mini answer Monday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Do employers really have to interview a minimum number of candidates for every job?

My question relates to the often expressed “practice or rule” about “interviewing at least 3 candidates” for a position before we hire “the person we really want.” Is this true or is this just a bogus HR myth? I hear it so often, and people just say it like it’s the law.

No law requires anything at all related to hiring, other than that an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, etc. There’s certainly no law requiring a minimum number of interviews.

However, some employers have internal policies (their own policies, not related to any law) that they will interview at least X applicants for each position — sometimes because they genuinely think that’s smart to do in hiring (which it usually is), but more often in order to avoid allegations of discrimination. The problem is that employers often follow the letter of the policy rather than the spirit — meaning they already know who they’re going to hire but they follow their own policy anyway, which wastes their own time and the candidates’ time and violates the whole point of what their policy is intended to achieve. It’s bad management.

2. When an interviewer only asks about 5% of the job

I have been on 2 recent interviews. At both interviews, the majority of the questions were employee relations or customer relations oriented. They skipped 95% of their job related requirements. How do you let them know your abilities as related to their requirements without being forceful? I understand what their concerns are, but I want to let them know I can do the job. Both jobs were manager/supervisor positions.

Well, they’re presumably asking you the questions that they believe will best help them figure out whether you’re the right person for the job. You could certainly say something like, “I know a big part of the role is X, and I’d love to tell you about my experience in that area” … but it’s possible that they already feel perfectly assured of your ability to do X based on your background and what they want to hear more about is the stuff they’re asking you.

It’s also worth considering that the job might not be nearly as focused on X as you think it is (no matter what the job posting said), so that might be something for you to ask about.

3. Referencing a bad experience with an employer in a cover letter

I’m in the process of job searching, and I’m going to be applying to several positions at a national nonprofit that is more of an umbrella organization to many regional locations. I would love a position at any location, and really believe in their mission, even supporting it financially.

Six years ago, I used their services as a client and had a terrible experience. I could tell it was because everyone was overworked, and it reinforced what I had already heard: some locations are terrible and others are great. The ones I’m going to be applying to are nowhere near this bad location, not that I would necessarily identify where the terrible experience happened.

I want to think that this may make a good bit for my cover letter, in that I believe in their mission so much and I want to be a committed member of their team to ensure people only have great experiences, etc. I realize it will be difficult to pull off delicately, if at all. My question is: should I even attempt it, or is it too high a risk that I may offend them? If I could attempt it, what parameters or guidelines would you suggest?

Nope, can’t do it. It’s likely to offend them, and it’s also likely to come across as a little silly, as if you think you’ll be in a position to fix what sound like serious systemic problems, which you almost certainly won’t be. It would be much better to focus on the fact that you’ve used and support their services, without criticizing them.

4. References who have changed jobs or are in more junior roles

I’ve been in my job for almost six years, which is a remarkably long time in my industry–in fact, of my three most recent managers, two have left the industry and the third is in an altogether different role. What’s the best way to point this out when I give them as references? When I’m applying for “VP, Chocolate Teapot Production Director,” I think someone whose current position is “Marzipan Distribution Specialist” might raise an eyebrow.

Which raises a separate question: I’ve risen quickly through the ranks and am now reaching for a very senior position. All of my references, though, are/were middle management; I haven’t kept in touch with department/division chiefs and LinkedIn has come up empty. Is it going to count against me that none of them ever held a title as senior as I would at this job?

Most reference-checkers don’t care what a reference’s current title is; they want to know what their title was when you reported to them. So list it like this:
Jane Smith (my manager from 2009-2012, as ABC Company’s VP of Teapot Production)

It shouldn’t be held against you that none of your references have held positions as senior as the one you’re applying for.

5. Applying for a job where I volunteer

I’m applying for a job at a museum where I’ve volunteered for the last two years. At the volunteer appreciation tea, the education manager told me about the upcoming summer positions and gave me her business card. I’m applying now, and, per the instructions, sending my resume and cover letter to HR. Should I call the education manager? What do I say? Do I call my own manager (I volunteer in interpretation) and let her know I’m applying? I really don’t want to come off too strong, or look like I’m trying to take the back door in.

Don’t call either of them; email them both and let them know you applied. Calls interrupt people; emails can be responded to at their convenience. You won’t look presumptuous; this is normal to do, and people expect it. (If anything, it might be weird if you didn’t tell them.)

6. When can I approach my new manager about a promotion and raise?

Last summer, I transitioned into a new career in communications. I took an entry-level job at a nonprofit. Six months after I started, my supervisor left. I have taken over almost all of her job duties, and have enjoyed and succeeded at my new responsibilities.

There are no immediate plans to replace my supervisor. Unfortunately, the head of the department won’t promote me because I’m not qualified. However, the word is out that she is leaving soon. At what point do I approach her replacement about a possible promotion and raise? I am basically doing two jobs at this point, and I’m totally fine with it. It would be a waste to hire a second person to do half of my work when I’m handling it well. But I think it’s only fair to compensate me for the work I’m doing, which is not the work I was hired to do.

Well, she’s not really going to be in a position to assess whether or not you deserve a promotion and raise — and whether you’re the person she wants in the higher-level position — until she’s really settled in and has had a chance to get to know her own job and your team’s work. I would wait a minimum of four months, but even that is pushing it and you’re probably better off waiting longer that.

Also, if your current manager won’t promote you because you’re “not qualified,” there might not be reason to think the second manager will — which is all the more reason to wait, and spend that time proving yourself to her.

7. Internship has turned into The Weakest Link

I graduated from university about a year ago and started grad school last fall. I have had a difficult time finding a steady job, so I have been volunteering and doing temp work. Thanks to a networking connection who encouraged me to apply, I was selected for a 15-week paid internship. Honestly, I was incredibly surprised to be selected because the interview was horrible. When I walked in, I was informed that I was interviewing for a job and the internship. Their plan was to select a person to be a “chocolate teapot maker” and the intern would work with that person. At the end of the internship they would decide if they were keeping the intern or the person they hired to be a “chocolate teapot maker.” Is this normal? My college mentor had never heard of a situation like this. I feel like I am in the Weakest Link or something with the new chocolate teapot maker.

I believe I am doing a good job as an intern and I am trying not to let this knowledge affect my performance. Is there anything you can suggest that would help me do this? I have never been in a situation like this before. It is so strange I am not sure what to do other than finish out my 14 remaining weeks and just be grateful I am getting paid. I am not even certain if I would want to remain if they offered me the position after my time as an intern is up.

Yes, that’s pretty weird. It would be one thing if they said they had two intern slots and hoped to hire one of the two at the end of the internship. But hiring someone for a regular job that they might be kicked out of in 15 weeks if the intern does a better job is weird. It raises questions about their ability to hire too; they should be able to tell who is able to perform at regular-job level and who is able to perform at intern level. And if they’re not sure, they shouldn’t be hiring for the regular-job spot yet.

In any case, you didn’t go into it seeking the job anyway, just the internship, and you found that. So finish out the internship, and if they do offer you a job at the end of it, you can decide at that point if this is somewhere you want to work or not. 14 more weeks there will give you a lot more data to go on.

{ 46 comments… read them below }

  1. Jessa*

    #2 I would absolutely ask them about the composition of the job related to what they posted. It is possible like Alison said that they know you’re “qualified” but want to see if you fit the culture more than the job duties. On the other hand she’s also very right that they could have a skewed job description and you want to know whether you’re applying for a job you really want.

    #6 before your boss leaves, is it possible to sit down with them and get them to qualify “not qualified” so you know exactly what the issues are? Because the best way to go to new boss is to say “Old boss said I needed x y z for promotion, Voila I did x, y, z can we discuss this?”

    1. Sarah G*

      When I read “not qualified,” I assumed that it was something like an actual degree, since she’s apparently capable of doing the job but doesn’t have the proper qualification(s) on paper.
      For example, I’ve worked at places that require a master’s degree management positions.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        but if she can do the job without a masters degree it really isn’t a requirement now, is it? It is just a nice to have. Requirements are truly needed to do the job.

        1. Marmite*

          Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for places to have requirements like x degree is needed for y position and stick to that even if someone appears to be capable of the job without it. One example; I did an internship that was classed as a “graduate internship” and required a minimum of a Bachelors degree, but the actual role could have been done by anyone with high school level maths and some common sense. The organization received government funding for running a graduate internship therefore they had to hire graduates even though they didn’t need them.

          It’s also possible that in the OP’s case there is a qualification, such as a certificate in health and safety, that is required by the company for all employees at a certain level (since she would be being promoted she may not need it now). It’s hard to know without more detail what “not qualified” is, but it might be something legitimate, company policy (good or bad) or simply manager not wanting to promote her and using it as an excuse.

          1. EngineerGirl*

            In your example it really is a requirement since it was a condition of the grant.

            1. Marmite*

              Yes, but the job could have been done without a degree, which is what you were saying. My point is that a degree, or other qualification, doesn’t necessarily have to be needed to perform the job well, but may be required by the company for other reasons. Not just because it’s “nice to have”.

        2. Kat M*

          Unfortunately, requirements are whatever the hell they want them to be. I was in the exact same position once. I had an internship, the admin assistant quit, and I took over all her responsibilities. But they would not consider hiring me for the position because I did not have a Bachelor’s degree. They were very keen to extend my internship, but I left when my agreed period was up.

        3. fposte*

          I think that’s oversimplifying, though. There’s a tolerance for an interim position-holder that there isn’t for a permanent one, and while I think it’s fine for the OP to raise the possibility of taking the job permanently, it’s not a gotcha! that she’s been doing it without the qualification.

          1. Liz in a Library*

            That’s a really good point. I’ve seen very good people in interim positions that weren’t made permanent, because there was a qualification that really was important for the final hire to have.

            1. PEBCAK*

              And sometimes, it’s not even that the requirement is important, but rather, if they don’t have the requirement, they will be inundated with internal candidates and have to speak with every last one of them.

    2. Lindsay J*

      Yes, for #2, in the interview I would ask something like, “I’ve noticed that the majority of the questions you’ve asked me are about y. Can you tell me what percentage of the time I would be doing y, and how much I’d be doing a,b,c and z?”

  2. EngineerGirl*

    #6 Why are they allowing you to do the job if you are “unqualified”? This makes no sense.

    OP, I think you need to go to your manager and ask her explicitly what you need to do to make yourself “qualified”. Its a reasonable question that your boss should be able to answer.

    Honestly, this looks like they are trying to spoof you out of a promotion. Asking what you need to do to get qualified (and then doing it) exposes if that is what it is. If they move the bar once you’ve met it, it is time to look for a new job.

    1. Chinook*

      It is also possible that, if she is lacking a certain qualification, that there is an aspect of the job that she is not doing and, instead, is being done by the supervisor (for example, a lot of what an LPN and an RN do is similair except for a small subset of duties that legally require RN designation because of the type of training they have). If she had the qualifaction, then she would be eligible to do all the required tasks for that position and, thus, be eligible for the promotion.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        If a certification were needed a) it would be clear and apparent and b) her work would be b performed under the authority of the certificate holder. In short, her employer would have to be checking her work to maintain compliance. (Again, obvious)

        Neither of these seem to fit the OP

        1. Lindsay J*

          It could be nothing to do with certifications, and just higher level work that the OP does not have the experience to know how to do yet (or, perhaps more limiting, the level of job knowledge or skills to even be able to learn how to do it yet).

          For example, maybe the OP has taken over the every day job duties of the communications supervisor. However, maybe the OP is new to workforce and still learning professional norms herself and has never dealt with managing direct reports first. Expecting the OP to be able to carry out her supervisor’s duties is one thing. Expecting her to be able to carry out her supervior’s duties, train a new employee in what used to be her role, effectively manage that employee and that employee’s workload, keep the department in budget, develop a new budget for next year, etc, is an entirely different thing.

          The company may not think she has the leadership skills or the business acumen to perform all those tasks ever, or they may think she needs some time to master her role before taking on all that new responsibility, or they may think that she is probably capable of all that but not have the time or resources available to develop her into that role (which seems likely if they recently lost their communications supervisor and are now losing the department head as well – the new department head will be learning the ropes of a new company themself for the first several months and likely not up to training a new supervisor on top of that).

          Any or all of these are legitimate reasons not to move the OP up. Heck, even if she is fully qualified and they want to hire somebody who is more qualified or more experienced that is totally legitimate too and doesn’t necessarily show that they are out to screw the employee over.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s also possible the the OP just isn’t performing at the level they’d want for someone doing the position permanently. Frequently someone will fill in in a pinch because that’s the best option available, but the employer doesn’t feel the person is qualified enough to get the position permanently. (One example would be something like running a department while the dept head position is vacant; someone might not be great at it, but having them do it during the interim would be better than nothing.) I wouldn’t assume the OP is being screwed; it’s certainly one possibility, but I wouldn’t jump straight to it when there are so many other options.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        Which is why it is really important to seek clarification by asking what “qualified” means

    3. Number Six*

      Hi, #6 here. I don’t have a graduate degree. My supervisor did. That’s what is keeping me from being promoted at the moment. They could rewrite the job description to not require the degree, which is what I was planning to suggest when the new department head is here.

      1. Jamie*

        I don’t know how non-profits work, but I’m assuming they are audited?

        If so – huge red flag in an audit is rewriting controlled documents/policies for specific situations (i.e. one employee.) You can certainly change policy/descriptions if that’s what’s best for the organization – but that’s a pretty big deal and more than just deleting a requirement out of the job description.

        In places with internal controls and regular audits isn’t as casual as you’re making it sound. It can be done – but it’s a big deal and one that needs to be explained so it doesn’t look they are circumventing the rules for one person.

        1. Number Six*

          I think the issue is that if the rewrite the position description to not require the degree, then they can never require the degree again, even after I leave. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary and in fact they would probably have an easier time filling the position if they didn’t require it. But I don’t know that they’ll go for that.

        2. KellyK*

          Which is a good argument for writing your job descriptions with only *actual* requirements, not “nice-to-haves.” And also for allowing experience to substitute for degrees and vice versa where that makes sense.

          1. KellyK*

            Come to think of it, that’s been one you’ve had to deal with, hasn’t it, Jamie? Having to explain to people how binding those requirements are and the importance of making sure they really are necessary to succeed at the job?

            1. Jamie*

              Yep – looks like we’ve cross posted! It’s a big deal in ISO registered companies. Say what you will do and then do what you said you would do. The prove you did what you said you were going to do.

              The more reasonable you are on the front end the easier life is ever after.

          2. Jamie*

            Absolutely. You can fill up the “preferred” field with all the wild unicorn stuff you want (or, you know, legitimate and reasonable preferred stuff) but when it comes to requirements think long and hard about what goes in there – because if you are in a place where this is audited if you put rules in play you need to follow them.

        3. Chinook*

          I actually did work for a non-proft that rewrote their language requirements for a position that they wanted to hire me for (from French and English required to fluent English and basic French required). They actually had to have all the directors sign off on the change and I was lucky in that it actually could be justified because the job was 98% English with the French only really being needed to answer basic phone questions (if the question was complicated, I would be passing it on anyway, regardless of the language).

          I do know, though, that the proposed change took a lot of discussion and careful consideration of what the role actually needed versus teh knew jerk reaction of “we are a national organization so everyone needs to be bilingual.”

  3. Sascha*

    #1 and #2 remind me of a position I’m hiring for right now (I’m not the hiring manager, just on the team selecting candidates and doing interviews). Our HR has the internal policy of doing at least 3 interviews. It’s been really, really tough this time around selecting people, but we have to do it.

    Regarding #2, for many years the description for this particular job did not reflect the actual job itself, it reflected only about 25% of it. So we would often get applicants who would ask about the chocolate teapot designing, when we are just chocolate teapot customer service. So like Alison says, it could be that the job is actually more focused on the 5% they talked about rather than everything else in the description. It sucks, and we finally got our description rewritten (which was a huge bureaucratic hassle lol).

  4. COT*

    #5: I an a volunteer manager, and I think it’s great when we hire great volunteers on as paid staff. I’m always happy to put in a good word–if I know folks are applying! That’s not “sneaking in the back door,” that’s making it easier for us to hire a great candidate who has already proven themselves. That’s a bonus to your organization, so start thinking of it that way. The hiring manager will probably come ask your supervisor about you anyway, so tell your supervisor that you applied.

    1. NumberFive*

      That’s good to hear! Our volunteer manager isn’t the most approachable person, so I felt a little insecure. As it happens, she was just promoted so I mentioned it to her junior when she called to arrange the volunteer schedule. Thanks COT and AAM ! I know it was a short (and maybe somewhat silly) question, but I’ve found this site HUGELY helpful.

  5. Anonicorn*

    #6: If you truly aren’t qualified as a supervisor for whatever reason, it might be reasonable to ask about a “coordinator” or “senior” or whatever other title they might have. You might also reasonably ask for a raise to reflect the added responsibilities than what your role originally entailed.

  6. Beth*

    #6 – I don’t mean to offend, but the OP might THINK she is doing almost all of her previous supervisor’s duties, and doing them well, but she might lack the perspective to know exactly what the supervisor actually did. She mentioned that she just joined the field. She might also not be aware of behind-the-scenes discussions regarding hiring a replacement.

    If she’s really now doing the job of two people well and doesn’t feel overworked, something was wrong before and neither of the two jobs (her entry-level position or the supervisor role) were really worthy of being separate positions at the same number of hours per week (full-time, I assume.) If that’s the case, maybe they are thinking of restructuring and merging the two positions, minus a couple duties, and keeping the “lesser” title and pay right now. Before, the supervisor supervised the OP. Does the OP supervise anyone? If not, it’s not really the same “supervisor” role right now. In any case I think it is likely that the supervisor had quite a few more duties the OP couldn’t see. There are things like day-to-day duties which keep a place running, many of which are quite visible, and then there are other duties people have which aren’t always that visible. Things like budgeting and planning come to mind.

    It may be that they feel the OP is adequate for the day-to-day aspects of the role right now but if, down the line, they decide to replace the supervisor, they may look for someone with more historical knowledge of the field and the demonstrated ability to take on certain other tasks, rather than just someone who is able to do a certain group of core tasks.

    The issue of being compensated for the additional work is another matter altogether, and it’s hard to say what’s right and fair without knowing the level of compensation and the work that’s involved. Jobs can expand and higher pay isn’t always warranted, although it often is. If the original entry-level position wasn’t really enough work for a full-time position, but the OP was getting paid for a full-time position, adding in some extra duties doesn’t necessarily mean the OP should get paid more. Also, the fact that the newer duties used to be done by the “supervisor” doesn’t necessarily mean that they are higher-level duties which warrant greater compensation.

    All of this is speculation, of course.

    1. Number Six*

      My supervisor was actually doing several jobs, one of which was Chocolate Teapot Polisher, which she inherited after someone else left. She didn’t have the technical skills to actually polish the teapots, so they hired me as Chocolate Teapot Polishing Associate. But now she’s gone, and I’m doing all the polishing.

    2. Lindsay J*

      This is exactly what I meant to say or tried to say myself. I should have scrolled down and read all the comments before replying.

  7. Beth*

    #2 – I have had this happen a few times recently. In one case it was clearly because they knew that I was well-qualified for most of the job and had no concerns about that, but they really wanted to find out how much experience I had in one crucial aspect of the job (not much.) A similar thing happened at a day of site visits – my first-round interview had established that I can do most of the job, so they wanted to know more about just a couple areas. Sometimes, also, people interviewing are only personally familiar with certain areas of the position, so those are the areas on which they focus the interview. Any of those things are probably what’s going on in the OP’s case.

    Beware, though, because a couple years ago I was interviewed by a very small new non-profit founded and run by a volunteer Board of community members. The job was (on the surface) what I had been doing for years, but in a dramatically different employment setting. I came armed with all my usual stories about projects I’ve worked on, etc., and they asked almost NOTHING about my experience. I figured it was because I had a very strong resume (unusually strong for that type of employer and geographic location) and they instead just wanted to get a feel for my interpersonal style. I was offered and accepted the job but as it turned out no one at the non-profit really knew anything about the field in which the non-profit operates, beyond what a typical member of the public would see. They didn’t ask about my experience because they didn’t know what to ask. They had found an elaborate job description on the internet, and given me that, but had their own ideas about what the role would actually entail (hint – almost nothing in the job description.) This turned out to be the worst job of my life. It would have been difficult but not terrible to work with people who weren’t in the field, if I were allowed to just run with things as the only one who IS in the field. Instead it was the case that the employer just really misunderstood what the job should entail (despite the “official” job description which most of them hadn’t looked at) and the reality of what they wanted was very different from what was advertised. I HAD to just run with things because that’s what it took to keep the operation running, but it was never acknowledged by most of the Board members, who continued to hold a certain idea of what the job entailed and thought I was overstepping my bounds. A situation like this one should be avoided at all costs.

  8. Number Six*

    Here is my whole long story. My organization has had about 50% turnover in the last three years. They had a Chocolate Teapot Polisher, but he left. Someone who was already here asked if she could have the job, because she wanted to get out of the Chocolate Teapot Packaging Division. They gave her the job, but also left her with all of her packaging duties. She didn’t actually know how to polish the teapots but probably could have figured it out if she didn’t still have to work in Packaging.

    She told her supervisor that she needed help, and they said, no problem, we’ll hire you a Chocolate Teapot Polishing Associate. It was an entry-level job, and I got it because I had worked in a chocolate factory before and I had recently learned how to polish chocolate teapots. I specifically asked in the interview if I would be making decisions about how to polish the teapots or executing my supervisor’s decisions, and I was told that I would be executing my supervisor’s vision. Sounded great to me.

    Then I got here, and it turned out that my supervisor was a really cool person who had no idea how to polish chocolate teapots, and whose only direction was to make the teapots look awesome. So I figured out how to do that.

    When she left, there was no one else who knew how to be in charge of polishing the teapots. Nobody else here knows how to do what I do. I have a supervisor in the sense that someone signs my leave requests, but she knows less about polishing than my old supervisor did.

    So here I am, entirely in charge of my sector. Everyone tells me I’m doing a great job. But as I said in my letter, I am not doing what I was hired to do. And I’m fine with that, but at some point they need to give me something in return.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      But it sounds like your job is more or less what they hired you to do: your supervisor didn’t know how to polish chocolate teapots, so they brought you on to polish chocolate teapots, but she was still almost entirely in the Packaging department, which has nothing to do with your job. So the person you would need to “compare” yourself to, so to speak, is not the supervisor you had, but the person who held the Chocolate Teapot Polishing job before your supervisor. But it sounds like there was a ton of work that your supervisor was doing that you’re not, and that you just took over a small portion that she didn’t know how to do anyway. That just seems like a fairly standard shuffling of duties to me, nothing above and beyond.

      What were the qualifications of the “original” Polisher? If they were someone with an advanced degree and years of experience, vs. your being a recent transplant into the sector at the entry-level and having “just learned” to polish teapots, I think it would be pretty reasonable to not want to promote you to the higher level position, while also being perfectly content to let you handle the associate-level polishing that you’ve shown you can do, and not hire a new Polishing supervisor until there’s too much polishing work to be done by you alone.

      1. Number Six*

        I do the exact same job as Chocolate Teapot Polisher #1. I have his office, I use his computer, and I sit in his chair. He didn’t have any polishing experience when he started, but he did have the degree, so they let him learn on the job.

  9. SevenSixOne*

    #1: OldJob had a policy that required the company to collect a minimum of 20 applications and interview a minimum of 5 people for any open position. Even for internal positions– management could be 100% certain that Wakeen was getting the job, Wakeen could be 100% certain that he was getting the job… but they’d still waste Wakeen’s time and at least 19 other people’s time by Following Company Policy. I always wondered what would happen if one of the “filler” candidates really dazzled them. Would Wakeen still be a lock?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Ideally, the dazzler would be the hire, and not Wakeen. Personally, I’m kind of a fan of these policies… which is not to say that they should be implemented completely inflexibly, but one of the biggest reasons that there are still institutional differences in pay between genders/sexes, races, etc, is due to people’s natural inclinations to select candidates like themselves. Requiring an open process in hiring is a way to mitigate that, especially if it’s really hard to get 20 applicants, or 5 applicants good enough to interview, and it forces you to expand the ways you recruit.

      As a blanket policy, it leaves something to be desired, especially when you have a great internal candidate that will *probably* get the job. But if the interviewer really is open to being dazzled by an outside candidate (and you always should be open to that, rather than, say, intentionally bringing in candidates that you know can’t stand up to Wakeen, which truly is a waste of time) then I’d argue it’s a great policy to bring in those other 4 candidates.

      1. Jessa*

        The problem is sometimes it’s unreasonable to be open to someone else. You bring someone in to fix a job that’s broken, to make it efficient, to make everything work right (this was me, btw.) It’s absolutely outrageous that if the job becomes open that someone else gets it. Sometimes you’re required to go through the motions, but sometimes, you really are only doing so because you have to. When Wakeen puts in all the work, gets the job processes standardised, gets everyone working together etc. It’s insane not to make sure he gets the job. Not to mention bad morale for everyone else. They SEE Wakeen was doing it. Doing it right, doing it well. Everyone then knows you’re not going to hire from inside, you’re not going to promote reasonably. It’s a BAD policy.

        And yes I strongly believe that “must interview x people” is a dumb policy, unless it’s coupled with “look if someone is doing the EXACT job, you do not need to interview.”

        In my case the difference was being on other personnel pay vs permanent pay. And that was the SOLE difference in the job. Same pay, same benefits, same job description, same work. Same EVERYTHING. Except moving to permanent employment. After 6 successful months it’d have been an outrage if they hired someone else. And would have blown morale in 8 departments.

  10. Number #2*

    In my field, I often find that neither the hiring manager nor the HR person knows the correct questions to ask because they don’t know or understand the job. You may find this unbelievable but it is not. One place I worked went through 3 individuals in 1 1/2 years before I got the job. Why? They didn’t know what to look for in the candidate or what to ask. I could tell when I interviewed there. I had every single little qualification for this job and had done this job somewhere else so I was an obvious hire.

    1. Same Here Number #2*

      I am seeing this a lot at the moment. I am as non technical as possible in my interview when I get into this situation, but it still isn’t enough. I also get concerned about reporting into someone who does not know what I do.
      Recently it was between me and one other- for someone who really did not know the role they were hiring for. My feedback was that I would be a great culture fit, but they went with the guy who was more technical – for a marketing role.
      So rather than trying to express everything in laymans terms, should I be blinding them with science?

      The guy they hired did not work out and they are looking again which raises another question – why didn’t I get a callback when he didn’t work out?

  11. Anonymous*


    I was offered an internship once, where they were hiring 6 interns for a three month stint. The plan was to let one go every two weeks or so until there was one left– who would then have a full time job. I didn’t accept for a number of reasons, the least of which being that if I’m going to be on a reality show, I want it to at least be televised.

  12. Cassie*

    #2: I wonder what type of job this is – are the interviewers trying to hire someone that would fit into their company culture? Particularly since they are asking questions about employee relations and customer service. Most of the jobs in our dept are data entry + customer service (the customers being students and faculty). Learning to process the XYZ report can be taught. Learning to deal with multiple interruptions a day or being patient and having to explain the same thing to 25 students per day may not be that teachable.

    If the OP fits the qualifications on paper, maybe the interviewers are trying to get a sense of how he/she would be as an employee. If I was interviewing for all of the non-technical jobs in my dept, I’d want to know how the person would behave as an employee (for higher positions, their actual knowledge of or experience with the material is also important). We’ve had considerable problems with attitudes and “quirky” personalities and it’s very difficult to correct.

  13. Number Six*

    Hi, it’s #6 again. Turns out I am getting a promotion, a raise, and an assistant. I did not see that coming under the current leadership.

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