How do you handle a manager like Doug?
I met with the Financial Controller Doug last week, who needs to employ a new Assistant Accountant. He breached about 20 grounds in the Human Rights Act as we talked, but instead of yelling at him I decided I could win him around with my great persuasion skills
“First I want someone who has been doing the same type of role for at least two years,” Doug said.
“Why would they want this job if they’ve already done it for two years in another company?” I asked sweetly.
“Well their company might have downsized in the recession so they need to move or they just want a change.”
“But wouldn’t it be a better opportunity for someone who wants to step up their responsibility?”
Doug reached over and patted my hand, patronisingly.
“I don’t want some young upstart who’s going to get pregnant at the drop of a hat. They need to be middle aged so that they’ll stick around for a while.”
I gritted my teeth but then he went on.
“And they need good English so I don’t want any strange ethnicities.”
At that moment I wanted to stand up and yell at him: “You old sexist, racist dinosaur! Get with the programme!”
But I figured that probably wouldn’t win him over. So keeping myself under control I said calmly, “Okay. Well we’re not allowed to discriminate on family status or ethnicity, but we can check they have good English……”.
“By hiring a New Zealander. Easy.”
Doug stood up.
“I’ll look forward to seeing the CVs of the candidates you shortlist. Shall we meet to go through them next week?”
And he turned and left.
So I went and put an advert on SEEK and got a good number of applications through. I short-listed them on having an accounts qualification and some accounting experience. Of course it turned out that all of the good applicants were from other ethnicities and some were younger women (and a couple of men) wanting to step up.
I decided that Doug must have been joking and so took the CVs along to the meeting. Doug went through them all and put them firmly in the ‘no’ pile.
“We’ll have to keep looking. None of these people meet the criteria I clearly told you,” he said and looked at me long and hard.
I nodded numbly.
But now I’m sitting in my office so angry about it. There is no point keeping recruiting as no-one Doug wants is going to apply and besides which they may not be the best fit anyway. We don’t have any budget for recruitment agencies so I can’t hand it off to them to manage.
Should I go and talk to his manager, the CFO and tell him what’s happened? Should I march in and tell Doug he’s not allowed to discriminate? Trouble is I want to keep him on side because if he hates me, he’s just going to ignore HR all together.
I want to handle this the right way and not look like I’m incompetent. What should I do?
>>> Post your advice as a comment below. In the October issue of the HumanResources magazine we’ll publish the best answers and see what Flora does.