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Author Topic: Need advice for potential sticky situation  (Read 4018 times)

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3angels

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Need advice for potential sticky situation
« on: July 11, 2014, 11:17:03 AM »
I interviewed for an office manager position yesterday in a small office with one other full-time office staff and was informed this morning that I am the front-runner for the position. During the interview I was advised that the other person in the office had also applied for the position but that she didn't have a specific set of skills that they were looking for. The person that was interviewing me said that she does not work with the office clerk on a daily basis and therefore could not say how the clerk would take the news that she was not getting the manager position.

My question, if I am offered this position and the clerk does not handle this well, what are some things I can say/do to make the transition easier and help her accept me as her supervisor? If it makes a difference, I do not know if the woman is older or younger than me or how long she has been with the company.

alice

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 11:25:59 AM »
I had this happen to me one time.  When I went in for my first day of work, the woman who was already there up and quit during my orientation. 

So-you may not have to worry about it.

If you do, it isn't your fault that she isn't qualified.  Just try to be as nice as possible, but don't let her beat you over the head with the situation.  Ignore and be professional.

amylouky

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 11:32:03 AM »
Honestly, I wouldn't say anything. I would just pretend that you didn't know she'd applied, unless she brings it up. I'd do the normal things that a new manager would do to develop a relationship with the staff. Introductions, be nice, maybe bring in bagels and coffee. But other than that, you don't want to start out your new role apologetically, because it's not your fault that she didn't get the position.

If she does bring it up, I would address it in a, "I understand that you were disappointed.. let's see if we can work on getting training/skills development so that you'll be in a better place next time an opportunity arises."

HenrysMom

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 11:37:12 AM »
I was hired in over an internal employee who had also applied, was in fact, the hiring committee's front runner for the position.  The manager overrode the committee's recommendation and brought me in from another OpCo.  From day one, I, who knew nothing about the circumstances, encountered nothing but hostility and non-compliance from the group.  That was the beginning of the end of my career at Evil Oil Company.

My gut feeling is you not accept the position, because this person has the potential to make your life a living hell.

If you really want/need this position, civil and professional is the way to go.  Don't try to make friends with her and watch your back.

AliciaLynette

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 11:40:00 AM »
Just ignore any attitude from her, stay professional and polite to her.  As far as you're concerned, you applied for the position and got it, and there is nothing more to be said.

Personally, I find it unprofessional of your interviewer to tell you that the other interviewee works there and failed the interview due to her lack of skills.  That is not information you should have been given.

And I agree with amylouky, that if she says anything about lacking the skills, then you can ask if she would like to gain those skills.  Don't offer to help her, just ask if she would like to learn them.  Let her approach you if she needs help, as she may feel that you are trying to push her out if you seem too eager to get her those skills.

Good luck in the new job!!
Children are natural mimics; they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners.
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amylouky

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2014, 11:43:08 AM »
Just wanted to add, I wouldn't go in with the assumption that she does have hard feelings. Right now the only info you have is that she applied, and didn't get the job. There's nothing to indicate that she resents this, or doesn't understand why she didn't get it. I think if you go in there with "walls up" because of how you think she feels, it could damage your potential working relationship for no reason. Hence my advice to just act like you would if you didn't even know she had applied, because AliciaLynette is right.. you really shouldn't.

3angels

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 12:03:54 AM »
Just wanted to add, I wouldn't go in with the assumption that she does have hard feelings.

To me, the fact that they asked how I would handle the situation if it came up tells me there is a concern that the clerk will not be accepting of someone from outside getting the position over her. On the plus side, the previous manager will be staying long enough to train me on the specifics of the position so hopefully she will be a buffer if there is an issue.

So, I will talk your advice and pretend I know nothing about her applying, bring doughnuts, and kill 'em with kindness!  ;D

TootsNYC

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 12:10:18 AM »
Then again...in my current job, I beat out the most experienced person in the department.

I set out to make her my ally.

I flat out told her that I understood if she was unhappy, and that it stinks for her. But that I would do my best to be an advocate for her in the future.

I asked for her to be promoted at the time that I was hired (so, a consolation prize, and a recognition of her ambition and application), and I met with her before I started the job. I told her I wanted to get her some greater visibility outside the department, so that if I ever left, she'd be a shoo-in. I treated her like the expert on our company that she is; I asked her advice; I told her about biggish decisions before I made them.

(I did have to be careful to hold onto my authority, of course.)

We're a pretty good team now.

So that's another way to handle it.

In your case, the woman deserves an explanation of why she didn't get it--and luckily it's a nicely factual reason, and something that can be remedied for the future. Hopefully it'll be so clear that even she will have to admit that hiring you instead of her is a reasonable decision, even if it sucks for her.
  And something that perhaps you can be influential in getting for her. (Training on software, shadowing you on decision-making projects.)

Be the boss that's on her side--win her over. That's another approach

cicero

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Re: Need advice for potential sticky situation
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 03:20:20 AM »
I would just be nice to her, see where her strengths lie and *use* them.

I was once in a situation where we were two people at the same level and both applied for the same job (secretary vs. office manager) - in addition to many other issues that other person had, i had both seniority and skill sets that she didn't have. It was difficult at first because *she* was angry at *me* and wouldn't take any direction from me. My boss was useless so i asked former (newly retired) office manager and she suggested i make her my ally - which i did and it was the smartest thing i did. I asked her for advice and help in specific areas that she was very strong in, and let her take over certain areas. It worked perfectly for the three years i stayed there.

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