The other day, at work, my team held interviews for two Assistant Team Leaders. There were five applicants, three from the team and two from outside. I don't think I have ever been in a more emotionally draining process in my life. I am surprised at myself because I take pride in being able to cut out my emotions when it comes to situations like this.
Two of the applicants for the ATL positions were individuals I have worked with closely. In the end, we hired one of them and passed on the other. It was easy to make the hiring decision but it was not easy to say no to the other. And even though I have had many disagreements and differences with the one we did not hire, I am still feeling emotionally unhinged.
Y., who we did not hire, has the hunger and desire for an ATL position. He has interviewed for many other ATL positions throughout the company but has always been turned down. Before he interviewed, he admitted to me that he has always had a bad time in interviews. He has sought help from others but has never sought professional help. Y. is the type of person who believes he can be a leader. He thinks that he is destined to become one. He talks of ideas and plans that he has if he ever became a leader. Unfortunately, he can never give specifics on these ideas and plans. He can never give reasons to why he does things; his excuse is "because I thought it would work." He does things that are obviously and painfully stupid. He does things that any other person would do but thinks that he is being original. He has no foresight, no appreciation, and, on top of it all, he has no trust in others.
I was asked to sit in on the interviews, even though I had originally declined. So, I sat in and looked at the list of applicants and kept my mind as open as I could. In my heart, I wanted Y. to say a couple of things that would make me feel comfortable giving him one of the ATL positions. In my heart, I wanted to give Y. the position. If he only answered the questions with a scripted blandness, I would have been comfortable giving him one of the positions. If only he gave me two or three ideas that I think could be useful in improving our team. If only he did not put blame on others for his past. If only.
As we voted for who we wanted, Y. polluted my thoughts. Should I just vote for him? Well, then I would have to justify and argue for him. Maybe if I didn't say a word, he would just slip in. Part of me, a big part of me, wanted to just give him the job. That way, if down the line he could not deliver, I could say "I told you so". But there was also a big part of me who has been down the line and I didn't... no, couldn't go back down the line. But maybe if he got the job, he would change his less-than-poor ways of working. But maybe he wouldn't.
To say that I struggled while voting would be an understatement. In the end, I couldn't vote for him at all. Some did. He actually came in third. I didn't vote for the second place person. I gave my reasons and he was not extended an offer. When the discussion turned to Y., I was first to comment. I told the group that as much as I had differences with Y. and as much as I wanted to him to have the job, I could not in any way say that he deserved the job. After I was seconded, we decided to only fill one of the ATL positions and repost the job in six weeks.
I left drained. The worst part of it all was that I had to close the store. Thank god the group working for me that night was excellent. They were rewarded appropriately. But during the night, they all individually came up to me to ask me if something was wrong. I couldn't discuss any of what happened in the interview. So, I just said that I was tired from a long process. Two of them came back to me later to tell me that they even though they don't know what decisions were made, they trusted that I would do right for the team. I thanked both of them. One more came up to me and said that although I may not know it, the reason that they worked hard even though I was not initially with them was because they always looked out for people who looked out for them. I almost broke down at that point.
My co-supervisor Greg checked up on me a couple of times. He too was in the interview. He assured me that we did the right thing. I still feel down today, 24 hours later. I have worries. I'm not worried that Y. will hate me. I just hate that I can see his burning desire to be a leader BUT I can't see his burning desire to be a leader of a grocery team. Unfortunately, desire needs to be backed by knowledge and passion in order to breed success. Otherwise, it will all just be one big disaster. I'm worried that I have dampened someones desires, hopes, and dreams. But I truly cannot just gives someone something because they want it badly. Not when I know that nothing lies behind that desire. Not when my desires, hopes, and dreams will be affected by his actions.