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To be plagued about not giving this woman a job

(35 Posts)
user1483474832 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:22:27

She came to us to be interviewed for a job. She had reasonable details in her answers but was very nervous and her answers were quite weak. No examples of competence. The other interviewer was very rude, looking bored and uninterested and checking her phone throughout. This clearly made the woman nervous but she did soldier on. I actually liked her and was considering giving her a job. I felt the interview went badly but I could see she was just nervous.

Anyway, the decision came that there were stronger candidates. You could tell she was upset on the phone but she thanked me for interviewing her. I felt particularly bad afterwards and it never really left me as she seemed a very genuine person.

A year later she got a job on an adjourning team. To cut a long story short she is probably the best worker I have ever met. She is extrovert, confident, assertive but kind and honest. She is a pleasure to be around. She is just about the perfect employee and her boss always talks about how it's a pleasure to work with her and how he will never know how we did not select her and gave the position to the dishonest employee who lasted a matter of weeks before his bullshitting ways were found out. It honestly haunts me because after speaking to her I found out she was nervous as the position was her absolute dream job and she was so desperate to get out of unemployment she had considered suicide.

She had been unemployed a year and just couldn't even get a job interview so when she got one she was almost paralysed with nerves.

But we never helped her, tried to encourage answers or give clues. We just let her give poor answers. I realise now just how rubbish interviews are for choosing candidates and we now have an entire assessment day with written and group exercises.

I see her a lot now in my day to day life and for no reason that I can logically understand, it plagues me that on that day, I chose not to employ her. I never feel like this about other rejected candidates. I don't really understand it. AIBU?

JenniferYellowHat1980 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:25:53

YABU because you couldn't possibly have known this. Your colleague is more unreasonable for being so fucking rude. Glad the woman is recognised for the hard worker she is. And you sound very thoughtful.

MsJamieFraser Tue 03-Jan-17 20:28:22

Unfortunately it's one of those things, you can only go by the interview and the answers they give you. Application for and interviews are basic snap shots of the individual, she didn't make the cut that day as their where better candidates.

You win some and you lose some as the old saying goes.

cherrycrumblecustard Tue 03-Jan-17 20:30:08

Hope you pay people for the entire assessment day...

VeryBitchyRestingFace Tue 03-Jan-17 20:30:35

She had been unemployed a year and just couldn't even get a job interview so when she got one she was almost paralysed with nerves.

You couldn't reasonably have known these things, could you? You have a limited amount of time to select the "best" candidate from a small pool of interviewees. You can't be sitting there thinking maybe he/she is nervous because a/b/c happened to him/her x years ago.

Perhaps giving her one example of the answer you were looking for when she was clearly struggling would have been kind.

Anyway, I think this may be a case of 'all's well that ends well' because your fellow interviewer sounds like a grade A arsehole and the woman probably dodged a bullet if not getting the job means she doesn't have to work with him. smile

user1483474832 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:32:11

I've rejected many candidates and although I always feel bad if they come across as good people I don't sit for years feeling awful. There's other rejects who are now working successfully on other teams.

It's been 2 YEARS now. How ridiculous. I feel guilty and upset still.

I don't feel bad that we have lost what would have been a good employee as as soon as a position comes up I will ask her to apply and give it this time. But it honestly plagues me and I feel so stupid for it to be honest.

LaurieMarlow Tue 03-Jan-17 20:34:09

YABU and need to give yourself a break. Some people are wonderful at interviews. Others are not. Interviewing well is a totally different skill to being great at the job.

You came to the best decision you could, based on the evidence you had. There was a huge amount outside your knowledge.

Just be thankful the lady in question has a job in your organisation and is doing great. The story has a happy ending.smile

BarbarianMum Tue 03-Jan-17 20:34:19

I think a good interewer will do their utmost to engage with the candidate, phrase questions clearlyand put them at ease but ultimately the only fair thing to do is give the job to the person who performs best on the day. If you don't do this an start second guessing then a sorts of subconscious (and otherwise) prejudice gets a look in.

Shame on your fellow interviewer on their lack of interest and phone obsession though. That was really shifty behaviour on their part and totally unfair.angry

user1483474832 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:34:30

The other interviewer was making the hiring decision but wasn't actually the manger of the team that position was for.

We took on a few and one was for the team I manage. The guy I chose for my team was horrendous! Was incredible in interview though.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Tue 03-Jan-17 20:36:46

She is just about the perfect employee and her boss always talks about how it's a pleasure to work with her and how he will never know how we did not select her and gave the position to the dishonest employee who lasted a matter of weeks before his bullshitting ways were found out

Does her boss actually say

"She is the perfect employee and a pleasure to work with. I will never know why you didn't select her and gave the position to the dishonest employee who lasted a matter of weeks before his bullshitting ways were found out"?

Because if he is saying that or words to that effect, I'm not surprised you feel bad! He would be rather rubbing your face in it.

LockedOutOfMN Tue 03-Jan-17 20:36:48

You can't tell her what you feel as that would be unprofessional, but you can let her know, in a genuine, sincere, heartfelt way, what a great employee you think she is. I'm sure she is bright enough to understand that it's not the interviewer's fault if the candidate is nervous and that the best person on the day got the job. If she had hard feelings, presumably she wouldn't have re-applied for the job she did get.

Oh, and ignore the other manager. Yes, he landed on his feet. But hasn't he heard of karma? His next hire might be a nightmare!

Hassled Tue 03-Jan-17 20:41:31

I didn't give someone I vaguely knew a job once (there were better candidates) and she told me later it was the worst day of her life. I felt so awful for her - she was a nice woman but she just didn't do well on the day. Interviews are a brutal process and I'm glad you're looking at other selection methods - but in the meantime you have to stop beating yourself up about this. With the benefit of hindsight, you just made a mistake - we all make mistakes. That's the extent of it - no more or less.

user1483474832 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:42:23

I think her manager just means it in amazement not any malicious way.hes a nice guy.

He understands she did badly at interview but I think he feels if she is as good as she is we must be have done a good job of interviewing her. But he's never said that

mimishimmi Tue 03-Jan-17 20:43:49

You weren't to know. Don't feel bad or guilty. The upside is she's working for your company now and you got to know her true worth.

BIgBagofJelly Tue 03-Jan-17 20:45:13

You couldn't have known that but it does at least show that you are a good judge of character and able to see past the situation. I don't think there's any reason to worry as she sounds like she's now in a good job (presumably similar to her dream job as you run into her).

MatildaWormwoodRoolsOK Tue 03-Jan-17 20:45:29

I hope you will learn from this and be more thoughtful next time, though. I am dreadful at interviews and know that I am, but it's still shit when faced with a panel who won't even give you the chance.

SavoyCabbage Tue 03-Jan-17 20:45:56

You really need to move on from this. Perhaps if she'd got the job you were interviewing for she wouldn't have managed so perfectly because she wouldn't have been a year further down the road. Who knows? Not you, her or anyone. I think you've built this up in your own mind to be bigger than it was.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Tue 03-Jan-17 20:53:24

He understands she did badly at interview but I think he feels if she is as good as she is we must be have done a good job of interviewing her. But he's never said that

Nice guy maybe, but have you ever been in a position before where the candidate you selected sucked hard, the candidate you didn't select later excelled themselves a different role in the same company and you have their current manager constantly giving it I can't believe you selected a fuckwit over ms perfect employee?

Those three factors combined may explain why you feel bad now.

But really, it's time, in the immortal words of Princess Elsa, to let it goooo... smile

TiltedNewt Tue 03-Jan-17 20:54:22

YABU because of this:

I realise now just how rubbish interviews are for choosing candidates and we now have an entire assessment day with written and group exercises.

You have learnt from this experience and put processes in place to stop it happening again. What more can you do?

Move on!

I'm terrible an interviews....fucking good at my job but awful at interviews....I stumble over words, give ridiculous answers and freeze....I've not got jobs I'd be damn good at because of it and when I was unemployed it was infuriating but it absolutely wasn't the interviewers fault by ant mean!!

blackcherries Tue 03-Jan-17 21:00:54

I once didn't pick someone at interview, as we had other very good candidates and this person didn't bowl me over, but applied for another role in the same team later on and was successful, and they are one of the best employees I've had. The interview process is so difficult!

AlecTrevelyan006 Tue 03-Jan-17 21:01:42

As a senior manager one of the best bits of training I've undertaken is 'how to interview'. It's a skill in its own right and is very underrated. It's so important to ge the right people and shouldn't be left to chance.

I'm glad the interviewee in the OP at least got the job eventually.

chocolateworshipper Tue 03-Jan-17 21:01:50

Isn't it just possible that part of the reason she is so good now is because you DIDN'T offer her the job? Maybe that rejection made her more determined. Maybe she went away and did something to develop additional skills. Maybe she went away and simply reflected on what she could have done differently in that first interview. The rejection is part of her life story, and her life story has made her who she is today. Who she is today seems to be working out just fine. So maybe you did her a favour.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Tue 03-Jan-17 21:07:44

As PP have said, you sound like you've learnt from your mistake, that's a good thing isn't it. Trust your gut instinct in the future.

Pikawhoo Tue 03-Jan-17 21:08:09

YANBU, and good for you for re-evaluating your recruitment processes as they clearly did not work well for you!

Yes, if you care about your work and career then you will be deeply affected by feeling you have failed at something. Imagine how the editor who rejected J.K. Rowling felt! And since hiring somebody is quite a personal thing on some levels, I can also understand your feeling bad about it since, on a personal level (especially given what you found out about her background afterwards).

On the plus side, how lovely that somebody else in the organisation recognised her potential and hired her. The situation has given you an opportunity for learning that you wouldn't have had otherwise.

I've worked with two absolutely amazing people, both of whom get rejected for jobs regularly. Yet I'd walk through fire for both of them (professionally, I mean) and hire either in an instant - they're also the kind of people who get promoted repeatedly within teams. I feel bad for both of them, and I also feel that many recruiters have badly missed spotting their potential and have lost out as a result!

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