tiny answer Tuesday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. We’ve got the value of being bilingual, employers who ask for a sense of humor, a nail-clipper in the next cube, and more. Here we go…

1. When you don’t click with an interviewer

I’ve been on interviews where after interviewing with one person, another one comes right after and continues the process. I realize that this is to see that I can “fit in,” but how do I deal with the one interviewer with whom I’m not going to “click”? I can feel when I’m not making a good impression on someone, or (worse) the person behaves like I’m keeping him/her from something more important or really is a poor interviewer, and wants to finish up this task and be done with me. I realize I’m not going to gel with everyone in the workplace, like I’m not going to connect with everyone I meet in my life. My concern is that after the interview is over, and the interviewers compare notes, that the input from he/she that I didn’t connect with is going to sway the others that I’m not a good fit.

Can we get rid of this idea that interviews are primarily about how you’ll “fit in”? While fit is part of it, that’s really not an interview’s primary purpose, at least not at good organizations. Good interviews are about probing more deeply into things beyond what’s on your resume and finding out what you’ve really achieved, how you operate, how smart you are, how you communicate, etc. Fit is part of it, but far from the whole.

Back to your question. Focus on showing how you’d approach the job and why you’d be good at it, and point to examples from your past that back you up. That’s stuff you can control — whether you click is not. And furthermore, if you’re really not a good fit, you don’t want to work there — you’ll be miserable.

2. What’s the normal salary premium for being bilingual?

I’m bilingual and regardless of the type of work or employer I’ve worked for my skills are always used but not compensated. Some employers that do not require a candidate to be bilingual offer a certain % increase on top of the base salary, for example “Bilingual candidates will be entitled to a 5% bilingual stipend in addition to the base hourly salary.” I will interview soon and being bilingual is not a requirement, however, I know how valuable my skills are and know that they will most definitely come in handy. What is the appropriate or normal increase I should seek?

While I’m sure there are exceptions to this, in most fields there’s no average salary premium for being bilingual. Instead, it’s part of the overall value that you offer, just like being an Excel whiz, or well-connected in your field, or having a law degree in a position that doesn’t require it but will benefit from it. It’s something that makes you a more competitive candidate, but it’s not often a separate line on your compensation package.

3. Is a forced unpaid vacation legal?

My husband is a marketing manager for a Fortune 100 company. Last year, they forced all employees to take an unpaid two week vacation. The CEO explained the request was the a result of economics but they made record profits. Are they allowed to do this?

Yes.

4. When a job ad asks for a sense of humor

I’m not looking to change jobs, but I happened to see a job ad that says “a sense of humor is critical.” In this case, I was wondering if you would recommend the applicant mention his or her sense of humor in the cover letter. Personally, I would leave it out, but I would also not apply for this in the first place. I was curious if you think the top candidates will try to address this in their cover letter (or resume — i.e., member of the student improv group or something) and how they could do it successfully.

You don’t need to feel obligated to address sense of humor in your initial application — it’s more likely to be something that comes out in an interview, when they’re looking at cultural fit (although showing some personality in a cover letter is always a good thing). And it’s almost certainly (a) not about having the skills of a stand-up comic, but rather about being someone who doesn’t take yourself too seriously, is enjoyable to work with, and isn’t oppressively uptight, and (b) not their primary interest (see answer #1 above).

5. Do internships count toward total years of experience?

I’ve worked steadily since I was in high school, did internships in college, had a full-time (though short-term) job after completing my BA and while studying for the LSAT, interned and worked during law school, and held a 6-month temp position before this. Can I count my internship experience as “years of work experience”? I.E. If a job posting says they want candidates with 3-5 years of legal experience, and I did several legal internships during school, a legal temp job and my past position for a year has been in legal research and litigation, does that all add up? I had always assumed the years of experience requirement referred to post-graduate experience, but was recently told otherwise.

Yes, you can count it toward your total years of experience.

6. Is it legal to make someone work around food while they’re sick?

My boyfriend went into work today to inform them he has the stomach flu and it is contagious. One manager there wants him to stay so he has to. What I want to know is can they legally make someone work while sick? Especially since it is contagious and they work with food (its a place kind of like a grocery store but sells more in bulk). Also, he is in contact with the people and items because he works the front end as a supervisor.

I might be wrong about this, but I don’t think there’s any law requiring employers to send home sick workers who work with food. Although, ick.

By the way, if he’s contagious, he should have called, not gone in to let them know.

7. Nail-clipper in the next cubicle

I work in a small office of 20 people. For the most part, we all get along and there isn’t much to complain about. One pet peeve I have is that the woman who works on the other side of my wall (and is fairly isolated due to the design of the office) is frequently clipping her nails at her desk. My team makes a few jokes and comments about it, which is unnecessary, but it’s driving us all crazy. This is one thing that I think (and I believe you agree) is unacceptable in an office environment. I’m looking for advice on how to approach this as I don’t want to rock the boat with her – she’s typically sensitive to issues within her work space.

Just tell her: “Jane, I’m sure you don’t realize this, but when you clip your nails at your desk, I can hear it and I don’t know why but the sound drives me crazy. Would you mind doing it at home instead?” Alternately, you could try this approach.

And what is up with people clipping their nails at work?

{ 152 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous

    I am bilingual (through majoring in language in college) and was paid a “language bonus” for my first job out of college. The job was global, where speaking another lang was “a plus.” Now that I’ve been out of school for well over 12 years, employers dont care – but see it as an asset, and the bilingual skill of mine, is something that I use to drive up my salary during negotiation time ;-)

  2. Anonymous

    Yes, what IS up with people clipping their nails at work?

    I’ve recently had this happen to me, where the older man (I’m thinking he was in his late 60’s/early 70’s) who sat in the cubicle behind me clipped his nails at his desk. At first I thought I was going crazy, but it didn’t take long to realize the *snapclipsnap* was the unmistakable sound of nails being clipped. He wasn’t here long enough for it to happen a second time (he was here on a very short temp assignment). I can handle a LOT of things in Cubicleland, but the nail-clipping just about did me in.

    Maybe you can suggest that she clip her nails in the washroom, if she insists on continuing the activity at work.

    1. Piper

      I had this happen at a job as well! Every morning, like clockwork, the guy would be snip, snip, snipping away at his nails. Why is this an okay habit with so many people?

    2. a.b.

      Do your co-workers have more than 10 fingers? I’m not sure why it takes more than 10 or 20 little “click” noises before they’re through. How long could this possibly take?

      I agree that this kind of grooming isn’t appropriate for the cube, but I did keep a nail clipper in case of a snagged nail.

    3. ThatHRGirl

      I think that the OP merely mentioning that she notices the clipping would be enough to make the clipper either quit, or retreat to a more private clipping location :) A lot of people do these things and don’t realize that other people notice.

  3. Eric

    I think people need to get over annoying personal habits of their cubical mates. That is your problem and not their problem. I am a chronic nail biter and it is imperative to have some clippers handy to help keep that habit in check. It’s much more important for me to keep my fingers from being in pain than for you to not suffer through a few clicks a day.

    1. fposte

      I’m with you on it being good for people to get over the fact that other people are annoying, but I think your justification turns a bit into a dismissal of other people’s comfort, too. After all, it would similarly be good for you to get over nail-biting, and that’s not happening either, right? So I’d be more inclined to consider not how justified one is in one’s behavior but how instead to move forward– it might help an annoyed co-worker to know of the underlying reason, for instance, and also for the clicker, as suggested below, to promise to try to do it in the bathroom.

      1. Eric

        Of course I dismiss other people’s comfort. You’d rather inconvenience me rather than deal with it. What about those who get annoyed by people who have heaters? fans? slurp their drinks? Giggle at stuff on their computer? Maybe they should take that to the bathroom, too.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Okay, but it’s a pretty generally accepted principle of etiquette and common courtesy that it’s rude to clip your nails in public, so in this particular case, I’d think the onus would be on the nail-clipper to modify the behavior.

            1. The gold digger

              Your home is your castle, but if your dog is barking outside at 2 a.m. or you are having a loud party, you might be violating noise ordinances. You are for sure not being a good neighbor.

            2. fposte

              So it’s not really about the nail-biting thing, then.

              The up side to your philosophy is that it’d be a great pairing (I actually initially typed “paring,” with no pun intended) with somebody else who had an in-cubicle habit that annoyed another people. I’d just make it the nose-blowers’/nail-clipper’s/unwashed-clothes-wearer’s corner.

              1. Eric

                I like you have now segregated your office into the good side and the bad side. That must be wonderful for morale.

                “I’m sorry, Milton, but you are going to have to move to the bed-wetter’s side of the office.” I bet you’d steal his stapler and risk having the office burnt down, too.

              2. Ask a Manager Post author

                Um, I think the principle here is that if you don’t think people should have to be considerate of the noises from their cubicle, it makes sense to seat you near people who agree.

              3. Eric

                I don’ t think that. I think that people need to concern themselves with their work rather than who is doing what in their cubicles.

                Besides, it’s a pretty big leap to say that a couple clicks a day is being not being considerate of the noises in your cubicle?

              4. fposte

                Either I can be the behavior police, in which case I’m policing your clipping as much as other people complaining about intrusive behavior, or I can organize the office for maximum productivity by putting the people who favor nonintrusive behavior together and the people who aren’t bothered by intrusive behavior together. If you want to take being in either group as a slight, knock yourself out.

            1. Jamie

              This is the kind of courtesy that makes for a good cubicle neighbor.

              I agree with fposte that Eric’s comments don’t seem to be about the nail biting thing as much as a right to domain.

              Sure, people should try to ignore what they can – but anyone who works that closely to others should try to be as considerate as possible. It isn’t the clicks that are bothersome, it’s knowing the clicking comes from nail clipping which is grossly inappropriate to do in public.

              Tooth flossing is a pretty quiet activity, but I don’t want someone doing it in the next cubicle.

              1. Seattle Writer Girl

                “It isn’t the clicks that are bothersome..”

                I actually had a neighborhood who lived in the condo below mine who liked to get up at 7am and clip her nails outside, right below my bedroom window. Waking up to that sound every other week was definitely “bothersome” to me! It was even more bothersome when I realized what she was doing!!

          1. ThatHRGirl

            I’m having terrible flashbacks of a recent trip to a Benihana-esque place and a woman at our hibachi grill was clipping her nails AT THE TABLE… *shudder*

        2. jmkenrick

          I don’t think it’s necessarily about noise. It’s about creating a safe, comfortable and professional environment. I once worked in an office where my coworker watched porn. He did this quietly (with headphones) and nobody knew for years until he went out on sick leave and my boss took over his work and discovered the computer history.

          Now, if they had come back and let him continue doing that (they didn’t) it would have made me extremely uncomfortable. And frankly, I don’t think that makes me uptight or unusual.

          Some things are generally considered to be personal, and those should be taken care of discretely. There’s nothing to stop anyone from fixing a hangnail in the bathroom. Additionally, some habit should be handled from home.

  4. Jamie

    #1 – I wouldn’t worry about not clicking with everyone. I’ve been called to sit in on interviews for positions in which the new hire will have nothing to do with me. Sometimes it’s just to vet their basic tech skills, and sometimes I’ve had no idea why I was asked to sit in. The culture fit part will almost always be determined by the hiring manager…in a good company, anyway.

    #4 – I find my sense of humor delightful, but I would stay far away from any job where it was a requirement. I may be cynical, but I would assume if they were calling for a sense of humor in the ad it was code for this place is bat-shit-crazy and it’s an either laugh or cry environment. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but that wording would ensure I never applied.

    #7 – How fast do people’s nails grow, anyway? It seems like everyone has had the nail clipper co-worker experience and it always seems to be so frequent. If I clipped my nails every day I would have nothing but stubs. I would recommend a good nail salon for the offenders. If you have to pay for a manicure you might be a little more reticent to drive your co-workers into a frothy rage with your constant maintenance.

    1. fposte

      I have a colleague who asks for a sense of humor in the job description, and the workplace isn’t particularly crazy. She’s working very closely with the individual and I think she feels it helps characterize the tone of interaction she’s going for.

      1. Jamie

        I guess I just see sense of humor as one of those things which can’t be quantified. Kind of like attractiveness – there may be a broad consensus, but it’s really hard to measure and impossible to determine from an add if you have what they’re looking for.

        You can empirically evaluate skills and intelligence – but the soft requirements like sense of humor I think fall under cultural fit. You know them when you see them, but since there’s no way for an applicant to self evaluate I don’t know how helpful it is to have in the ad.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          I think it’s less about “you must prefer Wedding Crashers to Woody Allen” and more about “we’re looking for people who don’t take themselves too seriously and can crack a smile during the workday.”

          1. Jamie

            That makes a lot of sense – I guess I’ve just seen it happen where lack of a sense of humor was stated as the reason people had issue with seriously inappropriate conduct at work.

            It’s good to know it can have an innocuous meaning, though. If I ever see it in an ad I won’t be so quick to assume the worst.

            1. jmkenrick

              Ugh. Writing off someone’s legitimate complaint as ‘no sense of humor’ is a HUGE pet-peeve of mine.

          2. Sense of Humor OP

            Thank you for answering my dumb question about sense of humor! It just caught my attention because it was for an internship and I know (from screening internship applications myself) that students are taught to respond to anything that looks like a requirement. I was thinking that I wouldn’t want to sift through a bunch of cover letters discussing the writer’s excellent sense of humor.

            If anyone is wondering, the company was Slate.

          3. Long Time Admin

            Re: AAM’s message: So, dear interviewer, tell a knock-knock joke during the interview and see if the candidate laughs.

            I won’t apply for any job that says a sense of humor is required/helpful, and I *am* the class clown at work. The reason being, itt’s usually code for “this place is a real hellhole to work in and will make you crazy, and you’ll either cry every day or learn to laugh”.

            1. Anonymous_J

              Yup.

              I DO have a sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean I’ll put up with buckets of crazy! ;)

  5. Joey

    2. There are very few jobs that actually pay a premium for bilingual skills. I know a lot of government jobs do, but i wouldn’t be surprised if that goes away.

    4. I always wonder if a sense of humor is code for we do/say a lot of inappropriate stuff. Something to think about.

    7. Its amazing that people who work in good environments still find stuff to complain about. Get over it and put it in perspective.

  6. Ask a Manager Post author

    The organization with the best culture that I know of mentions sense of humor in their ads (and actually, their ads themselves usually have some humor in them). When they say it, they’re basically saying that they’re looking for nice, normal people who will be enjoyable to work with. They’re smaller, so that kind of thing is a bigger deal than if they were huge.

    I’m sure there are plenty of places that say it for different reasons, but I wouldn’t be turned off by it on its face.

    1. ChristineH

      I’ll admit that am hesitant when I see “sense of humor” in a job ad. But you make a very good point. If a job seems otherwise interesting to you, go for it. If called for an interview, you can try to mentally gauge (sp?) the overall culture and decide whether you’ll feel comfortable there if hired.

  7. sr

    6. Might be a state by state question. I used to work at a grocery store in MA and, if I remember correctly, we were by law not allowed to work if we had been throwing up.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I just looked this up, and indeed, Massachusetts has an entire law about infected food workers and says: “Employees with diarrhea and/or vomiting may only return to work after 48 hours, but preferably 72 hours, after clinical symptoms have resolved or until a noninfectious cause has been determined.”

      You can look for this type of law in your state by Googling a string like this:
      STATE NAME vomiting employee “food handler”

      1. Jamie

        Of course this is more important in food handling, but can I just say I think this should apply to everyone. At all times. Always.

        I really wish schools and workplaces would stop giving out rewards for perfect attendance. That only rewards people for sharing their disgusting infestations with innocent bystanders, or people with awesome immune systems who never get sick. The former should be demonized, not rewarded. And the latter already avoid the misery of the flu, isn’t that reward enough?

        1. Anonymous

          Agreed. I don’t see the merit in perfect attendance. What if someone has a perfect attendance record, but half the time is only there ‘physically’ (ie. tuned out mentally)? It makes no sense.

          I can understand that some people don’t have the benefit of paid sick leave and it can mean going without a whole day (or a few, depending on the severity of the illness) without pay, but surely productivity will suffer (person is taking medication, can’t concentrate, etc).

        2. Piper

          Agreed! If you’re sick, don’t bring it in and infect me with it. One of the companies I worked for actually stressed that to us- don’t come in if you’re sick and hey, managers, if you see a sick employee, send them home! It was a good place to work (for that and other reasons).

        3. greengeekgirl

          Well, the issue isn’t really “perfect attendance.” A foodservice environment is often different than an office environment in terms of calling off sick; all employees who are scheduled *need* to be there to ensure production and service levels are where they need to be because profitability relies on the performance of every shift to meet goals, rather than being able to say something like,”Well, I missed several days early this month from the flu, but I made it up by staying late to finish projects when I felt better.” Even though in a perfect world, you’d be able to get a replacement and not have your employees come in sick, many times a foodservice environment is going to be slightly understaffed or staffed just enough without anybody extra to cover slack, and getting people to come in on their days off to cover you can be difficult. A lot of bosses in this kind of environment give you grief about not coming in because it’s likely to wreck the whole shift; even if they don’t make you come in, they’ll give you the cold shoulder for a few days.

          It’s definitely not *right* that employees are often told to come in sick, especially illegally–I’m just saying, a lot of times, it’s not about “attendance” as “you need to be here because I don’t have another cook/waitress/bartender/cashier who can come in today.”

          1. Piper

            I worked in a restaurant all through college. Most restaurants schedule a good amount of employees to be “on call” in instances where people call off/are sick. At least the ones I worked at did.

          2. Mike C.

            Ok, then the manager needs to do a better job managing headcount. That’s kind of their job, isn’t it?

            1. Natalie

              Most restaurant managers run extremely lean, staff-wise. Labor is one of the few expenses they have any significant control over. I disagree with it, but it is the case in many places.

          3. Long Time Admin

            But as a customer, I don’t want to eat/drink/handle anything a sick person has sneezed/coughed on or handled.

        4. Diana

          Unfortunately, in the military you have to get a doctor to say you can stay home or you have to go in to work (unless you have a supervisor who is willing to let you go home). I think it’s intended to stop malingering, but the end result is a co-worker with pink eye not being excused from duty. Also, the lower your rank the more likely the doc is to send you to work.

      2. The Knitter

        My brother contacted Norovirus from working in an environment where a manager forced sick employees to come in. Later that day the heath department shut the restaurant down.

      3. Anonymous

        “STATE NAME vomiting employee ‘food handler’ ”

        Is it wrong that I laughed at that last line? It looks like a job description gone terribly wrong! :P

        1. Anonymous

          I must be really slow today, that one didn’t smack me between the eyes until you pointed it out. And I am complimented (?) regularly on my properly twisted sense of humor. In fact the barometer of my stress level is how funny I find things.

  8. KayDay

    #2 – I work in a field where a second (or third) language is often “required” or “preferred” and I have never heard of there being a specific, quantified premium for a language. It’s just something you would have to point out when you are negotiating your salary. (“I think that my proficiency in Tagalog warrants a salary at the higher end of your range, as I will be able to increase your sales to the large Filipino population in the area”). It also depends on what language you speak and how much need for it there is.

    #6 – it’s probably “legal” but I wonder what the health department would think about it?

      1. Anonymous

        Meant to add, my Norwegian cousin, like most Norwegian under 50, speaks excellent English. In school, they must learn Norse, Nyorsk (modern Norwegian), English, AND TWO FOREIGN languages. Makes me so embarrassed that I can barely remember any French.

        1. Josh S

          No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse
          with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given
          her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and
          star of many Norwegian møvies: “The Høt Hands of an Oslo
          Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Mølars of Horst
          Nordfink”…

            1. Josh S.

              I’m somewhat gratified here. Both that someone (albeit an anonymous someone) recognizes me as a regular commenter on the blog, AND that someone (albeit an another anonymous someone) recognizes Monty Python quotes when I drop them in odd places. :)

  9. Julie

    #2 – I’m in a bit of a unique situation here in Montreal, because most jobs require at least some bilingualism. This is especially true with regards to service jobs where you’ll be expected to serve customers in both French and English. (Many out-of-town students have real trouble finding retail jobs because they don’t speak French.)

    At least here, I’ve never heard of any sort of bilingualism bonus, though I know many, many people (me included) who simply weren’t considered for a job because their second language skills weren’t strong enough.

  10. Lexy

    re: clipping nails.

    I work in the field and am in a different organizations offices for weeks at a time several times throughout the year (probably 5-6 different offices a year). EVERY TIME there is a nail clipper. It always drives me batty and I want to scream at them. Why? If you have a hang nail, go to the restroom to perform hygiene rituals, if it’s just regular maintenance do that stuff at home! Or in your car you nasty person.

    1. Lindsay

      We had one of these where I worked too. Every time he’d get on a long phone call he’d clip his nails. I was to weirded out to say anything. But anytime I hear the nail clippers in my house, I make the hubs go to the bathroom and clip with the door shut. I can’t stand the sound now!!

      1. Lynda

        Was it a personal call? Surely if it was a customer service or sales call, the person at the other end of the phone must have noticed?

        There was, of course, the day that a temp removed old nailvarnish and revarnished n office hours.

        And the colleague who had acrylic nails and sounded like a herd of tiny mice when she typed.

        And the time that the colleagues who got away with anything spent an hour “threading” eyebrows in the middle of the office. Here’s the Wikipedia link to threading for those of you not familiar with the technique.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threading_%28epilation%29

        1. anon.

          ‘herd of tiny mice’ – L O L!.. my first of the day – now I must clean my keyboard
          thank you :)

        2. Nichole

          My mom is a computer whiz with long acrylic nails, so I can back up the “herd of tiny mice” comment…but since the nails started out real, she can’t type properly without them anymore. If she breaks one, she needs to repair it immediately or her work suffers. I don’t have noisy nails (and I clip at home, I have a file at work if I have a snag emergency), but I tend to be a loud typer- I guess I hit the keys hard. Anyone know of a “soft touch” keyboard?

          1. Long Time Admin

            I learned to type on a manual typewriter, so I had a very hard touch. Learning to type on a computer keyboard was a real challenge for a while.

            I’ve seen soft touch keyboards. Check Office Depot, Staples, etc. or do a search.

            1. KayDay

              OMG, the sound of typing bothers me so much….which is a serious problem in an office environment. I much prefer laptops, the keyboards of which make much less noise than standard desktop keyboards….I’ll have to look into those “soft touch” keyboards! thx for the tip :)

          2. Jamie

            A lot of the soft-touch keyboards are what we call chicklet keyboards – similar to the mac wireless keyboards. People tend to either love those, or hate them.

            The type (ha) of keyboard you use can make such a difference – and it’s such a specific preference. I am always amazed when I set up a new user and talk about keyboards and they have no preference.

            I personally have a wireless logitech which I’ve worn most of the letters off which has the perfect finger feel for me. I don’t know if there is a word for it or not, but the click feel…pressure needed, sound, etc. – I know it when I feel it and anything else throws me off.

            If my old logitech ever gives out I will have it mounted in a place of honor…as I retire from IT as I don’t think I could continue to work. It’s worn off letters, blue dvorak stickers for when I’m bored…sigh.

            I once wanted to trade it in for a board with the number pad on the left side…but I fought the urge and it’s forced me to learn to key with my right hand…making me a better person. (Although the world could stop discriminating and start offering left handed keyboards at a reasonable price anytime. Sheesh.)

            I think I may be more attached to this keyboard than any other inanimate object in my life, aside from my car. They say the average office worker’s fingers travel 20 miles per 8 hour day on their keyboards. If that’s true my keyboard and I have gone 30K + miles together.

            Okay, I’m officially punchy…I need to go to lunch.

    2. fposte

      I had a boss who used to clip her nails in the car. It was my car. I was driving her to work. Without getting gas money.

      I don’t miss that.

  11. Anonymous

    Re #6, I am reading Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”. Sounds like, unless his staff are actually dying, he expects them to show up. You have got to read this book…

      1. JT

        Haven’t read that book – what I’ve heard kind of scares me. Ate at one of his restaurants last month….so good.

      2. Scott Woode

        Medium Raw is just as wonderful. I also recommend Waiter Rant and Served. Actually, AaM, now that books have been mentioned, I want to recommend “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell. I suggest you look it up and take a peek. It’s super cute!

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Thanks! I just put it on hold at the library. The description reminded me of E by Matthew Beaumont, which is also a story told entirely throughout coworkers’ emails.

    1. Natalie

      My partner is a refugee from chef-land. Just a couple of highlights of his former career:

      – being given oral rehydration salts by boss during a heat wave.
      – employee who discovered (the hard way) that he was allergic to something in the kitchen was told he could leave, but if he left he’d better not come back.

    2. Mike C.

      God, that book got me through an overnight stay at Dulles International.

      As for #6, I suggest that you place an anonymous phone call with the health department or your local alt weekly paper. While it feels like petty revenge, remember that there are people out there with compromised immune systems and they could be quite hurt by what you or your coworker maybe be inadvertently sharing.

    3. greengeekgirl

      You know what would be great? If a bunch of highly-experienced foodservice workers started a food service-geared temp agency where bosses could call and get replacements on short notice when employees are legitimately sick. Then they wouldn’t have people coming in with the flu and contaminating our food. It would cost a little more for the day but it’d be legal for health codes and might actually help reduce industry turnover when people don’t get fired for getting sick. I’d be way more likely to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t make employees work when contagious, so it might help sales, too, if they display that they “proudly” utilize the service to help protect customer health.

        1. Anonymous

          We have specialised catering agencies in the UK. On the temp side, they’re mostly for catering assistants / kitchen porters / waiters, but you can get chefs and cooks on a temp basis too!

  12. nyxalinth

    Regarding the nail thing: If I break a nail, I might break out the clippers and deal with it quickly at my desk (call centers frown upon being away from your desk except for breaks, lunches, and a limited amount of time for potty breaks). Otherwise, I don’t sit there and give myself a full manicure. That’s just nasty.

    Regarding #3: that’s nothing more than corporate greed, period. Not against the law, but it should be.

  13. Marie

    For bilimguism bonus….

    As it was said, here in Montreal in a lot of jobs you are required to speak (and write) both in french and in English. Most of these jobs don’t come with a bonus.

    I’ve had two jobs that got me bonuses for being able to serve customers in both language. Both were call center jobs (one for the Government – bonus for speaking english and one for a private organisation – bonus for speaking french). The norm here is no bonuses. Even organisations that have them now tend to try to stop that.

  14. Anonymous

    1 – I think clicking is very important if you are interviewing at a smaller firm. The same goes for “sense of humor.” The smaller the staff, the more important fit and personality become. Also, if you’re interviewing with multiple people, I think it’s pretty essential that you click with the hiring manager since they will likely be your supervisor. That said, if you don’t click with your interviewer and end up getting passed over, it’s probably for the best. If a 45 minute interview is awkward, then imagine what it’d be like to work with that person everyday.

    2 – This definitely depends upon where (company and geographic location) you work and what you do. A friend of mine speaks English, Swedish, Portuguese and French. Her current employer has several clients in France and Brazil, so, her being multilingual is a huge plus. She doesn’t need Google translate! We are in the US and finding someone with the same technical and language skills would be very difficult. She did not get a bigger starting salary because of it, but was able to negotiate a larger bonus/raise when the time came.

  15. Anonymouse

    #1 – That’s just one person with whom you didn’t hit it off. There are going to be a lot of people in the workplace like that. Every. Day. In any job.

    #2 – Only if your daily duties call for it will there be a built in premium, but I love your idea of using it to see if there’s room in negotiations! I’m a delight but no one pays me extra for it *sigh*

    #7 – OMG!!! THIS. This is the reason that parents (someone, please?) need to teach their kids manners. That said, people are very, very, very sensitive when it comes to anyone else bringing attention to their *insert cheesy accent* “poor breeding.” People go loco when you simply ask them not to double-dip… can you imagine the reaction to personal grooming?

    It’s actually a really good thing to take to HR, who can deal with it discretely without undue embarrassment. I sat next to a filthy guy who (among other violations) sneezed all over his desk, all the time, mouth uncovered; HR handled it seamlessly.

  16. sourd'oh

    #5 – as is true of so much, it depends. In my organization (state government) we won’t credit internship as experience if it is part of your college education. Basically, if you get credit towards your degree for it, we consider it part of the degree and not additional experience.

    1. Mike C.

      Why is this?

      Let me use a science based example. I learn and practice a common laboratory procedure. What is the difference between learning it as part of a course and learning it working as a laboratory assistant after class? I learned and practiced the very same skill, but you’re only going to count one type of experience.

      That sounds really short sighted to me. What happens when you evaluate the experience of those who have gone through job-specific training or accreditation programs?

      1. Abby

        I rarely disagree with the advice given here, but in the case of #5 above, I do. I totally agree with Mike C. and if I was hiring a chemist who needed to know how to do a specific process whether complicated or straightforward, I would totally count intern experience or work as a student worker. Likewise I would count it if I needed specific experience with certain software.

        But, I hire in the medical and legal fields. And in both, years of experience as advertised in ads absolutely mean post-graduate experience. A law firm that advertises 2-3 years legal experience does not mean internships.

      2. Suz

        I disagree. I’m a chemist and have hired several chemists in my career. You aren’t nearly as proficient at a procedure after learning it as part of your coursework as you are after doing it on the job, even if the job was only a part-time work-study position.

      3. sourd'oh

        It’s a matter of not using the same experience to meet separate requirements. If a position requires both job-specific training or accreditation and experience the time spent getting the training isn’t also counted towards the experience. For us, where a degree and experience is required the experience is in addition to the degree requirements. If the experience was part of the degree requirement you can only count it once.

        1. Anonymous

          ^ This. Internships are either college credit OR work experience. If it shows-up on your transcripts, it’s education.

          A B.S. in chemistry isn’t “4 years of experience;” it’s 4 years of education.

          If however, you also worked in a local lab independently from your college credits, you have experience.

    2. Regina

      Law is its own funny beast. 5 is likely incorrect for 2 reasons.

      The first being that a pre-law school internship is not legal experience.

      Second, legal employers may consider it dishonest to include any legal experience prior to passing the bar. If you are going to use it, you should be clear that is what you are doing in your cover letter, because your resume will give you away.

      If the job requires a certain amount of experience, it may be tossed, especially if you are a recent grad. Getting your first job put of school is really tough, particularly of late, but most fellow grads have similar work experience. Emphasize the skills you learned rather than time served.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I don’t think people need to worry about it being seen as dishonest. Ads that ask for X years of experience do so so that you know whether or not it makes sense for you to apply. If you apply and your experience isn’t quite as substantial as they wanted, they’ll just reject you. They’re not going think you’re a liar.

        1. Regina

          5 asked about “legal experience.”

          Work prior to law school training will not be considered legal experience.

          Work during law school is questionable and would require candor and a good justification for why you should be considered in spite of this. It might be worth trying if you are slightly under an experience requirement but don’t be surprised if you are still automatically disqualified.

          1. Regina

            Sorry. I replied in two different locations thinking my first post didn’t take. Attorneys can be surprisingly grouchy. I just don’t see this ending well for 5, but I hope I am wrong.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              The worst thing that’s going to happen is that she’s not called for an interview. People apply for jobs that they’re not entirely qualified for all the time; it’s going to be fine.

  17. CL

    The State Department pays a 5-6% bonus of your base salary based on language proficiency IF you use the language on a daily basis and can read, write, understand, and speak at a native level.

  18. P

    #5 – I’m curious as to where you were told otherwise, since I find it very hard to believe (otherwise, why isn’t my firm starting me as a third year associate?!). Certainly for lock-step firms, they would only consider years post-graduation. Also, it seems odd to give seniority credit for part-time work. I would say that AAM is probably off on this one.

    I absolutely wouldn’t count your pre-law school legal research experience towards your years of experience . Legal recruiters don’t count paralegal experience as ‘legal experience,’ but rather ‘legal assistant experience.’

      1. Regina

        The question was years of “legal experience.” Industry standard is post-bar. You can always try if you are clear you are including law school work, but any attempt to include time prior to any law school training will not be looked on kindly.

        The only situation I can think where this might be useful is when an advertisement wanted say 5 years and I had 4 or 4.5. I would be up front this is what I was doing and then make the argument that I had the requisite skills for the job. Even then I would not bother unless I had a really good argument for why I was qualified and it was a job I really wanted because of the high likelihood my resume would not even be considered.

  19. Erica B

    I would only clip a nail at work, if I broke it and it needed a quick fix, but that is the only reason to so that activity at work.

  20. Amber

    AAM, about your answer to #6- some employers actually force sick employees to come in to “prove” that they are sick, so your response that the OP’s boyfriend should have called in and not come in might not have actually been appropriate given his potential employer’s rules.

    This is the policy of my boyfriend’s current employer. He’s a massage therapist (so he touches people for a living) and so theoretically should never be at work at all when he’s sick and/or contagious. However, the spa he works at has the most ridiculously draconian policy on sick time ever invented. Workers get 1 day in 6 months where they can call their boss and say “I’m sick, I can’t work today.” If you use that one day up, then every time you are sick, no matter how sick you are or what kind of sickness it is, you actually must come in and see the boss and be verbally given the go-ahead to drive back home; if you choose not to drive in and see the boss to get permission to take another sick day, then you get written up for attendance, and more than one person he knows has actually been fired for taking too many sick days… Like 3 in 6 months. This is their rule on the books. So maybe OP’s boyfriend might also have a similar situation going on there. Just wanted to weigh in on that.

    (Not saying that people should go to work when they are sick on general principle, but just that some employers are really unfair and treat their workers like untrustworthy children, so that has to be taken into account when talking about how to appropriately handle being sick and going-or not going- to work that day.)

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      That is utterly ridiculous. What if you’re having uncontrollable diarrhea? (Sorry, but it has to be said.) What if your back is thrown out and you literally can’t move to come in to work? And what of the fact that if you tell your employees you don’t trust them, you’ll get the bare minimum from them and nothing else? I hate your boyfriend’s employer.

      1. Amber

        Oh, you’re preaching to the choir! They used to have a normal, reasonable, “we hire adults to work here” policy on this sort of stuff, and then of course they had a few people who used to always call in “sick” on Fridays or Saturdays, and instead of actually dealing specifically with that problem and those employees, they created this idiocy to punish everyone. I hate his employer too. And he is super fed up with them- if this is their policy on sickness, just imagine the other ridiculousness on the books for dealing with other situations! He’s looking for other places to work, but unfortunately this spa pays better than almost every other spa in our area, so it’s a constant job to balance the scales and go “good pay, horrible environment” or take the risk on “better environment, less pay.”

      2. Mike C.

        Christ this right here.

        Why are employers hiring people they cannot trust? And if not, why aren’t they trusting the people they hire? I really want to look for other motivations, but I feel like some employers are control freaks.

      3. Anonymous

        And what’s worse: the masseuse is working in a field where he’s exposed to people with skin to skin contact all the time. No gloves! So of course they’re gonna get sick more often.

        You’d think they’d plan better with headcount and staffing and attendance policies.

    2. JfC

      It seems a lot of places that should be concerned with health risks value attendance more! The only time I’ve seen policy like that and it seemed reasonable was in the case of my sister, who’s a nurse. If she has a minor cold she just has to wear a mask the entire time. Attendance of health care professionals at a hospital is literally a matter of life or death though. Also because of the nature of the work they pick up minor infections all the time (especially if they work in paediatrics – paediatric nurses and day care workers are notorious for always having colds. Children are kind of filthy). So, it would be impractical for them to take sick days whenever they have minor infections.

    3. KayDay

      ewww….I would never want a massage from that place. Honestly, I’m sure if the patrons knew about that policy, they would want it changed or they would take their sore backs elsewhere. (But super awesome for you for having a massage therapist for a boyfriend!!)

  21. Lizzie B

    Re: Forced Unpaid Vacation

    I did some research a little while back, and I think that, at least in some states, if your employer requires an unpaid vacation (or “furlough”), you can apply for unemployment benefits. Getting the benefits usually requires a one-week “waiting period,” so if your furlough is only one week, you wouldn’t get any benefits, but if your furlough is two weeks, you might be able to get paid for the second week.

    More important than your $400 (or whatever amount) check, however, is that fact that filing for UI would help take the financial incentive away from the employer to pull stuff like this. If they get hit by lots of unemployment claims, they might think twice before forcing unpaid vacations the next time.

      1. Nichole

        This is the case in Indiana. Even if you are only on furlough for a week, when I worked there we advised people to file and get their waiting week out of the way if it is likely to happen again within 3 months to a year. Claims stay open for one year, so if you’re laid off one week and file a claim, you are usually eligible to draw benefits the next time. Rules vary based on the situation and the state, but it’s worth the time to contact your local unemployment office if you’re on any kind of forced leave.

  22. Eric

    I’m glad that nail-clipping didn’t make the top 10 of “are you the annoying one at the office” article just posted.

  23. anon

    Beg to differ on the undergraduate work experience counting towards total years’ experience – there’s a huge difference between someone who worked at temp and summer jobs throughout high school and college and someone with eight years of full-time, progressively responsible experience after college. I’ve seen new grads try to make this claim and it always leaves me thinking “uh, no.”

    By all means play up the work experience you do have, and don’t forgo applying to jobs that say they require 1-3 years’ experience when you’re a new grad – but know that the years of experience listed on a job posting means post-college.

    1. anonymous #something

      I’m going to speak up as a new grad who’s still searching for work. If we literally ONLY applied to jobs that were looking for 0-1 years experience or something similar (where the zero is still included), we’d only be able to apply to one job once every blue moon or so, especially in this economy. Even on my alma mater’s job board for entry-level jobs I see years of experience being required for many of the jobs or wording the experience requirement to something to that extent. We realize not too long after we get into our field of study/work or once we’ve found permanent employment that years mean years of experience after graduation, but we have no choice but to play up what we’ve got for right now. :)

    2. The Right Side

      Ummm… no.

      Sorry but I didn’t finish my BAOM until I was 26 and didn’t finish my MBA until I was 28! I had the privilege of working full-time while attending school and even though it was paid (very poorly) – it was THAT experience that actually led to my post-collegiate employment!

      I think the purpose of a good interview would be to inquire about what kinds of experience they are bringing to the table. For example – with the letter writer – ask them about specific things related to their experience and the job they are requesting. Can you really evaluate if they have the experience required based on the pay (or lack thereof) received? I would think a good interviewer would not.

  24. Anonymous

    I have to say, I never knew that clipping your nails at the office would be such a huge thing until about six months ago. I’m at my desk, by my garbage can or whatever; you’re not ever going to be at my desk doing work so I’m not sure why it bothers you. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if another did so – and in fact I find the staff member on the other side of the office who has no concept of an “inside voice” to be far more rude and annoying.

    1. The Right Side

      I actually find these noises to be incredibly bothersome. Not just because I’m not compassionate but because these noises truly bother me. I read somewhere that is actually a disease. So before you go judging anyone based on this – how about we just respect everyone and not bring our personal issues to work! How would you feel about me getting a bikini wax one cubicle over? Or a haircut? A massage? Upper lip wax? Wart removed? Mole “burned” off – yes, they do that… ? Same difference!!

    2. Anonymous

      The person with the loud voice and the person clipping his nails can both be rude and annoying. Why not clip just your nails at home?

  25. Suz

    I can understand the gross-out factor with the nail clipping but is the noise really that much of a problem? It can’t be much louder than the sound of your cube neighbor’s typing.

      1. Jamie

        Yes it is. It’s a very obnoxious habit and disgusting to others.

        And is my #1 vice. But I will only do it when alone in my office or car. I never did it when I shared an office.

        It’s not about some people being above annoying habits, everyone has them…it’s just about being considerate enough not to foist the effects of them on others.

      2. Long Time Admin

        The guy on the other side of my cube wall chews ice. It’s a little annoying (sometimes A LOT annoying), but it’s the only annoying thing he does and he’s a really nice guy, so I just put on my headphones and pop in a Bee Gees or ABBA CD and crank it up.

      3. Jaime

        Not to be preachy, but sometimes excessive ice chewing is a sign of anemia. You might ask or suggestiong they get tested. Apparently, some people with low iron will crave ice. My sister is anemic and has chipped a tooth twice now from the craving for ice. Of course, in her case it’s kind of her fault since she won’t take her iron pills, but … maybe your coworkers are unaware that this can be a symptom?

        1. Jamie

          This is absolutely true, and one of the weirder medical facts. I have severe anemia and my doctor was the one who told me the ice chewing is related.

          There’s still no excuse, imo, for doing it where others can hear you, though. People have a lot of medical issues their co-workers shouldn’t have to deal with.

          I will say that, hands down, it was the one and only reason I was thrilled to get my own office a couple of years back. Not a solution for everyone, but I swear having a place to do this without bothering anyone has improved my quality of life at work. Not sure I could go back to an open environment now, though.

    1. fposte

      I suspect it’s one of those things where the problem isn’t that it’s the Loudest Noise Evar! but that it’s sudden, and intrusive, the listener knows neither when it’s going to start or when it’ll stop, and it’s something that there’s a strong cultural pressure against doing in public (nose-pickers are pretty quiet, too, but a lot of people would be bothered by that going on near them as well). Things like that particularly rub people when they can’t get away from it–look at how people are about behavior from seatmates on an airplane.

      It’s true that people can also overreact to anything other people do (that’s people on an airplane again), but it’s not really a who’s right and who’s wrong thing, it’s about figuring out ways to share space without throttling one another.

  26. Mike C.

    With regards to undergrad versus postbac experience – I’m willing to bet that this wouldn’t be such an issue if employers wouldn’t advertise entry level jobs requiring three years of experience.

    Think of it as a social contract.

  27. Gayle

    As far as #1 — not clicking with your interviewer — the other thing to realize is that you don’t necessarily know if you are.

    Here’s why: you’re judging whether or not you’re clicking with the interviewer based on whether the person is smiling, laughing, nodding at what you’re saying, etc. While some of that might be based on your performance / personality fit, a lot of it is based on the interviewer’s personality. If they’re not a very smiley/happy/bubbly person, then even a great “fit” won’t get them to do that as much as a mediocre fit with someone who is a smiley/happy/bubble person.

    The interviewer’s personality is probably as big or bigger of a factor in how you perceive the fit as the actual fit itself.

  28. bob

    #3: Sure it’s legal but it’s a crappy move for management to force an unpaid 2 week vacation on everyone while the company makes record profits. It’s pretty clearly a management group out of touch with reality and the employees to do that. I hope the employees didn’t go back after the forced vacation but I’m sure they did.

  29. FrauTech

    My employer has a similar policy to not double counting experience gained while attending your undergrad program. That is to say, it was my job experience that got me my job. My 20 hour a week student job experience was the clincher. The BA was icing on the cake. However, I was told up front that that 20 hour a week job did not count as “experience” separately from my degree. I assume this is just part of what employers could demand in those days (when the market was a lot better) and will continue to be able to demand. I agree with what was said above that legal research internships do not count as law experience. That being said, it’s probably still going to score you a job. And you will have no choice but to apply to jobs that ask for 1-3 years of experience (or maybe even 2-5). But most often it’s become an entry level requirement that employers can expect from you but not really credit you for. I agree it’s frustrating, but then so is job hunting or trying to get your first full time job. To give an example, I worked full time while completing my engineering degree. That experience still “counts” but I wasn’t actually an engineer while working on my degree. So in the long term, that doesn’t count towards my experience as “an engineer”. But it did help me to get the job I got and probably boosted my pay a little, though not a lot.

  30. me

    I worked at hospital kitchens through HS and college. Great, top hospitals. We took those serv safe, and sanitize health quizzes every 2 months. In that line of work if you mentioned the words lOose stools or flu you were not to come in and if your employer makes u stay its against the law. For real. BUT even this top hospital wouldn’t stick to it, they’d find some way around it. I had food poisoning from mcdonalds or somewhere. But I desperately needed to call in. I recorded the WHOLE convo with my manager on my phone. She told me COME to work, I said I’m sorry but I’m hanging my head over the toilet to be quite honest and she said “come in” again. (Thought I was faking) So I added, I remember in serv safe its the law to stay home and protect the other staff and patients. Her reply was “eff that” – I shared the info with H R after they tried to write me up. She didn’t come back after the weekend and presumably was fired. HAHA! Yes. It was illegal to make me come in.

    1. Ry

      Oh my god I wish we could do this at my hospital (record the food-service managers being jerks, that is). They do this stuff constantly – and the patients here are SICK, many with compromised immune systems. They can’t afford to be around sick workers any more than the sick workers want to be around them!

      However, we have a state law here prohibiting recording phone calls unless both parties approve. Argh. So… go you! I so very much wish I could do what you did and get rid of some of the non-clinical managers who don’t seem to care about staff or patients at all.

  31. Camellia

    Why do people come in sick to work? Ever hear of a nifty little thing called ‘incidents’? That is where, no matter how many sick days you are given by a company, each time you use one (ore more than one, if they are consecutive) they count it as an incident. After three incidents within a calendar year you are ‘eligible’ for counseling, where they tell you that , no, they don’t think you were lying, yes, they do believe you were really sick, but it is VERY VERY IMPORATANT that you be at work. And for any incident after the third within a calendar year you are subject to termination.

    Their rationale is that sick days are to protect you from catastrophic illness. So if you get walking pneumonia and have to miss ten work days that only counts as one incident. But if you have a cold, stomach virus, sinus infection, strep throat, yeah, you show up or pay the penalty.

    And to forestall the obvious question, no, the job I do is not really impacted if I miss a day. I work on 2-4 year projects in IT. I could miss a day every MONTH and nothing would truly be affected.

    1. Ali

      Policies like this are utterly ridiculous. If you have anything at all contagious, you should be able to stay home. There are far too many immunocompromised people who are in jobs and will catch everything you bring. It’s not fair to you or to them for you to be at work. Especially in jobs like IT where your function is not “essential” and/or you can do your job from home.

      I am extremely lucky in that I am faculty at a university where we have unlimited sick time. If I were teaching a class, I would need to make sure that class is covered by another instructor if I were out, but I do not teach. Most of the people I work with are considered staff, so they do have sick time, but still they have 2 weeks of it plus 20 more days of vacation time. They can also work from home if they are contagious but not sick enough to not work.

      I may not like my job or get paid anywhere near where I should for my experience and what I do, but I stay at this job because of benefits like the above. I have a chronic illness that needs an IV treatment every 5 weeks, and am on chemotherapy drugs in addition. I need as much sick time as I can have (yet I still get all my work done) and I need people with anything contagious to stay far away from me. Arrangements like that are hard to come by in the US, so I’ll take it where I can get it.

  32. Anonymous

    Actually, AAM:

    Internships DO NOT count towards “total years of experience” in the law context, at least not for lawyers. That’s because the work that you do as an intern is quite limited compared to the work you’ll do as an attorney.

    It might count for a paralegal. And it would certainly be helpful in an interview: if I were hiring a first year associate to do real estate work, I’d have a preference for someone who had interned in a real estate office.

    But in the context of an advertisement for attorneys (and since this person has taken the LSAT it sounds like what this is,) “___ years of experience” implies “post-graduate.”

    1. P

      I think it would really hurt you and show lack of judgment if you apply for something that requires 3-5 years of legal experience and you’re six months out of school, because indeed, interns do not nearly have the same responsibilities (or types of responsibilities) that lawyers have. Any law student can perform research and document collection tasks in the litigation context – but having to make actual decisions about strategy and sign your name to documents is a whole other level of responsibility. And, obviously, legal employers can tell the difference.

  33. Andrew

    Perhaps if you’re not clicking with your interviewer you can solve the problem by simultaneously clipping your nails–then you’ll be clicking together .

  34. Long Time Admin

    Re: #1 – Sometimes, even when you click with all the interviewers, things don’t work out.

    When I interviewed for this job, I met with the HR person, the hiring manager, the architect/engineer, and the director. I was told I would be working directly with the manager, and he would train me. I felt that we could work well together, and I accepted the job. When I started two weeks later, they had moved the manager to another job and hired someone else to be the new manager. I didn’t click with him but sucked it up and had a rough two years until that manager quit and the original manager came back into that job. I was right – we did work well together.

  35. Tara

    For #4- Did we apply to the same job? It had the exact same line at the bottom of the job description. In response, on my cover letter, I wrote..”As for my sense of humor, you’ll notice that when you interview me!” Maybe a little cheesy but they are the ones that asked. :)

  36. Anonymous

    I was the poster for Question #1. Thanks to all who commented.

    If I’m understanding your answer, Alison, it sounds like I looked good on paper and in the 2 phone interviews, but dropped the ball in the in-person interviews, and need to work on those. Thanks.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Possibly. Or you might have done well in the in-person interview but someone else was just a stronger candidate — hard to know, but it’s always worth working on interviewing regardless!

  37. KayDay

    #5…I agree with AAM on this. I have only rarely heard of jobs where the “years experience” required was an EXACT requirement (gov’t is a very big exception. when they say one year, they mean 1 year). I am assuming that the OP already has a good idea of what positions are at the appropriate “level” (i.e. not applying for senior associate positions straight out of school). Also, it’s the employer’s prerogative to determine if you are qualified; not yours.

    Just be realistic about the “level” you are applying to vs. the exact number of years. You won’t get hired to a job above your “level” just because of internship experience–that experience makes you more competitive for jobs at your level. If a “entry-level” job requires 1-2 years of experience, and you have 2 years of part time internship experience, go ahead and apply. However, if a “mid-level” job requires 2 – 3 years of experience, and you have 2 years of pt internship experience, you probably would not be qualified.

  38. Anonymous_J

    About #4: As a long-time job seeker and a former temp, I can pretty much tell you that “must have a sense of humor” generally means “This is a really crappy job. You will be treated with no respect, and you’d better have a thick skin.”

    Jus’ sayin…

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