Feedback on Candidates

We're a small company and up until now everyone hired has been known by all the current employees even before joining us. Seventy-five percent of our techincal staff are all former USAF and worked together at US Space Command. Our GPS community is a relatively small world.

In the past year we've brought on 2 new employees and our executive admin approached me after the fact and said other employees were angry because they weren't asked to provide feedback on the new hires before offers were made. It seems that almost every engineer in the company feels that we should solicit feedback from the entire company for each and every person interviewed. We have a very formal interview/hire process and a panel of senior engineering staff participate in every interview. I'm trying to be diplomatic but I need to let people know that we hire based on technical expertise and the skill set they bring to the position. We can't send out a survey and make decisions based on a popularity contest.

We certainly don't want to be accused of negligent hiring but we can't open ourselves to a lawsuit either. What our admin doesn't seem to understand is that if a candidate found out he/she didn't receive an offer regardless of our reason but then they heard that one of our employees said they "smelled" bad and had to be told by their C.O. in the Air Force to take more showers - well, we'd be in serious trouble. And that was the unsolicited feedback on one of those new hires.

No one has ever come to me with a concern. It has all been heresay. Has anyone ever had this problem? Any ideas on how I should handle this?


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • What I would do is have a conversation with the executive admin and let her know that she needs to refer to you those employees who voiced concerns. I think that the only thing you can do now is to promote your open door policy and encourage people to use it. Stay visible and check in with all employees to keep the communication channel open.

    We are a small company as well. Something that has worked for us very well is to include an employee from each department in the interview process - a mix of staff. We also give top applicants a tour of our facilities and have a general "get-to-know" each other 15-20 minute session with as many employees as are available at the time. This way, employees feel important to be part of the process. Although their feedback is taken into considration upon selection, the direct manager and HR make the final selection. We have wonderful staff and turnover has never been a problem. Continuous open communication with employees on company policies, procedures and the overall business has also created a positive staff morale. Good luck!
  • I'm not sure that I understand the problem. If you have a very formal process how did the process change to get employees angry when you hired the 2 new ones?
  • From what I've read, your problem isn't with the selection process it's with poor communication channels within your departments. If you have a few engineers participating in each interview then their opinions are more than adequate. It would also be there responsibility to inform their coworkers of applicants and the atmosphere must be open enough that people feel comfortable offering their input. It sounds like you have a number of people who view their workplace as a closed community, membership required. Without sounding like I'm stereotyping, most engineer's formal education does not prepare them to manage people and some can be protective of their turf. Encouraging open discussions and emphasizing communications across disciplines would be an important first step.
    BTW, skip past the executive admin and go discuss this with the boss. The admin is a problem passer not a problem solver. And I mean that in a positive way.

  • The problem is that our formal process doesn't include sending out a company wide announcement when someone is coming in for an interview so anyone and everyone can give their opinion. We bring someone in for an interview, hire them and then send out a welcome announcement and then we have disgruntled staff if someone has something negative to say about the new hire. And the negative that I've heard, all heresay by the way from the admin is all personal. No performance issues.

    When the company was only 10-15 including support staff more input was solicited by upper management but the company has grown and we rely on the decision of the hiring manager and Chief Engineer and their ability to select a candidate with the best qualifications.

    Everyone knows everyone so the problem is everyone has an opinion. We can't bring someone in for an interview and then survey 58 employees on how they feel about the person. From the feedback I received from the admin that's exactly what the staff wants us to do.

    We do encourage open communication but I don't know how to nip the backstabbing or how to address it.
  • Unless you had communicated that you would consult with these engineers, their grumbling is just sour grapes. I'd allow a bit of it but if it were to continue I'd address it. It sounds like you followed your policy and there is nothing for you to apologize for.

    My thinking is a hiring committee ought to be the smallest possible group you can have without compromising your ability to choose the right candidates. The personnel you have assembled sound just right.

    We are currently revising our dress code policy and I am involving ALL supervisors. It has been a good reminder why we dont have "hiring committees". It is almost impossible to have 100 percent consensus.

    Who knew that nose rings could inspire such passion?
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