A friend of mine applied at a small company, the CEO being a more or less well known figure in a moderately sized field of experts. The hiring process stalled, and there were errors on both sides, and ultimately no binding contract was reached, and my friend decided for another company. The CEO is now so upset (claiming waste of resources and time) that he/she threatens my friend with making their view of the story semi-public in the field.
I don't want to have a legal answer (most likely this is not legal, but hard to prove).
What I want to know:
is this something which is common?
how unprofessional would such a sharing of information be perceived?
Is it likely that other people take anecdotes told in such a setting seriously (I would not, since i consider people violating the confidentiality of the HR process grossly unprofessional)?
how to react? (that may include seeking for legal help, but also other things)
( 7 months ago )
Not common in terms of generally happens, but it is common for some individuals to make threats whenever things don't go their way.
Best to ignore it, the thing about well known figures that do this sort of thing is that everyone already knows what they're like and will probably think you dodged a bullet rather than anything worse. These sorts of people get a rep for giving one-sided arguments and exaggerating. Most of the time however it's just a threat, it's actually detrimental to them and the company to follow through and action it.
I've had multiple threats over my career from CEO's including letters delivered by lawyers, none of them have amounted to anything. I didn't even bother reading the letters. Just thanked the lawyer for visiting, offered them a cup of tea and chucked the letter in the bin in front of them.
how to react?
Ignore any communications, do not reply, do not acknowledge receipt even. You only react when there is something worth reacting to. Don't get into a dialogue or anything else, that just creates wiggle room and makes it look like it's an actual issue that needs to be addressed. Leave the ball in their court to frustrate themselves with bouncing it off a wall.