most popular posts of 2013

Ask a Manager’s traffic nearly doubled this year, with 5.6 million unique visitors, 9.5 million visits, and more than 15.8 million page views. Thanks for your part in that!


Here are the posts that interested people the most this year, via two lists: the most commented on posts and the most viewed posts. Interestingly, there’s no overlap between the two lists.

Most commented-on posts of 2013:

(doesn’t include open threads, which otherwise would hold the top 9 places, or “ask the readers” posts, which I covered last week)

10. Is your AOL or Hotmail address hurting your job search?

9. I need to fire an employee, but I’m afraid her family will become violent

8. I work with my boyfriend, I’m allergic to my office, and more

7. Is my name holding me back, corporate charity matches, and more

6. After I turned down a job, the hiring manager asked me out

5. My employer wants me to remove a sticker from my truck, over-sharing anxieties, and more

4. My coworker is showing lingerie photos of me to guys at work, I missed a great candidate’s application, and more

3. I have to take calls from my kids at work and my manager doesn’t like it

2. Can I expose this terrible interviewer?

1. How can I tell my coworkers their Halloween costumes are racist?

Most viewed posts of 2013:

10. How to ask for your old job back

9. How to fire someone for mediocre work when they’re trying hard

8. Employers that ask for references but never call them

7. When an employer asks for salary history in your cover letter

6. How to apply for a job you’re not fully qualified for

5. How do employers verify your previous salary?

4. When should salary be discussed in a hiring process, part 2

3. How to answer “where do you see yourself in five years?”

2. My job offer was pulled after I failed a drug test that they’d earlier said I passed

1. How to list the dates of your current job on your resume

{ 45 comments… read them below }

  1. ThursdaysGeek*

    The most viewed posts appear to be useful for getting a job and professional growth. The most commented posts are those that have a level of crazy or controversy in the question or comments. It makes sense to me that there is no overlap.

    1. Min*

      And since a number of the most viewed have titles starting with “How to…” people possibly got there by googling that very question.

      I figured the Halloween one would be the most commented. I’m still amazed at how polarizing it was!

      1. It's not you. It's you.*

        Maybe AAM should repost some of these with Upworthy-style headlines to see how that affect trafic:

        “He was trying his hardest, so you’ll never believe what happened when his manager tried to fire him”

        “They just wanted her salary history, but what they got will change your beliefs about the human spirit”

        1. Kathryn T.*

          “For the first twenty seconds, you’ll wonder what the deal was with the Halloween costumes. But what you learn at 0:20 will change your life forever!”

        2. Clever Name*

          Ha! I’ve stopped clicking on upworthy posts on Facebook. I don’t like the feeling of being emotionally manipulated I get from the headlines, and I generally don’t watch videos. Guess I don’t have the attention span.

    2. Jamie*

      I noticed that too. They are direct questions with concrete answers that people would hit the web to research.

      The most commented list all involve some social issues on which people tend to have deeply held opinions.

    3. Jake*

      I found this blog through google with a search on a “how to” question.

      I came back for the posts on professional growth.

        1. Tina*

          I can’t decide if it’s a sign of maturity that Mr. Truck Sticker didn’t come back to argue with all the commenters, or if he was at least smart enough not to put another bullseye on himself.

          1. Poe*

            I admit that I was hoping he would be really immature and come back to fight. I have always enjoyed watching a trainwreck that does not involve me, my family, or my housemates. That might make me a bad person…oops.

    1. Laufey*

      Oh! Speaking of him – while traveling with family, I saw on the interstate a lifted truck with that see-through/translucent with that phrase completely covering the rear window (not the front, so evidently not just the OP has this). I just sort of stared open-mouthed at it, but my mental train of thought went something like:

      ::A wild OP appears!
      ::You use Incredulous Comment
      ::It’s Super Effective!

  2. It's not you. It's you.*

    Ah yes, the email domain name discussion where many people said, in effect “It’s not that an AOL address is actually a bad thing, it’s just that as a generalization people think it’s a bad thing, so we’ll help perpetuate belief that by suggesting you not use it. Therefore using it shows bad judgement. Which means it’s a bad thing.”

    1. A Bug!*

      Your point about vicious cycles is well-made.

      But there is a point at which a person needs to decide whether a given issue is worth standing on principle. An e-mail address is not one of those issues for me.

      It’s one of those “can’t help, might hurt” issues where it’s just not reasonable to ask someone to take one for the team.

      1. It's not you. It's you.*

        “But there is a point at which a person needs to decide whether a given issue is worth standing on principle.”


        At times when people have good job prospects (and not everyone does, I know), the answer should be “As much as possible.” Heck, it might even help avoid ending up in a workplace that’s superficial in they believe is important.

        Conversely, I’m hiring someone in the next three months and am trying very hard to not make pre-judgements based on unimportant stuff like that. It’s just not a good thing in life to be like that.

  3. Anonymous*

    Do you have all-time statistics? Like what has been the most popular post ever and top viewed posts?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The most viewed post ever, going back to early 2008 (because I didn’t have an analytics tracker installed in 2007) is this one:

      And the most commented-on post ever is this one:

      … but that’s an open thread so shouldn’t count. These are the two runners-ups:

  4. Anonymous*

    Ha, the debate about email addresses (domain and spelling) was really interesting to me; I wonder if I’ve been affected by it in my job hunting?

    My email is first initial.middlename at gmail. My middle name is hard to pronounce and harder to spell (it’s a romanization of my name from another language), but I viewed it as the best option: I have a common first name and a ridiculously common last name, so all permutations of first name and last name were taken by the time I got GMail. Unfortunately, the last letter of my first name is the same as the first letter of my middle name, so firstname.middleinitial.last name (or firstname.middleinitial) just looks like I spelled my own name wrong. I could’ve circumvented this by adding a ridiculous amount of numbers/symbols or spelled my full name out, but both options looked large and unwieldy.

    I figured, rather than looking like I spelled my own name wrong with firstname.middleinitial and having people “spell it right” and miss my email entirely, I’ll have a hard-to-spell email that makes people grumble but usually spell it right because they’re putting in the effort (and because there’s no way they can misread that for another common word). Although I’ve also likely missed emails meant for me from typos in typing in my name, it’s pretty rare in the age of contact books. Also, less spam!

    Anyway, Alison, thanks for a wonderful site. I came for job advice, and stayed for the entertainment and community.

    1. thenoiseinspace*

      Now I’m wondering the same thing. My email server is fine, but the part before the @ isn’t my name. I didn’t even think my real name was that common, but either there’s a whole secret colony of same-namers out there somewhere, or the one other one I know about got drunk one night and thought, “what the heck, Imma take ALL the emails with my name. You got the same name? Hope you like silent q’s and long strings of random numbers at the end.”

      So, if a person’s email isn’t their name, but also isn’t anything vulgar or tacky, what do you guys think? Let it slide or still unprofessional enough to pass over?

      1. Chinook*

        Thenoiseinthespace, let me apologize on their behalf as I did this to a distant cousin in university. I was an undergrad and applied for an email address and got my first initial and last name. The following year, the university gave everyone their own address (depriving everyone of the joy of the hunt for the company science building in the middle of nowhere). This cousin was a grad student who has since been stuck with random letters in her address.

  5. ThursdaysGeek*

    Well, I still wish I’d been reading this in 1990, but I’ve only been here since late 2012. I hope to stay for a long time. Thank you Alison and friends!

  6. Anonymous*

    I love stats! Did your new intern compile these lists? :)

    Also I’d be interested in seeing the posts that were most viewed in 2013, which may not actually all *be* from 2013.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ha, no, Google Analytics did it for me. But I’m looking forward to lots of intern-generated data.

      Here’s that list (starting with the most viewed, then second most, etc.):

    1. Jake*

      That was a horrifying comments section.

      The OP or PO or whatever she finally called herself was out in the ether.

    2. Poe*

      I really wanted an update on that one, although I doubt it would have been a very satisfying denoument.

  7. ChristineSW*

    Half of those visits and page views are probably mine :P

    Oh I remember that guy who wanted to expose his “terrible” interviewer!! IIRC, he was NOT taking any of our suggestions and insights, fighting us at every turn.

    1. Susan*

      I was just rereading that post and the comment threads. It’s totally – “you’re in a hole! STOP DIGGING!”. Sad.

    2. Poe*

      Wasn’t that the person that got banned for 24 hours? I was shocked by both the behaviour and that Alison wielded the ban hammer.

  8. Not So NewReader*

    Alison, you are doubling or tripling the number of viewers each year! That is superb.

    Do you know how many unique commenters you have? Do you have an break downs on who comments the most frequently? In another type of forum I was told that 20 % of the readers do most of the commenting. The remaining 80% just read. Judging from you 9.5 mil- I would guess the % is lower. But the numbers for the other forum is a much, much smaller group, around 5000-7000.

    I am also wondering how many commenters here started reading way back when Alison first started her forum. (I can’t picture people leaving except if they follow your advice and end up with Big Job that requires most of their time.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t have numbers on commenters, but I can say with certainty that commenters are a very small fraction of total readership! One or two percent, maybe? Seems crazy, since you guys are the ones I interact with most, and thus you’re the ones who I think of as the readership — but when you look at the actual numbers, the readership is much larger.

  9. hamster*

    Suggestion, The chart would be even more interesting if you would normalize the number of viewings pe year dividing by number of posts per year. I noticed that you also posted more this year , so it would be interesting to see how the number of viewings increased in rapport to that.

  10. Joe*

    Wow. I missed a few of these the first time around. I really enjoyed reading Most Commented #2, because I forget sometimes that as bad as the candidates I interview are, there are some crazy and unpleasant people out there that I’ve been lucky not to have to deal with.

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