Revenge Hires

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up!

From the land of Bad HR comes something I’ve only heard about as urban legend, the Revenge Hire!

A revenge hire is when someone hires a person to stick it to another person in their organization.  I can happen in a number of ways.  Here’s a few:

1. The Fired Re-hire:  This is when an employee gets fired by one leader, then another leader in the same organization hires that person back into a job that is almost exactly the same.  Usually this happens when the first leader and employee just had a major personality difference, and another leader saw real talent in the employee, and possibly, thinks the original leader is a tool.

2. The One Level Up Hire:  This is when your supervisor overrides your decision not to hire, and makes the decision to hire someone you didn’t want.  I’ve seen this happen within a department where the executive had a relative interview and the department manager didn’t want to offer, but was forced to hire the person anyway.  That always turns out really good in the end…

3. The HR Hire:  This is the one that just happened to me!  The one thing we know as HR Pros is, we really don’t ever hire anyone or fire anyone (unless it’s within our own department).  We do a whole lot of advising on hiring and firing, but ultimately it’s up to each leader to make these decisions.  Unless, there’s some sort of issue at play where HR is going to pull their ultimate legal trump card and make the call on their own.  This almost never happens!  For me, the manager wanted to hire one person, HR wanted to hire another person, the reason had to deal with some background issues with the managers person.  HR pulled their card, hired their person, the manager was not happy.  Ultimately it took about four weeks for the manager to sabotage the HR hire, then she went over HR’s head to an executive to make the hire she originally wanted to make.  Revenge hiring at its best!

Revenge hiring is like cancer. If you have it in your organization you need to cut it out immediately.  It’s not something a healthy organization can have.  As an HR Pro I always put a stop to it the moment I heard about it.  Each time it happens the leaders involved act like it’s totally something different and not a revenge hire.  They have to do this because the alternative should get them fired! It’s to think of a more unhealthy behavior from a leader within your organization.

What about you?  Any good revenge hire stories?


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