accepted a promotion without talking salary, name-dropping in interviews, and more

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

1. I accepted a promotion without asking about the salary

Thanks to a lot of the great comments on Open Thread, I successfully interviewed for and got a promotion at my company. The issue now is that I have no idea what my new salary is. I can only assume that the position comes with a pay bump, as I am now a manager, but it wasn’t discussed in my internal interview, nor was it discussed when my boss called me to offer me the position (he is in a remote office). It was a very brief phone call with my boss saying, “You came out as the lead in the interviews, and so we want to offer it to you.” It sort of took me by surprise (I was dealing with another work emergency at the time) and so I just said yes and left it at that, thinking that we would have more time to discuss the details. But almost a week has gone by and I havent heard anything about a plan for any additional training etc. etc. – my boss and I have just set up a couple of phone calls to talk this week.

How do I bring this up with him and our operations manager without coming across too forward or that money is the only reason I took this new position (which is partly is)?

You guys have to stop accepting job offers (including promotions) without talking about salary. Here’s the thing: Once you accept, you lose all your negotiating power. They already know that you’re going to accept the job at whatever they offer you, because you already have.

It is not gauche or overly greedy to ask about money. You work for money. They are expecting you to ask about money. They will not think it’s weird. When someone offers you a job or promotion that you want to accept but doesn’t mention money, say, “Great! I’ve been so excited about this role and I’m thrilled to get the offer. Can you give more details about the offer — salary and so forth?”

But that doesn’t help you now, I realize, so go back to your boss and say this: “I’m really excited that you’ve offered me the role. Can we discuss the details of the offer, including salary?”

Depending on the specifics of the conversations you’ve had with her, you might be able to play this off as if you assumed this conversation was planned all along, and that nothing is a done deal until salary is hammered out. But if you’ve already had conversations that would make that impossible (i.e., if it definitely sounded like you already committed), you can’t do that — because if you clearly already accepted, that will look unprofessional. In that case, you can use the language above, but modify it accordingly.

2. Is it creepy to name-drop in an interview?

I have a phone interview tomorrow, and the recruiter mentioned that I will have the meeting with the hiring manager, “Jane.” I looked up Jane on LinkedIn and contacted a mutual friend “Liz.” (Not sure what my true intentions were, but maybe to see if Liz thought Jane was super nice, crazy, etc.). When I asked Liz if she thought it would be creepy if I mentioned her during the interview, she said “You can ABSOLUTELY mention in me, in fact, please tell her I said hello! Networking indicates that you have done your homework and that you want the job. Always a good idea to check in with the other person (me) to make sure the relationship is in good standing– for this interview, I am confident that it will help.”

However, I just asked a job coach I hired, and she said it would be a bad idea, that it would be a distraction, and that it would have a “gossipy” feel because I talked to others about her. She said that it definitely won’t help, and could possibly hurt. What do you think?

I think you need to dump that job coach because she’s giving you terrible advice. It’s not at all gossipy or distracting to do this. It’s completely normal, people do it all the time, and your job coach needs to find a new line of work where she’s giving out horrible advice.

3. Interviewers who ask when you graduated from college

I’ve had a couple of interviews over the past few weeks, one in person and one over the phone, and during both, the question of “when did you graduate college?” came up. As my resume only covers the last 10 years of my working life, I’m wondering if this is how potential employers are now getting around “how old are you?” One of my friends mentioned they might just be filling in the gaps, but I tend to think that it might be a way around that.

Well, if you appear to be on the younger side (in appearance or based on your resume), an interviewer who asks this is probably trying to gauge how seasoned you are — it can be a quick shorthand for maturity, professional gravitas, and general life experience. But if you’re older, then yeah, it can absolutely be a round-about way of trying to calculate your age. (Keep in mind that age discrimination laws only protect those who are 40 and older, so the first scenario isn’t legally problematic, while the second one can be.)

4. Mentioning a death during a job interview

I interviewed for a position the other day (my 10th interview for a job in my projected career field that I didn’t get, which is a problem for another day) and one of the panelists, upon learning what county I am from, rather excitedly asked me if I knew X. In fact I did know X, and was saddened when this gentleman died 2 years ago. It was also apparent to me that the panelist asking me had no idea that X had passed away, as he spoke of X in the present tense.

What is the best way to handle that situation in the future? I didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news in an interview but I also didn’t want to pretend that X wasn’t dead! (I indicated that I knew X and for how long and moved on.)

Handle it like you would in any other context; interviewers don’t require kid glove handling on this kind of thing. I’d just say something like, “I did indeed know X and thought he was great. Did you know that he passed away several years ago?”

5. Refusing to hire people who don’t have phones

Is it legal to not hire someone if they do not have a working phone, landline, cell, or other? I refuse to believe that in this day and age of emails, Skype, and other means of communication, a phone would be a complete barrier to not being able to even be considered for a job.

Yes, that’s legal. (However, I’m not sure how an employer would know unless you volunteered it. You could set up a Skype or Google Voice number without actually having a phone.)

{ 215 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl

    #2 is crazy. A mutual acquaintance is a trusted reference for the interviewer. It is the best kind of reference!

    1. Chloe

      +1. That is a terrible job coach. How can networking be a ‘distraction’ or ‘gossipy’? Maybe the coach is hoping OP won’t get the job so she can continue to get more work…

      1. OP #2

        Ok that’s a whole topic onto itself. I completely regret hiring this coach for her full services. I should have just done a couple of the a la carte items such as resume revamp and 1 hour interview coaching… There were MANY glowing reviews on her linkedin page about how quickly she found people a job (in this very specific niche position). Now that I’ve used her services, I’m convinced that she only allows positive reviews on her page, OR she has given those reviewers discounts!

      2. OP #2

        I forgot to mention– actually I paid her one flat fee, and our contract is up as soon as I get another job (even if it’s not in that specific position she “specializes” in). *sigh* I got desperate and now regret hiring her.

        1. Stephanie

          Yeah, I can commiserate. I started working with one (a friend referred me) and I kind of regret it. Some stuff is good, but other stuff is just crazy salesy or flat-out bad advice. Fee’s already been paid, but we’ve got a similar deal where the arrangement’s not over until I land a job.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      Seriously. The only thing I can think of is that some people might react poorly to trawling social networks for connections. Me, I practice my Google-fu constantly, even though I am a master, so that wouldn’t surprise me at all, but since I know others don’t always feel the same, I’d probably say to Jane “Oh, my friend Liz Lemon has been very supportive in my job search, and so when I happened to mention that I was interviewing with you, she said that she had worked with you at Teapots, Inc, and to say hello!”

    3. OP #2

      So I already had the phone interview Wednesday morning. I went with my gut and did mention my friend “Liz.” I think it was pretty smooth: The hiring manager asked me to explain where I’ve been and what I’ve done, and how I ended up being interested in this position. When I got to the job where I worked with “Liz,” I said “By the way…”

      I think it may have been just a bit distracting because it interrupted the flow of the chronology, but she was very nice about it and said “Wow, what a small world” and then we continued.

      P.S. AAM finally picked one of my questions! I’m so happy! :)

  2. The IT Manager

    For #5, I think you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t list a phone number at all. If they ask for a number to reach you in email for a phone pre-screen or interview and you say that don’t have one, but offer Skype instead I think you come across as inconvenient and they very likely have enough candidates not to make special accommodations for people who do not have a phone or phone alternative. Although if they set up a face to face interview via email, they may never notice, but I would guess if you do get the job at some point they’ll want to phone you and won’t want to jump through hoops to do it.

    1. Artemesia

      You can get a pay by the minute cell phone for pennies — no real excuse not to have one when job searching.

      1. Jessa

        Not to mention if you are unemployed and on benefits for that you probably qualify for one of the state subsidised phones. You get a decent amount of minutes gratis and extra for a very small fee. For just this reason. Nowadays people looking for work are expected to have phones.

    2. Graciosa

      Our company phone screens everyone before selecting candidates to interview. I suspect that not having a phone number would definitely make it harder to reach the candidate for screening.

      1. Chris

        Yes! And, you just don’t want to be a bother when you are job searching. Just today my organization interviewed four people for a new position. Before the interviews even started, one of them was at a huge disadvantage because she had pushed back on interviewing via Skype. The interview panels thought was basically that if she isn’t resourceful enough to figure out how to Skype, then she is either: 1) not as interested in the job as the other candidates; or 2) not enough of a go-getter-figure-stuff-out type of person for the job.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger

      Google Voice and Chat are free and you can use any computer with audio to chat as if you’re on a phone. I usually use GTalk to call in to conference calls from home so I don’t have to deal with a phone handset. Thinking that employers should work around your quirks about having a phone is kind of like not having email and telling them that they should send you a letter via snail mail instead, except that is more understandable because someone might have a valid reason (budget) for not having a computer, whereas since the OP has a computer that they use for email, they can easily set up a phone number for free.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Oops, rereading the post, OP#5 sounds like they were willing to make a Skype call, but the potential employer wanted them to have an actual phone. Well, if it were me I would just give out my Google Voice number and not mention that it’s not a landline or cell. If the employer is insisting that the number be dedicated to a specific cell or landline phone, yeah, that’s pretty stupid, but it’s their prerogative, unfortunately. I never post my (VoIP) landline or cell numbers anywhere, just my GV number, but if I were interviewing and an employer asked, I’d probably give it to them unless they had a controlling vibe, in which case I’d probably withdraw at that point.

        But like others have said, I’d consider a cheap prepaid cell for job hunting, as some employers will want to know that they can get in touch with you right away.

    4. Human Resources Coordinator

      I read this from the employer’s viewpoint. I don’t think an employer can require someone to own a phone, just like they can’t require them to have a physical address, since this requirement would screen out some very poor people who cannot afford their own phone (and if you can’t afford a phone, you likely can’t afford a computer and so don’t have Skype or Google Voice either). Screening people out for that kind of reason is seen by the EEOC as having a disparate impact and is frowned on. What can maybe be required is that the person have access to a phone, in order to do a phone interview, but not that they own one. So, it would be a bad idea for employers to make having a phone a requirement in their applications. But from the applicant side, you want to be as easy to reach and as low-hassle as you can be, so get a cell phone or some kind of number if at all possible.

  3. Brett

    #5 As long as the person calling dials *82 first, our phone system (Avaya) tells us if the call is landline, VoIP, or cell, and who the provider is. Avaya is pretty common system, and others probably can do the same thing, so I think if an employer was concerned about this, they could use such a system and have the candidate call in with *82.

    1. Liz in a Library

      Yeah, our phone system at my last job was like that, too.

      Honestly though, I can’t think of any reason why it would matter to an employer what kind of phone you have as long as there is a phone where they can reach you. Maybe in an emergency responder job where you will need to be reachable during large-scale service outages. Otherwise, why would it matter?

    2. Brett

      We are emergency responders… and we give our employees phones so we can reach them.
      So yeah, I don’t understand an employer that would require an applicant to have an actual phone who did not also give their employees phones. I am just saying that, if this is important to an employer, it is fairly trivial to determine if someone really has a landline or cell phone or if they are using a VoIP service.

    3. Koko

      Wait, I don’t understand this. If I call you, I need to dial *82 so that you can learn more about my phone? Why would you need that information, and why as a caller would I ever want to dial *82 first? Why is this a service?

      1. Amber

        I thought I misread, but you’re right, it does say that. I think the poster meant UNLESS someone dials *82.

      2. Brett

        *82 disables all call blocking features on that call. If you have no call blocking, our system will be able to detect all of that information already. If you have call blocking, it cannot, but *82 disables the call blocking.

        If you ever get a call that caller ID says “private call” or something like that, it has call blocking. If they had dialed *82 first, you would get their caller ID info.

        So, if someone dials *82 before calling, we will always get all of the info. We actually ask for this anyway for call-in phone interviews to make sure we are answering the call we expect.

        1. smilingswan

          You probably lose a lot of great candidates that way. I wouldn’t dial *82. How is it any of your business what type of phone service an applicant has?

          1. Brett

            Never had a candidate refuse to do this. It just insures that the person calling is calling from the line we expect. We have had people call the wrong line though, and *82 makes this very easy to resolve.

            1. KH

              I am also struggling to understand this. What line are you expecting the person to call from? And why does it matter what line they call from? Not asking in a negative way, just trying to understand.

    4. Observer

      It’s not a standard feature on phone systems, and it also requires that your phone service works with it. And, I would also suspect that people who aren’t set up for and comfortable with skype etc. are not likely to be using this feature on a regular basis. And, besides, plenty of landlines would show up as “voip”, since they technically are, even though you are using a standard phone.

      Based on what #5 wrote, however, I’d be willing to bet that if #5 just provides a phone number, it wouldn’t be a problem. Notice the wording “landline, cell or other” (which indicates that voip or the like should be ok) and in a day and “age of emails, Skype, and other means of communication, ” no mention of any sort of voice only communications.

      I think Alison is right. Set up a Google Voice or Skype Phone number and have done.

  4. DeadManTalking

    I’m the person from #4. Thanks for the advice Allison- I’d never encountered that situation before and was caught a bit off guard by it.

    Now I know…and knowing is half the battle!

    1. Fucshia

      I could see that as a test by the interviewer too. To see if you actually did know the person.

      1. DeadManTalking

        You never know these days. I’ve done a lot of interviewing in the last year and still get surprised in interviews with questions or tasks I didn’t anticipate

  5. K

    #5: I think it’s best to have some kind of phone. It’s often the fastest way to reach somebody, pretty much everybody knows how to use them, and not all businesses have cutting-edge technology.

    1. Nina

      Yeah, you can’t get simpler than a phone call. Emails can be ignored, not everyone uses Skype, etc. I remember a post where the job seeker wanted to use FaceTime instead of Skype and the interviewer bristled at that. A lot of people mentioned that the interviewer may not have access to FaceTime (only available on Apple products, I think) as opposed to Skype which can go on just about any device.

      1. Mpls

        This. It’s the most universal immediate form of communication apparent from talking to someone face to face. The time and technology involved in dialing a phone number is a lower barrier than the time and technology involved in sending an email/Skype, and you are going to get more immediate information in response – either someone answers or doesn’t. With email, you send the thing…and don’t know until you get a response whether someone has even seen the thing.

    2. Jen S. 2.0

      This, indeed. We as a society have not yet moved past phones. It’s not like they are expecting you to have a telegraph or a horse and buggy. Phones are still universal, and, in fact, are probably MORE universal than ever as we all complain about teenagers with their faces in their phones and terrible drivers texting on the roads.

      That said, I can’t imagine that they care what type of device it is. If it were me, I’d just want to be able to pick up my own phone, dial a number, and speak to you. That’s what we do with phones. I wouldn’t care what you’re using to speak to me.

  6. Nina

    #5: Even with Skype and other means of communication, a phone is pretty much essential when it comes to job hunting. I’ve known of homeless people who have a cell phone (cheap, sometimes burners) because employers won’t consider them otherwise.

    1. Vicki

      Skype _is_ a phone, if you use it that way. The telephone number on my resume is a Skype number. I don’t give out my home number for anything job related and my cell number is private.

  7. Dan

    #5

    Actually, Google Voice requires some phone through which to activate your account. That said, you can get a skype number for a few bucks a month.

    As others have said, there’s really no excuse to not have a phone number in this day and age. It’s still common to have some phone discussions during the application/interview process, and I would think you’re a bit out there if I can’t *call* you. It’d be the same as not having an email address. BOTH are required for job hunting in this day and age.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      Yes, but GV doesn’t require that you *use* that phone…if you have a friend who will never use GV, you could use their phone to activate a GV number, then just use it on a computer from then on. It’s possible. For someone who is in front of a computer all the time, it’s actually not a bad idea. You can get transcripts and WAV files of your voicemail emailed to you. GV also allows you to choose which contacts ring through to which numbers, which go directly to voice mail…it even allows you to mark voicemail as spam, and from then on you can play the “out of service” tones and message if that number calls you back!

      (No, they’re not paying me for this, I just <3 my GV.)

      1. Vicki

        But… unless they’ve changed something since I got my Google Voice number, GV, cannot be used to replace a telephone, can it?. You can’t call back or have a conversation using GV.

        (GV does make a great Voicemail system, even if the speech to text transcription is only about 50% accurate.)

        FYI – My Skype number forwards to GV if there’s no answer; GV takes the voicemail and emails me a notification and a transcript. I reply by email. Great system!

        1. Observer

          Yes you can. Two of my children use Google Voice. In fact, one of them uses GV as their primary number. When it comes in, it shows the telephone number – and no it doesn’t show up as a “voip” number. The area code is one that shows up a lot on voip numbers, but also on cell numbers.

  8. Dan

    #3

    I’m 34 and leave my degree dates off my resume. I have this nasty habit of procrastinating, that I don’t want to draw attention to — it took me three years to finish my MS thesis when it really shouldn’t have. While I ceased being a full time grad student in summer 2008, and started my full time job in Jan 2009, I didn’t actually graduate until Aug 2012. And since I was literally one project away from graduating, I don’t want people assuming I was doing “lesser” work than I was actually doing.

    If people *ask* me about my dates, I will happily tell them the truth without reservation. But I’d rather they be interested enough in me to call and talk, instead of looking at weird dates and making assumptions. Grad school was 500 miles away from my full time job, so it’s pretty obvious when I was living on/near campus, and when I wasn’t. A person of reasonable intelligence would rightly asked why I lived in X city for 2 years, moved, and then three years later finally got my act together.

    1. TotesMaGoats

      I think you might be overthinking this. It took me 3 years to finish my degree as well. I was going part-time and working full-time. That’s actually a fairly normal completion time for master’s degree. The most important thing for degrees is that you finished, not necessarily how long it took to complete it.

      1. De Minimis

        It sounds though like Dan took longer than 3 years for the program, he went full time for a while, got everything done but thesis, but then took 3 years to complete that. I’d probably leave dates off too, especially if I had been in grad school full time.

      2. Onymouse

        I think there could also be bias against what might be perceived as an “online degree” if the employer assumes the coursework was completed while OP was in a different city. It’s unfortunate, but a few bad apples and all that…

    2. WanderingAnon

      I wouldn’t feel too bad about taking a while for an MS. I started one in 2004, did a year, found I didn’t like research, needed a job and worked for a couple of years. I then finished the Master’s degree just under the 5 year time limit in 2008. I’ve never had anyone question the timeline, only note the degree.

    3. Chriama

      In relation to this, do people put the entire range of their degree or just the end year? I just got my bachelor’s, and while I was in school I would list it as 2011 – 2014 (expected), mostly to let internship employers know how much coursework I’d done and how close I was to graduating. Now I just list it as 2014. Should I put the entire range on? Is it bad form to leave off the month? (If it matters I’m already working so it’s not like I have potential employers wondering whether I graduated in January or June).

      1. attornaut

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with just the year of graduation (not the full range), but if all of your job entries have months listed, I’d put the month to keep it consistent.

    4. Vicki

      #3 “When did you graduate from College?”

      I got my first job styling teapot spouts just a month after I graduated. I don’t list that job on my resume anymore because so much has changed since then. I’ve been concentrating on sales for the past 10 years.

  9. Anx

    #5: Is it common to expect everyone to have a smartphone? I don’t have one and had no intention of getting one, but I’ve noticed that my supervisor at a new job is contacting me over email for a lot of back-and-forth discussions. I prefer email in general, but I’ll get ones that ask me if I plan to come in at a certain time on the day of. At this point I’ve already left my computer for the day so I don’t get the message. I always thought of email as non-urgent communication that would be checked once every 24 hours or so.

    I also overheard coworkers talking about a text that went out. I didn’t get it so I’m wondering if they received an ‘alert’ or some other kind of message that you can’t get with regular SMS.

    1. In progress

      I think it’s assumed that everyone has either a smartphone or access to a computer so they can check their e-mail periodically. I agree that it’s not good for urgent messages- I would need about 4 hours lead time, and I rely on tech pretty heavily.

      1. tt

        With technology being what it is these days, it’s a little scary to think how those *without* it can be missing out on so much information. My father doesn’t have a smartphone, only a basic phone paid for by work so they can get hold of him on call, and he doesn’t have access to a computer at home or at work (he does manual work). A few months ago, he mentioned that he might need my help to get access to a computer, because he wanted to check on his retirement account. The company had automatically gone paperless more than 5 years ago and my father had NO IDEA what was going on in his retirement account – he’s 60, this matters! I was horrified that he hadn’t sought out the company holding his account, or his benefits person to get that information and ask about maintaining a paper statement. For him, it was one of those “out of sight out of mind” things, apparently. That’s totally on him that he didn’t follow up, but it highlights the impact of technology and lack thereof.

        1. tesyaa

          Internet connections are available at public libraries at no charge. If your dad is motivated to check on his retirement accounts, he could use that. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who receive paper statements in the mail and stash them in a pile unopened. It’s a question of interest and motivation more than access. That being said, I don’t think paperless should automatically be the default for important documents.

          1. Traveler

            You can be motivated and have access, and still not understand how to use the technology though. Some libraries have classes but others don’t, and those classes are not always easily accessible to people who work and have families or other obligations. I know my mother who has several computers, still doesn’t know how to do some things that seem like pretty basic knowledge. I know other people who would not even know how to turn a computer on, let alone bring up a website or navigate the prompts.

            So its an issue of motivation sure, but it can also be an issue with the number of barriers erected. You might be able to learn, but it might take you a year. I think like you both said though, its a little early to be defaulting to a switch over.

            1. fposte

              And something like a retirement account may have its own understanding obstacles, so if you’re not sure you’ll understand what you read anyway, you may not jump through hoops to get it.

              1. Koko

                Yeah, I’m not-quite-30-yet and I dutifully open my retirement statements each month, say to myself, “Hm, it looks like I have a few dollars more than I did last month. Cool!” and…that’s about it. It’d be doing about as much good if I didn’t open them at all.

        2. louise

          Well, that’s one way to not stress out over market fluctuations: give it enough time that the long-term upward trend is all that’s noticeable.

      2. Koko

        Yes, I think it’s probably not an expectation in that you HAVE to have a smartphone in most jobs, but it’s probably an expectation in that it’s ASSUMED you have a smartphone, especially if you’re reasonably well-paid. We have a few folks in my office who don’t/didn’t have smartphones (weirdly, our most brilliant code developer just made the leap in the last six months), but they had to make that information known so that they weren’t expected to have all that functionality.

    2. A Kate

      My previous employer definitely made this assumption. When I started working there, they had a company smart phone for employees to use when traveling internationally, which I had to do once a year. Normally, my boss didn’t try to contact me outside of work hours, but the time I was abroad she had to be able to reach me 24-7 for about a week, and I had to be constantly available to clients via email and phone at a time when I was rarely at a computer.

      One year, IT just got rid of the company’s international smart phone without telling anyone. When we requested it about a week before my departure, they said, “Oh, we have another procedure now. Just put an international plan on your own phone temporarily and put in for reimbursements.” Nope, don’t have a smart phone, so that’s not going to work. Thanks for consulting us.

      1. GH

        And even if you had a SmartPhone, not every carrier even offers International plans, so that was an extra-stupid move on their part.

        1. Judy

          And based on the US infrastructure of two types of cell phone signal, if you didn’t opt for the “global ready” phone, and you’re going to part of the world that has the other technology, you can’t use your phone anyway.

          A non-global phone from Verizon (CDMA?) will work in most of South America, and a non-global phone from ATT (GSM?) will work in most of Europe. But if you have a Verizon phone that is not “global ready” and go to Europe, you’re not going to be able to use it.

    3. MaryMary

      Anx, I’d clarify expectations with your manager. A lot of people assume eveeyone has a smart phone, and beyond that, a lot of managers expect their enployees to be accessable outside of traditional business hours. Better to clear this up sooner rather than later.

      I also have to tell you, checking email once a day is surprising to me. That wouldn’t have been acceptable in any of the offices I’ve worked, especially if you work with customers.

      1. Editor

        I check my personal email in the morning if there is time, and several times after work. This business of having many low-paid workers (such as retail workers) check in every day about their shifts and hours, and an expectation from a manager that all employee phones are smartphones, is inappropriate. If a company wants constant contact, they should provide the phone or pay a couple hundred thousand in salary to you per year.

        Interestingly, a lot of people who can’t afford computers get smartphones so they can at least get email, although sometimes I wonder if games and Facebook are also an incentive.

        Going paperless with stuff like a 401(k) is a big issue with me. I had accessed my account through the employee portal, and when I got laid off I couldn’t get to the account documents, and it took several long phone calls for me to straighten things out. The 401(k) administrators were not happy when I made them resume paper statements, and after the difficulties I had even finding a phone number to call, I was happy to roll that money over to somewhere with an emphasis on personal service.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger

      Well, a smartphone shouldn’t be necessary unless you travel a lot. I don’t check my email on my smartphone very often, usually if I’m waiting at an offsite work location for something, and so it’s during working hours and I am looking for something to do. Otherwise, I’m on email all day in the office, then I go home and, since I work earlier hours than almost everyone else, I check work email from home on my personal laptop. I am certainly not going to check it in the car on the way home, or even when I stop to pick up my daughter.

      You’d be surprised how industrious you can look by just shooting off a quick reply to an email in the evening. :)

      1. Windchime

        Many of my coworkers have an app that lets them check their work email on their personal smart phones. I can see how it would be convenient, but it becomes almost a compulsion for them to be constantly checking their emails after hours.

        I had the option of getting the app on my phone, but decided that my job is no so urgent that I can’t go a few hours without checking my email. I checked it before I left yesterday afternoon around 4:30; I’ll check it again around 8 when I arrive in the office this morning. I don’t need to be connected to the office 24/7.

        1. Koko

          I get work email on my phone because I have a natural interest and curiosity about most of my work, but I didn’t want it to end up feeling like I had to be on-call outside of regular hours, so I set my phone to have different peak/off-peak schedules. M-F 8a-6p is peak hours and my phone gets “push” notifications – so if an urgent email comes in while I’m picking up lunch or sitting in an airport during business hours, I can respond promptly if I have the information without needing to look up more.

          Between 6pm and 8am, and on weekends, my phone manually checks for new work email every 4 hours, and if there’s new email, it puts a notification in the bar and flashes the notification light on the phone, but it doesn’t vibrate or make a sound. That way I see if something interesting is going on at work on the evenings or weekends, and I get a little bit of advance time to think about emails before a response is expected at the start of the next workday, but it never feels urgent or like I have to drop what I’m doing and pay attention to the email. It’s a nice happy medium for me.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger

            That sounds like a great balance. I don’t have email notifications turned on at all, because generally I’m at my desk during the work day, and at home I may check work email at certain times, but outside of that, my co-workers (including my boss) know to call me if there’s an emergency. I have worked evenings and weekends, but very, very rarely, and my company encourages a healthy work/life balance.

            1. Koko

              Technologically speaking, they have that capability. It’s just my Samsung’s native email app, but we’re on an Exchange server, and it’s Exchange that provides that functionality to sysadmins.

              As a matter of company policy, my employer doesn’t use this functionality.

              As a matter of personal policy, I don’t actually store anything on my phone. I photo-dump onto my home computer regularly, I get all my music via Spotify, and Verizon backs up my contacts for me. If they suddenly did wipe my phone, I wouldn’t lose anything.

        2. Laura

          After finding out that lots of work emails are set up so you agree they can remotely wipe your phone to rescind access if they need to, I don’t think I will ever allow a company email on my personal phone without triple-checking.

          Although in our case it’s a moot point, because the webmail portal works in my phone’s browser. I don’t check often, though. My boss has my cell number if it’s critically urgent.

    5. Brett

      My work does email notifications to a large population (as well as SMS notification). Because of this, I know that emails routinely get delayed for several hours (normally 4 when they are delayed) and occasionally more than 24 hours. It is not a dependable form of urgent communication.
      SMS is fire and forget. It tries to transmit once, and if something interferes with that, you don’t get the SMS and the sender gets no notification that the SMS was not received. For emergency systems, newer phones have an alert channel called WEA; you get weather warnings from the national weather service and amber alerts on this channel. It is separate from SMS even though it looks like it, and goes as a blast to all phones attached to the towers in the affected area. iPhones also have their own separate SMS channel specific to iPhone to iPhone communication, and I think I remembering Blackberry having such a channel as well?

    6. Traveler

      I think so. For good or bad, the pace of work has sped up with technology. Checking in once in 24 hours doesn’t really cut it anymore in most places. A lot of people prefer email/text only.

    7. S

      Ugh, I hate this. I didn’t have a smart phone until very recently, and 6 months or so ago I was on a train to an out-of-town interview (about 4 hours from my city) and missed an email from the interviewer asking if we could reschedule! Of course, I had no idea that they had tried to contact me until I got back home that night at like midnight… I was totally mortified. (I was also slightly annoyed that they had tried to reschedule on such short notice when they knew I was an out of town candidate, but I did think it was very classy and honorable of them to carry out the interview perfectly normally.)

  10. Cheryl

    I still have a flip phone, it has no access to the internet and does not take photos…it’s a phone! I basically use it as a watch…but I cannot justify the expense of a smartphone with my income, it just isn’t a priority for me and too, I have hearing issues and a flip phone works for me. That being said, I also am not attached to said phone morning, noon and night…

    1. OhNo

      Me too! I have an old flip phone that I only use for phone calls, texting, and alarms. No internet, no pictures, nothing fancy.

      FYI, even if you don’t have a cellular plan, everyone who can afford one should have a cell phone. Even without a paid plan, and as long as the battery is charged, cell phones should be able to dial and connect to 911 for emergencies.

      From the NY Times, March 2000: “The FCC requires all cell phone service providers, like Sprint, AT&T and Bell Atlantic, to accept 911 calls from any wireless phone — even one that no longer has a phone number or service contract.”

      1. NoPantsFridays

        Yup, that’s why you can donate old phones at most phone stores (most Verizon and ATT stores in my area, at least) and they will be provided to people who might need to call 911 at short notice, e.g. those in abuse/ domestic violence situations.

    2. krisl

      I also have a flip phone. I use it as a phone and occasionally to tell the time. I keep thinking it would be nice to have a smartphone, but I don’t want to pay more every month just to have one.

    3. K

      I’ve got a flip phone too. I’m not switching to a smartphone unless I start making a ton more money.

  11. Melissa Cooley

    #5
    But what if the reason a person doesn’t want to use a phone is because of a disability and s/he doesn’t list a number on the resume? I can understand making that choice because the relay systems that states use can be a barrier to effective communication in an interview. If the interviewer is not used to how they work and/or the operator is the opposite gender of the candidate, it can negatively impact the outcome.

    1. Jen RO

      No easy answer to this one. The candidate should know, however, that not putting the phone number on the resume, for any reason, might cause him/her to be simply dropped before the phone screen stage. If you’ve got 10 good candidates and one of them can’t be easily reached… well, I can’t blame anyone who would just contact the 9 others.

    2. Elysian

      I’ve called through a lot of relay services and have never had a problem (as a hearing person). When I place the call sometimes they even ask “Have you ever used a relay service before?” and can explain it. It’s a little slower than other conversations I have, but it I would be surprised if it negatively impacted an interview (unless that impact was from just prejudice). I don’t know that the gender mismatch of the operator/candidate would negatively impact anything (though sometimes it does throw me off a little if I call someone a lot of the gender of the operator keeps changing). If the candidate is really worried, they could note it on their resume that the call would be placed through a video relay service.

      1. Ethyl

        ::nods:: My partner was a relay operator for many years and they are trained to explain the process and I think at least where he worked, he had to ask every time if they had received a relay call before, even for “regulars.”

        1. Anonn

          Also a relay operator for years, and you are correct. You have to ask every time. The only problem is that sometimes people are so used to impulsively saying “yes” or they are flustered by the question that they say “yes” when they haven’t. The operator has limited ability to correct the situation there because of rules regarding privacy and trying to remain transparent in the course of the call.

      2. Melissa Cooley

        Having had conversations with job seekers with disabilities that would require the use of a relay to conduct an interview, some examples of problems include: calls being placed (both from the employer and the candidate side — the calls just didn’t go through), interviewers not talking to the candidate directly (“What experience has s/he had making widgets?” etc.), and interviewers hanging up on the relay operator when the candidates tried to call. One person, who was contacted by a recruiter via LinkedIn, expressed an interest in doing a face-to-face with the recruiter’s client because of concerns similar to those stated above, and the recruiter readily agreed that a phone conversation through the relay system could cause communication barriers.

        Would it be better to put down a phone number to just to have it listed, but then try to set up face-to-face conversations from that point out?

    3. Rayner

      I think though, at that point, you could disclose the disability generically to HR/in some way on the contact forms to explain the anomoly “I have a disability which makes using the phone difficult. However I have X in place (emails, texts, etc) to mitigate that”. Although it does mean explaining yourself, it would definitely allay any concerns about the phone, and would mean that someone picking up the phone on one end wouldn’t be baffled by the relay system (if they’ve never used one before.)

      1. Anonn

        You’d pretty much have to disclose if you want the interviewer to reach you, as they’d have to call through 711 or a video relay service before they could reach them.

        1. Rayner

          Not necessarily – if they were not deaf but were prevented from using a phone through physical disability, then there could be other issues.

          1. Anonn

            Oh. I was going at this from the relay perspective given what Melissa had said. Hmm. What would a physical disability that would prevent use of the phone be that wouldn’t go through relay? (not snarky, just can’t think of one off the top of my head)

            1. Rayner

              Some disabilities that cause tremors or making picking up and using a normal phone difficult can make answering a phone hard but don’t qualify you for additional equipment like being deaf does. Likewise, conditions that makes speaking hard/difficult to interpret or neurological/non-neurotypical conditions where it’s being placed on the spot that makes phoning hard – composing emails or speaking face to face is sometimes easier. Particularly if you have a bad phone line anyway. I’m talking about my experience in the UK, of course. If people d0n’t have the money to purchase it or can’t find additional funding support, they might not have a relay phone, and prefer to use things like skype (which is usually free!) or emails.

              1. Anonn

                Ah. In the US Relay covers both hearing and speaking impediments, and you don’t have to have a TTY at all. Relay also works through programs onyour computer, and online tools (though obviously not everyone has a computer either!). I can see what you mean though if its something where physically answering the phone itself is an impediment.

          1. Anonn

            Not a disclosure of the disability exactly but if you want to conduct a phone call with someone who is hearing impaired to the point that they have to use a relay service, the interviewer is going to have to dial 711 first to get the relay operator to call the TTY. Anyone who knows what 711 is, or even once you called and got the explanation when the operator prompts “Have you ever…?” will likely be able to put two and two together. The phrases are carefully worded to avoid terms like “deaf” or “disabled” and are approved by the community that utilizes those services.

            If the hearing impaired person is placing a call – they can request that the operator gives no explanation (the operator “is” the caller). I’ve done those calls but it necessitates both the impaired individual and the operator to be exceptionally fast typists to go smoothly.

            Honestly, I think the public at large needs an education on using relay. It’s not just people who are disabled that use it but lots of elderly individuals as well.

    4. Anonn

      People that use relay have the option of selecting the operator of their choice. The only time this is a problem, is if there isn’t an operator of another gender on the floor – but that’s very rare.

      Operators will always ask if the other individual is familiar with relay – and will give as much explanation as needed so that the call can operate smoothly.

    5. fposte

      And my impression is that texting is hugely popular among the deaf, so I’m not sure they’re less likely to have a phone.

  12. A Kate

    Sounds like the career coach in #2 doesn’t trust her clients to bring this up in a non-awkward way. Which is ridiculous, since there are so many opportunities in typical interview questions. I’m only 3 years out of college was unsure about how to do this myself, but it truly just came up naturally in my answers to recent interview questions:

    Q: How did you find out about our organization?
    A: I came across it while I was researching chocolate kitchenware non-profits for my thesis, and after hearing great things about you and your approach to getting young people involved in teapot confectionery from Wakeen and Susan, who I know from my internship at chocolate teacups, I became really interested in working here.

    Other common questions that provide an opening: Why do you want to work here? Why are you interested in this job? Of course ideally not as the main reason, but tacked on to information about your own experience, qualifications, accomplishments, passion, etc.

    And if it doesn’t somehow come up before then, it’s completely natural to say at the end of the interview, “Oh, and I mentioned to my friend Wakeen that I’d be interviewing with you today. He had really positive things to say about your organization and asked that I say ‘hi’ to you for him.”

    Not awkward at all, right?

    1. tt

      Unfortunately, there are just as many awkward ways to do it as good ones, based on my experience interviewing people. I’ve seen some candidates do it in such a poor way that clearly indicated they were just throwing it in their for the sake of name-dropping in an effort to “persuade” you. Or, outright manipulate you in some cases.

      However, there are many ways to do it appropriately, so it’s smarter to give OP advice on how to do it than to make a blanket statement not to do it.

      1. OP #2

        tt, as an experienced interviewer, does the “bad” way of name-dropping actually influence you negatively about the candidate, or is it just neutral?

        1. fposte

          It can definitely be a negative. A candidate who says “Of course, my family is very close to Liz Lemon,” or “As I was saying to Liz Lemon the other day,” is a candidate who’s trying to be impressive without doing anything to earn it. A candidate who says “It turns out that a friend of mine, Liz Lemon, works here, and she said a lot of great things about you guys” is a candidate indicating that she has some context and that there’s somebody the interviewer knows who will have additional information.

      2. A Kate

        I completely agree. I would say the main thing is for there to be some kind of context. Not just “Hey I know this person, but mentioning that the person said good things about the company/organization, implying that’s one of the reasons you’re interested in working there. Or that you’ve talked to that person to learn more about the industry, which shows initiative and appreciation of workplace cultural considerations.

    2. OP #2

      Just to play devil’s advocate (because I do agree with you), my hesitation is that when this is said: “Oh, and I mentioned to my friend Wakeen that I’d be interviewing with you today.” it means that I had “e-stalked” in order to make the connection.

      1. fposte

        I don’t think it’s a big deal–looking at somebody’s LinkedIn page as part of a job hunt is hardly stalking. The part that really makes a difference to me is that you didn’t just see Wakeen/Liz/whatever we’re calling your friend as a connection and then mention her–you actually talked to your friend about it, and your friend is happy to be mentioned in this context (and presumably would be okay if the interviewer called her about you). I don’t think LinkedIn even needs to come up, really.

      2. A Kate

        I don’t think it indicates e-stalking to mention connections. From an interviewer’s perspective, I would assume you were talking to Wakeen (or exchanging emails, etc.) and mentioned your interview at the company. Wakeen would then have said, “Oh, I know some people there. Who will you be meeting with?” Surely this kind of thing comes up all the time, with no e-stalking involved.

        Even so, don’t necessarily think I’d take it badly if I were interviewing someone and they’d done research on the company and employees related to the position on LinkedIn or other websites. Knowing something about the hiring manager/interviewer ahead of time is just a good practice.

      3. Chriama

        If it’s on the internet it’s public knowledge. Unless you built a psychological profile and family history of the interviewer and then relay it back to her, she’s more likely to be impressed than weirded out. It’s totally normal to mention professional acquaintances you have in common.

      4. Fabulously Anonymous

        How would the interview know you e-stalked as opposed to spoke to Wakeen in person and he brought it up in the conversation?

  13. Lamb

    #5, you… don’t have a phone? And you want people to contact you by Skype and e-mail instead, things that you have to be by a computer (or smartphone, which you don’t have) to be reached on? Phones are good for when people are hoping to get ahold of you *now*. Yes it’s true that you don’t *have to* answer a ringing phone, but then the hope is that you’ll listen to the message and call them back at your earliest convenience.
    I would be hesitant about someone without a phone when I am hiring not just because of phone screens and possible emergencies (hi I know you were supposed to interview this afternoon but our building has been evacuated; we’re temporarily at the hotel conference center two blocks over, let me give you directions), but because I can’t imagine a job (as opposed to an independent contracting gig) where no one is ever ever going to need to get ahold of you (as above with the evacuated office, or if you’re currently two hours late, or if a deadline just got moved up and you may need to come in early tomorrow, or various other things).
    Someone up thread mentioned the disability angle, which is a valid concern, but if that’s not your concern, I don’t see why any potential employer would accommodate “I refuse to use a phone”.

    1. Lamb

      I didn’t mention anything pertaining to shift work, because obviously they would want to call you when Wakeen calls out sick and they’re going to be short staffed.

    2. Vicki

      You wrote: ” And you want people to contact you by Skype and e-mail instead, things that you have to be by a computer (or smartphone, which you don’t have) to be reached on? ”

      Ummm. You have to be by a telephone to be reached on one of those. While it may appear that everyone on the planet caries an always-on telephone with them 24/7, that’s not actually the case. There are plenty of people like LW #5 (and me!) who do not carry a phone everywhere, who let calls go directly to VM, who prefer email and text-based communication. In fact, a lot of people who carry smart phones prefer text to voice calls and do not make or accept the latter.

      OP #5 – buy a Skype number. For added convenience, get a Google Voice number to forward to so Voicemail arrives in your email box with a transcript. Set your outgoing message to say “Please send me email with details.”

      Problem solved.

  14. A Dispatcher

    # 5 – Unrelated to your post but because of my job I pretty much feel obligated to say it. PLEASE GET A PHONE! Even if it’s someone’s old phone where the service is turned off, just make sure you also have a charger. All cell phones*, even those without service, are legally required to be able to dial 911 and having access to us could save your life one day, god forbid you ever need us.

    *in the US – I am not sure regarding other countries and their various phone laws and emergency communications systems.

    1. Corporate Attorney

      …and if you think you can’t afford a phone, check into your state’s Lifeline Program. There are both landline and cell options in most states. This is also good to know about if you have a friend, neighbor, or relative that you believe doesn’t have a phone for income-related reasons and that you’re worried may not have good access to emergency services.

      1. Rayner

        UK mobiles have this capability too, although it does lead to idiots calling the police because it’s the ONLY number they can call and demanding that they be given credit or put them through to the phone company >.>

      2. De (Germany)

        Germany as well and we do have emergency phones that only connect to an emergency dispatcher at the side of our highways. Still, had I had my cell phone with me at my accident (see below) that would have been a lot less stressful.

    2. ThursdaysGeek

      Yeah, that’s what people kept saying to us, when we resisted getting a cell phone (I have a tracfone now). They seemed especially concerned with us travelling and not having a phone, in case of an emergency.

      A few years back, when we were travelling, we stopped to help a vehicle at the side of the road. No-one else had stopped, because, of course, everyone has a cell phone and can call for help if they need it. I suspect only a non-cell phone driver would consider stopping. The driver DID have a cell phone, but there was no coverage in that part of central Oregon.

      So yeah, having a cell phone can be useful, but it can’t be the entirety of your emergency preparedness. For too many people it is.

      1. De (Germany)

        My one bad car accident happened when I had intentionally left my personal cell phone at home and my work cell phone had slipped from my pockets when getting dressed – it was on the bathroom floor when I came back 4 hours later. I am so grateful someone stopped right after the accident and let me use his cell phone, but after that I waited two hours for the police and car assistance and it would have been so great to have some way to check in with them.

        There’s emergency phones on German highways, though, so
        I ccould have called the police even without a cell phone.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Yeah, on this stretch of highway, there are 18 wheelers barrelling past, with nothing but sagebrush and nothingness stretching out in all directions. No emergency phones, no cell coverage, no water, nothing but small towns every 20-30 miles. A cell phone is pretty much useless in large parts of central and eastern Oregon.

          I imagine that Germany is different, and leaving your cell phone at home was a serious disadvantage!

          1. Not So NewReader

            There are many parts of the US that may never have cell phone coverage. It’s too expensive for too few customers. I have no cell service at home and it does not look like we will be getting any soon.
            Same story for cable service.

      2. Chinook

        My mom got a bag phone back in the early 90’s for just that reason – safety when travelling. We didn’t ever call her on it (I think the minutes were outrageously expensive) but she would insist we take it with us if we were going skiing in case we got stuck in the middle of nowhere.

        Being a rural kid, I would still stop if I saw an accident or someone stranded on the side of the road, but my first question would be if they had a phone and then if they needed help (though I suspect I would skip #1 if I saw blood).

  15. Jake

    I have a question similar to #1.

    I’ve been at my current job for 7 months, and rumor is swirling that I’m either getting a promotion or a significant expansion of responsibility (think serving the same role, but for two projects instead of one) in the next month.

    Usually you don’t ask for a raise within a year of being hired, but if this rumor ends up being true, is it acceptable to bring up salary?

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      For a promotion? (A significant increase in responsibility IS a promotion, IMO.) Yes!! If they try to tell you “Oh, well, you’re new, we just want to see if you can handle it first”, that’s a tactic that I’ve seen companies use to foist more and more work on employees without ever giving them a raise. Ever. So if they try that, push back, but maybe your negotiating end point can be to ask for IN WRITING a very specific raise at a specific time if you’re still in the new position (say, after doing it for a year).

    2. Rayner

      Sure. If they’re promoting you, it should come with a salary bump because you’re moving up. If it doesn’t, ask. If you’re going from Teapot Assistant to Junior Spout Analyst, a raise is in order or some other compensation (better parking spaces, flexible hours, work from home, etc).

    3. Chriama

      I’m not sure. Why not bring it up in 5 months at your annual review. Unless it’s something like you were hired as a bookkeeper and are now preparing the annual financial statements, I think Alison’s recommended taking the stretch assignment and leveraging it for a raise later on — after you’ve proved your increased value.

      1. Jake

        We don’t have an annual salary review our performance review.

        Our salaries are addressed when we ask them to be and we get a lot of feedback throughout the year, so they don’t do an official performance revise.

  16. Rayner

    OP #5, I think you’re very naive to think that phones are no longer an essential tool in day to day job life. Yes, you can be contacted by email or phone, but as someone who spent the entire year last year in Finland without a working phone (it was from about 1990, and was terrible), you will be penalized for it. Employers like to know that they can contact you – and at least leave a voice mail for you, and even setting up a VOIP means having a phone in most cases.

    You can’t rely on skype and emailing to deal with work related things – even freelancers and contractors need a phone to be immediately contactable on – checking your emails at set times even if it is every hour is just not the same. Sometimes, your boss needs ring you immediately, “XX didn’t come in for work today – can you come in now?” comes to mind. Some things are just better dealt with over the phone and asking a potential employer to jump through hoops before they even get to you is setting yourself for failure. Unless you are the single greatest thing to come to their attention since sliced bread, you won’t endear yourself to them and they’ll simply throw your resume in the “high maintainence, do not bother with”.

    Same as people who don’t send resumes, they send graphics or powerpoints or people who don’t have cover letters, they have links to a youtube video.

    Just… get a cheap phone – pay as you go and stick five dollars credit on it. You’ll get on far better with one even if you don’t like smart phones.

    Also, bonus with smart phones – you can check your mail on it at the same time >.>

    1. Lia S

      I agree; it is unnecessarily complicated for a potential employee to get in touch with #5.

      The wireless world is changing, anyhow. It’s not all 2 year contracts and $100/mo. bills. A lot of prepaid wireless services have promotions with discounted or free phones (even smartphones!). Plans for prepaid usually come in around $40-50 a month for unlimited, but if you just do pay as you go, $10-$20 will usually give you enough minutes for a month, depending on what MNVO carriers you have in your area.

      1. Rayner

        Mine is £30 a month (with insurance for two free replacements per year for the length of the contract, unlimited minutes, 2gbs of internet, and unlimited texts. It’s also an iphone and on orange, so I can dedicate magic numbers which are free to call such as a parent or spouse.) In American, that’s… 50 dollars? Bearing in mind, this is England. It’s a pretty expensive country when it comes to things like this but without insurance, it costs £21 – about 35 dollars, I think. I’m dangerous with my phone and I don’t have my own home insurance while I live with my parent (counting the days until I move out for the third time….>.>)

        But even if the OP just purchased a bog standard, non smart phone on a penny contract or a single use phone, it would still be easier for her and cost less. She should definitely shop around, see what a bit of detective work will get her.

        1. Chinook

          *sobs* quit teasing the Canadians by bragging about your low costs and short contracts *sobs*

      2. Observer

        40-50 per month is overpaying. The last time I checked, you could get unlimited talk and text for $30 per month from at least 2 carriers – and I didn’t do an exhaustive look. If you want pay as you go, you can do even better. You can get a cheap phone for ~$19 and put something like $10-15 that will last for 3 months before the minutes expire. It’s not a lot of minutes, but how many minutes do you need in this type of scenario?

        The details will vary from carrier to carrier, but this is pretty close to what I’ve seen from every low cost carrier. And let’s face it, if all you want is to have a phone so you can take an occasional call from an prospective employer or the occasional emergency, you’re not going to be interested in all of the other features that influence people’s choice. At least in the US, if you can get cell service, you can get cheap cell service for limited use.

    2. Cheesecake

      I am on you with “naive”. Maybe OP is a one-of-a-kind rocket scientist whom head hunters stalk and s/he can dictates the rules. For all the rest of job hunters it is an employer’s world. Not only it is important to have a phone, sometimes if a candidate has phone number from another state or country than where position is, recruiter won’t even bother to consider such applicant. Where i live competition is tough, so HR tosses CV out just if there is no phone mentioned, simply because they can.

      Just get a phone!

      1. area codes

        A recruiter would be a fool to ignore a strong candidate based on area codes. I’ve never changed my cell phone number since I first opened my account, and that was 4 states ago! (and haven’t had a land line in ages)

        1. Livin' in a Box (formerly CanadianWriter)

          When I moved, I didn’t get a single call for an interview until I changed my cell phone number to a local one. Then I became quite popular!

          1. area codes

            SERIOUSLY? Does everyone know this but me? Should I get a google phone number with my local area code???

          2. Onymouse

            This might be country specific too. I think country-wide plans are a lot more common down in the States than in Canada, so Canadian employers might be more likely to assume that you’re not local.

        2. Laura2

          Yeah, it seems pretty unlikely that a recruiter would ignore a candidate based on the area code. Don’t most people at least list a city and state on their resume anyway?

        3. Rayner

          Uh…. Do cell phones have area codes in the US?!

          Holy cow, I never knew. In the UK, landlines do (I still remember the first one we had when we moved to Rural Farmer Land) but mobiles simply start with 07….

          1. Fucshia

            In the US, you cannot tell if a number is for a cell phone or landline just based on the number. They use the same area codes and format as a landline.

            1. fposte

              It might be getting muddier, but you can tell by the exchange prefix in a lot of locations, even though the area code is the same.

        4. Tinker

          Yeah, I’d have some serious doubts about anyone in my industry who thought like that. Yeesh.

    3. Cat

      It’s not clear to me why everyone is jumping to “naive.” Maybe OP #5 is in dire financial straits and is trying to find a job to get out of those dire financial straits.

      1. tesyaa

        There are programs that subsidize phones for people with low incomes. There are prepaid phones that aren’t smartphones but work out to about $120 per year, including 1000 minutes and the phone itself. If I were desperate for a job, I’d beg or borrow that $120 in order to be more reachable by a potential employer.

        1. fposte

          Sure, but sometimes you’ve had to beg or borrow for food and utilities before that. If you’re in dire straits, it’s unlikely that a phone is the only shortage you’re facing. (I agree that the OP doesn’t make it sound like a funding issue, though.)

          1. Corporate Attorney

            Lifeline phone service is often less than $5 a month for basic plans (which are generally unlimited local calls and unlimited receipt of long-distance, although dialing long-distance isn’t usually covered), and the phone is often free. There are wireless and wireline options.

            1. fposte

              Right, but if you’re already in arrears on simple survival funds, that’s not $5 you have. And if that’s what your life is like, you may not be able to hunt down places that could sponsor or subsidize you.

              I don’t think this sounds like the OP, but making a phone really really cheap isn’t enough for people who just don’t have the money.

          2. Observer

            Actually, it’s even less than $10 per month. Beyond that, if he has enough access to a computer for Skype to be practical, then he has enough resources for a number – and it’s unlikely that he can’t afford that level of cell phone access.

      2. Rayner

        Because of the fact the OP didn’t phrase it as “I don’t have access to X; how can I get around this”.. They said “I refuse to believe that X is necessary in this day and age” which implies it’s optional for them, or a personal choice to eschew what is still common and expected for job seekers.

        1. Cat

          Or that they think the fact that they can’t afford a phone doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a job. I mean, I have no idea what the OP’s financial circumstances are, obviously, but it’s pretty well documented that one of the hard things about pulling out of homelessness is the lack of steady contact information to give employers, and that’s a problem when you’re talking about the cycle of poverty.

          1. LBK

            You can buy a prepaid phone for literally $10. You can even get phones with email/internet access for $15. You don’t have to buy a $300 smartphone with a $100 monthly contract.

            (Obviously when we’re talking about homelessness and true lack of income even that amount can be a lot, but I don’t get the impression that the OP is in that dire straits.)

          2. Red Librarian

            Like others have said, I don’t see this as a financial obstacle. In other issues where, yes, the person is homeless, then paying for a phone needs to be considered. But like Rayner said, the wording of the OP implies this is a personal choice. More than that, to mention other technological means of communication — such as email, Skype, etc., — indicates that the OP has regular access to a computer with internet connection, enough access that they don’t see the necessity for a phone. If that’s the case, that suggests finances are not an issue.

          3. Rayner

            Yes, it is, and had they said or implied that it was because they couldn’t afford it or that they had other issues that meant a phone was not possible, then I would have changed my answer. But the way the OP phrased it seemed to imply that it wasn’t a financial choice or a necessary need to not have a phone. It seemed to me, in the phrasing, that they wanted to simply lose the phone and revert to purely ‘e-contact’.

            Which is naive, not practical, and won’t endear her to employers. Having a phone in this day and age is rarely optional – even a basic one that does calls and texts is better than nothing.

      3. LBK

        But I think a phone qualifies as a necessary expense for job hunting. It’s like buying a suit – yeah, it can be expensive, but you pretty much need one for interviewing.

    4. Vicki

      LIke Lamb, above, you are assuming that a phone == immediately contactable. That’s a fals assumption.

      If you want to reach me in a timely manner, use email. If I’m reachable, I’m at my computer. If I’m not at my computer, I’m not reachable. If I’m out of my house, I’m not reachable.

      We have a landline. It’s in another room and unknown callers go to VM. We pick up VM… eventually.

      I have a mobile phone. I turn it on when I need it.

      Telephone does NOT equate to “immediately reachable”.

      1. Rayner

        In the general day to day life, people pick up phones far quicker and more often than they do emails. It’s just a fact – and not having a phone means that you instantly become awkward to get hold of because you must be near a computer or pdf, you must open your email, write it, send it, and wait for a response. Or, i can pick up the phone and call you.

  17. Brett

    #1 I mentioned this in yesterday’s five questions comments. My employer does not give the opportunity to turn down promotions. If you apply, you accept. And sometimes you can be promoted without even applying. Your salary gets bumped up to the bottom of the pay scale if necessary, but no more than that. The bottom of the pay scale is about 25% below the hiring minimum, so it is unusual to be below the bottom of the scale when being promoted but common to be below the hiring minimum. (Making internal promotion very popular with managers.)
    Since merit raises were also eliminated, once you are promoted there is no way to recapture that lost increase you would have had if you were hired from outside.

    1. Rayner

      Your company is terrible.

      Sometimes, people don’t want to move up. They don’t want to change jobs because they need experience. Or they apply and find that the hours or pay or work is incompatible in some way. Or they want to change jobs in different directions – they want to go from Teapot Spout Analyst to Coaster Designer, not Teapot Assembly Coordinator. And they should also reward moving up the ranks with a pay bump or a smaller one with comparable bonuses in other terms (for example, flexible hours, extra holiday etc).

      Get out. That is not a sign of a company that values or appreciates their workers or plans to encourage the best to succeed.

      1. Brett

        It is a great way to make good people leave. But you normally get promoted like that either in your first couple of years before you are vested (and before your realize the impact of a no raise promotion), or 10+ years in when quitting means leaving tens of thousands of dollars per year in pension on the table. Or like me, they are bound by onerous ethics laws that level penalties on an employer who hires me away.
        And there is the whole problem that once you are making 30%+ below market (at an employer where you put in over 5 years), it gets more difficult to find a job elsewhere because of the red flags it raises.

        1. Chriama

          How do pensions in the US work? As far as I can tell in Canada (for DC plans because defined benefits pensions were before my time haha), once you’re vested in the pension you get to keep all the money. If you leave the company it gets converted into an RRSP, but it’s still your money. Do you have a DB pension? How does leaving your employer cost you so much money?

          1. De Minimis

            A lot of government employees still have those type of pensions….if you’ve put in so many years it can cost you quite a bit if you leave because I think you just lose out on it, period. The really generous plans seem to be more with some states and municipalities–it’s hit or miss, though, some others don’t offer much at all.

            Federal is quite a bit different now—we still have a small defined benefit plan, but it’s only a fairly small percentage of our salary and they strongly encourage people to supplement it with our 401k-type plan or other investments.

            1. Chriama

              Ok, yeah. I just realized while reading the open thread that Brett is a government employee. That’s different then. Defined benefits seem to suck a little bit then, unless everyone’s doing it. You pay a % of your salary into a plan and never see any money unless you retire with the same company? Moving to another company that also has a DB plan would be ok, since it’s based on your salary. But if you move to a company with a DC plan, you’re way behind on contributions and time to compound. They don’t give you any payout at all?

              1. fposte

                DB (defined benefits, for those not familiar with the lingo) rules are pretty variable, actually, since different government entities deal with it different ways. In my experience, it’s unusual for a vested employee to straight out lose all the money if they separate from employment before retirement; they may be able to cash it out; they may be able to cash out only their contributions and the interest; they may be able to draw pension from it on retirement but not roll it over elsewhere; they may be able to roll it over. I’m under a “portable” DB plan where I can roll it over into any qualified plan upon separation, or take it as a payout.

                My guess is that Brett is talking about a situation where the separation refund wouldn’t include the employer contributions, which mount up in their own right. Since not all employers match contributions to DC plans, that doesn’t necessarily put you behind people with DC plans (and given that participation in those is voluntary and underutilized in the US, you’re likely to be ahead.) Not saying it’s always delightful, but it’s not complete forfeiture, either.

          2. Brett

            For us, the pension you received is based on a percentage of the average of your three highest years of wages. You get 1.5% per year worked to a cap of 60%.
            So, if your 3 year average is $50,000 and you worked the full 40 years, you get $30k per year. But if you only worked 10 years, your pension is only $7.5k per year. You cannot collect any payouts, lump sum or monthly, until age 65 too, so if you leave at, say 45, you also have 20 years of inflation eating into your eventual benefit.

            1. Chriama

              Ok, that makes sense. In that case I guess you’d have to do the numbers as to whether 60% of a below-market salary is better than whatever contributions a new employer would make. However, I think the below-market salary would be less off-putting to employers who know you were in government, so it might not be such a huge barrier after all.

            2. fposte

              So they have no separation refund or rollover possibilities prior to 65 at all? That’s harsh.

              1. Brett

                Yep. All the contributions in our plan belong to our employer, so there is nothing to cash out. As long as you have at least 5 years, you still get whatever you earned up to that point, but otherwise you have to wait until you are 65.

                1. fposte

                  I think I got lost along the way–that “as long” is a pretty big exception. So if you’re vested, you *can* get your money out? But there’s no employee contribution component?

                2. Brett

                  I think you have it right. It is a purely employer funded DB plan, so when you vest your benefits are guaranteed. But since the funding is all employer, you cannot get a lump sum cash out or receive any payments until you turn 65. There is also no interest or inflation adjustments before you turn 65 either.
                  So, say you were a police officer who left employment in 1994 at age 45 and with the max salary then of $33K and 20 years on the force. You could start collecting your pension in 2014, but based on 30% of that $33k in 1994, or so only $9.9k today. If you stayed one more decade for 30 years, the max salary in 2004 was $51k , and your pension would be $23.0k per year. But if you stayed all 40 years, the max salary in 2014 is $68.5k, and your pension would be $41.1k per year.

                3. fposte

                  Okay, thanks for clarifying–sorry to take you into the details on that, but I find how variable and arcane these systems are quite fascinating, even if the systems themselves are frustrating as all get out.

                4. De Minimis

                  Think ours is similar. I only contribute a very small amount each paycheck [less than 1%] I believe part of the deal to end the shutdown last year raised the contribution amounts, but only for brand new employees. What’s good too is that the retirement date is determined by when you first started, even if you left and came back later [as I did] so I am still under the rules that they had in the mid-90s.

  18. YouWillNeverWorkInThisTownAgain

    #1 – Along these same lines, what if you are told you got a promotion/increase in job duties but you never actually applied/expressed interest?

    About a year ago, I was told that I was being promoted to Senior Teapot Designer. Of course, I asked about the salary and they gave me a small bump in pay. I’ve asked for more (to bring me more in line with the range), but so far, no increase. :(

    1. Koko

      As long as it’s not dramatically different from your original duties, I think this is probably not that unusual. Especially if it was just an addition of “Senior” to the title, usually suggesting more experience and more authority and higher-level tasks within the same area. The one thing that seems unusual to me is that the title and pay bump in that sort of promotion is an advance thing. In my company, we get an annual review which generally includes merit increases for all employees in good standing, with larger increases and sometimes title changes/job band reclassifications for employees who have taken on a lot of additional responsibility in the previous year. But the pay increase or title change follow as a result of those changes having already happened in the job, not in advance of being expected to take on more duties. So it’s seen more as a reward for having kicked so much more ass than was expected of you in the previous year, rather than an advance instruction that you are now expected to kick a lot more ass next year.

  19. Eden

    #5, while it’s completely your prerogative to decide to opt out of phone ownership, you will have to accept that many doors will remain closed to you as a result, and not just because people can’t reach you easily. This is a choice that could send a message to potential employers that you are high maintenance and expect the world to bridge a gap you have purposely created–and they might suspect that this may not be the only arena in which you will refuse to follow the norms and expect to be accommodated. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but it’s a strong possibility for how it will be perceived.

    1. TAD

      Exactly! If I received a resume with no telephone number I’d think the applicant was more high maintenance than I’d want to deal with.

  20. Poohbear McGriddles

    Re #3: I finished my BS at 26 and MS at 29, so to anyone trying to “do the math” I look 4-5 years younger on paper.

    It’s hard to say if someone asking when you graduated is just making small talk, or trying to figure out your age. It’s one of those questions that isn’t illegal, but could make an age discrimination claim much easier.

    1. De Minimis

      I went to a training at my former employer regarding recruiting…wish I could remember the details, but they had a lot of info on how to get that type of information without technically asking illegal questions. I imagine “when did you graduate” might have been one of the suggested alternative questions.

      1. fposte

        Age is weird because it’s not only not illegal to straight out ask, it’s not illegal to use it in consideration–as long as the employee is under 40.

        1. De Minimis

          I can’t remember the info they were really wanting to get from people….it was mainly looking at campus hires so I don’t know if they were really screening for age that much, I think they might have been looking more to see if people were married and had kids, because that tended to raise availability issues as far as people being willing to stay for hours and hours at night, weekends, etc.

          1. Zahra

            Then just ask about their availability for extra hours. People who aren’t parents may have restrictions or obligations that prevent them from working long hours. And some parents may be committed to the rat race and have some resources that allow them to work extra hours.

            1. De Minimis

              The positions were exempt, and it’s kind of assumed that people will work long hours in that field. They also liked to pretend that the hours were “no big deal” or not a regular thing, so they did not want to be upfront about the time demands. Their goal was to find people who would not be upset by it in the first place. This company really had a profile in mind for their entry-level candidates, and wanted to figure out ways to find out if campus hires were likely to fit that profile without blatantly asking discriminatory questions. It was a number of years ago so I can’t remember what it was they were trying to find out, but it was definitely something where asking about it directly would have violated the law.

              1. Poohbear McGriddles

                Sounds like they were really trying to toe the line and find a way to legally discriminate. I guess in most places it’s not illegal to discriminate against someone for being married with children, but taking their strategery a step further I can see where they may think it’s okay to discriminate based on race, religion or other protected classes just by phrasing the questions right.

    2. Ash (the other one!)

      I have a big problem with using years since college or even more directly, years of “experience” as a basis for deciding if someone gets a job. I put experience in quotations because, yea, if I have 5 years in teapot making that’s better than just 1, but if those 5 years are in chocolate selling, not exactly the same, and yet, because they are more “mature” they look better than the person with 1 year in the field. It’s a load of BS and I think there’s a real bias lately against hiring millenials, particularly to senior roles.

      My favorite is while I was working on my offers I got an offer for a senior role at a great salary. I let another org know who indicated they were about to make me an offer (all same field, mind you) to which he asked if I was still willing to take a more junior role and a lower salary “to match my years of experience.” Umm, no. Thanks. Someone seems to recognize I can take a senior role, so I’ll go to one that sees through the fact I’m under 30.

      1. Chriama

        Besides the junior role, I think it’s a little silly for a company to make you an offer lower than the one you just told them about. Either they have reason to believe you really love *this* company (they’re one of those deluded, self-absorbed companies) or they will always be cheap with you while trying to convince you it’s all you’re worth. Good on you for not playing that game!

        1. Mabel

          This reminds me of the company that asked me if they needed to pay me as much as my previous employer had been paying (it was a long time ago, and I had told them my current salary – I don’t do this any more). Um, yes, and preferably MORE than what I had been getting paid.

  21. Koko

    #5 – just because they *can* contact you without a phone doesn’t mean they want to. If phone is how they normally contact people, they don’t want to have to do something different – no matter how easy – for one person. When a company has something you want (a job) it’s not about whether something is a “complete barrier” to contacting you or not, you want to be greasing the tracks to make it as easy possible for them to contact you.

    1. fposte

      I think this is the key point. As somebody notes upthread, it’s like the FaceTime request–it’s just made a simple step of connecting with candidates more complicated for the hiring manager, and most job openings will have enough candidates who *don’t* make that harder for the hiring manager that it hurts the phone-eschewer’s competitiveness.

    2. so and so

      Especially in a situation where someone is reaching out to many low-skill candidates often. I worked as a temp industrial staffing agent for a while and *only* dealt with applicants with *working* phone numbers. Making special accommodations just because an applicant preferred it was definitely not a priority when in came to high-turnover, low-skill work.

      I *might* have made an exception for highly skilled or specialized positions but there are so many jobseekers right now, why would an employer bother with special snowflakes if everyone else is just as qualified and willing to be easily accessible?

  22. #1 OP

    Thanks for the great advice. I can’t believe I was so stupid to take the position without even discussing compensation. Update: When I talked to my manager on a few days ago to go over a few things, he said he had to talk to our Operations/HR team to figure out what my current salary is now (how does he not know that?) and where they would go from there. He is really just the worst manager (this is just one out of MANY reasons why he is a terrible manager).

    My plan is to directly talk to the HR team because I feel like that is the only way I am going to get answers!

    1. Chriama

      To be fair, I don’t see why a manager would need to know your current salary off-hand. It only matters when you’re hiring someone and during raise season. If you know your workers are fairly compensated (as demonstrated by the fact that they aren’t fleeing your company to places that pay them better), then you don’t need to have the exact numbers with you at all times. Also, I don’t think a manager necessarily needs to know what market rate for a position is. Isn’t that the job of a competent HR department?

    2. Red Librarian

      Yeah, I don’t think it’s that surprising your manager doesn’t know your salary. At least not off the top of his head. I would be very very surprised if my current one does and my previous supervisor only knew because he gave me a raise.

  23. Chinook

    OP #4 – I know you aren’t feeling the love, so I will jump in as a “been there, done that” person. AAM’s advice is spot on and exactly what I did when I was on an exchange in small community museum that my grandfather had repatriated artifacts to when he was a curator at another museum. His name came up when I was asked about my experience with museum work (grandpa wouldn’t hire me because my french was poor and my polish was non-existent and his museum catered to both linguistic groups) but I knew a lot about how it all worked. She asked how he was doing and I had to tell her had died 5 months earlier. She gave her sympathies and looked awkward but it didn’t affect our relationship.

  24. sophiabrooks

    #1, I did the same thing, and I did regret it. However after several years, I mentioned it to my boss- how I regretted not negotiating, and she told me that if I had tried, I would have lost the job, because her boss thought I made too much already. This was in a large University, so probably if you are in a business this wouldn’t happen.

  25. David

    #1: I find this fascinating, because often times in my company, internal promotions aren’t as much offers as they are orders. Orders as in: “You’ve been promoted, and this is your new title and list of responsibilities.” How do you negotiate in those situations?

    1. Koko

      Hopefully your company has a formal performance review process that’s linked to pay increases. If so, then at the next review you’d ask for an increase based on your title and duties being upgraded in the last year.

  26. JustCallMeVic

    #5, as a hiring manager, I would find it extremely weird if a candidate had no phone at all, and I’d probably move on from considering him or her.

  27. hayling

    I’m curious about the angle of the asker of the phone question…are they talking about not getting an interview because they can’t be reached by phone for the interview, or not being asked to interview because having a phone is considered a necessity of the job? Is it the type of job that has shifts or requires you to be on-call?

    1. fposte

      I didn’t think it even got to that level of granularity–it seemed to be more whether having no phone number provided would get you yanked out of the pile.

    2. soitgoes

      I wonder if it’s someone who expects to hand in an application, have it read by a manager right away, and then schedule an interview then and there.

    3. Phone Question #5 Original Poster

      As the person asking about the phone question #5, here is the origin of the question. QUOTE:

      “if they’ve changed their policy, they wouldn’t take my resume before because I didn’t have a phone accessible”

      I later contacted the employer in person (in which I found out the job lead in the first place) a week later and found that they did hire someone WITHOUT a phone. I’ve come to conclude as my “opinion” that the applicant in question (friend I was truly trying to help) was in denial causing their own barriers and excuses rather than simply FOLLOWING THROUGH to the person in charge of hiring, of which its always a good practice to get and remember the name of the person you were talking too in the first place . The word “policy” was used by my friend, NOT the company in question, as a way of assumption without written documentation of said hiring practices or legal representation. More of a “filler” word to describe the scenario. Further evidence of this was later added with the following quote immediately after.

      QUOTE: “a friend went through the procedure of interviews, and they had about 5 within the month they applied in, all in person, and those that couldnt make the interviews were immediately cut”

      This has absolutely nothing on earth to do with the current applicant and his own unique experience and qualifications. The difficult part is NEITHER party can confirm or deny any evidence of what transpired, shy of video tape security footage, of which would be far and beyond common sense involving a simple meeting or inquiry towards general employment. My two cents is that everyone has a “give up” line in the sand that differs from person to person. Unfortunately, this does nothing to help pay the bills and move one’s career forward, but rather only exasperates one’s experience and general outlook of the job market as a whole. I believe “its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel if you don’t even bother to board the train to begin with, rather than supplement with hearsay and F.U.D.”

      PS. – I even offered financial assistance to reinstate their phone in which the answer was QUOTE: “i can’t check, been locked out of my account” rather than a single attempt to contacting them directly in person or by several other means. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to have your phone back – FOR FREE?!?!

  28. soitgoes

    I find it odd that not only does OP#5 not have a phone, his email suggests that he doesn’t intend to ever get one. That’s a level of eccentricity that’s bound to clash with just about every workplace culture. Get a phone.

  29. soitgoes

    I’m going to add that the question of illegality in #5 seems moot because there are a lot of legit reasons for passing over someone who can’t take a phone call or is unable to return a voicemail within a few hours. I’ve missed out on interviews because my phone died, and by the time I got back home and charged my phone, another candidate had been interviewed and hired. I don’t think the OP necessarily understands how much the process slows down when you can’t talk to someone over the phone in real time.

  30. poor negotiator who did tolerably recently

    I accepted a promotion without talking salary, and got a $13K raise (most years I get $3k more for just doing good work) so the growth wasn’t all due to the promotion.

  31. Cassie

    Regarding #5: for about 75% of our staff, they wouldn’t necessarily need personal phones (either landlines or cellphones). It’s an office so people come to work at the same time each day, they don’t have to worry about filling in someone else’s shift or anything, and they don’t have to deal with after-hour emergencies. Though I could see needing to call in if there’s traffic and you’ll be a little late. For the other 25% of us, we work directly with our faculty bosses who are prone to call us at odd hours for things that aren’t necessarily urgent.

    I remember a coworker who couldn’t come into work because a power outage in her neighborhood meant she couldn’t open her garage door (so she couldn’t drive) and her cellphone battery was dead. She managed to make one call to a coworker to let her know she wouldn’t be able to come in – and the supervisors were upset she didn’t speak to one of them!

  32. HTH

    My wife’s aunt’s husband had this happen to him in the 80s. He was promoted from some type of mechanic/machinist to a manager and didn’t ask for a pay increase. My wife’s aunt went NUCLEAR on him.

    His solution? He came to work the next day and did his old job. When the management team asked him what was going on, he told them straight, “Since I’m not being paid like a manager, I might as well do my old job.”

    He got a huge raise immediately.

    I doubt this is possible for most people, but it’s something to keep in mind.

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