mini answer Monday — 6 short answers to 6 short questions

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

1. HR called to tell me they “couldn’t afford me,” then said that they could

I am currently employed in a managerial position at a major corporation. It is a good job but I feel like I have outgrown it in the 3 years I have been there. Recently a contact reached out and told me about a great position at a smaller, action-oriented company. I applied and had one phone interview with the hiring manager and a second interview with the other managers in the department. Both went very well and I am scheduled for an on-site interview next week. Up until last Wednesday, I was very excited about the opportunity.

Last week, after my second interview, I received a call from a member of the HR department. Before he even introduced himself, he bluntly asked what salary I currently made and what I was expecting. I gave my current salary and before I could get another word out, he stated, “We can’t afford you.” He then gave me a maximum salary of only about 70% of what I currently make. He said he thinks that the hiring manager was only interviewing me to please my influential contact and that even though they can’t afford me, he would be happy to give my resume to another larger company because “they would go nuts” for someone with my qualifications. I politely asserted my interest in this job and expressed my confusion because the hiring manager and I had discussed my salary requirements previously. He stated he would follow up with the hiring manager and would let me know ASAP if they could not afford me as he suspected.

A couple hours later, he calls me back and “good news,” they can afford me after all. But now I have this sinking feeling in my gut that by pursuing this opportunity I am stepping into a position with bad management. Am I being too sensitive to what seemed to be a very rude and confusing discussion? I had good experiences with everyone else in the company, but I can’t shake this interaction. Can you give me some perspective?

Ask your interviewer about it when you meet. Say, “Bob called me last week to tell me that he was sure you couldn’t afford me, but then called back a few hours later to say that it wouldn’t be a problem. I was confused by that, and wonder if you can shed any light on it for me.”

2. When do I tell an employer about my scheduling needs?

I’m in the process of looking for a new job and I’ve run into a bit of an issue. My young son is disabled and requires a lot of doctor and therapy appointments. My husband and I split this up as much as possible and always try to keep our time scheduled in the most effective way, but it is still not unusual to have to leave work for 2-3 appointments a month. It is very important that I work for an employer with flexible time-off and/or flexible scheduling. But it is also very important for me to be in a company with a culture accepting of my sometimes-crazy schedule.

I don’t want to set myself up for failure or find myself in a situation where – while everything looked great on paper – my coworker/boss is annoyed by my situation. What is the best way to deal with this? Is it appropriate to bring up my family situation in the later stages of the interview process? Is there a way to find out about this aspect of the company culture without scaring potential bosses away thinking I’m going to be chronically absent?

Wait until you have an offer, because at that point they’ve already decided that they want you (whereas if you bring it up earlier, you risk them being scared off). Talk in concrete specifics about the situation’s impact on your schedule (for instance, an average of X appointments per month, two of them without much notice, most requiring you to leave two hours early — or whatever it is). Then pay attention to the reaction. Do they sound hesitant? Worried? Annoyed? Supportive? They way they respond, as well as what they actually say, will tell you a lot.

3. Should I tell on my boss for working a side job from our office?

I noticed that my boss, the CFO, always has a laptop on his desk in addition to his regular desktop computer. I wondered why he needed two computers but didn’t think much of it. Today I found out that he has a second job and that’s what the laptop is for. When I walk by his office he is more often working on the laptop than on his desktop. The worst part is that we are a struggling non-profit and we desperately need a competent CFO whose only focus is on fixing the financial problems in our organization. He has only been with the company for four months and I haven’t been impressed by his management style, nor have I seen any changes or improvements. There are hundreds of people employed by this agency and we run important programs that the community depends on. I work for a nonprofit because I care about our mission and I’m appalled that someone who is so high up in the company would take advantage like this.

The CFO told another employee about his second job, and that employee told me. Should I tell the Interim Executive Director about this? We get along great and I don’t think there would be any backlash on me for telling, but I’m just not sure if its my place to do so. If you would tell, how would you approach that conversation?

Yes, because in a nonprofit, you have a responsibility to the issue the organization works on or the people it serves to speak up in this kind of situation. Now, it’s possible that the organization’s management knows about what your boss is doing and has given permission for it — but it’s also possible that they have no idea. I’d say something like this: “I feel awkward mentioning this, but I feel more uncomfortable not saying anything. I realize this might be something you know about and are okay with, but in case you don’t, I felt obligated to talk to you about it.”

4. Denying an employee’s training request

An employee has requested to attend an out-of-town training that I feel is beyond his scope of work, but I don’t want to discourage him by using this as an excuse in denying his request. This person has been a problem employee for years and will create a big incident if I refuse his request. I would appreciate your advice on how to deny this request gracefully.

Well, the bigger problem is why you’ve allowed a problem employee to stay a problem employee for years. You should be managing him out of the organization, not allowing him to stay on your staff and make you shy away from making responsible decisions.

As for the training, tell him that it’s not in the scope of his work, that you don’t have an unlimited budget for trainings, and that you need to save it for XYZ. And if he creates a “big incident,” use that as the starting point in tackling that problem — make your standards of behave clear, require him to adhere to them, and replace him if he doesn’t.

5. Salary negotiations when your salary is public record

I work for state government (Minnesota), and I am beginning to look for a new job. As I think about and plan salary negotiations, I have been reading your instructions to avoid telling prospective employers your current salary. The problem is that the state of Minnesota salaries for individual employees are very easily googleable, especially if you’re looking at my work history. How, if at all should I address this in salary negotiations? I have been saying “Because my salary is a public record, I’ll just tell you that the dollar amount is $X, not including any benefits or retirement.” Or should I just ignore it and let them find it if they know to find it?

There’s no reason to bring it up proactively. If they ask what you’ve been making, you can say, “As a state employee, my salary is public record, but I’m seeking a salary of $X, because of ____ (fill in with why you deserve $X).”

6. Including 360 comments on your resume

My current employer, like many others, has a 360 review process that’s performed annually for employees and their managers to get anonymous performance feedback from others in the organization they work with. What are your thoughts on including those comments on a resume? I’m on the fence because on one hand, the testimonials are a pretty strong endorsement which the recruiter would not have access to. On the other hand 1) it adds to the length of the resume and 2) the hiring company may have a similar program and consider it a violation of trust to turn around and use that data to get a new job.

I dont think it’s a violation of trust, but I don’t think it’ll be particularly effectively, because anonymous feedback rarely is — you need to know the source to know how much weight to put on it. If there’s something in there that’s particularly strong (like, really strong, not just pretty good), or if there’s a particularly theme to the commentary, you could briefly mention that in your cover letter, but I wouldn’t put it on a resume.

{ 78 comments… read them below }

  1. cncx*

    One thing number 2 needs to look out for if she gets the job and if her boss is cool with it, is to see what other employees get in terms of flextime as well. I would ask after the offer if others do flextime in the office or if she would be the only one. This happened to a friend of mine where management was on board but the colleagues resented it. It was a situation where my friend was allowed to get time off for sick kid but a colleague wasn’t allowed to do the same. The manager had various reasons, but the colleague in question had an ass-in-chair job (receptionist) and her taking two to six hours off a month caused coverage issues, whereas my friend was a senior admin pushing middle management and her projects were such that she could work from home and often did. It turned into a big tattle fest drama where my friend got backstabbed and accused of not doing stuff, and the end result was the manager, rather than addressing the other issues in the team (like actually dealing with problem employees or explaining why situations were different), rescinded the flextime for everyone, including my friend, and she had to change jobs.

    1. Seal*

      That’s just plain bad management and the type of thing that drives me nuts. Why do people assume that everyone is entitled to the exact same benefits, perks and/or duties regardless of their actual job? Too many people assume that if someone is using flextime or working at home they are goofing off or getting preferential treatment. Not all jobs are the same – job descriptions exist for a reason.

      1. cncx*

        exactly. i had to sit there while this girl- the receptionist- moaned and complained that she didn’t get to do home office like our other colleague. I was like, “I’m not knocking your job honey, but reception means receive guests and cover the phones. How can you do that home office?” How do people not get that?

      2. Gobbledigook*

        I have a co-worker who for two years has been complaining about my boss letting me leave 2-3 minutes (literally) early to catch a bus that if missed would mean waiting outside an extra half hour. I also come in early every day to make up the extra few minutes. My boss has no issue but this lady brought this up my very first week of week of work. She thinks she is being completely reasonable having issues with this. It is beyond comprehension that this is still an issue two years later.

        1. Rana*

          Have you asked her, point blank, why she cares so much? It might be interesting to know.

          1. KellyK*

            Yeah, I would really want to know too. I’m thinking, “I’m confused why you’re so concerned about my schedule. Is there something that comes up in that last couple minutes that’s causing a problem for you when I’m not there?” would be a good way to phrase it.

            1. Gobbledigook*

              I’m going to try and relay facts as objectively as possible. This topic tends to make my blood boil :-)
              1) My first week my boss agree if i come in a few minutes early, I can leave 2-3 min early to catch my bus because it’s every 30 minutes.
              2) Boss does not tell coworker “Jane”
              3) Co-worker assumes I am leaving early without asking boss and gets very upset
              4)co-worker yells at me my first week (also my first week in the city) while boss is not around and then yells again at team meeting where it eventually surfaces that the reason this is such a big deal to her is because of stuff that happened several months ago wherein she felt wronged by my boss and like she was treated unfairly for a million different reasons. She berates me and says I am getting special treatment etc. and if I am allowed to leave early “it will always be a sore point”

              Now: we do work in a customer services environment which us why from that very first meeting I always volunteered if we have any last-minute walk-ins that I would stay late for them. I have done so. You would think that a) because it’s literally 2 minutes b) I have tried to be as flexible as possible with it, she would not have an issue. But nope, two years later and it was brought up at our meeting in the same way as it was my first week. It’s not even that we have last minute walk-ins often, it’s her thinking “well if we did, I’d be stuck here” which isn’t true.

              I’ve auditioned for university and I’m hopefully getting out of here soon. My boss completely agrees that the bus should not be an issue. I think my boss thinks she does not have grounds to actually fire her even though she is a nightmare to deal with.

              Alright, that wasn’t a completely calm account but that genuinely what happened. I don’t know what else to do with this lady besides put my headphones on and be as productive and good at my job as possible. And that’s what I’m doing :-)

              1. Gobbledigook*

                oh, my mistake in the haze of my first week was assuming my boss had already told her about the bus agreement and I didn’t have to. I should have done that but I was new and disoriented and thinking I was dealing with a reasonable person lol

              2. KellyK*

                Wow. Yeah, it sounds like you’re doing all you reasonably can. That and take comfort in the fact that you won’t have to work with her forever.

                1. Gobbledigook*

                  Thanks :-) I wish I’d been reading AAM back in that first week of work, it would have really helped. I’ve tried every different approach I can to dealing with her behaviour and have come to the conclusion that her unhappiness with her job just comes out in all these different ways and gets misdirected at people. Last week when she brought it up again at the meeting I actually discussed it for a few minutes and actually said “I’m done with this” and left the meeting. I apologized to my other co-worker who was there and to my boss because walking out is something I would never do normally or ever again. But I was not reprimanded for it at all, so that speaks volumes.

                2. fposte*

                  It sounds like your manager has really dropped the ball on this, too. This is a done deal–Co-worker’s feelings on the issue went on the record two years ago and the manager approved the situation anyway, so unless there’s been some substantial change to the situation, the discussion should have ended two years ago, and the manager should have made it clear to her that it had to. Co-worker is free not to like it but she has to not like it on her own time.

                3. Gobbledigook*

                  I’m not sure if this will post below but this is in response to fposte: Totally agree. About a year into my job this c0-worker actually apologized for how she had treated me saying that it had really been about her issues with my boss. Despite this apology, she continued to have an issue with it and then brought it up again at last week’s meeting in the context of using up extra minutes we have accumulated here and there by taking a longer lunch, leaving a bit early etc: “Well I’m screwed either way no matter what because Jane (me) leaves early so I can’t ever leave early” Again. Not true. I have honoured my flexibility with staying late when we have walk-ins. Beyond that, no one’s asking her to stay late but she lacks self-awareness and sees herself as a victim and doesn’t even see that she is choosing to stay late. My manager even said that she often stays late and does not mind handling walk-ins. There should be no issues. In her mind, her issue with this is totally reasonable and she even asked me “If it were you and i was leaving late every day, how would you feel?” Can you believe that?! I replied with: “UI honestly would not have cared as long as you were flexible about it on days we have walk-ins. Which I have been as promised”. There’s just no point in talking about it with her anymore. I was just got so frustrated and actually said “This is ridiculous. I am done with this.” picked up my book and walked out. Something I normally would never, ever do. But I’d just had it.

                4. Gobbledigook*

                  I meant to add that my boss does avoid confrontation a lot which is not good, you are right. This does fall on her as well. I’m just glad I might be getting out of here soon :-)

                5. Gobbledigook*

                  Happy to report that I was accepted into my school program in another province close to my family and friends so I only have a few more months of dealing with this crazy lady!!! Also I got engaged!! This all happened between Friday and yesterday lol :-D

  2. Sharon*

    Re #4: maybe the problem employee wants the training so that he qualifies for a different job…. you know, a way to move on from a position he’s doing poorly at. It’s the OP’s prerogative if he doesn’t want to finance that, but it might be a nice way to get rid of the worker, too.

    I don’t consider myself a problem worker, I have high work ethic and do my best all the time. But in my 20 year career I’ve always felt stuck and pigeonholed by employers who refused to offer me any training for career growth. The absolute worst was one dept head, my supervisor’s boss at the time, who actually talked himself out of allowing me to attend a training class. I proposed a class (that was related to my job) to my supervisor and he took it to his boss for approval. The dept head did this kind of verbal dialog with himself, in my supervisor’s presence (who then told me about it):

    Oh, that’s a great idea for Sharon to attend that class. You know, it’s probably a good idea for everybody to take that particular class. But I don’t have the budget for everybody to take it. I can’t allow Sharon to take it because then everybody will want to and we can’t afford it. Sorry, no, I can’t approve of it.

    1. AB*

      Well, I can see why the dept head saw a potential problem with letting you go to a course when the budget wouldn’t allow others to take it as well. I’ve seen morale issues develop exact under these circumstances: Employee A asks for a course and is allowed to go; Employee B (with same role) then asks for the same course in the next quarter, and is told no because there is no budget.

      The best solution here is to provide great transparency about approval of training requests, and use fair, objective criteria to make the decisions so there is no resentment or impression of favoritism.

    2. PEBCAK*

      Training for a new job (as opposed to your current position) is not exactly “training”, in how the IRS treats it for tax purposes and other things. A manager should never give a quick yes to that sort of request.

    3. perrik*

      Why wait for the reluctant employer? Yes, it can be very expensive and we’d all rather have the company pony up the money. And yes, it’s short-sighted to deny training to employees. If they’re not going to, and you feel that you’ll be stalled in your career path without it, consider it a necessary personal career expense. Besides, many employers attach a string to their training dollars – leave within X months of completing the training, and you’ll have to pay them back for training (really icky companies don’t even pro-rate it – leave after 50 weeks and you’ll still owe 100%). I’d rather handle it myself so I’m free to take what I want and leave when I want.

      U.S. citizens who take relevant classes at a qualifying post-secondary institution can take a Lifelong Learning credit on their taxes for “courses to acquire or improve job skills”. It’s not a huge amount, but every little bit helps.

      And hey, Coursera!

  3. Currently Negotiating*

    Hi – I hit a place over the weekend where I’m going to have to negotiate salary tomorrow. Anyone have thoughts on if it is better to do this via email in writing or on the phone? If it matters I’m proposing changes to their offer on a couple of different fronts (salary, relocation package, vacation days) and don’t need them to accept all three but would need 2 of the 3 to take the job. They know I currently make more than their offer (but it is a switch to a more interesting but lower paying field and I’m willing to accept some reduction in pay) Thanks!

    1. Liza*

      Currently Negotiating, that sounds just complicated enough to be something that’s best done by email, where you can lay it out clearly (and concisely!) all at once.

  4. EngineerGirl*

    #1 once again, an out of control HR person messes up the company. My concern is that as a small company this person would have greater influence than they normally would. Will they cause problems in negotiations? What about future pay raises? There are some HR people that think that because they work for the CEO that they are the CEO.

    Definitely raise the issue with the hiring manager. At a minimum the HR person was unprofessional and should be counciled.

    1. Healthcare HR*

      I don’t know if it’s necessary to state, “once again, an out of control HR person messes up the company”. There is a bias in that response that is not helpful to the situation.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        Is it biased if it is based on fact? I’ve seen out of control HR people far too often. In some cases it led to the company breaking the law. If there had been one incident it would be ignored. But there were many.

        Good HR people need to raise the standard and hold bad ones accountable by calling out bad behavior. But it almost is at the level of the blue wall you see in some police departments – where the unethical cop is protected because admission that someone corrupt is on the force is seen as a sign of weakness. It has the opposite effect, as the police force is no longer trusted or respected because they can’t admit there was a mistake. That’s what creates the “evil HR person” situation.

        1. CubsFan!*

          Gotta agree with EngineerGirl. I’ve worked for four different companies over the course of a thirty-two year career, and each HR department was worse than the one before it. Most of the time they understood labor laws and regulations, and were generally okay at basic paperwork, but they had zero understanding of what it actually took to do a job they were hiring for; they tended to rubber-stamp job descriptions, without checking to make sure what they were asking for was necessary or relevant to the job at hand. Half the time I felt like I had to manage HR, not the guys who I supervised.

        2. Mimi*

          It’s not based on fact, though: it’s based on your opinion. You haven’t personally interacted with every existing HR person.

          1. EngineerGirl*

            I have interacted with several, and on several occasions their insistence on their “rules” end up with legal violations.

            It is very clear in the instance above that the HR person was unprofessional. The are trying to woo an already employed person to their company. The demanding arrogance is not how you woo someone with an in-demand skill set.

    2. Anonymous*

      I agree. this person may be nixing raises when OP would deserve them and her manager may have already assumed she would get, but this HR person may end up making OP leave after a few fumbles of stupidity assuming just cause they are a startup that all job hires and raises are not going to happen. Startups do not equal cheaping out on talent. They mean deciding which positions they are willing to pay more for and scrimp on others.

      1. Lisa*

        OP should def tell her contact, that this HR person makes her question the financially stability and overall growth (raises, prof growth, ladders) that the contact has been telling her to persuade her to come to their org.

    3. Joey*

      This is what most people do with regards to HR- jump to negative conclusions without knowing enough info to make a fair assessment. For all we know the op was asking for more than the max salary or more than has ever been approved. The point is we have no idea why the HR person initially nixed the requested salary. Although I agree the responses weren’t ideal I think its overboard to say he was out of control.

      1. danr*

        But why would HR insert itself into the discussions now, and directly with the OP? Shouldn’t that either wait for the offer level, or be an internal discussion with the hiring manager?

        1. Joey*

          We don’t know, but if I had to guess it would be because the hiring manager was ready to hire her,but never actually talked to her about salary. Unfortunately that’s super common.

      2. FiveNine*

        But the HR manager did more than nix the salary request. The HR manager also basically (1) bad-mouthed the hiring manager, saying the hiring manager was only interviewing OP to please an influential contact and (2) pushed OP right into the arms of another company, going so far as to offer to send OP’s resume to that larger company instead.

        There’s an issue here. Either the HR manager is way out of line — and I think out of line is a fair characterization here — or the hiring manager is so inept that he/she really did interview OP to curry favor with an influential contact with no intention of offering the job even after discussing salary with OP and left it 100 percent to the HR manager to be the bad guy here. Except the way this has been handled isn’t exactly going to impress that influential contact that supposedly is the only reason the hiring manger is going to the trouble to fake all this interest in OP for, so that doesn’t really make sense. It’s much more likely an issue on the HR manager’s end.

    4. Toni Stark ` Stark Enterprise*

      Maybe the HR person just couldn’t stomach the fact that OP would be earning more than him/her and tried to get in the way. Never know what peoples motives truly are.

      1. Original Poster*

        Thanks everybody for the feedback on #1. I feel much more comfortable bringing this up with the hiring manager this week. I will let you know the results.

  5. Ash*

    Alison as always hits the nail on the head but I just have to make one small comment: “Googleable”? Seriously?

        1. Melissa*

          People say they “googled” something rather than “searched” for something online all the time now. I don’t see how “googleable” is any worse, at least in an informal context such as this website.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit*

              Yes, but those are examples of people mixing up words or letters. (Actually, I don’t know what you mean by pacific… I’ve never heard anyone use that word, other than describing the ocean. There are plenty of other meanings of “pacific” but they aren’t in common usage.)

              “Googleable” is just a neologism or (genericized trademark) – like aspirin, kleenex, zipper, etc.

              1. Apostrophina*

                I think they mean “pacific” as opposed to “specific.” One of my long-ago coworkers not only did that constantly, but could apparently not hear himself omitting the S. Drove me bonkers.

      1. RG*

        I doubt Google really likes “googleable” either. Both words puts their trademark at issue – just ask Xerox and Rollerblade.

        1. fposte*

          That’s a fascinating link, Lisa–I hadn’t heard about this. Looks like they’re actually okay with the genericization in “googleable”–they just don’t like the failure implication!

        2. Julie*

          My mom used to work at Xerox, and no one was allowed to use “Xerox” as a verb. They were very strict about it.

  6. Liz in a Library*

    Just a thought on #3…do make sure that the person you heard this from is a reliable source. It’s better to be extra careful whenever relating anything you don’t have firsthand knowledge of.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I heard of this happening in a previous job with a newly appointed senior Director. A lot of companies have a clause in employment contracts saying something like “The employee can take on additional employment, subject to approval from their Line Manager and if this does not interfere with their current role”.

      In the case of the Director above, it was one of those “Here today. Gone tomorrow” getting the boot situations.

  7. Em*

    #2 – When I started working at my current company 3 years ago, I was in a very similar situation. When interviewing, I tried to get some information about general flexibility of the workplace during my interviews, but I didn’t reveal why it mattered. The questions I asked were pretty non-specific: How flexible is the start time/end time, How are outside appointments typically handled, etc. Once I started, I let my boss know that I would like to accompany my son a weekly appointment, which would mean I would be leaving the office at X, and that I would make up the hours missed through the rest of the week (I began as a contractor for the first three months). He was perfectly cool with it, which is what I had expected after asking several people my general flexibility questions. Good luck!

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      I think Alison is right and that waiting until you start could get you in trouble. It might work out, as it did for you (Em), but it might not, even if you feel like you’ve talked about flexible schedules and you think you’re on the same page. Different people have different ideas about what constitutes a flexible schedule. I know this from experience, having interviewed a candidate whom I really liked, but who wanted to be guaranteed a certain number of days per week that she could leave by a certain time. I defined “flexible schedule” as “team members trade off who has to work late,” and what was in her mind was “I get these days where I don’t have to be in the office after X hour, and I can work late other nights.” (No, it’s not that I love face time — it’s that my company’s process is set up such that certain tasks require a physical presence in the office, and sometimes client demands require that those tasks be performed well into the evening. God, I can’t wait until the system is set up so that these things can be done remotely.)

      Anyway, this was a deal breaker because if she wanted the same three days each week, that meant I was going to have to cover any time the work ran over on one of those three days — and one of the days was one that typically involves a lot of client requests. We pulled the offer, but if she had waited to tell me until her first day, I would have said, “Oh HELL no, you need to make other arrangements.”

      1. KellyK*

        Yeah, I agree. If it’s something that’s a deal-breaker for you, you need to mention it before you accept the offer, because it might be a deal-breaker for them. And it’s really not fair to start a job before getting that clarified.

        Also a good point that “flexible” can mean lots of different things. OP, if they say they’re “flexible,” you may want to ask more questions to get at specifics.

        1. Em*

          Yeah, fair enough. If it’s non-negotiable and a deal breaker, you’ll want to make it perfectly clear before you accept. And some jobs I think it’s more or less likely to be a problem, the flexibility. I mean, a call center job, I’d get that figured out really early; in my kind of job, it’s very common for there to be flexibility.

          I guess my point was that it’s something you can start talking about in vague terms early in the interview process to begin feeling out if it’s going to work out.

        2. EM*

          Agreed. Different companies have different ideas as what constitutes flexibility. My company, for instance really is flexible. People work from home when needed (sick kid, or waiting for cable guy, for example) and coming in late or leaving early for an appointment is usually not a problem when the person plans ahead and coordinates with the other staff and the owner of the company.

          My husband’s company, on the other hand, is a large defense contractor, and brags about their “flex-time”, but my husband’s director has decreed that if one wishes to take flex-time, they have to be in the office between certain core hours, which is something like 8-5. Sure, you can come in at 6, but you still have to stay until 5. It’s pretty silly.

  8. Adam V*

    On #1 – I wonder if this is just a bad (horrible, incredible) negotiating tactic? Maybe he was trying to get you in the mindset of “I probably won’t get the raise I was going to ask for, so I should just be happy to keep my same salary or get a smaller raise”.

    1. Original Poster*

      I certainly hope not, but it was a concern of mine. I have the interview this week. I will try AAM’s suggestions and see what happens.

  9. Anonymous*

    Ha ha ha #3, I wonder if you are working for my old boss? In my previous role I worked for a nonprofit that had an ED who was still an adjunt professor at a local nearby university, and would regularly leave the office at least one day a week or leave after lunch 2 to 3 days a week to work from his OTHER OFFICE there. I figured our board, which was terrible, knew this but after a year I brought it to the attention of a new board member and-nothing. This same board did nothing when the staff realized the ED had started looking for a new job out of state month in advance – when he saved the file of interviews, locations and job prospects on the shared drive for all to discover. The board did-nothing, and started their job search only a month before the ED left, rather than five months previously (the ED had shared this information with the board president). Needless to say, the person they hired was unfit for the role and was replaced within 6 months. My point is that if your board is aware of this and does nothing, then you have a weak board and your organization will not turn around until they are capable of making tough decisions and holding the ED accountable to high standards, and the ED does so for the support staff.

  10. Joey*

    #5. Don’t sweat it. I know it feels like since your salary is public record they will find it, but to most people its a foreign concept. Or it just doesn’t click that its can be found so easy. Besides, there’s a few things working in your favor:
    1. Most people know government makes up for salary with great benefits.
    2. Whomever published your salary probably doesn’t have up to date records.
    3. Your published salary probably doesn’t include any addition compensation you earn like stipends.
    4. You can leverage your current job security which I bet is much better.

    1. glennis*

      “Whomever published your salary probably doesn’t have up to date records.”

      In my experience at public employers, the published salary is exactly accurate – it appears in published budget documents. The job classification standards published are in fact the current standards used by HR, and reflect all COLAs and other compounding factors.

      What is sometimes not published – or at least, not published in a form that is obviously connected to an individual – is what salary step a particular individual is on. So – you may have two Admin Analyst FTEs in a given department, and it isn’t obvious that one is being paid at salary step 5 while the other is being paid at step 4.

      But in general, especially for senior officers, the published data is extremely accurate.

    2. MR*

      I am the person who wrote the question.
      In response to your #2, as glennis says in the next comment, the salary information is accurate. Agencies are required to report individual salary information every fiscal year to the legislature, and that information is a public record. The newspaper takes those public records and publishes them in a very easily searchable format. So the amount of money that I made in the past 4 or 5 fiscal years is available and correct.
      I don’t earn stipends or other monetary compensation.
      You are correct, the published salary doesn’t include benefits, job security, and vacation, and that’s what I have been leaning on in negotiations.

  11. Jane Doe*

    #4 – I get the feeling there’s more to this story. Is this employee fire-proof in some way (i.e. he’s a relative/family friend of some top dogs in the company) and the OP is looking for a way to deny his request without having him appeal to a higher authority?

    1. Frances*

      Yeah, I was wondering if it was something like my current job, where my boss has to approve funding requests for everyone in our section, but there are a few employees who are direct reports to the section director, not her — and who have been known to kick up a fuss when they don’t get their way.

  12. Nichole*

    OP 2: Depending on the size and web-saavyness of the company, the online version of the employee handbook may give you a peek at your options. When I started my current job, I was working another job with less flexible hours, and both wanted 3 days a week. I combed through New Job handbook and found out I could still work a 5 day a week schedule if I worked 10 hour days. At the time, no one was doing that, so it hasn’t even come up as an option until I raised it. They were completely cool with whatever schedule I wanted as long as I played by the rules.

      1. fposte*

        I suspect she means that she was able to work both jobs in 5 days rather than the 6 they initially suggested.

      2. Henning Makholm*

        And further upthread there was a company that allowed employees generous flex time as long as they were in their seats at least from 8 to 5 every workday …

    1. AB*

      Still, I would not rely on the employee handbook and just assume that all the flexibility listed there would be available to me.

      As others have pointed out in this thread, flexibility varies by role and department, and as a manager, I’d be very annoyed if a recent hire approached me to ask to leave early 2 days a week or any other special accommodation that wasn’t discussed before the offer was accepted.

      It is one thing to expect some level of flexibility (like leaving early one day because of a doctor’s appointment) and another thing to assume it will be possible to rearrange the normal working hours in an ongoing basis to accommodate external activities or demands for my time.

      1. Gobbledigook*

        Why would you be annoyed if they asked for those things so long as they were reasonable requests? Obviously if it wasn’t brought up at the job offer stage the employee understands they might receive a “no” and at that point they would deal with it. Or, speaking from experience, maybe they were a long distance applicant who was not aware at the time of applying what their travel arrangements would have to be if hired.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’d be annoyed too, if the person asks in such a way that indicates that they expect it or need it or that they’ll be upset/resentful if the request is turned down. If something is that important, then the time to raise it is before you’ve accepted the job.

          1. Gobbledigook*

            I think it depends on what kind of request we’re talking about for me. Asking to leave a few minutes early a few times a week is way different than saying after hired:” Oh by the way, I have a child with special needs and I will have to rearrange all of my hours and not be in the office for three hours every week to accommodate doctor’s appointments” Something that extreme, I agree, should be brought up at the hiring stage. I think people should use their judgement about how major the request is. :-) I shouldn’t be commenting anymore today. I am seeing things through my own lens. I agree I’d be annoyed if it were a major request or one they knew about before being hired.

  13. anon-2*

    #1 – well, that situation happens. The HR person is told “the range we’re looking at is (for example) $65-75k” and he acts on that.

    But the candidate has turned so many heads – they may “find” the money to make the hire, especially after the candidate has refused a first offer, or a first offer in discussion.

    Been there, done that. The only caution I would give is that a place that acts like that might be reluctant to award raises and/or promotions in the future – unless you use “force” (resignation leading to a counter offer).

    What I would do is ask the hiring manager about this weird move. It might also be a place that has a policy of low-balling the candidate on the first offer, to see if they can get away with it.

  14. Tara*

    I’m just looking through old posts but I had to comment to say that the title for question six definitely made me think that somebody had actually included 360 different comments on their resume. I was a little disappointed when I realized that wasn’t the case.

Comments are closed.