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Managing an Ethical Dilemma

A Mini Case Study


You have been working at a software company for about 5 years. You enjoy the job and have recently applied for a new role (supervisor). You interviewed and felt you did well. Additionally, you believe you chances of getting the job are high because you have been with the company for awhile, have done well and are an internal candidate. You have never supervised others but were confident you could handle the job.

You know there were a few exernal candidates and one other internal candidate. In fact, one of the external candidates was someone you worked with 10 years ago at another company. You have not had good experiences with this person and would be reporting to them if they are hired for the job.

It’s been about 3 weeks since the last interview and you decide to reach out to HR.

The Current Situation

HR tells you that they have hired an external candidate and were just about to notify all other candidates, including you. This particular external candidate had more experience and deeper skills for the supervisor role, including having managed employees employees in a virtual environment and globally.  HR tells you that his references were excellent.

HR encourages you to apply for another supervisory role that is open in another division of the company; although it will require you to move to another state.

The external candidate is the person you know from 10 years ago. You are surprised that he has the experience HR told you he has; a close friend of the both of you (who currently works with him) recently told you that he is about to be fired for not being effective as a supervisor in his role. Additionally, you know he doesn’t work well with others (including clients) – he never has. That is one of the reasons you left the company you were both working at 10 years ago.

Your Dilemma

You want to tell HR that he isn’t qualified for the role; in fact you think he lied on his resume to get the job in the first place. You also doubt that HR knows he is about to be fired from his current job. You also don’t want to report to him given your past experiences with him. Your friend tells you to drop it; you’ll just come across as bitter because you didn’t get the role. He also tells you if HR asks him, he’ll just deny what you are saying and you’ll look like a fool – plus, he’ll make the job difficult since you have to report to him.

And the questions to you…

  • What will you do in this situation?
  • What are the pros and cons of talking with HR about this candidate?
  • Is it unethical to say nothing since you really don’t know everything about this person other than second hand knowledge and what you knew about him from 10 years ago?

Please provide your ideas in the COMMENTS field below.

We’ll update you on how it was handled by the employee in a future post.