It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. I resigned after my boss was arrested
I recently resigned my position without another job lined up, because…wait for it…the majority owner of my company was arrested on a charge related to our business. He was also my boss, as we were a small company.
I know you are not suppose to leave your job without another position lined up, but I was in management at the time this happened, and I just could not take the mildly threatening phone calls from customers, the constant employee questions, the government/criminal investigation, and stress any longer. I also did not want to be associated with any alleged wrongdoing by staying. My question is – how do I address my resignation in interviews? One recruiter I talked to said not to throw my boss under the bus and just say my company was going in a direction I did not agree with and let the interviewer find out details by searching my company. Another told me I should just say my boss had legal problems that didn’t allow me to fully execute my position. I think both answers might not really satisfy a person’s inquiry about why I left and there will be follow-up questions.
How can I explain the situation without necessarily being negative in my interview? If you search for my company the investigation is likely to come up, but I also do not want to seem like I am badmouthing any one or that I was in on any alleged crime.
It’s not throwing your company under the bus to calmly and concisely state a clear, objective fact like this.
Besides, “the company was going in a direction I didn’t agree with” isn’t going to be the end of the conversation; any halfway decent interviewer will ask what you mean by that, and then you’ll be left explaining what happened anyway, but with a weird, evasive-sounding answer having preceded it. (Why do people keep recommending these vague answers as if the interviewer isn’t going to ask follow-up questions? Interviewers aren’t robots who just record your answer and don’t seek to understand what you mean.)
If I were interviewing you, I’d much rather just hear the truth: “My boss, the owner of the company, was arrested for X. As you can imagine, it caused a lot of turmoil in the company, and I thought it best to move on.”
2. Being offered a job after the first choice didn’t work out
My boyfriend had been interviewing for a job, and it all went really well, but he was told that he didn’t get the job. The person they’d picked had event planning experience, and they have a conference coming up, so it made sense. However, about one week later, he got a call from the hiring manager asking him if he was still available; the first hire didn’t work out, so they wanted to make an offer to him.
He’s planning to accept the offer (he’s likely to get the actual written one on Tuesday, this was just the verbal), but he was wondering if the first person “not working out” so quickly is a red flag. I told him *probably* not, since with that quick of a turnover it’s like 50% possible that the person didn’t even start, and either declined the offer or accepted and reneged, or for some other reason never even started. And that even if they had done a couple days, people self-select out of all kinds of jobs for reasons that often have nothing to do with the job itself, and is more of a fit issue.
I did tell him that if it really worried him he shouldn’t feel weird about just asking what happened, but that if he’s not super worried, he could ask after he’s been on the job a few days and built up a bit of rapport. (If it matters, he gets the impression that he was the first choice of the actual hiring manager, the Chief of Staff, but that the ED liked the other person slightly better and overruled).
I don’t think it’s red-flaggy at all. People flake out after accepting a job or accept a better offer, or realize they need to push their start date back three months which won’t work on the employer’s side, and so forth. For it to be a red flag, it would have to be something like the employer just randomly changed their mind and rescinded the other person’s offer, but that’s less likely to be the explanation than all of the other possibilities.
The only other red flag could be if you think that they don’t really think you’re a great fit for the job, but are just hiring you out of desperation (which can bode badly for your success in the road). But it doesn’t sound at all like that’s the case here.
Also, it’s totally fine to ask after they make the offer to you: “Can I ask what happened with the other person?” You can say it in a tone of mild concern so it doesn’t sound like idle curiosity. Or, if the answer won’t change your mind anyway, also reasonable to wait and ask after you’ve been on the job for a week or so.
3. I started a temp job, but it sounds like they’re going to move a coworker into it
I recently started as a temp in a supervisory role with a firm (two weeks ago). One of my colleagues has voiced an interest in the position I was recruited for, and the company have opened the role up for interviews. The application process ends at the end of this week, but they are actively speaking about the role as “Tracey (my colleague) is going to be busy in her new job” and “we need to find a replacement for Tracey when she takes on her new role.”
I have not even submitted my resume (again) for it but it is apparent that I will not get the role I am currently performing. They are also stating, “Don’t worry, we can find you something to keep you going.” My knowledge of employment law is not very good, but surely they cannot do this.
Unless you have a contract with them that promises you the role for a specific period of time (very unlikely if you’re in the U.S.), they can indeed do this. If you haven’t applied for the role, you can’t really blame them for overlooking you — but even if you had, it’s not unusual that they might prefer a known quantity who they’ve worked with longer, especially for a management role. If you’re interested in being considered for the job, you should definitely speak up — but it sounds like they’re pretty sold on going with Tracey, so you might instead focus on what other options they’re alluding to for you.
4. Mentioning blogging in a resume or cover letter
I’m just starting out my career in communications, and have been working for less than two years in an office environment. I have plenty of writing and communications plan experience, but am trying to break into digital communications. There hasn’t been many opportunities for me to develop my skills in my formal job, but outside of work I am a regular contributor for a lifestyle blog. This isn’t a paid position, I was just contacted by the co-founders and asked to write for them. This position lets me use a lot of relevant skills for the digital jobs I’m applying for, but because it’s just a side hobby of mine and it isn’t paid, would this be appropriate for a resume or cover letter?
Good god, yes.
It’s directly related to the field you want to work in, and moreover, it sounds like it might be the best evidence of your work in that field that you can show them. Don’t forego talking about that!
5. Asking a prospective new employer about leaving early to volunteer one day a week
I’m currently in a contract position in a school that will be ending this summer, so I’ll be starting my job search soon. This past year, on top of my full-time contract position, I’ve been teaching Hebrew school at my synagogue on Wednesday afternoons (as a volunteer). This hasn’t conflicted with my school schedule at all because the school days don’t overlap, and I’ve absolutely loved doing it — it’s taught me a bunch of new skills, really helped me connect with my community, and been incredibly fun! I’d really like to teach again next year, but I’m not sure how to ask prospective employers about potentially leaving early on Wednesday afternoons to do this. When I get to the offer stage, should I just ask about flexible time in general, without going into specifics? Or should I tell them specifically that I’d like to keep doing this second job, and give them details about when I’d need to leave on Wednesdays to do that? (Or maybe something in between!)
I’d wait until you’re at the offer stage and then be specific about what you want. I wouldn’t just ask about flexible time in general, because that might mean “it’s cool if you flex your hours on occasion” but not “you can leave early every single Wednesday.” I’d be specific about what you’ve been doing and say that you’re wondering if it’s possible to continue it if you adjust your schedule in some other way. Do be prepared to hear that in a lot of jobs, it just won’t be possible — but there are also plenty that would be okay with this, and it’s not unreasonable to ask in many contexts.