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Since 1 month and a half I've started a new job. Since 2 weeks a new colleague joined as well, and the future plan for us is to work together more often (but on different things).

We have already spent some time together, and I have noticed that he definitely had the wrong approach so far. Actually, the time I spent with him has been time wasted. I understand that starting a new job isn't easy, but I believe that he has a wrong idea on how to approach and solve problems in general. I actually believe that he needs someone guiding him day by day. This contradicts his "senior role", for which he has some big tasks, like re-architecturing some internal software.

The 2 senior colleagues sitting next to me (who have worked for 10+ years in this company) seem to think the same. They didn't say it explicitly, but they started with some comments after this new colleague left our desks. Also, they spent quite some time together with me explaining to this new colleague why his approach was wrong (while he was quite adamant about it...).

I'm worried about the future, when I will have to work very often with him, i.e. I will depend on him (and the other way around).

I report directly to the director of engineering, while this other colleague reports to someone else who in turns reports to the director.

I will have soon a 1-on-1 meeting with the director: should I tell him about this new colleague?

If I had more experience in this company, I would have no problem in doing so. However, I'm quite new, although according to other senior colleagues my performance is going very well.

Note that he is in a 1 month trial period, and in 2 weeks he will have to be confirmed (or not).

Also note that, although similar, this situation is not covered by other questions on this site. Indeed, I'm new, and the colleague I'm talking about is even newer. It is not about reporting a senior colleague.

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  • Honestly, I don't see how or why this is your concern. Is this colleague directly affecting the quality of your work? Are they directly affecting your performance? If not, I don't see why this is such a bother to you. – joeqwerty Mar 15 at 21:05
  • @joeqwerty If this situation wastes my time already (as described), it may waste more of my time in the future because in the plan we will be kind of dependent on each other's work. – HBv6 Mar 15 at 22:11
  • Are you his manager? No, then it’s not of your concern. – Simon Mar 16 at 11:29
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I will have soon a 1-on-1 meeting with the director: should I tell him about this new colleague?

I would do so only if the director asks your feedback or opinion on this person, otherwise it would be unsolicited opinion and perhaps even perceived as badmouthing if not done properly.

When/if you do, keep it as objective and professional as possible, stating only facts you know, both positive and negative. Chances are that the director is already aware of this situation.

Meanwhile, keep doing the best in your job and tasks, try to be supportive to this colleague when you can, and let your director make their job and take the call if this person should stay or not.


A valid concern here would be that this person could affect your performance in a future, if they stay and continue to have a hard time adapting to the new job.

If you ever feel your performance is dropping because of this person feel free to convey it to your manager. However, raising this issue before it is actually an issue is not something I would do.

  • I understand your advice. However, this person may affect my job (performance) in the short future. Shouldn't I consider that? – HBv6 Mar 15 at 18:45
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    @HBv6 but yes, be aware if it starts to harm your performance and in that moment bring it up. (editing my answer to better reflect this) – DarkCygnus Mar 15 at 18:49
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    @HBv6 Don't discount the fact that your senior colleagues have already noticed your colleagues poor performance. Recently where I work a new contractor was let go. It was painfully obvious to all of us around him that he couldn't do the tasks required of him and several of us discussed this privately and it was basically reported up the chain by people who were trusted by management about such things. As such I'd be pretty sure that your boss is keeping tabs on your colleague – Peter M Mar 15 at 19:18
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    Man, this guy has only been working there for two weeks, doesn't he deserve a break? Some people can take longer to learn their new responsibilities. I agree that you shouldn't bring it up on your own. If it's a real concern, I'm sure one of the senior employees would have discussed it with your manager, and would have much more chance to affect his decision as well. – Yury Mar 18 at 13:44
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I agree with DarkCygnus on this: minimize speaking poorly of other employees unless prompted.

In most 1-on-1s, however, most people including myself will close out by asking something akin to "do you have any other questions or concerns?"

This might be the time to suggest, diplomatically, that you have seen some concerning things in the new hire. Don't dig too deeply into what they are or why, but say that your more senior colleagues, and the employee's supervisor are in a better position to explain. Essentially, you're prompting your boss to investigate further.

Brighten the negativity with something like, "it might just be because he's new, or maybe I''m the one missing something. I'm sure with a little direction things will work out."

Then, don't speak poorly about him to anyone else, even if others are gossiping.

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    +1 for the don't speak poorly about him to anyone else, even if others are gossiping – Noel Mar 15 at 19:13
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    +1 for the indirect suggestion to dig deeper – Paolo Mar 15 at 19:17
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It depends. Do you care about this company?

So, there's a lot to unravel here. First off, if all you care about is being professional and looking out for yourself, then DarkCygnus's answer is absolutely correct. Provide feedback only if asked. If you're actually invested in the company, though, and you want it to succeed independent of its effects on you, the answer gets... murkier.

In particular, the fact that he's going to be out of his probation period soon is significant. Avoiding bad engineers can be really important to the health of a company, and once he's out of probation period, it's a lot harder to let go of him. On the flip side, you could be wrong, and saying bad things about your coworkers can reflect badly on you, even if they're true. (The boss doesn't know they're true, after all.)

If you decide that you are interested in the health of the company, then the first step is to inhabit that mindspace. Look at things from the perspective of what is good or bad for the company, rather than what is good or bad for you personally. Then reconsider your assumptions. Is it possible that he was correct and you were incorrect? Even if he is incorrect on this matter, are you sure that he will have a negative impact on the company rather than a positive one? If negative, can you think of any way that he might be adjusted so that he is a net positive? Even if you come up with the same answers, you'll still come up with them from a better perspective as far as talking with your boss is concerned.

If you're still sure that he's going to cost more than he's worth, then yes, talk with your boss. Raise it as a concern, and do so in a way that is not forceful. "Sir, I have a concern about [name]." Then provide the raw facts that lead you to this concern. Present it as evenly and objectively as you possibly can. "We had a disagreement on coding styles. The two seniors and I thought one way, he thought another. My concern is that rather than listen to us and try to understand what we were telling him, he became angry and stormed off." If you have some reason you can present about why your way was objectively better than his, then you could maybe present that as well, but if it's at all a matter of opinion, then don't even bother talking about the specifics of the disagreement. Things like that.

Once you've said the things that you know you can absolutely back up, let it go, and say no more about it. You've told him. He knows. He'll act on it or he won't.

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Just don't

Unless asked for, it is not your place, except if you see gross negligence, misconduct or incompetence.

Even then, it's a fine line between bad mouthing / gossip and professional evaluation / critique.

Especially if you're junior to the colleague in question.

Worry about your own performance instead of others' and avoid speculations about the future behaviour and contributions of co-workers !

If you're working with them in a team and their attitude or work hinders you from fulfilling your own tasks,then it's time to complain to the lead / your immediate superior.

Unless you're their lead or manager, you have no business in evaluating someone's performance or contribution to a project as you lack the necessary information and authority.

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