I started a new job as a Java developer nearly 3 months ago. A new coworker "Bobert" started three weeks after I did. I'll try keep the story to a minimum, both for brevity and relative anonymity.
We have a very small group of developers in our office. Relevant cast of characters:
- Rusty: team lead, helping me and Bobert get up to speed on our projects
- Scooter: next most senior dev at 4 years with company, does not work with Bobert
- Me: new, working with Bobert
- Bobert: new, working with me
- Joe: Our non-technical manager, basically just a figurehead who approves timesheets, relies on other people to determine if our work is up to par
The company has a probation period of 3 months, at the end of which the company decides whether or not you stay. I haven't gone through this quite yet, but I hear that typically this is a formality. The people responsible for hiring him no longer work for the company. (Scooter is the only other person who was present for Bobert's interview, and said he would have not hired Bobert if it was up to him.)
Scooter, me, and another dev in the office have all privately (to each other) expressed our doubts and concerns about Bobert's behavior/work ethic. Concrete examples of this include:
- He and I had training for a particular system one morning, and needed to submit a couple forms afterwards to gain access. I did so and got my login that afternoon; it's been three weeks and he's still not in the system. He needs access in order to work on his assigned task on my project.
- Asking me for help with extremely basic Java issues - think "how do I use a command line argument". For any of his questions, I either immediately knew the solution because it was so simple, or I did a quick search on the error and figured out his mistake within five minutes.
- Acting unprofessional (personal space invader, or my personal favorite, the sing-song voice: "~someone knocked on our door, who could it beee~"). I mention this both because it is simply poor conduct, and because several of us have been made seriously uncomfortable because of his behavior, to the point of not wanting to be alone in the office with him.
Bobert does not seem to pick up on hints: Scooter and I both heavily implied for a week that Bobert really ought to get in to work on time, but he continued coming in an hour past core hours until Rusty told him directly there might be consequences if he did not change that.
Rusty, while he knows generally what Bobert is supposed to be doing, does not keep tabs on a day-to-day basis. Bobert has been spending the past three weeks working on a single file program. He asked me for help multiple times along the way and showed us the code last week, so I know that the program he "wrote" is an example downloaded straight from Oracle's web site (two weeks) with write-to-file capability added (one week, for what could have been found in a few minutes searching Stack Overflow). Rusty just said "ok, good progress, thanks for the update".
The final piece of information - why I am posting this - is that due to circumstances Scooter and I are the only developers who will be giving inputs to Joe at the end of Bobert's probation. As mentioned before, Scooter has said he would not have hired Bobert, and I know he just doesn't like him, so I doubt that feedback will be positive.
My honest opinion of Bobert's work and potential is not positive. Assuming I will be asked for input, I feel uncomfortable having this much influence, as a relatively new hire myself. As much as I don't like the guy, I would still feel bad if I caused him to be fired - especially if I never gave him a fair shot to fix the problem. But then again... I'm no manager, so maybe it's presumptuous to even worry about it?
In light of this, should I:
- Tell Bobert that I think he needs to shape up
- Tell Rusty (who will not be talking to Joe) that I think Bobert needs to shape up
- Say nothing, and if/when Joe asks, tell him I think Bobert is incompetent citing these (and other) examples
- Say nothing, and if/when Joe asks, be vague and say I guess he can do some things, or something equally weak
- Something else?
(I have searched the site, but I haven't found anything that looks like a duplicate yet. Namely, other questions do not address what to do if you have direct influence for firings but are still a peer and not manager.)