It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Interviewer asked me to send him all my contacts
I just interviewed at a start-up where 3 people liked me and the CEO said he would like to give me a shot for 90 days and see where things go. I then interviewed with a sales director, on a different day. He had a different interviewing style — grilled me and asked me to send him ALL my contacts on Monday. He wasn’t even sure why they were interviewing me! (They were not ready to open that division.) I thought this was strange and emailed a friend who has been in healthcare sales for 20+ years. She thought it was strange.
Sunday night, I sent an email stating I was very interested, but those contacts were my clients and I didn’t feel comfortable handing them over without an offer (some were big time names, of big time hospitals). 30 minutes later, I got a “thank you but we are looking for someone with a different skill set” email.
I’m not sure if it’s the contacts they were really after or if I offended them? The email was not harsh. Is it appropriate and expected to hand this over? I worked on these for years and they span 15 states (where this company would eventually expand to).
No, no employer should expect you to hand over your contacts before you’re working there. This may or may not be the reason you didn’t get the job, but I doubt they put you through all those interviews just as a ploy to access your contacts. In any case, don’t second-guess your decision — you were in the right, and the interviewer who asked was in the wrong.
2. Is it too late to negotiate salary when I’ve already accepted the offer?
I accepted an offer for an insurance position and I lowballed my salary requirement in an effort not to price myself out of the position. They of course offered me the position at my requested amount. I had a sinking feeling I could have asked for more, but accepted the position. Now that I’ve been there a week, I know i deserve more! Is it too late to negotiate salary?
Yes. The time to negotiate salary is before you accepted the offer. At this point, you’ve already agreed to their offer and are working there. Imagine, after all, if they came back to you now and said they’d decided they want to pay you less than you earlier agreed to — you’d be rightfully irked. Same thing here. You made an agreement, and you’re expected to honor it, at least until you’ve been there long enough to credibly ask for a raise (which for most people is about a year). This is the problem with lowballing yourself in order “not to price yourself out of the position.” You commit to taking the salary you’ve asked for, lowball or not.
3. My new cubicle is right by the bathroom, and I can hear everything
Our department just moved to a newly remodeled floor with the restrooms located within the area. I sit outside the handicapped restroom, and the men are using it instead of going around to their larger restroom. Unfortunately, I can hear them urinating and other bodily functions. Then they leave the door open after they use the restroom. There is no exhaust fan in the bathroom to ventilate it and/or mask the sounds. It makes me sick to listen to this everyday, all day. What do I do about this situation? The cube I am in is probably only 5 ft from the bathroom door. What should I do? Wear noise-cancelling headphone and place air fresheners on the upper edge of my cube?
Explain the problem to your manager and ask if you can move. If you can’t, then yes, noise-canceling headphones are going to be your friends. (If you’re wondering whether you can ask people not to use that bathroom, no, you probably cannot. I mean, you could — but in most offices people are going to think it’s a bit of a prima donna request, unfortunately.)
4. I cried in a job interview
I had a job interview today and one of the questions asked was “Pick a stressful time in your life and explain how you coped with it.” I was doing great in the interview, until this. It reminded me of recent issues and I began to cry. I felt so dumb! The interviewer gave me a Kleenex and apologized for bringing up memories, and after a minute of crying, I picked myself up and answered the question. After that, I was fine and answered all remaining questions with no problems. When I apologized again, the interviewer said that she knows exactly how it feels and shouldn’t be embarrassed. Even though she told me that, do you think that I am not going to get the job because of this?
There’s no way to know. She might have genuinely not cared, or she might be worried that you’re more thin-skinned than would be ideal for their office. All you can really do is be patient and wait and see what happens — and remind yourself that people don’t get job offers for all kinds of reasons, you might have not gotten it even without the crying, and some mistakes are unavoidable, and don’t beat yourself up about it too much.
5. Can I reapply if I applied too early?
I’m trying to get an internship at the company of my dreams this summer, and after reading some of your blog archives I sent them a really personalized cover letter that was much more true to my own voice and passions than what I had been sending out before that. The thing is that I got a little overzealous, and I was so eager to get on their radar that I sent them my info in early January while they were probably looking for spring semester interns. They usually take applications for summer interns in March and April, and on somewhat of a rolling basis. They’re pretty low-key on the timeframe for this kind of stuff (when they announce they’re looking for new interns, they do it via tweet!). I assume my resume is lost somewhere in their email cyberspace now because I sent it at the wrong time and it wasn’t useful to them at that point. Maybe they set it aside for summer but I doubt it.
Should I send my information again when they ask for summer intern applicants? Or will that just look like an annoying repeat if by some chance they DO still have my info from January? There’s a new addition to my resume since then that might make them see me as a stronger candidate. If I do reapply should I acknowledge that I already applied earlier so they at least know I respect their time and am not trying to spam them into hiring me?
Yes, that’s basically a whole new hiring round, like a company advertising again for a regular, non-intern position. It’s fine to reapply when they announce their summer internships — and for that matter, it’s fine to reapply when they finally announce their spring internships too. For the latter, just include a note saying that you had applied in January but later realized they weren’t hiring for spring yet at that point.
6. Can you be treated as both exempt and non-exempt?
My husband is an attorney, and he’s been working a long-term temporary job. He has never been told if he is classified as exempt or non-exempt. His contract with his employer indicates that he is to be paid on a salaried basis of $X per year. However, his manager docks his pay if he is not in the office during the times the office is open. For example, on a day that he had to leave an hour before the office closed, he came in an hour early and skipped his lunch. She still docked him an hour’s pay, even though he’d worked two hours extra. Because of the nature of his work, she has also suggested that he come in on weekends to get things done. He does this. On average, he works 10+ hours a week outside of the hours his office is actually open. But not only does he not get paid any extra, his manager docks his pay if he needs to leave the office an hour early, or if he needs to come in a little late (between treacherous winter roads, a death in the family, and a major illness, he’s needed to be out a handful of hours in the past year).
I feel that his manager is trying to have it both ways — she expects him to work extra hours to get the job done, as if he’s exempt, but she docks his pay if he isn’t in the office during certain hours, as if he’s non-exempt. He’s put his heart and soul into this job, bringing work home, going in on the weekends, waking up insanely early to make it into the office before anyone else gets there, and staying later than anyone else. I feel like, if he’s non-exempt, his manager needs to manage his workload so he doesn’t need to work more than the hours he’s paid for, and if he’s exempt, she shouldn’t dock his pay when he needs a little flexibility in his schedule. Any thoughts on how to handle this?
You’re right that she’s trying to have it both ways, and the law doesn’t allow it. By docking his pay for hours he misses, she’s treating him as non-exempt, which means that they law requires her to meet the other requirements for non-exempt workers, meaning that he must be paid overtime in weeks where he works over 40 hours, and that she probably owes him back wages for the times when she didn’t do that.
Here’s advice on how he can raise this with her … although he’ll almost certainly sour the relationship if he demands back wages, legally entitled or not, so he might want to settle on just getting it straightened out going forward.
7. Employer won’t tell me much about the job they’ve hired me for
I got hired on the spot at a childcare center as a lead teacher. I told the manager that I’ve only been a assistant teacher, and most of my experience is assisting the teacher in the room! The manager said that’s okay, but that I will be by myself with 7-10 2-year-olds and I will be their lead teacher. She didn’t tell me what my job duties are exactly just I’ll be in the room by myself with the kids. She said that if I had questions, to speak up and call her. I did call her, and when she answered, she told me not to call her because she is too busy, but that she will let me know the job duties right before I enter the room. I feel I may have to quit because I’m not sure if I can handle it. Please help!
Um, yeah, that’s ridiculous. You’re not under any obligation to accept a job you don’t want or feel prepared for, or one where the hiring manager won’t answer questions or even tell you what your responsibilities will be. You can certainly tell her that you need to know more before you can accept the job. If you have any doubts, it’s probably better to do this now rather than waiting for your first day, since being left alone in charge of children when you’re not sure you’re equipped for it isn’t a good situation for you or the kids to be in.