short answer Saturday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s short answer Saturday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. New hire is trying to take my office

I have been working at my current job for over 3 years as one of the 4 managers. Less than three months ago, we hired a manager of development. Since the day she started, she has demanded an office with a window and a bigger space so she can have three of her own desks so she has enough working room. I was just told by HR that it might be a possibility that I will be moved out of my office and to a smaller office. This office I will not have room for my conference table to meet with my department and current clients and I will no longer be situated with my department. I have the largest department in the company, with 5 employees, and the development manager has 1 other employee (not yet hired). Is this move a fair and smart move? I am currently in charge of the only department that brings in revenue, being that we are a non-profit company. I just feel I am being stepped on by the new hire and the HR and Executive Director have caved into her. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

No, of course it’s not fair or smart. Assert yourself and point out that it makes no sense for the reasons you have here.

2. When a recruiter wants your social security number

I had a recruiter contact me for a job, and over the phone in the first conversation, they wanted my social security number for a contract position. Is this legal and a normal practice?

It’s legal, and it’s not unheard of, but it’s not something you should give out. They don’t need your social security number until they’re paying you (or doing a background check). Explain that you don’t give it out when there’s no valid reason for it, because of concerns about identify theft.

3. Should I give interviewers copies of my personality test results?

I was interviewed for a position and was asked to take a Predictive Index test online. After the test, I was scheduled for an interview, where I asked for a copy of the results. I am very fascinated by this type of testing and just wondered what insight it could give. Well, they did gave me a copy, and I must say it is pretty accurate. Here is my question: Should I make copies of the results and give them to other interviewers at other job interviews?

I sometimes feel as though I am not always able to “toot my own horn very well,” and I wondered if perhaps this might help do this for me. There is not anything adverse on the results, just a good explanation of my strengths and abilities. I have not done this as of yet, but if you think it is a good idea I will have some copies made on nicer paper.

No, absolutely not. It’ll seem weird.

4. Bringing a cover letter to an interview

Once you have applied online for a position with a cover letter and a resume, and then you have an interview, should you take the same cover letter with you? Or should you take a revised letter to hand the interviewer with the hard copy of your resume? I have done it both ways. Will they take the time to look and see that the second one is different, or am I stressing about a mute point?

Don’t bring a cover letter to the interview at all. A cover letter is to introduce your candidacy to an employer; once you have an interview, it’s unnecessary. It would be weird to hand them a cover letter at the start of your interview.

5. Listing government-subsidized work on a resume

As a nonprofit, we get “free” help, 20 hours a week for 13 weeks, from workers who in exchange get paid through a government subsidy, as well as getting training/experience in an office setting, with the hope that it will increase their likelihood of getting full-time work. Many of them list us as their employer, which is really a misnomer. How should I advise them to write this work experience on their resume? And should they mention it was a government program (i.e. would/could an employer hold it against them that they were on public assistance)?

Why is it a misnomer? They’re working for you, and you’re functioning as their employer. Of course you should allow them to list it as a normal job on their resumes, and no, they don’t need to mention that it’s through a government program. Work is work.

6. Saying you’re okay with a salary range when you’re really not

I received a phone call for an interview, and before we went any further, they gave me the salary range. Of course I said yes, but I’m not comfortable with the salary range. If I interview well and I’m offered the job, would it still hurt to negotiate salary? I have a feeling that they will reiterate the salary range again during the interview.

Agggghhh. If you wouldn’t accept a particular salary range, don’t say that you would. If you’re offered the job, you can try saying that now that you know more about it, you think it’s worth $X, but you’re in a very weak negotiating position if you’ve already agreed to something else, and you risk pissing them off since they cleared it with you up-front.

7. Interview questions about conflict

I’m a recent grad searching for my first “real” job. I’ve had a few interviews already, and the one question that ALWAYS gets me is the “Describe a time you had a conflict with a co-worker, how did you handle the situation?” The first time I got asked that question, it kind of threw me of guard (I didn’t prepare for it…) so I ended up responding with an exaggerated situation of something that happened at one of my past jobs. Since then, I’ve had time to think a bit more about something that did actually happen, and I really cannot come up with anything. Truth is I’m a very non-conflicutal person (I hate conflict, but I will voice my disagreement about things in the workplace – to me conflict is way more loaded than disagreement). I’ve been using this exaggerated situation in job interviews just because I can’t think of anything else.

Anyway, my question is, would it be better to say something along the lines of: “Honestly, I’m a fairly peaceable person, and tend to avoid conflict because I just really don’t like it. However, that being said, I’m not afraid to voice my disagreement,” and give and example of when I disagreed with someone, we talked about it, and agreed on a compromise. I wouldn’t classify it as a “conflict” per se, but merely I disagreed with the way in which someone (not my direct supervisor, but someone above me management wise) was doing their work (which ultimately effected my work).

The answer you’re giving qualifies as “conflict” for the purpose of this question. They’re not looking for an account of a screaming match; they want to know how you handled a disagreement, and that’s what you gave them. No need to exaggerate the details, or to talk about conflict-avoidance.

{ 65 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous

    “Since the day she started, she has demanded an office with a window and a bigger space so she can have three of her own desks so she has enough working room.”

    I have to question this woman’s efficiency here! Unless this is a job that demands several physical models (or pieces of test equipment) which cannot be moved why on earth would she need 3 desks?

    If its separate computers that have to be different specs then they can be combined to one monitor through a switch. If she wants to have loads of paperwork everywhere then she needs to work out how to combine it to fit on a single bookshelf unit (which would still enable classification of types but not have everything out on a desk at once).

    1. The IT Manager

      I agree. I just was thinking yesterday that while its nice not to be crowded next to others, the days of people needing lots of desk space to spread out papers is passing.

    2. Anonymous

      The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so it’s time to squeak louder than the new manager. It sounds like she’s trying to empire-build.

  2. KayDay

    I disagree with #4: cover letters. I generally bring a couple of hard copies of everything I have submitted (as well as references), just in case. While most interviewers already have their own copy, this isn’t always the case, especially if there are multiple interviewers. It’s good to be prepared in case they ask for it (or ask their assistant for it). I don’t hand it to them unless they need it.

    To answer the OP’s question, I would definitely bring the same cover letter that I submitted.

    1. Anonymous

      I bring one too, mainly for myself to refer to before the interview begins. It’ a nice document to look at if you’re struggling to get into the right mindset of why you’d be so cool in this job. I don’t think I’d hand it to anyone, though, unless there was a very good reason.

    2. Rachel - Former HR Blogger

      Agreed. I once went to an interview and said “As I wrote in my cover letter, …” The interviewers then informed me that they never received my cover letter from the recruiter.

  3. Anonymous

    #1: That woman is ridiculous. First of all, 3 desks? Second, while she is a manager, isn’t there some sort of food chain of seniority? While to some extent I despise seniority (due to union experience where it’s seniority over merit), I think in this case since she is new, she should take the office she’s been given and make it work.

    #7: I had the same difficulty in my job interviews, but you have to learn that conflict doesn’t mean you and your coworker took it outside to the parking lot. You can have conflicting opinions, meaning you aren’t on the same page.

  4. Aaron

    Agree with KayDay on cover letters. I have been asked for them in interviews, though rarely.

    On #6, I’ve said I’m ok with salary ranges in the moment just because I don’t want to spend time thinking about it in the interview. If it’s obviously too little, say so, but I’d hate to effectively end the interview and then later decide that for some other reason the salary is acceptable.

    But when I later decided the salary range was too low, I withdrew my application. Continuing to interview without bringing this up is a waste of everyone’s time.

    1. Anonymous

      Continuing to interview without bringing this up is a waste of everyone’s time.

      Both sides would be getting extra interview practice. I don’t see how that’s a waste of time. Besides, as people are often reminded here, vague mentions of salary range mean nothing – that doesn’t even start to happen until there’s an offer letter (and even then, an at-will position arguably makes that largely irrelevant beyond your next pay check).

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Most employers aren’t looking for extra interview practice, and you may be taking a slot that would have otherwise gone to someone perfectly happy with that salary range who will now be rejected.

        And it’s actually not true that mentions of salary ranges mean nothing — if an employer tells you what they’re planning to pay, that counts for a lot. Plenty of the time, it’s not flexible.

        1. Anonymous

          Most employers aren’t looking for extra interview practice

          But do they need it?

          you may be taking a slot that would have otherwise gone to someone perfectly happy with that salary range who will now be rejected

          That is entirely the employer’s decision – the interviewee has zero control over how many people the employer brings in.

          Plenty of the time, it’s not flexible

          And some fraction of the time it is?

          1. Anon

            If you go through an entire interview process and then refuse to negotiate within the range you agreed to up front, you are going to majorly burn a bridge. Why do that?

            It is *occasionally* negotiable later on, but only if something has materially changed or you are SO awesome of a candidate that you really bring something to the table they can’t get elsewhere (in which case, their salary range is too low for the market).

            1. Anonymous

              If you go through an entire interview process and then refuse to negotiate within the range you agreed to up front, you are going to majorly burn a bridge. Why do that?

              Well, one wouldn’t – simply politely decline the job if offered. How would that burn a bridge?

              1. Anon

                Oh, I misunderstood you. Simply declining shouldn’t burn a bridge (though some employers are, unfortunately, immature about this). I meant opening salary negotiations, and THEN declining, i.e. if the range is 35-45K, you can’t ask for 50K, then walk away when they say the range is firm.

                FTR, some examples of when you *can* ask for more than the stated range:

                1) You are interviewing for a positions at one location, and then they ask you to work at another in the same metro area.

                2) The benefits package is significantly worse than you expected, and had reason to expect based on the industry standards.

                3) You learn during the interview process that you are going to be exempt with a lot of overtime.

                1. Anonymous

                  if the range is 35-45K, you can’t ask for 50K, then walk away when they say the range is firm

                  If the company hasn’t previously said that the range is firm, why not?

                2. Anon

                  Well, you are welcome to do whatever you want, but it will burn bridges when they realize you have lied to them (saying you’d take a salary that you won’t take) and wasted their time.

          2. Tamara

            The interviewee does have indirect impact on how many people the employer moves from stage to stage though. If I’m bringing in 6 people to interview, I might decide that 3 will continue to the next stage. If I select a candidate who has already decided that the salary is too low but is sticking around, then candidate #4 just lost her real chance at the job just for practice.

            1. Anonymous

              If I’m bringing in 6 people to interview, I might decide that 3 will continue to the next stage

              The interviewees have no control over the arbitrary numbers you decide to continue to the next stage. Besides, no interviewee can know for sure that you won’t dazzle them with your awesomeness sufficiently to make them change their minds about whether they would take the job in the end.

              If I select a candidate who has already decided that the salary is too low but is sticking around, then candidate #4 just lost her real chance at the job just for practice

              And the person who takes the job in the end causes all the others to lose their chance at it. Your point being what?

              1. Tamara

                You’re certainly correct that they don’t have control, I wasn’t arguing that at all. But, there is an impact.

                My point was that I only have so much time to spend on the hiring process, I need it to be spent on the however-many top candidates that are actually interested in the position. In my example, if my #2 is just there for practice, I actually only have 2 candidates to choose from and I’m missing out on spending quality time on my third top candidate, who is delegated to a “no interview” position because I though #2 was in the running. There is always a measure of risk – maybe #5 was the best fit and I’ll certainly never know that – however there is a much better chance of getting it right if all of the parties involved are actually there for the same reason – to fill an open position.

                1. Anonymous

                  Well, perhaps if you’re sufficiently impressive, #2 will (internally) change their reason from “there to practice” to “fill an open position.” After all, isn’t an interview a two-way conversation?

              2. Long Time Admin

                You just like to argue, don’t you?

                Open your mind, and someone just might drop a new thought in it.

                1. Heather

                  Is it me or do there seem to be a lot more Anons lately who seem like they enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing?

        2. Vicki

          Thank you for saying this.
          Every time I hear “extra interview practice” I cringe. If I don;t want the job, that “extra practice” isn;t doing me any good because the fact that I don;t want the job is going to come through. And I would be wasting the interview teams time as well as taking a slot someone else deserves more than me.

          Anon – Would be be willing to honestly tell the interviewer: “I don’t want this job but how about we spend 3 hours anyway so we can all get in some interview practice?”

          <>

      2. Anonymous

        I do not get this interview for practice. I go to an interview hoping and trying to get the job. I hope no-one is just interviewing me to fill a slot. I do not waste other people’s time and I really hope others would not waste mine. It is hard enough to try to come across the best way. Why would you go to an interview, unless you are considering this a real job possibility.

        1. Anonymous

          Why would you go to an interview, unless you are considering this a real job possibility.

          For practice, for future jobs. Since when was practicing to get better considered a waste of time?

          Besides, to be worth applying for in the first place, there must have been some evidence of a fit. And you never know whether you’d really take the job until the offer is in writing. As people are regularly reminded here, there’s more to things than just the salary. Things like benefits and holidays have to be considered as well.

      3. Kimberlee

        Honestly, if I were interviewing candidates, and I found out that one of my top 3 choices were withdrawing their application because the salary range I’d published from the start was not acceptable to them, that person would be blackballed like forever from any job I was hiring for. If you have reservations about the salary, you’re free to say so, and ask if I could see going higher for an outstanding candidate. But to pretend you’re interested in a job that, really, you’re not (if you know you would not take it for the highest wage in the range), that is an incredibly insulting waste of my time.

        If you’re not sure, say you’re not sure! Then the employer has the option of taking another look at your materials and deciding if they would consider changing the range. But don’t lie. As a practice, in employment, one should just avoid lying.

        1. Anonymous

          Honestly, if I were interviewing candidates, and I found out that one of my top 3 choices were withdrawing their application because the salary range I’d published from the start was not acceptable to them, that person would be blackballed like forever from any job I was hiring for

          And how you you find out?

          But don’t lie. As a practice, in employment, one should just avoid lying

          Where was lying advocated?

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I can’t tell if you’re willfully misunderstanding the points others are making here or not, but obviously it’s lying to say “yes, I’m okay with that range” when in fact you are not.

            And as for your question about how they would find out, they would find out when they offered you the initially stated salary (the one you said you were fine with), you tried to negotiate it, and then turned the offer down because you couldn’t come to terms over money.

          2. Ask a Manager Post author

            Also, Anonymous, are you saying you wouldn’t have a problem with it if you applied for a job where the posted salary range was, say, $75K-$85, went through the time and expense of multiple interviews, and the employer offered you $50K and wouldn’t budge? Assume too that they had confirmed earlier that they planned to pay the higher amount when you asked them about it in an interview.

            It’s misrepresentation no matter which side it’s on.

            1. Anonymous

              To reply to both at once:

              but obviously it’s lying to say “yes, I’m okay with that range” when in fact you are not

              Naturally. So one wouldn’t say that – there have been plenty of suggestions on this site along the lines of compensation being more than just salary.

              And as for your question about how they would find out, they would find out when they offered you the initially stated salary (the one you said you were fine with), you tried to negotiate it, and then turned the offer down because you couldn’t come to terms over money.

              And if you don’t try to negotiate, and simply politely decline without giving a reason?

              Also, Anonymous, are you saying you wouldn’t have a problem with it if you applied for a job where the posted salary range was, say, $75K-$85, went through the time and expense of multiple interviews, and the employer offered you $50K and wouldn’t budge?

              Are you seriously saying that employers will make reimbursement of interview expenses contingent on the interviewees accepting the job if offered? I would suggest that that is the sort of employer one might not mind avoiding. As for the time, well, at a minimum I will have had a day or so to look around a different place – and experiencing new people and places is rarely a waste. That was certainly my attitude the time I was assured that the absolute top of the salary range was equal to the absolute minimum of that published on their website. I sighed, and was able to explore a town in the middle of Ohio I might not have had occasion to visit.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                “And if you don’t try to negotiate, and simply politely decline without giving a reason?”

                That’s entirely different and doesn’t seem to be what we’re talking about here. If you’re not going to try to negotiate for more, and just somehow expect them to offer it to you, when they’ve already said they plan to offer a different number, then that’s … bizarre in a different way.

                “Are you seriously saying that employers will make reimbursement of interview expenses contingent on the interviewees accepting the job if offered?”

                I’m saying nothing of the sort and can’t figure out where you’re getting that. Maybe re-read what I wrote? I’m saying turn the tables and ask yourself how you’d feel if an employer did to you what you’re suggesting doing to an employer.

                I would suggest that that is the sort of employer one might not mind avoiding.

                Yes — just as we’re all saying that a candidate doing this is a candidate that we would avoid.

                1. Anonymous

                  If you’re not going to try to negotiate for more, and just somehow expect them to offer it to you, when they’ve already said they plan to offer a different number, then that’s … bizarre in a different way.

                  No – merely that once they’ve stated the salary range, they may have taken themselves out of the running for the interviewee’s services. At that point, the interview process is merely practice. Are you suggesting that there is some sort of obligation to try negotiating?

                  I’m saying nothing of the sort and can’t figure out where you’re getting that. Maybe re-read what I wrote?

                  Well there was the bit about “went through the time and expense of multiple interviews” etc. Now, I grant that there wasn’t a specific subject attached to that clause, but I presuming it to be the interviewee. Hence my comment – I may be out of pocket for a while, but I would expect my interview expenses to be paid in any event.

                  ask yourself how you’d feel if an employer did to you what you’re suggesting doing to an employer.

                  Like I said: I simply enjoyed myself looking around a (small) part of the country I might not have otherwise had occasion to visit.

                  Yes — just as we’re all saying that a candidate doing this is a candidate that we would avoid.

                  And how do you propose doing that?

                2. Ask a Manager Post author

                  This is going to be my last comment on this because you seem to be willfully mishearing what people are saying, but using an employer for interview practice is as rude and inconsiderate as if an employer wasted your time that way, with no intention to hire you.

                  And if they realize that you wasted their time intentionally, it will burn a bridge — that person/company will not interview you in the future.

                3. Anonymous

                  To reiterate a few points: at no point have I advocated indicating that the range was acceptable (I am presuming here that the job ad didn’t list a range, and was otherwise of sufficient interest to make the interviewee apply) and then trying to negotiate outside that range afterwards. One would simply politely decline any offer which was forthcoming. In the meantime, there is interview practice to be gained – and it would be foolish to waste it. No bridges burned.

                  If pressed as to whether the salary range is acceptable, one could simply say that “I’m more interested in total compensation, and I understand that you offer an unrivalled benefits package.” That even invites the interviewer to clear up any misunderstandings as to the true quality of the benefits package.

                  When it comes to how interviewees might feel in the reverse situation, I can only offer my own experience. I had applied for a position, and found out in advance the salary range for that grade from HR. When I’d flown to a random part of Ohio (whose only obvious attraction was the presence of an NFL farm team), I discovered from the hiring manager that the true salary range was…. unacceptably disjoint from that stated by HR. Now, I suppose I could have regarded the employer as “rude and inconsiderate” but instead I chose to take the view that I was being given an expenses-paid vacation in a part of the country I might not have visited otherwise – and some interview practice as a bonus.

  5. Steve

    Re number 4, remember that the cover letter and resume gets you the interview, and that the interview gets you the job offer. You certainly can bring a copy along in case the interviewer misplaced or forgot theirs but it should not be necessary. Also it is “moot point” vice “mute point.”

    1. E

      No, it’s a moo point. You know, like a cow’s opinion.

      (sorry, couldn’t help myself there. Had to make the reference to Friends)

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Ha! I usually edit readers’ letters for mistakes like that, but apparently missed this one. Which is what I get for posting at 3:30 a.m.

  6. mary

    #3-See if you can find examples of your work history that relate to positive points of the test. You may be able to highlight those in your resume and “toot your own horn” a little more.
    #4-mute-unable to speak, moot-open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point. I always bring a copy of letter, resume and references to an interview.

    1. V

      Great advice on #3 Mary! This sounds like a great tool to give you ideas for your “I’m awesome” interview stories!

  7. Rana

    I can somewhat sympathize with the person who needs three desks – I once had a temp job that involved alphabetizing filing thousands of document folders a day and being able to spread them all out made the difference between straightforward task and barely possible task. That said, all I needed was a space in a corner; demanding an office with a window on top of it is a bit much.

    Is she an architect? With lots of scale models and need for natural light? That might maybe make sense, but if that were the case I’d assume they’d have provided her with such a space from the outset.

    1. Elizabeth West

      I can’t; I had to do it at my old job and I only had one desk. She’s being a selfish greedy jerk. Brand new and kicking someone out of their office? Really?

  8. Anonymous

    #1 – Is it possible your organization is changing its business plan, or has chosen a new 3 or 5 year plan? Though I think this is premature, if the higher-ups have shared with her a new direction, then I can see why the move would be necessary. (Though premature, and very, very poorly handled)

    1. EngineerGirl

      I was thinking that it was just pure entitlement. Since when do you come into a new situation and demand the very best off the top? Even if management shared a new direction, it is utterly foolish to alienate the others in the office. And why is HR doing the seating charts? That’s not an HR function. Why is the “manager” not pushing back? Manage! Go to the Exec Director (not HR) and have a discussion with him – that you are concerned about losing your office because you need it for business purposes. The fact that you need it for your clients to generate revenue should count for something.

  9. Anonymous

    #7 OP, I think you’re really missing the point of the question while hanging yourself on terminology. In English, people will misuse a word and you’re supposed to use the context of the conversation to respond to the question they are trying to ask, not the question they actually asked. They want to know about an office disagreement or difference of opinion, not an office brawl. Unless you’re a professional wrestler.

    The point of the question is to prove that you are not an irrational, grudge-holding, crazy person. That you can work with others as a professional, even when there are serious differences of opinion. The point is that you are NOT supposed to be a brawler. You’re supposed to pick a story where you and a co-worker had a disagreement over something, you came to an agreement about how to handle it, and it turned out well for everyone in the end. You aren’t supposed to paint the other person as a villain or nut – so even if you have a great story where someone else was a nut at work and you showed them up, that’s the wrong story to use to answer this question. You want to demonstrate that you’re willing to stand your ground but also willing to see the other person’s side of things, and that you’re capable of reaching a fair compromise.

    1. What the?

      I agree with anonymous. And if I might add, where there is diversity in the workplace, there will be people with different points of views and opinions. It’s just a fact. When faced with a difficult situation, or someone who might not like you, if you are a solutions oriented person, you will look for ways to solve a problem without dumping matters on to others or your manager.

  10. Kimberlee

    Related to #4, as a general question, am I wrong in thinking that I don’t need to bring ANY copies of ANYTHING to an interview? I mean, they have my resume and cover letter. I can send them writing samples or references via email if requested. I can see bringing a copy of my resume for my own reference during the interview, but I’d never before thought of how silly it is to bring copies for everyone. Why would it be my responsibility to provide materials for the whole class? If it doesn’t occur to them that they might want to have my resume and cover letter on hand to review *during my interview,* why should candidates indulge that by carrying around 10 copies of their resumes (especially in a world where we all submitted them via email in the first place)?

    1. Marie

      I don’t think you need to bring copies of the cover letter or resume. It is wise to bring reference information.

      In the case of a background check it could speed the process up a little bit and the recruiter doesn’t have to wait for you to send the information by email.

      1. Anon

        Oh, I think you should always bring copies of your resume. In theory, every person you will meet has already has a copy, but it’s just not a guaranteed thing. I think it’s common for the hiring manager to review it closely and take notes, but you never know if you are going to get thrown in front of the VP for a fifteen minute chat or whatever.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      People tell you to bring copies of your resume in case they don’t have it on hand, but I agree with Kimberlee that employers should be organized enough to have it (and if they don’t, you should question what that says about them). On the other hand, sometimes it’s helpful if you end up unexpectedly meeting someone additional because it comes up organically in your meeting that it would be helpful to also talk with Bob or whatever. Bob wasn’t planning on meeting with you and so doesn’t have your resume.

      1. Charles

        ” . . . sometimes it’s helpful if you end up unexpectedly meeting someone additional because it comes up organically in your meeting that it would be helpful to also talk with Bob or whatever. Bob wasn’t planning on meeting with you and so doesn’t have your resume.”

        This happens ALL the time with me when I am on an interview.

        And, I would think that, yes, an employer should be prepared; But, who is at the bigger disadvantage if you don’t have extra copies of your resume? It is, afterall, YOUR “brochure” to sell yourself, isn’t it?

    3. Esra

      During the interview for my current job, I brought two copies, one for myself and one for the interviewer. Turns out it was two interviewers and both of them wanted, but didn’t bring, a copy. So next time around I’m bringing at least three copies. They all fit tidily in a little file folder, so it doesn’t seem like too much of a burden.

      1. starts & ends with A

        I always bring copies of my resume. One situation, everyone had a copy that they had printed, but for whatever reason (maybe the software the application system pushed it through?) going from screen to paper printed funny. Did they need a copy? No. Did they (seem to) appreciate I had brought them? Yes.

    4. Anonymous

      Don’t forget the curse of many an HR system… resumes often become unformatted, messy blocks of text. The interviewers may be very grateful if you offer them a copy that is easier to scan while you are talking. And if you customize your resume for each job application, it can be helpful to be able to refer to the exact same document as they have. Keep a couple of copies with you. At worse you’ve wasted a few pieces of paper.

  11. Alisha

    #2: How timely. I just applied to a job off of Craigslist to meet my applications quota for the week, since July is a light month for hiring in my field.

    Next thing I know, I got two spam e-mails in a row requesting my credit information and demanding I pay for a credit check in order to be interviewed. I marked them as spam, but does anyone know what the protocol is for this? Report them to the BBB? That was my first instinct but I wanted to see if there’s a better method.

    1. Alisha

      (Derp, forgot a detail. This went beyond what the #2 OP described – the e-mail came from a yahoo address and was asking for all kinds of personal information, which I got the sense they were going to sell…ugh.)

      1. Phlox

        The protocol for this is to mark them as SPAM and otherwise ignore! This is pure fraud/phishing/etc. No point in going to BBB, this isn’t something they deal with. The only time you would ever give anyone this type of information was after you had had interviews and they were doing a final background check.

        1. Phlox

          Thinking more about it, you might just complain to Craigslist so they could yank the posting, if it was actually the scammer.

    2. Natalie

      As frustrating as it is, there isn’t much you can do except flag the Craigslist ad and move on.

      Even for business that are BBB affiliated, that organization heavily favors their members. I’m not aware of anyone who’s actually found the BBB helpful.

  12. Phlox

    Regarding #2 – requiring an SSN: There is sometimes a legitimate need for this – some big corporations track candidates by their SSN and the recruiter can’t present you to them without it. However, I would definitely want to discuss it with the recruiter and make sure the need is there.

  13. Charles

    #2 SSN – Last four digits!

    What I have always done when they insist that they need my SSN I have given them the LAST four digits only. No one has ever complained or told me that is not acceptable. Most of the folks I have dealt with seem to understand my concerns about identity theft. (and if they don’t I’m not sure that I want to deal with them – hasn’t happened yet though)

    Once, I am hired or they need to run a background check (after in-person interviewing) I will give them the whole number; but, until then nothing but the last four digits.

  14. Seattle Writer Girl

    #1 – Been there, done that. I went from a window office with lake views to sitting in an open office space with my back to the front door and a view of the deli across the street. Crossing my fingers that it goes better for you!

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