I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it to you all, but the ATR Coordinator for our business group left. Her final day with us, and in the state, was December 5 of this year. Her fiance came to help her pack up her desk and they rode away together to her new home in Texas. (They closed on a house earlier that week.)
That meant we had to scramble to get someone hired. My boss asked me to join the interview team for her replacement, and surprisingly, we had only two candidates put in for the job: One of our own CSRs (let’s call her M), and one of the CSRs from the business group who actually owns the building (let’s call her J, because, well, her name begins with J).
So, M came into the interview with some history on this position. Back in 2011 when it first became available, she put in for it. She also stated, “It better come with a good raise, because I don’t really want the job.”
Oh. I see. Well, wish granted. Shockingly, we didn’t offer it to her.
At the time, all the people who seriously put in for it were told why they weren’t selected, and we didn’t keep the problem a secret. M is a chronic complainer, has a nasty habit of back-biting, and is generally a corrosive person with negative impact on morale. She’s also bitter and carries grudges. M was informed she had to change her ways or forever be confined to her current position…or worse. And for a short time (weeks), it worked.
But, as is the wont of all people, she returned to her nature and was again detrimental to morale. She even snarked at me, though she thought she was doing it behind my back (she inadvertently sent an IM which insulted me to ME instead of to her intended chat partner…because she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed).
As the final day for our ATR Coordinator approached, my boss approached M and asked her to do it. She got training from the ATR Coordinator (a day or two before her departure, for a couple of hours, nothing in depth though). And, interestingly, M seemed to amend her ways a little – she started staying later, showing some dedication, and seemed less nasty- when asked to fill in, temporarily, until we could hire someone. (My boss sold it well, too.) She looked like maybe she’d straighten up and fly right for a change.
So, our ATR Coordinator is gone and we need someone PDQ. We took steps to get a replacement BEFORE she left, but because of corporate HR hoop-jumping requirements, we conducted the interviews on December 5…the same day our ATR maven left. In fact, we finished the last interview just in time to say goodbye, give hugs, and see her off.
(Personal aside: I had my issues with the ATR Coordinator for reasons I can’t even identify, but I miss her now and wish I’d been better about caring for our relationship. I wish her only the best of everything in her new life.)
Well, the interviews were interesting. J, the candidate from the other business group, came in with some technical background M doesn’t have, but she’s completely unfamiliar with our business group and hasn’t done any ATR work in her career. M has the experience with our business group, and the ATRs (she used to do them (BEFORE I took over in 2011 due to re-shuffling the group and reassigning accounts to CSRs). While it’s been a couple of years since she’s had to do them, she has done them, and it seemed obvious we’d have a clear choice.
Except when the interview started, it became clear M hadn’t prepared for it, at all. It seemed to both my boss and me, M appeared to believe she would be handed the job and the other interview was a formality.
She didn’t answer behavioral questions with appropriate anecdotes, for one thing. My boss and I were in the interview with our HR guy, and he’d ask some pretty standard interview questions. Things like, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe an instance where…” kind of interview things. She didn’t give specific examples, and didn’t have a very good reason for wanting the job. When asked if she had any questions for the panel, she only asked when the decision would be made.
J came in and handled herself professionally, answered behavioral questions appropriately, had EXCELLENT questions for us after the interview, and basically blew us out of the water with her presentation and presence. She had specific examples of how her greatest strength saved the day for her business group, how she used her training to complete something, and generally just banged the interview out of the park. She crushed it.
And after it all, we looked at each other and said, “She’s going to make this a very difficult decision.”
M still had the advantage of experience. In some ways, we had the adage, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” in mind. J was a risk in a lot of ways; the learning curve, her work ethic, her personality in general.
We agonized over it much longer than we thought we would, but in the end, we felt M’s lack of preparation, acerbic attitude, and general malaise gave J the edge. And we, in turn, gave J the job. We felt we would be able to overcome those risks, and that frankly, M didn’t deserve the increase in pay grade (this position was made a grade higher than the CSR position as incentive for others to go for the job) based on her past performance.
We told J she got the job and she shed happy tears. But M was already gone for the day, and so my boss had the dreaded talk with her on Monday morning. She actually didn’t seem to take it as bad as we thought she might, though I wasn’t privy to the conversation. M sat with our Customer Service Supervisor later that day, and the CSS gave no indication M was especially nasty or bitter, and didn’t seem to complain any more than usual.
Hm. Maybe she took it better than we thought she would.
I spoke to J last night on my way out of the building. As usual, I’m the last to leave when my boss is not here (he’s traveling). And that’s when I found out one of the CSRs has already started giving her the stink eye.
J explained she got a less-than-friendly look from one of our CSRs. It’s one of the “problem children” – part of a clique which makes a point of being gossipy, chatty, doing a LOT of instant messaging back and forth, etc. – but the surprise is, J hasn’t been announced as the ATR Coordinator yet.
We don’t have a firm start date for her yet. We have to have conversations with her current boss, and his boss, and make sure we have agreement on the transition. They asked for a month, which is pretty standard, but puts us in a bind.
So, how did this other CSR find out who got the position when we haven’t announced it?
Yeah, I guess I’M not the brightest bulb on the tree either, because I didn’t realize until after I left last night, M told the clique, the gossip mill, she’d been passed over (again), and J has the job.
And so now, before J even has a chance to start with us, she’s already a target. It won’t get easier over time either, because J is going to bring things to the table which will cause the other CSRs to be jealous and petty. And, she’s coming in a pay grade higher than theirs. So.
Things are going to get interesting, soon.