Author Topic: Is this bad business or good sense....  (Read 5818 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

pierrotlunaire0

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4195
  • I'm the cat's aunt!
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2013, 12:49:08 PM »
In one sense, I can see it being a bad business decision in that if the problem employee finds out that their position is posted, AND if they are enough of a problem employee to actively damage the organization while waiting for the axe to fall.

I don't imagine it really happens often at all, but I would think that is why many organizations escort terminated employees from the business immediately upon dismissal.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 767
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2013, 06:03:35 PM »
Every once in a while I come across a job posting on an online board that says "company confidential", in which the name of the company is not listed. I imagine that at least in some of those instances the company chooses to remain anonymous because they're *discreetly* beginning the process of replacing someone who will be let go.

I really don't have a problem with that, as long as it is done with as much discretion as is practicable. I see no benefit in intentionally causing distress or humiliation to someone who is going to be fired, no matter how much they need to be. It certainly won't help that employee any, and I don't think it will improve the company's bottom line to intentionally hurt anyone, although I know of some cases where the employee found out for one reason or another. It wasn't pleasant for the employee or the employers.

Now, I am currently engaged in a job search. I have applied to positions where the company listed the position as company confidential. It could be because someone is being let go, or maybe the company just doesn't want to allow competitors to guess about their staffing levels or whom they're recruiting.

In the past, I have asked during interviews why the position is available. It was interesting to note how the hiring manager answered the question. Most of the time, the answer is that it is either a new position created due to business need, or in other cases it was because the incumbent was leaving to raise a family, or they found another job, or they were relocating out of the area, or they had been promoted.

Only once did the manager come out and say that that person was going to be fired - and then they explained the reason was because that person was incompetent. I was actually offered the position. I declined - I didn't give the real reason, but the truth is it left a bad taste in my mouth that they would actually badmouth an employee (doesn't matter to me that they may have actually done a terrible job. I don't work there. How am I to know that's true? And even if it is, I think that's a horrible thing to do to someone, no matter how true it may be. It just sounds mean to me.). I wondered how they would treat me as an employee? So I declined the offer, saying something about not being sure it was a good fit for my core skills set or whatever.

I think it's a bad idea for a business to speak unkindly about a current or former employee (or behave indiscreetly about replacing them, no matter how legitimate the need for the reasons I explained above), just as I think it's a bad idea for a job applicant to treat their former employer the same way - never, ever say anything negative about a former employer or employee, no matter how justified. It could come back to haunt you.

That's just my personal take on it. :D
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 06:07:11 PM by mrkitty »
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

miranova

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1992
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2013, 08:43:48 PM »
I'm not sure it's fair to ask a company why the position is vacant if you don't want an honest answer.  Why are you asking if you don't think they should answer?

miranova

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1992
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2013, 08:50:28 PM »
At first when I was reading this I thought it was a bit harsh, but honestly after reading the whole thread I realize it's toally fair and good business sense. 

I agree with the analogy that employees usually look for another job while they are still employed, so why shouldn't businesses have that same opportunity?  I would definitely NOT parade the applicants through the office right next to the person being fired who doesn't know it yet, that is just tacky. 

I did once apply for a job where the old employee was going to be fired and didn't know it.  The ad was "confidential" and after I submitted my resume and got called, the interview was to be held offsite, and she still didn't give me the name of the company and explained that she needed to be discreeet because the employee was going to be let go.  The way it all came out it didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth at all.  She was doing everything she could not to humiliate this employee and just needed someone with more experience because it wasn't working out.  I thought it was handled well. 

I've also worked in industries where you can't post until the position is truly vacant, even if the perosn gives 6 months notice!  (like for example a pregnant woman who is upfront about not coming back after baby is born).  The position still won't be posted until it is completely vacant, and it takes time to hire.  In the meantime everyone just has to suffer and work more.  It sucks.

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 767
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2013, 08:59:08 PM »
I'm not sure it's fair to ask a company why the position is vacant if you don't want an honest answer.  Why are you asking if you don't think they should answer?



I don't think I said I didn't want an honest answer. But at the same time, it is good to know why. And if they speak badly about a former employee, that would be good to know. It might give an indication of what you could expect if you were to work there.

I have been on both sides of the hiring manager's desk. I think asking that question is completely fair, just as asking a job applicant about their job history is completely fair. If, for example, a candidate has a lot of jobs listed in a short period of time, one might wonder if they have an issue that causes them to lose jobs or if they are a person who "job hops". Conversely, as an applicant, I think it's fair to ask about the history of that position. If there's a lot of turn over, it might indicate that there is something wrong with the job or the employer, or the company culture that makes people leave or makes it impossible to carry out the job.

Just like the standard advice for job seekers is to never badmouth a former employer - it may be true that they have harassed you, or fired you illegally, or that your former boss was difficult to work with, for example - but you never want to go into that much detail in a job interview. Sometimes the point of the back and forth in an interview isn't so much about the actual facts, but how much detail is given, and the judgment used by both parties in terms of how they choose to phrase the answer to those questions.

All I'm trying to say is that a job interview, ideally, is a two-way street. Both applicant and employer need to evaluate whether it's a good match. If either party is uncomfortable, it's better to discern that before an offer is made/accepted. The discussion about job history/position history is one of many avenues to pursue to reach a decision - for everyone. And while a candidate's job history might raise a few questions, or the vacant position has had many occupants might not be outright deal breakers, they could raise some flags where more information is needed.

All anyone can do in a job interview is look for information and behavioral cues. Just as an applicant's history can possibly give some idea as to how they might function in the job, the reverse is also true for a candidate who is trying to determine if this is the right job/employer/company/culture for her.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 10:01:48 PM by mrkitty »
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

Ceallach

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4771
    • This Is It
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2013, 08:59:30 PM »
I'm not sure it's fair to ask a company why the position is vacant if you don't want an honest answer.  Why are you asking if you don't think they should answer?

The difference is  between a company who says:    "Unfortunately the current person in the role hasn't worked out so we've made the difficult decision to replace them."    (And if asked perhaps elaborating as to why they felt it hadn't worked out - perhaps "they weren't experienced enough for the role" or similar - information that's useful and relevant to the candidate who wants to be sure that they're not going to have the same problems!)

vs. 

"We have George doing that role now but he's a complete idiot / nobody likes him / he's sick all the time".... some of those specifics might become obvious to the candidate once they start, but they're details that are unnecessary to know upfront and not really any of their business.   
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


miranova

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1992
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2013, 09:16:00 PM »
I'm not sure it's fair to ask a company why the position is vacant if you don't want an honest answer.  Why are you asking if you don't think they should answer?

The difference is  between a company who says:    "Unfortunately the current person in the role hasn't worked out so we've made the difficult decision to replace them."    (And if asked perhaps elaborating as to why they felt it hadn't worked out - perhaps "they weren't experienced enough for the role" or similar - information that's useful and relevant to the candidate who wants to be sure that they're not going to have the same problems!)

vs. 

"We have George doing that role now but he's a complete idiot / nobody likes him / he's sick all the time".... some of those specifics might become obvious to the candidate once they start, but they're details that are unnecessary to know upfront and not really any of their business.   

Oh I totally agree that there is a huge difference between the two.  I may have been reading the previous poster wrong...by "never badmouth an employee" I thought she meant that they should not even mention that someone was being let go or should make up another reason such as they are hiring for growth.  I mean, obviously if someone is being let go and the position filled (instead of just being allowed to be vacant as in a lay off) the employee was not performing to standards.  So all that needs to be said is that they are being let go, no details required.

Jaelle

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1499
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2013, 09:43:18 PM »
It could be either one, I suppose.

I understand what PP are saying about it making sense ... but I can't really feel it, because I've had friends who've found out they're being let go by reading an ad for their jobs. (One described it as "a kick to the stomach."  :P) No, they had no idea it was coming. Generally, the reason was ultimately office politics. Or there was a made-up reason given, but there wasn't much (or any) truth to it. And I find that utterly appalling.

That said, it's encouraging to realize not all (or most) companies are like this.

“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8473
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 10:47:14 PM »
The company confidential was something I hadn't heard about, but it makes sense, as it keeps the soon to be fired employee from finding out.

I do wonder if there's ever been a situation where a soon to be fired employee has accidentally applied for their own job, not realizing that it was for their own company.

It occurs to me that firing someone and then looking for a replacement may be sensitive and kind to the person being fired, but it will often be at the expense of the employees who are doing their job properly. In the time between firing and hiring, the other employees will have to step in and cover the other job. In a big company, this may not be an issue, but in a small company this could be a serious imposition.

LadyJaneinMD

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Is this bad business or good sense....
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2013, 06:41:21 AM »
I do wonder if there's ever been a situation where a soon to be fired employee has accidentally applied for their own job, not realizing that it was for their own company.

Ah!  Funny you should ask!    Years ago, I was working as a contractor, and the company I worked for lost the contract.  The new company took all of our resumes and started either telling people that they were staying, or advertising for new people.    I surmised early on that I was not staying, mostly because everyone else was getting offer letters, and I was one of those who did not.  The problem is, they couldn't *tell* me that I wasn't staying or I'd have to leave That Day, so I stayed on (until the bitter end).

Meanwhile, my resume is floating around the Internet, and I'm getting lots of calls about jobs. (I'm a Unix geek, so we're rather popular).   In this process, I managed to get recruiters calling about My Own Job no less than TEN TIMES (yes, I kept track).   They'd say, 'This job is perfect for your skills!', and I'd say, 'Yes, I know. It's my job!'.   It was actually funny after awhile.  They never did replace me or my partner, so we left that place without Unix admins. 

To end this story, I did get another job shortly, and it all ended up great for those of us who left.  The ones left behind had a horrible time, and the winning contract company eventually had the contract taken away because they never fulfilled the terms of the contract.