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Context

I’m a senior team leader and technical project coordinator at a medium size company (650 employees). The company was public until 9 or 10 years ago, when it was transformed in a (formally) private one (100% stocks are owned by public administrations entities and top 3 levels are directly selected by politicians). I’ve been working here for 7 years. One of my tasks is to evaluate interns and juniors performance and help to decide whether an intern should be hired with a full permanent contract or a junior should be promoted.

Company policy states that every time a intern is hired, a junior is promoted (before the normal amount of time: yes, here everybody is promoted after a specific amount of time in the same level), etc. if he/she was presented to the company by some employee, this employee receive some money as reward. This policy apply also to senior mentoring interns/juniors: they receive a reward every time a mentored person is promoted. For people at my level, money is awarded also for approving promotions (for example if I accept a total of 10 promotions, I will receive money, etc.) In my sub-division (45 people more or less) we are 2 with these roles, Sergey and me (formally also our boss, but he never does).

My evaluations are usually pro forma/fake. Usually there are the following cases:

  • People who presented interns/juniors send me the review and I simply forward it
  • Interns/juniors relatives to someone and/or introduced by high level managers have evaluations provided
  • Interns/juniors that have connections with workers unions or syndicalist, anew evaluations are provided
  • Interns/juniors strongly connected with currently governing politicians or their parties, again pro forma evaluations
  • Finally when interns/juniors do not fall into the previous cases but the mentor approaches me asking for a positive review because he/she need the award money or for whatever reason, I have no problem to write a positive review.

I think you get the situation: I do a favor to you, you’ll do one to me/I turn around when you do something not correct; you will do the same when it will happen to me.

Cases where a true evaluation (based on intern/junior performance/behavior/attitude without anyone providing an evaluation based on personal, subjective matters) are required, are extremely uncommon (personally I did this only once in 7 year).

To be clear: I’m (obviously) perfectly fine with this situation, this situation is public in the company and everybody is fine with it (Sergey, our boss, hr department, high level managers, etc. In fact hr and managers are the first to apply these rules and get many benefits out of it).

Problem

About 4 months ago, 6 new interns were assigned directly to Sergey and me (not a standard situation) to work on a big project we manage together. These internships are 100% financed with public funds, by a public work-university alternation program whose final purpose is to hire 4 of the 6 interns. Although the rules of this program states that we must to decide at the end of the 6 months, last month we already hired 3 of them:

  • Ann, that has a public domain relation with me
  • Anita, that is the daughter of a local known syndicalist and the niece of a nationwide known syndicalist
  • Bob, that is a relative of an high level hr manager (this manager is also the wife of our boss).

They are not allowed to say they signed the contract because otherwise my company will lose part of the public funds.

As of the 3 remaining interns:

  • Bill: we already exclude him. He is the very best of the 6 for technical skills, but on day 1 my boss (without even speaking with him) said “I don’t like him”, Sergey argued a few times with him and I find him haughty and way too much ambitious; his fate was doomed from day 1
  • Alice: quite pretty, a bit too shy, sometimes very funny
  • Boris: outgoing, humorous, curious

Neither Alice nor Boris have personal connection with anybody in the company or the workers unions or the politicians. If this matters, they have below average technical skills and their performance so far are absolutely average (even for our low standards).

Question

My question is: which meters of judgment are normally used by private companies to choose best interns? Are there any standards? How is even possible to make a decision without the possibility to use personal connections and without any recommendation?

  • 5
    Quite pretty?!? – jcm Jan 22 at 8:37
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    Do you actually believe it makes a difference which one you pick, given the overall situation? – simbabque Jan 22 at 10:25
  • @jcm in my sub-division is not important (though it's a parameter I don't exclude a priori). In a department (general services) it is more or less the only skill required (it is the department where high level managers hire their young intimate friends, to use a metaphor). Well the other skill is the ability to perform their " special services" to managers (if you know what I mean ;) ) – JaneDoe82 Jan 22 at 12:21
  • @simbabque for the company there will be no difference at all (my boss propose a coin flip for example). But I'm curious to know private company environment / process in this situation. In my 20-ish years career I never worked in the private field (except a 6 months internship at the very beginning of my career) – JaneDoe82 Jan 22 at 12:25
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    @Twyxz You don't need elaboration on that. – rath Jan 22 at 15:49
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If neither of the two who you are choosing from are particularly good in a technical sense.

You pick the one that fits the company culture and is the hardest worker and will possibly improve with the correct knowledge and guidance.

To me it's an obvious pick. "Quite pretty" isn't a reason to hire someone. Being shy isn't a negative but it definitely isn't a positive. Being funny doesn't count to anything either except maybe a relationship with colleagues

Boris on the other hand is outgoing he can talk to people, humorous meaning he may lift spirit of your team and curious? Potentially means he's eager to learn and find out more. Neither of them are star candidates but if you have to pick one it has to be based off who's going to benefit you the most in the future in terms of work.

which meters of judgement are normally used by private companies to choose best interns

Whoever can bring the most money in for the company e.g. getting the most work done accurately and quickly. The person who is communicative and not afraid to ask when stuck. Essentially the one most ready to actually work and is qualified to do what the job role intends.

  • This is an interesting way to manage my problem. I've never done such an evaluation: I'll try to elaborate on – JaneDoe82 Jan 22 at 12:39
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Which country is this? I see blatant nepotism, made worse by the fact that it spends public money. And nepotism is actually company policy?

If you were in the USA, than I would put a big sign "swamp" right in front of your door.

  • My company is in Europe. I cannot be more precise, but to let you understand you the situation is: the region of my company has more then twice public (or de facto public) employees of the rest of the country all together and spends up to 7 or 8 times public money of the second region. In the company there are entire generations of the same family. Every year, once ot twice, some manager/member of the board is arrested (bribery, financial offences, criminal gross misconduct, collusion with mafia, etc.). The boss of my boss is currently under police investigation (rigged contracts) – JaneDoe82 Jan 23 at 18:16
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There are no ISO standards for this.

It however usually is in the company's interest to hire skilled people with potential to become a productive and proficient team members.

OR simply who is the cheapest and / or gets the job done with as little fuss as possible.

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