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An employee joined our company 10 days ago, but then suddenly told me that she wanted to quit to pursue higher studies.

One week later she returned again and said she wanted to take back her resignation.

On asking her why, she explained that the previous story about higher studies was not true. In reality, she had an ex-boyfriend stalking her, and was afraid he would spoil her reputation in the office. She gave me a false reason in order to avoid embarrassment.

The situation is now under control, as her ex-boyfriend's parents have assured her they will ensure their son will behave and not trouble her any further.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of rehiring her?

  • 23
    Why do you call your employees "candidates"? – Masked Man Apr 9 '15 at 6:02
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    @Happy She is a candidate for employment; this is standard terminology in India – Rohit Chatterjee Apr 9 '15 at 8:37
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    @RohitChatterjee Once she has joined the company, she is not a candidate, she is an employee. Also, this is, by no means, the "standard terminology" in India. There maybe one or two companies who use it, but that doesn't make it a countrywide standard. The term interview candidate is commonly used, but once the person joins the company, he/she is called an employee, not an "employment candidate". – Masked Man Apr 9 '15 at 9:54
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    Are you sure her boyfriend will not cause any more problems? Why didn't she sue him? Just "trusting his parents" doesn't seem encouraging in this sort of situation… – o0'. Apr 9 '15 at 9:54
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    @Lohoris: Trying to sue a stalker is a long journey over bumpy roads in probably every country. In India, where even rapists are only rarely sued, I would consider it a completely hopeless effort :-( – Daniel Apr 9 '15 at 13:41
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Even though she has lied to you once, her situation seems genuine and she has not done anything illegal or harmful for the company. She was genuinely considering her own reputation, which can be easily understood in our society. (I guess from your name that you and your organization are in India).

If she is really a great resource and you think her presence will surely be an asset for the company then I would suggest that you accept her withdrawal of the resignation and re-welcome her to the organization. I would go one step further by making this thing confidential between you two and not sharing this information with others and rebuilding her confidence level.

If she had given her actual reason for leaving, her reputation would have been harmed, which she was trying to avoid actually ... So consider her point of view as well and tell her not to lie from here onwards.

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    I agree with this. Please consider that she might have been in a genuinely bad position and made some wrong decisions based on fear and/or stress. – Alec Apr 9 '15 at 7:36
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    Can you clarify why lying to her employer and then telling the truth later is better for her reputation than just telling the truth in the first place? – fooot Apr 9 '15 at 15:15
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    That could as well be a lie, and she got rejected by the university or anything. – dyesdyes Apr 9 '15 at 15:30
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    There is also the concept of "benefit of the doubt". Not forever, of course, but at least for this one episode. – Alec Apr 9 '15 at 15:32
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She admitted she lied but the reason she gave for lying is genuine. I wouldn't be so quick so pass judgment on her actions given that her actions were dictated/distorted by fear.

Give her a chance. Otherwise, boyfriend from Hell wins.

If you want a business reason for giving her a chance, here it is: you blew out time out of your life to decide that she is well qualified to do the job. You might as well recoup your investment in this young lady - And make sure to tell her that you are taking a chance on her :)

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    I agree with the first paragraph, but not the second. The premise that the company should be weighing such things is ridiculous. Whether the BF "wins" or "loses" is not the company's concern. – corsiKa Apr 9 '15 at 16:03
  • I agree with "other" Snowman. – user16626 Apr 10 '15 at 4:18
  • +1 for the edit (business justification). She should be helped to understand that this is not a free pass, and that there are certain expectations of her in the future. – Kent A. Apr 10 '15 at 20:26
10

First it somewhat depends on how far you have gotten towards filling her position and whether her notice period was over.

If she has already left, she is no longer an employee and deserves no more consideration than any other candidate for the vacancy. in this case:

  • If you have interviewed candidates who are stronger than she was, then tell her that the job is no longer available.
  • If you are not sure or very far along in the process, tell her she can reapply and be interviewed and evaluated with the rest of the candidates.

If she is still an employee serving out her notice period, you need to decide if she can take it back depending on several factors:

  • In the short time she has been there, how good was her work ethic?
  • How well did she mesh with the team?
  • Did the skills she actually showed you seem to match up well with the skills you thought she had from the interviewing process.
  • What is the company HR policy and the laws of the country concerning notice periods. Before you tell her anything, you should consult with HR as to whether staying is a possibility. I don't know your local laws, so I don't know how much leeway you have to tell her she has to go or to let her stay. Your HR should know that though.
  • What is your personal judgement of her character? She ran away and lied in a tough situation. You need to make a determination based on what you know of this person, if this is a charactor flaw or something she would only do under intolerable stress. I realize you can't know her well at this point, but you know her better than any of us. How stressful is this position, what impact would a person who runs away from stress have on productivity?
  • Would her return disrupt the team? Would it create resentment? Would she have to explain her private circumstances in order to be accepted again? In particular, this can cause a problem if someone they knew better and liked was not given this same opportunity to return in the near past. This is especially true if you fired someone and team felt it was unjust.

While I feel sympathy for the woman, don't rehire her just based on feeling sympathetic. She made the choice to quit rather than tell you the problem. She has to understand that actions have consequences. If she impressed you enough to keep her and the other factors align, then fine. But if you think she will be a problem, then tell her no. Judgement is part of what you get paid for as a manager. This is a case where you have to exercise it even with less information than you would like. It's a hard choice to say, "No" when someone is in trouble in other parts of their life, but as a manager, you have be willing to make hard choices.

If agree to rehire, then you as a manager need to commit to watching her performance fairly closely the first few months. If you see a pattern of avoidance or lying, you need to take steps to let her go.

My personal feel is that if you strongly wanted to rehire her, you would not have felt the need to ask the question, but only you can answer that.

  • To me amit saying that "which can be easily understood in our society" is crucial. Let's say a man had a crazy ex-girlfriend, would he be as likely to quit his job for fearing about his reputation? If not, would this change your answer? – user33982 Apr 10 '15 at 10:08
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    @Pickett, no it would not. Managers have to make tough choices. I didn't say not to hire her back, just what needs to be evaluated. Her emotional needs are not the primary dirver. I realize that in India, woman are working to be more fully accepted in the workplace and that they are i nthe same place I was in when I started working in the 1970's. It's hard on both sides. But she took an emotional action without consutling him to see if he had a better choice for her workwise such as a leave of absence. He needs to evaluate if that is the best thing for his business going forward. – HLGEM Apr 10 '15 at 14:43
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    @Pickett, as a woman, I find her actions to be unprofessional and the type of thing that harms all other working women and makes managers view them as unreliable. She could have asked for a leave of absence, or told him she was having personal issues and it woudl be better to quit. She chose to lie. I feel sorry for her, stalking is no fun (eventualyl she will end up moving and changing her name if the experiences of all the women I know who have been stalked are any indicator). But neither are a lot of other personal issues that male and female employees face everyday. – HLGEM Apr 10 '15 at 14:47
  • "If she has already left, she is no longer an employee and deserves no more consideration than any other candidate for the vacancy." -- I don't think that's entirely correct. As a former (and recent) employee, you don't have the risk associated with not-knowing what productivity and team chemistry is like, as you mentioned later. All new candidates will pose this risk but that should not be an unknown in her case. – Alpha Apr 18 '15 at 9:15
  • @Alpha, she was a new employee with little history with the company. She only worked there 10 days. – HLGEM Apr 20 '15 at 13:10
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Well, she has lied at least once. Are you sure she is being honest now? Can you trust her? I would have a hard time trusting a person that tells stories to avoid embarrassment. Will she tell more stories in the future to cover for mistakes she or someone else makes?

Now, having said that, if you feel that she was (or is still) in danger, you might want to sit down with her and offer a glimmer of hope that her crazy (ex)boyfriend is not going to ruin her life. If you decide to go this route, you should let her know that your support for her is contingent on her being completely truthful from now on.

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    Well, she has lied at least once. - So have we all. Hundreds of times. – Davor Apr 9 '15 at 8:05
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    @Davor That doesn't change the fact that if you deceive someone and they find out they will trust you less, which is perfectly reasonable. – user17041 Apr 9 '15 at 9:44
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    It's also perfectly reasonable for people to want to keep their private personal business to themselves and be reluctant to discuss it at work. Especially if, for example, it was a job you'd only had 10 days and not had a chance to get to know people well at, yet. I might keep an eye on this person to see if they have a pattern of equivocating instead of facing up to issues which affected their work, but I don't think I'd hold it against them per se if it was a one-off. – Rob Moir Apr 9 '15 at 10:10
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    She lied to her employer to avoid telling them something she ended up telling them anyway, which she found less embarrassing than just being truthful in the first place, or at least just saying "personal reasons" (no further detail should be necessary). – fooot Apr 9 '15 at 15:07

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