BLUF: HR may be trying to influence my hiring decisions and I'm not sure if I'm just being territorial and paranoid or if HR is being unethical.
I have a supervisor position that I am currently interviewing for. I am interviewing internal candidates only- 2 guys and a gal from my team. After HR forwarded the applicants to me, I set up the interviews (peer interviews with other supervisors and manager interviews with me and my peers). I used a similar tool to the interview creation tool that we have in-house and selected 15 behavioral interview questions that I felt were relevant to the position.
The HR recruiter sent me an email the day before interviews began and told me that she needs to see my questions and will be sitting in on the interviews. This has never happened before, but I'm flexible so I told her when the interviews were and sent her my questions list. She replied back an hour or so later stating that she removed some of my questions and attached her updated questions list. I got a little bit defensive about that until I opened the attachment she sent where she had removed only one of my 15 questions. No big deal, I thought.
She then came to the first set of interviews and then instructed all interviewers that they must ask the same questions to each candidate in order to be fair. Again, no big deal with this, and I clarified that probing or follow up questions should be appropriately tailored to each candidate's answer and will vary from interview to interview. She sat through the interviews and collected the questions list with scores given to each question. This was the peer interview set, and the manager interview set which included me was today.
She came back today and sat through the interviews again. This time, I noticed her filling out the interview question list with her own scores during the interviews, which I thought was a little unusual but didn't mention to anyone. She did ask a couple of follow up questions during the interviews, but it was mostly me and the other managers asking the questions and driving the interview.
At the end of each interview, she quickly took each scored interview question sheet without letting me see them. At the very end, she took them all back to her office and put the scores in a spreadsheet. Here's where I start getting paranoid.
The aggregate score spreadsheet she sent me was riddled with odd, subtle "mistakes." I am a high C and spend a lot of time in spreadsheets, so they leaped out at me when I saw them.
First, I noticed that she had four lines of results in the interview score list for the manager conducted interviews. There were only 3 managers in the interviews, which indicates she used her own scores. I don't really see what business she has including her ratings for a position I am hiring for, especially considering she has never been a hiring manager.
Second, I noticed that three of the questions did not have a Total score rollup. This one was very obvious because there were just three empty cells sitting in the middle of a table full of numbers.
Third, one of the formulas she wrote totaled a row when it should have totaled a column, which made a vastly different value for the cell.
Fourth, on all the candidates, there was an extra row that had all 0's for the scores (I assume as a placeholder in case there were other interviewers) but in one cell for one candidate there was a number value that gave that candidate more points.
All of these may just look like sloppy Excel work, which is what I thought it was at first. But then I realized that every single one of these mistakes worked in the favor of one candidate, making that candidate's score higher. Indeed, that candidate ended up with the highest score with these mistakes, but when I fixed all the mistakes, the candidate dropped to 2nd place. The candidate that the mistakes favored is the same sex and ethnicity of the HR person; the other two candidates were not.
So, tell me: am I looking too much into this and seeing a sinister motive where there isn't one? Did this smell fishy to anyone else? What do I do about this?