employer altered my LinkedIn profile, gifts for Admin Professionals Day, and more

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

1. My old employer altered my LinkedIn profile without my permission

I recently left my job as a recruitment consultant on (what I thought were) very good terms with my employer.

In our field, many employers acquire the license to a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter that works alongside a LinkedIn personal profile to achieve better search insights. Being both a personal and professional account, I was asked to change my primary LinkedIn email to my company address, which I completely understand.

A week after resigning, during a work interview with a new employer, the interviewer confronted me about contradicting dates and statements in my CV vs LinkedIn profile. He accused me of deliberately being misleading and dismissed me from the process. Confused and upset, I left the interview and checked my LinkedIn account. Sure enough, my work dates and previous job description had been altered and some of my skill endorsements deleted – endorsements I have collected over a decade-long career.

I got in touch with the office manager at my old job. She eventually confirmed that she’d been asked to change my password and that our director had modified my LinkedIn profile. The reason, I suspect, was to make use of the LinkedIn Recruiter license which was still active on my account and which the company was paying for. I can’t think of any other plausible reason for this. Regardless of the reason, is this behavior legal?

I don’t think it violates any laws, but it probably violates LinkedIn’s terms of service. But that’s not really the right next move here — shutting down their ability to do this again is. Re-take control of the account (contacting LinkedIn for help if you need to) and ensure they don’t have access to your profile anymore.

I’d also send your old employer an email letting them that you’ve removed their access to your account and that it appears someone on their staff made changes to your profile, which is obviously unacceptable, and that you wanted to give them a heads-up because you’re sure that they’ll agree that that’s a pretty serious and inappropriate thing to do and that you’re sure they’ll want to figure out what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. That’s polite code for you “you were wildly out of line and I’m doing you the favor of being civil about this, but WTF?”

2. Who should give a gift on Administrative Professionals Day?

On Administrative Professionals Day, who is supposed to give the gift to the administrative assistant? Would it not be her boss or do all employees give? Our admin does not work for all the employees. She does, however, order us supplies if we need them, but this is her job. Each year, for this day and Christmas, we are all asked to give her money and if we don’t give her money we cannot sign the card. I really do not think this should be done. I feel if an employee wants to give her something, let them do it on their own and let her boss be the one to give her the gift and/or money. Another good idea would be to let the company send her flowers. What are your thoughts?

I tend to think the whole thing is a bit contrived and that you should appreciate people who support your work all the time and it doesn’t require a card once a year, but some people like it. But it certainly doesn’t require cash — at most a card or flowers or taking the person out to lunch. Cash should come from her employer, via her salary.

In your case, this is someone who doesn’t even support the whole office, so I’m hard pressed to argue that what you’re describing makes sense. Her boss should handle this on her own, without hitting the rest of you up for cash. And the whole “you can’t sign the card if you don’t contribute money” thing is tacky.

3. An interviewer reached out to a former coworker of mine without clearing it with me

I just started my job search last week, and I reached out to various people on LinkedIn to see if they knew of any open positions. One of those people was an old coworker, and he had me get in touch with the CEO of the small company he currently works for. I emailed the CEO my resume, and he set up a call for Monday. He then flaked on the call, but replied to my follow-up email with apologies to reschedule the next day. We have this call as scheduled. The interview is mostly fine, other than he seemed to harp on why I wanted to leave my current company. (I’m not happy with compensation or the culture, but I wasn’t going to say bad things about my current position.) Towards the end, he mentions that he spoke with his employee about me (as expected), and that he spoke with another ex-coworker who left the company more recently. I never mentioned the other ex-coworker’s name, and I don’t believe his employee mentioned him either. Fortunately, both said nice, positive things.

Is this a common practice? Or is this a huge red flag? To tell you the truth, it made me really uncomfortable. It was someone that I would’ve never asked for reference from as I don’t like his work ethic. I’m getting a sinking feeling that this CEO likes to check up on you behind your back. And finally, should I address it with the CEO?

Yep, it’s very common. If I get an application from a candidate and realize that I know people who know her, I’m likely to check with them to get their impressions of the person — because they might tell me things that will prompt me to fast-track the person, or reject them outright, or probe more deeply into specific areas than I otherwise might. And I trust their opinions, and I want to hear them. (I wouldn’t do this if they were currently working with the candidate, but otherwise most people consider it perfectly fair to do.)

This is one reason that reputation matters so much: You don’t always get to pick your references. Employers may reach out to them directly, especially if they know each other.

4. My manager wants to send me home when I walk with a cane

I’m an admin for a medium-sized company, and I’ve been in the position for under a year. After I was hired, I disclosed a serious health condition to my general manager, who responded well. However, when I eventually had a flare-up, things went less swimmingly. I missed a few days of work and reported back after treatment with a doctor’s note — and a cane, which I used for two weeks. My general manager immediately began to say things like “I don’t want you to get out of your desk for anything– you make me too nervous” and “If you insist on walking around, I will send you home.” The last was said as I made my way to the bathroom.

I’m having another flare-up, and I’ll be using my cane again, but now I’m terrified of being sent home from work when I really am able to work, according to myself and my doctor. I honestly need the money. Am I being overly sensitive about this? If confronted again, should I say something to the general manager, or to the HR manager,? Should I just ignore it? Can I really be sent home for needing a cane?

It sounds like she’s expressing concern about your welfare without realizing the impact of what she’s actually saying — as well as not realizing that she may be violating disability laws. I’d go and talk to HR preemptively; they’re going to be much more up on their legal obligations here than your manager apparently is. Explain what happened last time, and that you’re concerned that when you come in with a cane again, your manager will try to prevent you from working or moving about the office freely. Ask if they can help you to navigate this and to ensure that your manager won’t prevent you from working.

And then if your manager makes any comments like that again (which she probably won’t, after HR educates her about disability accommodations), say this: “I appreciate your concern, but it’s actually much easier for me if you treat me just like you did when I wasn’t using a cane.” And if it persists after that, involve HR again.

5. How honest should I be in an interview?

I’m a student in the UK currently applying for graduate roles. My question involves how honest I should be during an interview in response to questions like “Why do you want to work for us over our rival?”

The honest answer is that if the rival company offered me the same graduate scheme in the same location for the same salary, I would bite their hand off. However, the coaching I’ve received at university has suggested this is a time to espouse the virtues of the company I’m interviewing at, but I feel as though just recycling some facts I learned on the companies website is disingenuous. Is honesty the best policy?

No, not if honesty is “I’d rather work somewhere else.” Employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic about working for them.

Find a reason you’d be excited to work for the place you’re interviewing at, and focus on that.

{ 326 comments… read them below }

  1. Brett*

    #1 That falls under fraudulent access, a crime in every state (and often an enhanced penalty if data is altered or passwords are changed). Pretty sure there is a relevant federal law too.

    1. jag*

      Who was defrauded? The OP let or at least was aware the company had access to the account and could change things.

      1. Snoskred*

        I suspect that – in order to log in to the account, the employer would have had to reset the password for the account via the company email address, said email address OP1 would no longer have had access to once she left the company.

        That’s just a guess.. I could be wrong. :)

        1. PoliteCode*

          Hi Snoskred, you are correct. They changed the password via my work email the day after I resigned.

          1. Vicki*

            And they aren’t you, so I think LInkedIn might consider this to be a fraudulent use of the account and definitely against their TOS.

            Legally? Probably not. But I suspect LI will _not_ be happy to hear about this. Please contact them immediately and tell them your account has been hijacked.

          2. Ted Mosby*

            WTF!?!?!?!

            Also, seriously not cool that that company dropped you instead of seeking out the truth.

      2. PoliteCode*

        Hi Jag – agreed that they had access to my LinkedIn (albeit after changing my password from my company email address), but if I leave the door to my home open, does that make it OK to walk in, change some things around and take others without permission?

            1. Anna*

              No need to be snarky, jag. Your comment does imply that it’s the OP’s fault this happened in the first place.

              1. jag*

                That’s snark?

                “Your comment does imply that it’s the OP’s fault this happened in the first place.”

                No, I said nothing of the kind and didn’t even imply it. I simply implied it wasn’t fraud. Fraud requires some kind of deception – my comment was about there being no deception and thus no fraud. It’s a statement about one concept: fraud. That’s all.

                1. Vicki*

                  It’s fraud to LI.

                  Someone _not the account holder_ asked for a password and misused the account, by pretending to be the account holder.

                2. Anna*

                  But you’re right. You’re not being snarky. It’s definitely something, but it isn’t snark.

      3. Chinook*

        “Who was defrauded?”

        the OP because they altered (what I presume were) facts in her Linked-In profile and it cost her a possible job because it set her up as a liar. I would think this would be a type of defamation of character since she had a material loss from it.

        1. jag*

          That’s not fraud. Fraud is deceiving someone for gain. There was no deception and there appears to be no gain either, though maybe there is some we don’t know about.

    2. LBK*

      I don’t think that’s actually true – from what I was able to find on the subject, the access has to be used for specific reasons in order to be considered fraud. Just the act of accessing an account isn’t illegal in and of itself.

      1. Anna*

        But they didn’t just access the account and look around. They logged on, changed actual information that caused harm to the OP, and then changed the password so the OP couldn’t access it to correct the information.

    3. Elysian*

      What? No, this is not a crime in every state. You might be thinking of certain laws against what is basically hacking, but that is not the same as this.

    4. Brett*

      Fraudulent access is not about “fraud”. It is about misuse of credentials supplied to you. Altering the profile in a way that the OP would not approve if and then changing the password, when the credential was solely supplied for access to LinkedIn Recruiter, would be fraudulent access. There is a separate statute for this in every state; with the unauthorized password change being especially damning. Some of these statutes require actual damages suffered, which occurred to the OP with the interview that not only lost a job opportunity, but likely incurred damage to OP’s professional reputation.
      Since every state has a different law, it is impossible to know if the actions definitely were a crime and to what degree, but there is no state without a statute covering this.

      1. Elysian*

        No. No state has a law that will have you arrested for violating the LinkedIn Terms of Service. It isn’t even true that every state has fraudulent access laws – some don’t (some do, but they do no apply to this). These laws just do not work in the way you are describing. See, for example, US v. Drew.

        1. Chuchundra*

          The federal government does. OP#1’s former employer’s actions almost certainly fall under the current interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

          1. Elysian*

            No, the behavior in this letter is not a violation of the CFAA. That is not how the CFAA has been interpreted. Drew, as one example, deals explicitly with this issue. There are many other cases. No one is going to be arrested for violating the LinkedIn terms of service (eg. using a LinkedIn password inappropriately).

            1. Brett*

              I agree that this probably does not cross the line with the CFAA (because of the access to information requirement mostly). But you are missing that the employer actually used one set of credentials (the work email) to modify the credentials on another system (LinkedIn) to gain access without permission to that profile and changed the data contained in the profile in a manner that was clearly damaging to the OP.

              1. Elysian*

                That doesn’t make it criminal. People are stupid and use my email address all the time to sign up for things (Verizon account, family genealogy crap, whatever – they apparently don’t know their own email address). When I log in and cancel or modify the account the stupid person signed up for so that I stop getting their emails and phone bills, I am not going to be arrested. Using a set of credentials that you own (email address) to access a website account that you did not set up is not a criminal act.

                What they employer did is stupid. It is probably against LinkedIn’s terms of service. It is not a criminal act. Maybe there is a tort here (but even that is a stretch) – but it isn’t criminal. It just isn’t.

                1. Traveler*

                  “People are stupid and use my email address”

                  Hey now. I’ve done this before because a number was inverted. I wasn’t stupid (thought I felt it), just have 20 different emails to remember and because I have a common name they are all numbered.

                2. Elysian*

                  My email address has no numbers. It is my initials/name. Other people assume that because it is also their initials/name, that it must also be their email address. I have talked to these people on the phone – they literally send me their phone bills, so I have their number. They are bricks. I also get their boudoir photos – wouldn’t you make sure to send those to the right email? It happens all the time, usually with the same person for a few months before it finally dies out and someone else takes over. Either way, it is literally this: https://xkcd.com/1279/

        2. Koko*

          However if OP could show that the changes caused damages to her, such as an interview being terminated because the changes gave the impression she was lying in the interview, she could potentially have a civil case on the fraudulent access or on defamation/libel if they posted anything untrue.

      2. LBK*

        Can you point me towards an example of one of these state laws? I can’t find anything that suggests there are any states where simply accessing any account that isn’t yours is illegal.

        1. Artemesia*

          They didn’t ‘simply access’ his or her account — they changed information that caused damage to the OP. I doubt it is worth the trouble but there is potential for a lawsuit here –not probably a criminal charge because government seldom prosecutes crimes they consider nickel dime (unless you are black of course and drive with a broken tail light.)

          1. PoliteCode*

            Thanks Artemesia – like you said, I don’t want to sue anyone but still haven’t received an apology or acknowledgement of what happened, which is very upsetting considering the good relationship we had.

        2. Artemesia*

          re#3 I have hired a couple dozen people as manager and ALWAYS talk to people whom I know and who know the candidate. Most of my hirees were not local and were not known but a fair number were and some had even done temp work in the company I worked for. Of course I talked to people who knew them or had worked professionally with them. I’d say that every one of the local applicants who rose high enough to be seriously considered for an interview was vetted this way. I have dropped people from consideration because of the feedback I got from people I know who had worked with them as well as used that feedback to push someone into the interview pool. It would be a careless employer who didn’t use the information resources they had; hiring is a risky business and no one wants to rely just on information provided by the applicant.

          1. Artemesia*

            Sorry — this was supposed to go elsewhere — the posting system here does weird things to me.

          2. JLB*

            OP #3 here
            Thanks for the insight! I just was surprised that he had looked through my LinkedIn profile to find someone to check up on me (or so I thought). I found out later that this ex-coworker had previously interviewed with the CEO, but didn’t get the job.

              1. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

                Yes, I would feel a bit uncomfortable. If I interviewed with someone and didn’t get the job, that’s one thing. But then reach out and ask me to give a reference for another interviewee further down the line? I would be happy to give a good reference for an ex-coworker (provided it was honest) but I would feel the would-have-been boss was taking ever such a little liberty.

          1. jag*

            Other than the example not fitting with the chapeau (“A person commits the offense of tampering with computer data if he or she knowingly and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he has such authorization”) you’re spot on.

            But since it can easily be argued that they had authorization since they control the email used for the account, the rest is irrelevant.

          2. Elysian*

            By and large, laws like this have not been interpreted in the way you describe. First, like Jag said, there is likely authorization here because work owns the email address. Second, the crime isn’t against the letter writer – LinkedIn owns all the information on its computer network and system, so any crime would be against LinkedIn, not the OP. As far as LinkedIn is concerned, access was authorized because it was done with a valid password (notwithstanding its terms of service, which as I’ve described above, isn’t criminal unauthorized access, it is a contract violation).

            These laws in general protect the computer servers that companies that have physical control over the hardware and information against hacking. To protect the consumer, there is contract law (terms of service) and very few states with laws that prevent things like your employer asking for your LinkedIn or Facebook password.

            1. Chinook*

              “Second, the crime isn’t against the letter writer – LinkedIn owns all the information on its computer network and system, so any crime would be against LinkedIn, not the OP.”

              But if I falsely claimed in an ad that I took out in a newspaper that OP didn’t have qualifications to be a teapot inspector and that her title was teapot shiner and not teapot inspector when I know she that is not true, even though the newspaper owns the copyright, wouldn’t I still be the one held responsible for the libel/slander/defamation of character (I know its one of those) if this contradiction of the facts cost the OP job prospects?

              To me, while the logging in as her was rude, the bigger issue was the altering of what is regularly seen as her resume and credentials in a manner that she cannot easily correct (or even notice having been done).

              1. Zillah*

                Yeah, I think that accessing her LI is a little bit of a misnomer – it’s likely against LI TOS, but not against any laws. The issue is if they knowingly misrepresented her – I don’t see how that’s any different from telling someone who calls for a reference that someone who was a Senior Teapot Analyst actually worked in Spout and Handle Shipping. It’s okay to give a negative reference, but not an untrue one.

            2. Brett*

              What you are talking about is a separate statute, 569.97. Missouri’s laws are specifically written to apply if the crime targeted equipment located in Missouri (569.97, with LinkedIn the victim, which would not apply since LinkedIn’s equipment is not in Missouri) or the person committing the crime is in Missouri when the crime is committed (569.95, which LinkedIn or the user as the victim), or the victim of the data tampering is located in Missouri (569.99, with the user as the victim).

              This change was a direct response to the Megan Meier case, which occurred in Missouri.

  2. Patrick*

    #1 – What the hell is with companies thinking they have a right to manage your LinkedIn profile? I would outright refuse to ever give that information over to my employer, even if they terminated me on the spot. That is completely ridiculous.

    1. Steve G*

      I agree, but I also know that one colleague at former co pretends to have started an entire year earlier on Linkedin to cover up, I guess, an unemployment gap. I’d love to go and change that! He also lied about what he did there.

      Of course, it would be better to just ask him to make the changes.

      1. Sospeso*

        Mm, yes, I know another former coworker who upgraded her title during the time we worked together from HR Intern to HR Generalist. Pretty big leap! I just don’t that it’s worth saying anything about, but it does bother me. And I don’t think it’d be good if it ever came to light that her job was significantly different than what she’s suggesting.

    2. INTP*

      I guess they think they have the right because they paid for the account, but I’m pretty sure LinkedIn will allow them to transfer the paid privileges to another employee. When I stopped working for a company where I had a paid account my LinkedIn profile lost its paid privileges immediately. So, there’s really no excuse.

  3. BadPlanning*

    The LinkedIn agreement includes things like this, which the company clearly violated by using the OPs account.

    Under don’ts:
    “Use or attempt to use another’s account;”

    On the other hand, the OP should have probably swapped the email back to a personal email for the personal LinkedIn account (But 20/20 hindsight and all that) to abide by the “do not transfer” and “keep password secure” rules.

    Under membership:
    “As between you and others, your account belongs to you. You agree to: (1) try to choose a strong and secure password; (2) keep your password secure and confidential; (3) not transfer any part of your account (e.g., connections, groups) and (4) follow the law and the Dos and Don’ts below. You are responsible for anything that happens through your account unless you close it or report misuse.

    Note that for Premium Services purchased by another party for you to use (e.g. Recruiter seat bought by your employer), the party paying for the Premium Service controls such an account (which is different from your personal account) and may terminate your access to it.”

    1. MK*

      The matter of whether the manager gad a right to access the account notwithstanding, I simply fail to understand why he would do this. Other than sabotaging the OP’s job search, what purpose does it serve?

      1. little Cindy Lou who*

        I was wondering why changing anything on her personal profile would be remotely necessary or seem reasonable. And the fact that she was dropped from an interview and may have left that particular interviewer with a bad impression seems like something that seriously needs to be addressed.

        1. jag*

          It would be reasonable if the person was still employed and the company was pitching the quality of its team to potential clients, in much the same way some consulting firms share resumes of their team to clients.

          Once the person has left, there is no reason.

          1. Anna*

            It’s actually not even necessary to access it for that. You can give your client a list of your team or send a link to the profile. And you certainly shouldn’t be changing the credentials listed as a way to sell your team. That would be actively lying to your client.

            1. jag*

              “And you certainly shouldn’t be changing the credentials listed as a way to sell your team. That would be actively lying to your client.”

              Depends whether or not the changes were true.

              1. Anna*

                Changing in this instance sounds sneaky. You might update your credentials, but changing sounds sketchy to me. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just semantics, but if someone said “I updated your credentials on your LinkedIn” I’d be less concerned than if they told me, “I changed your credentials on LinkedIn.”

        2. Kelly L.*

          Here’s my guess: The former employer used the LW’s account to get the license for the software thing. When the LW left there, the employer would have lost the license since it was in LW’s name, so they went into her account and tweaked the dates so it looked like she still worked there. So her resume said she left in 2014, say, while her LinkedIn said she still worked there.

          I’m also a little annoyed that the interviewer didn’t even give the LW a chance to defend herself, but I guess they’ve got to weed people out on something.

          1. Judy*

            But the OP said “contradicting dates and statements in my CV vs LinkedIn profile.” That’s not just changing a job end date (that was one week prior anyway).

          2. PoliteCode*

            Hi guys – thanks for taking time to comment on this question! Having worked at that company for a while, I know my boss sometimes gave new recruits access to his LinkedIn to use the LinkedIn Recruiter tool while theirs was being set up. We had a number of new people join before I left. I suspect he changed my password to give one of them access to my account, and effectively impersonate me with false credentials. He knew I was job hunting. Feeling pretty sore about it!

            1. Nerdling*

              You can report them to LinkedIn for this. They may get their corporate access or whatever terminated over a breach like this.

              1. Stranger than Fiction*

                Yes, please report it. And, he deleted endorsements?!? Why in thee heck would he do that?

            2. ECH*

              PoliteCode, did you contact the company that rejected you and tell them what happened? Maybe they’d be willing to give you another chance.

            3. Coach Devie*

              I would have a separate linkedin just for work, in instances like this. I wouldn’t let anyone, employer or not, ever have access to any of my personal accounts for any reason, whatsoever. I would have just created a separate profile with my work address, and keep my personal profile in tact with my person information.

          3. lowercase holly*

            i also think it is weird the interviewer freaked out over that. maybe the OP’s LinkedIn account was just out of date? it’d be like my resume and my Facebook profile saying i lived in two different places. i don’t know.

    1. Vancouver Reader*

      Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I would think a good show would only get you through the interview, but you have to have some genuine interest in the role/company to be successful longer term.

      1. Jen RO*

        I lied during my interview with my current company. I didn’t know the company, it sounded like generic corporation no. 1257, and I only had the vaguest idea about what the job meant. I told them it sounded like thr best thing since sliced bread. I have turned thatinto a career in which I plan to be forever and most days I genuinely like my job.

        1. Adam*

          I think interviews are full of little white lies, half truths, or lies of omission. When someone asks me why I want to leave my current company you can bet that the answer I give is not going to be a completely transparent one.

          1. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

            Exactly so. Sometimes an interview stands out for good reasons but generally they are a PR exercise on both sides, with a bit of poker thrown in.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Not at a good organization, they’re not! At a good organization, they’re reasonably candid conversations about the job and the possible fit. Seriously. You do not want a job where you sense the interview is a PR exercise; you have no idea what you might be getting (and the same applies in reverse; smart interviewers do not want candidates who treat the interview like a PR exercise).

              1. Retail Lifer*

                Hiring managers always seem to try and make the job sound amazing and gloss over the potentially bad stuff. It’s always an unpleasant surprise late on.

                I, on the other hand, am always really forward about the potential horrors in the interview. Better to scare them off now then find out they can’t hack it later on.

                1. LUCYVP*

                  I too am really forward with the downsides of the job, especially since our org. has name cache.

            2. Merry and Bright*

              Seems a bit cynical but it can feel a bit like that. Both sides want to present themselves in a good light. You can often tell quite quickly how they will direct an interview. I prefer the places that come across as honest. I usually come away thinking “I can see myself working there”. The “poker” ones you just can’t crack though, and you are none the wiser afterwards because you can’t tell them apart from 100 other places. Mind you, I don’t have a good record with those.

      2. MK*

        However, in this particular case, they are not asking “why do you want to work for us”, but “why do you want to work for us more than our competitor”, which I think is asking to be lied to. Most candidates cannot afford to be that picky in their job search and there are many cases when two or more companies will be tied. Asking what attracts the candidate to your company is useful, because it helps you see how they will fit in; asking what makes you a better employer than the competition is useless.

        1. AMD*

          I have to agree – unless there are clear and public reasons that Chocolate Teapots Inc. is a better company than Cocoa Carafes Co., they are kind of asking for you to make something up.

        2. Onnellinen*

          I agree – I think it is akin to being asked “what sets you apart from the other candidates?” You don’t know the other candidates, so you really answer “what sets you apart”.

          That said, I’d get a good laugh out of someone answering the competitor question with a chipper “oh, they aren’t hiring!”

        3. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

          Tell them how they are more innovative than their competitor. I can’t speak for advertisements in the US or other countries, but in the UK at the moment it seems that 90% of employers are Innovative, and 90% of jobs are Exciting.

          QED

          1. Leah*

            Ha! We have many “exciting” opportunities for the right “committed, detailed oriented go-getter who remains calm and cool under pressure.”

            1. Windchime*

              And who looks good in both jeans and a little black dress and enjoys walking on the beach holding hands, and quiet nights by the fire. Seriously, some of those ads remind me of dating site ads.

        4. puddin*

          How common is this question though? I cannot recall ever having been asked that. I get ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ with every single interview. But never one that asked about ‘us versus them’.

          1. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

            No, nor me. I have been asked if I can name the organization’s main competitors though. Still, interviewing is a bit like life in general. When I think I have heard them all…

    2. Stitch*

      This sort of question has popped up in different forms over the course of interviews I’ve had. Being an entry level candidate, my interviewers, thankfully, recognize that most of us would take any job. So they ask questions like:

      “Why this specialization?”/”Why not [other specialization or common career for my major/background]?”
      “Have you applied anywhere else? How is that going?”

      My take on this is that they’re looking for enthusiasm, fit, and potential longevity/reliability (i.e. you’d be likely to accept an offer if extended, and won’t be terribly likely to leave in a year for the other company). You don’t want to say anything that’ll turn them off (“I actually like the other company better”) but if you can’t answer directly, it’s not bending the truth to say something like “I’m really looking for the best fit for me, and this company is great because ___”. If you can’t find any reason that it’d be a good fit in any sense, maybe you’re applying to the wrong places.

      1. Graciosa*

        Thank you.

        The “just lie, it’s all PR” trend was getting me down, and this (and Alison’s comment) really helped.

        To a candidate: if you can’t come up with *anything* positive to say about an employer, you either haven’t done your homework – or worse, you have, and it’s a company with no redeeming value whatsoever.

        You shouldn’t want a job with the latter – and please don’t BS me if you haven’t done the research. I don’t ask comparative questions, but I do ask candidates what interested them in the position and what they know about our company. Bad answers include:

        “It’s really big,”
        “Everyone knows it – it’s just – you know – [Company],” or
        “Well, I know it’s one of the biggest employers in the area.”

        We’re a Fortune 100 company. We have a web site.

        When I was interviewing, I found a pretty big selection of things to talk about in the first ten minutes online. A candidate ought to be able to find *something* they can discuss with genuine appreciation.

        And yes, I do want it to be real. I’m trying to find people who will genuinely enjoy working on my team, and will grow in their careers at my current employer for a long time. I can’t do that if all I get is a string of well-rehearsed sound bites.

        Fortunately, I can still find those good, long-term hires, but a candidate who gives me a purely political interview instead of a genuine discussion won’t be among them.

        1. A Teacher*

          That sounds like a hiring manager I know for the Big Yellow company that produces heavy construction equipment. Longevity within the company is a big deal to them.

        2. Anna*

          Precisely. I didn’t know a lot about the company I currently work for (and really, if I had gone in and said I knew nothing, it would not have shocked them at all), but I did a cursory Google search and was able to tell them I knew they had X and their Y program was regarded as one of the best in the country. Was it the Thing That Got Me Hired? No, but I’m pretty sure it helped.

        3. Anon in SC*

          Yes. We usually ask a variation about what about this job/our org appeals to them. We give more information about us and the job prior to asking as well. It’s amazing sometimes that people still don’t seem to be able to show they were listening. The ones that impress (at least with that question) are also able to add in what they learned from our website, talking to peers or others in our general focus area.

    3. Kelly L.*

      Yeah, there is a lot about interviews that is kind of ritual, for lack of a better word.

    4. Stranger than Fiction*

      Sad, but true. I mean, who’s really excited about the manufacturing of catheters (for example)?

    5. Joey*

      Actually this is one of the frequent reasons I turn candidates with good skills down-people BSing me about why they want to work here. I don’t ask that question specifically, but i do get a lot of info about why they applied and how they heard about the job. Id rather have someone who specifically targeted my company as a company they want to work for over someone that’s just throwing out bait and will take anyone who bites.

      That might not seem fair, but someone who really wants to work here is much more likely to work harder and stay.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Level of enthusiasm, how much they seem to understand about the organization, the way that they talk about their interest… it’s certainly more art than science, but a very real part of assessing candidates.

          1. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

            I find enthusiasm is a much better word for work. I get excited about going on holiday, watching my team win a match or whatever. But that is different. I am enthusiastic about my work because I enjoy it and find it interesting. But I don’t get excited about it, which is why I have to take a deep breath when reading most job ads at the moment.

        2. Joey*

          there are some clues. Excitement level, whether they know about what’s happening at the company, whether they know about what challenges the company faces without being told, whether they know how the company compares to competitors.whether they can speak to the understanding the values and philosophies of the business.

  4. Adam*

    #1. Sheesh. Did they ask for copies of your house keys while they were at it? I know LinkedIn isn’t the end all be all to job hunting, but deliberately messing with anybody’s means of making a living is beyond vile. Assuming this was done one purpose, as I have a hard time picturing why anyone could manage this on accident.

    1. PoliteCode*

      Thanks Adam! Having worked at that company for a while, I know my boss sometimes gave new recruits access to his LinkedIn to use the LinkedIn Recruiter tool while theirs was being set up. We had a number of new people join before I left. I suspect he changed my password to give one of them access to my account, and effectively impersonate me with false credentials. I’m hoping it was not malicious but just very careless! He must have known I was going for interviews, we left on very good terms and I was upfront about my decisions.

      1. Zillah*

        Hmm. What I’m wondering now is whether he gave someone access to your LI and they didn’t realize it was actually someone’s account, and they changed dates, titles, etc while they were playing around with it.

        It’s still horrible behavior on your boss’s part, though, especially since they specifically changed the password so you could no longer access it.

  5. Snoskred*

    #1 – I don’t understand how this could happen – or why this would happen. If they wanted to use the tool which they had paid for, then they should have contacted you in regards to that. I’d be deeply upset that this happened. This is a Big Deal in my opinion.

    Especially with regards to what happened in the interview. I’d ask Alison for some polite wording that could be sent to that interviewer which is code for – my ex-employer fraudulently obtained access to my linked in account and changed things without my permission, except this is such a blatant and outrageous thing that they have done, I would not use polite code for that, myself. :(

    I do think what the interviewer did was out of line as well, and I think you’ve dodged a bullet there.

    On what planet do people compare your linked-in profile to your resume, and if they find a discrepancy use it to attack you face to face in an interview? Seriously, is this a done thing? I don’t have a linked-in profile and if that *is* the case and this is a done thing, I simply will not have one, ever.

    1. Ani*

      Yes, something seemed very off about the interviewer and the reaction. It’s to me maybe the more alarming behavior —

    2. esra*

      Agreed, for the interviewer to go off like that because of a LinkedIn profile? That’s odd.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      At the very least the OP dodged a bullet with that hiring manager…and at worst, they were conspiring with the OP’s former employer to embarrass her for some reason, because the normal thing to do would be to either ask the applicant to explain, or to just drop them from consideration if you feel pretty certain that they lied on their resume.

    4. NickelandDime*

      I’m so glad so many people are picking up on the interviewer’s behavior and calling it out for what it is – wrong and abusive. I’m sorry OP#1 – I hope you get this LinkedIn situation resolved, and yes, I think you dodged a bullet with this jerk of a hiring manager. They wasted time in their ‘busy’ work day to call someone out about a LinkedIn account? In an interview?

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sure, people look at your LinkedIn profile and if it’s factually different than your resume, they’re going to notice, and if they’re smart, will ask about it. Why wouldn’t you ask about it if you noticed, for instance, that a resume says the candidate was VP of Teapots at Teapots Inc from 2011-2014, but their LinkedIn doesn’t mention that job and instead says they were Tea Drinker at Tea World during that time?

      (That particular interviewer didn’t sound reasonable, but the act of noticing and asking isn’t weird.)

      1. Nerdling*

        Ask, sure. But accuse the candidate of lying in a confrontational manner instead of just asking about it? That’s poor interviewer behavior right there.

  6. Purple Dragon*

    #1 – What struck me was the way the interviewer handled the situation. It sounds very adversarial. I’m glad they told you about the Linked In profile issue but it sounds like they had you come in for an interview just to confront you and then toss you out, or am I reading that wrong ? It comes across as a bit of a power trip. I’m thinking you dodged a bullet there.

    I also second taking back control of your profile, by whatever means are necessary.

    1. Sherm*

      My sentiments exactly. It doesn’t even sound like the interviewer let the OP get a word in edgewise. I’m glad for the OP’s sake that this lost chance probably wasn’t a chance worth taking, and it brought to light the LinkedIn problem.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I was going to ask if there was any salvaging that interview, but you’re probably right – it sounds better off not salvaged.

    3. thisisit*

      yeah this really bugged me. LI profiles are often inaccurate and I wouldn’t be surprised by inconsistencies with someone’s CV. At best, I’d just ask about them and see what the candidate says.

      it’s also a weird accusation – LI profiles are public, and presumably your CV is shareable. so it’s not like they are great tools for deception.

      you might have inadvertently learned an important piece of information about that interviewer because of this. but definitely get it sorted out asap.

      1. Tenn*

        I am completely baffled by the emphasis placed on LinkedIn. I use it so casually — and yet carefully, too, because it IS public and I had trouble with stalker-ish types in my 20s. So I have my current job listing only, and list my general geographic region without pinpointing where exactly in the metro region I am, and I don’t list my college. Also, because my name is visible in my field, I tend to just accept whoever asks to “connect” with me even if they appear to be in the same general field. It’s just mind-blowing that someone would compare that presence to my actual resume or to how I behave, say, on Facebook, where I don’t accept anyone I don’t know (and mostly, I get no unsolicited friend requests).

      2. Sospeso*

        It *is* a weird accusation. Additionally, most of the sections on a LinkedIn profile (with the exception of some projects that might be linked to another user and similar features), the owner of the profile has control over it… just like a resume. So if there were inconsistencies there, it’s not as if it discredits the OP. (Sure, I might wonder about how detail-oriented the OP was in such a scenario, but that’s all.) It’s not like the interviewer called to verify employment and was told wildly different things than what the OP was presenting. Odd. Just all around weird.

      3. Sunflower*

        The only reason I can see someone making more of a fuss over it than usual is it seems like this is a role where LinkedIn is an integral part of your work so it’s assumed it’s going to be updated and correct at all times. Of course, that is simply a reason to ask the candidate about the discrepancy but certainly not throw them out of the process

        1. thisisit*

          not updated, missing information, different job titles, etc. i think people take more liberties to cultivate a profile more in line with how they see themselves, vs how they are officially categorized. whereas their CVs would be more standard.

        2. U*

          Yup, Simimlar to facebook I think people portray who they want to be not who they are often.

      4. Green*

        Since I’ve had a lot of varied job experiences, I adjust my job responsibilities based on the position/industry I’m applying for to highlight some skills over others. I leave just my titles up on LinkedIn so nobody thinks I’m being misleading or pulls a “gotcha” (no, I actually did all of those things and more, but rather than have 30 lines under a job in my resume I went with the most relevant stuff).

        I would fully expect someone to Google me before an interview if I’m Googling the interviewer and the company.

    4. PoliteCode*

      Hi Purple Dragon – thanks for picking up on this. I need to clarify. The interviewer was a very polite, professional guy. He asked me to explain the LinkedIn issue – when I started, the previous company had asked me to indicate on LinkedIn that I’d already been with them a couple of months to appear more credible to candidates. I agreed to this, that’s completely my fault. I thought the interviewer was referring to this difference of a few months and give an explanation based on that. I was totally unaware that my previous employer had actually changed my time with the company by 3.5 years! He’d also shown that I specialised in semiconductors instead of DTV, which is the field I was interviewing for. I understand why it didn’t look good from the interviewer’s point of view and that my response was very inadequate. I’ve moved on to other opportunities now but still quite sore about what happened!

      1. A Teacher*

        He’s “not very polite” if he won’t let you clarify a mistake and he is only using linkedin as a basis for disqualifying you. You don’t have to be hostile to be rude or be someone that isn’t fun to work for or with. I also think you dodged a bullet.

        1. Green*

          The vast majority of people are solely responsible for the content of their LinkedIn profile; if there’s a mismatch between that and the resume (like, 3.5 years) then it is reasonable to disqualify the candidate. It is actually A Good Thing that the interviewer gave OP a chance to explain it; the problem here is that OP didn’t know that they had changed it and what they’d changed. (Also, if your former job changes your job duties & descriptions, interviewer may suspect that OP was previously misrepresenting and former job changed it to be more accurate vs. Spiteful Ex-Employer.) It does create a sticky situation that raises a few flags (and if there are candidates without those flags, you’d be within your rights to go with them).

          Sounds like interviewer didn’t do anything wrong, and OP’s anger is rightfully addressed at the person/company that made her look like a fabulist.

        2. Zillah*

          But I feel like this sort of thing comes up a lot – people also use how you dress for an interview, numerous typos in your cover letter, and plenty of other small things to disqualify you. What’s different about deciding not to move forward with a candidate who might be telling the truth about a LI mixup, but might be trying to misrepresent herself (and who has admitted to being untruthful about her employment in the past, even if just for a couple months)?

  7. Vancouver Reader*

    #2 – As an admin, I don’t like Professional Admin day. To me, it’s too much like other greeting card fabricated holidays, and I’d much rather have my boss and colleagues appreciate me year round (but not in a buy me gifts sort of way).

    1. Rat Racer*

      I was going to ask about this. I do not have an administrative assistant who works for me directly, but my boss does. I work as a chief of staff, so my boss’s administrative assistant and I are both supporting her, just in different ways. I’ve always felt like giving my boss’s assistant a gift on AP day would come off as condescending. But maybe it’s rare for people to be offended by flowers – I just don’t know. I err on the side of conservatism – not giving gifts, but being appreciative all year round.

      I’d be interested in hearing from other APs about how they feel about receiving AP gifts from people other than the executive they support.

      1. Kai*

        I have a similar job, and yeah, I would feel really weird accepting a card and especially money(!) from my coworkers who I don’t really support other than ordering office supplies or setting up the very occasional meeting. Luckily we don’t do Administrative Professionals Day or Boss’s Day (which I think is even ickier).

        1. ACA*

          I haaate Boss’s Day, and suggested not celebrating it this year because it really is a total BS “holiday,” but apparently one of my bosses would get Very Offended, so my office is stuck with it. Last year I got flowers for Administrative Professionals Day, which was nice, but honestly I’d rather just get to go home early.

          1. Kai*

            Right? I can’t imagine being a boss and expecting my reports to celebrate me with gifts and stuff. It just feels wrong on so many levels.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’ve never given anyone a gift for it and agree it feels condescending — it separates the person out from the rest of the office, since no other roles have “days” or gifts associated with them. It feels condescending in the way that it would feel condescending to tip your doctor.

        You’re a professional, so let’s treat you like all the other professionals.

        1. MissLibby*

          I do think that other groups get recognized in some fields though…teacher appreciation, nurse appreciation, etc.

        2. Green*

          Biglaw culture is such that you pretty much *have* to give money (an ungodly amount) to your administrative professional (who typically supports a group of 5-6 attorneys). The only acceptable alternatives to giving money in that environment were: Amazon gift cards (and only Amazon, since they are basically like money), fancy spa days, or something like an iPad that the admin has been hinting that they want. :)

      3. More Cake Please*

        I find it very condescending because I feel it insinuates that an administrative professional is not the same as other professional occupations. I also feel like the recognition is misplaced in my place because, despite my job title, I don’t support anyone in an administrative capacity. I do the occasional admin task for the office, but the duties most people commonly associate with the position are handled by others. It also highlights the growing divide between the way I’m treated versus the rest of my coworkers in the non-administrative professional positions. I’m dreading this year so much I almost took the day off.

        The office usually chips in for a card and some cheap pens/stationary. Sometimes the higher ups send a cheesy thank-you email company-wide. I’d much rather be thanked for doing an awesome job at my duties than be thanked for being erroneously classified in an administrative job.

    2. HigherEd Admin*

      To me, a lot of it depends on the culture. When I was an administrative assistant for a Big 4 firm, I would have been upset if I wasn’t acknowledged on Administrative Professionals Day, but only because there were dozens of other admins around me and I could see if they received flowers or a card or were taken out to lunch. I would have felt left out, or like my boss didn’t appreciate me as much as my coworkers’ bosses.

      When I was the only administrative person in the office, I would have felt very awkward about being recognized and singled out on AP Day.

    3. Stranger than Fiction*

      Same here. Heck, I didn’t even know when admin prof. day was. I think the Op’s company’s heart is in the right place, but the way they’re going about it is just plain weird. Taking up a collection? It almost says to me “we know we overwork and underpay you, so here’s how we make up for that:.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I’m okay with it if you give me money or time off. Flowers? Nah. Don’t care. Card? Same.

      Last year I got a gift card and I was able to buy a Kindle on sale with it. Yay! I’ll be out of the office this year–I guess if they do that again, it will be waiting for me when I get back.

    5. Chinook*

      I too agree that as an AA I would rather be appreciated year round, but, that being said, I also appreciated that one day a year the boss made an effort to cover my recepetion desk or duties (or I have been asked to cover someone else’s desk when I haven’t been in a support role) so they can take me out to a lunch that doesn’t need to be done in under an hour. I have worked for enough great bosses that know what I do and appreciate it but need the once a year reminder popping up in the calendar to get organized enough to do somethign like that.

      I see it like a birthday or anniversary – it is nice for someone to make a point of saying something if they are normally to busy to do it but, if I have to make the arrangements or bake the cake, don’t bother.

      1. Kelly O*

        I tend to advocate for things like a professional development course, or something that’s useful in the long run. I’ve yet to actually receive that kind of thing, but I hear it happening for other admins, and have hope. It’s so difficult to get time for that sort of thing, it would be nice to be allowed to attend conferences and training like other members of the office.

        I like being recognized year-round, obviously, but I have to admit sometimes it is kind of nice to know that what you do is acknowledged and appreciated, since it so often tends to just run in the background. You could argue that a healthy corporate culture recognizes all its employees regularly, and when that’s done properly I think there is less need for this kind of thing.

        That said, if the person is not your admin, doesn’t support you directly, and you don’t want to contribute, that’s fine. If s/he’s a reasonable adult, they’re not going to care.

        The one caveat I can think of is that there are a lot of people who could fall in the administrative function, but who aren’t necessarily administrative or executive assistants. One year, in a past job, the CEO took basically the whole office to lunch for APD. Well, the whole office except me, because I was the front desk person, and someone had to watch the phones and accept deliveries. I will admit that burned me a bit, since the others were AP or HR related functions – administrative by some definition – but the one person in the office with administrative anything in her title had to “mind the shop” while everyone else got to take a two hour lunch. Someone did bring me a sandwich, but let’s just say a cold turkey sandwich did not taste good when I could smell leftover Pappasito’s in the break room.

    6. Julie*

      I’d rather no big deal be made or a small deal be made across the board. My firm had a day for all and let everyone home early except me because I’m located off-site and they forgot about me. That wasn’t fun but they felt bad when they found out they were apologetic and let me have a half day of my choice on the house. Another job and another year the boss forgot, made me (his admin) buy the cake for the staff office, and then made me sit in a meeting to take notes all afternoon while the cake was eaten up. Then he didn’t reimburse me for months. SMH.

  8. qkate*

    Re: letter #2–in general, the whole Administrative Professionals Day thing reads awfully patronizing to me. If you value your admins as you would any other staff, then why do we need a “holiday”? Admins deserve serious respect for the work they do, not some b.s. yearly platitude.

    But the specifics of this situation are just so over the top (every one pitches in to give money) that it would honestly leave me feeling like “everyone else gets paid more than me, evidently, and all I get is pity breadcrumbs”.

    The whole thing kinda makes me cringe. :/

    1. Sospeso*

      I agree. I worked in a role that had pretty significant administrative duties. I often felt that my coworkers didn’t value my contributions to the team… which I think was partly a function of people not noticing when things are running smoothly, and keeping things running smoothly was a big part of that role. When I left, it was so satisfying to hear from former coworkers that they had no idea before how good I was at that job and that things were a bit of a mess without me. I would have appreciated getting that respect on the job more than any card.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I agree with you. Our entire administrative department takes a half day and do things like go to a spa and lunch (all company sponsored and no PTO required). I think this is a weird way to show appreciation, although I assume the department has selected this option themselves. Like, our job is so hard, we have to get foot massages? I don’t get it.

      1. Erin*

        Damn, I am not an administrative professional but I’d sign up for one if it included company-sponsored pedicures!

      2. esra*

        Honestly, that sounds pretty awesome to me. Free time off and a massage would be pretty great, and more appreciated than a gift. Although not as good as just free time off or some cash.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          It’s definitely better than a crappy flower from HR, but it is seems a little pink ghetto-ifying to me. We do have a couple male clerks in the admin group. One is 60-something, and he never joins in on these things. The other is a young guy, and I don’t know what he does on this day.

          1. Chinook*

            “It’s definitely better than a crappy flower from HR, but it is seems a little pink ghetto-ifying to me. We do have a couple male clerks in the admin group. One is 60-something, and he never joins in on these things. The other is a young guy, and I don’t know what he does on this day.”

            I ahve to agree with this 100%. I would rather not have the day recognized then be offered a free spa day (and I happen to like spa days and mani-pedis). Not only does this ostracize those who do not fall within a feminity stereotype, but it assumes that only women do this type of job. It is as inappropriate as suggesting everybody in the mailroom should be thanked by taking them zip-lining (which I also like).

            And women, if you want to be treated as an equal, then treat other men and women as equals and stop suggesting these ideas! /*steps off soap box*/

            1. Kelly O*

              If the department chooses though, and they’d all like a massage (which is gender-neutral, thank you kindly) then that should be perfectly acceptable.

              I want to be treated equally, but equal does NOT mean “the exact same.” I am not a man. I never will be. I want to be treated as a professional, and want to be paid fairly and on the same scale as a man in my role, but I am also a woman. It’s part of who I am.

              I can treat others as equals while still being a woman, and I resent the idea that acknowledging the differences in individuals somehow equates to an implied consent to discrimination. (It’s a soapbox issue for me.)

              So take the team for a golf outing if they want. Let them all go get massages. If they want to go watch WWE Smackdown, or chug beers during World of Wheels, or drink wine and eat tapas at a schmancy resort, let them. But let them choose, and then don’t begrudge the choice if you don’t like it. I’ve found the most interesting experiences in my life during things I might not have chosen, or when I went along with others because I was the minority. Having an open mind and learning to appreciate the differences in others ( as well as learning more about your teammates) might be the best gift they’ll get.

              /*climbs down off the soapbox.

    3. Miss Betty*

      It’s because most people in general don’t have your attitude that Admin Day exists. For a lot of support staff, lunch and a card once a year is all the recognition they get. I’ve been support staff for most of my working life and I can tell you that it’s more common than not for us to get talked down to, ignored (unless something goes wrong), treated as if we’re interchangeable, assumed to lack an education denied promotions or advancement. I know that people like to deny that this is common but denial doesn’t change reality. It’s not true everywhere – I’m happy to say that it’s not true where I work now (except for being denied any chance at advancement) but it’s distressingly common. An annual recognition doesn’t really make up for it, but it can be a nice little bone. A cash bonus would be much better than lunch, though!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’d argue, though, the card and lunch add to the problem, by further ghetto-izing the job in an office like that. It says “you are different from the rest of us, and now we’re going to patronize you with a card rather than year-round professional respect.”

        1. Nashira*

          Yes! I worked as support staff for a number of director-level women at my first job, and they absolutely used this day to affirm that the women who worked as admind Weren’t Like Them. It chafed quite badly, along with them calling us “secretaries” when we were formally office support staff.

          1. Kai*

            Yup. And I gotta say, since the majority of admins/support staff are women, it feels extra condescending. As if we wouldn’t be satisfied with being paid well enough and shown respect and appreciation as a regular thing; we need flowers and trinkets, too? Nope.

          2. Shell*

            Only slightly related, but can someone explain to me what’s so derogatory about the word “secretary”? I know nowadays we’ve moved towards titles like “administrative assistant”, “office administrator” and the like so “secretary” seems very dated. But the word “secretary” seems to get people’s backs up and I don’t actually know why. Some sort of linguistic history I’m missing?

        2. Miss Betty*

          Yeah, that’s why I called it a nice bone. Maybe it’s a not-so-nice bone! I think the origins of the day were well-meant. If I recall correctly, it was started by the IAAP (formally known as National Secretaries Association, now known as International Association of Administrative Professionals.), a professional organization for, well, administrative professionals.

      2. Anna*

        I’ve always been slightly afraid of the admins I’ve worked with. I can’t even imagine talking down to any of them. Yikes.

    4. matilda*

      Agree! I worked as an administrative assistant for some time, and I will preface this by saying that my workplace was incredibly toxic, but I absolutely hated that stupid holiday. I later moved into a different role within the same organization, and I would STILL get flowers on administrative professionals day. One VP-level exec made a point of giving gifts to everyone who fell anywhere below her on the org chart, no matter their role, and that… wasn’t any better. (It’s possible that in a nicer office, this would bother no one, but she was a backhanded weasel.)

      Both felt really undermine-y, for entirely different reasons. As an admin, I had a job to do, just like anyone else, and I didn’t need it pointed out that others thought I was in a different class. Later on, when I wasn’t an admin, I ended up feeling annoyed that people still thought of me as one, and I wasn’t proud of feeling that way. But, that’s sort of the point… I’ve only ever experienced the day as an unpleasant and unnecessary spotlight on the office “hierarchy,” perceived or otherwise.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I think it used to be called “Secretarys’ Day” and has just had a title change.

      In a 1950s-Mad-Men kind of work world, there’s something a little sweet, though also a little demeaning, about a day when the important boss does something nice for the people who work for him/her. But it doesn’t make sense for people who aren’t the boss to spend money on a gift for someone who might be on their same level, pay-wise.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      It’s a totally fake Hallmark Holiday. As in, created by the greeting card companies to bring in more money. Same with Boss’ Day and Grandparents’ Day.

      1. Miss Betty*

        It’s actually not – it was created by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) back when it was known as National Secretaries Association. It’s a professional organization for administrative professionals. Check out their website (google IAAP); it’s pretty informative. I’ve never been a member but have wanted to be. The last time I checked it out, I couldn’t afford the fees (which aren’t out of line for professional organizations) so I asked my employer to pay them – it specifically said in our employee manual that they’d pay professional dues – but was told flat-out now and when I asked why told that they didn’t need to explain themselves to me. A previously employer laughed when the only other woman if the office and I (both admins) asked if they’d cover our fees, since they did for the guys (architects and engineers).

        1. Onymouse*

          What does the IAAP actually do though? Engineers and architects (and accountants, and doctors, and …) need to be in good standing with their professional bodies to practice their profession. How does being an IAAP member make someone a more qualified administrative professional?

          1. Miss Betty*

            Did you check out the website? They offer professional certification (which requires a certain minimum years of experience in addition to passing a 3.5 hour examination), continuing education, conferences, local chapters, networking opportunities – everything the other professional organizations I’ve belonged to or am familiar with (library and paralegal related) offer. I realize that they’re not necessarily familiar to people who aren’t administrative professionals and that what they do isn’t taken seriously by a lot of people – I’ve heard the jokes and the scoffing. I think the most important thing they do is to continue to try to “de-ghetto-ize” admin work, try to get people to understand how important those roles are and that there are people who choose those roles deliberately as a career. (I can’t say I’m one – I kind of fell into it decades ago and ended up being good at it. Can’t say I really like it, which is why I’m attempting, at long last, to switch careers.)

            I think they have an uphill battle. Just the fact that I’ve been laughed at by an employer for asking him to cover the dues is a testimony to that. So does the fact that many law firms will pay dues for paralegals to join their organizations but not for admin staff to join IAAP, even though neither profession actually requires certification and CLEs, except maybe in California. I think people would be surprised to find that in most states, while paralegals probably do have education of some sort – certification or degree – it’s not required and the title “paralegal” isn’t strictly defined or restricted in use. (I’m focusing on paralegals in parallel to admin staff simply because it’s in a field I’m familiar with. Also because, depending on the firm, there can be cross-over between what legal secretaries and paralegals do.)

            1. Onymouse*

              Fair enough. Please don’t take my comment personally. I was genuinely curious at what value they added, and didn’t have the time to check out their website in the moment. The point I was trying to make was that I can see an employer drawing the line at some legally required certification, but you make a good counterpoint with the paralegal analogy.

  9. James M*

    #5: Presumably, while you were researching the company, you discovered a few tidbits about their culture, priorities, hierarchy, etc…. Pick two favorite aspects (X and Y) and tell the interviewer that you value X and have the impression they do too, more so than <competitor>, and that Y is icing on the cake.

  10. Paul*

    #4 – I’m sorry to say it but I don’t see much reason to give the manager the benefit of the doubt. ‘If you insist on walking around, I will send you home’ sounds fairly hostile to me, and I’m not sure how it could be perceived as being said with good intentions? It depends on the tone I suppose, and I’ll admit I’m not always good at reading subtext…

    Alison’s practical advice is still sound however – HR needs to hear about this.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Eh, this has happened to me, twice recently, two employees who injured their legs and were in casts for a few months. Any concern I exhibited like “oh my god, don’t come to me, I’ll come to you, sit down!” was out of genuine concern. I know for a fact I said to one of them at least a few times: “it’s killing me to see you like this. are you sure you don’t want to work from home this week?” (She had a pretty major break in a few spots and was partially hard casted.) And “Do not come in here in this snow predicted. Work from home and I mean it. We don’t need you falling again.”

      Would I have been smart enough to treat health flare/cane entirely differently? Probably. I’ve had my own issues with a condition that had me close-to-cane a few times. I probably would have been smart enough, but if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t have changed the part where the motive came from a good place.

      1. AMD*

        If “work from home” is an option, I think telling them they should is pretty compassionate, as long as it wasn’t in the face of genuine protests that they were fine. OP sounds like their options were work or go home and not get paid; it also sounds like they were saying they were capable of work g and were being ignored.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Oh, I agree. I am always thinking about other people’s money. Having been stone poor at a point in my life does that for me. I can’t think of a time I ever sent somebody home that would cost them money.

          The boss’s motivation may be genuine concern but needs to cut it out immediately. Even past the point where it costs money, when you have a chronic health condition, the last thing you want is people drawing attention to its effects.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I could see it as being kind of like your mom showing up with soup when you’re sick and insisting that you have some – sort of a “I’m going to force you to take care of yourself if you won’t do it yourself!” thing, meant caringly even if implemented pushily. The difference is, it’s okay for your mom to be kind of pushy about taking care of you – it’s not your boss’s place to do it, especially when the boss’s definition of “taking care of yourself” impacts your finances.

      1. JMegan*

        This, exactly. Without knowing the OP, or her boss, or the general tone of the conversation, I would assume that the boss meant well. I think the big thing she missed is that she’s the BOSS, and the OP is more likely to take her literally than she would her mother or her best friend if they were to use those same words.

    3. Katie the Fed*

      I’m in a wheelchair temporarily, and my team fusses over me, which is nice but unnecessary. One of them tried to push it on the way to a meeting and he kept trying and I finally had to explain that it’s actually really inappropriate to push someone’s wheelchair without their permission, and I know he meant well, but please don’t do that. He looked so upset :( I know he was trying to help, and I appreciate the intent, but I need the independence of getting myself around. If you wouldn’t pick up someone who’s walking and carry them to a meeting, don’t push a chair without permission.

      1. LBK*

        Oh man, can you imagine, though? Literally sweeping your manager off her feet and hauling her to the conference room in a fireman’s carry? Or maybe bending down and patting your back to have her hop on for a piggy back ride?

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          Ha! I had an injured ankle in high school and the school’s elevator broke for two days. The football players were utilized to “transport” aka piggy back ride us injured folk to our second story classes. I don’t think we had anyone in a wheel chair or permanently disabled in my school at that time so it was just a handful of us with athletic injuries. Humorous then but looking back on it now I shudder at the liability.

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        The emotional response of an otherwise uneducated decent human being will be to want to help. Most of us can be pretty ham fisted in such situations. Like, I want to get you a pillow right now.

        Coffee run?

        1. Katie the Fed*

          I will welcome a pillow and coffee :)

          He’s SUCH a nice guy too, I felt bad about it. It’s just an awkward situation for everyone.

          1. esra*

            It’s better you told him now though, rather than have it keep happening and he could get in some really awkward situations doing it in the future.

            1. Nashira*

              I agree. It’s better to have the awkward “don’t do that” conversation early and once, before it’s a habit on the helper’s part. Many of them just don’t know, so as frustrating as it is, it’s worth it to pleasantly educate them so they can be awesome towards you and others in the future.

      3. Erin*

        I was on crutches a few weeks ago (tore my achilles tendon, yay!) and had the same thing. People offering to carry my laptop to meetings, or hold meetings in my office. A) I have to get around without you at home anyway, so why would I need you to help me out here? and B) Jesus Christ, I don’t even want to GO to this meeting; now you want me to give up my office for it?

        It’s nice because you know they’re trying to help, but also . . . I don’t want to draw attention to myself and my injury, people! Just let me be!

      4. Arbynka*

        I have a friend in Europe who is legally blind. She has to walk with the cane. She told me how people attempt to help her, basically just grabbing her under her arm and start pulling her across the street. Even though she was just standing and waiting for her transportation. She said while it is nice people attempting to help, it is startling her and sometimes can be quite scary – when she says “it’s OK, I don’t need help” and people just keep dragging her along. So I have learned, anytime I see someone I think might need help, I ask “Excuse me, would you like some assistance/help ?”

        1. Dana*

          +1 For asking. My boyfriend and I were walking our dogs in a nearby neighborhood once and saw a guy pushing a car. My boyfriend has had crappy cars quite often in the past and really felt for this guy having a broken down car, handed me the leash, and went to help push. They pushed together for a few houses before whoever was steering stopped the car and got out and was high-fiving the guy who had been pushing (and grunting). They were kind of muscular and had been working out :( My boyfriend was horribly embarrassed and they just ignored him as he hurried back to the sidewalk, but it was SO awkward. We definitely learned to ask if people need help first, but I can’t believe the guy pushing wouldn’t interrupt his “work out” to tell us he didn’t need help. What if my boyfriend had hurt himself?

        2. Blue_eyes*

          Yes! I saw someone just yesterday “help” a blind man cross the street. 99% sure the man did not need help. If a blind person is out alone, they can probably navigate where they need to go without help. If a person is using a wheelchair, they can probably get around by themselves. Or they can ask for help if/when they need it.

    4. Lynn Whitehat*

      There are lots of people who like to fuss over someone who’s disabled in any way, not thinking about the full ramifications of taking away someone’s independence. I got it when I was pregnant (not that pregnancy is a disability, but you know what I mean.) It can be really hard to get them to understand that what they’re doing isn’t cute and isn’t sweet; it’s actually really undermining to have people try to take away the things you can do.

      I had the most success by being blunt that “I’m fine, and I NEED TO WORK TO GET MONEY.” It’s always a big surprise to these types, like they’re just trying to show they care, and never thought through the full ramifications of no really, what ARE you supposed to do if you can’t work?

      1. Tau*

        Eesh, yes. Pretty different thing, but I stutter and will frequently get stuck on words. People *will* interrupt me to finish what I’m saying for me, and I know they mean well and are just trying to help but in effect they’re preventing me from being able to communicate and that’s… as you say, seriously undermining. (Especially when they get it wrong and are effectively putting words into my mouth.) I’m still trying to figure out how to appropriately address this myself.

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          I also stammer, and I’ve had good luck with just saying, “I know it might take a minute or two but I need you to let me actually finish speaking. When you interrupt, it makes it harder for me to get the next words out.”

          Although I have been known to occasionally hit chronic interrupters who I am good friends with with “do you want to keep guessing and getting it wrong or are you going to let me finish speaking?”

        2. Mimmy*

          I sometimes have trouble with word finding, and even my husband tries to finish my sentences. I just say something like, “Just give me a chance to get the words out”. Hmm…now you have me wondering how to address it with strangers.

      2. JMegan*

        Yes. I was pregnant during one of the snowiest winters on record in my area, and I remember a (male) friend of mine telling me not to go down my front steps unless my husband was there to help. Aside from the general “ugh” factor of the comment as a whole, my response was “so how exactly am I supposed to get to work, since he leaves the house an hour and a half before I do in the mornings?”

        People say stuff like that all the time. I assume it’s generally well-intentioned, but can still come off as condescending, and often completely illogical.

    5. OP #4*

      OP here!

      This boss isn’t really a people person, so it’s hard to read into her statements. I honestly felt like her bigger concern was a lawsuit, as opposed to my well-being. Another hurdle was that the office isn’t at all handicap accessible, so it’s a struggle to get around. And the whole ‘sending home’ was definitely an implied ‘without pay’. She’s also close to the HR Manager, who reports to her, so I’m not sure how well this conversation will go.

      1. Mimmy*

        Sounds like your best bet is to talk with your boss and confidently explain that you’ve been through this before and that you can handle yourself fine. I’d still approach it from the standpoint that she’s saying these things out of concern; you can start your conversation off with something like, “I appreciate your concern, but…” and go from there.

        Good luck!

        1. OP #4*

          I think I’ll go with that approach next time, thanks! Boss is just not super sensitive– she told a coworker who was describing a rough night wither her child “Well, you chose to have kids”. I’d prefer to use my wheelchair, but our office isn’t accessible, so this is my only option!

          1. Mimmy*

            Yeesh, your boss sounds like a peach :/ His remark to your coworker was just flat-out inappropriate.

          2. Anonsie*

            I hope she steps on a Lego.

            It’s nice that so many of you want to give someone the benefit of the doubt in these situations. As someone who deals with some physical impairments, I have lost that ability. Hard fact is that in general, people are crummy about things like this and are *very* prone to getting hostile when put in a situation where they are forced to acknowledge your health (as with arranging leave from work or something visible like a cane). It’s different when it’s an injury and they know you’re working on it. When it’s always there, people get very weird.

      2. Blue_eyes*

        I wonder if it would help your boss to understand if you framed it as the cane is what allows you to work, not something that inhibits you. I know many wheelchair users hate the term “wheelchair bound” because it makes it sound like their wheelchair inhibits them, when really it’s what allows them to be mobile.

        You could also try a simple “Thanks for your concern. I’ll be sure to ask for help or accommodations if I need them.”

      3. Ultraviolet*

        That sounds really frustrating. When you mention that the HR manager is close to your boss and works under her, are you concerned that they’ll have trouble standing up to the boss for you? Remember that HR’s stake in this is protecting the company from lawsuits rather than helping you out (not that some HR people aren’t happy when those outcomes overlap). The HR manager isn’t sticking their neck out for you by telling your boss to change her behavior. They’re doing exactly what they’re paid to for the benefit of the company. It shouldn’t be a difficult or risky move for them.

        If they’re just bad at their job though, further condolences. :(

    6. Stranger than Fiction*

      It sounds to me that perhaps the boss is a Nervous Nellie type in regards to employees getting hurt on the job (worker’s comp and all that) and thinks the Op is going to fall.

  11. Daisy*

    #2- If someone asked me to contribute cash for something called ‘Administrative Professionals Day’ I would assume they had lost their mind.

    #3- You say “he seemed to harp on why I wanted to leave my current company. (I’m not happy with compensation or the culture, but I wasn’t going to say bad things about my current position.)” Is it possible the reason that he seemed to “harp” on this was because you weren’t giving him an answer? Not being happy with the compensation or culture both seem like reasonable answers. I think perhaps you took the “don’t say bad things” sentiment a bit too far and came across as though you were hiding something. Which might explain why he was particularly keen to talk to your coworkers from there.

    1. JLB*

      OP #3 here

      He actually spoke with them before he got on the phone with me. I did address my concerns with cultural fit first, but skipped over the compensation part. Both of the ex-coworkers who he had spoken with had been very vocal problems in the company, and how unhappy they were. It felt like he was pushing me to complain about my current job.

      1. SLG*

        It’s tough to feel put on the spot and pushed to criticize your employer. But depending on the specific issues you want to get away from at your current job, there are sometimes ways to phrase it that flip the focus away from “I don’t like X” to “I’m looking for Y.” “Why am I looking for another position? I’m looking to grow in my career, and I’d like to work at a company where ______.”

        1. JLB*

          Right! I didn’t want to come off negative, as Mike C. says below. So, I spoke about what was I looking for, and how that was different from my current company. But I really didn’t want to get into any company bashing, and I think he pushed to see if I would based on what my ex-coworkers had told him about the company.

      2. Mike C.*

        I had an interview where the CEO asked me this very same question three times and it really pissed me off. I tried to say, “I’ve been there three years and being a small company I’m looking for new challenges”, but no that wasn’t good enough.

        What was I supposed to say, that the pay sucked, the owner was verbally abusive, we cut corners and abused the H1-B visa system?

  12. Cheesecake*

    I don’t know what i am more outraged about, OP#1. The fact that you were brought to interview to be “publicly” told off about LinkedIn vs CV difference and rejected from process…or that your ex-employer altered your profile. For that new employer – dodged a bullet, this is just wrong! For the old one – i’d reach out to them AND to LinkedIn; old employer does not sound like a bunch of decent people. If they made this by a mistake they’d come back and apologize.

    1. Dasha*

      I didn’t think about that, but so true! I agree with Cheesecake that is kind of whacky they brought you in and waste your time and their time like that.

      1. Cheesecake*

        That is how i read the story. OP came to an interview just to hear “stuff on your CV contradicts LinkedIn and that is wrong! We don’t want to consider you anymore!” If LinkedIn vs CV was so important to me and i find huge misalignments, i’d just reject application and move on.

    2. PoliteCode*

      Hi Cheesecake – thanks for your message. Just to clarify, the interviewer was a very polite, professional guy. He asked me to explain the LinkedIn issue – I knew there were some small date discrepancies on my profile and replied as best I could. I was totally unaware that my previous employer had actually changed my time with the company by 3.5 years! He’d also shown that I specialised in semiconductors instead of DTV, which is the field I was interviewing for. I definitely should have asked him for more information on this but could not imagine someone had altered my CV. I understand why it didn’t look good from the interviewer’s point of view and that my response was very inadequate. I’ve moved on to other opportunities now but still quite sore about what happened!

      1. Cheesecake*

        Hello OP! I am a bit confused because from your original message it seems that you were out of the process simply because of discrepancies but now reading your message i am not sure i got it right. There is nothing wrong in clarifying why your LinkedIn does not match in “and by the way” manner; i assume it would be very clear from interview what you specialize and don’t specialize in. But dismissing a candidate because of this is outrageous.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        Any chance those changes were made during the time you worked there, and you just didn’t notice them? I mean, I would check my LI profile when starting a job search, but since I wouldn’t expect changes like that, I might not even look at them.

        The point in asking, is perhaps they made that change for their benefit while you were working there, not to torpedo your job search after you had left. (Which doesn’t make it any better, of course.)

  13. VG*

    #4 – I suppose a lot would be revealed by her tone, but I think I may address the issue with the manager directly before involving HR, if it’s possible that she was trying to express concern and didn’t realise the gravity of what she said or how it would be received.

    Otherwise, won’t you just end up having to have a conversation with the manager about it anyway after HR talks to her, which would include why you didn’t raise it with her directly? If her other previous actions indicate she’s a reasonable person, it seems likely she would understand your concerns. I hope it works out well.

    1. misspiggy*

      Yes, I’d talk to the manager first. This manager may have thought the OP was damaging her recovery by working. It could be useful to explain that recovering from a chronic illness flare is a bit different than recovering from a one-off illness*, and that the OP has tried and tested ways to manage her condition that may look unusual to others.

      *The main difference is probably ‘this is going to happen a lot, and I need to work through it to earn a living’, but the manager doesn’t need to have that bit clarified…

  14. thisisit*

    #3 – i get the hesitation around having someone you don’t respect speaking on your behalf. but apparently the CEO valued their opinion enough to ask, so i wouldn’t worry too much about it. on the other hand, it’s a good reminder to maintain cordial working relationships with everyone, even people you don’t get along with.
    and yes, i second the notion that it’s completely normal. and to be it makes sense – if i’m going to invest time in hiring someone, i want to ensure good fit. if i know people who know the candidate, i’m definitely going to ask their opinion.

    #5 – i always think about an interview like a sales pitch. why do i want a bmw instead of a mercedes? honestly, i’ll take whichever gives me the most options for the lowest price, but the company salesperson is going to try to sell me on the full package, and he’s going to ask me questions to figure out what my priorities are and cater his pitch accordingly.
    it’s not a perfect analogy because ideally, you should be sizing up the company too, for your own assessment of fit. but surely there are differences between the two rival companies that are beyond salary and benefits and could speak to your interests and priorities. sometimes you take a job because you need a job, which is fine (and then you might need to fake your enthusiasm), but you won’t last there long (or you’ll be miserable) if the company interests/mission/work/priorities/culture don’t align with yours.

    1. JLB*

      OP #3 here

      I’ve actually found more out from the ex-coworker. Apparently he had interviewed with them at one time. So that solves part of the mystery.

        1. JLB*

          Ya, I was wondering if he had just gone through my LinkedIn profile to find another ex-coworker to check up on me. It did make feel less nervous about him, knowing that they had spoken previously.

          1. thisisit*

            oh that makes. i suppose if the ex-coworker was some random person they picked off LI, i’d be a bit surprised. but still totally possible. LI profiles are public, so if it’s out there, it’s fair game, i suppose.

  15. AMD*

    #1: Honestly, the interviewer who would dismiss you because your LinkedIn profile didn’t match in some way and not hear any reason why is kind of in the wrong too. You may have dodged a bullet there.

    1. Cheesecake*

      What i find even more bizarre is that employer brought OP specifically to note this and say “you are out!” in person!??!!

    2. Remy*

      It’s so bizarre, and who assumes information the Internet is more accurate than that on a CV without fact-checking? And, in addition to so many people having similar names, I actually have two LinkedIn accounts — one that I opened and abandoned years ago without really knowing what LinkedIn was. The whole thing is just weird and wrong.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This would be me–I can’t remember the last time I logged in. It tends to slip my mind unless we’re talking about LI here, or unless I get an update email. Then I think, “Oh, I probably need to log in–SQUIRREL!” and forget about it again.

    3. PoliteCode*

      Hi guys! OP #1 here, have written the explanation for this above – guess the term “accused” was a bit strong, he was actually a very decent guy. Hope this explains!

      1. A Teacher*

        Decent would be letting you explain the discrepancy. Out and out throwing out your candidacy because of LinkedIn only, is not “decent.”

  16. Phyllis*

    For #4, I wonder if your relationship with your boss is such that you could ask her why your cane makes her so uncomfortable? I mean, is there a way to gently get her to examine her reactions? I wouldn’t want you to do this if you thought it would create a bigger problem.

  17. Snowglobe*

    #1 – Another potential issue that you should be concerned about: it sounds as if the company you used to work for disagrees with you about your dates of service, job responsibilities and skills. Even if they don’t have access to your LinkedIn, it is likely that potential employers may be calling them for a reference. What will they say about you if they are called? You could have the same issue if they contradict you in a reference.

    1. PoliteCode*

      Thanks Snowglobe. I see your point of view. “Fortunately” it’s a small company of 30 and I reported to the director who is specialised in my same field. My dates of service were changed by 3.5 years. I have no doubt they know this is wrong.

  18. Sabrina*

    #2 I think that yes, Administrative Professionals should be appreciated every day, but the fact is they aren’t. I’m willing to bet the AA in your office does more for you than order office supplies. I worked in one office where they would literally sit in the dark all day if I wasn’t there to turn the lights on.

    1. some1*

      I do agree that an admin’s contributions are often overlooked, but I don’t think pressuring coworkers to put in on a gift for a made-up Hallmark holiday is going to help.

      The pressure to contribute is unfair regardless of whether the admin does or doesn’t do for the LW. It’s not a gift that should be on merit.

    2. Judy*

      It’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve had an admin assigned to the group rather than the directors. There was a time when a group of engineers with a manager (maybe 15 people) had an admin assigned, and the admin would not only order office supplies, but arrange travel, arrange meeting rooms and even order parts for prototype builds. When I left my last job, there was an admin assigned to 3 directors, and beyond the office supply cabinet, she doesn’t even support the managers. 250 people in the building with one admin.

      At my current job, there are 75 people, and the AP person orders the office supplies, there’s not even an admin.

      1. the gold digger*

        an admin assigned to the group rather than the directors

        Man, I miss those days. It was so nice to have someone else arrange lunch meetings and travel. Now the work has been pushed to salaried people, so it’s just more for us to do without more money and there is one more admin position eliminated.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      That doesn’t mean the admin wants to be recognized for secretary’s day. I had to force myself to smile when my former dept. threw me a surprise party that day. I was mortified and unhappy about it, but then I realized that they were just trying to do something nice for me and I tried really hard to enjoy myself. But ever since, I make a preemptive strike before the day and remind my boss not to do anything for me and ask her to warn me if someone tries to plan something.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        A surprise party is kind of a bit much, I think. If you were leaving and they were all going to miss you, then I could see it but for Admin’s Day? Yipes.

    4. the gold digger*

      I am smiling because I used to relish the 40 minutes without lights before my boss’ admin arrived. My cube was next to a wall of windows, so I had enough light. My cubemates and I hated the flickering overhead lights and would deliberately not turn them on. It was always a battle between the women in the department next to us and my boss’ admin over the lights. I did not think it was a good idea to publicly challenge my boss’ admin, so I stayed out of it, but I wanted the No Lights camp to win.

      1. Having an anon moment*

        I literally once had someone waiting in a panic for me when I came in because the coffee maker was unplugged and he couldn’t figure out how to plug it back in.

      2. nona*

        I just thought about this too. I was the boss’ admin in team No Lights, but the boss was team Lights. :)

    5. Kelly L.*

      True, and I had kind of a negative reaction to the “but this is her job” line. All of her support work is “her job.” I have mixed emotions about the holiday in general, but if you are going to honor someone then, it seems a little off to rule out the services that are part of her job, kwim?

      1. Colette*

        I think it’s reasonable to believe that people shouldn’t be recognized for doing their job – they’re already being paid for it, and, presumably, recognized through whatever the performance recognition process is.

        1. Kelly L.*

          I think maybe I’m not being clear–I’m not saying do celebrate AP Day, or don’t celebrate AP Day, but if you do celebrate it, you’re inherently recognizing someone for doing their job. It’s not like we do admin work out of the kindness of our hearts. ;) It just seemed odd to begrudge this one particular duty as “her job” and therefore not worth recognition.

          1. Colette*

            Fair enough. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to celebrate it – but I can understand why people wouldn’t want to.

  19. Felicia*

    #5 I always can find at least one reason i’d like to work for any given company, but why i’d prefer them to their direct competitor? For that id have to make something up, because generally with direct competitors I’d want the jobs equally. I’ve also hard Why are we your ideal company to work for? Um…i’d like to work here because x,y and z but i wouldn’t call you ideal but rather one of many interesting options . That was the honest answer I gave but that was likely not what they wanted . It’s sort of like employers asking why you’d be better than the other people they’re interviewing? That question is common and I hate it. I usually have reasons i think i’d be good, but how would i know the other candidates .

  20. HeyNonnyNonny*

    #2 I just wanted to throw in a good story for Administrative Professionals Day, since so many people seem to have bad reactions to it: one of our departments call it “Arya Day” and they take their shared AA, Arya, out to lunch as a group. It doesn’t feel contrived or fake, and everyone enjoys the outing. (This is also in a situation where the management has no wiggle room in terms of salary or benefits, so they can’t give her a raise or bonus to show how much she is appreciated.)

    1. LBK*

      At first I read this as “Arya Stark Day” and I was really confused as to what that would entail. Hunting the rival company’s CEO and killing him with a sword?

        1. HeyNonnyNonny*

          I tried so hard to come up with an office-y pun for these, and I just couldn’t…valar documentis?

    2. Lily in NYC*

      It works for your group and that’s great. However, I’m an admin, and that is the absolute LAST thing I would want. I would find it very awkward to have people who make much less than I do pay for my lunch.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I think it’s probably unusual to have the admin make more than everybody else! :) I think in most situations where this is celebrated, the admin is being taken out by people who make more, and certainly that was the usual case when the tradition began.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yes, I would, I suppose.

            (I’m an admin myself, and this is not the case for me. You’d probably be just as surprised at the jobs I’m familiar with!)

  21. some1*

    #2 I’m an admin and I don’t like this day. I want my employer to appreciate me by paying a good salary, treating me with respect, giving me what I need to succeed and valuing my work.

    Also, I know there people like the LW who resent being asked to contribute, so that puts me in an awkward position.

    1. GOG11*

      I would feel awkward if my coworkers had been strong armed into spending money on me. Where I work, I am given a card that everyone signs or writes a little note in. Heck, the card may even come out of a supply line. A higher salary would be nice, but that’s not feasible for my org right now. I mentioned this below, as well, but the Dept that makes me feel appreciated and respected throughout the year is the one that does something on Admin Professionals day. The one that calls me by my gender instead of using my name…well, they act like they do every other day of the year…

  22. Lily in NYC*

    I’m an EA who despises secretary’s day. It’s demeaning, patronizing, and I feel awful when a junior staffer gives me a gift and has no idea I make twice as much money as they do. My sister gives her assistant a free day off of her choosing as a “thank you” and I think that is pretty thoughtful. But my preference is for it to be completely ignored.
    HR always gives us a half-dead cheap rose as a gift; gee, thanks.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Oh, it gets better. Last year, the men (mailroom staff mainly) got a water bottle with our company name on it while those of us with lady-basements got the rose.

  23. VictoriaHR*

    #3 – when you’re considering working for a company, don’t you do research on that company? Do you talk to everyone that you know who might have info on the company? I know when I took my current job, I reached out to every contact on my LinkedIn who had worked here, to find out what the culture was like. That’s no different from the company asking around about you as a candidate.

    Bad hires are a huge cost for employers, so if I as an employer had the opportunity to find out as much as possible about a candidate, yes I’d do it. Nothing wrong with that.

    1. A Bug!*

      Also, by developing a good reputation, this kind of reaching-out on the part of the hiring manager could give you an edge over other candidates. It did for me in my recent job search. I heard through the grapevine that by the time I went to my interview, the lawyer had already spoken not only with my former boss (who was a friend of his – he didn’t contact my other references pre-interview), but also informally with a few other lawyers who knew me but for whom I hadn’t directly worked. After I was hired I learned that thanks in large part to those “references,” the interview was essentially a formality – I would have had to show up with my underwear on over my pants to lose.

      I already know I’m not a strong interviewer, and I know there were other candidates with far more relevant experience than mine. I think there’s a very strong possibility I wouldn’t have gotten the job without the good words from those other lawyers. So yeah, all the more reason to keep your head up and do your best to be professional with everyone, because it could come back later when it really matters to you.

      1. JLB*

        #3 OP here
        Yes, you’re both right! I didn’t think of it that way.

        I think I was also reacting to who he had reached out to, and manner in the interview. I mentioned further up that it felt like he was pushing me to complain about my current job, since both of the ex-coworkers who he had spoken with had been very vocal problems in the company, and how unhappy they were.

  24. Sunflower*

    #5- I would focus on things you like about the company you’re interviewing for and if all else fails, say you think you’d fit into the culture really well there. I think this is a terrible question. Asking why someone wants to work at their company is a good question but you’re asking to be lied to when you ask things like this. Truth is, most people would be happy, do a great job and stay a long time at either company so I’m not even sure what they’re trying to get at with this question. And if you’re being sought after by 2 competing companies, they’re they ones who should be selling you, not the other way around.

    I wonder if the company is having large turnover and their staff is going to competitor. This could just be a case of a bad interview question or it could be more telling- like a sign of non-competitive pay or bad culture.

  25. GOG11*

    I’m an admin assistant and I didn’t know about admin professionals day until I got a card for it two years ago, which I really appreciated. Funny enough, the Dept. that makes me feel appreciated throughout the year is the one that gets me a card that everyone signs.

    This year, I plan to write thank you notes to my fellow admins who have given me help and advice since I started here. I really appreciate that they are always willing to share their insights and advice when I get stuck (and I reciprocate whenever I can, of course, but I’m a lot younger/less experienced than the other admins here are).

    It is a bit made up, in a way, but I genuinely appreciate it when my coworkers take a moment to say, “hey, you do a great job and we appreciate you,” regardless of what day that falls on.

  26. Erin*

    I’m mostly in favor of AP’s day. Truth time, most people tend to overlook the hard work that administrative professionals, or anyone considered “support staff”, do to keep the company running efficiently. And yes, we should all be thankful and grateful all of the time. But barring that, having one day set aside so that the head-up-his-ass engineer recognizes that the only reason he gets paid is because his admin submits his timesheet for him (to use an example I witnessed at a previous job) and thanks her accordingly isn’t the worst thing.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      But that’s just it. The only reason the AA gets paid is because the engineer does good work for the clients. The only reason the CEO gets paid is because the development associate remembered to submit the grant application. And so on. Everyone supports everyone, and everyone should be treated with respect, paid fairly, and given sincere appreciation and praise for their good work.

      1. Stranger than Fiction*

        That’s absolutely right Erin and Vic – lots of folks would fall under “support staff” not just admins. Customer Service, Sales Support, Shipping, that guy that writes out all the technical stuff for Engineering…maybe it should be changed to Employee Appreciation Day, and I believe some companies do have such a thing.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          At LastJob, someone arranged each year to get a card and cash donations for our janitor. Both signing the card and donating cash were completely optional. The janitor didn’t actually work for our company, she was a contractor, so we had no control over her pay. And we did appreciate what she did for us. I hope she didn’t consider it demeaning. I don’t know how the gift was given to her: it was not given as a public presentation or anything like that (or else I was never invited).

  27. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

    I’m with the comments above: admins should be properly paid and supported all year. People who are treated seriously and professionally don’t need to be patronised with special days or bunches of flowers. If it is marked, though, surely it should just be down to the admin’s director or manager?

    I know at one time in the UK there was a Professional Secretaries’ Week. I used to subscribe to a shorthand and office practice magazine that wrote about it but I can’t remember the dates for life of me. It was also marked by the Royal Mail at one time because they used to advertise it on their postmarks (bit like “post early for Christmas” etc. I have done a quick Google check but can’t find anything at the moment.

    What I did find though is this – there is a Boss’s Day! Apparently it is observed in the US and Canada on 16 October.

    Please don’t shoot the messenger!!

    1. fposte*

      As far as I can see, Boss’s Day is observed mostly in the “Huh, I observe the calendar says today is something called Boss’s Day.”

      1. Merry and Bright*

        +1 The Boss gets paid more than I do so he can buy his own flowers. Besides, gifts flow down :)

    2. "Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."*

      Just seen that Boss’s Day has already been mentioned. However, I have seen that Admins’ Day (under various names) has been a thing since the 1950s when female office workers did work in a different world from today.

      In the government contract work I have done, I have worked more and more with male admins and it has generally taken this for the profession to be taken more seriously.

      I would say though, that one job aside. I have mostly enjoyed my admin career and I’ve worked with some great people and in some really interesting organizations.

    3. The Strand*

      Alas, there is not only a Boss’ Day, but people who feel like the Boss should receive gifts and cards that day. Such as people I formerly worked with who did a collection when one of our team was promoted to Boss (and a larger salary).

      I have no problem celebrating folks’ birthdays and special days (promotions, retirements, transfers) but only if these are celebrated for everyone. Not the case at my last employer.

      1. Windchime*

        We have a person in our office who always spearheads a gift for the boss on Boss’ Day. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but I still participate in it because it’s just a few bucks and I don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t. The boss always seems a little uncomfortable, too. We just get him a small gift and a card.

    4. HRish Dude*

      I had a boss who got visibly and verbally mad that we did not get him anything for Boss’ Day.

  28. Graciosa*

    Regarding #2, I wouldn’t worry about being left off the card – you can always send your own if you think that not receiving a card from you on this day would upset the recipient (which is questionable after reading some of the other comments, but that’s why you should find out).

    However, if you wanted to show appreciation, I can think of two other options that might work better.

    First, always, always, always treat the administrative assistant with respect. The good ones know almost everything (in spite of carefully limiting how much they share) and wield enormous power. Further, they are not stupid enough to think that a single card makes up for a pattern of daily disrespect throughout the year – avoid that pattern.

    Second, if this individual has been genuinely helpful, send a note of thanks or a card some other time. Specifying exactly what the person did, what impact it had, and why you appreciated it is much more meaningful than signing a purchased card. There’s a lot to be said for doing this in email just before annual reviews and copying the boss.

    Only do this, however, if it’s genuine. It sounds here like the boss thinks roping a lot of other people into the card exercise will give it more weight, which shows a bit of a managerial blind spot on the part of the boss. Regular appreciation and feedback from her supervisor (or at least people who benefit from more of her work than ordering office supplies) will go a lot further toward building loyalty and morale than a pay-to-sign purchased card.

    1. Cheesecake*

      Yes, the best personal office “gift” for anyone is a note to the boss. The best show of appreciation from the employer is money or non-monetary bonus (e.g. extra day off). Unfortunately 95% of people waste time thinking about odd physical presents.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      Oh yes! Send a thank you email and cc the boss; send a card when they’ve done something extra for you; give them thanks throughout the year and they won’t care if your name isn’t on the card on that day. Oh, and do it for your other co-workers too. Seriously, a thank you from a co-worker (especially if they cc my boss) is something I treasure. I wish people would do that more.

  29. The Office Admin*

    Admin here!
    I don’t mind Administrative Professional’s Day(although I prefer the term secretary… so I might just be 75 years old trapped in a 26 year-old body), the company is about 15-20 men(I’m the only woman) but only two are actively in the office that I support on a daily basis and on Admin Day, the owner and second in command usually get together to get me flowers and the owner takes me to lunch. It’s nice, thoughtful, they don’t make a big deal about it and each of them stops by my desk quietly and says something like, “We appreciate you every day, but thank you for your hard work”

    1. The Office Admin*

      Oh, almost forgot, I’m ok with the owner and second in command doing this sort of thing because we work together every day and I give them cards on Boss’ Day, but if any of the other employees said or did anything on Admin Day, THAT would make me uncomfortable because I do make more money than them and don’t help them do their jobs on a daily basis.

  30. RG*

    OP #1, I can’t believe that your interview did that. The only explanation I can think of is that as someone working in recruitment, you have to be vigilant about mixups like that, but his behavior is still inexcusable. If I were you, I would ask Alison for a script I could use for him, so that at the very least I could explain myself/get in the last word.

    Also, as someone pointed out above, you really want to contact the company immediately. Even if people are just contacting them to verify employment, the company is providing them with misleading information. For some people, they would automatically assume that you were the one lying, and for others, they couldn’t be bothered to try to figure or who’s telling the truth.

    1. PoliteCode*

      Thanks RG – the discrepancies on my LinkedIn profile were HUGE! We’re talking 3.5 years added on the job and completely different specialisation. The interviewer wasn’t unkind about it but, not knowing what was going on, I see why my response would have been inadequate in his eyes.

      1. RG*

        Good to know he wasn’t unkind at least! For some reason, I read the letter as the interviewer being unnecessarily adversarial, although it seems like other people did too.

  31. Anon for This*

    #2 I wish this whole thing would go away, along with Boss’s day. IMO, these made up holidays are a pain. We have horrible computer systems, old computers (some still running XP!!), reduced paid holidays, higher insurance every year, no raises or cost of living adjustments, and more and more work piled on us. But, management things they should take us all out to lunch to show us how much we’re appreciated. How about foregoing the stupid $10 lunch and get us some decent equipment, stop taking away benefits, and just treat everyone better overall? This whole thing just rings hollow and tone deaf.

    1. Stranger than Fiction*

      Ick. Please tell them that by still running Windows XP, they’re at great risk security wise, since it’s no longer supported by Microsoft, they don’t get the necessary updates to protect themselves.

    2. Retail Lifer*

      Sounds exactly like where I work, except we have the added benefit of Lotus Notes.

      I really wish we wouls spend money on what we need to do our jobs and keep employees happy, not everything else BUT that.

  32. HQ*

    That’s weird, I’ve only heard of cash collecting for weddings, births, funerals, or retirements).
    I’ve never been an administrative professional, but I have a “day” in my current profession that I really enjoy.

    On my special day, my co-workers bring me little inexpensive gifts: candy bars, cookies, fuzzy socks, hand sanitizer, an oven mitt with a package of brownie mix inside, travel-size lotion, my favorite snack, lollipops, etc. My favorite was a tiny potted plant with a ceramic garden gnome hiding under the leaves. At the end of the day, I have a large pile of gifts on my desk. Normally I dislike gifts because I feel guilty that someone spent money on me, but with gifts under $3, it’s no big deal–I can give them away to family if I can’t use them.

    There’s just something about seeing that pile–it says “We appreciate you” like no card or lunch ever has.

  33. HRish Dude*

    I have two questions about Admin Professionals Day because both have happened:
    – Has anyone been “left out” on this day while other people in the office in same positions were included?
    – Is anyone not an admin, but has received a gift or a card?
    Both have happened to me and – honestly – I think the second one bothered me worse.

    1. Erin*

      The second happened to me and I was truly puzzled. At the time I was an SME for a particular tool (well, I still am an SME, but I’ve moved on in jobs) and someone proudly gave me flowers (why) and a card (huh). “Thanks for all you do for us!” He seemed to think that my constant discussions with him about improving work processes in relation to this tool was me taking NOTES for him. No, dumbass, this is my job and I’m gently trying to make you better at yours.

    2. Retail Lifer*

      I got taken out to lunch with the admins last year. I’m not an admin, but since no one understands what my job is, I’ll just take the free lunch.

    3. Chinook*

      “– Has anyone been “left out” on this day while other people in the office in same positions were included?”

      This happenned in the accounting firm I worked at to a woman who assisted one of the partners but, because they fell under bankruptcy rules (the deal in bankruptices, not in the middle of one), she technically was a clerk and not an admin. assistant. This place was known for treating support staff like office furniture, so it was nice when everyone got a big, fancy bouquet and taken out for lunch – except for her. The reasoning (by HR who arranged this) was that she was not listed as an AA on the org chart and didn’t fall under the the Office Manager’s supervision on the org chart, she was not an AA even though she booked meetings, arranged catering, did filing and everything else the AAs did. This was the first year after we amlgamated with the bankruptcy firm (which is why no one knew it would be an issue) and the looks of disappointement/ insult/anger that flew over her face as she saw everyone else receive these bouquets in person still haunts me.

      BTW, the partner she supported made sure in no uncertain, very loud, terms that she would never be left out like that again. He was awesome!

  34. Xarcady*

    Admin Professional’s day–The one time I saw this done right, I was in grad school. The department office had three admins. They were so pleased the year we got a new department head. He did the traditional taking them to lunch, but instead of flowers, he bought them Cross pens with their initials engraved on them.

    The admins saw this gift as indicating that they were as valuable as the professors in the department (which they were) and were thrilled.

    It was a gift that fit with their job–it was the English department after all, and one that showed the head saw them as professionals, and not as women who wanted pretty flowers. Those pens were out on their desks all the time, and woe to the unwary person who started to walk off with one of them!

    1. Moonstone*

      Something I especially like about this is that the engraving showed that someone put some thought into the gift and planned for the day.

  35. Marissa*

    #2 “Our admin does not work for all the employees. She does, however, order us supplies if we need them, but this is her job.”

    This statement really bothered me. Administration usually performs a variety of behind the sceens functions that aren’t usually apparent to everyone else. Sometimes if someone is doing their job well others may not be able to tell they’re doing anything at all. I bet he/she has a stronger role in supporting you and your company other than just orderin supplies.

    1. Graciosa*

      I didn’t take offense to this – it might well have been literally true.

      With administrative support becoming a rarity, it may well be that only the boss or a few top people get more support. This isn’t a criticism of the support person, it’s a business decision about how to allocate the resource of this person’s time.

      If you’re getting more than supplies ordered, you usually know it.

      1. Judy*

        That’s what I was saying above. I know I received admin support 15 years ago, when my group had an admin in the 15 person team. My last company had one admin in the building of 250 people. My current company has 75 people, no admins, and the AP person orders the supplies. (Just got an email that she’s ordering again tomorrow at 10am, submit your requests now.)

        Companies have made the decision that it’s better to have engineers order their own parts for prototyping, arrange meetings and travel, and do other things that admins did for us before.

        1. Chinook*

          “Companies have made the decision that it’s better to have engineers order their own parts for prototyping, arrange meetings and travel, and do other things that admins did for us before.”

          My job is “not an A.A.” but I look and act like one a lot of times (partly to justify to TPTB to keep me on as a contractor) because it just doesn’t make sense to have the contract engineer who charges $140/hour spend time trying to figure out PowerPoint or track down a meeting room. I love that the engineers here are always flabbergasted and overjoyed to learn that, if they give me the right amount of information, I can do all sorts of paperwork for them (think purchase orders and vendor insurance research). Their eyes literally light up with glee! As for my boss, I find that she is so busy that she needs someone to delegate some administrative type tasks (like finding everyone’s holiday schedules) that really shouldn’t be done by the engineers.

    2. Stranger than Fiction*

      I think this was meant as, she orders supplies for everyone in the company, yet only technically reports to/supports/performs her other duties for a certain number of managers.

    3. Anonsie*

      It bugged me, too. “She doesn’t even work for all of us, she just does stuff for all of us– but that’s her job so it’s not the same.” Uh.

  36. Steve G*

    The only thing that doesn’t make sense about #1, is why would you get booted out of an interview because someone compared info you provided (via resume) via info you provided (Linkedin).

    They don’t know the company made the changes. I think such a discrepancy would make me ask questions. It would be different if it was info you provided vs. info someone else provided……………….

    1. Stranger than Fiction*

      She didn’t get a chance to explain that to interviewer because she didn’t know the extent to what her ex-boss had changed until afterward. At the time of interview, he gave her chance to explain and she assumed it was a small discrepancy in date she knew about at the time she had been hired on at ex-job. Not until after the interview did she find out he’d hijacked her password, deleted endorsements, and added 3 1/2 years to her time there.

  37. PoliteCode*

    This is OP #1 – thank you very much for your feedback. As an update, I sent my director a very “polite code” email a few days ago outlining what had happened – I’m glad this corresponded with your advice!

    It’s all ended very well – my director wrote back, apologised profusely and is attempting to make amends. From my perspective, this is the best outcome possible, the situation is “fixed” and I will still have his favourable referral in the future.

    Once again, thank you for the great advice :)

    1. J-nonymous*

      I’m just curious – did your former director indicate *why* those changes were made?

  38. puddin*

    #2 – I think it would benefit most career minded folks to be an admin for a year. For me, it was a most grueling frustrating job experience. Perhaps then, we all can understand the importance and difficulty of the work and not report to a cheapo day of celebration. I know some people will like it, but to me it harkens back to when their was the 40 something white guy in the corner office with a young unmarried female secretary who dressed just a little too flashy for the boss’s wife. This day was invented to give him an excuse to fawn over a younger woman that he had control over, demonstrating that he is a most benevolent master. (OK, maybe I watch too much tv.)

    1. A Teacher*

      Its kind of how I feel about people that like to criticize teachers, be a substitute teacher a few times (still not having to do everything I have to do as a teacher) and then criticize educators–bet your perspective changes. My uncle used to bash secretaries and teachers–for the record, my grandma (his mom) was a 25 year school secretary and two of his siblings are teachers as is his daughter and myself (his niece). When he was laid off, he subbed twice as a school secretary and a handful of times as a teacher and then stopped doing it because “he couldn’t tolerate that BS all day.” He also stopped being so critical of educators and secretaries.

  39. Ed*

    #1 This doesn’t help OP but this should be a lesson for everyone to unlink their account on the last day whether your company likes it or not. I assume this could be done by just changing your email address back to your personal one. I purposely wouldn’t inform them so they can’t protest and put me in an awkward position. “Whoops, should I have not done that? Oh well, it’s done now”. It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

    1. Stranger than Fiction*

      Yes this, and always use a personal email. I understand they needed it changed for this other recruitment feature, but in hindsight, they should have just made a company linkedin with access to this feature.

    2. NickelandDime*

      Agreed! I manage my company’s LinkedIn, but I use my personal address to do it – I was given admin access to the company’s account when I was hired here. I have never had to hand over my password. When I leave, they will just deny admin access. They keep their account and I keep mine. The situation the OP described sounds really complicated and unnecessary.

  40. Nanc*

    It’s been 10 or so years since I had admins but when I did, I gave them that day off with pay. It took a bit of skullduggery because we were pretty bare bones with coverage but the department head thought it was a great idea. He and I would sit in the front office and do catch up stuff and cover the phones and reception. It was actually pretty fun!

  41. AtrociousPink*

    Admin professional here. Thank you, Alison! The whole Administrative Professionals Day thing is embarrassing and awkward. I don’t need a gift in exchange for doing great work any more than my boss needs one. Please everyone, just stop. The best gift for any colleague, especially one who is beneath you in the office hierarchy, is respect. When respect is missing, any gift is insulting. Where there is respect, no gift is necessary.

  42. AB Normal*

    OP #3 said, in the comments, “Thanks for the insight! I just was surprised that he had looked through my LinkedIn profile to find someone to check up on me (or so I thought). I found out later that this ex-coworker had previously interviewed with the CEO, but didn’t get the job.”

    But LinkedIn is an excellent source for this type of verification! I’m currently in the final steps of job hunting, and learned that the hiring manager or recruiter from the two companies I was told to expect an offer from contacted shared connections from past jobs through LinkedIn. They see a common contact and reach out to ask about me, and I am always grateful because that has helped accelerate the process with one of th companies (they heard good things from some shared contacts, and decided to speed up the process when I told them I was about to get an offer from the other employer). Like AAM said, that’s why it’s super important to develop a great professional reputation. Even someone with a poor work ethic should be able to vouch for your work if you were a great employee, and LinkedIn is an obvious choice to try and find people who would be able to speak about our work.

  43. Cath in Canada*

    #5: imagine a scenario where the rival company that you’d prefer doesn’t make you an offer, and you take an offer from the company you’re interviewing with instead. A friend or relative says “but didn’t you say you’d rather work for Rival Co?” Feeling a little defensive, you say “yeah, but this is good too, because it offers [fill in the blank], which Rival Co wouldn’t have”.

    Now, use that [fill in the blank] to enthusiastically answer the question in the interview. Don’t mention Rival Co. Good luck!

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Heh! I was thinking more different responsibilities / better advancement possibilities / better benefits / more vacation, but cash is always good too :)

  44. Teapot*

    #5 – I am dead honest, so it’s very hard for me to feign enthusiasm. That said, pull from what you genuinely like about the position and what strongly interests you about the company. Ideally, during the interview, you found out that the position and the company were far more interesting to hear about in person than the job posting showed.

Comments are closed.