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I've been with my current company for slightly over a year. I've never been reprimanded, written up, or heard any displeasure with my work. Yet a couple weeks ago, I started hearing rumors of my being let go. Now, I'm the sole person in my position. This company doesn't require more than one person for my department. This morning, I was told that I'd be interviewing a new person for my department. With the rumors going around, it is quite possible that this person is my replacement. The reason I'm doing it, is that no one else here really understands what I do(IT). Are there any protocol's that I should follow? If he is to replace me, I obviously don't want that, as I like my job. But I also don't want to put myself into a situation where I might get into trouble.

EDIT

Just to give an update. My boss had me do this interview for a friend of his at another company. That company doesn't have anyone with any programming experience, so they reached out to us to see if we could give the technical interview. Thanks for all of the answers.

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    It is also possible that the company is hiring someone to work with/under you because having only one person that understands any critical aspect of the business is a serious risk. If you get sick, your job just doesn't get done until you're well; if you're at-will you could find a new job and give your zero-day notice and be gone. – Matt Apr 23 '13 at 13:34
19

My advice to you is to be professional. Look for someone that you can work well with. Be positive. Find someone smarter than you that can lift you up and make you better.

I found myself in similar situation a few years ago. I was an assistant software manager. Our VP asked me and my manager to find my replacement. What do you say to that? I went searching for a great replacement. I found him and he did take my job. I was promoted and moved to a different position that I loved even more. If you work hard you will be rewarded. You can’t always believe in the rumors. Likely they want to make sure that they double up the knowledge in case you get hit by a bus. They may be anticipating future growth and know that you’d be overwhelmed. Make sure you find some that you can work with. You may end up with this person for a long while. If you can find someone smarter than you, you’ll have an opportunity to learn from them.

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    Unfortunately rumors are often true... Not everyone is promoted as a result of a hiring spree. – Deer Hunter Apr 20 '13 at 19:35
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    You are correct not everyone is promoted. Usually hard word is noticed and can be rewarded. If you do your best work you won't have to worried about being replaced. – Rodney Apr 22 '13 at 15:01
  • @Rodney I agree that those who work hard tend to do better overall, but this is certainly not the case all the time. With that being said, +1 for pointing out that not all office rumors are true. It is best to stay away from and not be seen associating with office gossips. They will often spread the rumour that is more scandalous and interesting than the most likely outcome. – maple_shaft Apr 22 '13 at 19:09
12

Let's look at this from the scenario that the rumors are true and from the one where they are not.

If the rumors are true, then you will need to start looking for another job. Being on a hiring panel will help you prepare for your own interviews. It will also give you an idea of what the competition is like. So if the rummors are true, then being on the hiring panel is actually doing you a favor.

You can chose to do a good job with this or not. But you know at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and delberately doing a poor job is not good for you. It will also harm your reputation with the people you screwed over (which will include other people at your workplace who have a favorable opinion of you right now not just the person who is planning to replace you). Further doing a bad job at this leaves the best candidate still out there looking for a job and he will be competing with you (becasue if the rumors are true, then you will need to find something else).

Now if the rumors are not true, then being on the hiring panel gives you the opportunity to get someone you will enjoy working with. Further getting this type of experience is often a sign that people see you as having the potential to move up. Blowing it because you are paying attention to unfounded rumours can only harm your reputation in the workplace. Doing a a good job can only enhance your reputation.

So the way I see it, doing the interviewing and getting the best guy possible for the position is in your best interests whether the rumor is true or not.

9

Okay, here's a question: are there any reasons (from your managers' viewpoint) why you should be kept out of the loop as far as your firing is concerned?

Yes, there are two that I can think of instantly:

  • you wield strange powers (IT is like magic for a lot of people) that your supervisor does not comprehend, hence s/he's afraid of you;
  • you hold the keys to the castle (sysadmin + a lot of other responsibilities all designated as IT in your question) and can do a whole wormcan of harm that may bring the company to Chapter 11 or worse pretty soon (I know you would not do that, but apparently your managers don't, otherwise they won't contemplate hiring a replacement).

Now, the way they handle this is abysmal. Assuming the worst, they botched their task and have shown themselves to be cheapskates. First, they leaked the decision, and second, they chose you instead of an external consultant to interview the next "IT person" for the firm.

Please bear in mind that you cannot know for sure whether the rumors are actually true. Thus, your first course of action can be (surprise!) going to your supervisor and asking a direct question about the rumors. You have the right to be kept informed about your career prospects. Most people feel uncomfortable while lying in a face-to-face meeting, you should watch for signs carefully.

Only after getting the essential information directly or indirectly you can plan your next step. If the worst fears of yours are not mere figments of imagination, you always have the option of jumping ship and filing the resignation letter without having to go through the unwarranted pain and hassle of interviewing your replacement.

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    You had me until "jumping ship before". That is not very professional and likely to give you a bad reference. When a company does replace somebody in this fashion and keeps them out of the loop, they sometimes feel very guilty about it and will give things like a generous severance package. Such a thing happened to myself once and management guilt led them to give me a severance and generous buyout of my company stock. They also didn't give a hard time with my unemployment claims. If I had bailed voluntarily then I would have never gotten any of this. – maple_shaft Apr 22 '13 at 19:14
  • @maple_shaft - +1, usual caveats apply, we don't have details on compensation or severance packages and the management's conscience. – Deer Hunter Apr 23 '13 at 0:29
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    @maple_shaft - if you're interviewing a number of unsuitable candidates, while on the other hand you find a suitable job right out of the gate, I don't think you're beholden to the company to do any more than you should do anyway - leave behind appropriate documentation, write up any outstanding tasks that will need to be completed by your successor or boss, etc. If you're saying "you should refuse to interview your successor and focus on getting yourself out", I agree that that's unprofessional, but if you're doing your part, you can't control the speed their job search takes. – Adam V May 20 '13 at 17:09

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