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Thread: Potential employer contacting current supervisor w/o permission?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Potential employer contacting current supervisor w/o permission?

    Hey everyone,

    I was recently interviewed for a position in another community. My PD did not know I was looking around at the time of the interview. During the interview, it came out that the individual I spoke to is a friend of the PD - unbeknownst to me. Today, two weeks after the interview, my PD took me aside to let me know that this person called her to talk about me and my suitability for the position. At the time of the interview, I was not asked to authorize contact with my boss, and if it had been asked, I would have asked that they not contact the PD, as I'm not stupid and did not want to make myself vulnerable. I've been in the position of interviewee on numerous occasions as well as on the other side part of an interviewing panel and I've never seen things done this way. Was what this person did inappropriate enough that I should take myself out of the running for the position (if indeed I am selected to move forward for another round of interviews)? To me, what was done is borderline unethical as it puts me in a compromised position, and I'd question my ability to work under someone who'd do such a thing. No doubt there was no malice intended, but it just strikes me as wrong. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hey everyone,

    I was recently interviewed for a position in another community. My PD did not know I was looking around at the time of the interview. During the interview, it came out that the individual I spoke to is a friend of the PD - unbeknownst to me. Today, two weeks after the interview, my PD took me aside to let me know that this person called her to talk about me and my suitability for the position. At the time of the interview, I was not asked to authorize contact with my boss, and if it had been asked, I would have asked that they not contact the PD, as I'm not stupid and did not want to make myself vulnerable. I've been in the position of interviewee on numerous occasions as well as on the other side part of an interviewing panel and I've never seen things done this way. Was what this person did inappropriate enough that I should take myself out of the running for the position (if indeed I am selected to move forward for another round of interviews)? To me, what was done is borderline unethical as it puts me in a compromised position, and I'd question my ability to work under someone who'd do such a thing. No doubt there was no malice intended, but it just strikes me as wrong. Thoughts?
    I think you're absolutely right in your assessment of the situation. Totally classless and bush-league IMO.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    To me, what was done is borderline unethical as it puts me in a compromised position, and I'd question my ability to work under someone who'd do such a thing. No doubt there was no malice intended, but it just strikes me as wrong. Thoughts?
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I think you're absolutely right in your assessment of the situation. Totally classless and bush-league IMO.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
    Ouch. Good luck. I wouldn't want to work for such an incompetent, personally.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hey everyone,

    I was recently interviewed for a position in another community. My PD did not know I was looking around at the time of the interview. During the interview, it came out that the individual I spoke to is a friend of the PD - unbeknownst to me. Today, two weeks after the interview, my PD took me aside to let me know that this person called her to talk about me and my suitability for the position. At the time of the interview, I was not asked to authorize contact with my boss, and if it had been asked, I would have asked that they not contact the PD, as I'm not stupid and did not want to make myself vulnerable. I've been in the position of interviewee on numerous occasions as well as on the other side part of an interviewing panel and I've never seen things done this way. Was what this person did inappropriate enough that I should take myself out of the running for the position (if indeed I am selected to move forward for another round of interviews)? To me, what was done is borderline unethical as it puts me in a compromised position, and I'd question my ability to work under someone who'd do such a thing. No doubt there was no malice intended, but it just strikes me as wrong. Thoughts?
    They should not have done that, but I wouldn't necessarily take yourself out of the running because of it. Now, for a story...

    The City Manager in the Town Next Door (we'll call him Bob) and I had an incident like you described, except I'm not so sure about the malice part.

    Bob actively recruited me to come work there and I decided to go ahead and meet with him to determine my interest (not a formal interview). I found out through my assistant city manager that Bob had contacted my current City Manager and told him that I was trying to jump ship (leaving out the details that he had actively recruited me with multiple phone calls). I decided that I was not interested in working for Bob based on this and withdrew from consideration. Basically, I feel like there has to be some level of trust in an effective working relationship, and didn't think I could bring myself to trust him considering that I had not even formally applied. Plus I was/am happy in my current position, and there were also some other things he said in the meeting that set off alarm bells.

    Fast forward a couple of months to a regional city management meeting. Bob comes up and asks me, with my City Manager only about 5 feet away, why I withdrew. Knowing my CM was within earshot, my response was "I chose to withdraw because I didn't feel I was a good match for your needs, but was going to ask if you would like me to assist you in interviewing candidates based on our shared interest in having a skilled planning director next door. My only reason for considering the position was proximity to my home and, quite honestly, I was flattered to be recruited so heavily. I would have preferred that you not told my city manager that I was trying to 'jump ship' despite the fact that I had not made formal application for consideration and was not actively pursuing the position. Thankfully, he was understanding and did not take any adverse action. I am quite happy working for [my CM], who actively encourages staff to develop professionally, even if it means we become more marketable to other employers. I am in a good place professionally as well as personally, and have no intent of leaving as long as they'll have me." My City Manager overheard the entire exchange, as well as a few others.

    I do not recommend doing what I did, but I'm known enough in the region that I could get away with it and "Bob" is kind of an outsider in the regional city management circle. As a fun aside, I went to college with the mayor of the city Bob works for.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    That is nuts! I wouldn't be able to see straight if someone pulled something like that on me in front of my boss. Props for the quick-witted response to his unreasonable question.

    I don't think I could trust this guy now and don't plan to follow up on the position. He can find another candidate willing to have their privacy egregiously violated. Lord knows that there are plenty of desperate candidates out there.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Similar thing happened to me ... applying for a county position when I was in a city position - they were all friends/colleagues, and word got out. My manager actually was disappointed that I hadn't told him I was looking; since our agency was known for high turnover he was not surprised. I guess the lesson is it may be hard to keep the cat in the bag when people are colleagues and they are talking to each other anyway. I guess I should've known when the interviewer, at the end of the interview, told me to "say 'hi' to [your boss] for me". I'm also not surprised as this was a college town that prided itself on having its own culture and not following protocol.

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