It’s mini answer Monday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Interviewing a candidate with a horrible resume
My boss has asked me to interview a potential candidate, but the candidate has one of the worst resumes I have ever read. My boss already thinks her resume is “bland,” but feels obligated to interview her as she is the daughter of a friend. Based on the resume alone, I would never recommend her for hiring as there are too many grammatical errors and writing inconsistencies for someone who claims to have an “attention to detail” and for a job that has a strong writing component.
Am I obligated to let know her resume is horrible and where she could improve it? Any advice on what questions to ask someone who I don’t feel would do well or benefit the company?
Nope, you’re not obligated to let her know that, although if you have a rapport with her, you could certainly offer her advice. (However, since your boss is having you do this out of an obligation to a friend, she might be planning to use a bland, generic reason for the rejection and might not appreciate you making it clear that it’s probably based on something else.) As for how to interview you, ask her the same sorts of questions you’d ask anyone; there’s no need to do it any differently just because you know there’s a foregone conclusion.
2. Applying for a different role at a company you used to work for
I have a science degree that, apart from some volunteering and teaching, has been essentially languishing in a shoebox since I graduated a few years ago. I recently saw an ad posted by a local brewery, looking for lab technicians. I actually used to work for the brewery, for over three years, but in a different role: I was a line cook in their attached restaurant. I know lots of people who work there! This is an actual, real-life chance for me to network! Which, of course, I have no idea how to do. I’m Facebook friends with my old sous chef, who’s still working there, so earlier today I sent him a message asking if he knew anything about the opening, like who was in charge of hiring for the position and how best to contact them. Is this the right way to go about using my connections, or should I have left him alone and just applied through the proper channels and hoped my candidacy spoke for itself? I’m really clueless here.
No, that’s exactly right. Since you knew people there and even used to work there yourself, reach out to the people you know there and tell them you’re really interested in the opening and ask what the next best step would be. Don’t feel weird about this; it’s normal and people do it all the time. (In fact, what would be weird is if you just applied without contacting anyone you knew there or alluding to your previous experience there.)
3. Backing out of an internal move
A position opened on internal audit in my current company. I tried my luck and applied. I was hired, but a month before my start date, I realized that I don’t want to leave my present team. I already signed the offer. If I will back out, what will be the consequences?
It depends. If they’ve already hired a replacement for you in your current role, your current job may not be available to you anymore. If it is, they might let you stay in it, but I can’t imagine they’re going to be pleased. At a minimum, you’re looking at them being frustrated and not considering you for promotions in the future. It could potentially be more than that, but it’ll depend on the people involved and the reasons you give them for backing out.
4. Will a new manager take away my recent promotion?
Our department recently hired a new manager, and I’m wondering how this might change things and how, in general, a new manager steps in and evaluates the existing staff. As a bit of background, our old manager had been let go and as a result, our department Senior was put in charge of everything until a replacement could be found. He ended up being in charge for about 8 months, and during that time, he gave me the opportunity to try my hand in a position of higher responsibility.
I have been training in the new position for about 5 months now and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I’m afraid this will all go away when our new manager gets settled in. Out of everyone in the department, I am the person with the least amount of experience. I have only 2 years of experience (I am a recent college graduate in my mid twenties), whereas everyone else in the department has anywhere from 10, 15, to 20 years of experience.
Do you think it’s likely the new manager might demote me back to my old, lesser responsibilities based upon my experience? How do managers in this new position typically evaluate the staff? We had a luncheon where we all introduced ourselves, and he seemed a bit shocked when he discovered I was brought on with so little experience.
Sure, it’s possible, but it’s also possible that won’t happen and it doesn’t sound like you have any reason to think it will, so far.
If the new manager is good, he’ll take some time to assess how you’re doing in the new role and whether it makes sense to keep you there. If he’s not good, he’s more likely to make decisions based on other factors.
I’d recommend meeting with him and saying that you know it’s unusual for someone at your level to be in the role you’re at, and so you wanted to give him some background about how it came about and how you’ve been doing in the job. Don’t leave his decision to just “happen” to you; talk to him and let that become part of his viewpoint.
5. What skills can I obtain for these three jobs?
What skills that I can obtain on my own (not through school) would you consider assets in the job like HR manager or executive assistant or event planner? I think they might be similar to all of these jobs. I would love to make myself the most desirable candidate by upgrading/learning skills.
Those are three very different jobs. The last two both require extreme attention to detail, but aside from that, they don’t have a lot in common. If you’re very interested in each, I’d talk to people in each field and learn more about what they do, so you can narrow down what you’re interested in and what you could do to make yourself a stronger candidate.
6. Should I apply to these organizations again?
I had two interviews in two organizations that I like a lot. One was phone, one in person. With the first, I was asked a bunch of questions relating to my personal thoughts, and althought I felt it went okay, I didn’t get an in-person interview. With the other one, the interview was with a very tired/annoyed/bored supervisor. It wasn’t related to my answers; she was like that before I even approached her and the whole 50 minutes of the interview. I didn’t get hired, got a generic rejection email, thanked nicely, and that’s it.
Should I apply again if they hire again in the next months or a year? I believe they will remember me, since I have a unique background. You advise to add them on LinkedIn, but how would I know if maybe they just hated me?
There’s no reason to assume they hated you. Perfectly good candidates get rejected for jobs all the time simply because someone else was better. Unless you have direct evidence that they hated you, that would be an odd assumption to make. It’s fine to apply again in the future if they have another opening that you’d be a good fit for.
7. Was this interviewer trying to signal that I didn’t get the job?
This Wednesday was my second interview with a very large firm for the position of regional sales manager. I am up against another candidate, and I was told that this was the last step before a formal job offer. The interview was 2 hours long. Some parts went very well but there were some things that I found very bizarre. First, the hiring manager had told me that he previously worked with my “rival” candidate on a large RFQ. I found this very strange. Why would my potential new boss talk to me about the other candidate? Is he sending me a message or is this a case of divulging too much information?
Then at one point, the hiring manager saw that behind him was a “white board” with some meeting notes (gibberish) on it. He quickly got up and erased the board as if I was some spy. It did not make me feel like I was part of their group at that point. Did he purposely do this to send me a message?
At the end of the interview i got the “We will let you know either way. if you are not chosen, we will send you a letter.” Is this common practice in HR or did I receive the proverbial kiss of death? Am I overreacting?
You’re reading way too much into all of this. Who knows why he mentioned the other candidate, but it’s the kind of thing that someone could easily say without thinking too much about how it might come across to you. And the white-board erasing — again, who knows, but he’s not trying to send you coded messages, believe me.
In general, assume that interviewers are rarely trying to send coded messages. If they want to reject you, they’ll reject you. Typically they’re just flawed communicators just like the rest of us who don’t always have perfectly polished conversation.