It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Are you supposed to drop everything to schedule an interview?
Today I was excited to get a call from a woman (while I was busy ) who wanted to set up a phone interview with me. I asked if I could call her back with a date and time that works best once I had a chance to look at my schedule. (I’m a fitness instructor and my schedule changes weekly.) I called her back in 20 minutes though. However, my boyfriend said it was very impolite of me, that I should always be aware of my schedule, and that it made me appear unprepared. He says that this is “job hunting 101 stuff.” I’m usually inclined to listen to him, and I am more so with things pertaining to this position because he has pull with the organization, but I can’t shake the feeling that he is wrong.
Do employers really expect this? Am I just supposed to drop everything anytime someone calls with an interview offer?
No. Your boyfriend is wrong on this. You are not supposed to just be sitting by your phone all day in case an employer calls, ready to respond to their every whim with no regard for your own schedule. It’s completely reasonable to ask to call someone back. Please remind your boyfriend that job-searching is a two-way street; you’re contemplating a business relationship with them, not prostrating yourself at their feet in the hope that they will bestow their favors on you.
2. Federal hiring during the sequester
I just received a call to set up an interview for a federal government position that I applied for a long time ago…before I had even heard of the sequester or was even serious about my own job search.
Given the sequester, I am concerned about this agency having the ability to make hires now. Can I ask them about this during the interview? I have had a friend in the past who was “screwed over” by a budget issue in the past. I don’t want to put them off by asking about the money stuff, but I don’t want to invest myself in something that may be fruitless.
Sure, that’s fine to ask. The sequester is big news and it’s not going to surprise them that it’s on your mind. Just say something like, “How is the sequester affecting you? Will it impact hiring in your division?” Keep in mind, by the way, that not all federal jobs are impacted, only some, and plenty of hiring is continuing to go on. (Also, job searching is always about investing yourself to some extent in something that may not pan out, so don’t get too caught up in wanting to avoid that, either.)
3. Intern isn’t getting reimbursements owed to her
I am really curious on what my friend should do in this situation. She and I interned together 3 months ago. I am still at the internship position but she left in December, because of her limited availability. During her (unpaid) internship, she paid for several things (cab ride back home from company event, catering services for the event, etc.) that she should be compensated for. Because she isn’t in the office anymore, she had sent a couple of emails to the supervisors since the time she had left, asking for the compensation. Still, she didn’t hear from them. So, she contacted the HR manager who oversees the internship program. The HR manager asked for the receipts from my friend in February, so my friend sent them over electronically immediately. There’s been no response from her! I’ve offered to send her the expense forms from my end, but I imagine that won’t do much for my friend, since the supervisors aren’t doing anything to address this problem. What should she do?
She should call up the HR manager, today, and ask her when she will receive the reimbursement. If she doesn’t get a specific date, she should tell her that she needs it resolved by next Friday and ask if she can come by then to pick up a check. She’s been doing this all by email; it’s time to move to the phone, where she’s actually speaking to someone.
4. Listing references who were laid off
My temporary job has ended, and I’m updating my references. In the meantime, I’ve learned that one of my references (former manager) was laid off (two years after I was). Fortunately, I got in touch with him and now have his current (personal) contact info. My question is, when listing him as a reference, how do I list his title if he no longer works there? “Joe Smith, former Principal, Firm ABC”? Also, the info I have listed for my references includes the street address, phone number, and email address. Will it look weird to be missing his street address, and that the email is a Yahoo address rather than a company address?
Yes, list it exactly like that — with what his former position was. They don’t care what he’s doing currently; they care what his position was when they worked with you.
As for not having his street address, you don’t need it. In fact, get rid of all the other addresses on there, because that’s weird to include in references. No one is mailing your references (and if some odd employer is, they can ask you for an address). Phone number and email address, and that’s all you need. The fact that it’s his personal email address is fine.
5. Office requires food and drinks to be stored in one cabinet
Our company wants no food or drink in our work areas. They have a metal cabinet with doors that stay closed, with 35 or more people putting half-eaten food and drinks in the same cabinet. Can this be healthy? We don`t even have a sink to wash your hands nearby. The cabinet is in the break area, but the manager doesn’t want people setting there lunches down just anywhere because it looks unprofessional. Same with drinks and food. Please advise
I have no idea if it’s healthy or not, but people do the same thing with office refrigerators and cabinets, so I’m not sure how this any different, except for the lack of refrigeration. I hope people aren’t putting perishable stuff in there, but that’s more for their own safety.
6. Company-issued iPads
My company issued iPads for business and good-judgment personal use. They are supplying the device and 4G service. They want the employees to buy a case with our money. And if the device is lost or stolen, the employee will incur the cost. Is this normal?
It’s not shockingly unusual, but it’s annoying. If you don’t want to play along, can you simply decline the iPad and say you’re not comfortable assuming the risk?
7. Do lateral moves hurt your career?
Do lateral moves have the potential to hurt your career progression if the lateral move is in the opposite direction of your future career? My intentions are to transition into HR. However, due to being pregnant and not wanting to give up my well deserved maternity benefits by applying externally, my only option is to apply internally. HR positions within my company are few and far between. Also, since I don’t have as much HR experience as other HR professionals, I’m very unlikely to secure an HR position if it does become available.
However, I’m miserable in my current position. I was forced to transfer to this role when my previous line of business closed. While I thought things would get better, I’ve been here for a little over a year and they’re getting worse. To make matters worse my manager isn’t that great of a manager and at the end of the day could care less about me.
I’ve started looking at current positions that are a good fit for me, but not in line with my career path. Would taking a lateral move (actually a demotion, as my current role truly doesn’t reflect the scope of what I do in relation to my employer’s job codes) hurt more than help?
Yes, it will hurt, if you then try to move into HR later; you’ll look like you have no idea what you want to do and are just trying things out. Stick it out where you are until you’re done with maternity leave, and then look into moving into HR.