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Flame or Fetal Position? What to Do When You Are Thrown Under the Bus...

Earlier this week I riffed about when interviewing gets put on the back burner.  You know the drill.  Positions are open, nerves are frayed, and it's your job to get the candidate flow tweaked just right.  Can't you make it rain already?  Where are the candidates?

So you hustle up and get the candidate flow rolling.  Then you close business.  But every once in a while, you have a hiring manager who says they are too busy to interview, even though the director of their department is rolling by your office every couple of days to check on status.  I popped off in my last post with some reasons why this type of hiring manager doesn't want to interview - some real, some tongue-in-check.

HR Wench hit the comments of that post with some great food for thought.  Reacting to Reason #5 whyThrow_under_the_bus some managers can't make the time to interview ("Not being fully staffed is a great reason for missing some objectives.  Why rush?"), HR Wench exclaimed:

"I love it when the reason is #5 and then the hiring manager tries to tell their boss that they haven't filled the position because HR/Recruiting isn't sending them viable candidates. Enter my Outlook Sent Box. Now you're really in trouble!"

Ah, yes.  That's a standard morality play in any organization.  You're doing the best you can to generate candidate flow and actually have delivered volume, and hopefully quality.  Nothing happens, then word gets back to you that the hiring manager in question says they aren't getting help from you.

Ouch.  That's going to leave a mark...

Instinct #1 - Flame away, taking the thoughts of HR Wench to the extreme (more than she would recommend, but still the first instinct for most of us).  Copy everyone.  Gather round, kids, it's time for public humiliation.... It's flogging for the digital era... Gotta be tough on reputational terrorism.  Who could blame you?

Back in the day, I was all about the digital flame in those circumstances.  The rage kept me warm at night.  Over the past 5 years, I find I have mellowed considerably.  I'm much less likely to do the email flame with a bunch of CC's.  Instead, I'll answer the question truthfully when asked by the person's boss.  Maybe even seek the boss out for a little help to nudge the manager in question.  I guess I've learned to appreciate that everyone is under pressure, and sometimes it becomes a blame game to survive. 

Of course, the hardest circumstance in this area is when a rumor gets back to you that you're being sold out.  The boss doesn't come by to give you a chance to defend yourself.  Someone tells you you're being thrown under the bus.  Maybe they're right, maybe they have the context wrong.  What do you do?

Stay quiet?  Flame?  Perhaps a calm check-in with the hiring manager and boss to see if they want to set up a second round of interviews since the candidates were delivered 2 weeks ago? 

Now you're thinking!  Defend yourself creatively without flaming!  I imagine HR Wench could probably write a textbook on this.  Maybe I could write the forward.... "..I've never met the HR Wench, but the name really captures the essence of the professional behind the....blah, blah, blah...."

Doormats don't get invited to the table, so staying quiet in this circumstance isn't a long-term strategy.  But you have to mix up the intensity and find a way to deliver the message.  Flame every time, and you'll soon be tuned out.

Stay classy, San Diego....

Comments

The Anti Recruiter

The Anti Recruiter posted a funny exchange between The Anti Recruiter and a candidate who insisted rather rudely that they were qualified for a position that they were not...perhaps you can relate...read, enjoy.

HR Wench

As my HR sister in crime fighting (Laurie Ruettimann) posted the other day, I too can allow anger to get in the way of my ability to reason. Check out her post at http://laurieruettimann.com/2008/01/18/feedback-is-a-gift-2/.
But I have found it can be oh so much more satisfying when the Junk Yard Dog of the office trips over their own chain. As mama always said, "it's ok to let someone be wrong".
When you throw someone under the bus people know it. They don't respect it. You lose, every time. No flaming from under the bus necessary. :)

laurie ruettimann

If it's a weekday, I'm flaming.

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