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Hiring an engineer

Hiring an engineer

Hiring an engineer

(OP)
I own a small structural firm and last week interviewed an engineer with good technical skills.  He will be leaving a large firm after many years.

Maybe I am hyper-sensitive about certain comments made during the interview.  For example; I asked him how much notice he would give to his employer.  The response I received was "2 weeks, that's all they deserve".  
This struck a bad chord with me, not the 2 weeks but the statement about that is all they deserved.
The other statement mentioned more than once was his boss was an idiot.

I try very hard to keep negative feelings out of my firm and I have been on both sides of the fence as an employee and an employer.  I wonder how long it will be before I
become the "idiot" and his attitude that his firm is not any good.  He worked at the firm for many years and if it was that bad then why didn't he leave sooner?

If an individual as this is hired my concern is future gossip, etc. which can de-moralize a whole firm if it spreads.

Am I too sensitive to this?  I don't think I am since it goes against my basic character.  If I had been him I would have never made those comments.
Any opinions?

RE: Hiring an engineer

If the notice comment was by itself, I might be willing to overlook it, but I would have kept a watchful eye during his trial period.  If he is unable to sugarcoat his previous situation and actually refers to hid former boss as an idiot when talking with a potential employer, you should get more than warning signs, you should get huge red flags.

I'm not sure if it's worth chasing down at this point, but were you able to ascertain why he moved on from his last position?  Maybe it was due to incompetence, maybe it was due to overstaffing, but wither way he's not someone you want working for you.  Tell him "thank you" for interviewing, but keep looking.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Hiring an engineer

macgyvers2000 is correct about the "huge" red flag comments.  Anger like that (and it is anger, I am sure) would not be good in any work place much less a small company.

You can and should ask why a candidate is leaving. You have every right to pursue that line of questioning if you can't get a good feel for the situation.

RE: Hiring an engineer

It's hard to discern someone with a legitimate problem with his previous employer and a grouch, but his actions have alerted you that it's one or the other.  I'm not really surprised.  People, for the most part, don't leave jobs unless they're dissatisfied.  Some interviewees, however, may not be aware of how poorly their negative comments are recieved by their new employer.  You should follow up with his references to get a better picture of his situation at work.

-b

RE: Hiring an engineer

Also, imagine what will happen when (not if) he parts ways with your company... during his next grudge complaint, what if he decides to actually mention you or the company by name in mixed company?  Is that really the impression you want to give a potential client or company you'd like to combine clientele lists with some day?  Probably not...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Hiring an engineer

If he furnished a resume, did he list any professional references or former employers you could check out to verify your feelings? If not, trust your gut instincts.

Another option is to call him im for a second interview and ask some tough questions, the ones you are asking here.

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

RE: Hiring an engineer

In addition to the references, ask him for a co-worker, non-boss, reference to call. They may be able to give you some straight answers regarding the questions you are asking. He'll probably give you the name of a work "friend" but my experience is they usually give honest answers to these kind of questions.

Wes C.
------------------------------
No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

RE: Hiring an engineer

.

Based on his comments as presented by you, I would not hire the individual.

.

tsgrue: site engineering, stormwater
management, landscape design, ecosystem
rehabilitation, mathematical simulation
http://hhwq.blogspot.com

RE: Hiring an engineer

(OP)
Thanks to everyone that responded.  I had a pretty good idea what I was going to do about this and you all confirmed what I was thinking.  Normally, I have very distinct feelings if they will be any good or not.  In this case however it wasn't as cut and dry.
Thanks

RE: Hiring an engineer

Maybe he was having a bad day.  Try a second interview.  I agree with the HUGH red flags....and most of the other comments

After the second interview and if things go the same way - you will know you are not hiring him.  You then might mention to him exactly why he did not get the job.

RE: Hiring an engineer

RHB51,

I would, on the face of it, go onto the next candidate.

During an inteview, people usually are on their best behaviours - in other words, their behaviors goes "downhill" from there.

If he is making comments like that in an interview, think of how much worse it will get once he starts working at your firm and is in front of your client. Would you want someone with that little control over what he says and how he presents himself representing your company?

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Hiring an engineer

Cause for concern for sure but...

Maybe relatively recently they've had a change in management/structure and he feels the company isn't the one he joined and is angry both at his boss and the company as a whole.  Might be worth finding out if he was otherwise good.

Inappropriate for an interview for sure, however I'm not sure it's wrong to think those things.

I dropped a clanger at the interview for this position, the guy still hired me and I hope 2 years later doesn't regret it (he's told me he's happy with me anyway)!

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Hiring an engineer

Quote (KENAT):

Inappropriate for an interview for sure, however I'm not sure it's wrong to think those things.
Nope, not wrong to think them at all... but if you can't get a grip of enough class to prevent saying them in the middle of an interview, you're bound to represent the company in a bad light while meeting with a client some day.  We all have bad days, and they surely affect our mood at work, but being able to control the tongue is surely a skill required of any professional.  I could forgive the guy if he wasn't able to provide a valid, on-the-spot reason for leaving his last position as some aren't fast thinkers on their feet (and he may not have considered an answer to that question until just then), but in that case he should just shut his mouth, clear his throat, and go with something simple like "Management and I didn't always agree".

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Hiring an engineer

I guess I just have a soft spot for people who are a bit rough around the edges, & tell it like it is.

I realize there are times it's not appropriate but I'd rather that than some smooth sales pitch.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Hiring an engineer

It sounds like you have doubts already; otherwise you would not have a post here.  I have never hired an employee that I had any doubts about.  Luckily I have had good luck with all my employees to date.  Knock on wood.

RE: Hiring an engineer

I am going to act as devils advocate here.

Maybe he has a legitimate gripe with his company.

Maybe his burning ambitions are being stifled by the company that he is in and it has finally brought him to boiling point.

We have all experienced the company with managerial incompetence.

Some people wear their feelings close to the surface. This has the benefit that you know about it when they are unhappy with the situation.

I have learnt that most things are not as they first appear. You may get great work out of this guy.

But...I would do as others have suggested and get a workmate as reference and reinterview him with all the hard questions.

csd

RE: Hiring an engineer

I don't believe the legitimacy of his gripe is relevant here, it's his ability to properly express his viewpoint that's at issue.

I've made a few stupid comments in years past, but I realize I was also to immature professionally to properly handle or vocalize the situation.  Now that I've experienced that anger firsthand, I know it can affect the type of results I produce, as well as how I deal with everyday work situations (such as one-on-one dealings with clients).

I agree that a second interview might be warranted based upon coworker feedback, but sometimes a sour lemon is still a lemon no matter how many times you taste it.  Ask him if he always agreed with management... if not, did he vocalize his concerns.  Were those concerns heeded, and if not, how did he handle the situation?

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Hiring an engineer

I can't help sympathizing with the guy.  It's entirely possible to be leaving because one is really, really, REALLY unhappy with the previous situation, and by the time one gets so upset with one's job that one feels the need to leave, it becomes difficult to put on the happy face and say nothing negative about one's previous employer.

That said, the professional thing is to manage to do so anyway, but I can definitely imagine slipping up.

Hg

Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Hiring an engineer

I really did not like my employer in the UK, both how the place was run and how they treated the engineers with complete disrespect.

But I was trapped as my visa only allowed me to work for them.

Frustration can build to boiling point, but it can often easily flip to enthusiasm given the right change in circumstances.

The hard part is judging if this is the case.

csd

RE: Hiring an engineer

(OP)
Thank you all very much for your thoughtful suggestions.
I decided not to hire the person.  Most of the responses received confirmed my beliefs.
Thanks again.

RE: Hiring an engineer

This type of attitude is a glimpse of what you'll be in store for once this guy becomes your problem.  Been there, done that.

RE: Hiring an engineer

RHB,
Frankly my dear, this is a no brainer. Not worth even your saliva.

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