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I have just been interviewed for a cover position as my supervisor/manager is going on extended leave. The position was advertised internally within our organization and applicants were asked to write 500-word responses to two questions as well as address selection criteria and submit a resume through the company recruitment node. Myself and at least two other staff in my office were interviewed. The interview was conducted by our mutual supervisor and their immediate manager. It felt pretty awkward to me and not something I have experienced before.

I mean, I have never experienced someone interviewing candidates for their own leave cover before, and normally I would expect at least a three-person interview panel for a manager's position.

Putting it out to the crowd: is this a normal and reasonable practice, to be interviewed by the person you want to fill in for, in this way?

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It would depend on what the company wants to achieve when hiring a manager to cover leave. If they want continuity of the direction the manager was leading the group then having the manager select his cover could be a great idea.

However, some organizations look at leave as an opportunity to temporarily bring in a different skill set to achieve a specific goal in a fixed time period. In this case the manager should be involved in the the selection since he knows many of the requirements of the job but he shouldn’t be the only person with a say in the decision.

Finally, some organizations which are particularly concerned about the opportunity for employee fraud look at vacations and leave as an opportunity to have someone from outside the organization see what is going on withing the organization, thus making it harder for employees to keep things hidden. This is common is some auditing and accounting roles. In this case the manager shouldn’t be involved in picking his cover.

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Who knows your performance better than your immediate manager and his manager? Why wouldn't it be reasonable for him to choose his replacement for the leave period. In every case I have ever witnessed where there was a long term leave planned but the manager was still temporarily available (i.e. not in the hospital), the manager had the biggest input into the replacement. He, after all, has to deal with the results of that person's management on return.

Two people on a panel is awkward if they do not agree but that is not your concern. Generally they set up rules such as the choice has to be unanimous or person As input is weighed higher than Person Bs.

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