There is a rather attractive position to be filled at my department. The heads of department are already quite sure about who should fill this position. Jobs being filled with preselected candidates are not exactly legal, but common practice in my country. Thus, there legally has to be a job announcement, as everybody has to be given the chance to apply for the job. There further is an equal opportunities office that ensures that all candidates are being judged by the same categories and no one gets preferential treatment.
I never found this practice of preselecting candidates particularly fair or ethical, but let's just say that up until now I had to deal with other challenges. Then I recently stumbled across the list of applicants for that position by accident (was still lying in the printer) and saw that I know one of the applicants who apparently will have no chance against the preselected candidate. It's not that I desperately want this acquaintance ("friend" is too much) to fill the job, but knowing a name on the "you're never gonna get the job"-list made the unfair treatment so much more real. I don't find it acceptable.
Things that speak for me to do nothing:
- Most importantly: My contract will be finished soon and I was, am and will be dependent on my boss's willingness to give me a contract or rather (because there is no funding) her cooperation on further projects.
- The head of department is my direct boss and (in my opinion) a very likeable person.
- I highly appreciate her concern for her staff, she nevertheless needs to make strategic decisions at some points, which comes with the job and is only professional - I understand.
- Furthermore, as much as I know the preselected candidate seems to be a very good, high impact candidate who will fit in the department.
Things that speak for me to do something
- Most importantly: It's a unfair/ unethical system and I don't want to stand by and watch
- There is no funding for a future contract anyway (although my boss tried)
- There may be many other candidates just as good or better than the preselected one
What should I do? I'm not gonna lie: talking to my boss (head of department) scares me quite a bit. But then again I don't want to go to higher levels, be the whistleblower and ruin parts of my boss's career...
Based on your answers I did/will do the following:
- I talked to a colleague, turns out she had the same impression and wanted to talk to me about it as well. So concerning the question "do you have proof?": at least I have another witness now. But then again, as Anonymous Physicist wrote: up until now, no rule was broken. However, we decided to closely follow the application process in hope that our concerns were exaggerated (which I highly doubt)
- "maybe it was just a statement about the quality of the candidate?" It very much exceeded this, as my boss was talking about how important it is that they get the participant through the application process and what possible pitfalls could be. Nevertheless I'll talk to her in order to find out, what her behavior would look like if "someone better" shows up and if that'd be a case of nepotism (see answer of xLeitix).