It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. How to let clients know that coworker and I are married
I am a senior member of the leadership team in a small-ish firm. In about 3 months, I will be marrying another member of the leadership team, and I’m curious about “best practice” ways to handle the union. Our boss knows that we’re dating; we had lunch with him and the other leadership team member, after we had been dating and working together (on the same project) for quite a while. We did that to prove that we could work together professionally without letting our personal relationship become a distraction. We will probably let our boss know we are getting married — I envision either telling him just before or just after the wedding. My question is how to handle our clients once we are married.
As we are a small-ish firm, my partner and I are always involved in proposals for new clients and routinely participate in the client pitch meetings. When should we let potential clients know that two of the leads for their projects are a married couple?
Talk to your boss and ask him how he’d like this handled with clients, if at all. And stop waiting to tell him — it’s such big news that it’ll come across as awfully strange to wait until after the wedding to mention it, or even just to wait months after your engagement, especially in a small firm.
2. Can employer make me pay them back for a training if I leave soon afterwards?
I’m currently in the middle of an active job search that my employer is unaware of (for obvious reasons). In the meantime, I still plan to do my job as expected until something comes up. My company is currently in the process of switching our computer infrastructure and they want to pay to send me for some one-day training sessions that could be beneficial to this new system and, to be quite honest, any future employer. My concern is that an opportunity might come up soon after attending these training sessions, and should I accept, my company will have pretty much wasted its time and money with me. I’ve been with this organization for nearly seven years, I’m not under any contract, nor do I have a non-compete agreement hanging over my head. In the event that my company tries to make me pay back the cost of training, would they have any legal means to enforce me to do so or am I able to walk away knowing that they have to assume the risk that employees eventually leave?
They can’t make you pay back the cost of training, not unless you sign an agreement to that effect — which you haven’t done. Employees leave — it’s a normal cost of doing business. Employers can’t demand that you compensate them for expenses that they incurred in the normal course of doing business and having employees.
3. How to deal with a coworker who complained about me
I recently made the mistake of joking around with a coworker who I do not know well. I was wrong on a policy issue (I was given incorrect information when I trained, as were most people, I suppose, as most of the office makes the same mistake I did) and she must have taken my joking about the policy as malicious rather than what I had assumed was casual banter. At the time, I had no idea that was how she felt about the conversation. Afterward, she went over my head (by about three management levels) and complained about me, including twisting my words as if I was personally insulting one of our bosses (the person she brought it to). I had a sit-down with this boss, and I think all is cleared up. Boss seems to understand there was absolutely nothing malicious on my part and that the policy issue was an honest mistake.
My main concern now is what to do with this coworker. I’m bothered by her not coming to me first, as well as jumping chain of command and of course her misrepresentation of the interaction. Is this a case where I should just keep my distance at all costs, or is any kind of a direct conversation warranted? I do not currently have much interaction with her, but that has a good chance of changing in the future.
For what it’s worth, she also vented (gossiped) to various other coworkers, and was purportedly told what she was describing sounded nothing like me and she must have misunderstood. She was told that before going to Boss, which leads me to believe it was not merely a good-faith misunderstanding.
You could certainly approach her, say there’s been a misunderstanding, and try to clear it up. That’s what you’d do with normal people, after all, and in general it makes sense to treat people as if they’re normal and reasonable. But if you have reason to believe that this would make the situation worse, then it’s perfectly legitimate to just keep your distance from her going forward.
4. Asking for more information before covering your own interview travel expenses
I am finding myself in a position that requires travelling for interviews. As you can imagine, the expenses can add up. I have gone to several (after an initial Skype or phone interview) only to find that they have called in 10 or more people to interview – most of them locals. Is it unreasonable for me to ask if I am in the top three candidates in order to discern their seriousness regarding me as a candidate?
I wouldn’t necessarily demand to know if you’re in their top three candidates, but it’s completely reasonable to say something like, “I’m extremely interested in this job and happy to pay my own way out there if you think I’m likely to be a strong match. However, given the expense, could you give me an idea of how strong a candidate you think I am and how many people you’ll be interviewing overall?”
5. Following up about an unlisted job opening
A colleague of mine went to an education career fair and found out that a nearby district will have three openings in my field of interest next year. Knowing that this is my field of interest, she passed the names of the people she spoke with onto me. I went to apply for the jobs online only to find that they have not yet been publicly listed.
Realizing that this early notice could give me a definite edge, I found the email address of the individual my colleague spoke with from the company’s website and I sent this individual a very polite email explaining how I got his contact information and my interest in learning more about the soon-to-be opening positions. Based on what my colleague told me, the company is very eager to talk now with potential candidates. I gave them some basic information about my related qualities to help indicate both my related experience and my interest in the position, but I didn’t force my resume on them unasked for. Basically, I let them know how I received the information in the first place, gave them a bit about myself and my experience (to hopefully interest them), and expressed an interesting in learning more about the position and how the new planned changes will impact the business.
What is my next step here? How long should I wait without hearing anything before I take another step and get in touch again? I guess it’s a bit tricky because the jobs aren’t officially listed yet, but I know the exist — this was told directly from the director of HR to my colleague. I guess what I’m saying is that under normal circumstances, there would be some expected timeline of response, but this time, there is no official posting and I have no real guarantee that this person will even open my email.
You’ve expressed interest, and now the ball is in their court. I suppose you could follow up one time if you haven’t heard back in, say, two weeks … but I probably wouldn’t even do that. If they’re as eager to talk to candidates as you say, and if you’re a good match, you can assume they’ll reach out if they’re interested. And if that stuff isn’t true, then following up isn’t likely to change that.
They have your materials and your expression of interest. Now it’s up to them.
6. Sending an addendum to a cover letter
I recently sent a résumé, cover letter, and required writing sample into a great company for a position I’m extremely interested in. However, I’m a little worried my cover letter didn’t convey my passion for health, which was one of the requirements. The hiring manager emailed me to let me know they received my résumé and will contact potential candidates by next week. Would it be obnoxious to send her a quick email with a brief explanation of my passion for health? There’s nothing in her email or the job posting that says applicants shouldn’t contact the company, but I realize this may also come off as presumptuous. I know that I could speak to my passion during an interview, but I’m worried they may not even contact me without having described it in the cover letter.
You could certainly do that, yeah, but really that stuff belongs in the cover letter. You’d be sort of sending a second cover letter, which is mildly annoying. Not a deal-breaker, but annoying.
I realize that this doesn’t answer the question of whether you should or not, and that’s because I don’t know. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing what the original letter and your proposed email say. I guess I’m going to come down on the side of sending it, but … don’t make a habit of this.
7. Should I use a visual resume?
I’m looking for a new job in marketing. I updated my resume and prepared some paragraphs for the cover letter. Another thing I did was a visual resume. I have made a PowerPoint version of my resume with nice fonts and quality pictures on the background. I decided that this can help me to stand out among other candidates. So usually at the end of my cover letter, I add this paragraph: “You can find my resume in attachment. In case you would like to see its visual version please visit ____.”
The thing is that I’m not sure if this presentation will really bring me some points. I’m also afraid that it can prevent me and recruiter will not consider me as a serious candidate.
Yeah, that’s not how you stand out. You stand out by being well qualified for the job, having a track record of achievement that shows that, and writing an awesome cover letter. You don’t stand out — at least not in a good way — by suggesting that a busy hiring manager read your resume in two different forms.