sharing resumes with coworkers, should I have to plan a going-away party for my cubicle mate, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Is it okay to share job applicants’ resumes with my coworkers?

I’m in the midst of the hiring process for the first time in my role as a manager, and the wonderful woman whose position we’re filling (due to retirement) mentioned that she’d be curious to see who’s applying. I haven’t shared that info with anyone other than our director, and she’s only seen the resumes of people I’m calling for interviews. Is this information that can be shared? I’d sort of assumed that would not be kosher, but maybe I’m mistaken.

Also, I’m inviting the two other librarians in our department to be a part of the second interviews that we’ll be doing in a few weeks. Can I share the resumes of those candidates with their future coworkers before they meet or should I let the interviews speak for themselves?

It’s absolutely fine to share information about applicants, including their resumes, with others within your organization; in fact, it’s common practice in many companies to share them within your department, or with other departments who might have an interest in a particular candidate, or to share the resume of the new hire with your whole team before the person starts. There’s no expectation that only the hiring manager will see the resume. But regardless of what you decide about a wider audience within your organization, it’s nearly essential that share candidates’ resumes with people who be interviewing them; as a candidate, it’s frustrating to interview with people who don’t appear to know anything about your background.

(That said, it makes sense to remind people that they should not share anything they learn about candidates outside the company and that people’s jobs could be jeopardized if news of their job search got around. You wouldn’t want someone seeing that a candidate works with someone they know and then mentioning it to their contact, which can happen if people haven’t thought through the consequences of that.)

2. Should I have to plan a going-away party for my cubicle mate?

Without a pre-designated person who organizes these things, who is responsible in an office to organize a good bye for our coworker? I was rudely “told” by another coworker that it was my responsibility since I sit next to the person in a 2-to-a-cubicle situation, and that I was this person’s friend. To me, this was taking a huge leap of assumption. I have sat next to this person for nearly 2 years, and yes we talk a lot and have laughs. Fun coworker, yeah, but not friends, huge age difference that has mattered at times and certainly no connection outside the office. I’ll be the same friendly, funny, sharing person with the next person who moves into the cube. Would that mean I’d be responsible for the next one who leaves too?

I really don’t feel comfortable with the office social situations to be an organizer. I was thrown off-guard when the person suggested I should be the person to organize something and at first said I hadn’t thought about it. Then they continued on with, “Well, you are their friend,” and in final reply I retorted with, “Hey, I just sit there.” The person became rather fluffed and stormed away saying, “Well, I will do it!” Was I so wrong?

Well, yeah, kind of.  “I’m sorry, I’m swamped with work and wouldn’t be able to do it justice” would have been a reasonable answer. But you essentially said, “I don’t like this person enough,” and sitting with her for two years does imply that you know her reasonably well (more so than anyone else at work, potentially)

That said, I’m not a fan of leaving this to random people or some people will get goodbyes and some won’t. It’s better to have someone like an administrative assistant in charge of all of them (coordinating with the person leaving to make sure they even want something done, and with the option for other people to help out by planning any particular ones ones as the desire arises).

3. Should I really say I have no salary requirement?

My father is the owner of a small business. I worked for him for almost 3 years right out of college. But now I am looking for an entry-level job in a field different from the one in which the family business specializes. My father is really supportive about my job search and offers advice to me from the perspective of a business owner who has experience hiring people. But he advised me to answer the salary requirement question in a way that I find awkward.

My father told me to answer the salary question by saying that I do not have a salary requirement because what I want is to enter into the new field and that the wage is the least of my priorities. And then I am to describe why I want to enter into their company in particular. If they still seem puzzled about me not having a requirement, I should further explain that, because I have no major expenses at the moment (like children or university tuition), I am able to live decently off of a modest salary. This is true. But at the same time, I do not want to come off as desperate to potential employers. And if hired, I do not want my employer to think that it is okay to not ever give me a raise.

My father does not share my concerns. He says that as an employer, he is blown away when someone says to him that he can pay them what he wishes now and that once he sees their work, he can evaluate what salary they deserve/what is fair pay. He cites examples of employees who started at minimum wage but who proved their outstanding skills within the first week of hire and got a significant raise by the second week of work. This is an honor system that may not be prevalent in larger companies that actually have salary negotiations.

What is your opinion regarding my father’s advice? Do you think it could also be relevant to jobs in larger companies with more formal hiring procedures?

Not generally, no. It very well might work with other small business owners, but typically — and certainly at larger organizations — employers will expect you to have some idea of what salary range you’re seeking. You can certainly try saying, “You know, I’m changing fields and so I’m pretty open on salary. Right now, my priority is to get a job that let me do ____.” However, many employers will still push for a salary range (and some online applications will require them before you can even apply), so you do need to be prepared with a number, which means doing enough research to know what the market rate is for the types of job you’re applying for.

(And regardless of how you modify your dad’s advice, the one part that you really should leave out is the part about citing your own financial situation — that’s generally considered unprofessional and doesn’t belong in salary discussions.)

4. Can I keep my current company’s name confidential on my resume?

I am interviewing within the same industry — leasing. Should I put “Confidential” as the company’s name on the resume? How should I respond when the prospective employer asks me who I’m working for? Can I say I would like to keep that private?

No, that’s going to be weird. And if you refuse to say where you’re working, they have no way of knowing if you’re even working at all. You have to list the name, although you can certainly let interviewers know that your job search needs to be confidential for now.

5. Reapplying to a company after a bad interview four months ago

I have been in a great job for the past year, but my dream job has come up. Only, I applied for this job four months back, made it to interview stage but was unsuccessful. The other candidate seems to have left after only four months. I asked for feedback, but got a rather disingenuous “you interviewed well, but the other candidate just had more experience.” The reason I know this feedback to be inaccurate is because I gave an awful, rambly interview and I’m pretty sure they knew it. I feel I have improved significantly in the past four months, I’ve really been given more responsibility at work, am more confident and have been reading relentlessly to try and up my game.

What do I say on the cover letter? Do I acknowledge that I was interviewed before, wasn’t successful, but have improved significantly? I really want to come across as professional and confident. Should I make a phone call? Help!

Apply the normal way, and then send an email to your contact there, letting them know that you did. You could include something like, “I had the impression after our interview a few months ago that I wasn’t at my best. I’d love another chance to talk.”

{ 95 comments… read them below }

  1. Ann Furthermore*

    #2 – Unless you and your cube mate did not get along, then I can see why people would think you were planning something for his/her last day, going away party, whatever. You said that you 2 talked and laughed together about things, so in my mind this qualifies someone to at least be a work friend, even if they’re not someone you’d be friends with outside the office.

    That being said, I don’t think you’d need to organize a formal going away party, as that can turn into a hassle pretty fast and take up a lot of time. Often at my company, when someone leaves, we’ll circulate a card, and then everyone who wants to can throw in $5 – $10, which will be used to buy a gift card to the person’s favorite store, restaurant, or just a Visa gift card. It’s easy, and it’s a way for people to acknowledge a colleague and friend moving on and into another phase of their career or life, and say thank you for the contributions they made.

    I do like the idea of an admin type person handling this, but not every department has admins, and not every department manager will feel that organizing a going away party is a good use of the admin’s time. So sometimes, it’s up to co-workers to plan these things, because if they didn’t do it, no one else would.

    1. Rayner*

      Whilst I agree it would be normal to assume that OP 2 is the most logical choice of leaving do organiser , it’s not fine to just go ahead with that assumption as if it were true and confirmed. For all anyone else knows, the two who shared a cube were cordial to friendly in public but deeply despised each other under the surface. Or just plain weren’t all that close despite appearances.

      Whether or not in your mind sitting together and sharing jokes is enough to qualify people as work friends, (and that’s debatable) assuming something like that doesn’t help at all. And now, the OP is on the spot for something that she never claimed as responsibility.

      That said, she did react poorly. “I just sit here,” sounds rude and abrasive. A better response would have been, “I’m not able to take on that responsibility but I’m sure Jan from two cubes down is really close to Anoushka. Maybe you could just discuss it with her?”

      But then again, I despise formal leaving dos and stuff, and a card with best wishes as you said would have been so much better. If people want more, going out for a meal after work with close friends is a much better choice because it doesn’t subject everybody else to the festivities who don’t want it.

  2. Beverlee*

    #3: When OP writes: “I should further explain that, because I have no major expenses at the moment (like children or university tuition), I am able to live decently off of a modest salary.”

    While s/he might feel this way, actually stating this aloud not only undermines your professionalism but, especially if you are a woman (I suspect that you are as, frankly, I can’t imagine such a thought to come into a man’s head (including had your father been advising a son) it also hurts women overall, in the struggle to achieve true pay parity with men. Men ask for, and expect to get, what they merit – their value to a company. I see far to many women (especially young ones) accepting, if not even asking for, what they think they can “get by on.”

    Keep reading AAM, including the archived posts, as AAM gives excellent advice!

    1. Elysian*

      I assumed the writer was male, but regardless I think this is a hurtful notion for the reasons you say. Our economic system is set up to pay people based on their value, not their perceived need. It undermines others (in the company, in the community) to insist that you don’t need much because you don’t have much to pay for. Besides, just because a person doesn’t have kids or university tuition to pay for, doesn’t mean they don’t ‘need’ more money. Kids and school aren’t the only expensive life choices one can make.

      1. Judy*

        Yes, that’s one step away from something I heard a co-worker say back in the dark ages (early 90’s).

        “I think you should lay off all the lady engineers first because they’re not supporting anyone, then the single males, and leave the men with families to support for last.”

        Beyond the fact that that shouldn’t matter, out of 100-ish engineers in that group, of the 5 female engineers, 2 of them were the sole support of their families due to their husbands being disabled.

        1. Melissa*

          I was once laid off from a job as a summer camp counselor. The program had to make some cuts, and the front office staff chose to lay off the high school and college students who, in their minds/words, didn’t have to support anyone. In fact, the director point-blank told me that although he considered me a great worker and objectively better than another counselor in my group who had been cited several times for problems, he was laying me off because I was a college student while she got to stay because she had two children.

          Not only did it make me pretty incensed and established that place as a pretty bad place to work, it was incorrect – I was using the earnings from that summer job to pay my own rent and feed myself. Not every college student’s parents are feeding and housing them over the summer.

          Anyway, the program only survived about another summer or two before it had to shut down because of mismanagement. Ha!

        2. Chinook*

          My grandmother took my grandfather for task in the 1980’s because he contemplated hiring a woman over a man because she would be cheaper because she didn’t have a family to support. She made the same point – salary shod be based on the value of the work, not the perceived needs of the employee (not bad for a woman with a grade 8 education who was a housewife, eh?).

          Now, you can you can still be cheaper than others by pointing out that you are not looking for benefits such as healthcare.

        3. Natalie*

          That used to be incredibly commonplace during economic downturns. It was really hard for women to find paying work during the Great Depression, for example, because they “weren’t supporting a family” (never mind that many of them were). And of course, women were laid off en masse after WWII for the same reason.

      2. Poohbear McGriddles*

        If an applicant volunteered that s/he had more children than the Duggars, the hiring manager’s head would probably spin thinking “Crap, how do I make it clear that that isn’t a consideration?”.

        Since having children shouldn’t be a factor in hiring, neither should not having them. Don’t bring it up.

    2. J.B.*

      Plus if it is your first career, lowballing yourself keeps your salary low for a long time, if not forever. Says one who was hired during one of the many recent recessions with no room to negotiate.

    3. Mel*

      Hi, Beverlee. I am the poster of question # 3. I’m a 25 year old female. I agree that I shouldn’t go into details of my financial situation with employers. I also agree that not asking for pay reflecting my merit goes against the female struggle for equal pay. I think that I have been relying on my father’s advice due to fear of not knowing how to find a job in “the real world”. But I will likely change my salary requirement reply on my next interview. And I will surely keep reading AAM for further advice.

      1. Rayner*

        AAM pretty much bans all parenting advice when it comes to job searching as the market has changed so much since most parents did any searching at all. The advice they give is usually outdated or plain wrong.

        Read more on AAM and just trust that you, yourself, know how to do this.

  3. Puffle*

    LW3: I’d be worried about being taken advantage of by unscrupulous hiring managers if I said, “Oh, the salary really isn’t important to me”. Some people (not everyone) would be sitting there thinking, “Oh great, I can pay her the absolute bare minimum then/ maybe she’ll work for free”.

    Other than that, if I were hiring, a candidate who says, “Oh, I don’t have a salary range/ I’m not bothered by salary” might come across being a bit… weird? Maybe even desperate, like “Oh I’ll accept anything”, or perhaps naive. I’d be wondering if the candidate has done their research into the field- and I might also be a bit worried that if I’m impressed by them and I offer them a salary that they’re not happy with, they’ll either turn down the job or leave after a few months.

    Mentioning your personal financial situation is also a little odd. I think that most hiring managers just want to know: “are you willing to accept this salary range?” Anything other than that just seems irrelevant and again also a little desperate: “Hire me! I’m cheap! No strings attached! Hire meeeee!”

    Well, that’s my two cents. Best of luck with the job search!

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I once read an article about job-hunting and the writer talked about getting feedback on an unsuccessful application, which was conveyed as follows:

      “She doesn’t look like she needs the money”.

      I should point out that this was a European application and so the candidate would have provided their photograph as well.

      1. Stephanie*

        Corporette had a post once about whether it was ok to bring a Birkin to work (these bags run upwards of $5,000) saying that it could send the wrong message (i.e., you don’t need the money).

        1. A Cita*

          If you know where to get a new Birkin for only 5 Grand, please let me know! Heck, even a used Birkin!

          1. Stephanie*

            eBay! A quick search pulled up a few sub $10k listings. Of course, I don’t know how you’d verify authenticity.

            But you’re right-they do cost way more new.

            1. Beverlee*

              Interesting! I admit, I don’t have a Birkin, but much of my wardrobe, including accessories, is by top designers. I’m not wealthy by any means, but love shopping thrift and consignment shops and Ebay. I pay for designer clothes what people spend at JC Penney. So… there are limits to what you can really infer from one’s dress.

        2. Melissa*

          I think in that post she was speaking explicitly about college or law student interns, not about established career women.

      2. Rayner*

        Just an FYI: many European job applications, and countries as a whole, do not require a photograph at all. Spain does, apparently, according to this guardian article here, but I know that in Britain, it’s very rare.

        As people say, Europe is not a single country, just like Asia is not a single country. It’s made of many hugely different countries, and each has their own rules on applications and stuff.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          Yes, I was going to say I was confused when I read that about European applications, I’m in England and have never had to include a photo.

      3. Jen in RO*

        How on Earth did that hiring manager infer that from one tiny photo? I’ve seen my share of resumes-with-photos and the only thing you can tell from them is the applicant’s age group and whether or not they have good judgement (e.g. a photo from a night clubbing as opposed to a professional-looking head shot). But financial state, wtf?

              1. Laura*

                Thanks. Now I really want my LinkedIn profile photo to be me wearing a top hat, monocle, and fake mustache.

          1. Jamie*

            I got a fabulous new tiara for Christmas. It’s very jazzy…yet I just don’t have it in me to wear it to work.

            I did wear it while folding laundry and doing dishes yesterday – with jammie bottoms and a sweatshirt and I have to say I felt very professional.

          2. Jen in RO*

            I think I saw a duckface once… luckily, most applicants either had a professional photo or no photo.

            I saw a lot more embarrassing stuff on Facebook though. People, please protect your profiles or keep them SFW. I don’t care if you have photos from a night out or from a seaside holiday, but the guy who had pictures of himself, naked, with his girlfriend, also naked, in a hot tub? Noooo. (He had made the profile using a made-up name, so the hiring manager couldn’t have found him. We saw the profile after he was hired and he joined the FB employees group. Unfortunately, his lack of judgement in FB habits should have been a red flag – he was let go after 2 months for hitting on several women in the company, spending half the day smoking, and being remarkably bad at his job.)

  4. Stephanie*


    Yeah, I’ve tried this before. It doesn’t work that well in practice. You just come off sounding desperate and like you’re not really thinking through expenses (especially if you’re in an expensive area) and didn’t do any research.

    Plus, I could see some hiring manager being worried that if they do offer you peanuts, that you’ll quit soon after starting or turn down the offer.

    If you’re entry-level, there’s probably a going salary rate anyway.

  5. Jack the Brit*

    I think I disagree on #2 – isn’t a person well within their rights, if they don’t feel the need to make excuses about something like this? If you start accepting the responsibility of organising get-togethers for whoever’s placed next to you in a seating plan, where does it end.

    Be straightforward, say what you mean, and start as you mean to go on.

    1. Rayner*

      I think a person is well within their rights to say no, but retorting “But I just sit here!” is a little childish and abrasive. “I’m sorry, I’m not able to do that right now. Why not try asking [other friend of leaving person]?” is a much more mature and reasonable response, but it still doesn’t offer up any reasons that could be rebuffed or overridden.

      1. Gjest*

        I agree with this. I don’t think the OP should have to throw a party, but it’s also kind of rude to say “I just sit here”. How would you feel if your office-mate answered that way? I would suggest going to the person (who is leaving)’s supervisor and ask them if they had anything in mind for a going-away. Seems like the supervisor would be the most obvious (unless they are crap and that’s why the person is leaving).

    2. Helen*

      I agree. I would have reacted the same way as the OP. Since throwing a party is completely outside the expectations for my job, I would not feel like I had to be gentle or make excuses when saying there’s no way I would organize something like that. I am someone who has really defined boundaries between work/coworkers and home/family/friends. If I ever had free time I just wouldn’t use it to plan a work social event, that is just not me. And I am more than happy to have everyone at the office know that, even if they don’t really “get” it because they see all their coworkers as friends

      1. Joey*

        That wouldn’t be the best way to say it. It’s never smart to say “that’s not my job.” Because when you say that what gets heard is usually the equivalent of “I could care less about this place. I come here for a check and I’m not doing more than what’s required to get it.”

        Although you might feel that way is that really the message you want your employer to hear?

        1. Helen*

          Not getting involved in planning a social event at work Is not the same thing as saying something work related is not my job. As a woman in a male dominated field, no, planning parties is NOT the message I want to send to my employers. I focus on work at work.

          1. Rayner*

            Nobody’s saying that you have to agree to plan the party, at all. But you should phrase a response better than the OP did “I just sit here!” That implies you’re neither a team player, not very professional.

            “I’m sorry, I’m not able to do that – is [other friendly coworker] able to do it?” is a much more mature option.

    3. Sunflower*

      The situation probably could have been handled better but I totally sympathize with #2. If someone came up to me and said the same thing, I really wouldn’t know how to respond. I work as an event planner at my current company doing promo events and I don’t touch any of our work parties- all of that is left up to the admins. I wouldn’t have a problem with someone asking me to do it since I could see how it could fall under my job scope but there’s no way I would volunteer or want to take time out of my day to do it.

      I think the coworker was also kind of rude to assume #2 would just do it. I don’t know who the coworker was or why she is in the position to assign people party planning duties but it sounds like the office needs to dedicate planning duties to someone.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, if it’s the convention that everybody gets a goodbye party, it’s not being handled well.

        I’m not even sure the co-worker was all that rude–it’s possible it’s somebody who’s more aware of the party convention than the OP, who noticed the fact that the party usually would have been mentioned by now, and who’s concerned that the departing employee doesn’t leave as the only person nobody bothered to do a going away party for. At that point I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say to the person known to be closest “Hey, are we doing a party for Jane?” The problem isn’t that the co-worker raised it, it’s that the convention is badly handled.

      1. Windchime*

        It sounds like she was put on the spot. Being too busy certainly sounds better than, “I don’t want to”, but sometimes I have a hard time changing what’s in my head into a polite-sounding, non-true response when I’m put on the spot. I’m guessing the OP also just kind of blurted out her response because she was caught off-guard.

        At our work, when someone leaves our immediate department, we take them to lunch as a group. It’s expensed to the company, since we get a certain number of team lunches per year. If someone leaves the larger department, there is usually a cake and a card in the lunchroom, planned by the Admin.

        1. Joey*

          Its hard to make the shift, but you have to get into the mode of understanding how your words may be interpreted if you care about your reputation.

  6. AdAgencyChick*

    #1 — please, please, please be judicious about whom you show the resumes to. That is, show only people whom you can trust to keep things confidential, and yes, as Alison suggests, remind them not to discuss that candidate’s resume with anyone not involved in the hiring process. I got burned once when my resume was shown to a person who knew my then-boss, and all of a sudden my boss knew I was interviewing and called me on the carpet. At least he didn’t fire me on the spot, but from then on I was running scared. So, on behalf of other candidates — please do what you can to minimize exposure!

    #4 — for the same reason, I feel for you. I sure wish you could solve the problem by refusing to list where you work now — and honestly, as a hiring manager, having been in a bad situation with breached confidentiality, I would probably actually be willing to interview someone who refused to tell, contingent upon her revealing the company if we make an offer so that we can verify. Unfortunately, I think Alison is right that you have to tell, and you’ll just have to do the best you can to minimize exposure. That can include asking the interviewers not to show your resume to anyone not directly involved in the hiring process and meeting interviewers at a coffee shop or other location away from the office if you think someone might recognize you while you’re waiting in the lobby.

    1. Judy*

      But sharing resumes is not the only culprit. Anyone who sees someone interviewing can then talk. Anyone who sees the interview list can then talk.

      Depends on the size of the industry, but the “gossip” I hear when I run into someone out in the community, “Hey how are you doing? I ran into Wakeen the other day.” “Really, where did you see him?” “Oh he was walking through the office here at NewJob.” I’d like to hope that these folks aren’t saying anything to people who are managers.

      1. Judy*

        I guess what I’m saying is that there is more risk from those that are not part of the process, rather than those that are part of the process.

  7. Ali*

    For #5, the employer could be lying, but you never know what they are thinking. I just got turned down for a job, but made it to the reference check stage, and I thought I hadn’t interviewed very well either. I guess the company’s assessment didn’t line up with mine!

    That said, if they weren’t telling the truth and believe you really were a bad interviewer, don’t expect to get the call back again. I had a bad interview with a company I really wanted to work for about five years ago. The same hiring manager that interviewed me (granted, he does have a reputation of being hard to work with) is still there, and I’ve been almost too embarrassed to go back into the office as a potential employee. Ha…

  8. NP*

    #3: many entry level salaries are not negotiable or only slightly negotiable. If you’re applying to bigger companies or companies that routinely hire entry level people, they’re not likely to ask you what your salary requirements are. They’ll just state “we pay our entry level staff $X.” You may have room to negotiate a little if you bring a unique skill, they’ll desperate to fill a spot NOW, or your prior experience at you father’s business is at all related. I’d be surprised if you even get asked what your salary requirements are at most places.

    1. Felicia*

      Really? I’ve interviewed for a lot of entry level jobs in the past year, probably about 50. The majority of them asked me what my salary expectations are , and I never know what’s the right thing to say. I wish they could just tell me what they’re willing to pay an ask if that was ok. I know a general range that seems to crop up a lot, but I don’t know what each company is looking for. I’d be surprised if you weren’t asked your salary requirements at least sometimes.

      1. NP*

        I suppose it depends on the industry and whether the company hires a lot of entry level people. At the end of college I interviewed for probably 5 or 6 companies across multiple industries and was never asked salary requirements. For all 3 offers I received, I was just told “we pay our new people $X.” All of those companies did a lot of entry level hiring, though, so maybe that’s the difference.

        It’s really good that you know the general range for the jobs you’ve been interviewing for. I guess the right thing to say when you’re asked your expectations is to quote the range and ask whether that aligns with the range they are thinking for that position.

        1. Judy*

          Yes, at least in the dark ages of the early 90’s, entry engineering salaries were not negotiable. Of the 5 people hired the same semester to the company I worked for first, we figured out the formula. It was pretty much Degree = $x plus an extra $1000 if you had intern/co-op experience. All of us had 3.5 GPA or higher, so I don’t know if they gave additional for that or not.

          Every company I had an offer from stated that $Y was what they paid their entry level engineers. I was interviewing with large corporations, though.

        2. Felicia*

          I am generally getting interviews with small companies of 10-30 people, so they probably don’t hire a lot of people in general. Maybe that’s why they all ask. I usually say that when they ask , and they usually ask, i just get so nervous that they’ll be one of the few companies that are way lower or higher than the general range. I suppose it’s better than asking salary history, which i’ve never been asked.

          The two most recent interviews I’ve had (which I’m hoping to hear about on Wednesday) they had the salary range right in the job posting, which was nice, but then they both asked me during the interview what my salary expectation was. I just said i’d be happy with the salary range they’d mentioned in the job ad. It felt weird in those cases that they ask. I don’t even know if any of the times I’ve been asked have been negotiable or not, I just know they usually ask.

          1. NP*

            If a company is going to offer way lower or way higher than the general range, you’ll want to know why. Maybe they offer way lower but cover health insurance 100%, or maybe they’re just penny pinchers. Maybe they offer way higher but require you to work insane hours, or maybe they just aim to hire great people and want them to stay.

            FWIW, I think most people get really nervous about salary discussions, so you’re hardly alone!

          2. CAA*

            They ask even when the range is in the job posting because a huge number of candidates either didn’t read it, don’t remember it, or think they’re worth more. It’s a point in your favor if you can say, “the job posting said $x to $y, and I’d be happy with an offer in that range.”

            1. Felicia*

              I really want both of those jobs where the salary was in teh job posting and they asked me anyways, and I said exactly “the job posting said $x to $y, and I’d be happy with an offer in that range.” So i’m hoping that was points in my favour!:)

  9. Graciosa*

    Unlike the poster above, I would not interview someone who submitted a resume showing the current employer as “confidential.” Either the individual is hiding something very problematic (which I really don’t need to deal with) or is starting off with the assumption that our company is untrustworthy and behaves unprofessionally (meaning someone will call up the current employer and tell them the applicant is looking before we have an accepted offer contingent upon the background and reference checks).

    Now I admit that I have heard of the latter happening in very, very rare circumstances (only once on AAM actually) but it is very much outside the norm. Starting off with the assumption that our company cannot be trusted does not bode well for the relationship. I would find it off-putting and somewhat insulting, even trying to write it off to paranoia – which would not be a beneficial assumption for the applicant.

    Fortunately, I typically have more than enough applicants to send anyone who listed a current employer as “confidential” straight to the circular file.

  10. KJR*

    #2 – I have another angle to this. I have never worked anywhere that had parties for people who were leaving (assuming they were leaving with the exception of retirement). No hard feelings or anything, and they were wished the best of luck by all; but no parties, no cards, no gifts, cake, etc., unless their work friends took them out after work on their own. And I feel like I’ve worked at some pretty friendly/nice places.

  11. Julie*

    RE: #2 – For companies that do have an admin who organizes this sort of thing, that person’s manager (or someone else) needs to make sure to plan something for the admin’s birthday/retirement/etc. Otherwise, the person who does all of the planning for everyone else’s celebrations gets left out.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Good point.
      At Exjob, it was my responsibility to start the anniversary/birthday card round robin and also post emails/flyers. As a result, I often ended up picking my own card and making my own email. I didn’t mind much, though; I would find cake pictures for the birthday ones, and it was fun sticking Batman cakes on mine. :)

      1. KJR*

        For some reason I feel weird about this…my birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and the situation Julie mentioned always happens to me. Like I shouldn’t be doing my own birthday stuff? But I love your attitude, I should adopt it! :)

      1. Rayner*

        It’s fine for her to plan her own if she wants to – but there should definitely be an offer for someone else to come in and do it for them! Otherwise, it comes across kind of unfair – “Hey, plan our parties and leaving do’s, but we’ll just leave to cope with your own, right?”

        1. fposte*

          I still don’t agree–I think that’s confusing the work and the personal. If it’s Jane’s job to make sure people have birthday cake, it’s not because she likes them, it’s because it’s part of her job, and “Jane” is included in the subset of “people.” If somebody else volunteers to do Jane’s birthday or if Jane’s boss decides to assign Jane’s birthday to somebody, that’s great, but I think people are making a mistake if they read this task as “except for your own” unless that’s explicitly stated.

          And I’m a Jane here. Some years I buy myself cake and some I don’t :-).

          1. Jamie*

            I agree with this when it comes to cake – because let’s face it…in most offices it’s not about the birthday but about the cake.

            But if it’s an office that does cards (thank God mine doesn’t) then it would be nice if someone passed one around for Jane because “please sign my birthday card that I bought for me” is just so sad.

            And cutting and passing out cake is a pita, so if Jane usually does that she shouldn’t have to stand there and serve everyone else on her birthday.

            But there is no reason for Jane to remove herself from the cake list. And the cake lovers in the office wouldn’t want you do.

            1. Sunnie Dee*

              The office I work in presently has a great answer to this problem. We have a list posted in the break room of everyone who wishes to be included in birthday celebrations. The person who had the last birthday is responsible for the next birthday. So everybody gets a celebration and also has to organize one celebration each year. And nobody has to participate if they don’t want to. And the list is available for anyone to add or delete names. (22 total employees in our department and roughly 15 participate.) Celebration is generally just a food item (cake! cupcakes! bagels!) provided in the break room – maybe (but not usually) a card. We are pretty low key. And we don’t typically have a party when someone leaves.

              1. GoodGirl*

                I love this idea, Sunnie Dee. It’s so good that I’m thinking of sharing this idea with our “birthday committee.”

                Quick question – have you ever had anyone who was supposed to plan a celebration for someone but bailed out? As sad as it sounds, I can just imagine that happening at my company and someone really getting their feelings hurt.

                1. EvilQueenRegina*

                  I once worked somewhere where they had something similar to what SunnieDee describes – we had a birthday list and everyone would buy a card for the person who came after them. (We did have one pair of birthday twins, but the way we did that was the person before them bought for the older birthday twin, the older guy bought for the younger, and the younger bought for whoever it was after him). We didn’t do any celebration as such unless it was a milestone birthday.

                  There was one woman who always seemed to go off sick around the time it was her turn to buy and one of the rest of us always had to do it. I don’t remember any actual bailing out though.

    2. Anonymous*

      Oh yea… this happened to me 2 years in a row! I had to deal with 30+ birthdays a year (sometimes making them myself or paying for them out of my own pocket… don’t get me started) and it didn’t occur to anyone to do something for my birthday even though there were several other people who had access to the birthday list. Ugh!

  12. Del*

    #3- Another thing to keep in mind is that while you may not have particularly major salary needs or life expenses now, you almost certainly will down the road — and where you start can have a major, major effect on what happens with your pay as your career progresses. If you let a company lowball you now, you may wind up paying the price in reduced salary for years to come.

  13. Seal*

    Due to bad experiences with an evil coworker early in my career, I am very leery of all work-related parties. This horrid woman took it upon herself to arrange elaborate parties for all occasions large and small for every employee in our large shared office space, including those who didn’t work with or for her, regardless of whether or not that person actually WANTED a party. It got to the point that going away parties were arranged for part-time staff members before they notified their direct supervisor they were leaving. Needless to say, many toes were stepped on and a great deal of time wasted by this woman’s selfishness. The part-time staff loved it, because it regularly got them out of work; the full-time staff generally wound up gnashing their teeth at the sight of yet another birthday cake. Attempts to ask this woman to back off were met with accusations that we were no fun and didn’t care about the morale of our staff. When the part-time staff got wind of our attempts to curb the partying, all hell broke loose. The whole thing was laughably awful, and almost completely turned me against office parties in general.

    At the branch library I now manage, we have end of the semester potlucks for our student employees and that’s about it. The only exception is going away or retirement parties for full-time staff and then ONLY if they want or consent to a party. This arrangement has been well-received by everyone and all but eliminates any party planning-related drama. Honestly, not every life event is worth celebrating!

    1. Julie*

      If “part-time” = “temporary,” then this seems OK, but if your group has part-time employees who have been there for years, I could imagine there would be hurt feelings if only the full time employees got parties for retirement/going-away.

      1. Seal*

        For us, part time = student employees, who by definition are temporary. We have upwards of a dozen student employees at any given time with lots of turnover, so a single event per semester for them is the most practical way to go.

          1. Anonymous*

            Probably because students come with work-study funding for what I can only assume is some sort of arrangement between the library and a local school.

  14. LV*

    Sort of related to question 1, I am applying for some library positions at a local university. The ad says to send them to Jane Doe, head librarian, but the email address provided is along the lines of like library@[nameofuni].edu one. I’m slightly concerned it’s a shared account that multiple people might have access to (at my current job, the address for general inquiries is library@[govtdept] and all staff have the login info for it). I definitely don’t want all the circ staff at the university to be able to look at my CV. Bleh.

    1. Anon*

      The (university) library I work at sends CVs & cover letters for professional candidates coming in for an interview/presentation to all staff so anyone who wants to sit in on the presentation & give feedback can. It is only for the librarian (or equivalent) positions, but they really do go out to all regular staff.

    2. Anonymous*

      Get over yourself. If you want to work with them, then you are going to have to allow them to learn about your professional history. Confidentiality is a legitimate concern, but getting huffy that the library”peons” might read and judge your credentials is a terrible attitude to have.

      As a former circ staffer, I must say that you make yourself sound like a pill to work with.

      1. LV*

        You’re reading way too much into my post. I’m not getting “huffy” and I certainly never said I consider anyone to be a “peon.” I didn’t mean to imply that I consider circ staff to be lesser than librarians – at my current (very small) library I’m the only reference librarian and the only one who does circ-related tasks on a regular basis.

        A lot of other commenters have said they would feel uncomfortable having their job application materials shared with a bunch of people that are not actually involved in the hiring process. That’s what I was trying to say. There’s a big difference between sharing your work history and experience with your colleagues organically, over time, in normal conversation, and them knowing your work history and experience because they had access to your resume when you didn’t expect they would and when they probably shouldn’t.

  15. Anonymous*

    A tangent on #1:

    That said, it makes sense to remind people that they should not share anything they learn about candidates outside the company…

    My dad’s friend gave me a lead on a job at a company he is a customer of. He mentioned me to them and they welcomed an application from me. I went through the interviewing process, and the friend went back to the company and inquired about my status (without me or my family knowing and after we told him to leave it to me). The people told him the status – they were going to hire me – and he got the word back to me faster than it was for them to make a phone call. I know my dad’s friend was way out of line, but I think the company was just as much out of line for telling him anything about my candidacy.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eh, I think the friend was in the wrong, but not the company. If he’s someone they know well, it’s not crazy for them to have replied with something like, “We thought she was great and plan to offer her the job, thanks so much for connecting us!” That’s pretty common.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s true — if it was a casual “how’d you like Jane?” then yes, I agree with you. If it was a “are you rejecting or hiring Jane?” that would be weird … but now that I write it out, it’s far more likely that it was the former.

  16. EvilQueenRegina*

    There were better ways that it could have been worded, but I can kind of understand why OP2 may not have wanted to be the one to arrange the party.

    My coworker, who I will call Philomena as I do when I reference this person, threw a tantrum because I had a party for my 30th and hadn’t arranged a party for her 60th. Philomena didn’t even want a party, in fact she always turned down social occasions saying she didn’t like them and as soon as she walked in she started wanting to go home again. Initially, no one even knew it was her 60th for ages – her birthday was on a Sunday and she mentioned it about 15 minutes before we closed on the Friday. The person she told immediately panicked, rushed out and bought her flowers, chocolates and a bottle of wine, organised the card, but she didn’t think Philomena would want a party either. It happened that a lot of people were out on the Monday and people she didn’t know well got pounced on to sign and fill up the card. Since we didn’t get along, I don’t even think she’d have wanted me there and I do draw the line at organising a night out in the knowledge I wouldn’t be going. It was also true that at the time I didn’t really have time to take it on anyway.

    Seven months down the line, another coworker asked Philomena if she wanted a place at my birthday meal and Philomena said “No! EvilQueenRegina didn’t organise a party for my 60th,” When it was pointed out to her that people hadn’t known about her 60th, she said “Oh, whatever!” and stomped out of the room. (She never found out that that got back to me.) She then went on to tell an ex-coworker who she met in town (who had left right before her 60th) that her 60th had been completely ignored.

    Slightly OT, but on the subject of leaving parties, I’d originally intended to have one, but after a month it still hasn’t happened. This was initially because my move of job happened so fast (that’s a whole other story) that there just wasn’t time to plan anything before I went. On the first day of my new job (20 Jan), we found out that a former coworker had died of cancer and in the circumstances I didn’t think that was the time to be talking leaving parties so I haven’t pursued it. I’m wondering now whether it’s been left too late and should just be dropped, whether it’s still too soon after my coworker, or whether to try and arrange something belated. I’m not expecting anyone else to arrange it for me though. (The other issue is, Philomena is being laid off and is to go at the end of March but again I don’t see my former coworkers arranging her a party, and I can see a repeat of the birthday situation coming, so maybe I should abandon it for that reason?)

  17. Cassie*

    #2: though it would be somewhat hurtful to hear a coworker say “I just sit [next to Cassie]!” or something like that, I get where the OP is coming from. Who is this other coworker who thinks he/she can dictate the rules of office party planning?

    I think a simple/direct “no, I’m not going to organize the party” should have been enough to get the coworker to stop. Saying “I wasn’t planning on it” sounds like it hadn’t occurred to you but that you might do it. (And I don’t think the OP needs an excuse other than “I don’t want to” – this is not directly related to work. Some people hate organizing parties and such; some people love it).

    1. Ruffingit*

      Agreed that it would be hurtful. 2 years sharing an office/cube is long enough to have developed a closer relationship than you might have with other co-workers regardless of whether you’d call the person a friend.

  18. Ruffingit*

    #5 – I think I might be concerned about why the successful candidate left the job after only four months. Maybe it’s not such a great place to work after all. I’d do some digging on culture before applying again.

  19. SL*

    I sent in question #1 and I really appreciate the people who shared their perspectives here. It’s good to know what kind of situations to avoid and make decisions based on more than just my own experiences.

    I tend to err on the side of caution, so I was originally planning on only sharing resumes on a need to know basis. The people who will be involved in the interview process (myself, our Director, and the two Librarians coming in to the second interviews) will need to see them. It was only when someone else asked about seeing them (our retiring Librarian) that I stopped to ask myself if I was being overly cautious (or was I over sharing? – I have a tendency to over analyze!).

    I do think I’ll share the resumes of the candidates coming for second interviews with the Librarian who will be leaving. I trust her completely and it’s possible she could offer us valuable feedback, so there is the possibility of gaining valuable insight without losing anything since I know she won’t share the info with anyone outside of our department.

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