short answer Sunday — 6 short answers to 6 short questions

It’s short answer Sunday — six short answers to six short questions. Here we go…

1. Applying for a job with a store I stole from two years ago

I stole from a store when I was 16. I took about $20 worth of items, and my sister took more than $100. It was a class B misdemeanor and I went to juvenile center. I was a minor and my case was dismissed. I’m 18 and I have an interview at that store for a job. Should I bring it up or not say anything? I didn’t put in on the application because I was a minor, I didn’t go to jail, and it was wiped clean from my record when i became an adult.

In general, because it was erased from your record, there’s no need to bring this up when you’re applying for jobs. But the same store that you stole from? I would not apply with that store. If you bring it up, they’re unlikely to hire you … and if you don’t bring it up and start working there, and someone there remembers you from two years ago, it’s going to be Uncomfortable. Why not try to get a job with other stores instead?

2. Mentioning a spouse’s job when it might be relevant to yours

My husband is applying for a position as an engineer within an event space. The job description requires interaction between his potential position and event planners that would be clients of the space. Ordinarily (obviously, perhaps?), engineers don’t have much familiarity with the events industry, but as I am an event planner myself, and even a client of this venue, he has a bit of inside knowledge of the industry and what event planners would be looking for. We both agree that this would be an asset to his candidacy and his position, if he got the job, but neither of us can figure out how to word it. Is it appropriate to include this information in a cover letter? Is there a good way to word it?

Normally I’d say that info about a spouse never belongs in a cover letter (unless it’s “I’m relocating on April 1 because my spouse has accepted a job in your city”), but I could actually see mentioning this. I’d say something like, “Because my wife is an event planner, I know a fair bit about the industry and — unlike many engineers — actually enjoy talking about ___.” (Fill that in with something event-planning-related that’s likely to be relevant to him if he were doing the job — “the relative merits of various caterers,” “floral decor,” or whatever makes sense.) It’s fine if this sounds wry or semi-funny; that’s actually a plus if he can pull that off.

3. Using a reference from a short-term job

I’m starting to look for a new job and have a question about references. The jobs I’m looking at are in the school system, so I want to use a reference from my last job in a similar position at a school in a different district. The problem is that I only worked there for a few months last year. My position wasn’t carried over into the fall school year, even though my supervisors were happy with my work. My supervisor has said she’d be happy to be a reference for me, but is a few months a year ago too short a time, too long ago to work as a good reference? If I don’t use her, I’m limited to either having all my references from my current position, or using references from unrelated jobs or an unpaid practicum that was also a year ago, but lasted for the entire school year.

Yeah, it’s not ideal. I’d want to know why your contract wasn’t renewed (and if you don’t know for sure, you should try to find out) before you decide whether or not to use it.

4. Why are my lazy coworkers still here?

I work in a somewhat small office with six employees and one manager. I have worked here for two year and have survived multiple managers (most of whom have provided special treatment and overlooked things such as other employees’ drug use). Last summer, I was extremely happy to find out that our company was hiring a new manager and after meeting with him it was clear that he does not put up with BS. However, lately he seems to be siding with the people who complain the most. Of the six employees, three continually get away with everything from not showing up for work, lying, not doing their jobs, and causing drama. While I make a point not to go and complain to my boss (for fear of being labeled as a problem child), these three constantly run down to his office and complain about everything. I have had them complain about me creating “tension” in the office and therefore they don’t get their work done. However, when I asked how I caused tension, they said I have been ignoring them and I close my door all the time. I do make a point to close my door when they are standing in the hall talking for over an hour sometimes to focus on my work. I say hello and goodbye every morning and I am polite when I am forced to work with them; yet I do make a point to stay away from them for fear of being affiliated with their lazy work ethic. I cordially explained to the three that I focus better with the door closed and that they are welcome to come in any time, but I made it clear that I was not going to start going out and BSing for over an hour with them to make them feel comfortable. I have never once been reprimanded by my boss for lack of being cordial, mostly because I deal with several supervisors and consultants who all like dealing with me and appreciate my work ethic. I have even been promoted and have joined several big corporate outings.

While I love my actual job and the experience I am getting as well as pay, I can’t stand dealing with the constant complaints and drama these three add. They are so lazy that when one fails to do a job it gets shoved onto me, or when they screw up I get nipped for it and told to watch it better next time. I am constantly having to pick up their slack and the few times I have mentioned it to my boss he defends these people. I am told to work with these people (I have no authority over them) yet when their work is lacking and mistakes happen I get nailed for it. I don’t understand why my boss has not fired them and found other employees and I am starting to doubt that he even cares whether these people do their jobs. When is it time to give up a great job due to horrible coworkers?

Now. And it’s not because of your horrible coworkers, but rather because of your inept managers who have shown they’re not going to do their job and manage these people.

5. How do I stand out when 24 candidates are being interviewed?

I have an interview coming up for a job I really, really want. Like, it’s a perfect fit. I know I am qualified for the job because I got called for an interview! Here’s my concern, they are interviewing 24 people for the position! What are some ways to stick out in the interview (and make sure the interviewing panel remembers me) without any gimmicks? I figure I have nothing to lose because it is going to be a competitive pool, but I don’t want to appear ridiculous.

You stand out by being a highly qualified candidate who has done a ton of preparation for the interview. That’s it — there’s no other way to do it.

Interviewing 24 candidates in a first round is insane, by the way.

6. New manager is asking me to bring in materials from my old job

I am just making a move to a new job with a better salary and a nice position. The thing is that my new manager asked me to bring some work-related materials such as excel sheets and various templates from my previous employer. It’s my first time to switch jobs and I don’t know if this is a normal practice. I don’t want to do this as I perceive this to be completely unethical. On the other hand, the job is well paying and definitely a strong move in my career. How can I handle this situation in a way that doesn’t affect the relationship with my new manager?

Say this: “My agreement with my previous employer prevents me from sharing those materials.” If pushed, repeat it again. If still pushed, say, “I’m uncomfortable being asked to share these materials, when I know my previous employer would have strong objections to me doing it.” And then stand firm.

This response is completely normal, and any manager who won’t accept that is seriously bad news.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. Consultant Liz*

    #6 – Part of the reason your company probably hired you is the knowledge your bring from your previous experience. So rather than flat out refuse why not say, “I don’t have those specific materials as they were the property of my previous employer but I would be happy to share best practices from my experience at my last job and drive the development of these materials for our company.”

    1. perrik*


      My grad school program involved real-world projects (and the headaches of real-world clients). Obviously I cannot share the actual findings and reports from our projects due to client confidentiality, but I can easily discuss how I identified issues, collected & analyzed data, and came to conclusions.

      Anything you developed for your previous employer is their property. You could always hide behind the “I signed a non-disclosure agreement when hired” excuse.

    2. The IT Manager*

      It may be too late, but you can also say that you don’t have those materials any more. In all of my jobs, my work has all been done on my work computer and in several jobs, I did not/could not take it with me to a new job. In others where I did take an archive of my work, I’ve very rarely accessed the files again.

      OTOH it seems to me that in most cases sharing a template (or recreating it) would not be a problem at all. It really depends on the what data (customer info is a huge no-no obviously) and templates they want, and how long it took your old company to create them.

    3. Cathy*

      It depends what they’re asking for, but I’d say it’s very normal to reuse documents and templates you’ve used in previous jobs to accomplish the same task in a new job. A blank performance review form or an Excel sheet for tracking purchase order numbers is not usually proprietary information.

      It’s odd for them to ask you for this before you’ve started, but if they hired you for the express purpose of establishing a process for them that you used in the previous job, that might be why. It’s more normal that you start the new job, realize you need something you used to use, and you end up reconstructing it.

      1. Anonymous*

        Look up Oracle v. Google. Among other claims, one issue of copyright infringement was that a software engineer reused a really simple piece of code at his new employer… to quote:

        Judge: We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Java before this problem. I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?

        Oracle: I want to come back to rangeCheck.

        Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you’re inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it–

  2. fposte*

    On #1–we get into the murky area of private databases again, too. My understanding is that most of them haven’t generally kept records on minors, but that it’s reported that some might include information on those 16 and over given their likelihood of applying for retail jobs.

    Remember, “records sealed” doesn’t mean that nobody can remember it or hold it against you. Your problem isn’t just that you’ll be fired in an instant if somebody finds out you lied–your problem is that if a drawer is short or tags are swapped you will be the person suspected first. And are you sure you weren’t warned away from the store for a certain amount of time as well? I’m a little worried that you might be in breach of a trespass ban here.

    1. Josh S*

      Yup. Exactly this. Just because you were a minor, and your “slate has been wiped clean” doesn’t mean that the issue is completely gone. That’s a legal thing — your slate has been wiped clean as far as the system of justice is concerned.

      The store may keep your theft in their own private records, whether through a 3rd party database or their own internal notes. The offense could potentially still show up in a background check (though it’s unlikely, sometimes it takes a while for an expunged or sealed record to vanish from the background check databases). And someone might just remember you.

      Don’t apply there. Nothing good can come of it.

      1. fposte*

        It’s also worth noting that termination in such cases might preclude you from collecting unemployment.

      2. RaeLyn*

        I did this when I was your age (won’t say how long ago that was) and I did get a job at the store I shoplifted from due to a friend. I was fired less than two hours into my shift. It was humiliating! Don’t force yourself to go through this, find somewhere else to work!!

    2. FiveNine*

      There’s also the little matter of OP#1’s sister, who stole $100 worth from the store and whose age we don’t know. That this person is even applying is … strange. So much wrong here.

  3. Sue D. O'Nym*

    #6 – If you develop Excel macros or complex charts, it may be that your new employer would like something similar. For example, let’s say you previously developed a set of macros to do X, Y, and Z, and your new employer is looking for something to do W, X, and Y. Obviously, you can’t completely re-use everything, but it should be faster to copy what you can from your old tool, and modify it as needed, rather than starting from scratch.

    I try to always keep copies of the Excel projects I’ve created, because I never know if I’ll need a similar function in something new.

    (Granted, there is nothing proprietary or any sensitive information in the tools I’ve created, but if there was, I’d be sure to alter that before using it at a new employer)

  4. Stacey*

    Am I the only one who sees an issue with taking copies of templates/files from previous employers? Even if there is nothing proprietary in them, you created on your previous employer’s time – therefore, taking it with you is stealing from them.

    1. Min*

      I suppose the theory seems to be that if you could recreate it from scratch because it’s simple enough or you have the knowledge to do so, then it’s no different to simply save yourself the time and take it with you. I’m with you, though. I don’t like it one bit.

    2. K*

      I think it depends, probably in part on your industry and its norms. In the legal field, for instance, maintaining confidentiality of client information is obviously extremely important. But nobody would bat an eye at taking non-confidential legal research you did for one client and using it in a brief for another client; in fact, it would be considered wrong not to. You can’t charge someone to recreate work you’ve already done.

      On the other hand, if you were in a situation where the second client was actually in competition with the first, then I see why it would be an issue to use work for the second client or employer that would help them against the first. But not everyone is going to be in that situation.

      1. A teacher*

        +1, in eduction, units I create and teach to my students or curriculum I create for my classroom is “mine” and I have taken that curriculum with me when I’ve moved on. I haven’t left copies of it for anyone in my old district. Same thing with forms and rehab protocols I specifically created for my athletic training room, those went with me when I left. The new person needed to develop their own, we all have the same basic training, it’s figuring out your own system and I am not giving mine to anyone else, but that’s just my two fields of study.

    3. Judy*

      Right. I’ve never joined a company as an engineer that I haven’t had to sign an intellectual property agreement. Everything I create using company resources belongs to the company. I have patents at 2 companies. My name is on there as the inventor, but the patent is owned by the company.

      1. TychaBrahe*

        Because a template is a concept that can be reproduced at will. It’s very different from a part or a process.

        For example, let’s say you have to do payroll as part of your job. You create a spreadsheet where column A is the employee name, column B is the hours worked, column C is the pay per hour. Then column D cells contain “=B1 * C1” which gives you the pay rate times the hours worked. That’s not an original idea. That’s how Excel works.

        Then column E contains a complicated IF statement that calculates the amount of federal tax withheld, based on income ranges laid out in some IRS document. Reproducing that formula would be time consuming, but it’s not a secret process that requires the essential spark of inspiration that differentiates the Kelly Johnson from the rest of the human population.

        75% of my macros I could reproduce in 30 minutes. The part I couldn’t reproduce I “stole” off the Internet, on Excel advice Web sites. I studied engineering in college. I changed my major when it became clear to me that while I was a good tech, I didn’t have the creative spark necessary to be a good engineer. What I do isn’t engineering.

        Writing a Word mail merge to send people a billing statement is very different from writing a novel. Copying a novel is plagiarizing. Copying a mail merge template doesn’t come close.

    4. Jamie*

      Definitely not the only one – I don’t like this at all and I wouldn’t work for anyone who asked this of me.

      If we’re talking about templates – I can recreate templates with my knowledge of what’s required … that’s a reason to hire someone. But I’ve written over 19 hundred pages of documentation, processes, and procedures over the last couple of years and I wouldn’t bring one page of them to a new employer. It feels like theft to me.

    5. Wubbie*

      I think it really depends on what the file is. I’m an event planner and I’ve developed some pretty customized MS Access databases for different events we’ve done to handle mailings, RSVPs, name badges, seating and reporting. I see absolutely no problem with using those databases after deleting any of the data stored. I could absolutely reproduce each and every one of them, but it would be hours of work on each database to do so.

      Perhaps it makes a difference that I’m in the higher ed development (fundraising) industry rather than the corporate world, so it’s not like this is some special process that gives my old firm some competitive advantage, simply a matter of convenience for me.

  5. AG*

    1) Why in the world would you apply there? Somehow this is going to catch up with you – either in the application stage or during employment if you are hired there. Not only that, wouldn’t it make you uncomfortable to work there?

    4) Your boss is awful and so are your coworkers. I feel for you!

    I think a lot of people don’t realize how horrible a bad boss can make an otherwise great job. And you know what? It’s *okay* to not like your job because you don’t have a good boss. It doesn’t make you a bad employee, or impatient, or unrealistic. That’s just the way it is.

    1. Forrest*

      For real. I once stoled from a pet shop when I was 6. To this day, I could never step foot in there again from the embrassment.

      I personally won’t apply there but may be this person has no other option?

    2. Chris80*

      I just don’t understand why you’d apply at a store you stole from, especially if only two years have passed since then! Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that you burned your bridges and move on. This is one of those times.

  6. Neeta*

    RE: #5 Why is it insane to interview 24 people for a job? Is it too many, too few?

    I did some interviews for a training my company was organizing, and I alone must’ve interviewed around 24 people, and there were 6 other colleagues who each interviewed around the same number.
    Granted, we had some 15 places to fill not 1, but this seemed to be the norm.

    1. fposte*

      Way too many. Obviously there are different conventions in different places (I’m remembering you as non-US–Romania, maybe?), but that would be a heck of a lot of time and investment on both sides for a 1 in 24 chance of getting the job, unless you’re talking some kind of group interview.

      I would generally expect to be able to identify five or so front-runners worth interviewing from intervening steps, whether it be simply the submitted materials or with an intervening phone interview; the record shows that we’ve had excellent results with that, so I don’t see where we’d gain from interviewing more. I can’t imagine how long it would take to hire if I had to schedule and interview 24 candidates!

      1. Neeta*

        Yes I am from Romania.

        The problem I see from your approach is that in my IT, you can have a really well constructed resume, but flunk the technical interview. I recently saw this happen: quite a few looked VERY good on paper, but were totally off on the technical side.
        The initial round is done by HR, who’re obviously not technical people, but almost everyone “passes” this round…

        1. fposte*

          I’m definitely not hiring for IT, and we’ve got a pretty good correlation between applications and actual skills, so that simplifies our challenge. I’ll be interested to hear from people who hire in this area with fewer interviews, though–maybe they use other methods to screen? I’d be pretty surprised at a US company doing 24 interviews for any position, IT or no.

          1. Neeta*

            To be fair, I don’t know how interviews go when it comes to single positions advertised. I’m a “newbie” interviewer and so far have only interviewed when we were looking to hire in bulk (eg: training, company expanding…).

            I’d have a few incredibly intense weeks, but also satisfying when you finally find someone who’s really good.

          2. Jamie*

            As Neeta mentioned below it’s common in ‘bulk’ hiring (think call center tech support in the IT realm), but in my world of IT in a non-IT industry I can’t even imagine getting 24 applicants that meet the requirements on paper. Because once you start getting into specific skill combos needed you aren’t talking about a massive pool.

            When I was hired almost 5 years ago there were 4 applicants for my position (including me.) They were also hiring for a receptionist and AR clerk at that time. Each of those positions were well over 200+ resumes before they had to pull the ad because they had all the applicants they could handle.

            IT is a more segmented field than say, accounting, because you can have the best admin in the world but if they are Windows and you need Linux they are about as helpful as a resume from an excellent florist. May be good at what you do, but not what we need.

    2. Marmite*

      I’m job hunting in the UK and have been to a couple of interviews where 10-20 candidates have been invited to an “assessment day” to fill 1 or 2 vacancies. The day has usually involved a skills test (for my line of work that’s generally a writing/editing test, occasionally numeracy and data handling as well), some sort of group task, giving a presentation and a formal interview. This obviously takes the full day involvement of several members of staff from the hiring organization, but the argument given has always been that this is how they find the best fit.

      It’s time consuming from the applicants’ point of view too, but it has a couple of advantages. One being that you get to meet and talk with a lot of current employees and get more of a feel for the culture of the place than you’d get in just a formal interview. The second advantage being that you usually get feedback on how you’ve performed in the tasks and interview.

      This tends to be for jobs where experience/qualifications are required but cultural fit is deemed as more important than most qualified/experienced person.

  7. Construction HR*

    In what universe is it a good idea to apply to work at a store you stole from two years ago?

    Just curious.

    1. Chloe*

      +1. I would feel ashamed every time I stepped in the door, no matter how young and foolish I was when I stole and how much more mature I felt I was now. And what if management figured it out? Would not want to have that conversation. I personally would take the fact I have a clean record as enough of a win and not push my luck by expecting the shop to actually employ me as well.

  8. Allie*

    I’m the writer for #3. My contract wasn’t renewed for two reasons.

    1) It was a position created mainly to work with two specific students. One dropped out and one graduated at the end of the year.

    2) Funding cuts. They didn’t have it in the budget to bring me back when they already had the minimum number of resource workers (who had all been there longer than me).

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Sounds to me like the job could be described as finite, or similar to a special project. It’s conditions beyond your control that keep you from staying on. Can you show how it added to your work experience?

    2. Anonymous*

      I had a feeling this was the case when I read that the position wasn’t carried over (versus not renewed). I wish more people understood that schools are having to cut their budgets so drastically that sometimes entire departments are not invited back for the next year. I took a kindergarten parapro position in January of last year, and in April they announced that all parapros other than special ed were being cut at the end of the year. It happens.

      You can bet I list that on my resume, though, and since I’ve had several jobs in the district, I just list them under the blanket of “_____ County School System” the way I’d list various positions held within the same company. If you apply for other school jobs, they know what’s going on with budgets lately and won’t automatically think “There must be something more to this story! They probably hated her!”

      1. A teacher*

        Super common in schools, I was a mid-year hired and let go for being non-tenured (all first year staff was cut). I used my then principal and was actually rehired by the district at a different high school. If you were a TA that was cut for reasons beyond your control, use your principal, cooperating teacher(s), etc…in education it would be kind of weird not to.

    3. dk*

      You can definitely list it on your resume and use your supervisor as a reference. There are so many short-term positions (long term sub, supplemental, grant-funded, etc) in education that such positions were common before funding cuts. Nowadays, it seems like 9/10 applicants can unfortunately answer “Why did you leave your former employment?” with “My position was eliminated due to budget constraints.”

      You may want to be prepared to answer some questions about why your one student dropped out. Of course, I don’t know what the scope of your position was but some schools are hardcore in terms of everyone working towards lowering the dropout rate.

  9. Not So NewReader*

    For OP 1, Do not do this… do not… retail is an incredibly stressful environment with an incredibly high turn over. You wear the wrong color socks to work and your job is over. Skip the part about no one told you what color socks to wear.
    Why, oh, why would you put yourself through this?

    OP 6, I agree with the others who say “whoops, I no longer have those materials…” You can’t get blood from a stone. However, you CAN be very positive and upbeat: “I would be very happy to design/create something that would be unique for this company. My previous employer was happy with my work, and I think you will be happy with what I develop for you.”
    At some point these folks should be able to figure out that you will not be bringing your work for them to your next employer. You will grant them the same courtesy that you are giving your last employer.

    OP #4. Maybe it is just me. But do you have any kind of a working relationship with these three people at all? It sounds to me like you cannot go to them and talk over errors/problems. When you find an error/problem who do you go to first? Your boss or your co-worker?
    Perhaps your work place is different- but many places I have worked it was expected that I would go to my coworker first to look for remedies. Going directly to the boss was the same as throwing my coworker under the bus and, yeah, it could get hostile very FAST.
    Regardless, it sounds like you have lost respect for these three and you will soon lose respect for you boss, if you haven’t already. This means one thing- the job is over. Probably not a bad thing for you, OP. The last time I had a high turn over in bosses it was because the upper level people were involved in corruption. I had one nice boss that told me point blank to get out. And I didn’t. That was a huge mistake.

    Personally, I think it is critical to have some type of a working relationship with everyone that I have direct contact with. Even if this means keeping lines of communication open with people who are (IMHO) not terribly professional. You see what happens if we we don’t do this- three or more gang up on the us.
    For the moment, try to open your door a little more often and try to say more than “good morning” and “good night.” Maybe that will quiet things down while you look for new work.

    1. Tmm*

      Absolutely agree with you about #4. We have this situation at work right now and when this many people can’t get along and resolve issues on their own, it’s not efficient nor effective.
      The OP may find she’s the one who gets a push out of the company even if she’s in the ‘right’ because she’s the odd person out. I would suggest she’s causing herself and the company a lot of stress and its definitely time to get out of that toxic atmosphere.

      1. Marie*

        Definitely get out, #4. I was also in a similar situation a while back, and it went from bad to worse; what happened to me is exactly what Tmm pointed out: I was the one who was ultimately terminated. As much as you might like your job, working for an ineffective manager is awful and likely WILL NOT IMPROVE, no matter how much you do on your end to try to make things better. When you’re embroiled in a toxic environment, you don’t always realize how much it’s wearing you down until you are finally out of that situation. My new position is fantastic, and I certainly wish I had left my old position much sooner, on my own timeline. Start looking and good luck! You’ll be so much happier somewhere else!

  10. EngineerGirl*

    #4 It is always time to leave when you are asked to compensate for bad management. And not holding these employees accountable for their work is bad management.
    I also see an attempt at workplace bullying here. Bizarre complaints that are non-specific are almost an attempt to control. “Causing tension” because you closed your door? Yah, that’s bullying and attempt to get the focus off of their poor performance and on to you.
    Leave quickly before your reputation goes.

  11. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    OP #2, I completely agree with Alison, and for the record, I really don’t think 6 days is much to worry about. It’ll be important to bring up and make sure you guys can work it out, but I would really only start being fretful if you were planning on taking, like, 2 weeks, after only being on the job for two weeks.

    Definitely mention that it’s because you’re running in a marathon, though. I could totally see that being something that the company values; like, they might end an email to the staff to cheer you on, or something. It’s a positive thing, and I think it helps to frame it that way.

  12. EJ*

    #5 – if youre looking to stand out, try not to use ‘like’ as part of any of your interview responses. The fact that you wrote it as art of a sentence fragment in your OP suggests it might be a big part of your vocab – so just beware :)

    1. Another Emily*

      Using “like” for emphasis is a very common habit among millennials (including me). If you’re competing against other millennials and you manage to expunge “like” from your vocabulary for a day you really could stand out.

      If you decide to go this route don’t worry about avoiding the word 100% of the time. Just be aware of it and tone it down a little, if you think this will help you. Some interviewers might not notice it at all and some might find the usage overly casual.

      I think it’s more important to take Allison’s advice and be very prepared for the interview. Don’t let any other efforts take your focus off that. :)

  13. Anonymous Accountant*

    #1- If offered the job, please turn it down. Or can you cancel the interview? Is it an “open interview” where the store advertised “Open Interviews 2-4 on Thursday”?

    Regardless, please turn it down and consider employment elsewhere.

  14. some1*

    #1: I worked in retail for about 5 years. I agree that not only should you not apply at the store where you stole from, you probably shouldn’t apply anywhere in the same mall/shopping center if the store is in one. Retail is an extremely small world and people talk.

  15. Me*

    AAM, interviewing 24 candidates is standard for many entry level positions in finance, accounting, and management, especially for rotational programs and some fellowships in liberal arts.

    Usually candidates are interviewed in a first round on campus then are interviewed at the company in a networking event type of setting. If this is the case, OP make sure you research the company, wear a clean and well fitting suit because appearance matters even more when you are competing with that many people, most importantly, be yourself and stay relaxed. Good luck!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s still insane. I can’t imagine being able to justify using staff time like that, rather than culling the pool ahead of time through phone interviews, etc.

      1. Me*

        I could see this. However, companies do this to find the best fit for their rotational programs and entry level jobs because they invest so much money in it.
        I got my first job like this and helped recruit future program associates. The process is fun when you are young and fresh out of college. It was a great time to network with executives who also interviewed the candidates, assess candidate from your own school, and gain recruiting experience. At the company I worked at as it is in my current company, the recruiting process for rotational programs was somewhat of a tradition because the candidates would become some of the best and most dedicated employees and most likely managers one day.
        Note: This is great for entry level positions not to hire more experienced candidates.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, but companies invest lots of money in all levels of hire and there are more effective ways to find the best candidates than to talk to all of them in person! (Now, if they’re doing it for other reasons, that’s different.)

          1. Me*

            Like I said, it’s a blast, execs and the business world love this practice, and it gives everyone involved in handpicking the candidates a sense of pride and contribution.

      1. Me*

        My point is if an organization can fit it in their budget and time to have something like this then there is nothing wrong with it.
        Huge companies, small companies, engineering firms, accounting firms, banks, you name, it follow this practice because they get good results. There are a lot of young people/skilled laborers they have to compete for and this is a great way to make sure the best fit is hired. Your disagreement is your own opinion but involving current employees in the recruitment process is great for moral which sometimes may cost the company a little extra.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Those are 2 different things though. You can involve employees in the hiring process while still only interviewing a reasonable number of candidates.

          1. Me*

            Oh I’m not arguing one way is better. I’m saying there are other effecitve ways of hiring and there is nothing wrong with either way. I just wanted you to be aware that it is not that uncommon for companies to interview that many people.

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