We are a small start-up and I'm one of the senior members. After a hard work day, I went to a bar, where I met an attractive young nonlocal man. We had a one-night stand. We conducted job interviews the next day, and to my surprise, he was one of the candidates...

To clarify: In our candidate review process we don't receive their pictures. The reasons are manifold and I can't change it, so I couldn't have recognized him. We also didn't talk about our jobs etc. in detail.

Now, the interview went fine and no one knows about our previous encounter. He put up a smooth performance and is the other board members' favorite candidate. There were others who conducted the interview equally fine, but his resume was a little bit better (a bit more prestigious university here, more important sounding internship there...).


However, during our one-night stand I got some insight into his character. He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them seriously, tending to use and forget them. I can handle it, but there are many creative and sensitive young women, some even with a troubled background. I fear that the candidate could have a devastating effect on those less experienced. I don't want the team chemistry to suffer or maybe even get destroyed.

I also think that a work environment with mostly male coworkers would be better for the candidate. After all, if he destroys our team, he will have wasted his time also. And he is not that much better than the other candidates, so I would rather give someone else a chance.

Now I have this "special" information about that candidate, and I don't know how I can make use of it. I fear that if I tell my colleagues outright where I got to know him, they would lose their respect for me. And if I invent an elaborate backstory (about a friend or an employer of a different company) as a cover up for my experience, they may start to investigate and find out. I even got the idea to contact the candidate directly (now that I know his name) and tell him to rescind his application, but I fear that if he doesn't understand my concerns, the consequences would be very bad for me.

How to handle that situation?

Hopefully, you understand my dilemma here, although my question may appear crass at the first moment. I just have the feeling that, with my extra knowledge, I can prevent something bad from happening. But I don't see a way to make use of it.

Is there any way I could make use of the information, after all? Are there other possibilities to detect character flaws? Or should I just keep quiet (though I could prevent a bad situation for everyone)? There are many thoughts running through my head and I hope for good hints or maybe even solutions I wouldn't never have thought of.


In order to improve the quality of my question: How do I share information with other members of a hiring committee about an applicant, when their origin is of delicate nature and can potentially damage reputations? Or should I abstain from using this information altogether, even though it may be important for the hiring process?

Edit 2

Let me clarify some of the points that caused confusion. Sorry for not stating them clearer before. The problem was not the one-night stand itself and I don't have hard feelings toward him because of that. I consented and I didn't expect or want more. We didn't share personal information, but had the possibility to speak more freely about our feelings etc. (perhaps comparable to internet anonymity with regards to opening up to strangers). Some already noted, how you don't expect to see your one-night stand, especially in big city anonymity, again. And it was through this, that I got that impression. Yes, I'm aware that it doesn't necessarily constitute hard, objective facts. And yes, a similar situation could occurr with any other conceivable arrangement regarding genders. And even less "morally charged" contexts are imaginable.


Thank you all for those excellent answers! I reported to my boss without specifically mentioning what nature the personal relationship was of and who the candidate was. I also recused from the hiring process and suggested the additional interviews to check whether candidates fit into the team or not. So no one knows about him, and probably won't, because he accepted an offer from another company.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – enderland
    Feb 28, 2017 at 22:30
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    I would want this part to be explained in great detail before any meaningful advice can be given: "during our ONS I got some insight into his character. He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them seriously, tending to use and forget them." Exactly how did you get this insight into this character? How does he not take women seriously? What do you mean by "use and forget"? I certainly hope you're referring to much more than the fact that he had a ONS with you. Given that it was mutually consensual, drawing such inferences from just that would be quite hypocritical (IMO).
    – Deepak
    Mar 1, 2017 at 14:41
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    Using insight gleaned from previous personal or professional encounters to guide one's opinion during the hiring process is commonly done. However, unless the OP can state very clearly and objectively exactly what observations she is using to draw her conclusions on this guy's character, we cannot rule out bias. As such, the safest option may be for the OP to recuse herself entirely from the hiring process citing "a prior personal relationship" without needing to give too many details.
    – Deepak
    Mar 1, 2017 at 14:44
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    If you want to make judgements or discuss theories, take it to the above chat room (or don't post it at all). Amber Rass, I think the overall quality here would be greatly improved if you gave a little more explanation as to why you are getting the impression you did of this person. Right now, it's resulting in a ton of speculation that is probably not overly constructive nor helpful.
    – enderland
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:00
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    I'm wondering how the OP would feel if the situation were to be flipped, and the guy was trying to sabotage her application to protect all the "naive, young guys" in his team, from a woman who "uses and forgets" guys...
    – TCSGrad
    Mar 4, 2017 at 1:08

20 Answers 20


Do Another Interview

You have valuable information from your encounter - but it has not been tested and may or may not apply in general.

You need a way to find out if the behavior you witnessed was something that will be a true problem, without revealing your one night stand.

That can be answered with a second, targeted interview.

Therefore, ask your peers to do another interview with him, "just to make sure he is a good fit".

Request that this interview also include potential co-workers.

Tell them you have some questions you'd like the team to ask.

Then provide the team with questions that will force him to describe how he interacts with others - behavior based questions - focusing specifically around your concerns and observations - but, keeping them neutral.

For example:

Tell about a time when a co-worker didn't seem to understand what you were explaining and what you did to help the other person understand.

Describe the characteristics of someone you would not take seriously in a business environment.

Describe a situation where you were tolerant of an opinion that was opposed to yours

Describe a "good" employee.

Give us an example of how you dealt with the worst trait of your best boss.

Give an example of how you interacted with a highly respected coworker, but one that you did not respect.

Give an example of how you handled working with a coworker that you respected, but who opposed an idea of yours.

Give us an example of how do you handled a person who is slow to learn new things.

Provide a few examples where you delegated an important task to an employee - or a trusted coworker - for completion and they failed. What did you do?

How do you deal with non-creative people? Provide specific examples.

Describe a situation where your boss or coworker would not listen to you, even though you were 100% correct.

Look for patterns - do all the "difficult/slow/annoying" people turn out to be women? Or, share traits similar to the people you work with (male or female)? Are the "best boss/best coworker/best employee" always men - or perhaps the opposite of the folks in your office?

Observe him - When a female is asking him the interview questions, does he get defensive? Or, speak in a condescending manner to her?

Doing this will allow you to raise your private concerns within the context of a formal interview process which should weed him out if what you observed is generally true about him.

  • 51
    Nice answer but unless all candidates are held to the same scrutiny it is biased. There is a bias in the comment "observe problematic character traits". The character traits they observe may not be problematic. No one observed problematic character traits in the first interview. Observe long enough and you will find a flaw. Amber I don't question your observation. I have problem with your respect for privacy. What if you had disclosed a dark secret or character flaw behind that closed door? If you are not good with what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas then don't go to Vegas.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 2, 2017 at 10:29
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    Conducting such an interview is disingenuous, as you're simply looking for an excuse not to hire him. Many of those questions are essentially loaded from the get-go. "Describe a situation where your boss or coworker would not listen to you, even though you were 100% correct." <- very rarely is one 100% correct, while the other person is 100% wrong. Describe a "good" employee. <- Come again? Is it someone who shows up on time and "works really hard"? Describe the characteristics of someone you would not take seriously in a business environment. < - the person asking these questions.
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:07
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    The OP is trying so very, very hard to get rid of this guy based on an opinion she formed during a private interaction. She has no problem holding that against him, and manipulating the interview process into finding some perceived flaw in his character. However, she refuses to admit to her fellow managers why it is that she holds it. The pot is calling the kettle black, it seems. Had she come forward and been honest, she would have done the honorable thing. But manipulating the process and claiming to be doing it for the poor, naive girls she's trying to protect is hypocritical.
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:17
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    @AndreiROM - If the OP is right, and the individual is a problem, then that would be bad, no? And, if the questions are kept to business behavior and the candidate answers them in a rude, condescending manner, then that is problem - regardless of "how" the organization came to know to ask behavior questions. And, if the candidate answers the questions in a polite, professional manner, then he passes the test and the OP will have to assume that what she observed was a corner case.
    – user45269
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:50
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    @prinz - my problem with how this is playing out is that I perceive dishonesty and manipulation as the foundation of this 2nd interview. If the OP came forward and said "Listen, I think this guy is shifty, but I'm biased, so I'm simply going to recommend that the rest of you conduct a second interview." and left it at that, it would be fair, and professional. Instead, the OP is hiding her interaction with the applicant, while setting the stage for this "character flaw" interview. And if he passes it I'm now reasonably certain she will find some other obstacle to place in his path
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:56

People can act completely differently in the office to out of the office - it's entirely possible that this guy knows how to conduct himself in an office (and the interviews appear to bear that out).

To my mind, your contact with him shouldn't really affect the outcome of the hiring process - if he gets a job then you'll have to deal with any bad experiences if and when they happen.

In summary, you don't really know what's going to happen in the workplace, you met and interacted with him in a completely different scenario.

If the consensus of the hiring team deem him a good fit, then I don't see why you can't go ahead.

Unless you seeing him working at your company unsettles you and you want to sabotage that in some way (even if doing so unconsciously).

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Mar 2, 2017 at 21:12
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    How does this answer answer the question about how to reveal info without disclosing its source?
    – Dronz
    Mar 2, 2017 at 23:32
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    I think it address the wuestion in wider scope "Shall I disclose this information at all?" No, you shouldn't.
    – Crowley
    Mar 3, 2017 at 11:13
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    @Dronz I think this answer makes it (implicitly) clear that you don't reveal the info, covertly or otherwise, because it's actually completely non-relevant.
    – aroth
    Mar 4, 2017 at 3:48
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    It's unfair towards the candidate to assume that his personal opinions affect his workplace behaviour. +1
    – Mafii
    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:06

You should disclose that you know the applicant and have reservations as to hiring him:

"In a crazy turn of events, I actually met this candidate at a bar last night. My interaction with him leads me to believe that even though he presented us with a very polished persona in the interview, he is not a suitable for this position"

Of course at that point you may have to provide some more details.

By not informing your colleagues for the reason behind your bias you could be placing the company in a position of liability. By having been involved in the hiring process, and depending on the laws in your particular area, this applicant might have a pretty good case against your company if he is not hired:

This woman slept with me, then sabotaged my application because she didn't want me around.

In my opinion, you should immediately call a meeting with your boss, and explain the situation in as much detail as you can without quite coming out and saying more than you wish:

I believe I have a delicate situation on my hands, and I want to explain it to you because I don't want it to become a liability to the company. On the evening of February X, I went out to the bar after work, and, in a crazy coincidence, met this candidate. We had a few drinks, and spent some time together (provide as little or as much detail as you feel comfortable). This interaction offers me some insight into his personality which I feel makes him unsuitable for the position, and (again, an optional statement which you can reword) I have to also confess a personal reluctance to interact with this person on a daily basis.

At this point HR might be brought in, and a decision made. This person might get hired in a position which is not subordinate to you. Or maybe the other senior managers will respect your opinion/request and hire the next person in line instead.

It is also conceivable that going into so much detail about your personal life will colour your coworker's opinion of you. This might be unpleasant, but I believe it would be much worse if the situation comes to light when/if this person accuses the company of some sort of bias due to your interaction.

EDIT: I'd like to clarify something based on some of the comment threads, and the accepted answer:

I do not feel that it honorable, or ethical to place obstacles in the applicant's path without coming clean as to why you are doing so.

It's perfectly OK to be biased against someone.

Maybe something very subtle in the OP's interaction with the applicant did indeed raise red flags, and she is perfectly justified in not wanting him working there. I'm not dismissing her opinion as irrelevant, and support her right to act on it (by telling people she just doesn't like him, for example).

However, I emphatically do not support pushing for further "character flaw" interviews without the OP coming clean to the rest of the management team that she holds a bias in the matter, and that she has interacted with the applicant outside of the workplace. (aka why she doesn't like him)

I'm not saying that the OP need elaborate on the exact nature of that interaction, or in any way "humiliate" herself in front of her colleagues, but the bias should be admitted.

Anything less is disingenuous and hypocritical.

(Hypocrisy comes into play when you secretly ruin this person's chances at getting a job because you think he might somehow be mean to the naive and vulnerable young women working for you. The only person demonstrating unethical behavior is the OP at that point.)

  • 9
    This is definitely the best answer by far. I would add that it actually applies well regardless of the actual details of the "outside knowledge ". I'd also like to point out that it is extremely common for outside knowledge to impact a hiring process, again regardless of the source, and in both directions.
    – Paul
    Mar 1, 2017 at 11:10
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    This is the only answer that points out the candidate could have a strong case against the company if he finds out the reason he wasn't hired was due to his romantic interlude. Mar 1, 2017 at 16:41
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    As an outsider looking at this, the OP should just say, "I know Candidate X from events outside of work, and I would like to recuse myself from his evaluation." Anything less will open the door to legal action. Mar 1, 2017 at 18:40
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    Wow, people are taking this way out of proportion. "I don't think we should hire this candidate based on past personal interaction with them" is not illegal or unethical. Discriminating against a group of people defined by something outside their control and based on generalizations you make about that group is wrong. Discriminating against an individual based on experiences with that individual is not. Mar 2, 2017 at 14:24
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    @Voo: That's a matter of company policy, not law. Such policy can and should require disclosure of conflict-of-interest/nepotism type situations, because they could lead to the company hiring an unqualified candidate. I don't see any justifiable need for the opposite. "Would make a hostile work environment for an existing good employee and compromise our ability to retain them" is a good reason not to hire without the need to know an details on why. Mar 3, 2017 at 17:58

How do I share information with other members of a hiring committee about an applicant, when their origin is of delicate nature and can potentially damage reputations? Or should I abstain from using this information altogether, even though it may be important for the hiring process?

Be careful here.

Inadvertently, you now have a "special relationship" with a job candidate. The significance of that may depend on local laws, your position within the company, the domain in which the company operates, the role being filled in relationship to you, etc. For example, if this new role reports to you either directly or indirectly, now or in the future, things might become very difficult.

You may want to discuss this with HR (or the CEO if there is no HR) immediately.

Hopefully, you at least recused yourself from the interviews.

Imagine if something untoward happens after hiring this person and your relationship comes to light. Imagine if this person is rejected for the position and feels discriminated against because of you. Imagine if this person decides to retaliate by exposing your relationship. Imagine if this person decides to sue.

Top management tends not to like being surprised. And this might be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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    This is the only right answer. Talk to HR and let them untangle it. Mar 2, 2017 at 18:46
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    The voice of reason.
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 2, 2017 at 21:07

You place too much emphasis on what you learnt from a brief encounter and you're extrapolating and rationalising it as a public service to women in your workplace, the team and anything else. But that is totally beside the point of how I perceive the real underlying issue to be for whatever genders are involved.

I might be wrong, but the problem here is that you are uncomfortable with this candidate working at your company for personal reasons, which is totally understandable to me. I wouldn't want to work with an ex lover either for any number of totally good reasons.

I would just be upfront with the rest of the board about it, leaving out all details.

"I'm not comfortable with this person being around me." and move forwards from there. If I was a fellow board member, that would be enough for me, the application would go to the bottom of the pile. You may be queried about it, but you can field those as they arise. My personal response as to why would be similar to "None of your business."

  • You got a point here, but I think that if she points out that she is not comfortable with that person so early, and eventually that person gets hired and the truth comes out the situation will not turn too nice for her.
    – Wtower
    Feb 28, 2017 at 22:18
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    "I'm not comfortable with this person being around me"... "None of your business" is not an objective process, and any decent board would challenge your basis (Imagine if a male interview board said this about a female candidate, or minority, or disabled). If challenged, I'd expect you to say "I was previously in a relationship with him, I just didn't recognize the name." In any case, you don't actually know what his attitudes in the workplace are: so you don't have 'information', just guesses. If you genuinely want to check what his attitudes in the workplace are, recommend background check.
    – smci
    Feb 28, 2017 at 23:08
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    @Wtower if it's going to turn sour, it will turn sour, at least this way there is a chance to make sure it never happens.
    – Kilisi
    Mar 1, 2017 at 2:20
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    @smci I agree that "None of your business" may not be useful because it may lead to the board questioning the OP. But "I was previously in a relationship with him, I just didn't recognize the name." likely also raises questions - you were in a relationship (which sounds rather more serious than what it really was) with somebody and don't remember their name? I'd be way more unspecific in describing the situation. Something like "I happened to met the candidate socially before the interview and saw some behaviour that would make me feel quite uncomfortable working around him." Mar 1, 2017 at 9:33
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    @smci Well, there's the ideal and the real world... 1: If you completely disregard aversions between candidates and future colleagues because the candidate looks good on paper, you're heading for trouble. The team has to be able to work together, you've got to give some consideration to matching personalities. 2: There are still a number of boards like that out there that ultimately decide against applications on "gut feelings". It's just that here it's a man who's decided against by a woman for a change, not the other way round as is traditional. Mar 2, 2017 at 9:26

Whether you want to or not, you need to come clean about what happened. You need to discuss this with your CEO, your HR and possibly your company lawyer. You need legal advice so that you don't open your company to a lawsuit particularly if he is in fact the most qualified candidate and not one of the most qualified.

Even if they choose to hire him, there may be reason to make sure you are not in a reporting relationship.

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    Agree that OP should formally recuse herself. Disagree that doing so necessarily involves airing the nature of their interaction. Feb 28, 2017 at 19:08
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    @JaredSmith, she really needs corporate legal advice on this, the more I think about it. He could sue if not chosen and she could be in trouble if she is his supervisor if they hire. There is no delicate way to get out of this.
    – HLGEM
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:10
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    Exactly @HLGEM. This could be a latent sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen if not diffused. Because of that, I think the nature of the interaction becomes important, at least in the USA. Mar 1, 2017 at 0:12
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    You're absolutely right that the OP needs to consider her company's best interest in a potential lawsuit. But in addition she also needs to consider her own best interest; after all HR is working to protect the company, not necessarily the OP. Also, disclosing a one night stand at work likely still is a risky move for a woman, even in the 21st century. Mar 1, 2017 at 15:04
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    I have no idea why people would have to "come clean" for a single encounter. And what about the phrase come clean, just use the knowledge as a parameter in the total picture of the candidate, be pragmatic and don't over complicate it. There is no right to be hired and there are lots of other subjective evaluations going on. Lawsuit, what if other applicants hear about the "date" before the interview, should we then be afraid they would take out a lawsuit, because the other guy was "clearly" hired because of that. It's just bad luck but people are making to much of it.
    – cognacc
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:11

First thing, think really hard about whether your observations are worth bringing up. You have only spent one night with this person, so do you really know him well enough to sabotage his application? I'll assume there was alcohol involved, so are you sure that your perceptions were accurate and that you were seeing how he would behave in a professional environment? Alcohol aside, are you sure his bar/bedroom personality is the same as his work personality? Is it possible your opinion of him is biased because of how the night/morning went?

Clearly I think that you should most likely not say anything about this. However, let's say that he did or said something egregious that you think is really worth bringing up. Go to the hiring manager or someone else you trust with influence and be honest. Tell them you met the candidate in a bar the night before not realizing who he was, and what interactions you had that made you think he wouldn't fit at the office. Make sure to plan out ahead of time what specific things you want to say about the candidate. If you think your arguments will be hard to justify to the manager, then maybe it's best to keep them to yourself.

There's no need to mention that you went home together, but it's also reasonable to ask the manager not to say who shared this information. Be clear that you've only met the candidate this once and whether there was alcohol involved. Also be clear that you will not hold it against the manager or the candidate if he is hired and that you will always behave professionally. Your motive here is making sure the hiring manager has all of the information, not to dissuade them from hiring the candidate.

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    IMHO its only fair if you bring up the situation, you tell the whole truth, not just the part that you want for HR to hear. Most unfair to the applicant.
    – Neo
    Feb 28, 2017 at 13:45
  • @MisterPositive while I see your point, fairness doesn't really come in to play outside of protected discrimination. If all other things were equal, the team should choose the person they get along with better. That's not fair, nor does it need to be, it's just practical.
    – user30031
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:34
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    @MisterPositive that's why I said "If all other things were equal"
    – user30031
    Feb 28, 2017 at 14:46
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    +1 for actually answering OP's question rather than solely second-guessing their observations.
    – Joe
    Feb 28, 2017 at 18:56
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    No it's not fair or unfair to not disclose that. That is personal business. The answers i read here sees to have an assumption that it is a grave injustice if this guy is not hired because of some subjective bias. It might be a little bit unfair or not, but the person will not die or not be able to get another job or job intervire
    – cognacc
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:15

I... I am embarrassed by the other answers here.

A woman spends an evening with the candidate, yet her evaluations are less accurate than the interviewers who spent an hour (at most) with him - in a situation where he's on his best behavior?

To the problem at hand... This is a secret. If he gets hired, you're going to have to live with this secret. Every time you see him chatting with women at the office, every time you pass him in the hallway the secret will be there. I doubt I'd be able to live with it. I doubt most could.

So, as I see it, you have three options:

  1. You quit. Your secret is safe, your workplace may be worse off, but maybe it doesn't matter.
  2. You fess up. There is no secret, so no lingering torment. Maybe your workers think worse of you (for what? welcome to the new millennia). Maybe the candidate gets hired anyways (but your conscience is clear).
  3. You influence. If other candidates had their own strengths, then advocate for them. Maybe argue against him, but that seems... Extra unethical. Then you take your chances. Maybe he's hired, maybe he's not. Maybe the other answers are right and he's not that bad. Maybe your gut is right and he's cancer. Maybe he has no intention of accepting an offer. Maybe your company won't make a compelling offer.
  4. You do nothing. Similar to number three. Ideally, you excuse yourself from the hiring process due to a conflict. That has its own problems, but will limit you from potential future problems.

Personally, I would fess up. I couldn't stand working with someone who I thought was sexist - especially if I could've done something, but didn't. Too much regret. And honestly, if my coworkers want to ding me for a one night stand, I'm not sure I'd want to spend most of my waking hours with them either.

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    “I am embarrassed by the other answers here.” — Spot on, unfortunately. Mar 2, 2017 at 13:18
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    @KonradRudolph Many answers were very objective: one should take care when refusing a candidate based on unrelated experiences, as in some places this can be considered a kind of discrimination. Simply invert everything (the genders, age, relation, everything) and analyse if a senior member of the company asking to dismiss a young lady from the interview because she seems to commit too fast to other man, and that he got this opinion from a one-night-stand from a previous night. If it doesn't sound correct, filter out each element at a time (genders, age, etc) and see where's the problem Mar 2, 2017 at 20:07
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    @KonradRudolph "I don't think we should hire Gloria because I boned her last night, and I don't think she's respectful to men". Yeah, we'll see how that plays out in the reverse.
    – Cruncher
    Mar 2, 2017 at 21:30
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    @Cruncher Why is everyone insisting in equating promiscuity and personal faults here?! because that's what you are implying, otherwise this makes no sense. Are we in the 50s? Mar 2, 2017 at 21:36
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    @Cruncher It's an unfair summary. And inverting the genders changes people's perception of the issue because sexism is overwhelmingly one-sided, especially in its negative effect on workers in startups. It would be disingenuous to pretend that this isn't the case, or to ignore this. Mar 2, 2017 at 22:48

Not getting your logic here.

However, during our one-night stand I got some insight into his character. He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them serious, tending to use and forget them.

You had a one night stand with a younger attractive man from out of town and you pass judgement on him for not taking women seriously and tending to use and forget them.

You did not get this person's name, job, nor reason for being in town.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

During the actual interview was he condescending towards women in any way?

Do you really think this person's behavior during a one night stand is a valid indication of how he would behave in a business environment?

I fear that the candidate could have a devastating effect on those less experienced. I don't want the team chemistry to suffer or maybe even get destroyed.

That is just a bit of stretch here. You may say you are good with a one night stand as that is what you signed up for but I am getting a tinge of scorned woman here. Maybe you don't want to work with someone that has something on you is also a factor. Hiring this person could go poorly for you. For your personal interest you should get him rejected.


You're entirely compromised in this situation. Your judgement is not sound on this one and your question illustrates this clearly.

You obviously felt it was perfectly acceptable to get as intimate with this human being as is possible, and suddenly today he's a user/abuser and you're super concerned about all the poor vulnerable women at your company and keeping them safe from this terrible evil man.

The only non-head-in-the-sand, non-misandric answer to this question is that you're embarrassed that your personal life walked right into your office at work, and worse still, other people want it stay. You're not at fault professionally here at all, but you're going to definitely be at fault professionally if you decide to torpedo someone's career because you feel uncomfortable, and only for participating in literally the exact same activity that you did.

The only correct thing you can do is explain that you don't feel the candidate would be a good fit because there is an existing personal relationship, or recuse yourself from the process because of a prior personal relationship. Whichever route you choose, sit back after and deal with the outcome professionally as well.

Another thing you need to consider beyond your own personal feelings is the company itself. I think by not immediately recusing yourself, you've possibly opened the company up to a lawsuit (depending on locale). If the candidate isn't selected, he could claim that you and your relationship are the reason. If he is hired and then dismissed, he could claim this as well.

At the end of the day, this is a tough situation but it needs to be handled professionally. Torching someones reputation to hide aspects of your personal life is hardly professional.

  • 1
    gosh yes. 1000 times yes. Mar 2, 2017 at 3:57
  • I would say that she is nor compromised, she just shows she has a conscience and probably some bias that ALL people have. I often feel guilty of actions impacting others potentially badly, because i think a lot of other people. But why should i be compromised just for thinking about that and have empathy of other people. This is what some people use against you, the prime example is bullies, they use that you have a conscience, "see you fell bad or guilty that means you must be compromised, now you should be even more emphatic/friendly towards me", taking advantage of your consideration.
    – cognacc
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:34

Abstain from the decision making process for reasons of "personal conflict of interest" and go no further. This alleviates the long explanation, and eliminates the risk of a lawsuit, given that you were not involved in any of the hiring process decisions. Also state that, because of the conflict of interest of a personal nature, he should not be placed in a position of subordinate so as to prevent a legally actionable situation, or at the least an uncomfortable or toxic working condition.

  • 1
    Great answer, protects both the applicant ( who is the best candidate by OP's own admission ) and the OP.
    – Neo
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:37
  • 5
    It might be worthwhile to point out that if hypothetically he is hired ... - you want to make explicit that you are not making a recommendation either way.
    – MSalters
    Mar 1, 2017 at 21:16
  • @MSalters Good point. Wording always matters. Mar 3, 2017 at 15:00

You need to find a lawyer who knows employment law in your area.

While you did not have a personal relationship with someone while you knew you had employment power over them, it turns out that was in fact the case that you where going to have employment power over them. Proving this was or was not known is going to be impossible. And there could be liability for you and your company here.

Imagine after being hired and things going bad, or not hired, he alleges you did know he was an applicant, and you used that to coerce behavior he objected to. There would be little to corroborate your version of the story over his. So even if you did nothing wrong, you have accidentally exposed you and your company to liability risk.

The liability may be larger if you hire or not hire the person. The liability may be higher if you speak about it to HR, or do not speak about it to HR. The liability may be higher if you speak about it to your colleagues, or don't speak about it to your colleagues.

Your first duty is to yourself; determine how to minimize your own liability. Hence speaking to an employment lawyer of your own. Your second duty is to your company; minimizing its liability. That lawyer can advise you how you should bring it up.

Only after those concerns, consider if the person would be an ideal fit. As noted, there are nearly equivalent qualified applicants if this one is passed over. The liability concerns may be far, far larger than the difference in this person's performance (either way) with his competition.

I am not a lawyer, but you need one.

  • 4
    There's no need for a lawyer. What both people did that night is perfectly fine legally, and none of our business. As long as both behave as adults and don't let their actions be influenced by this in any way, everything is just fine. That's not what OP asks about, but that's what she should do.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:18
  • 7
    @gnasher729 Just because you act within the law, doesn't mean you don't need a lawyer.
    – Yakk
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:21
  • 10
    @gnash So, suppose he doesn't get hired. Does she need a lawyer? So he gets hired, then is let go 3 months later. Does she need a lawyer? She has zero control over his behaviour; if he doesn't behave as an adult, does she need a lawyer? Does she give advice on the candidate? Does she restruct it to technical? If asked for gut feel, is she honest? Does she recuse herself from giving any advice? When she does, does she explain why? If placed in a position to supervise him, does she inform HR of the prior persoanl connection? Can you answer these liability questions without being a lawyer?
    – Yakk
    Feb 28, 2017 at 23:57
  • 5
    She does need a lawyer, and the company lawyer needs to be informed as well. If he's not chosen he could claim discrimination on these grounds at the very least. If he's hired and then fired later, he could claim this, claim sexual harassment ("I was fired because I stopped having sex with my boss"), all kinds of stuff. It was a really bad decision to not immediately recuse herself. +1
    – user60813
    Mar 1, 2017 at 17:04
  • 3
    It is quite American to claim there's a lawyer needed for anything more mundane than breathing. Let's not go overboard. Informing a company lawyer can make sense. He must inform you if he sees a conflict of interest in representing both you and the company. At that point you have a lawyer professionally telling you you need another lawyer.
    – MSalters
    Mar 1, 2017 at 21:13

However, during our one-night stand I got some insight into his character. He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them serious, tending to use and forget them

I think you have made a massive leap from a 1 night stand to assume all of the above. With a one night stand, you don't usually get that much insight into a person's character. Especially if you both knew it was a 1 night stand, then how a person acts with a 1 night stand may be completely different to normal.

You probably need to disclose that you have met him and the setting etc (I'm not 100% you need to say you slept together, but you may have to, just for clarity). But I don't think it's fair for you to say he isn't suitable based on a brief interaction in a bar, completely away from the work place.

A person can be wholly professional in the workplace and different outside of the workplace and one brief meeting when a person isn't acting in a professional setting, where you could have both had a few drinks (if you met in a bar) is conclusive enough to say he is condascending toward women etc.


This is one of the most interesting questions I've seen in a long time, this question has me thinking a lot about what the "correct" answer would look like.

From my understanding you too had a "one off" with this guy and according to you he didn't have the "best personality", a short while after he came to the job interview and he was "smooth" and did "good".

Since this is the case I would do one of these three things:

  1. You come clean and say:

Me and this guy met in a bar, he was really nice and friendly at first so we went home together. I soon realised that he wasn't the best person to be around and he may not be the best candidate for our team and could possibly ruin the dynamic of the team.

NOTE: you may have to specifically define what "went home together" means.

Now this is where things get complicated, because if he finds out that you did this he could sue you and your company and it could become a legal mess (I.E: a very bad situation), he could build a very strong case against you just by saying:

We slept together, I wanted to go and work for the company she works at and because she doesn't want to see me work there, she sabotaged my chance to get a job.

NOTE: that (^) is exactly what happened.

He says that to his lawyers and that he could sue the heck out of you and have a very (very) good chance of winning the case and any sane lawyer could put two and two together and say:

The defendant had sex with my client and a short while after their first encounter he attended a job interview at the company that the defendant worked at, and the defendant was present at the interview. My best guess is that the defendant did not want the stress and / or difficulty of working with a stranger she had sex with on the same night they met and that she didn't want her colleagues finding out about her one night stand with my client (a random stranger) during their first encounter. She may have feared that her actions may be seen as "immoral" and / or "un-ladylike" by her peers and colleagues. So she sabotaged my client's opportunity to get a job so that she could save herself from feeling her own negative emotions as a direct result of her own actions.

That paragraph alone would have any jury leaning to a guilty verdict and all that would be left for him to almost certainly guarantee a legal victory, would be to get witnesses from the scene who overheard your conversation to testify that he did not force you to go home with him and that you went with him of your own free will.

If he does find someone to testify on his behalf, his lawyer may follow up with:

The defendant went home with my client of her own free will, she was not forced or coerced into accompanying him home or to have sex with him.
Here is "Bob" to testify that this is the truth.

Bob testifies and at this point there is a 95% chance that he wins the case. It would literally take a miracle for you to be found not guilty.

NOTE: Lawyers are brutal and will use everything and anything that they can against you, nowadays even something you did 3 years ago can become evidence of similar behaviour in the past. If the situation gets out of hand and you find yourself having to go to court, get yourself some good lawyers and be careful about what you say.

NOTE: if your account can be linked to you in real life then this post could possibly count as legal evidence.

  1. You don't say anything about it, instead you go to the guy and say:

Hey what happened; happened there is nothing between us, and it's not going to happen again. Let's forget about it, move on and act professional.

If he is a responsible adult and has a sense of dignity he will say "all right", act professionally about what happened and get on with his job.

  1. You ignore it and pretend like it never even happened.

That's it, you talk about work and that's it, nothing more and nothing less. You say what you have to say only when you have to say it, and when he tries to talk to you about what happened you deflect / change the topic / cut him off and move on (quickly).

Now this is where things get a little more touchy, in your question you said:

However, during our one-night stand I got some insight into his character. He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them seriously, tending to use and forget them.

I'm going to be blunt here (my apologies if you are offended) but the whole point of a one night stand is to have sex ONCE and NOT to take it SERIOUSLY. Meaning it's relatively common for one (or both) of the participants to forget about the other person in a short amount of time.

I personally think he was horny and drunk (or at least tipsy), he most likely wasn't interested into getting to know you and he just wanted someone to sleep with for the night.
So when he got what he wanted he and left and there probably isn't anything more to it.

In my opinion I think you automatically assumed those negative things about his personality because you were probably shocked at his lack of effort to be more "friendly".

Besides, he probably didn't put on his "best attitude" because he thought you were going to have sex once and that he was never going to see you after that night.

And on top of all this you have only spent one night with this guy, meaning it's not enough time to give a such a strong opinion about him.
For example if he said:

If she felt comfortable enough with me to get as intimate as two people can possibly get (I.E: having sex on the first night) how could she say I'm a bad person?

How would you even begin to respond to such a question..? Try to explain / rationalise your strong opinion and you literally become someone who is comfortable enough to have sex with someone on the first night but not comfortable enough to work with them in an office, try to go back on what you said you look like someone who let's things get to them on an emotional level and someone who doesn't know how to handle a tough situation or someone they dislike. Either ways it makes you look extremely bad and your reputation and credibility will take a tremendous blow and your career might end because of it.

As the head of the board at my own company if you told me about this or I happened to find out about this from another source, I would sit you both down and tell you that I don't want your one night stand to affect the company in a negative way and if it does, you can both show yourselves to the door.

Most company directors / managers don't joke or mess around when it comes to their business and I am almost certain that yours doesn't either. Please be very careful about what you do and say, as your actions can be seen negatively and you can both lose your jobs for it or even worse, you could loose your job for trying to sabotage him and he could be hired to replace you.

I'm sorry if any of what I've said comes across as rude but in my opinion it's the honest truth.

  • What's your legal background? You give us percentage of winning the case, were the candidate to sue OP; I'd believe the only relevant part was already posted on other answers: talk to HR/your CEO, get legal advice. Mar 1, 2017 at 13:47
  • @PierreArlaud Objection - Irrelevant. Mango's "legal background" does't matter, their argument sounds like it could convince anyone in a jury (and also sounds like many episodes of "legal" tv shows too, that all have legal research departments) so upvote
    – Xen2050
    Mar 1, 2017 at 16:07
  • 2
    @Xen2050 It is relevant, they're speaking as though from a position of authority - but do they actually know this could happen and the likelihood of winning or are they just assuming. I liked this answer until about half way through and it started feeling rather judgmental and started writing off the "bad vibes" as just the OP being silly or over-reacting or whatever. We don't know what he said but it was clearly bad enough that she is uncomfortable about it. Trying to tell her she imagined it is not answering the question when we have no idea what or how he actually said.
    – Tim B
    Mar 1, 2017 at 17:03
  • You're pretending that the jury only hears one side of the case. The opposing lawyer may as well claim that the man initiated the one-night stand in order to improve his chances of getting a job. And given that the stereotype is that men pick up women, jury members may very well find that story to be more believable from the start.
    – MSalters
    Mar 1, 2017 at 21:26
  • I do not know, but i cant see how a lawyer can say that it is sabotage, why is it sabotage to use your knowledge in a job interview, is it illegal to have subjective judgements, a job interview is not a trial. And even if the information is obtained from there why is illegal to use it. Are you saying because that information is obtained this way, the hirer by law is required to separate that from the subjective evaluation happening in the interview? To me people are making to much out of it. The information is accidentily discovered, but with no foresight. Aka shit happens, get on with it.
    – cognacc
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:49

I'm baffled by the number of people focussing on the amount of time that you spent with them and how that renders your point of view invalid.

This is precisely the reality of an interview - you spend time with a candidate, you ask them questions and you make an assessment on the appropriateness of their fit in the company and in the role.

This is particularly important in a small startup where the cultural impact of a new employee can be significant.

I think that it's important for you to share your experiences with this candidate with the hiring team. I think you need to be up front and candid about how you came about the information and then I think you need to provide an objective assessment of what you observed.

I think a lot of the answers here presume too much about why you concluded that this candidate's attitude to women is a problem. If you genuinely believe that you could objectively describe the conversations that you had and the evidence that they provided that lead you to your conclusions, then you should share them.

In short: be honest, limit your feedback to that which you can objectively support and let the hiring committee decide.

  • 18
    I'm baffled that you don't see how having sex with your potential future employee puts you in a complete conflict of interest in every possible way. She felt comfortable enough with this guy to get as intimate as you possibly can with another human being, and suddenly now he's a huge user/abuser/scumbag. Cmon.
    – user60813
    Mar 1, 2017 at 7:03
  • 1
    Are her observations objective though? She's gone to a bar, had a couple of drinks maybe to unwind? At what point is her judgement possibly impaired. Plus a person can be completely professional in the workplace and a complete jerk out of it. Mar 1, 2017 at 8:34
  • 3
    Since I don't know the OP and I wasn't present, I don't know how much she had to drink and I don't know how she came to reach her conclusions, nor would I presume to. That's why I explicitly recommend that the OP provide whatever feedback she can objectively support. That may, ultimately, be none.
    – Dancrumb
    Mar 1, 2017 at 8:47
  • 4
    Or maybe she should recuse herself from the interview and have no interaction with the process, also she should make sure he doesn't report to her. After all people behave differently in different situations. He probably didn't want to put much effort into what was a one night stand. In the work place it's a totally different thing as he will know those people a lot longer. If he does cause problems in the work place, well that's what HR is for. I'm pretty sure they'd rather deal with that than OP sabotaging a candidate.
    – Snowlockk
    Mar 1, 2017 at 10:35

I expand my comment to an answer to list the cases to explain why the outcome is challengeable, if you do not disqualify yourself.

There are two axis:

  • Whether he gets the job
  • Whether you have proof that you tried actively sabotage him

It can be seen that you like the person and helped him. If he does get the job it is kind of late to say that you hate him, if you did not all the time say not his guy so actively that everyone remembers how badly you did not want to have that guy in. That would naturally have been suspicious already during the process.

If he does not get the job, and there is proof of your sabotage you will look really nasty person because you never told the information, why the person should not be hired. Even if there is no proof, you seem a bit dubious. People may assume that you have some grudge and let that affect your work.


Keep it straight and simple

If you tell lies here they may come out and hurt you badly. As such I would recommend you to stick to the truth, but leave out the details.

It can be as simple as this:

I encountered him outside the interview, and do not believe he is a suitable candidate

Of course they will ask how and why, just respond:

Sorry, I do not want to go into the details. Can we discuss the remaining candidates?

In the worst case he can get upset and tell 'your secret', but if he gets hired it is likely a matter of time before this comes out anyway. (And then people might start to gossip about how he got in.)

If you get confronted with the situation, do not apologize or try to build a case based on 'detailled but soft judgement' but just stick to something like:

Yes we met under those conditions. I will not give further details on that but am very much convinced that he would not make a good addition to the team.

As you can already see from the replies here you will get into a swamp if you try to extrapolate behaviour from a strange encounter to his general personality, so I would absolutely stay away from those kinds of discussions. If you have to say something more specific because feedback must be defendable, just use one of the standard lines that applies here, like 'Not a good fit with the team'.

  • 2
    This would be completely unethical.
    – Andy
    Mar 1, 2017 at 23:52
  • +1 as this is the core of the answer I was considering writing. Just tell people you have interacted with him outside of work; based on those interactions, you have knowledge that leads you to question whether he should be part of the team (or you actively recommend against it), and people who (naturally) want more details can be told that those reasons are not available due to your desire of personal privacy. All of that is is 100% true: No reason why OP needs to invent trouble by unnecessarily sharing unrequired details. @Andy, what's unethical here?
    – TOOGAM
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:47
  • 2
    @TOOGAM Hiding the fact that you have a pre-existing relationship with the candidate, refusing to discuss what that relationship entailed when its the entire basis of the reason recommending other candidates, and sabotaging the candidate via lies of omission. There's a huge conflict of interest here, and I'm sorry, but I don't buy for a second that a one night stand isn't influencing the OP. Whether positive or negative, I suspect a ONS would influence most people, and the best thing is to remove yourself from the decision making process.
    – Andy
    Mar 3, 2017 at 22:14
  • Thank you @Andy. I respectfully disagree, favoring individuals' privacy over the business knowing all personal details. If the business knows that a trusted decision maker has cast a red flag and possible COI, that's enough; business doesn't need to know whether the outside info was from person being ex-step-sibling, spouse, ONS, ex-business-partner, ex-church-leader, whatever. Many would cast judgement (on OP as well as candidate) for involvement in ONS, so best to keep generic. If it is revealed there are more details, that's sufficiently honest. No need to share what those details are
    – TOOGAM
    Mar 4, 2017 at 18:04
  • 1
    @TOOGAM You lose your right to privacy when you continue to participate in the interview / hiring process. If you want to maintain your privacy, the only option is to tell your employer you think there might be a COI and cannot participate in the process for this candidate any further. But as soon as you start to share some details ("I don't think he's a good fit") you're obligated to fully disclose. Ethically there is no in-between here. You say nothing, or you tell the complete truth.
    – Andy
    Mar 5, 2017 at 16:43

In your first edit, you ask:

Or should I abstain from using this information altogether, even though it may be important for the hiring process?

And the answer to that is "Yes, definitely abstain". From using the "information" you have, and (if possible) from the general hiring process for this candidate.

In professional terms, you should recuse yourself due to having a past relationship with the candidate which might give rise to the appearance of a conflict of interest. Something along the lines of:

I just wanted to point out that I've had a personal relationship with this candidate in the past, and as such I don't feel it would be appropriate for me to participate in his application/interview(s).

...directed to the hiring committee should suffice. Quick, simple, and protects your business from accusations of bias or unfair hiring practices.

That's not necessarily the answer in every case, but in this instance it's the safest bet. Why?

Consider the Evidence

Based upon the information provided, there does not seem to be sufficient grounds for unilaterally sabotaging the candidate's application. Which is the essence of what's being proposed (if a way to do it covertly can be found).

The negative information that's been gathered about the candidate is that (emphasis mine):

He seems to be condescending towards women, not taking them seriously, tending to use and forget them.

Based upon the "seems", it sounds like you're not even positive yourself if the candidate really has these traits or if that's just a mistaken impression.

Unless there's significantly more to the story than has been provided (and if there is, please elaborate in the question), the case being made against the candidate is not very strong.

Consider the Claims

Despite that, the conclusions you've jumped to about what might happen if the candidate is hired are quite strong indeed (again, emphasis mine):

I fear that the candidate could have a devastating effect on those less experienced. [...] After all, if he destroys our team, he will have wasted his time also.

Devastation and destruction are being invoked on the basis that the candidate seemed to have a negative attitude towards women. That seems highly disproportionate, and is likely the reflection of bias.

Consider what's Fair (to everybody)

You also note that you personally would feel fine working with the guy:

I can handle it [...]

...and that the real concern is for everyone else:

[...] but there are many creative and sensitive young women, some even with a troubled background.

While the concern for others is noble, it's also fairly misplaced (and at least a little condescending, too). If the candidate is someone you'd be able to work with, the fair assumption (to both the candidate and your co-workers) is that he's someone everyone else can work with too.

Barring some explicit request to the contrary, you shouldn't assume that your co-workers are less able to cope than you are, or that some aspect of their past irrevocably defines them as fragile, permanently damaged entities that are helpless without your protection. At a minimum they should be allowed their agency, and the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not they think they can work with this candidate.

Maybe invite him back to meet with the team (if he hasn't already...and consider extending this opportunity to all prospective hires, in the future), and then see if any of their impressions match your own.

Fix the Interview Process (if needed)

None of which is to say I condone disrespect towards women. I absolutely do not.

However the level of toxicity being attributed to this candidate (based upon a singular experience, very much outside of the professional sphere) requires something deep-rooted and pervasive. It requires the candidate to have no concept of how to interact with women respectfully both inside or outside of the workplace.

That's something that your general interview process should be able to catch without exceptional treatment of this one candidate or covert inside information from one of his past flings. Because if it doesn't then how can you say that the alternative candidates you might prefer don't hold exactly the same views about women in private? You can't.

If your interview process doesn't currently evaluate this aspect (i.e. respect for a gender-diverse workforce) of "culture-fit", it should. And feel free to start with this candidate, but don't stop there.


You had one-night stand with someone else and unluckily next day you have found yourself in a position to assess them in hiring process.

Oxford English dictionary says to the word:

one-night stand

1 informal: A sexual relationship lasting only one night.
1.1 A person with whom one has a one-night stand.
2 A single performance of a play or show in a particular place.

They did it just for the sexual intercourse, just to release stress or whatever. Nothing less, nothing more. I suppose so did you. I do not judge anyone of you; nobody should. Joe is going fishing, Pam is painting on glass and Brad watches wrestling. Shall we judge them for that?

What entitles you to claim that they are worse than you are? What exactly assures you that they will behave the same way in the workplace as they behaved in the bar?

Right now you are in the conflict of interests. A big one. And any interference is bad interference and it can, and probably will, cost you more than just a reputation regarding your leisure time activities.

  1. They gets the job. You helped them because of the intercourse.
  2. They will be refused. You pushed them out because of the intercourse.

In both cases you mix your personal life and work life in unacceptable way. Maybe your intentions are good; but remember: The path to the Hell is paved with good intentions.

Pardon yourself from the whole hiring process. "I might be biased towards one of the candidates" is proper reasoning and it should be accepted without any problem. There is additional information (highly emotional and vulnerable to defend) on only one person in the scope. This information if unfair to the others; they didn't have the chance to neither succeed neither fail it this "test". Are you sure you would have better or worse feelings about them that you have about this particular one candidate?

If they are hired, talk to them and make consensus on what will follow this one-night stand.

  • This answer adds nothing new to the many already existing answers. Please remember to not repeat others.
    – David K
    Mar 3, 2017 at 13:09
  • 1
    @DavidK Did anyone ask why the interviewer consider interviewee's behaviour bad and theirs not?
    – Crowley
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:59
  • 1
    The OP is not judging the candidate because he had a one night stand. It's not relevant. "The problem was not the one-night stand itself and I don't have hard feelings toward him because of that. I consented and I didn't expect or want more."
    – David K
    Mar 3, 2017 at 15:20
  • 1
    @DavidK Ya, the OP typed that, but I don't buy it, and it seems much more reasonable that anyone in the OPs situation would be unable to be objective. People are really, really, REALLY good at rationalization.
    – Andy
    Mar 3, 2017 at 22:38
  • @Andy Yeah but now you are taking a rather specific position on what happened, she must not be able to be objective. Of waht would the person be unable to be objective?, would she be unable to be objective at all, or just somewhat, did she have to work on being objective?
    – cognacc
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:58

This question has a lot of answers already, but what I feel are the two important factors haven't been mentioned together yet. On top of that, there's a third thing that I don't think that has been mentioned at all yet.

Should you use this information in the hiring process?

No. Definitely not.

In fact, I believe that you will be unable to make an assessment without taking this into account (humans are flawed beings like that). I would consider making a statement somewhat like this to the person you are supposed to report to on this matter:

I have had a previous encounter with this person and based on that I feel I can't make an unbiased recommendation. I would like to abstain from making a recommendation.

Your experience is based on a single encounter and it is hard to tell how accurate it is. Even if it is entirely accurate, parts of it may be misguided (i.e. the notice of protecting troubled young women) and without disclosing the information to others, they can't make decisions based on that. Finally, even if it is all justified, it will definitely not look like that and it may even put you or your company in a tough spot if he hears what happened.

Should I do something else with this information?

Yes. It would be a good idea to disclose this information before he starts working with you. (It could be postponed till after he is hired, in my opinion.) This is because it doesn't benefit either you or him if this comes out later on.

However, in your situation it is a complicated question who to talk about this with. It would be best to talk to someone who isn't involved with the hiring process. A (confidential) counselor might be the best option, but small start-ups rarely have these.

The next step in the chain would be the HR department, but if you have one in this situation, they are probably deeply involved with the hiring process.

Lastly, one could think about a superior in the company (i.e. your manager, or perhaps even the CEO). If the company culture is such that you can talk well to the CEO and that (s)he isn't involved in this particular hire, it may actually be a good option. However, this should of course be done at your own judgement.

Postponing this message until after a job offer has been made (or perhaps even after he has been hired) might mitigate the problem of this person being involved in the hiring process. It can also be a good way to make it clear that you are not trying to influence the hiring process but just wanting to prevent surprises in the future. Of course, that does not let you off the hook in making it absolutely clear that it isn't your intention to influence the hiring process.

How about him not being a good fit for the team?

That is, honestly, what probation (or trial) periods are for. It is hard to get to know someone well enough just during a couple of hours of interviews. It is still quite hard to get to know someone in just one night. However, the first weeks or months of working there should give a much more complete picture. If things are as bad you think them to be, that would become clear enough as he starts this job.

Where I am from, trial periods are completely standard. I have absolutely no idea what it's like where you are from. If your company doesn't do trial periods, you could think about suggesting them. The good thing about a small start-up is that there's often relatively much room for suggestions like that. It is a bit of a minefield, though, and it should never be suggested to have such a trial period just for this candidate, but rather to make it part of all job offers the company makes.

You could suggest it with the previous statement about abstaining from making a recommendation, by adding something like the following passage. Do note that this kind of thing does need some judgement from your side because you will need to be sure it does not get interpreted incorrectly.

I would feel more comfortable if this person was offered a contract with a trial period. I believe trial periods in general are a great to tool to see if a new employee fits the company and it would be beneficial to include this in all contracts. In this particular case it would be good to see if my personal experience was representative of his behavior on the work floor.

Then, if pressed about this event, you could add something like this:

It was contact of a rather personal nature. On top of that, I would rather not let it influence your perception of this candidate (or hire, depending on the timing).

At this point they might be able to guess in which direction the event was. However, they don't know for sure or know the details and you handling it professionally should (hopefully) prevent your colleagues from losing respect for you.

It should definitely be noted that this is a very delicate thing and needs your own judgement as to whether it is appropriate (and possible) for your situation with the people you work with.

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