My Co-worker’s Interviewing Elsewhere

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about interviewing during working hours:

I co-worker informed me that he would be interviewing with a different company during business hours. Do I let the supervisor know where he is?

Signed, Informed

DearĀ Informed:

No, is my short answer. Is it your job to report where your co-worker is? Your question is short but it raises a number of questions and issues that might underpin you writing us. For example, if you think your co-worker doing this might get him in trouble, frankly tell him that. Better than tell, ask him if he thinks this might. Even if you think his behavior is cheating your organization, get up your courage and tell this co-worker that, not his supervisor. Possibly you think that him doing this is unwise and might put you in an awkward position, one in which you would not want to lie. Tell him you will not lie and if your supervisor asks, it is my advice not to lie. Rather, tell your coworker you will say, “You’ll have to ask him.” Or you might think your co-worker interviewing with another employer during business hours is disloyal. Yet interviewing for another job outside of business hours is not disloyal; is it? Ask yourself if doing so during business hours is really that different. Or you might think such an interview harms productivity. But how much? Is it really a serious loss to your company?

You might want to report on him because you dislike him. If so, ask your self if you dislike him enough to get him in trouble? But even if you do, do you think that tattling on him would be seen favorably in your supervisor’s eyes? If you do, I think you are mistaken. More likely, it will be seen as tattling. More importantly, might it not be wise to ask him why he is interviewing with a different company? What does it offer that yours does not? It is good to learn what the other guys are doing; are they more stable, more profitable, do they pay better, offer better career growth, have more meaningful work, are they more employee friendly in other ways from child centers, workout facilities, naps and massages to better health care? Engaging him in such a conversation is natural and clarifies his and your own thinking about what you want in a job and workplace.So my answer is No. Don’t even hint that your co-worker is interviewing elsewhere. However, if your co-worker makes a habit of not putting in his time and that causes you to cover for him, talk to him first. Don’t let him hear from your supervisor or anyone else that you squealed on him.

Rather, I suggest that what your supervisor really is more interested in hearing from you are topics of conversation that focus on cutting wasted supplies, time, and energy. Also might your co-worker and super like to hear suggestions about quality improvement, ideas for making each others’ job easier, effective and interesting, and making the place you work a good, an possibly even a great, place to work at? Working relationships matter,

Talking behind a co-workers back about his shortcomings with his supervisor can not promote trusting working relationships, and I’m sure that is not what you want. A Final though: What do you think I mean when I say, “Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS?”

William Gorden