7 short questions, 7 short answers

It’s thrifty answer Thursday — seven short questions and seven short answers. We’ve got using a P.O. box on your resume, whether you need to mention a job you were fired from, a boss who wants you to stop working overtime, and more. Here we go…

1. Should I tell an out-of-state employer I’m going to be in their area?

I am looking to relocate back to Atlanta from NYC and have had 2 phone interviews (one with HR the other with the hiring manager) for a great potential position since December. I followed up with HR about 2 weeks ago and was told that unfortunately this is a long process and she was waiting on the hiring manager to set dates for face-to-face panel interviews, but would be in contact with me as soon as she had updates. I have not heard anything as of yet, but it turns out that I will be in Atlanta next week and would love to set up an interview while I will already be there. I wanted to know if you could advise me on the best way of going about trying to set that interview up? I’m not sure whether to contact HR or the Hiring Manager directly…also not sure what to say. I don’t want to be a pest, but I’m very persistent and would love to be considered for this

Well, first, before we get to your question, I need to address this “persistence” thing: When it comes to job seeking, there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest. In general, you need to respect their timeline. However, when you’re an out-of-town candidate who’s going to be in town for a finite period, it does make sense to let them know. Send them both a joint email and say something like, “I wanted to let you know that I’m going to be in Atlanta on (dates). I’d love to meet for an interview when I’m in town, although I of course understand that you might not be at that stage yet.” From there, it’s up to them.

2. Graduation dates on resumes

I came across some resume advice that said “never put your graduation dates from high school/college/graduate/professional school (as this allows employers to estimate your age).” What is your take on this?

It’s good advice if you’re worried about being discriminated against for being too old, and in fact, it’s more common than not for older candidates to leave those dates off. (It does look odd when candidates who graduated more recently leave off graduation dates though, simply because of convention.)

3. Do I have to mention a short-term job I was fired from?

I recently got a job offer that I am very excited about. However, during my time as a college student, I worked at a restaurant for a short period of time (~3 months) before getting fired because the owner got mad about me for laughing at something she said. She thought I was mocking her. A very silly experience. I always leave that short stint off my resume. But I am always troubled by the “getting fired” question on job applications. Since I don’t include the experience as part of my employment history, I tend to answer “no.” Now, I have this job offer and I am worried about the background check regarding this little job. It also asks me if I have ever been fired. Should I say yes? Even though on my initial application I answered no? I am truly puzzled with this and would love to hear your input.

Well, I’ll say this: It’s highly unlikely that they’re going to find out about a three-month restaurant stint you did in college. Unless one of your new coworkers happened to work at the restaurant with you and knows it first-hand, it’s not going to come up, and there’s no reason a couple of months in college should be an albatross around your neck for the rest of your career. I’m sure someone will disagree with me, but I’d tell a friend in this situation to wipe the entire experience from your mind (and hence, your application).

4. My boss told my mother he was firing me before he told me

My boss recently fired me, but before he did, he called my mother to let her know he was going to fire me before he called me in to the office. Can he do that? I’m 19. (When I was hired, I didn’t have a cell so I put my mom’s number as a way to contact me, but after a month I gave him my cell number.) He also never let any of the staff use the restroom or get a drink of water while we were working. It was only allowed during a break. Can he do that and can he yell at us in front of everyone? Thank you

I have no idea why your boss would call your mother — it’s unprofessional and bizarre, and I hope your mother told him that. It is, however, legal.

It’s also legal (but jerky) for him to yell at you in front of others. However, he’s violating OSHA regulations by not letting you take bathroom breaks.

5. Why do job applications ask about race and veteran status?

At the end of every online application, there is the section that asks the applicant about race/ethnicity and veteran status. I always feel wary of answering the questions feeling that my selection could eliminate me from an interview. Yet if I elect not to discloe would also eliminate me from the interview process. Is this the case? Are these questions legal?

Yes. They’re asking because companies with more than 100 employees and companies with government contracts over a certain dollar amount have to report the demographic makeup of their applicants and employees to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (in aggregate, not individually). Answering is voluntary, however; you can’t be penalized for not answering. And it’s illegal to use the information about race or ethnicity in a hiring decision (although it’s legal to give veterans a preference in hiring).

6. Using a P.O. box on job applications

I use a P.O. box for job applications because I don’t know how long a company keeps applications on file or how many people see my application, and I’m not comfortable sharing my home address with that many strangers … but I’m worried employers may think I’m homeless, in a halfway house, lying about being out of state, or any number of red flags. Should I suck it up and use my home address?

Yes. Not because they think you’re in a halfway house, but because you risk them thinking you’re not local, and non-local candidates are at a huge disadvantage in this job market.

7. Boss is telling me to work fewer hours but I don’t want to

I work in a hotel. It’s a very busy environment where I have to do a lot of different things and I get interrupted every minute. I’ve been doing a lot of extra hours because I don’t want to leave too many things to the next person (and also because when I do I always receive a complain), and I know that I spend a lot of time with each guest (guests used to come to ask me directly because they know that I do the impossible for them). Now, my problem is that my boss is not happy with my overtime and she doesn’t understand why I do so many hours. They are thinking that is a problem of organization, and I’m struggling to explain them what I do during my shift (I’m sure I do more than the other people, but things which are quite difficult to explain). What shall I do?

It sounds like your boss is telling you that she’d prefer you not so above and beyond and instead work fewer hours. You need to listen to that. Ultimately it’s your boss’s call whether you do this stuff, not yours. You can absolutely explain to her what you said here (“I end up working more hours because I do X, Y, and Z so that the next shift doesn’t have to do it, and because they’ve complained in the past when I’ve left it for them, and guests ask for me directly because they know I’ll take time to help them”), but the reality is that she may not care. If she feels that not working overtime is more important than doing the extras you’re doing, that’s the rule you’ve got to abide by.

I suspect you’re thinking, “How could doing more work and making guests happy ever be a bad thing?” But your boss is telling you that she doesn’t want to pay so much overtime, and you’re essentially overruling her by deciding that you know better. Overruling your boss on something like overtime — where there’s a direct financial cost to her budget — is a really bad idea.

{ 92 comments… read them below }

      1. Emily Weak

        I was told recently that filling out these forms can actually help your candidacy – HR will ask a hiring committee to take a second look at certain candidates. I’m assuming this is the veteran status thing, but it might also be for minority/female candidates. So if you are, it might help you, and if you’re not, it’s not hurting you.

  1. Charles

    Just my two cents on three of these thrifty answers Thursday isssues:

    Putting graduation dates on resume. I used to follow the advice of so many folks and leave them off. After the one interview in which the hiring manager, upon meeting me for the first time said “OMG, WHEN did you graduate?” which was clearly a reference to my age; I have since put my dates back on. Yes, I get a lot less interviews etc. But, this way I feel that if they are going to age-discriminate and least I am not wasting my time and money with the jerks. Also, with the dates clearly on my resume I know that if I am called into an interview my age is not really an issue for them.

    EEOC questions. Yep, they are NOT suppose to use the answers to determine who they hire; but, then why, for god’s sake why? Do so many of the places that ask these questions pester me about answering “decline to answer.” One place sent me a follow up email asking me to reconsider, then sent me a snail mail, and even called me! And I am suppose to believe that my answer didn’t influence their decision. Sorry, AAM, no offense to you or most hiring folks; but, I honestly believe that some places do break the law and use those answers – even when the answer is “decline to answer.”

    P.O. Boxes – in some places of the country the P.O. Box is the only way to get mail. Perhaps, not common, but that is the case. If an employer is judging folks by this . . . well, no one ever said that employers aren’t ignorant – far too many are. Just look at the other question about an employer calling someone’s mother! I don’t mean to laugh at the OP; but, really, calling someone’s mother “I’m going to fire your child!” What an ass!

    1. Jane of All Trades

      Charles.. Some companies will try to get you to answer because, unfortunately, the employer has to GUESS if you decline to answer. I always hated EEOC reports for this reason, I would either have to call my location and ask ‘What ethnicity do you THINK so and so is” or if my location make an “assumption”. I feel making that assumption makes an employer rely on stereo-typical assumptions, so yes, if we can get the employee to answer we try as hard as we can.

      1. Anonymous

        +plue one. If you don’t answer we have to make a “best guess”. Also for what it’s worth, all we can see is that you did or did not answer, but we cannot see the actual answer once you make a choice.

      2. Charles

        Sorry, I’m not following.

        What I am talking about is when it is a computer based system in which one of the choices is “decline to answer.”

        Are you telling me that HR (or whoever) is then required to go back and “change” my answer even if it is computer based? If so, I had no idea! That so totally sucks!

        1. Jane of All Trades

          Charles, we will not actually go back and change your answer, however, we can not report for EEOC as declined to answer, we have to report totals for each ethnicity, even if the person declined to answer… so we get to guess..

          1. Charles

            Thanks Jane. I guess all those organizations that have “decline to answer” as an option have made that their own choice; allbeit one that isn’t allowed when reporting to the EEOC. I guess they do that because they realize that this kind of questioning does piss folks off – so, they just “guess” at the answer then. That’s very interesting!

            1. Long Time Admin

              For race/ethnicity, I normally write “human”. Maybe I’ll just choose a different selection every time. Who can prove otherwise?

            2. Jane of All Trades

              No, we have to have the decline to answer/ its not required to answer on the form, but yet as the employer we HAVE to answer.. go figure!

            1. saro

              This BLOWS my mind! Really? Y’all get to guess?

              I think I would be the HR person who interviews an incredibly high number of people from Malta. Or Sealand. Or Vactican City.

              Oh wait, those are all small countries, and this is ethnicity. I’ll have to think about what response would throw their numbers off.

  2. Joey

    #5 companies ask for other reasons also. If they have an affirmative action plan they typically take steps to interview applicants that fall within areas where representation is low. So a company may specifically try include for example African Americans in their interviews when their stats show they are underrepresented. Although some misinterpret the intent of affirmative action plans and don’t always hire the most qualified person.

  3. Lexy

    As a former front desk manager (I assume question 7 works the front desk). Hotel margins are generally SUPER thin. One employee regularly working unauthorized overtime could shred your profit.

    It doesn’t feel good to be told “Don’t be so good at customer service” when you’re a customer oriented person. That’s why your manager didn’t come out and say you’re spending too much time solving guest complaints, she doesn’t want a great worker (and I’m sure you are really great, I mean it) to feel discouraged or disempowered (is that a word?) to make decisions. She just wants you to do as much as you can do in your scheduled hours and leave the rest of it at work.

  4. Malissa

    #1–I’ve done this, it worked out great. Even if they don’t have time for a formal interview they may be able to squeeze in a few minutes to meet you. Seeing a person for even a few minutes can answer a lot of questions about fit with the organization.
    #3–Been there, done that. It all worked out okay.
    #4–Wow!
    #5–EEOC reporting is a terrible thing to have to do. Every government agency and those who work with them will forever have to fill out the information. In my government office those questionnaires get stripped from the application when they come in. The hiring manager rarely ever looks at them. In fact the only time one of those have been seen by a hiring manager is when they have a question about a person’s gender before calling them for an interview. You don’t really want to call a Kelly, Shannon, Jamie or Ariel with-out knowing to expect a female or male voice.
    #6–In some of the cities around here everybody has to go to the post office to pick up their mail. So a PO box wouldn’t look that strange.

  5. Obvious

    As a African American I feel offended by the “disclose your race question,” because I feel as if they will only hire me when they want to fill their EEOC “quotas,” I might be wrong but that’s just how I feel. I also think that I am well qualified and if I make the cut I want to make it on my own — whey you are hired at a big company with “limited diversity,” everyone will assume you are here because of the EEOC. I want to be interviewed on my own merit, not to satisfy some EEOC quota – which I also think you will be paid less that the market rate. Under normal circumstances, when a company filled the “quotas,” and there is an equally qualified minority vs qualified non-minority, the company will hire a non-minority. Just do away with this crap and I will stand on my own!

    1. K.

      Yeah, as an African-American woman, I feel the same way. I do answer those questions though because my last name is very commonly associated with a particular religion (and that religion isn’t commonly associated with African-Americans), and I’ve had many interviewers say stuff like “I didn’t expect you to be black” when they meet me in person. (And I’m in a huge, diverse city, where black people shouldn’t come as a surprise.) I find this really irritating – it’s common for people to act as though I have deliberately misled them. It’s gotten a little better now that I’m old enough to be married; sometimes people assume it’s my married name (which it isn’t, I’m single).

      Re: #4, the hell? If your boss isn’t going to treat you like an adult, you’re better off.

      1. Anonymous

        You guys are assuming that the person making the hiring decision is the person who has access to you EEOC answers. That is not usually the case. This is information is usually segmented from the rest of the application package in order to avoid even the appearance of race/gender based decision making. Ask AAM said, this info is compile and sent over in a package rather than being looked at individually.

      2. Charles

        “I didn’t expect you to be black”

        WTF? What on earth did they expect? A Martian?

        I’m snippy enough with comments like that they would NEVER hire me – “I never expected you to be a fill_in_the_blank” right back at them!

        P.S. I once got into trouble when another department’s supervisor used “Jew” as a verb (i.e. “jew somebody down” meaning to get them to lower their price). I said, “I’ll remember that the next time I go to buy my Hanukkah candles” – he looked stunned; not embarrased; just stunned.

        He apparantly then said something to my supervisor who wanted to know what I did that caused that supervisor to complain about my “backtalking.” effing Jerk!

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Wow. And I can’t believe he had the nerve to then call it backtalking. He should have been mortified instead.

          My favorite is when someone makes an anti-semitic comment, I mention that I’m Jewish, and they apologize because they hadn’t known. Like it would be okay to say it to a non-Jew.

          1. JT

            As a black person I’ve gotten that a little differently, since it’s usually obvious I’m black: “Oh, but I don’t think of you like other black people”

              1. anon.

                um.. seriously, especially in a discussion about the inappropriateness of using ‘Jew down’ and ‘I didn’t know you were black’ and why it should be offensive to ALL not just folks in those groups… why wouldn’t you all realize that using “Jesus” as just an expression (instead of ‘wow’ or similar) would be offensive to a large number of people – Christians.
                He is, after all, the Lord and Saviour to that entire group – not ‘just a guy’.

                Thank you

              2. Ask a Manager Post author

                Hmmm. Using “Jesus” or “God” or “OMG” as an exclamation is in no way the same thing as a bigoted expression like “Jew down.”

                That said, I should have thought twice about using it.

              3. Kim Stiens

                In response to Anon objecting to the use of Jesus as an exclamation… as long as Chrisitians keep saying “Bless You” when I sneeze (as an atheist), I will keep using Jesus and God casually. :)

            1. Charles

              Oh, that’s okay then; the other black people ;)

              I don’t mean to laugh at all this; but, man alive! Some people just amaze me at times.

              1. Long Time Admin

                As Anon @ 8:17 said”..why wouldn’t you all realize that using “Jesus” as just an expression (instead of ‘wow’ or similar) would be offensive to a large number of people – Christians.”

                Yeah, this. Bothers me some, but I realize most people use it a very strong expression.

                Wouldn’t you be surprised if He appeared and said “did you called me”?

              2. khilde

                @Long Time Admin – ha ha!!! That would certainly knock their socks (all of our socks!) off! good one :)

          2. Charles

            Just to be clear – it wasn’t my supervisor who called it backtalking. It was the idiot from another department who accused me of that. My boss was okay once I explained the situation and why I said it and actually thought my “backtalking” was kind funny!

            And “he should have been mortified” is exactly why I pipe up (getting myself into trouble) whenever I hear such nonsense. I have a lot of patience – but not for crap like that.

        2. K.

          @Charles: I just say, in a neutral tone of voice and with (hopefully) no expression on my face, “I am.” And people either get defensive (“your name is misleading!”) or embarrassed.

          Once, though, I finally met a woman face to face that I’d only had an email and phone relationship with because she worked in our Canadian office, and we BOTH made the “You don’t look like I thought you would” face (she was Korean-American with a German last name – in her case, it WAS her married name) – and then laughingly called each other out for doing it because we’d seen it so many times. It became a running joke between us after that.

      1. Obvious

        Of cause they are illegal and some companies just hire to “look diversity” even though under any other circumstance they would have preferred not

      2. Claudia

        Unpaid internships at for-profit companies are illegal too, but there are thousands of unpaid interns working for free right now. It’s also illegal to make hiring decisions based on, say, parenthood – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        1. moe

          “Unpaid internships at for-profit companies are illegal”

          What? No. Violations are *common,* but it’s quite possible to have a legal, unpaid intern, regardless of the company’s status.

          1. Marie

            In Quebec they are Illegal.

            They have to get some form of compensation.. there are a few exceptions but for regular businesses, interns have to be paid, even if they agree to work for free (which is also illegal, except for non profit and health care)

            1. moe

              I should have specified I was referring to the US, which I believe is where the bulk of this site’s questions come from.

            2. just another hiring manager...

              Its my understanding that “some form of compensation” does NOT necessarily mean a paycheck. It could be a bus pass, food allowance, travel to a conference, or something else of value to the intern that is not payment, and is still completely legal.

        2. Kim Stiens

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure parenthood is not a protected class… being married is, and being pregnant is, but I don’t *think* having kids is, though I might be wrong… I can find stuff about discrimination against people with kids in housing, but not in unemployment. And stuff about how you can’t be discriminated against for having a child with a disability (through the ADA). I could be wrong though!

    2. Joey

      Quotas would mean the hiring decision is based on race, gender, etc. Most companies take steps to seek out a more diverse pool by doing things things like recruitment outreach to specific minority groups and making managers aware of stats. But in the end they still hire the most qualified person regardless of protected category. Normally you aren’t directed to hire a certain race/gender. Typically you just need to be able to show you hired the most qualified and youre taking steps to increase the diversity of qualified applicants in underrepresented areas.

      1. Obvious

        Personal Story – When I was a senior in college I had two good friends both African American Angie from my school and Erica from another school, both got hired by same Fortune 500 company. Angie 3.62 GPA was hired through AAG and Erica on her own 3.52 GPA – Erica was offered $55,000 a year and Angie $45,000. I understand there could be other variables but this was the same company, same job. Laws are there to set standards but trust me they are broken all the times

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          While of course abuses happen in any program, salaries are rarely set by GPA, so I wouldn’t assume there was anything nefarious or unfair just based on that.

  6. Scott Woode

    #7: I’ll agree with the former commenter, Lexy, when she says that Front Desks (in general) in hospitality are exceptionally thin. I would also add that while it is great that you are going so far above and beyond the call of duty with your position, you may be overstepping into areas of Union work (basically, violating their contract with your employer) depending on the nature of your overtime, and also, in an effort to do 110% for one guest, you may not be serving as many as you could if you took it down to 90% (which is still excellent service, by any standard).

    Overall, what she’s asking for is balance, and for that balance that you achieve in guest services to not affect (in a negative way) her bottom line. She has bosses too. While it’s great to say to the GM that she has an employee who is really rocking it, the GM is still only going to see red on the balance sheet and want that turned into black, at whatever price.

    1. RHIT in Vegas

      Also, if the guests are coming directly to the OP rather than the appropriate employee (concierge?), then the OP is not doing their job, but taking on someone else’s duties. Being busy busy busy is not the same as getting things done.

      1. A Bug!

        Yes, it is possible that this employee is stepping on the toes of other employees. It’s pretty easy to let happen without realizing it when you’re focused solely on helping customers (an admirable ethic, to be sure), but it’s important to remember who you work for!

        OP#7, if you find yourself regularly going outside your standard job duties just because people come to you specifically, you might try redirecting them to the employee who normally handles that. It’s a pretty simple matter of saying “So-and-so can help you with that, let me take you over to her/let me go and get him for you.” Smile broadly and do not apologize – you want the customer to know that you have the utmost faith in So-and-so to solve the customer’s problem. If the customer insists on you, you can say “I’d love to help you, but this is So-and-so’s area of expertise.” (If it’s a repeat customer you previously helped with a similar problem? Then it’s a bit more sticky; you might have to fudge something about how you have an emergency matter to attend to but that So-and-so would be happy to assist.)

        If any customers complain because they don’t like So-and-so, it’s So-and-so’s performance issue, not yours. And if management says “If someone comes straight to you, you help them, even if it’s not your job,” you can then say “That is what I had been doing, and it created so much extra work for me that I got reprimanded for unnecessary overtime. I feel like I’m getting mixed signals and I need some clarification on what’s expected of me.”

    2. saprky629

      I hate to be the negative Nelly here but #7 you are setting yourself up for a LOT of resentment and bitterness down the road. What happens when it’s review time (or any other time for that matter) and the boss does not acknowledge that you went above and beyond? You are going to start feeling like you’re doing double what everyone else is doing and only getting the same commendations/raise. Why don’t the higher ups recognize how awesome you are? That leads to burnout, resentment, and leaving the company an angry mess.
      If I were you, I would stay within the confines of my position and find out what I could do there to be exceptional.

    3. TMM

      absolutely agree with you. I’ve done HR in hotels for awhile and run into this situation a lot. Good answer!

  7. Kate

    #3 – I was fired from a barista job I held for a few months before going to college, and I have never put it on my resume or applications. No one has ever asked about why I don’t list it, even when I brought it up after getting the job. It was a job I held for 3 months when I was a teenager and it only comes up in casual conversation. I have even talked about how I was fired, and when my bosses and coworkers heard that story, they thought it was funny/crazy and considered the coffee shop owner to be nuts (and she was). I have held a few other jobs like that during college and I don’t include them either, unless there is something very specific about the experience and skills I gained that would pertain to the job at hand (but being an ice cream wench at a Renaissance fair usually does not need to on a resume lol). I wouldn’t worry about it – many people have jobs like that, get fired or let go for silly reasons, and it isn’t held against them.

    1. ARM2008

      Oh, but you’re wrong – ice cream wench at a Renaissance fair could very well be the thing that makes your resume stand out in the stack!

      1. Charles

        This is what is so great about AAM readers.

        Now, I’ve heard that chocolate teapots were all the rage back then; but, I had no idea that they had ice cream during the Renaissance! Did DaVinci invent it? Is that the real reason for the Mona Lisa’s smile – she just ate the first bowl ever of rocky road ice cream!?

        1. Kate

          Lol Renaissance fairs are THE pinnacle of historical accuracy. I remember a customer once who was wearing bondage gear and being led around on a leash. Because that’s Renaissance. He was very nice lol.

  8. MillenniMedia

    Quick tip for #6: If you’re really not open to using your home address, a UPS box could be a good way to go. Probably slightly more costly than a PO Box but it comes with a real street address. (e.g. 1234 Main St #106) Easy enough to figure out it’s not a house if you map it, but at first glance doesn’t stick out as a box either.

    1. Nethwen

      This was my thought. I understand the OP’s concern for not wanting her home address scattered about. If she can afford it, a UPS box with street address is a good way to go. From my understanding, they also take packages, so you don’t have to have them delivered to work or try to make it to the distribution center before they close.

    2. HL

      Re: #6 – I use a PO Box exclusively to receive mail. Any curious interviewers will just ask “What section?” (I live in a large city), but this is rare.

      The USPS now offers this same type of “street address” service (so packages can be received from companies not shipping to PO Boxes). So, the OP can just sign up for this service and use the Post Office street address as a “virtual address” if they desire, without making a change to the location of their current PO Box, or paying another fee.

    3. Vicki

      I put my PO Box on everything. It’s on my tax returns. It’s on my drivers’ license. It’s the address my company sees. NO ONE needs to have my physical address.

      And, where I live (the San Francisco Bay Area), you need to show proof of local residency to get a PO box (so the PO actually has my matching street address) so the point about whether you’re local is moot. The name of the city is all they need.

  9. Anonymous

    For #3, I always read this question as “are we going to be able to find proof that you were ever fired or asked to resign”? Uh, nope.

    I was technically asked to resign once. They wanted to fire me but knew they didn’t have enough concrete evidence to back it up. It was about me not getting along with my manager while my performance was off the charts. After my manager worked on HR for a while, they offered me a decent package to go away and I figured it was a good idea because nobody wants to work at a company that’s trying to fire you (they’ll get you eventually). I just made sure it was in the board minutes and my HR file that I resigned and that my ex-manager would say the same if a crafty HR person got through to him. I was nervous when interviewing for the next job but it’s never been an issue.

    People in college have the perfect excuse to erase brief jobs from their resume. Just say your grades were suffering so either you decided to or your parents made you stop working for a semester or two until they improved.

  10. anonymous

    Follow up question with #3, because I have something similar in my past (bad temp agencies aren’t nice!): would one have to include such a short and unsucessful stint in the employment background/history check papers where they ask for full employment history for past x number of years?

      1. Anonymous

        Caveat-If you are apply for a job that will require a clearance you need to be totally upfront about everything.

        1. anonymous

          Ok, thank you both, that’s what I wanted to know. Especially since we have to do these background papers so often around the time of first interview, it’s really helpful to know.

  11. Mia

    #6 I had to resort to using a PO Box because I was homeless and had just gotten laid off. My local postmaster allowed me to open a box using my parents address even though it was in another state. I had no problems with using this on applications and my resume. I do live in a rural area and there are some areas where mail is not delivered so you have to use a PO Box.

    I did run into some problems when I recently bought a car. I was able to rent a room from a friend, but I cannot receive mail there. The loan company needed a proof of residency and insisted on having a utility bill in my name. In the end, all they needed was for someone to handwrite the address of where I live on the back of a photocopy of my license.

  12. E

    Hello Ask a manager, and all who commented on #3.

    Before receiving this answer, I did exactly just that on my app. I completely erased the experience from my mind, resume, and applications.

    Glad you all feel similarly.

    To the anon. person who asked about #3 – If I were you I would maybe still keep it off your application. First of all, if they SOMEHOW find out that you worked somewhere and didn’t report it, you could always say that it was such a short stint that you didn’t even remember it (you’ve have so many other experiences and jobs, bla bla bla…) That’s just my intuition. However, if the job was several years long you may want to re think it.

  13. Harry

    #2 works both ways. I’m head of my department at 32. Some would say I am too young to go to the next step which may be VP hence I leave the graduation dates off on my Linkedin. It really depends on the industry IMO..Mine tend to have more ‘seasoned’ people in executive positions.

  14. Dafne

    #7 Alison, thank you by answering my question.
    RHIT / A bug: In this hotel it’s quite difficult that an employee is stepping on the toes of other employees because is the kind of service that they offer @ Al Burj Arab (you only have to deal with one employee which is completely empowered to resolve anything), so handovers are also complicated. What is the solution? more employees? other kind of rotas (a 12 hour shift)? Any idea?
    How you can go home knowing that things are not done and that probably won’t be done later because everybody is overload with work? Ok I know less perfectionism and more pragmatism, is that the idea?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think basically you’ve got to look at it this way: Your boss is the final word on how you should approach your job, and whether or not to leave work undone. She’s telling you to do it a different way than you want to do it — and that way IS the job. So you’ve got to decide if you want that job or not, knowing that it’s going to mean doing it her way, not yours. I think you probably do — but you’ve got to shift the way you’re thinking about this. Your boss is telling you “the job is not about staying until everything is done; it’s about doing the best you can in 40 hours, but not going over that because I don’t have the money to pay you more than that.”

      It’s like if you hired someone to paint your house, and you agreed that you’d pay them $X for a week of work. But then they decided that they could do a much better job if they worked for three weeks instead, and you were stuck paying them for that, when you hadn’t agreed to it and couldn’t afford it. Your house would look beautiful if you let them just do it — but you still wouldn’t want them to.

      1. Dafne

        That’s a really nice comparison, I really like it!. But then what will happen when the managers will complain about the work that hasn’t been done? (they’re already complaining even if we are doing extra hours) I can’t do more than I’m actually doing and I don’t know how to show them that we are overload.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Ah, okay — this is actually a slightly different issue. I would say, “To do X, Y, and Z on top of A, B, and C, I’d need to work __ hours of overtime. Will you authorize that?” And if they say no, but that you have to get it all done anyway, then you’ve got to take a hard look at how you’re spending your time. Are there places where you can spend less time but still get everything done overall? It sounds like customer service might be one of those places, unfortunately — so you could ask your manager if she’d rather you spend less time with guests so that you can spend more time on other stuff. (Don’t ask this in a snotty way, of course — it would be easy to sound snotty with that question.)

        2. A Bug!

          What happens to your coworkers who are facing a similar dilemma? Are all of your coworkers receiving the ‘damned-if-you-damned-if-you-don’t’ treatment as well, or is it just you or just a select few?

          1. Dafne

            Yes I like the answer too!! But… the problem is that in my “todo list” I don’t have that many things to do, but when a guest request anything then I have to stop to do what I’m doing. I’m one of this people that makes the guest feel really confty (which is good and bad) so they keep asking for a lot of things.

            I really feel a double way to do that: keep the guest away and do my tasklist or follow my feelings and focus on guest service….

            A bug! yes everybody is facing the same dilemma. But everyone is sorting out in diferent way, some don’t help nobody, some don’t do their work and some do extra hours… but as I say I’m doing more extra hours because guests feel soooo confortable with me that some times happen that they even queu for me when I’m busy (even if a coleague offer them to help)

  15. Anonymous

    Regarding the address on the resume: I have taken to leaving it off (no P.O. substitute, either) and just leaving my phone and email address.

    I live on the outskirts of a major metropolitan area. I know, since I have recruited in this city, that some employers will look at my address and say, “This person won’t want to make the commute required to get to our office,” when in fact, I will and always have had a fair-sized commute no matter where I’ve worked.

    I don’t mind the driving, really, and I resent people making that assumption about me, especially when jobs in my career are not plentiful. So I leave the address off. It’s obvious from my phone number that I’m local, so I don’t think they’re assuming I’m from out of town.

    So far, that’s worked.

    1. Malissa

      Amen! Just because I’ll have to drive doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the job. I am fully aware that I live in the middle of nowhere. Driving 30+ minutes each way is no big deal. When I lived in the city I still spent 30+ minutes on the commute, but it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. Besides the drive gives me time to learn French. ;)

      1. danr

        I used to have a driving commute of about an hour and a half. I used to joke that at the end of my commute home, I was in the country, while many of my co-workers commuted for the same amount of time and never got out of the city.

      2. The other DanR

        Oui! Oui!

        Great idea to learn a language in that idle time in the car. I woked on learning chinese and was surprised how effective it was.

    2. Heather

      See I guess I’d put that kind of information in the cover letter instead of leaving it off! But I live in DC where 2 hour commutes are not unheard of.

    3. Vicki

      Absolutely.
      The recent set of “re-employment” classes I took after I was laid off made a point that putting your street address on your resume is no longer considered safe & sensible and a PO Box isn;t useful. No one is going to send you a letter these days asking you in for an interview.

      Include your telephone number and email address.

      (But note that OP asked about application, not resume).

  16. Anonymous

    Hello, thank you for responding! I am the writer who posted question #1. I took your advice and emailed both HR and Hiring Manager and got a response immediately. I’m also going to take the initiative to let other companies know I will be in their city next week to see if I can set up more interviews while I’m there.

    Thanks again!

  17. Anonymous

    re #2, graduation dates. I would put them in anyway.

    We were hiring for a position recently and had over 300 applicants and it was usually clear when people where older, even without the graduation dates. But they would have helped to give context to their information. For example, we had someone who had a lot of experience in a field not related to the position, but they had the required (advanced) degree for the position, which was entry-level. There were no dates, so we could assume that they had just recently gotten this degree but could also bring all that extra work experience – and this might be someone we might want to interview; or we could assume that they had that degree from way back and did nothing with it all these years – which would bring a more negative view on the candidate.

    But if you have over 30 years work experience it is clear that you are not in your 20s or 30s.

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