Need Sympathy!

I just had a meeting with my assistant, and she turned in her resignation. She got a job offer that we can't possibly meet from a company in a large city about an hour away. I'm in shock. She was in tears because she loves her job here, but due to financial problems (her husband was laid off) she has to take it. The best thing about her is that she was completely trustworthy, never had to worry about her discussing anything confidential. Now I have to try to find a replacement and I am devastated. Skills I can find or train, but the trust and rapport with the other employees will be really difficult. My assistant was hired from within, and I was in the position to observe her for a couple of years so I knew what I was getting. I haven't seen any other employee with those qualities. Any suggestions? I take HR confidentiality very seriously and don't want to make a mistake with the trust issue.



  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Linda,

    Losing someone you trust and confide in is extremely difficult. I have stayed in contact with each of the assistants that have worked for me because it is such a close relationship.

    My only advice is take some time to let this settle in. Take a day or two. Once the initial shock and emotion has worn off, the task of finding a replacement may not seem so daunting as it does right now.

    When you do begin looking, avoid ladder climbers who might violate your trust in order to better their own careers. Look for someone who has personal convictions and a history of positions that required maturity and confidentiality.

    Sometimes when I interview I may ask a question that would give the applicant an opportunity to badmouth their former employer. If they do, I note that as a negative. If they don't, it tells me that the applicant has some maturity and discretion.

    Good luck finding your next amazing assistant!
  • xhugs Sorry, Linda, this sure is a hard one. I wish I could look back on a time when I've had such a trusted assistant. Not yet though...

    Good luck!

  • "...When you do begin looking, avoid ladder climbers who might violate your trust in order to better their own careers......"

    That's a very interesting observation Paul. Care to share more?
  • You definitely have my sympathy, Linda. I live in fear of my second-in-command leaving.

    If you cannot identify a suitable replacement internally, do you have friends or colleagues in your area with whom you can network about promising candidates so you don't have to go with a complete unknown?

    Paul's advice about asking a question that gives applicants an opportunity to bad-mouth someone is excellent. Here's a question I like a lot: Rate the management skills of your last boss on a scale of 1 - 10 and explain why you would give him or her the rating that you did." You might learn something about their loyalty, discretion, and confidentiality from their answer.

  • I'm quite biased about this issue, mainly due to the fact I got burned by an employee who came into HR during a reduction in force. Couldn't keep information confidential if her life depended on it. I vowed never to hire current employees into HR due to the difficulty with confidentiality. Not only is there temptation to share information that was long an organizational mystery, but the contiunal pressure from old co-workers/friends to "share the goods" about issues, other employees, compensation levels, termination specifics, etc. is just too much for MOST to handle (I won't say all, but the risks, to me, are too great) My advice - hire her replacement from outside the company.........but that's just me
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