting. That doesn’t bode well.

  2. Vio*

    Sounds like a lot of the baggage is already there and she just wants to move in closer to it! I wonder though if her husband is more keen on her working there than she is and is pushing her into applying.

    1. abankyteller*

      This was what I was thinking as well. It’s possible her resume is great because he embellished it. I would go with your gut on this, LW! She was underwhelming in the beginning for good reason.

      1. Siege*

        Yep. I have a nasty suspicious mind but my first thought was that her resume was embellished once they saw the job description.

    2. NeedRain47*

      This is exactly the impression I got. She might have been uninterested in the informational interview ’cause it wasn’t her idea. The actual candidate has not shown nearly as much interest as the candidates spouse.

    3. SnickersKat*

      I’d also be concerned about him antagonizing the new hire that is NOT his wife to try and get new hire to leave so that his wife could get the position. Or just antagonize them just because his wife didn’t get the job.

      OP, at least you have advance warning that you’ll need to closely monitor your current employee to make sure he doesn’t drive away the new employee.

    4. LunaCat*

      That was my thought exactly when I read that the wife came to the “informational” interview unprepared, that husband pushed her to make contact (and then later apply). Either way, major red flags!!

    1. Nesprin*

      Lol agreed- “This person would be terrible!” & “but their resume is so good!” is a weird combination of facts. You’re hiring a person, with all the entailed baggage, not a resume.

      1. ferrina*

        Exactly. A resume is a marketing document- actual person will vary (sometimes better, sometimes worse). Same reason why reference checks are essential.

          1. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

            This. I once sat on a panel for a round-three interview, remotely (conducted via phone during covid.) The candidate was late, and when we followed up via email, she said the calendar invite went to her daughter. It was the same email address we’d been using for all correspondence. The voice also sounded suspiciously different than the first two interviews.

            Long story short, her daughter had not only written all her application materials, but had done the first two phone interviews. Never trust application materials alone.

      2. Peanut Hamper*

        This reminds me of David Sedaris talking about a bad restaurant: “The food was so bad, AND the portions are so small!”

        Like, why would you want more of that awful food?

      3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        “This person would be terrible!” & “but their resume is so good!”

        My cynical reaction is that it’s kind of a microcosm of hiring in general; we have metrics and conventions on what makes “a good résumé,” but rarely have I seen “be a good employee/good at this role” as a per se requirement. It’s more “does this best version of who I might be look good enough to get an interview so I can figure out if the real me is a fit for the real job,” since the job description rarely has more to do with the actual job than the résumé does with the employee.

        1. Paulina*

          Yes. People can get trapped into thinking that the metrics encapsulate everything, that hiring “the best candidate” means hiring the applicant with the best metrics. But metrics aren’t the full qualifications, and they certainly aren’t the whole employee or whole job.

          1. another_scientist*

            I came here because my mind snagged on this. All the hiring best practices and policies always point to ‘be transparent and specific in the needed skills per the job description, then hire the most qualified person’. So it’s easy to conclude that we should only ever consider those particular skills and no others.
            But I guess there is a foundation of basic professional behavior that is underlying all that, yet it’s maybe universal enough that it won’t usually be spelled out in a job posting? Be prepared for meetings where you ask others to give you some of their time, show good judgement, get along with colleagues come to mind here. All of those seem very important for a regular office job, yet if they were spelled out in a job posting that’d be weird. But I guess the applicant and her husband failed on those criteria and it’s fair to not move forward with a hire on that basis?

      4. GammaGirl1908*

        To be frank, hiring is not a democracy. You’re allowed to consider elements of a candidate in addition to their resume, including the “fit” with the team. LW can very fairly decide that the chemistry with the team is paramount when making this hire.

        Yes, Hubs will be a pain, but he’s already a pain, so…

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Exactly. Do you want just him, or him AND his spouse entrenched in the office?

      5. MCMonkeyBean*

        I would probably not vote for hiring this woman given all the facts if any of the other candidates have potential, but I can believe it’s possible for her to be a great candidate who had a terrible informational interview. I think a lot of the time people don’t really know what they should do with an informational interview, and just feel like they are supposed to ask for one “to get their foot in the door” or something. So even though it seemed like a big twist when OP says their resume turned out to be surprisingly relevant, I don’t think it is really all that weird or unusual.

        (But I’d still look at the other candidates first!)

    2. Usagi*

      Exactly, you’ve gotten past four different strata of reasons not to consider her for even one second, but then a ok résumé makes you think twice? I don’t know that you should’ve taken that meeting, even as a lark, because it may have given them false hope.

      1. Artemesia*

        And if the husband whines about not even interviewing her, you can look bemused and say ‘but Jane and I talked weeks ago about the position.’

        Her husband works there is enough to not go forward. Your impression of her in the informal interview is enough. His pushiness is definitive — this is like a mother pushing a child’s application– the very fact of it makes clear it is an inappropriate hire, that the relative WOULD be meddling.

        Don’t interview her. Don’t respond to his whines about ‘WHY’ beyond, it isn’t appropriate for us to talk with relatives about a job application. And document any nonsense from this guy as it seems like he should already be on the short list for firing.

    3. umami*

      Yeah, this. She already had a pseudo-interview and didn’t do well, so what difference does it make that they now look good on paper? That’s what first-round screening is all about, and OP already knows how that will go!

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          We call that “Code
          ou- 773#- #0 ” as a category. (Turn it upside down.) Or 773# for short.

          We have hired siblings, but didn’t know that “Ginny W.” and “Bill Weasley” were related until we got their emergency contact information.

  3. Caramel & Cheddar*

    I feel like LW is getting tripped up the order in which things happened: informational interview and *then* receiving the application. If you’d received an application from an unknown “intriguing candidate” on paper and then had a similar interview experience with that person afterwards, you probably won’t be hesitating to not hire them since they obviously hadn’t prepped for the interview. Things just happened in the reverse order here, which is unusual but shouldn’t change your gut feeling on this given all the other information you have to go on.

    1. Curious*

      I don’t think this is a time to ignore the order of things because if they would have a happened in a different order things would be different or better.

    2. MsM*

      Yeah, and the fact they’re able to put together a good application after having been told what they needed to do to make it effective doesn’t entirely make up for what you can assume it would’ve looked like if they hadn’t had someone pushing you to make time for them.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      But how did she go from asking what they did because she wanted to change careers to having the most experience?
      It’s great if OP gives a lousy interviewee a second chance. It’s not great if OP doesn’t factor in all the details of that interview.

      1. ferrina*

        I’m also suspicious of that. I’m also wondering what wife’s first resume looked like (that husband gave OP before the informational interview) and if that was different from what was received with application materials.

    4. umami*

      This is why I would never meet with a potential candidate in advance. No good can come of it, because if they do great, they already have an unfair advantage, and if they do poorly, you’ve already entertained their candidacy and will likely have issues if they aren’t invited to continue the formal process when their resume aligns so well with the job posting.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Yes, same. When I used to hire, so many people would try to weasel a “pre-interview” of sorts out of me and I always had to tell them that if they were a strong candidate, they’d hear from us when we were ready for the formal interviews.

  4. Isben Takes Tea*

    I feel we as a society don’t put enough trust in the efficacy of 10-foot poles.

      1. Jellyfish Catcher*

        That’s because 10 ft poles are more cumbersome for repelling aggressive or uninvited interviewees and possible spouses or parents, compared to shorter poles. This is more true, if the ceiling height is 9 feet.

        1. Quill*

          The six foot one inch pole is preferable from a portability and a social convention standpoint.

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      Perfectly said, Isben, and it definitely gave me a laugh.
      I now have this statement on a card tacked over my desk so I’ll have it at hand when needed (and of course, it’s appropriately credited).

  5. Joie De Vivre*

    Was there an update to this one? Since the husband was so pushy, whether the wife was interviewed or not – he was probably unprofessional about it.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      There was an update! Copy and pasted here, because it’s relatively short:

      Thanks so much again for publishing my letter. The feedback I received was tremendously helpful!

      HR requires that we interview anyone who meets the minimum requirements. I interviewed her and another candidate. The wife struggled in her interview, taking a long time to answer fairly straightforward questions, failing to draw on experience that was listed on her resume, and so on. Thankfully, the other candidate was so out-of-the-park amazing that I had lots of material to justify not selecting the wife. As it turned out, though, no one questioned my hiring decision. The wife actually accepted a very low-level admin position in the company. She and her husband both avoid me in the hallways (ignore my greetings, etc). Though that’s somewhat annoying, it reassures me every time that I dodged a bullet by not hiring that lady. Thanks to you and the AAMverse for talking me through it!

      1. Momma Bear*

        Thanks for finding the update. Sounds like what I expected. Very glad OP had other options.

      2. ferrina*

        Thank you! This absolutely confirms my suspicion that wife inflated her resume in her application.

        1. Observer*

          It confirmed that, and also that this would have been a really bad hire even if she had the experience she claimed.

        2. MsM*

          I mean, it’s possible she’s just much better at communicating in writing than verbally. Still not great if that’s an important skill for the position, though, or if you’re trying to overcome a less than stellar in-person first impression.

          1. Zee*

            Yeah. I interview pretty poorly, but look great in writing. My job is writing-based, so that’s what really matters, but I always wonder if people walk away from an interview with me thinking I lied on my résumé/cover letter.

        3. Random Dice*

          She totally lied like a rug.

          Or the husband lied for her and she submitted it. Which is the same thing.

          What a nightmare dodged.

      3. Usagi*

        Interesting, I wonder if the experience listed on her résumé was inflated, considering that she had already had an informational interview where OP told her pretty much exactly what they were looking for!

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I came away from the update thinking that husband probably “heavily edited” the resume to make his wife really stand out as a candidate.
          It worked to the extent of getting her an interview – but unfortunately (or for the OP fortunately) the wife didn’t capitalize on all the legs up they had.

      4. Nonprofit Lifer*

        Thank you for posting this!

        If I were in a similar situation, I would have given the wife an interview as a courtesy, even if it wasn’t required. The inconvenience of an extra interview seems less trouble than the animosity of a colleague who feels like his wife got snubbed “for no reason.”

        In the interview, I would have asked questions about what kind of boundaries she’d feel the need to set, given that her husband also worked there, how she would handle it if your team’s needs differed from her husband’s team’s needs, etc. Who knows, she could blow it out of the park. And if not, she could get a wake-up that her husband’s presence could represent a possible barrier to her getting this job, rather than an advantage.

    2. Heidi*

      There was an update. The OP interviewed the wife and was not impressed. A more qualified candidate applied and was hired. Interestingly, the wife did end up getting a different job in the same company, so she and the husband both give the OP the cold shoulder.

  6. Aggretsuko*

    I would bet money that hiring this lady also equates to hiring her husband. They sound like they operate as a package deal.

    Since this is an old letter, I wonder if there was any update to that. Just because someone has the best resume doesn’t always mean they’re the best in person, and it sounds like OP is already aware that the wife isn’t great in person. Perhaps during interviewing someone else might come out as a better person over her, or if there’s a tie between the top two, this lady’s husband would move her down to #2.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      I just submitted a reply to the comment above yours with a link to the update, but now I see other people have also responded there!

  7. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    I remember this letter. I remember thinking at the time that it was pretty freaking funny how,
    “she is actually an intriguing candidate on paper,” but not when OP sat and talked to her.
    how she, “… and has perhaps the most relevant experience of all the applicants” now that the job description is posted.
    The candidate went from “I’m thinking of changing fields, what exactly do you do?” to having the longest and most specific background?
    Didn’t buy it then and it hasn’t gotten any fresher.

    1. lost academic*

      This is the one part of the story I kind of blame the husband for bad prep (and by prep I mean setting any type of expectation for the interaction). I agree with Alison without having made any assumptions or conclusions about the candidate – they really don’t change anything.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      Oh that’s super interesting, I hadn’t considered that her resume was fake/puffed up to match the job description. But now that you point that out, it seems super fishy!

      Glad the update was a good one and the LW didn’t hire her!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I forgot there’d been an update (or missed it) but it reinforces that the resume was not really her work. She couldn’t speak to anything? And about not speaking…not saying Hello in the hallway? Very shortsighted, but better for OP who has a good decision reinforced.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      Yeah, it sounds like they were shooting arrows and then drawing the target around them. Hmmm…..

  8. lost academic*

    Maybe. I’ll say this – in terms of professional conduct and norms, my husband and I are very VERY far apart – some of it is due to his lifelong tech industry work and mine in a professional services industry (consulting), but a lot of it is just… who we are. The pandemic has shown a few ways he works with his teams as we’ve shared a home office for so long now (irritating!) but I don’t really know how he is at work with people and if someone told me he was like this husband…. well, perhaps he is! And he’d have no real way of knowing if I was like that husband at work, either. That doesn’t at all mean you go borrowing trouble. But I have found assuming collaborative intent on things is usually wildly overestimating what people really do.

    As another aside – I’d really like to work for his employer – it’s a FAANG company and they have at times hired people like me though they really should hire more (and that’s my professional opinion, not just personal desire!). But I would not want to risk being associated with a spouse at work, it’s too much unknown. I don’t even use the same last name professionally.

    1. Rocket Raccoon*

      My husband and I are the same. My husband’s work involves a lot of talking. Mine involves a lot of keep your head down and get things done. I imagine that someone who likes working with one of us wold be *very* surprised, probably not in a good way, if they tried to work with the other one.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. My husband’s a senior-level engineer/PM/first tier manager who spends most of his workdays in meetings. I’m a translator. I have meetings too, but if I have more than 3 meetings in a single day or more than 8 meetings per week, I feel like I’m accomplishing nothing because I don’t have enough time to do the work on which my performance is evaluated.

        Let’s just say that it’s been very interesting to see some of my husband’s work persona come through at home (I can sometimes hear his side of a meeting). I love him very much, but I doubt that I’d really enjoy working with him even if our skills matched. As far as I’ve been able to judge, his work persona is very “engineer-y,” much more so than his family persona.

    2. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      This comment reminds me of one of my favourite early pandemic quarantine twitter threads, where spouses wrote about discovering their partner was a ‘let’s circle back’ guy, or a ‘one more question’ person, or a speakerphone dude. It’s amazing how well we can know someone in some contexts, and yet still be shocked by how they show up in other places.

    3. Random Dice*

      Yes, but… glassbowls gonna glass.

      You know if your husband is a long line of bad character traits.

      Maybe he slightly dials up certain aspects of his personality, but an ethical laidback kind person doesn’t flip into an aggressive manipulative jerk at work.

      1. lost academic*

        You say that but weirdly I can think of several people who were just like that! Like they were holding it all back from one environment. Not at all the norm but it was so Jekyll/Hyde. Also certainly didn’t engender trust….

      2. Jam on Toast*

        It may not be about being different people in different contexts, though. Characteristics that make someone a great romantic partner may not translate well into the workplace. Someone who’s super engaged in knowing you authentically and is wonderfully empathetic could be a nightmare with the same skills if they’re always “but…feelings….!” at work and someone who’s ultra direct and task focused at work might be a disaster at home if they don’t express concern about their partner’s well-being. So bringing different aspects of yourself to a job doesn’t mean you’re not being honest. You’re just tailoring it to the job at hand. Because there are often tasks that someone *can* do well, when they’re paid, because it’s a part of their job, but that they don’t enjoy or do at home for a million reasons. I mean, I’m absolutely religious about file management protocols at work….my to-be-filed pile at home rivals the Eiffel tower.

  9. goducks*

    “But on the other hand, she involved her husband in her candidacy from the beginning, so I don’t think she can reasonably expect her candidacy to be evaluated in a vacuum.”

    One thing to consider is that she might not have known the degree to which her husband was pushing you. It’s quite possible he told her that you were quite receptive to her reaching out before the job was posted. I don’t think you should hold that part against her. Unfortunately, sometimes well-meaning family members push people into accidentally irritating hiring managers in this way.

    Her own lackluster performance in the informational interview and the wildcard of her husband’s future behavior would be the reasons I’d rule her out.

    1. Lenniesmom*

      This was my thought as well, the husband thinks she is a “good fit” and may be pushing her into applying for the position.

    2. ecnaseener*

      I don’t know how much it matters — either she asked her husband to be involved, or she didn’t and he took it upon himself to butt in: either way, there’s a good chance the husband will continue to cross those boundaries if she’s hired. It may or may not be her *fault* but you’re allowed to screen people out for things that aren’t their fault.

    3. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

      It’s not about blaming or punishing her so much as taking into account the implications of this information that you have (her pushy, boundaryless husband).

    4. Root beer float*

      Agree. I thought there was a high chance the husband framed the interview to his wife as “the hiring manager thinks you’re amazing and really wants to hire you on, will you jump on the phone with them?” which would explain the wife being unprepared and expecting to be wooed for the job

  10. Falling Diphthong*

    I’m honestly surprised that the on-paper application could sway the bad first impression (is married to This Guy, would give him an in to mess with my department) and bad second impression (didn’t prepare for or impress at the informational interview).

    In light of that, I wonder if OP feels they didn’t give her enough of a chance to shine at that interview (if OP didn’t know exactly what the job is, then neither did she, after all) and is now second-guessing those initial impressions?

    I would pass unless someone above you is likely to come back with “Hey, why didn’t you interview Mrs Fergus?” and open a large can of worms that way.

    1. Chrisssss*

      I can imagine that conciously or unconciously, LW might be trying to placate his colleague, with the objective to avoid being pestered even more. Or maybe he is affraid of being unfair. Just speculating, though.

  11. Chrisssss*

    This reminds me a bit on a university colleague who was very smart, and had good knowledge and skills, but as a person he was a pain in the butt, to the point that people avoided making group projects with him if they could.

    What I want to say with that, personality and mindset are also very important to consider.

  12. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    Does the wife even want the job much? Is the husband pushing for her to get it (who knows why, maybe he wants her to contribute more financially, maybe he wants to keep an eye on her during the day), so he pushed for the meeting, she had totally the wrong impression about why that was happening from her husband, didn’t look up any information about the role… and maybe husband “helped” with her application?

    1. Khatul Madame*

      Yes – one of my team members wanted his wife to go back to work, and for political reasons I had to interview her. She was unenthusiastic to the point of not even trying to appear competent.

      If I were in the LW’s situation, I would tell the coworker husband early on that his active, unprofessional involvement has undermined the wife’s chances.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        From the update, OP had to grant the interview for the same Political Reasons, but that the wife was unable to even answer questions about her resume. That made me think the husband “helped edit” the resume to look like a true standout and guarantee an interview.

        She did get a job there – but doing something very different. And has also been really cold and almost sulking whenever they pass at work. Bullet Dodged.

  13. learnedthehardway*

    No matter what decision you come to, this is going to be a PITA.

    If you hire her, her husband is going to leverage the situation and interfere in your department, it sounds like.

    If you don’t hire her, her husband is going to take it personally. Whether or not he can directly interfere with your department or career – that’s something to evaluate.

    I would first talk to HR – perhaps there is a policy about family members being hired. If so, you might have an out right there.

  14. Seminaranalyse*

    I would not be surprised if she was lying in her Resume, so that what is on Paper doesn’t reflect Reality. Given everything you know i would be particular afraid of that.
    But given your Instincts, i would trust your Gut.

  15. el l*

    And this is why we must never forget the distinction between “on paper” and “is.”

    You’re rejecting her candidacy because she contacted you in relation to the job, and didn’t impress or take it seriously. That’s reason enough. Love Alison’s point that “insider connections are a double edged sword.”

    And FWIW I’ve seen hiring spouses to be a situation that introduces so many potential compromises to normal and healthy professionalism. Endorse setting that boundary and mentioning it too, even with a well behaved colleague.

  16. Dances with Flax*

    NO, do NOT hire this woman! Her husband is already a nightmare at your workplace; if you hire his wife you will never, ever be rid of this man. He’s already intervened inappropriately by pressuring you to hire his wife; if you do that, he’ll always be interfering in your professional relationship with her. Don’t double the problems you already have with this man!

  17. Sun Spinner*

    NO, do NOT hire this woman! Her husband is already a nightmare at your workplace; if you hire his wife you will never, ever be rid of this man. He’s already intervened inappropriately by pressuring you to hire his wife; if you do that, he’ll always be interfering in your professional relationship with her. Don’t double the problems you already have with this man!

  18. Dasein9*

    Once upon a time, long ago and before I escaped the clutches of a controlling family, I was being pressured to apply to work at a certain agency that is indeed very much within my skill set but very opposed to my values. (I had a relative who worked there.)

    So I applied, but did it in such a way as to guarantee not being considered. That way, I could truthfully say, “Well, I applied, but they’re not interested.”

    I suspect this is what the wife was doing. I’m glad LW did not hire her.

  19. Amanda, But Not Amanda Hugginkiss*

    If it feels wrong, it’s wrong. Trust your gut and move on to other candidates.

  20. Addison DeWitt*

    You just need one plausibly better candidate to spare you all the problems this candidate comes with. Find that person!

    1. Addison DeWitt*

      Okay I just saw that this is an old letter, there was an update, and that’s exactly what happened.

  21. CityMouse*

    If it was just the husband, I could see rhe argument for interviewing her, but you already had an informational interview with her and were left unimpressed. No way.

  22. Former Retail Lifer*

    She squandered her chance at making a good first impression. She could have done some research and dressed nicely, but she chose not to. It seems like her husband is really interested in getting her this job…but she isn’t. He’s probably just as pushy with her about this as he is with the OP.

  23. citizen august*

    And isn’t it a little weird that husband and wife WANT to work at the same place? I don’t know … this would be a bit of a red flag for me (depending on the size of the org and how much they might interact and overlap with similar colleagues, of course). And they’re kind of proving it is a bad idea in the update if they are going out of their way to ignore the OP at work.

  24. We still use so much paper!*

    My thought it that the husband also pushed the wife to have the informational interview and she was just going through the motions to appease him.

  25. I'm Just Here for the Cats!*

    I know this is an old letter, but if I were the OP I would have consider to interview her, just to see how she reacts in an interview. If she didn’t take the informational interview seriously I wonder if she would take a real interview seriously or if she just feels like or was told by her husband that she already has the job and has to do this as a formality.

    I’d also ask very directed questions like, “How do you plan to separate your work life from your home life when your husband works here. What boundaries will you out up? etc.

  26. New Senior Mgr*

    I say no, no hire. A work life is often stressful enough. Don’t do this to yourself or your team. Maybe you will miss out on a great high performer. But, that a chance I’d be willing to take.

  27. A person*

    No OP. Go with your initial reaction to her in person interaction. It is very possible that she was heavily coached (since husband works for company) on how to look good on paper. If she had applied independently when it could be a maybe, but this whole interaction is full of red flags. Don’t consider her application.

  28. May Bee*

    I don’t agree with Alison on this, which is unusual. I’m pretty over the best candidate for the role not being interviewed or hired because of something arbitrary, irrelevant to the job, or outside their control, like the fact that their husband is unpleasant.

    If she’s the best candidate in terms of relevant experience, there’s no harm in interviewing her. I agree with other commenters who’ve noted that it’s likely the husband put her up to speaking to LW about the job. She may have applied after hearing more about it from LW, or even just reading the final job ad or description in full.

    I also agree with other commenters who’ve noted that the husband may be difficult to whomever it is that is hired in the role, whether it’s his wife or not.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Husband says she’d be perfect for a role whose job description has yet to be written, much less posted.

      Wife schedules a half-hour interview and appears both uninterested and unprepared.

      Yeah, I’d say those items are neither arbitrary or irrelevant to the job, and preparation for an interview which the wife had scheduled herself is completely under her control.

      You don’t really have to read between the lines on this one.

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