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Flag up, or keep mum?

13 July 15

Advice column: should I warn my colleague about the person she is going to interview with?

Dear Ash

One of my colleagues has told me in confidence that she is going for an interview soon and she is really excited at the prospect of working at the new firm. Unfortunately I know the person in charge at the firm she is going to interview for and he is not very nice. I know my colleague is not happy in her current role and she is looking for promotion and better job prospects, which the new role would give; however, I am not sure whether I should forewarn her about her potential new boss. One of my good friends worked with him and he made her life very difficult by pushing a lot of work on her and not giving her any due credit. I don’t want to burst my colleague’s bubble but I’m not sure this is the right role for her.

Ash replies:

This is one of those difficult dilemmas where you are essentially damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

If you do say something now, your colleague may not necessarily believe you – she may indeed think that you are just trying to make things difficult for her and that it is a case of sour grapes. In any case, as you don’t have the direct experience of working with the “boss from Hell”, your information from your friend may have been a little exaggerated and he may not necessarily be as bad as you have been led to believe. Perhaps your friend and her boss just simply clashed personality wise and did not work well together. It is not a given that your colleague will necessarily have the same experience.

Of course, if you don’t say something and your colleague goes to her new job and is unhappy, she may not really appreciate you keeping quiet about what you knew beforehand about her new boss. However, on balance, trying to express your opinion about her potential boss may not be the best option at this stage, especially given that she has not asked for your opinion, and of course she may not get the job anyway!

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor: peter@connectcommunications.co.uk, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice, contact Katie Wood, manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or KatieWood@lawscot.org.uk

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