I recently joined a multinational company which is setting up a branch in my country in Asia. So I am one of the pioneer batch of people. We are going to expand and hire people. I am helping my boss to interview candidates by doing the pre-interview tests and general assessment.

I had an interesting situation recently that one of my ex-colleague of 1 year came for interview. Now I have to give a feedback about them to my boss. I feel they are technically smart and fit for the job. But their attitude is what leads to negative feedback. They are overconfident, bossy and not a team player. It was purely based on my experience.

(e.g. I went along with them to a company roadshow. I was newer then and didn't know the tricks of the trade (now slightly better). They used to belittle or ignore me and not teach me anything. In the office, I never really asked them anything because they always give a grave face.)

But I am in a little dilemma because:

  1. my feedback about them is not all positive.

  2. if I give negative feedback, it might go against me because my boss and others may think I am prejudiced.

If they do hire them, it is fine with me, as they would be working in a different department.

So I am thinking not to give very bad feedback but just subtly touch upon the subject of "Bad Attitude" during the discussion and let the management decide.

Is there a better way this can be handled??

NOTE: I have got a good appraisal from boss and he once told me they are happy to have me.

  • 2
    "If they hire him/her also, it is fine with me, He/she is going to work in a different department" - suggest that that team also interview her.
    – Brandin
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 12:02
  • 11
    Be 100% honest in this situation. Present the negatives in a clear and professional manner.
    – Neo
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 12:08
  • 6
    Usually, interviewing such a person falls under conflict-of-interest (personally I always exclude myself from the interviewing process in such a situation). Wasn't anyone else available for doing the actual interview? Commented May 9, 2017 at 14:56
  • If you have recent experience that is more valuable than what you or anyone would get from and interview. I think you need to give honest feedback based on the interview and past experience. Report here is what I got from the interview and here is what I got from past experience. If the interview has not taken place yet let them you worked with them in the past. Not likely but they may not have you interview.
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 18:52

3 Answers 3


You say that they are technically good and a good fit for the job, but attitude is part of that. If you are concerned that they don't fit into the corporate culture, then mentioning it would be a good idea.

Either way, when giving feedback, you may want to mention to your boss that you have had prior experience working with this person. Your boss may ask you for your honest opinion of how they were in your previous job and use that knowledge in their decision, but in the least they would know that your opinion may be biased regardless of what comments you make.

  • 2
    Being completely honest is the way to go.
    – Neo
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 12:07
  • Honesty is always best - imagine what would happen if he were hired: if you endorsed him your own reputation takes a hit; if you were honest, you will be vindicated. If he turns out to have improved his demeanour, it doesn't matter either way - people change.
    – HorusKol
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 21:27

Is there a better way this can be handled??

Be honest and forthright, not subtle. Say roughly what you've already said in the question, i.e. that you've worked with the candidate in the past, that you feel that they're technically competent but that you have some concerns about how they'll fit into the organization given your past experience working with them.

Your boss or others on the team might ask you to be more specific about your negative impression of the candidate. It's fine to say what you've seen as long as you stick to the facts as you know them.

Consider what you would do if your past experience with the candidate made you think very highly of them. You wouldn't be shy about saying "I've worked with this person in the past and I'd strongly recommend hiring him: he's smart, gets things done, and works very well with others," would you? Applying the very same standard to this situation, I don't think there's a problem with saying: "I've worked with this person in the past: he's smart and capable, but in my experience he doesn't work well with others; he's bossy, overconfident, and he's not a team player."


It's always dangerous making personal judgements in a professional setting especially when relatively new and junior. These can come back to bite you. Eg,. this person could be hired anyway and learn later that you had a lot to say about them or they might have connections that you know nothing about.

From what you have said this isn't a great team player from your perspective of a fresher, but many excellent and experienced workers look that way to a fresher, because they have seen so many in their time and don't want to waste themselves on them.

I'm unsure your role in the interviews, my own is usually technical so I make a judgement purely within my role unless I know the person is absolutely insane. I'd actually prefer someone who's flaws I know than one I don't. But in any case unless there is an extreme reason I wouldn't do more than perhaps mention I've worked with them before and I wouldn't go in to much negative detail.

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