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To try and stop this guy getting a job

(73 Posts)
bickie Tue 05-Mar-13 21:31:29

I admit - this has nothing to do with parenting or children (but I have some!) but I need a quick straw poll. I have just started fabulous new job and someone from my old place is now interviewing here for a very senior position - but for different department. He is lovely guy, but I was never very impressed with his work performance. In fact I was part of the reason he didn't keep his old job as i was pretty frank to our boss (as were others) on his limitations. He knows I had issues with his delivery - but we kept a good personal relationship. I know he is desperate for the job, he has called me and asked me to put in a good word for him. I panicked on the phone and said of course i will (shit) Am I being unreasonable in telling him I will and then saying he is crap - or should I just suck it up and try working with him again?

Itsjustafleshwound Tue 05-Mar-13 22:04:07

As soon as you start putting privisos on to an opinion you are just digging a big hole for yourself and making people think there is more to it than what there is.

Can you not if/when asked just give a really non commital answer - he's personable, or some other positive and truthful opinion.

maddening Tue 05-Mar-13 22:07:13

Agree - if asked say he is a lovely person but you aren't in a position to comment on his work.

maddening Tue 05-Mar-13 22:08:09

How long ago did you work with him?

LadyPessaryPam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:08:53

slambang has the right idea I think.

Jinsei Tue 05-Mar-13 22:09:31

So are you part of the interview panel, are you one of his referees, or what? In what context will you be asked for your opinion? confused

OhDearieDearieMe Tue 05-Mar-13 22:14:18

How did you get to be senior if this kind of thing bamboozles you? And anyway, what Holly said.

Viviennemary Tue 05-Mar-13 22:18:03

I don't think you should give an opinion under the circumstances even if you are asked. You could say as he's a friend you don't feel it's appropriate to comment.

Hassled Tue 05-Mar-13 22:20:59

Agree that the only way you can come out of this is by saying nothing. Nothing good, and nothing bad. When asked, it was a while ago and you can't really remember. Or something non-specific and innocuous along the lines of what a genial, pleasant chap he is?

LadyPessaryPam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:21:11

I disagree with Holly, it can be very disheartening working with people who are no good at what they are supposed to be doing. I would try to stop it before it happened. It's not being horrible to the guy, it's protecting yourself and the existing team.

bickie Tue 05-Mar-13 22:21:21

Good advice - thank you. I particularly like focus on his personal skills and hope they get there themselves on his professional skills. And then if they ask me directly about what he was like at doing his job - I will be honest. And then will just have to be honest with him if he asks did I say anything negative.

LessMissAbs Tue 05-Mar-13 22:23:34

I think you should answer honestly if asked. I wouldn't go out of your way to say he is no good. But given it is a senior position and there are too many incompetent people keeping the good people out of senior jobs, I certainly would give an honest opinion if asked.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 05-Mar-13 22:23:39

It is not a bad deed to tell the truth to your employer about a prospective new colleague. It is, in fact, a good deed. You would be being disloyal to your company if you failed to do this.

I kind of agree with this. If you are asked then you should give factual answers. If he joined and he was a failure after you gave a less than truthful answer would it reflect badly on you?

It's not your fault, he is the one who performed badly in the past and now it's going to bite him on the bum.

TheSecondComing Tue 05-Mar-13 22:24:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midastouch Tue 05-Mar-13 22:26:13

I would keep out of it rather than say somethign bad about him (especially after you said you'd put a good word in for him)

bickie Tue 05-Mar-13 22:26:22

The context is difficult to explain, I lead one department and he led another but with very different function. So his skill set is different to mine. I will be asked about him because we have worked in a small senior management team together - and if he gets the job will be doing so again.

VenusRising Tue 05-Mar-13 22:30:01

Why don't you say, I've worked with X for Y number of years, and he's a nice guy, but his delivery isn't great.

I'd go for honesty. "If you're looking for a nice guy, but don't mind about delivery targets, then he's the one to hire."

You could say that "he's more a people person, and that his strengths lie in inter personal relationships, maybe not so much in delivery."

But if this job is nothing like his old job, well I don't see what you have to say is relevant. He may be perfect for the job he's applying for, and if its a different department, well, it might be good for you to have a friend in the company.

Corygal Tue 05-Mar-13 22:30:46

Stick with firm vagueness, and say it was too long ago for your recollections to be treated as gospel. They'll get the message - and they deserve him if they don't.

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Tue 05-Mar-13 22:30:56

I thought you weren't allowed to give someone a bad reference? If in doubt, just keep quiet.

aquashiv Tue 05-Mar-13 22:32:15

The person probing will be looking for speciffic competancies so be honest. There might be things that the new firm can work with/change or not.
I would not lie.

Corygal Tue 05-Mar-13 22:32:45

By the way, are you sure that the other candidates are better than he is? Because if you're not, you might be better off with the nice guy.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 05-Mar-13 22:33:58


I am so glad I don't work when I see such two faced behaviour like this, and others who think it fine to drop the poor guy in it.
This is also behaviour from someone in a senior position. We wonder why the country is in such a state. grin

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 05-Mar-13 22:35:56

If you put in a good word for him and he turns out to be really crap then it looks bad on you, but you can't really bad mouth him after telling him you'd recommend him. If I was you I'd just say nothing.

quesadilla Tue 05-Mar-13 22:38:17

I've recently been on the receiving end if treatment like this from a former colleague/manager who basically blackened my name with a headhunter after having been nice to my face when I went to her to ask advice. It has left a very unpleasant taste in the mouth and I will never be able to forgive that person. If you have any integrity you will get in touch with him now and say you can't in all conscience give him a good word and say why. Being nice to his face and slagging him off to management is really shit.

bickie Tue 05-Mar-13 22:38:19

Reading your answers has made me realise - the fundamental issue is - as much as I like him - I really don't want to work with him again. It will be very difficult to deliver what I need to if I have him in that position.

bickie Tue 05-Mar-13 22:39:49

Quesadilla - you are right. That is what I need to do.

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