It’s short answer Saturday — six short answers to six short questions. Here we go…
1. Explaining why I’m leaving a slow-paced company
I have been in the same position for the last 6 years. When I took the position the main reasons were that it was an interesting technology, and it was a less than 10-minute commute (vs 1.5 hr+ round trip for my previous position) and surprisingly flexible and family friendly for my field. However, I quickly learned there just isn’t enough work to go around. It is very much a culture where people sit back and don’t do much during the day. In addition to handling my usual responsibilities, I have done some “busy work” projects that relate to our technology. I’ve finished a master’s degree and a project management certification. I’ve read a lot of books using the kindle cloud reader.
I’ve carried out a back burner job search for a while and recently spoke with a recruiter about a position that looks like it could be a great fit — fascinating technology, dynamic/growing company, great location. This once again raises the issue that when I talk to recruiters or hiring managers, I feel at a loss for explaining my current work environment, and my lack of measurable achievements within it. I usually end up saying things like, “It’s a small company” and “It’s a niche product line” (both true) to explain why I’m looking for a change. Any tips for talking about my current work environment without sounding as negative as I often feel about it?
Your reasons for wanting to leave speak well for you — you want to do more work. Employers like that. I’d be honest about that rather than coming up with a cover story. Say something like, “It’s a very relaxed environment with a lot of downtime. I thrive on being busy, so I’m looking for a more fast-paced environment where I can juggle more than my current role allows.”
2. Asking for feedback after a phone interview
I know you recommend asking for feedback when you aren’t ultimately selected for a job. Would you also recommend doing this if you had an initial phone interview but didn’t get to the next step?
Sure, you can absolutely try that, especially if you had a rapport with the interviewer. Be aware that, as with any time you ask for feedback, some people won’t give it to you, just as a matter of course, but some will — and you won’t know who will and who won’t until you try.
3. Why is my old role suddenly paying so much more?
I recently accepted a new position within the same division of a state agency. It was my understanding that this was a promotion. The new position is highly specialized with a complete set of new duties and, thankfully, a pay raise. I viewed the advertisement for my old position and was shocked to find out that my successor will be getting nearly double my starting salary when I was in that position and significantly more than I’m getting now. My manager did tell me they were reclassifying the position higher, as it would no longer be entry level, so I was aware that would increase the pay. But over 30% more than I’m earning now seems excessive and unfair for a non-specialized position, performing the same job duties as I did before.
I’d like to know why a $20k pay increase is necessary when the duties of the job haven’t changed, only the classification. How do I receive a promotion, but get paid significantly less than the person filling my old position? Why was that increase an afforded to me when I was in that position? I’d like to talk to my manager or HR about lowering the pay grade for that position. Does this fall into the “life’s not fair, mind my own business” category or should I talk to my manager about it?
You can certainly ask what’s changing about the position that’s increasing the compensation so significantly, but you’d need to ask that out of genuine curiosity, not with an agenda to get the to change the pay grade — since the pay grade for a job that’s no longer yours is really none of your business, and you have no standing to push for them to change it. But if the position is less responsibility than you have now, and it’s going to pay more than you’re getting paid, you can certainly point that out and ask if your own pay grade should be reconsidered in light of that.
(Keep in mind, though, that’s it’s entirely possible that they’ve revamped the job in ways that make this make sense — and you wouldn’t necessarily be privy to that.)
4. What does unresponsiveness say about this hiring manager?
I had a great in-person interview two weeks ago, and was told I would hear something last week. I had not heard anything by late Friday, so I emailed the hiring manager to see where they were in the decision-making process. While I know that this point in the process often takes longer than originally thought for a number of reasons, I am miffed that she has yet to respond to my email at all! What does this say about her as a manager, if anything? Prior to this, she had been very communicative. It does make me think I’m out of the running. I am doing my best to put out of my mind, as you have stated…but as you can see, I’m definitely struggling with this.
It says that she’s like tons of other hiring managers out there, many of whom take far longer to respond to status update emails from candidates than those candidates would like. Some do that because they’re swamped with higher priority work, and some do it because they’re waiting until they have something to report. (And some do it because they’re rude and don’t plan to ever respond at all, but there’s no reason yet to think that’s the case here.) You can take issue with it, but you’re going to run into it with so many other interviewers that you’re better off accepting it and not letting it irk you.
You’re also better off putting this job out of your mind and moving on, so that you’re not agonizing over when you’ll hear something.
5. Doctor’s wife gets unfair treatment
I work at a dental office where the doctor’s wife is the office manager. She is never on time, always an hour or more late. She takes off multiple days at her own leasiure. In December, she took off the whole month but the first 4 days. There have been numerous occasions where she doesn’t come to work for days. When she is at work, I often find her on her iPad or iPhone, talking on the company’s phone to friends, gossiping, or casually checking emails. She has only been office manager for two years, and we as employees are not awarded with time off every pay period.
Is it okay for her to do these sorts of things just because she is the doctor’s wife? We are barely allowed to take days off without being disciplined or written up. It’s unfair to the rest of the staff for us to see our manager behave in such a manner where she believes she can do whatever she wants when she pleases. It actually bothers me to the point where I want to go file a complain for unequal employee benefits. Am I overreacting or is it normal for an office manager to have such privileges?
Assuming the doctor is the owner of the practice, he’s allowed to let his wife do all this if he wants to. It’s his practice; he can run it however he pleases (assuming he’s not violating any laws). It’s not illegal to give her benefits that the rest of you don’t get. It’s unfair, certainly, and I’m sure it’s frustrating … but there’s no law being broken here and thus no complaint to file. Your options are to accept that this is how the doctor runs his practice, or to look for other work. (If you do the latter, I would recommend looking for an office where the owner’s spouse doesn’t work there.)
6. Why do I have to interview with HR?
I had an initial phone interview for an executive administrative coordinator position with a recruiter for a large accounting firm (1,700 employees), followed by a computer skills test, then a face-to-face interview with the office manger of the four offices located in my area. I had not yet sent out a note reiterating my interest in the position to the office manager when the recruiter called me early the next morning to invite me to a final interview with the other two executives I will be assisting, plus a half-hour meeting with an HR manager. What is the purpose of meeting with the HR person if I haven’t been offered the position and I am not done with the interviewing process?
It could be that HR does their own interviews as part of the hiring process. (That would be lame if true, since hiring managers should do their own hiring, but it’s not unheard of). It could also be that the meeting is for HR to go over their benefits package (also common).