I'm always unsure. These days, I'm generally a pretty positive guy but I know I've struggled in the past.
On this particular team I was definitely not the biggest asshole. In fact, after this manager left, the biggest asshole was fired pretty much based on the fact that the new managers weren't willing to tolerate his attitude. The bro culture of the team was curtailed (which is why I was so much happier on it afterwards).
It's very hard to be a manager, a people leader. I don't think he was wrong to bring up the fact - he was doing it because he wanted to protect his company - but it certainly danced around a line of legality. After I withdrew my application he made sure to tell friends of mine that he had rejected me because of my depression. Really mature, that guy is.
Sorry, I just wanted to post to say I completely misread that. I dropped the sentence before the mature statement. I felt a seperate post was warranted.
In that case where he talked about it to others? You should have sued the fuck out of him. That is unacceptable in any situation. This kind of changes the entire tone of my follow-on posts, so I do apologize.
This is really the only issue I have. Maybe your manager sucked, I don't know. But this specific story is absolutely the opposite. He put himself out on the line (as you say) and was honest with you. Typical folks would simply not talk to you whatsoever, but have the same reasoning.
Maybe I'm strange, but I'd far prefer the latter.
Story time. My best hire I've made was an employee with a speech impediment. This job was for a night shift as a sysadmin/support role, and that required answering the phones at 2am when customers called. Customers don't call at 2am to have a friendly chat - so those calls typically were high stress, and it really caused his speech to falter quite a bit.
I could have easily simply bounced him on the phone interview, since we were a tiny startup at the time and one wrong hire had the potential to sink us. I had other livelihoods to think of - not just the "legal" situation.
So what I did was I asked the guy back for a second informal interview and laid my cards out on the table. He could have gotten up right then, left, and immediately sued me. But he didn't - we had a productive talk about it, and due to that talk (and other self-starting qualities he had shown) he got the job.
I've now worked with him for over 10 years, through thick and thin and switching companies.
If I had followed your advice here - as the hiring manager I would have simply round-filed the resume due to the potential issues, and went on with my day. I took the risk, and it worked out. I don't believe what I did should have been punishable by death of my company - but it absolutely was if that potential hire had been ethically challenged. I also started the career of someone who was having challenges finding work elsewhere due to "unknown reasons" - aka people seeing his impairment and silently crossing him off the candidate list. Due to the insane legal framework around this stuff, very few companies will take risks like I did any longer.
You "laid your cards out on the table" -- which, as you note, is likely grounds for some sort of legal proceedings -- and it turned out.. I don't know even know. You got lucky that you weren't sued, as you willfully trampled through anti-discrimination laws. Why did it take some sort of put-it-on-the-line moment for you to consider the candidate beyond their physical disability?
You even go on to say that if the candidate was "ethically challenged", your company might suffer. You admit here that you were considering not hiring them because of a disability. How is it ethically challenged to possibly fight back over a dismissal based on being in a protected class? Do you view people with disabilities as simply a liability to companies?
Your closing sentences really smack of backdoor bragging. Good thing he found you, how lucky of him, someone that would tell him flat out to his face that they were worried he couldn't perform his job... and then decided to grace him with employment.
As the OP said, really mature. :/
Fair enough, could be seen that way. I only mentioned it because he's made that specific point himself to me many times. No one was willing to give him a shot for over a year due to his disability, yet in pop culture (as you have so clearly pointed out) I'm the evil one. I suppose that was an ill-advised addition, and should have been kept personal.
> Why did it take some sort of put-it-on-the-line moment for you to consider the candidate beyond their physical disability?
I really don't get this point. Why would I have taken the actions I did if I did not consider the candidate beyond their physical ability? I loved everything about him, but his disability put into severe question if he could perform the job. I had three choices at that point.
1) Round-bin the candidate. The vast majority of all employers do this at this stage.
2) Hire him blindly and hope for the best. In a 5 person startup this likely isn't a great plan for success. Plus if you make a hire like this and have to fire due to the disability not allowing him to perform the job I'm in a much stickier legal situation. Most likely I now get to hire another person to also do his job, and as a 5 man startup that just ended the company.
3) Talk with the candidate about my concerns, and see if we can come up with some reasonable accommodation. This is hugely risky as an employer if we end up not being able to come up with anything that works for us both. I took this option as I consider #1 absolutely immoral, and #2 had financial realities attached to it all the wishful thinking in the world wouldn't make go away.
And I do think you missed my point. The vast majority of employers completely ignore candidates like this because of posts like yours (e.g. the social climate) and legal liability if they say the wrong thing. In your estimation, I'm required to hire someone with a disability that cannot do the job. That is not true.
It took that moment because there were serious and legitimate concerns about his ability to do the job. Since he was a reasonable person he discussed those concerns with me like an adult, and we found a solution that worked for both of us. Hired. Had we not been able to find a workable solution, I shouldn't have had to open myself up to a potential frivolous lawsuit due to that fact.
And yes, you can say I trampled through anti-discrimination laws I suppose. But doing so got him hired, when before it would have been an open question if he could legitimately perform the job duties required. In this case, following the letter of the law would have hurt him since I could not have even broached the subject.
> Do you view people with disabilities as simply a liability to companies?
Again, I think you are having severe problems separating what reality actually is, to what the law says. I never said this in any way - I specifically noted how there were legitimate concerns over the employee's disability to do the job required. There are no reasonable accommodations to be made if the job is talk on the phone and you are incapable of doing so, and I would have had zero way to know if this problem was able to be mitigated in any fashion until I asked. Which I legally cannot do.
My point was if I had followed the law, that guy's resume would have been trashed like it was for the 50+ companies he got into and interviewed with to that point. Magically zero companies were interested the second he had to speak in person or on the phone and his disability revealed itself. He was otherwise solid, and me taking the time and liability to actually engage him in discussion about my concerns allowed me to feel comfortable hiring him and got his career started. My secondary point is good managers will absolutely color outside the lines with you and work with you to be successful in your career. OPs manager took him aside and outlined his concerns - in my opinion (as someone who has suffered the same condition) that's extremely respectful. The typical manager would have simply never even talked to the guy again, as it wasn't worth the risk.
I guess I simply will refuse to feel bad about this, even though you'd like that outcome. I'm absolutely proud I stuck my neck out and did the right thing - very few companies will these days. There are entire classes of untouchables I could talk your ear off about that everyone has utterly forgotten where the laws supposedly "protect" them but do the exact opposite. I put my money where my mouth is, where most simply ignore the problem exists due to perceived liability while simultaneously patting themselves on the back over how progressive they are being. It's sickening to me.
Edit: cleaned up some prose, less confrontational.