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I just interviewed for a small promotion to replace a supervisor. I was surprised to find on the interview committee, 6 co-workers, including:

  • the incumbent (awkward, I felt I had to congenially show respect for her past work, felt uncomfortable about putting forth alternative strategies in total contrast to her style very openly; also, I was on her hiring committee which was very lightweight in comparison),
  • the upper boss I would report to if got the job (fair enough),
  • 1 worker I would be supervising if I got the job,
  • 2 co-workers I had worked closely with in the past year,
  • and 2 new junior hires who I had been an informal mentor to in different ways.

They went through the procedures as if they didn't know me and to ask the same uniform questions of all candidates - but in the past, when I was in charge of interviews, I always upheld the code that I would recuse myself if I knew any of the candidates personally and would therefore be biased... in this case, I felt at least 4 should have recused themselves and the other 2 were poorly qualified, knowing little of the work that was required.

Whether I get the job or not, Iʻm not sure the decision will sit right with me - if scrutinized, I don't think there would be much credibility in the selection procedures followed.

Am I being overly "by the book," or does the composition of the selection committee sound inappropriate to anyone else?

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    It sounds pretty normal to me to have the supervisor/manager be interviewed by the people he would work with. – Masked Man Jun 1 '15 at 11:13
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They went through the procedures as if they didn't know me and to ask the same uniform questions of all candidates

That is exactly what HR wants to see. Every candidate being asked the same basic questions as part of the interview. This means that they can actually compare responses instead of saying The first candidate didn't discuss topic X because we didn't add the question until the 4th candidate.

2 were poorly qualified, knowing little of the work that was required.

They would be able to view the candidates from a lower level. My son, a college student, just served on a committee to help select a dean at his University.

recuse myself if I knew any of the candidates personally and would therefore be biased

whenever internal candidates are being considered, especially when they are being considered to replace their current supervisor, it is hard to avoid knowing the candidate. If everybody knows the situation, and when decisions can be based on facts and similar questions being asked, the process can be fair.

  • Thanks Jane, your last point was especially helpful and astute. I realize the hangup was mine. I should have thought ahead about what I was walking into, to be less caught off guard by the line-up, clearly. – kerfuffled Jun 1 '15 at 18:27

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