Supervisors may think they know all the candidates for promotion so well they can select one without actually interviewing the interested employees.
That’s a big mistake.
Chances are, if one of the disappointed applicants sues, the supervisor will have to answer very specific questions about the hiring process.
Recent case: Defense Department employee Barry Bartlett was 58 years old when he was passed over for a promotion in favor of a 39-year-old woman.
Bartlett had a bachelor’s degree, advanced coursework in law and business and 34 years of experience at his agency, including 24 years as a contract administrator. (Contract negotiation experience was a primary requirement.)
The female candidate had just eight years of experience and no college degree. Another older candidate had even more education than either Bartlett or the woman.
Still, their supervisor selected the woman without actually interviewing anyone. She made the decision based on her supposed direct knowledge of the candidates.
Bartlett sued, alleging age and other discrimination.
The court sent the case to trial, noting that the supervisor who made the promotion decision didn’t seem to know the experience level or educational attainment of any of the candidates. That cast a huge shadow over the selection. (Bartlett v. Gates, No. 09-3823, 6th Cir., 2010)