My husband manages a large division of a bureaucratic government-funded organization, and he does a lot of hiring. Recently, he saw a job candidate he liked a lot. And she is qualified to fill a slot he urgently needs to fill. But the hiring process is slow-moving. He told her he wanted to hire her, but that they had to wait to make it official.

But as the HR folks were doing background checks, they discovered something that raised red flags: No former employer spoke against her, but no one spoke up for her, either. This is unusual. Usually, a good candidate has people willing to go to bat for her, and though previous employers aren’t required to provide chapter and verse on a job candidate, enthusiastic ones often do.

So she passed the background check, but without flying colors, and HR warned my husband that she was a risky pick. In the meantime, she has told my husband that two weeks after she starts the new job, she needs to take six weeks off for a long-scheduled surgery. He still likes her, but he’s beginning to worry that she may be more trouble than she’s worth and he still hasn’t made her a formal offer. Can he back out now?

Supportive Spouse