is my predecessor trying to undermine me, being asked to work for free in an interview, and more

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

1. Is my predecessor trying to undermine me with my staff?

I started as Executive Director a few months ago. We’re a small operation: two professional staff and about two dozen seasonal staff. The outgoing director did great work and was well respected for her advocacy, but she and the board president did not get along. Although she officially left for another opportunity, it is my understanding that she was very sad to leave her role.

Our organization is seasonal, and we just closed until the fall. I started inquiring about plans to recognize and celebrate our staff, and I was told that the former director has put together a staff appreciation party for all our seasonal employees … without telling me.

Most of our seasonal employees are university students, and they turn over from year to year. The former director hired them and worked with them for about four months before she left. I don’t want to undercut the relationships she may have developed, but it strikes me as extremely odd for her to be hosting a staff appreciation party for a staff she no longer manages.

Am I off base? I don’t necessarily want to intervene as I feel it will make me look petty. Furthermore, I can’t control who she invites to her home and for what reason. But I also feel like she’s intentionally undermining my leadership. Thoughts?

No, it’s definitely odd — all the more so since she only managed this group for four months; it’s not like it’s a staff she’s been close to for years.

That said, it’s less likely that she’s trying to undermine you than that she’s just having trouble letting go.

I suppose if you wanted to, you could reach out to her and say something like, “Jane, I just wanted to let you know that we’re already planning a staff appreciation party, but thank you so much for offering to do it. Ours is on (date) if you’d like to attend.”

But really, I’d consider just ignoring the whole thing. It’s a limited-time problem, since it sounds like you’ll be starting fresh with a mostly new staff in the fall anyway. Your best bet is probably to just roll your eyes at this and move forward.

2. I’m being asked to work for free as part of an interview process

I was recently called back about a job working in a cupcake bakery, and they have been asking me to work for free as part of the interview process. I have already come in for over 3 hours for “training” and was made to serve customers/run the register. There was even a point where I was the only one up front, serving a customer alone. They are now telling me I need to come in for an opening and closing shift. After it is all over, I will have worked 3 days for 11 hours in their store for free, serving customers, running the register, decorating cupcakes, and cleaning. They said if I get through this, then they will decide whether or not to bring me in for an interview. Is this normal or even legal?

No, it’s not legal.

It’s very smart for employers to find ways to see candidates actually in action before hiring someone — by using things like writing tests, problem-solving simulations, role plays, and (short) mock projects. These requests are reasonable and useful as long as they don’t take a significant amount of time. But providing actual work that the employer is going to use for real isn’t okay or legal.

Assessment tests used solely to make a hiring decision (“write a sample press release”) are fine. But work that will actually be used (“write a sample press release that we’re then actually going to send out”) needs to be paid, or it’s illegal.

11 hours of unpaid work is way over the line. And they haven’t even interviewed you yet? Ridiculous. Honestly, I’d call your state department of labor and tell them this is going on.

3. Talking to a job candidate without having had a chance to read their resume

Can one be expected to conduct a peer interview with a prospective new employee without having read the prospect’s resume or some extrapolation of the resume?

It’s certainly not ideal, but occasionally it happens for reasons beyond someone’s control, and when it does, you can just apologetically explain the situation and what caused it (for example, “I’ve been out of town until today” or “I was pulled in at the last minute because the person we’d planned to have you meet with is unexpectedly out today”) and ask for a quick overview of the person’s background. You can also ask if they have a copy of their resume with them (most people will) and apologetically take a few minutes to digest the highlights.

4. Prospective employer scolded my boyfriend on his phone manners

My boyfriend applied to a store and was called in for a interview. When he received the call, it was from an unknown number and the conversation went like this:
Bf: Hello
Employer: Hi, is this Richard?
Bf: I’m sorry, who’s this?
Employer: I’m the manager from so and so.
Bf: Oh, I’m so sorry, ma’am, hello.
Employer: First things first, you don’t answer the phone by saying “who’s this.”
Bf: “I’m sorry, I was just worried that a random number knew my name.”
Employer: “Well, I’m sorry to tell you but that’s not how you answer the phone.”

I don’t believe he was wrong here. I believe its totally appropriate for him to ask who it was on the phone. Am I wrong?

Nope. The manager was rude and out of line, and he was treating your boyfriend like a child. The manager acted like she was in a position to scold or instruct him, and she’s not. She can certainly draw whatever conclusions she wants about his phone manners, but it’s wildly inappropriate for her to think she has standing to instruct him in that regard. He doesn’t work for her, and she’s not his boss.

That said, if your boyfriend is job searching, he should be prepared to receive calls from unknown numbers and have the person on the other end ask for him by name.

5. I received an email about my application that was meant for someone else

This may be one of the more obvious questions you have ever received. But here goes. This morning I turned on my phone to find this email in my inbox about a job I applied to months ago and had forgotten about: “John, Here is an applicant for Chocolate Teapot Maker. —Jane”

My cover letter and résumé were attached. No one else was added to the email (that I can see). With some social media sleuthing (read: stalking) I found that John works in the department I applied to and Jane is the human resources manager for the company. It’s possible that Jane sent the email to John by BCC-ing him, but it’s also possible that she only sent it to me an doesn’t know, right? Do HR managers ever even actually copy the applicant in emails like this?

Basically, with your boundless gift of gab, how do I gently notify Jane that she may have sent this to me without ever sending it to John? And how do I cope with the absolutely nondescript, one-sentence email about my application!?!?! (Okay, you don’t have to answer that one.)

Just be direct! “Jane, I think you might have forwarded this to me rather than the person you actually intended to send it to!”

In general with stuff like this, just imagine how you’d handle it with a current colleague, and that will usually point you in the right direction.

{ 348 comments… read them below }

  1. ZSD*

    4. I suggest that your boyfriend think back to landline years. I was taught that when someone called and asked, “Is ZSD there?” I should respond, “This is she. Who’s calling, please?” Going forward, I suggest that your boyfriend say, “This is Richard. Who’s calling, please?’ It’s more polite.
    That said, this hiring manager sounds like a loon. It’s one thing to think someone has no phone manners, and another to go off on them like that.
    Side rant: I don’t understand why people these days have a problem with answering their phone when they don’t recognize the number. When we all had landlines (and no caller ID), we answered the phone without knowing who was calling all the time.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      I think it’s because we’re so used to being able to control who we talk to now, with caller ID, texting, social media, email, and everything else. There are times when I mildly cringe when I see my IM box blinking, and sometimes I downright shudder at the thought of actually having to talk on the phone. It’s a horrible habit, but one that I’m aware of and actively try to manage. I’m an extreme introvert, and I’m happiest when I’m plugged into my headphones, working away, with no one bothering me.

      I’ve stopped picking up the phone when I don’t recognize the numbers, because oftentimes it’s some kind of cold call or telemarketer. Even at work, which is really annoying.

      1. Matt*

        This. In fact, that’s the very topic that brought me to AAM when I googled something about phone hating, phone phobia or whatever and landed here: 8-)

        I never pick up on numbers I don’t recognize, sometimes even not if I recognize the number and I just don’t feel like it. I’ve never understood why people feel so obliged to always obey this device. I remember being a small child, playing on the floor and wondering why my mother always dropped her dishes or whatever she was doing to frantically run to this thing whenever it rang. Well now I’m 35 and still haven’t found the solution, I doubt I will ever 8-) but I’m thankful for the asynchronous communication methods available today.

        However I know that’s not a smart thing to do if you are job searching.

        1. nicole*

          Your mother dropped everything because there was no caller ID and possibly no answering machine, so if someone called you had no idea who or why unless you answered the phone.

          But now it’s easy to just ignore those calls since if it’s important the person will either leave a voicemail or follow up with a text.

          1. Lionness*

            Oooh god. Voicemail is the worst! I refuse to check it. If I miss your call (read: choose to keep my phone on silent and ignore you) you have to text me to get a response. The only exception is Grampa because 1. he won’t text (he can text, he just hates it) and 2. he leaves the cutest voicemails.

            I am at the older end of millennial and I find more and more that my generation has moved away from the idea of phone calls. They are inconvenient and arbitrary. I am very much an extrovert, but I hate being interrupted by the ringer on my phone. I don’t remember the last time I had the volume up on it.

            1. Enid*

              I hope you’re not job hunting. And that you don’t have friends or family who have you listed as their emergency contact. Or you don’t mind if, say, your doctor’s office calls to confirm your appointment tomorrow at 8 AM that you thought was scheduled for 2 PM.

              Maybe I’m just a Philistine, but it baffles me when people say they just completely ignore all voicemails as a rule. Don’t get me wrong, I hate phone calls and I hate getting voicemails, but I feel like there are situations where you might receive a phone call you would want to know about, from someone who’s not just going to text you the same information. (If they were willing to text you, wouldn’t they probably have just sent the text without trying to call in the first place?) That’s how it seems to me, anyway.

              1. Enid*

                Oops, before someone else corrects me, I meant to say I’m a Luddite, not a Philistine. :)

            2. Allison*

              I agree that we’ve moved away from calls, but I do have one friend who’s rather play phone tag for hours than send a text to relay information.

            3. Elizabeth West*

              Sometimes, it’s easier (and faster) to explain something in a phone call than in a text. Especially for me, since I have fine motor control issues sometimes and I don’t text very fast. A protracted conversation in messaging or SMS just frustrates me because my hands cramp up and I start typing worse and worse until my messages are unreadable.

            4. Emmy*

              I don’t get this! I’m 29, so I feel you on not wanting to answer the phone, but what’s the problem with voicemail? It’s not like the person leaving the message can hop out and get you if you press play. Plus, if it’s a call from someone I know I always think a relative died or something. Check your messages!

              Actually, if anything, LEAVING voicemails is the worst. How do you end one??? So awkward.

          2. Matt*

            I’m aware of that, but I still don’t get the idea of phone calls being that important (if you’re not waiting for a prospective employer to call, or the hospital for a loved one on how the surgery went, … you get the point). After all, if you weren’t at home those days, you’d miss the call as well.

            1. Bea W*

              It wasn’t that it was that important, but that the person on the other end couldn’t leave a message, and you had no idea if the call was important or whatever. So you were better off answering than not answering. As for calls happening when people weren’t home. That was totally out of their control, so there wasn’t any point in worrying about it unless you expected a really important call. Because there were no answering machines, people doing the calling would try to call when they thought the other person would be home. Now-a-days, there doesn’t have to be that level of planning, because you can always leave a message and let the other person get back to you when they are available. Also, important isn’t necessarily the same thing as urgent.

              It is a totally different mindset now because there are umpteen ways to quickly get in touch with people (email, text, voicemail, social media, etc). Back in the landline days, the only instant form of distance communication used by people was the telephone. There weren’t real alternatives, including voice mail.

          3. Allison*

            Nowadays, a lot of initial contact for important/legitimate matters happens over e-mail or “snail mail.” If my credit card company, my bank, the DMV, or the IRS needs to get ahold of me, they send a letter first. If an employer wants talk to me about a job opening, they e-mail or InMail me first to set it up. If, for some reason, someone calls me first, they leave a voicemail when I don’t pick up, or they send a text to follow up. There are very few situations where missing a call would end in disaster.

            1. Davey1983*

              If you are being audited, the IRS agent will sometimes call first before sending a letter. It depends on what the agent prefers. I usually preferred sending letters first, but my former manager was very insistent that you call first (and I know a handful of agents that call first).

              The IRS will not contact you by email or text.

            2. Nikki T*

              Not in disaster no, but when someone calls my job to inquire about our programs. I have to call them back, if their voicemail isn’t set up, or they don’t check their messages. I guess they will never know.

              I call back once more and sometimes I never hear back. Yet people will call and be nasty because no one ever got back to them, I TRIED.

        2. teclatwig*

          It used to drive my housemate up the wall to watch my ignore the ringing house phone. She would get frantic and finally pick it up herself. I am 43, so answering machines were part of my adolescence and young adulthood, and I never grokked why someone calling me meant I had to drop everything. Then again, my parents were the same way even before answering machines, so my attitude was partially due to early training :-) (Calling each other from outside the home, we just called twice in a row. We had a tiny nuclear family and weren’t anybody else’s emergency contact, so that helped.)

        3. stellanor*

          When I was job searching I picked up everything. Unfortunately some site that forced me to sign up to view a job listing (I was REALLY interested in that job listing!) sold my phone number to the entire world so I got a ton of calls from people who wanted me to go back to school (which I resented because I’d been job searching a long time in part due to leaving grad school with a degree that turned out more hindrance than help!). So picking up every call I got *sucked*.

          On one memorable occasion a local college called me about a job so long after I’d submitted my resume that I’d forgotten about it entirely, and I assumed they wanted to sell me on one of their programs and was very cold until they mentioned it was re: a job! Lucky for me they mentioned jobs before I started demanding to know where they got my number.

      2. Sara*

        I tend not to pick up if I don’t recognize the area code – I get a lot of robocalls from Kissimmee, FL for some reason – but I’ll answer if it’s a local area code or one that I know (the ones from where I grew up, for example).

        1. Meg*

          I get multiple robocalls every week from Kentucky for some reason (I live in New England and have never even been to Kentucky). I’m with you – if I recognize the area code I’ll pick it up since there’s a reasonable chance the call is actually coming from a live person who needs to speak to me. But if it’s from one I don’t recognize? They can leave a message if it’s important.

            1. BookPerson*

              I found that the moment I registered my phone number on the DNC list in Canada, I /started/ to receive more spam calls. All from out of the country, of course, so nothing the CRTC could do about it.

        2. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

          I’m the emergency contact for my parents/brother who still live in hometown area code so when I get a call from that number (or if I miss one because I’m not paying attention to my phone) I ALWAYS panic that someone is dead and it is ALWAYS a Ford dealership. Not the same Ford dealership, just always a Ford dealership I have never been to asking me if I want to test drive a truck.

        3. The Office Admin*

          Oh, me too!
          I’ll answer any local call, so…any call that has a Kansas or Missouri or MAYBE even Colorado or Texas area code. Low population problems ;)
          Or anything with a Southern California area code, because it may be someone from my home state calling.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I moved a few years ago but kept my phone and number, and now I know it’s a pretty safe bet to not answer numbers from “my” area code! Anybody who’s calling me for real is calling from one of the two area codes that’s physically nearby, or else they’re old, old friends and already in my phone. Unknown calls from “my” area code are almost always telemarketers/scammers spoofing themselves to look local. They just don’t realize that’s not really local to me anymore! Muhahaha!

        4. manybellsdown*

          My husband has been getting calls from the United Arab Emirates. He tries to tell them they have the wrong number, and they just yell over him in Arabic. He stopped answering it, and they keep calling but don’t leave voicemails. It’s really weird since the only time he’s been out of the USA is when he was born in Guatemala.

    2. CA Admin*

      You waste minutes by receiving calls on cell phones–if you’re on a low minutes plan, picking up what might be a telemarketer or robocall doesn’t make much sense.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        It costs you to receive calls? I never knew that, I get annoyed with tele marketers and cold calls because of the inconivenece is be livid if I was paying for the privilege.

        1. UK Nerd*

          US phone companies charge money/minutes for receiving calls on mobiles, but UK ones don’t unless you’re abroad and using roaming. I’m not clear on the reasons why, but it seems to have something to do with it being obvious whether a UK number is a mobile (it starts with 07) but not a US one.

          1. snuck*

            Australia charges the person ringing you, not the person recieving the call. Most carriers in Australia also have free messagebank – the caller pays the length of the call fee to their telephone carrier and the person who has a message can retrieve it for free.

            If you are roaming internationally generally the caller pays the normal call rate (phone to mobile) and then the international traveller pays an international rate (mobile Australia base to international phone point) which varies massively depending on carrier, country travelling to etc. It can get very expensive for the international party, but the charges remain the same for the Australian caller as if they’d telephoned the mobile handset in the next room.

            1. Bea W*

              The US likes to charge both parties. Never understood that one. That is not the way landlines work.

        2. The IT Manager*

          It costs a cell phone customer minutes to recieve a call. “In the old days” with limited minutes this was a big deal. Now-a-days many people (but not everyone) has virtually unlimited minutes.

          BTW on a cell phone no difference in cost to caller whether its a toll free or toll call – it’s still minutes. I wonder with those 1-800 numbers will disappear. Even before land lines disappear, the billing method for long distance calls will have achieved full transformation.

      2. Cautionary tail*

        +1. I can only add that the reason I got rid of my land line was because I kept getting unknown numbers calling and they were all telemarketers. Unless I’m expecting a call from an unknown number, (i.e., a potential job interview) I don’t answer.

        1. stellanor*

          I got rid of my land line because literally the ONLY calls I ever got on it were those fake firemen’s charities that aren’t actually associated with firefighters or actually even charities, but I got like three of those a week.

      3. CreationEdge*

        And if you check your voicemail with your cell only to find out that they left a 1 second voicemail of silence, it still costs you 1 minute of usage. Most providers, to my knowledge and double-checking, count calling voicemail against your minutes.

        I don’t think the minutes usage is a logically sound reason to not answer. It’s very easy to tell in 30 seconds or less whether on not you want to be talking to that caller, and then only a few seconds more to end the call and possibly be removed from their calling list.

        On the other hand, you may just continue to receive empty voicemails or calls at times you don’t want (which sucks when you forget to turn off your ringer).

        1. A Teacher*

          Right, but my family (me, sister, and parents) get like 1200 minutes a month with free plan-to-plan (ATT) calling so at most we may go through 400-500 minutes a month between 4 of us and the rest roll over. We have unlimited texting too. Much quicker to text mom or sis to let them know something–my dad can check his texts but not send one; of course he still thinks if he hits “7” it deletes his inbox messages…

    3. Chuchundra*

      Of course, if we’re going by old landline manners, the caller should have identified herself before asking for the party she’s calling.

      In any event, “who is this” or “what is this in reference to” are perfectly reasonable and polite things to ask before identifying yourself on the telephone.

      1. Knitting Car Lady*


        I sometimes get calls from market research institutes. It goes like this:

        Me: Hello?
        Phone: Hello, this is [InstituteX], we’re calling about [researchY], am I speaking to KCL?

        It’s not difficult.

        1. Bunny*

          And generally in my experience, the people who *don’t* identify themselves first tend to know in advance you don’t want to hear from them. Cold-calling telesales people, dodgy/fake debt collectors, etc.

          Also, dodgy debt-collection agencies will try to get you to identify yourself first so they have verification that the person they’re chasing after does live at the number/address they’re trying to contact – once they know, they’ll ramp up the harassment.

          I try to answer the phone politely in terms of tone-of-voice, but I never give out my name or even confirm if the person they’re asking for lives at the address until I know who is calling.

          1. Three Thousand*

            I love when I ask a telemarketer who’s calling and they pause and say “John Smith” in a hard, resentful voice. Yeah, why not establish yourself as a liar upfront and let me know just how entitled you think you are to my time. That really makes me want to do business with you.

      2. Bubbles*

        Agree with this 100%. I’m a Millennial, and I was always taught to say, “Hello, this is Bubbles. May I please speak with Lavinia?” when calling anywhere.

        The manager was SUPER rude in that question. I’d say the boyfriend dodged a bullet.

        1. Sara*

          Same here! Although when I think about it, it’s evolved a little bit now that I’ve had more “professional” phone experience. I usually say something like, “Hi, this is Sara McBobbleson. I’m calling to speak to Lavinia about the peppermint teapots.” Not quite as deferential, maybe, but I feel like it still provides the necessary information without being too demanding.

        2. Judy*

          Even when calling my sister’s house, if someone other than my sister picks up.

          “Hi Bob, this is Judy, is Tammy available?”

          I don’t expect anyone but my sister to know my voice. Even if she’s been married for 15 years.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Even among family members, we can’t safely assume in my family. Apparently my mom, all my sisters, and I all sound identical on the phone.

            1. Mabel*

              I sound just like my mom, too, so I can’t answer my folks’ phone when I’m visiting because everyone assumes it’s her and just starts talking. What I don’t understand is why, when I used to call my parents, and I said “Hi Mom (or Dad)!” they had to take a second to figure out who it was. I have one brother, and my voice is clearly female. They don’t do this anymore, but it used to happen all the time! To be fair, I do call a bit more often now, so maybe that’s the reason…

              1. Dynamic Beige*

                When I was 14, I sounded enough like my mother that it sort of became my job to answer the phone. No voicemail, no answering machines, no internet, no Ident-a-call/custom ringtones, no way of knowing who was calling — it could be a friend, it could be someone wanting to clean your carpets. So, I got schooled in the drill of:
                Me: Hello?
                Telemarketer: Hello, is that Mrs. Wakeen?/Ma’am I’d like to tell you about…
                Me: I’m not interested, thank you {hang up}
                No one ever called for my mother and asked for Mrs. if they were a friend, they always used her first name. If they just started talking about whatever, thinking I was her, I knew enough to stop them politely and ask them to wait while I got her — no Hold button or Mute either.

                Sometimes young women complain about being called “Ma’am”, since it started at 14, I had lots of time to get over that and it doesn’t phase me. Better that than “Sir” (don’t get me started).

            2. Helen of What*

              Of all my sisters, I resemble our mom the least but apparently sound just like her on the phone. Which wigs me out because she has a very obvious accent, and I don’t think I do. On the other hand, she does have a “professional phone voice” which dampens it a bit and that’s probably close to what I sound like. :/

        3. Jamie*

          Super rude in how she spoke, but on the other hand it was really considerate of her to show what an asshat she was right from jump, rather than being surprised after hire.

      3. Not Today Satan*

        Yeah, it really drives me crazy how few people identify themselves at the beginning of a call. Especially when it’s job-related.

      4. Nom d'pixels*

        That was my thought, too. The woman calling should have introduced herself, then asked for Richard. Again going back to the pre-caller ID days, the polite thing is for the caller to indentify themselves immediately.

      5. manybellsdown*

        I’ve occasionally answered my phone and had the calling party demand “Who is this??” Uh, you called me, you can identify yourself first, thanks.

        1. Onymouse*

          That’s happened to me too, and interestingly enough, often from numbers that have the same prefix (i.e. if my number was 123-456-XXXX, the call would be from 123-456-YYYY) I think unscrupulous robo-callers are spoofing the call display when they dial out (probably on the assumption that people are more likely to answer a local call), so the other party sees a missed call from ‘you’.

          1. Onymouse*

            To make my thought more coherent:
            1) other party sees missed call from ‘me’
            2) they call ‘back’, and ask ‘who’s this’
            3) I’m equally mystified

            (which upon second reading, is probably different from your scenario)

      6. mirror*

        Yes, this! I was taught it’s bad manners if you dont identify yourself when calling and have to make the person ask who you are!

    4. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I don’t like acknowledging who I am until I know I’m not talking to a telemarketer. I do normally say “Who’s calling, please?” rather than “Who’s this?” because it feels a tad more formal, but I don’t want telemarketers to know if they have the right name affiliated with my number.

      Now, it’s completely different if my work phone rings – that I answer with “Hi, this is Elizabeth.” But that’s an entirely different context. Maybe the hiring manager has some weird idea that everyone should answer the phone as if they’re on the job…

      1. Calypso Industries*

        100% this.

        And this person who gave the OP’s boyfriend grief must be seriously clueless. From personal experience doing telephone interviews – even if they’re explicitly scheduled in advance – it’s like you can *feel* a person acting guarded and cautious. The 2nd and subsequent times I called someone, I went with a simple script: “Hello, I’m Sweet Tooth from Calypso Industries. Is this Sophie?”

        At the risk of being overly harsh, I don’t think I’d want to work with anyone who couldn’t figure this out.

        1. Jennifer*

          I never heard the end of it when I got a phone call for a job interview and I didn’t answer the phone in a cheerful manner. (I had just been dumped out of the blue and suffice it to say that the possibility of getting a job interview had flown out of my brain.) Even though I got the job, mind you.

          I actually think OP’s boyfriend’s response was fine, but some people will never let you hear the end of it if you don’t answer a phone in a happy, professional manner. (Though asking who it is seems reasonable, for crying out loud.)

          1. Annonymouse*

            What bugs me to no end is this:

            [ring ring ring voicemail]
            Me: “Hi, this is Annonymouse calling from Company XYZ. I recently received your resume in response to our Lead Sprocket Model position listed on Craigslist. I wanted to chat with you for a few minutes and see if we could set up an interview this week. You can reach me at 555-555-1234 until 9 pm, or tomorrow from 12-9. I look forward to speaking with you soon!”**
            Five minutes later…
            [ring ring]
            Me: “Thank you for calling Company XYZ, this is Annonymouse speaking. How may I help you?”
            No Longer Being Considered for the Position: “SOMEONE CALLED ME FROM HERE”

            If I take 35 seconds out of my day to leave you a voicemail when you’re job searching, could you PLEASE do me a solid and at least listen to the voicemail? Like, have some concept of why SOMEONE CALLED YOU FROM HERE. Every time I have received a call back that begins in this manner, the person keeps digging a giant DO NOT HIRE hole for me. (Usually general rudeness, but it typically becomes very apparent in a short while.)

            I don’t get pissy if people answer the phone and are a little guarded until we get to the nuts and bolts of why I’m calling. I get it. But please, for the love of all that is unholy, keep in mind that you are job searching and you might not want to start things out with 6 red flags, you know?

            ** In the event that it is someone I REALLY want to hear from, I will usually throw in a “I have your email address in my inbox and I will also drop you an email to follow up within the next day,” especially if they seem to have a difficult schedule to work with. (Service industry…we are open during day and evening hours but sometimes get applicants who are barbacks, fine dining, etc., so it’s sometimes a little difficult to mesh up phone time.)

        2. Annonymouse*

          I will be honest, when calling back for interviews, I typically go with “Hi, I’m trying to reach potential interviewee!”

          BUT! Any time I have been asked to identify myself, I always launch into a “This is Annonymouse from Company XYZ. Zie submitted hir resume to me and I’m calling about setting up an interview” to the point explanation before getting down to bidness.

      2. CreationEdge*

        I don’t see the point. You’re just making the other person’s job harder for no advantage.

        If they had the wrong name to your number, they would have used it.

        If they have your name to your number, acknowledging it doesn’t change the fact. It does, however, let them more quickly get to, “This is Edison from Telemarketing Emporium.” Which means you more quickly get to, “Sorry, not interested.”

        Even if you figure out they’re a telemarketer first, and then obfuscate or lie about your name, it won’t remove you from any calling list or prevent future unwanted calls.

        All you really accomplish is coming off as hyper paranoid to the person employed on the other end of the phone.

        In this day and age, it really seems silly to me to be concerned with privacy of your phone number being linked to your name. There are so many bigger breaches of privacy and information security that it feels out of touch to worry about improving the integrity telemarketing data.

        1. Ani*

          Cell phone numbers are not in a big phone book like landline numbers and so I’m not really understanding what you don’t understand about the widespread practice of protecting it from a marketer to cell numbers or unsolicited business and all its affiliates and businesses it would sell your number to.

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          And it really seems patronizing to me to tell someone how they should feel about privacy, whether you believe their concerns are valid or not.

          1. LCL*

            It really seems patronizing to me to equate the right not to be bothered with privacy concerns.

        3. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Actually, plenty of nuisance calls (like robodialed ones) don’t have any name to go with the number they call, so it is quite an effective screening tool to ask to whom the caller wants to speak. Personally, I find that it’s even more effective just to not answer if I don’t recognize the number, but then I’m not job hunting, and the only calls I get are from my immediate family.

          And I don’t really care if you or a telemarketer thinks I’m paranoid, it’s much less stress and bother to not answer. If you really want to understand why people would do something differently than you would, this article might help:

        4. nona*

          I don’t see the point. You’re just making the other person’s job harder for no advantage.

          It does, however, let them more quickly get to, “This is Edison from Telemarketing Emporium.” Which means you more quickly get to, “Sorry, not interested.”

          There you go.

          I don’t think people who do this are doing it to prevent future calls, or protect their privacy, or anything long-term. It’s to end the spam call quickly.

        5. Jamie*

          If they have your name to your number, acknowledging it doesn’t change the fact.

          Sure it can. There is a reason I don’t have my cell on my business cards or sig tag – because I don’t want it out there for cold calling vendors to try to get me in yet another medium. We have gatekeepers at work to protect us from that, on our cells we need to be our own gatekeepers.

          And frankly, if someone is calling me on my cell unsolicited with no reason to think I would welcome that then making their job harder isn’t something I’d lose sleep over. I am not rude to cold callers (unless they are repeat offenders and then I can be a little more chilly than would normally be considered polite) but I do cut them off asap.

          Not to mention it can take you off lists – for some crazy reason I got on a list which resulted in a lot of calls about timeshares…and they’d be hard pressed to find anyone less likely to partake considering I’m not a fan of sharing or leaving my house…but I told them I wasn’t me and they stopped calling.

          Little tip – when it’s someone you never want to use your cell again say you don’t know how they got that number but this is a business cell for an IT department so they need to scratch it from their list. Hitting the right tone of befuddlement that someone would be making a personal sales pitch to a department number is key.

          (I’m usually not cool with lying, but in instances where the truth will never work and will in fact result in more calls annoying me I consider it self defense.)

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            I always tell the telemarketers that I’ve died. As in, I pretend to be my sister and that I’ve only answered Pennalynn’s phone because I thought it was a friend or colleague and I’d want them to know that Pennalynn passed away last night, complete with appropriate choked-up voice. That way they mark me down as “deceased”, so when they sell their list to another company (or resubmit it back to the place they bought it from), my death is spread from one list to another until everyone who wants to sell me or scam me by phone believes me to be dead.

            1. Emmy*

              Ugh, for YEARS after my dad died we were getting calls from some collection company who thought that my dad owed money on some store credit card. “He’s dead” ended the call, but a couple months later we would just get another one. Eventually we figured out it wasn’t even an account my dad had; it belonged to some other guy. That guy’s contact info was out of date, so they just looked up his (very common) name in the phone book. And even after explaining this many, many times, we still got the occasional call. Anyway, later my mom sold that house and moved, so not our problem anymore! Whoo!

          2. jag*

            I don’t understand how your contact information in a signature line or business card can result in cold contacts. Aren’t the only people getting your card or emails people with whom you’ve had contact? Or at least, people in companies with whom you have had contact?

      3. Mabel*

        At work, I always answer with my first and last name so people know who they’ve reached. It really irks me when I call someone at work (for a work-related matter), and they say, “Hello.” It means that I then need to ask if I’m speaking to the person I was trying to reach. And some people seem to be surprised that I am asking (I guess they think I should assume that I got the right person without confirming). Grrr.

    5. Delyssia*

      Right, but it’s a totally different circumstance when you never know who’s calling before picking up vs. when you usually do know who it is. Pre-caller ID, the phone ringing could be just as likely to be your best friend as it was a telemarketer. Now, an unknown number is far more likely to be a telemarketer or a survey than your best friend having changed her phone number. I pretty much never answer the phone if I don’t know the number. If an unknown number calls repeatedly and doesn’t leave a message, I will block the number because anyone with a legitimate need to speak to me would leave a message.

      1. Phyllis*

        I so agree!! My landline has an answering machine so I can pick up or return a call when I hear who’s calling. My cell phone I do not answer if I don’t know the number calling. They can leave a message if it’s important.

        1. tesyaa*

          Sure they can, but a hiring manager might not bother and might move on to the next candidate on the list (as unfair as that is).

          1. KS*

            Not any hiring manager who is worth anything. Normal people don’t sit staring at their phones 24/7. God forbid I be in the bathroom or at work or something where I am not hanging on desperately for some potential call. That’s utterly irrational.

      2. Case of the Mondays*

        Actually, there are many reasons why a legitimate caller does not leave a voicemail, the number one of which is privacy reasons. Law offices and medical offices will usually not leave a voicemail unless you have expressly authorized them to do so. I frequently deal with a new client calling to set up an appointment. I call them back and get voicemail. I don’t leave a message. They never answer their phone when I call and they never try calling me again. I am not going to leave a message because I don’t know if I am calling a personal cell phone, a landline or a business cell phone. Heaven forbid you are calling about domestic violence and then I leave a voicemail on the return call about you seeking legal advice and your abuser hears it before you do. If you don’t answer unknown calls, make sure that when you are leaving your number with businesses you authorize them to leave voicemails for you. My doctor’s office has the same policy.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          I also just read below about people not including their name on their voicemail. Even if you give me permission to leave a voicemail, if your name isn’t on the number I may not leave one for our initial call. We face pretty big liability if we took your number down wrong and leave a message for someone else about your legal situation.

          That said, not having your name on your voicemail can be smart. Many people use spydialer to verify phone numbers or see who called. Let’s say you have a missed call on your phone and don’t recognize it. You try reverse look up and it isn’t listed b/c it is a cell. Spydialer will go straight to voicemail and you can hear the message and see if it is someone you recognize.

    6. neverjaunty*

      Yes, and we got telemarketers, sales calls, and obscene callers all the time too. You really don’t remember why caller ID became so popular?

    7. Elder Dog*

      Back in “landline days” we had caller ID, and I knew it was Teapots, Inc or XYZ Telemarketing or Great Aunt Sue after two rings, and then I chose whether or not to answer or let the answering machine pick it up.
      If I happened to pick up the phone before the caller ID identified the caller, I expected the person on the other end to say who they were, and if they didn’t, I hung up.

      That’s how personal phones were answered. Business phones were answered differently but calling someone was the same – you say who you are, and you don’t ask the person you called for their name because you should already know who you are calling, and that hasn’t changed.

      After the “dial *67 to block outgoing caller id” started, I stopped answering anything that came up “unknown caller.” My doctor’s office got snippy because I “screened their calls” claiming it was their new phone service and they couldn’t change it, so next time I went in, I mentioned it to the doctor and he had me fix that for them.

      1. doreen*

        Back before caller ID ,you didn’t ask people you called for their name- but you did ask for the person you were calling. If someone was calling me they wouldn’t say ” Is this Doreen?” but they would say ” Can I speak to Doreen?” or ” I’m trying to reach Doreen?” . They should have said “This is Linda” or “I’m calling from Dr Soandso’s office” before asking the question, but that didn’t always happen. I think with the prevalence of cell phones (which are normally answered by a single person) people think it’s dumb to ask “Can I speak to Doreen?” and go straight to ” Is this Doreen”? Again, they should identify themselves first but don’t always. But I’ve noticed that the people who don’t ask in any way just assume they’ve reached the correct person rather than a wrong number and launch straight into conversation. Sometimes, I can tell very quickly that it’s a wrong number, but not always. I’ve had people call my phone and just say ” I won’t be coming to work today” assuming they reached their supervisor and (I guess that their supervisor will recognize their voice/number) but they didn’t.

        Of course, that still doesn’t mean the caller is in a position to scold the OP and she absolutely should have identified herself first.

        ( and yes, I usually answer numbers I don’t recognize unless it’s obviously a telemarketer. I don’t know my kids’ friends’ numbers or various delivery people’s numbers and plenty of businesses/government agencies make calls from a number I wouldn’t recognize. )

        1. Miss Betty*

          How can you tell a telemarketer’s (or fake collection agency scam place) number from any other number you don’t recognize. The whole point of not answering calls I don’t recognize is that I can’t tell one from the other. If it’s someone who really wants to speak with me, they’ll leave a message. If they don’t, either it was a wrong number or unimportant.

          1. Doreen*

            Sometimes its obviously a telemarketer – the area code is completely unfamiliar or something obviously fake shows up on caller ID. Yes, it means i sometimes answer a telemarketer- in which case I say I’m not interested and hang up which doesn’t take any longer than retrieving a voicemail. But it also means the delivery person doesn’t skip me because I didn’t answer .

            But just to be clear, I’m not saying I drop everything and break my neck to answer the phone. I don’t. It’s just that once I’m in a position to see the number , I almost always answer because I get many more legit calls from unfamiliar numbers than telemarketers.

            1. Miss Betty*

              I envy you! (I rarely get legit calls from unfamiliar numbers. I got a new phone and new number at the end of last year, so it’s not a massive problem like it used to be.)

      2. nona*

        Pre-caller ID, people who called you would tell you who they were. “Hi, this is Nona. May I speak to Elder Dog?” was how most people started calls.

    8. A Dispatcher*

      I am actually completely amazed at the number of people who DO answer the phone when we do callbacks (to advise of delays, to ask follow up questions if necessary, etc). I don’t believe our number is blocked, but it certainly doesn’t identify us as 911, the police, etc. I mean maybe if you know you’ve called the police and are waiting on them you’re more likely to answer unknown numbers, but I certainly never answer unknown numbers on my personal phone…

      1. The Office Admin*

        Our police line came up as a local number if we just called back a caller. We could use a blocked number to call out from dispatch and we routed officer cell phone calls to callers through a blocked line.

      2. Bea W*

        I actually didn’t pick up a couple of police calls to my cell. It was 4 AM on a weekend and I assumed the strange numbers were drunk dialers, which I have gotten in the wee hours on a weekend night, complete with slurred messages from complete strangers. The officer finally left a message around 6 AM. When I talked to him he said he tried calling from a few different phones hoping I would pick up. He also said they normally deliver that kind of news in person, but they didn’t have an address. (Which is just as well, it would have totally freaked me out to have someone at my door at 4 AM!)

        What happened there is I do not see a name on my cell caller ID unless the number is in my phone book (too cheap to pay the extra subscription fee for name caller ID), so those were all just random numbers to me. I’m not sure what names would have been attached to them. If they had called my landline where I do get the name with the number, I would have picked up if I had seen even just that the call was coming from a city office and definitely if I thought it was coming from the police, since there would only be one reason they’d be calling me at that hour or at all. :-/

      3. mirror*

        I have to use a google voice # to get people to answer my calls! Vermont has one area code, so many people are automatically suspicious of my 760 area code. It’s usually not a problem with things like a doctor’s office, but trying to set up appointments with contractors, calling a neighbor, contacting local clients…they won’t answer, and most people never check voicemail nowadays (or do and forget about it, then forget who that darn 760 number belongs to) that I’ve begun using a google voice # in certain situations.

    9. Tara*

      Unknown numbers: 80% telemarketers, 5% people who for some reason insist I show up in their missed calls (is this some iPhone bug??), 10% dead calls, 5% people with a legitimate reason to talk to me. And the latter category leaves messages.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        …5% people who for some reason insist I show up in their missed calls (is this some iPhone bug??), 10% dead calls…

        Those 15% are probably 14.9% due to telemarketers, too. The 5% who insist you called them probably got a call from a telemarketer who was spoofing a local number (yours) on the caller ID in order to try to get people to pick up, and the dead calls are from a predictive dialing robodialer, which try to minimize downtime for their workers by always having a live target picking up and a scammer at the ready. (Not quite, but that’s the tl;dr version.)

        So I think it’s more like 94.9% telemarketing-related annoyances, 5% legitimate, 0.1% misc. :)

      2. Mabel*

        I have never understood why someone would not answer a call from an unknown number, but would call back an unknown number if that call came when they were busy and they missed it. Can someone please explain this to me (or is it just one more way that we, as humans, are inconsistent)?

        1. Amy*

          I’d imagine they’re different groups of people. The ones who call back are the ones who would have answered if they’d been available when it rang.

    10. CreationEdge*

      The boyfriend did have poor phone answering etiquette, and could have avoided the incident.

      I always answer my phone (or sometimes my wife’s) with, “This is Grayson.” It immediately let’s people know they reached the right or wrong person.

      There’s no reason to not announce your name, especially if you’re putting your phone number down on forms. You can filter out telemarketers and scamming in moments.

      This caller may have overstepped their bounds by admonishing the boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean other callers aren’t a little annoyed without vocalizing it. I would say replying with, “I’m sorry, who’s this?” without acknowledging that yes, you are the person they wish to reach, comes across as stand-offish.

      I just can’t think of any reason not to give out your name immediately unless you’re trying to “hide”, such as from debt collectors. If that’s the case, then get a cheap prepaid phone like a TracFone that you only use for job applications.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But people aren’t obligated to share their name with a stranger, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to answer the phone that way. On the other hand, there is something very wrong with the caller thinking she’s entitled to act like this guy’s parent and treat him like a child. If she dislikes the way he answers the phone, she’s free to decline to interview him. But it’s not reasonable for her to think she’s in any position to scold him; she’s not.

        1. CreationEdge*

          I never agreed the caller was in the right with how she acted. I wouldn’t have tolerated that and would have bowed out of the process. Poor first impressions both ways.

          You’re not obligated to share your name with a stranger, but when you put it and your phone number down together on the same form, you’ve done that. One application or resume can be seen by many strangers, and you will likely never know which is going to call you.

          And you’ve created, for the legitimate people calling you, the reasonable expectation that you can be reached at that number by that name.

          So, you should be prepared to answer your phone as if one of those people you gave implicit permission to is calling you.

          Likewise, the caller should be prepared to announce themselves immediately.

          “Hello? ”
          “Hi, this is Jane Dough from Baker’s Teapots calling for Richard.”
          “This is Richard.”

          This reminds me of when people don’t say their name on their personal voicemail message, which is common for cell phones. I’ve had times where contacting people for business emergencies was a real hassle, because you didn’t know if were reaching the right person. Sure, I left a voice mail saying, “This is Unlimited Teapots calling for Richard Reed. Please call back at 555-5555”, but would still have to continue trying to contact other numbers or that one again until I got some acknowledgement that I’d reached one of the named people on my list and in some way let them know to contact me.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Sure, that is one way to do it. But it’s not the only acceptable way; there’s really nothing wrong with declining to identify yourself until you know who’s on the other end of the phone.

            1. Myrin*

              This whole discussion is super interesting for me as where I’m from you always answer the phone by saying at least you surname, often even both first and last name (when it’s an anknown number calling; obviously if the caller ID says it’s your mother, you can answer however). The same goes for when you call someone, though: After the other person picked up the phone, you identify yourself and then ask if you’ve got the right person (in case there’s still any doubt). Which is to say, the employer in this scenario actually did the very same thing she criticised the OP’s boyfriend for. Apart from that, how very condescending and rude, not to mention unprofessional!

              1. CreationEdge*

                When I was a child I’d answer with, “[last name] residence, Grayson speaking.” It makes cringe to think about now, but sometimes I’ll answer that way when friends or family call just for kicks. It really throws them off.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  I wonder about this convention and exactly when it stopped–and this isn’t because of any nostalgia about it. :D I’m 37 and wasn’t raised with it myself. We just said “Hello.” Whenever I called anybody, they also just said “Hello.” And it was my job to say who I was and ask for who I wanted.

                  One ex of mine did do the “Lastname residence, Dude speaking” thing; he’s four years older than I am, but he’s also unusually formal in other ways too (like “sir” and “ma’am” to family members), so I’m not sure if it’s his age or if it’s just a quirk of his family. Current boyfriend doesn’t do it and is older still.

                  I’m guessing people probably stopped identifying themselves and the residence out of safety or telemarketer concerns. There was no caller ID and people didn’t want random strangers knowing their names.

                2. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

                  I was taught this way, and then sometime in the mid-90s my mom had a crisis of privacy, painted over the name on our mailbox, redid our answering machine (one of the ones with an tape!), and yelled at me every time I answered the phone “Voorhees residence, Xanthippe speaking.” I can pinpoint this change as the moment I went from an eloquent phone-answerer to a Tina Belcher-esque “Uuuuh, hello?”

                  (Also leading to my awkward phone-ness, inconsistency when people say “speaking.” Sometimes they mean “who is speaking on the other end?” and sometimes they mean “this is the person you want speaking”)

                3. Jamie*

                  @Kelly L – I wasn’t raised with this either and I have a decade on you. In fact I was always taught the person calling needed to identify themselves first (although when you got smartassy and asked gramma who she was was and to whom she wished to speak it was pointed out that was only funny to me.)

                  The caller is the one asking for electronic admittance into your home (well, now life due to cell phones) and so it’s incumbent upon them to identify themselves so you can decide if you are “in” for them or not. (As Miss Manners always says, you can be “in” for some people and not others and a phone call or drop in visit doesn’t obligate the recipient to drop what they are doing to be available at that moment.)

                  I have had cold callers start out with “Hi Jame – omg you are so hard to get a hold of, glad I finally got you…” This has happened more than once (although not terribly often) and it always throws me off my game as I’m assuming it’s someone I know since they are calling me Jame with a tone that we have a pre-established relationship …and since I’m horrible with recognizing voices I always assume it’s someone I should know. I am livid when it turns out to be someone trying to sell me something thinking I’m stupid enough to go along with this make-believe relationship we don’t have.

                4. EvilQueenRegina*

                  My grandad answered the phone with “2539” for years – even though four digit numbers have been long since phased out here and he hadn’t had that since about 1989 he kept it up. Eventually he got caller ID and when he recognised a number as being a family member he would say hello. Strangers were often ignored because he just couldn’t be bothered.

                5. Elizabeth West*

                  I was taught the same thing, but I never answer my cell that way. I have never had any hiring manager speak to me in such a fashion. *commence pearl-clutching*

                  When I’m job hunting, I just politely say “Hello,” and they say “I’m calling for Elizabeth West, this is XYZ Company,” and I say, “Elizabeth speaking; good morning/afternoon.”

                6. Jamie*

                  “Elizabeth speaking; good morning/afternoon.”

                  You are so sweet and professional. When it’s a call from work or a vendor I go with the very classy “this is Jamie” when I’m feeling formal and fancy but usually…”Jamie.”

                  Shorthand to let them know they reached the right person and apparently let them know I can’t be bothered saying hello. Good thing I’m so fun and delightful once we’re actually talking to make up for it.

                7. Pennalynn Lott*

                  I remember being a small child and calling my grand-mother. Even when I could clearly identify the creaky voice on the other end of the line who had just said, “Hello?”, I was required to say, “This is Pennalynn. May I please speak to Granny?” And she would always reply, “This is she.”

                  No matter whom I call, I still identify myself first and ask if I’m speaking to my intended recipient before launching into anything important. (“Hi, this is Pennalynn Lott from the Cat Whisker Collection Society, and I’m calling for Wakeen?” <— Question mark at the end to denote that I'm asking if the person is Wakeen, without trying to sound too formal.)

            2. CreationEdge*

              Fair enough, but I’ve had enough experience with people having poor phone skills to not wait around for the other party to get things done! I’d rather take control of the call and help us both out.

              There’s nothing wrong with declining, but you should make your language clear that you’re not divulging information until the caller identifies themselves.

              “First, may I ask who’s calling?”
              “Can I first ask what this is regarding?”

              Something along those lines.

              If the caller ends up being someone you *do* want to hear from, you’ve politely and deftly handled the situation.

              Unfortunately, I’ve been trained to overthink these things working for (inbound) call centers before.

              1. KS*

                You know, “Can I first ask what this is regarding?” is actually pretty typical secretary speak these days, as far as I can tell. If it’s good enough for someone calling a business, it should work both ways! ;p

            3. Artemesia*

              The interviewer was rude as a caller for not immediately identifying herself; she was the one who should have said ‘This is Frieda Dingbat from Teapots R Us calling for Richard Smith” In which case the boyfriend would have responded appropriately.

              It was imprudent of him to query given that he is job searching, but it was generally the correct approach to unknown numbers.

              1. snuck*

                I think he should have asked if he’s job searching… he doesn’t want Frieda Dingbat knowing he’s also applied to Somewhat Less Loony Teapots Inc necessarily…

                I’m with Alison – the BF should probably pick his game up a little in the professional answering stakes (given this is obviously the number he is inviting prospective employers to talk to him on), and the interview was a Dingbat for acting like he was a naughty child. If this sort of thing was so important to her she could have asked him an inane question and avoided interviewing him at all, or still offered the interview if she still had him in the running etc.

          2. Lurker*

            Back in the day of landlines, as a single woman, living alone, I never had my name on my answering machine message – just the number.

            1. neverjaunty*

              Exactly. Answering the phone with my name was just handing ammo to creeps and telemarketers. It boggles me that my spouse actually announces his name when he picks up the phone but then he grew up in a small town.

              1. Artemesia*

                My first husband would answer our land line with ‘Lastname household, Robroy speaking.’ This drove me nuts but he insisted it was the ‘correct way’ to answer the phone as his father was a telephone company executive in Verysmalltown Minnesota and has taught him thus. He continued to do this dweeby thing until a female friend of his at school called one day and when he answered this way said ‘what are you six years old.’ Then he stopped. It wasn’t the only reason I left him after 3 years.

                1. teclatwig*

                  This is how I do it at my 94-year-old grandmother’s house, as she feels it is the proper greeting. So maybe it’s just really old-fashioned or stuffy?

                2. Rebeck*

                  I was taught “Hello, Rebeck Lastname speaking. Who is it please?” And answered the phone in that way until I was about 20. I’m of Minnesotan background and will admit to squeeing with delight when Marshall answered the phone the same way in HIMYM.

      2. ACallerDoesn'tNeedToKnowWhoIamUntilIKnowWhoTheyAre*

        I never give out my name on the phone, until I know who is calling. To be honest, it’s less about concerns with telemarketers, and more about safety. In an industry where peers have received phone calls with death threats for being visibly good at their job (woman in tech), in a world where it is just not at all out of the possibility that I could have to deal with that someday, G!d forbid, to me, it’s just good safe habits not to identify myself on the phone until I know who is calling. I answer my personal phone as “Hello” and then if they don’t identify themselves “May I ask who’s calling?” and then if it is a legitimate call, I identify myself.

        A random person calling me who has not identified themselves is not owed confirmation of my identity until they have shared their own. There is nothing rude about that, it is just smart.

        (I think the distinction comes from the blurring of lines between work and personal phones. A work phone, I would always identify myself as well as my company. But I don’t have a work line and a home line, I just have my cell phone which serves all purposes, so it gets “home” levels of not identifying myself to unknown parties.)

        1. CreationEdge*

          I wouldn’t say it’s innately *rude* to not identify yourself, but the language and tone people use in initially refusing often comes off as brusque, which can put off legitimate callers.

          If your concern is that you’ve been doxed somehow… I don’t think not confirming your name is going to deter someone from giving you death threats (or just being obscene) over the phone. That person is clearly off their rocker already. If they’re ready to exercise malicious intent, then a “May I ask who’s calling?” isn’t going to stop them. You’re not dealing with a reasonable person there.

          I’m not sure if it actually makes you safer (women receiving those types off calls can have more dangerous information compromised, such as their home address), but I can see how it would seem so. That piece of mind is the best reason I’ve seen for waiting on the other person.

      3. Tomato Frog*

        I don’t tell people my name because I get calls from telemarketers who I plan to not be at home to; because I go by different names with different people and it’s liable to confuse someone (e.g. I’m Martha to my bank, Mattie to friends, family, and potential employers); because I don’t want the people who don’t know my nickname to learn it (it’s a screening device for me — it also means that the cashier who was too friendly with me when running my credit card can’t Google me and find my Facebook page); and because when you’re answering the phone, people don’t usually hear the first thing you say on the phone all that clearly, anyway.

        But most of all, there’s nothing rude about not giving your name to a caller who hasn’t given their name. The obligation is on the caller.

      4. KAZ2Y5*

        I learned one reason to always answer “This is KAZ2Y5” on my cell phone. My sister works from home–while she has a dedicated work phone (landline), a lot of people call her on her cell phone if they can’t reach her. She always answers “This is KAZ2Y5’s sister” and if it is a telemarketer she tells them that they have reached a business line and please remove this number from their list. They are always apologetic and always remove her number then. So, I am now my own business!

      5. Marvel*

        I have a long-time, very determined stalker, and therefore I do not give out my name on the phone until I find out who the caller is. I’m not going to buy a second phone just because some loon thinks I’m rude for asking who’s calling. You’d be surprised just how many people have reasons like that.

        YMMV. That’s my take.

    11. Sarahnova*

      I don’t answer the phone when I don’t know who it is because 1) it’s generally a telemarketer, robocall, or scamster and the last thing I want to do is confirm the validity of my phone’s number; 2) if it’s an actual human being I might legit want to talk to, they will leave a VM.

      Mind you, this is only for my personal phone and only when I’m not jobsearching; I always answer my work phone if possible, and if I’m jobsearching I will absolutely answer all calls on my personal phone.

    12. Ani*

      I can’t stand answering numbers I don’t recognize today because it’s always some unsolicited business call, survey, or recording. And frankly, like the caller in this example, they never identify themselves upfront and instead use my name if they can and try to smarm their way into a “conversation.”

      1. Kelly L.*

        Oh, yeah, the first-name-overuse people. “Well, Kelly, I hope you’re having a good day today, Kelly. The reason I’m calling today, Kelly, is that I have a great deal on siding for you, Kelly, and…”

        1. Jennifer*

          Which reminds me of Cheers back in the day: “Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly….”

          God, that shit creeps me out.

          1. Artemesia*

            My reaction to people who use my name a lot in a business/sales call is ‘psychopath’. I just assume they are manipulative jerks — hard to imagine anything less sincere.

    13. Bea W*

      Side rant: I don’t understand why people these days have a problem with answering their phone when they don’t recognize the number. When we all had landlines (and no caller ID), we answered the phone without knowing who was calling all the time.

      They were often annoyed when it turned out to be a telemarketer, scam, obscene caller, or wrong number or even someone they knew but didn’t want to be bothered by, but because it was unusual to have an answering machine and residential voicemail service did not exist, they had no choice but to pick up the phone every time it rang. When given the option to avoid annoying interruptions or annoying calls, it doesn’t seem odd people would take it. I remember how annoyed my mother would get when the phone rang during dinner only to have it be a telemarketer.

      On cell phones every call you answer comes out of your monthly minute allotment. It’s an additional reason not to answer unrecognized numbers. At least on the landlines, we were being charged everytime we picked up the phone for an annoyance caller, especially if you are using pre-paid service or don’t have much talk time on your plan.

      1. Artemesia*

        During most of the last 30 years before we moved entirely to cell phones, we had a home answering machine and almost never picked up a call. We didn’t even have caller ID — if they didn’t leave a message, we didn’t know they called. If we were in the room and someone we wanted to talk with was on the phone we would run and pick up when we heard their voice, but most calls are charitable solicitations, telemarketers or other pond scum and this saved us the annoyance of fielding those calls. We give to charities and cultural institutions we have chosen and I don’t even want to hear from them on the phone. I absolutely don’t want to hear from cold callers looking to beg or sell. We didn’t even give out our cell number when we had cells and a landline; it was for our convenience only — and so only immediately family members had the number. Now that we only cells of course we don’t have that option.

    14. Felicia*

      A lot of the time I would just say “This is she, may I ask who’s calling?”, but sometimes when I was job hunting I wouldn’t answer the phone from an unknown number due to many employers’ annoying habits of asking for on-the-spot phone interviews and me getting too nervous to say no. They would literally say they were x employer, and did I have a few minutes to answer some questions? I’d say yes because i have a hard time lying on the spot, and they’d go into a phone interview when i could barely remember what the job was off the top of my head because i applied to so many. It happened often enough that I’d stop answering the phone, and they’d leave a message, which would give me time to look up the company and the job (I did keep track, just couldn’t remember off the top of my head). Impromptu phone interviews are stupid, but they happened so much i stopped answering.

      – And I’m 25 and have had caller ID for more than half my life, and the last time I had to answer without it i was a child, so maybe that’s why. People younger than me such as my 17 year old sister have never had to answer the phone without knowing who was calling (we got caller ID on our landline when I was in middle school, but none of my same age friends have a landline now)

      1. Kyrielle*

        I’m 40 and I was late to the caller-id bandwagon (because back when we still used a landline for primary service, I was too cheap to buy a phone that supported it, we had perfectly functional phones).

        I _still_ screen calls if I don’t know the number. Unless I’m waiting for a call back from a number I don’t know, or a blocked number. (My kids’ after-hours on call nurse service does that, so we can’t call the poor person on call directly, but have to go through the answering service. I can understand the reasons, and when you call the answering service and leave a message, they make sure you know that, so it’s not like it’s a surprise.)

        1. Judy*

          Our doctor’s office now has a way for the on call person to show up with a caller ID of the main phone line.

          It’s probably similar to what we have at work, with IP phones and an app for our cell phone to look like we’re calling from our desk.

    15. The IT Manager*

      I agree. The employer was 100% out of line. How one answers a personal number is not necessarily how one answers a business phone.

      On the other hand your boyfriend was rude. As ZSD suggests dreg up the memory of how people used to answer personal phones.

      Bf: Hello
      Employer: Hi, is this Richard?
      Bf: Speaking. / This is he. / I’m Ricard. / Yes. (<- pick one)
      Employer: I’m the manager from so and so.

      The standard conversational curtesy is that when Richard admits who he is the other person introduces themselves. Or you can go further and say “This is Richard. May I ask who is calling?” but you usually don’t have to go that far because they introduce themselves next.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Nope, I’m pretty sure it should actually go:

        Bf: Hello
        Employer: Hi, this is Jane with Teapots Unlimited. Is Richard available?
        Bf: Yes/This is he/etc.

      2. Kimberlee Stiens*

        I agree with this. The employer was very wrong to be a jerk, but refusing to identify yourself to someone calling you who clearly knows you can be reached at that number is pretty standoffish. It’s generally assumed that once one party identifies themselves, the other will too, and if they don’t you can just hang up. I don’t really get the refusing to identify yourself (especially if you’re job hunting).

        FWIW, at my previous employer most people who made outbound calls learned *not* to identify the organization we were calling from until confirming we had the person on the line we were trying to reach (because it was a controversial topic). I had at least one donor yell at me because I’d inadvertently let his wife know he was a supporter of our organization, which he’d been hiding from her.

        It’s possible that that the employer was trying to be courteous by not revealing that they’re trying to interview Gary before knowing they’re talking to Gary. But, also, it just feels hella unnatural to say “Hey, this is Kimberlee, Esq. with Store. Is Gary there?”

        So, yeah, the employer was super wrong for being a jerk, but they were not wrong to interpret that kind of answer as unnecessarily (and insistently) stand-offish, which would color your perception of the prospective employee if you’re hiring for a customer service position.

        1. Petronella*

          +10 to this. The way the LW describes her boyfriend’s response makes him sound rather unpolished and rude. When I was doing hiring, an applicant who spoke to me that way on the very first phone contact would have just removed himself from my interview list. I especially hate the use of the word “random” to refer to a person you don’t know or didn’t expect to hear from. I am not “some random person,” I’m the person whom *you,* as the applicant, have presumably been hoping to hear from and should be trying to make a good impression on.

    16. Lily in NYC*

      I have to wonder if it was about his tone more than what he said. I have a cousin who is so rude when he doesn’t know who is calling and he says “who is this” in such an obnoxious way. But about your side rant: there are tons of people, myself included who suffer from phone anxiety in general. I rarely answered my phone even before caller id; I’d just let it go to voice mail. A phone call is not a summons and answering it is not an obligation. Of course, if one is job searching then it’s a good idea to answer.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Yikes, I didn’t notice this was such a huge thread when I posted. I sure had nothing new to add!

      2. Artemesia*

        I think this is probably it. ‘May I ask who is calling please’ feels very different. I recently called a stranger I met in an on line travel group who had personally emailed me with his phone and willingness to discuss travel to a new and exotic place he has been and I am planning to go. When I called, his wife answered and I asked for him without identifying myself (bad me) So she asked ‘Who is this?’ and it was a bit off putting, but proceeding pleasantly when I identified who I was and the context of the call. ‘Who is this’ per se feels abrupt ‘May I ask who is calling’ is better. But the caller in the OP’s case should have identified herself immediately — so the potential interview is oriented to the purpose of the call and the company.

    17. danr*

      The scammers send fake caller ids all the time. If you answer the phone, you give them a hit on a live number and you get more calls. Which brings up the question of why companies don’t actively identify themselves with caller id? If the scammers can send a fake id, companies ought to be able to identify themselves. I’m sure it costs some money to do it legally, but it could be part of advertising.

      1. Jamie*

        Yep – it’s the same reason you never hit the unsubscribe link in spam email – it let’s them know it’s live and then God help you.

        (unless it’s something for which you actively signed up – I’m referring to the cold spam.)

    18. Case of the Mondays*

      One reason to answer those numbers you don’t recognize, it could be a friend or family member trying to reach you in an emergency. In an emergency they aren’t likely to be using their own phone. I was at the Boston Marathon bombing and was trying to call my parents from a friend’s phone because mine wasn’t working. They didn’t pick up b/c they didn’t recognize the number. I left a voicemail but then because of all of the problems with the phone lines they had a very hard time getting back in touch.

      If a loved one is in an accident, the call you receive may be from the police or a hospital and you won’t recognize the number.

      Also, try to memorize your MVP’s phone numbers. If your cell is destroyed in an accident or separated from you, you aren’t going to be able to look up the phone number to ask someone to call them.

      1. Jamie*

        This is a good point – it’s happened to me when my kids were younger and their phones died or whatever so I told them to always text in such cases.

        I don’t know one person who answers calls for unknown numbers barring mitigating circumstances*, so I’d always text rather than call if I needed my family to know it was me.

        (job search, house hunting, ill family member, etc.)

          1. Jamie*

            Ahh – I missed that. When we had a landline I checked voicemail religiously and answered all calls just in case it was one of the kids or an emergency with another family member.

            Actually, I think we still have a landline as it’s part of the bundle, but it’s been years since we’ve plugged a phone into it.

      2. Bea W*

        I once had a sudden medical emergency in the middle of the night, and was taken by ambulance without have my cell or my house keys or my wallet or…anything really and was in the ER. 20 years ago I had everyone’s numbers memorized because there were no electronic auto dialing phone books. Luckily things turned out okay and I was no admitted to the hospital, and I was able to get a cab home, but I was totally worried about that – what if I needed to get a hold of someone to let them know I needed surgery and my pets needed to be looked after and such? As someone mentioned further up, there are no big phone books of all of the cell phone numbers, and the people I needed to reach did not have landlines or did not have publicly listed landlines. Directory assistance wouldn’t have been able to help. At best I was hoping I could at least call work, a number that could be looked up…TWO days later after the holiday. :-/

      3. Elizabeth West*

        The hospital or police department should leave a voice mail, though. They may not be able to say why they want to talk to you but they should leave a message.

    19. Emily*

      Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever replied with, “Yes, this is she,” and not had the person on the other end immediately offer their name next. I’ve never had to ask for it. It’s part of the standard script:

      me: Hello?
      caller: Yes, is Ms. Emily there?
      me: This is she.
      caller: Hello Ms. Emily, I’m calling from blahblahblah to talk to you/ask you about blahblahblah.

      You expect the person will volunteer their name so demanding it before they even have a chance to say it, like you think for some reason they would conceal their identity or the purpose of their call, does come across as weirdly hostile. I wouldn’t call someone out on it like that store manager did, but I would notice it.

    20. Retail Lifer*

      Such a good point about phone manners. They really have fallen by the wayside.

      That being said, caller ID and voicemail were a godsend for people like me who really don’t like talking on the phone. My friends and family know I hate it so they text or email 99% of the time. If I’m job hunting (like I am now), I know I probably should answer any call from an unrecognized number…and answer it politely.

    21. Sadsack*

      When I answer a call I don’t recognize, it is usually a wrong number, my college looking for a donation to the alumni association, or some other unwanted call.

    22. Sadsack*

      I have to agree that it was weird to respond to a call by being shocked that the caller knows your name instead of just saying, “Yes, who is this,” particularly when you are job searching. The caller was way wrong with her response and Richard is probably lucky to have avoided working for her, but now Richard can be better prepared for the next call.

    23. MLHD*

      Agreed. Why would he be “worried” that someone had his name if he’s actively job searching? Heck, could be anyone from a telemarketer to an interviewer to a company he does business with.

      When someone asks for me by name on the phone I answer “Speaking.” I’m also one of the newer generation who gets anxious when an unfamiliar number calls, but if I don’t want to answer I don’t answer and I listen to the voicemail. I don’t pick up and go “WHO IS THIS?!?” lol

    24. aebhel*

      I don’t answer my phone if I don’t recognize the number (and frequently even when I do, if I’m in the middle of something else). If it’s important, they can leave a voicemail. I’ve never understood the expectation to drop everything and dive for the phone the second it rings, unless I’m actually waiting on a call.

    25. Vicki*

      “That said, if your boyfriend is job searching, he should be prepared to receive calls from unknown numbers and have the person on the other end ask for him by name.”

      Actually, he should be prepared to received call from unknown numbers and have the person on the other end say “This is Marilyn from Companyco Inc. May I speak to Richard?”

      Anything else is unprofessional.

    26. PlainJane*

      Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was being taught phone manners, I was taught to always identify myself when calling someone — especially when making a business call: “Hello, this is PlainJane from Hogwarts. May I speak to so-and-so?” So I’d say your boyfriend had a right to lecture the hiring manager about *her* lousy phone manners.

    27. voluptuousfire*

      If you’re the type that hates answering the phone and are job hunting, get a Google Voice number. I love mine. I have it set for the person to announce themselves and it allows me to take the call or send it to voicemail. This way I can pick up unknown numbers and reject them if it’s spam or someone I don’t want to talk to.

      Besides, no one and I mean no one, picks up their phone anymore. In all my previous roles, I made thousands upon thousands of phone calls and out of every 10 calls I made, maybe one person picked up.

    28. Victoria*

      Regarding #4, the Employer had poor phone skills. When someone answers the phone you don’t say “Hi, is this Richard?”, you say “Hi, may I please speak to Richard?”. Which makes the lecturer even more rude.

    29. MRM*

      Thats an awkwardly formal way to answer your own cell phone. Sure I answered my mom’s house phone that way as a kid, but I was a child talking to adults.

  2. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: It sounds like this employer has come up with a creative way to get free labor. Since it’s a cupcake bakery, I could see being asked to make a dozen cupcakes to bring to the interview, if I was interviewing to be a baker. It’s reasonable for the owner to want to see (or I guess taste) my work before making a decision. But this just sounds like a way to get people to work for free. OP, consider yourself lucky that you’ve been given a glimpse of how this operation does things…who knows what other shady things might be going on?

    #4: The OP’s boyfriend did not answer the phone by saying, “Who’s this?” He answered it by saying “Hello?” I think the employer saying, “Hi, is this Richard?” was overly familiar, which may be what threw him. Any time I ever called someone for an interview, or called someone’s references, etc, I open with, “Hello, may please I speak with Richard Jones?” I think the more formal/cordial/whatever tone signals whoever picks up the phone that it’s some sort of “official” call, instead of just a random person or telemarketer calling.

    The OP’s boyfriend should avoid this employer, if the person who called would be his boss. She sounds like she would needle people endlessly about things. This conversation reminds me of a nutty boss I had years ago who would return work to you marked up with a red pen, as if she was a teacher grading your paper. And for little things too — like putting a staple into a stack of papers diagonally instead of horizontally, or for pages in a binder being even slightly misaligned.

    1. Sourire*

      Horizontal staples, WHY! Ugh, sorry but I hate when people do that (assuming it’s hand stapled and not that way out of a machine)

        1. Myrin*

          I’m right-handed and still staple that way because I’ve found that – as Artemisia says a few comments below – a document is easiest to read that way as it produces the least creases and weird ways to flip the page. I personally also like the look best but that’s a minor point in the face of how convenient I just find it.

      1. themmases*

        I do it because, if I have a stack of documents the machine didn’t staple for me, I can make them all look the same by stapling horizontally. I just line up the metal guard on the bottom half of the stapler with the corner of the page. I’ve never really noticed them flipping differently from diagonal staples though– I didn’t realize anyone cared! I only care that the staple is close enough to the corner of the document to not cause creases over the content of the inside pages. Lining up the stapler almost always does that.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      It didn’t sound like OP was interviewing to be a baker, though. It would be reasonable if, as part of the interview process, the OP did things like decorate a couple cupcakes that were not going to be sold, or role-played selling a cupcake to an employee posing as a customer. 11 hours of cleaning and working a register, though, is absurd. Especially because this is pitched as a PRE-interview situation.

      Your former boss sounds crazy. We have two copiers at my workplace and they auto-staple papers differently – one horizontally and one diagonally. I’d love to see your old boss try to live with that.

    3. DeLurkee*

      Ha! A number of years ago I had a boss who gave me a half-hour lecture on the “right” way to staple documents, which was to his mind, a 45 degree diagonal, forever and always. Anyone who did not follow that stipulation (stapulation? :D ) was raked over the coals.

      1. Artemesia*

        Well, for a document that is going to be read (and one hopes thus all documents) this is clearly the best way unless it is stapled as a book with two or three staples vertically on the side.

      2. the gold digger*

        I spent many late-evening hours in the basement of my company’s HQ, next to the print shop, removing the staples from the left side of the presentation for the board of directors and re-stapling on the right.

        No, I do not know why the director who put in the print order could not have asked that the documents be stapled on the right from the very beginning.

        No, I did not get overtime.

        Yes, I left that job as soon as I would no longer have to repay my move package (366 days after I started).

        1. Ellie H*

          A more important question, why were they supposed to be stapled on the right in the first place?!

      3. Ann Furthermore*

        Sounds like my old boss’s evil twin! She had a whole list of very specific criteria of how things should be done, and anything that deviated from that was wrong. In addition to the stapling, I actually watched her give someone a tutorial on how to stack papers before stapling them: you are tap them twice on one side, then turn and tap them once. Then insert the staple horizontally. Anything printed in a landscape format was to be inserted into a binder with the heading of the page on the LEFT, not on the right.

        I posted about her last week in another thread. She would run roughshod over you until you stood up to her, and then she’d respect you and treat you as an equal. I found this out when we got into a rather heated discussion about some invoices being paid late. She hired one guy who was pretty soft-spoken, almost to the point of being meek, and she chewed him up and spit him out in pretty short order. The poor guy was subjected to many courses in remedial hole punching and stapling 101. We were working late one night and I told him, basically, that he needed to grow a pair and stand up to her and then she would back off (although I put it much more tactfully than that). He never did though. I felt bad for him. She really harangued him endlessly.

        1. Artemesia*

          I have secret empathy for this rude employer. ONe of the things I found hard to understand when I was a boss was that something as simple as xeroxing had to actually be closely supervised. I assumed when a well educated person was preparing materials for an important meeting that things like ‘legible’ and ‘right page order’ were totally obvious standards. I learned that they weren’t. At one point I had an employee who cut off about an inch of text on the right side of articles to be read for a meeting. When a colleague noticed this and corrected the person who did it, she came to me complaining about this colleague being picky and ‘forcing her’ to redo the materials for me. I of course blessed my colleague — it had not occurred to me I had to closely monitor copying. The employee was amazed when I not only supported the ‘meddling employee’ who required her to redo the materials but also noted that producing readable materials was her responsibility and this sort of error need never occur in the future. If the holes are supposed to be aligned, if the pages are supposed to be in order, if the full page is supposed to be present, if the staples are to be placed thus then the employee should do that and not need to be lectured about xerox 101.

        1. Kelly L.*

          The worst is when they give you a stack of papers to copy. It’s a stack of loose papers, so you’re like “Oh, I’ll just feed them in.” So far, so good. And then there is ONE pair of pages somewhere in the middle that’s stapled, and so they get stuck and torn.

          1. ExceptionToTheRule*

            I’ve been scanning old documents and staples are the bane of my existence. I’ve seen materials put in binders where the “document” has twice as many staples as pieces of paper. WHY PEOPLE?! WHY?

      1. Jamie*

        YES – just came up last week. Everyone who does this needs to stop immediately – it’s madness.

    4. pop tart*

      Former pastry chef here. Unfortunately that is a totally normal thing everywhere in the culinary field. It’s called “staging” (if you say it in French, “stahhh-jing” it makes it totally ok, right?) and it is a common practice. When I was first out of culinary school looking for work, I would stage as many places I could get into for 8-10 hour shifts with no compensation, no family meal, no promise of even an interview. A 2 michelin star restaurant I worked at in NY had a guy who had a 9-5 job and wanted to work in the culinary field so he would stage on the weekends hoping to get offered a job the next time there was a position available… he did this for months. I staged at a really well known specialty cake shop here for a week working 8 hour days and in the end was offered a job at their factory making $9 an hour (I didn’t take it, non shocker, I don’t think when you are offered a job you are supposed to weep uncontrollably). Anyway, it sucks, but everyone does it, and in culinary school they actually tell you to prepare for this and to stage as many places as possible in the hopes that some day you too can get hired for a minimum wage job!!!

      1. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

        I’m sorry, but just because it’s common practice doesn’t make it legal or right.

        1. pop tart*

          Oh I never said it was right! It’s a large part of why I don’t work in that industry anymore.

      2. Aflo*

        Thanks for the insight! The job was actually just for cashiering though. The cashiers were responsible for putting the fondant toppings on the cupcakes from what I understand, as well as baking cookies (aka taking them out the freezer and putting them in the oven), but that is the extent of food preparation.

      3. Emmy*

        Former baker here. I’ve also had to do this at every job, but never for more than a couple hours. I think bakeries are a little more laid back/less hardcore about this? A couple places even paid me for my work. Personally for the type of jobs I’ve held it’s pretty easy to tell if someone can pick up the necessary skills. We used to have interviewees do a couple basic things, like decorating cakes or making fillings or mousses. It should be supervised though, because if you don’t watch someone work then how can you determine their level of skill? I do remember right before I left my last job the owners were hiring a new bakery manager and they wanted to get all fancy with it and have applicants make, like, a whole selection of original desserts. This one woman must have been there like 10-12 hours. But…she was crazy.

        And yes, typically you would be working on a product to be sold. The restaurant industry, like many other industries, has a completely messed up interpretation of labor laws. Unpaid internships are the norm as well. I’m glad to be out!

  3. Lipton Tea For Me*

    I don’t see a thing wrong with what he said. Unfortunately he applied for a job where at least one asshat works!

  4. Panda Bandit*

    #2 – They’re getting free work out of you without even giving you a definite shot at an interview. If this is how they treat their applicants they’re most likely just as terrible to their employees. Imo the best thing to do is report them and apply somewhere else.

    1. Artemesia*

      I hope the OP reports these people. This is totally outrageous. A brief skills test is appropriate but working the floor and the cash register etc is what probation after hiring is for.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Yes, I could see them wanting someone to prove they know how to write neatly with icing or something along those lines as a test of skills, maybe on one cupcake or two. But asking a complete stranger you’re not paying to operate your cash register and take orders for hours at a time? It sounds like a setup for John Quiñones “We set up cameras in this bakery to see just how far job seekers were willing to go to get a job… let’s see if the customers react when hearing the cashier isn’t getting paid.”

        Report them.

        1. pop tart*

          No they make you do grunt work. This is how they “interview” for jobs in the culinary field!! Dishes, prepping and weighing ingredients, cleaning and organizing the walk in…. I’ve done it before several times, and most places you’re lucky if you get to actually touch food. It’s a common practice and it stinks.

  5. Treena Kravm*

    I know we love to laugh at the folks who think everything is illegal, but situations like #2 is why I’m so happy Alison is here. So many people are still taken advantage of these days. They need someone to hear them, and validate the situation. It’s also good for a bit of perspective for those of us who have the ability to simply move on and not put up will illegal behavior. I worked at a store in college that openly broke several labor laws, and my co-workers were all making minimum wage and needed those jobs so desperately they couldn’t say anything about it. I was lucky enough to be able to walk away, but I was the exception, not the rule.

    1. Mike C.*

      Exactly. I’m more than happy to see 10 or 20 “yes it’s legal” for every “no, that’s against the law”.

  6. Sherm*

    #2 A cupcake bakery — sounds fun if it weren’t for the exploitation thing. I’d be tempted to show up for an hour, feast on cupcakes, then say “See ya” and never go back.

  7. Melly*

    #2 When I was growing up if we kids were to answer the phone my mom insisted we say, “Hello this is melly, may i ask who is calling?” Then it took care of everything before person on the other end even opened their mouth!! Of course this was before caller ID and all that. My biggest pet peeve is when I call businesses and the receptionists or whomever just answer the phone, “hello?” how am I to know I reached the right number? I much prefer when people say “Hello, Teapots, Inc., this is Shannon” It’s been forever engrained, I suppose.

    1. Jader*

      Ugh, I hate that! Then I stumble over myself double checking I called the right number. I’d also say 50% of the time when I try to confirm I called the right place they respond as though I’m wasting their time.

    2. Oryx*

      Yes. I hate calling a business and the person just says “hello” and I’m not sure I got the right place. (That coupled with them getting a little annoyed when I ask “Is this X?” … I can almost hear their eye roll when they say yes.)

      1. Snoskred*

        Being on the other end of the phone – the one that answers it – for so long, it constantly surprises me that people do not *listen* to my greeting.

        I always say “Thank you for calling Chocolate Teapots, you are speaking with Chocolate”.

        I’d say 25% of callers would then ask “Is that chocolate teapots?” – I always think – Well, yes, I did just SAY that, why do I even bother giving a greeting? I actually say “Yes, you have called chocolate teapots, and you are speaking with Chocolate”. Then the next question will be “What is your name?”. I always think, I’ve just told you twice, what makes you think my telling you a third time will be of any use?

        So you know what, if I were in a job where my calls were not being recorded and I would not get into trouble for using the prescribed greeting, maybe I would just say hello and just save the time on every 4th call of this question and answer session where I provided the answers before they were asked. :)

        I used to abbreviate my name to just one syllable, eg “Choc” and when I did that, not a single person could recall the name I’d given at the start of the call. I had to teach myself to use my full name again, and even so I still have people call me completely different names to the actual name I gave them at the start of the call.

        1. Joie de Vivre*

          Sometimes the greetings are crazy long. I used to work a hotel front desk. Our greeting was “Hello, This is Hotel Teapots, Joie speaking, how may I help you?” To further complicate matters, it was a city with two official languages. So you would start in French (main language of the city, not the language of most guests) and then repeat the whole thing again in English. I honestly did not blame people for tuning out.

          1. littlemoose*

            When I worked retail, I knew my standard phone greeting was too long when about half the callers were silent on the other end and then said, “Oh, sorry, I thought it was a machine!”

          2. CV*

            Long retail phone greetings are awful. “Thank you for calling the Teapot Company, where we sell nice Teapots for less. This is VC speaking, how may I help you today!” Customers often interrupted or tuned right out.

        2. Oryx*

          Oh, I get that, too when I answer the phone at work. But I still continue to use that greeting rather than reverting to just a simple “hello” without any acknowledgement that the person is calling our business.

        3. Jamie*

          I’d say 25% of callers would then ask “Is that chocolate teapots?”

          So it’s not just me – whew. I hate the phones but when alone in the office frequently I have to grab them and it’s really annoying – “Chocolate teapots, may I help you?” and still people asking me where they called.

          You’d think I’d be more understanding since their names and companies fall out of my head before I hit the hold button, which is why I write it down – but you’d think if you knew where you were calling it wouldn’t be such a challenge. My assumption is that people are distracted while it’s ringing and by the time it registers that the call was answered and they start paying attention they missed it.

        4. Retail Lifer*

          This. The phone greeting I’m forced to use at work is “Good morning. Thank you for calling This Horrible Organization. This ia Retail Lifer Speaking. How may I help you?”

          The next questions are almost always either “Is this This Horrible Organization” or “What’s your name?”

        5. EvilQueenRegina*

          Then of course there are the wrong numbers who don’t listen to the greeting and reply to “Good morning, Storybrooke Library” with “Is that Mr Gold’s pawn shop?” Er, no, if it was I would have said so.

          1. Kelly L.*

            One of my favorite stories from the deli was when a caller asked if we had a particular prescription drug, and when I explained that we actually were a sandwich place, asked if we had the prescription drug anyway.

            (My best theory on how this happened: that town didn’t have a Walgreens yet, but the deli’s name had several letters in common with the word “Walgreens,” and the automated 411 probably thought we were the closest match.)

            1. Jamie*

              Am I the only one wondering if there is a place you can actually get prescription meds and a decent sandwich? Because I would be one loyal customer, for sure.

              1. Melly*

                Oh my gosh, there totally is! There’s a place called Watson’s that is like a super old school drug store/diner. They used to have those all the time in the 50s! Pharmacy/soda fountain/diner lol

        6. Beebs the Elder*

          In defense of myself, who has sometimes done a version of this, sometimes I don’t catch the first few words when someone picks up the phone and starts talking–especially if the greeting isn’t quite what I’m expecting. It just takes my pea-brain a minute to catch up, I guess. So I’m sure I’ve asked someone for information they’ve just given me more than once.

        7. Pennalynn Lott*

          If you are someone who is able to enunciate that long opening, then my hat is off to you and I promise I never ask, “Is this Chocolate Teapots?” But most of the time when I call companies who require their folks to answer with a long greeting it sounds like, “thankufercallchoktptsurspkwithshklot,” because it’s the 100th time they’ve said it that day, the 500th time they’ve said it that week, and they just want to freakin’ get it out of their mouths so they know that whomever audits their calls (for “quality control purposes”) can put a check mark next to, “Answered call with approved corporate greeting.”

          And never mind that so many companies seem to want their phone answerers to throw in a bit of marketing too, “Thank you for calling Chocolate Teapots, home of the world-famous non-melting Chocolate Teapot that comes in 27 flavors including cucumber raspberry; you are speaking with Chocolate, how may I make sure you have an awesome experience?”

          So, yeah, most of the time I have no flipping idea if I’ve dialed the right company because of fast-talking mumbling or a whole bunch of corporate-speak.

    3. Kyrielle*

      Yep. I trained myself at this job to say “(Company), this is (Kyrielle)!” (No “how may I help you” because I’m not in a customer-facing role; I have better than even odds that it’s a coworker, and I just want to ID myself to them.)

      I also carry an on-call phone sometimes, which is answered with “(Company) (team name) on-call phone, this is (Kyrielle).”

      My friends laugh themselves SILLY when I occasionally answer my personal cell in the middle of the night with the latter. Sigh. (And I have no idea why I do: completely different phones, phone styles, and ring tones.)

      1. Jamie*

        I do “Company Name, how may I help you?” Even though from a practical POV I’m the least likely to be helpful to anyone just calling in; I always considered my “help” to be routing them to whomever they need.

        Sometimes after hours people don’t want to leave a message or call the person they need on their cell and just want me to help them because they have me on the line. “Sorry, I’m IT, but I can definitely put you in touch with someone who can help you” totally stops that in it’s tracks. Invariably as soon as I say IT they give an understanding “ohhhhh” and cooperate with my routing them properly. It’s like they know I am completely useless for their purposes and that totally works for me.

  8. Amanda*

    Unfortunately with #2, this is not unusual. I think the extent of it is, but I’ve been in bakeries and restaurants for a long time and I’ve seen things like this over and over again. A ‘normal’ or ‘good’ thing would be if they interviewed you *first* and then the top candidates did something called a bench test where they got you in for an hour or two in their off peak times to make something for them, either to test how you follow their recipes and designs or to see what you come up with on your own. You should be making at most a couple dozen cupcakes in a few different designs for them to see how you work, not making their whole inventory or running the shop floor. That’s when you know you’ve got a place that plays by the rules.
    What you’re going to find on your search is places that try to get you to do ‘interviews’ like this, or places that tell you flat out that they can’t pay you overtime but expect you to work it, or any number of other ridiculous things. There’s something about the food industry that makes people think they can get away with treating their employees poorly. I hope you can avoid them, they’re not good for you and they’re bad for the industry.

    1. Aflo*

      that’s the thing though, I was not applying for a baking or cooking position. I’ve never baked (except in my own kitchen with boxed cakes mix) and was called back to “train” for the cashiering position. The most baking they do is putting a small fondant decoration on top of the cupcakes from time to time as well as sticking frozen cookies in the oven. Cashiers DO NOT bake or frost cupcakes. That’s a whole other job.

  9. John Vinall*

    #3 from the interviewee’s end – Always, always, ALWAYS have a couple of copies of your resume with you when you go for an interview. And a copy of the application form if that’s how you applied – and ideally a copy of your covering letter as well.

    Why? For the one time you turn up and the person who was going to interview you has called in sick and the new guy hasn’t been able to see a copy of it – or there’s an extra person on the panel and no-one has passed it through, or some other reason.

    The difference between an interviewer who goes “oh, um, what was your last role?” and “I see you worked as a Teapot support engineer specialising in Darjeeling – we largely use Ceylon here have you have any experience with it?” can make all the difference in an interview, both for your confidence and for the questions you can expect.

    (yes, I am speaking from personal experience – and yes, I had a couple of copies of my CV with me – and yes it made a difference for me! :)

    1. Bea W*

      The one time I didn’t have a copy with me was the one time one of the guys interviewing me didn’t bother to print one out for himself and bring it to the interview. He was the CEO, so I definitely couldn’t very well respond back to him with “When I interview someone, I always make sure I print a copy of their resume and have read it before hand.” though after it becoming clear he was clearly just annoyed he had to interview me at all and had no intention of approving the hire, it would have felt good.

      I normally have copies with me, and was embarrassed to be caught unprepared, but I had been up all night sick. So I cut myself some slack for that one.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Same here – after lots of interviews where I never needed my paper copy of my resume, I stopped running around jumping through hoops to make sure I had a paper copy of my resume available (I didn’t have a printer at home at the time, so at a minimum it cost me a trip to the library+waiting up to an hour for an available computer+10 cents for a copy, or slightly less time but more money if I drove 10 miles to an actual copy shop). Wouldn’t you know, the first interview I went to without paper copies was the one where only one of the interviewers had bothered to print my resume, and they wound up having to pass it back and forth between them for about 15 minutes before one of them disappeared to make photocopies, wasting another 10 minutes of the interview.

        After that, I always brought copies of my resume with me. I also like to have my own copy in front of me, so if I get the “walk me through your resume” question, I don’t have to start with “uh, could I get a copy of it?”

    2. Not Today Satan*

      This is a rule that I really hate…. Since I don’t have a printer, every time I interview I have to schlep to the copy center to get my resume printed (since I individualize each resume for the job, I can’t just have a stack on hand at home). I’ve actually started asking the HR rep if there’s anything I should bring. Often they tell me to skip the resume, which I’m relieved since it gets me off the hook.

      I’ve never been to an interview where they didn’t have my resume.

      1. Sunflower*

        I have showed up at a few where they don’t have it and it’s just very frustrating. I know some companies do it because they want the most recently updated version of it but most of these jobs I’m interviewing a couple weeks after I applied- not long enough for any major changes to my resume. If I was interviewing someone, I know I’d have a really hard time doing it without their resume in front of me.

        And if you want someone to bring a copy of their resume, just tell them beforehand!

      2. Artemesia*

        Printers are cheap — if I were job hunting I would make sure I had one if it were not easy to make copies otherwise.

    3. Sara*

      Oh, absolutely! I went on six interviews during my job hunt last summer, all of which included 2-3 interviewers. At two places, nobody had a copy of my resume, and at three of the remaining places only the lead interviewer had it. And this wasn’t the standard procedure – we all sat down and someone would lead with, “So our printer is broken and we don’t have your resume printed,” or “Bob, did you print copies of her resume for the rest of us? No?”

      Lesson learned: my preparation for an interview now includes bringing at least 3 copies of my resume, along with an extra copy of my cover letter, professional license information, and letters of recommendation (required in my field).

    4. Nom d'pixels*

      I agree. Also, when someone shows up without a copy of their resume, I wonder what else they will take for granted or not be prepared for.

      1. Not Today Satan*

        One could ask the same question about the organizational skills of interviewers who don’t have your resume with them.

        1. Nom d'pixels*

          They absolutely could, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prepared on their end.

          1. fposte*

            And it’s the applicant who gets hurt anyway, so it’s more in their interest to have the resume copy available.

    5. TalleySueNYC*

      I have hired the person who brought in a copy of her resumé, instead of the one who didn’t.

      And in fact, I once made a hiring decision on the basis of the fact that someone whose test got lost in the mail had made a copy before sending it in, and was able to drop it off when I alerted her that it hadn’t arrived.

      That level of organization and disaster preparedness is a legitimate skill, and I want it on my team.

  10. Saurs*

    No. 2: I’ve only been in the pastry-side of the industry for a few years, but fly-by-night cupcake-only “bakeries” are notorious for this, and other dubious labor and safety practices. It would be wonderful if you felt comfortable enough to take Alison’s advice and report them. Exploiting job-seekers like this is so deeply unethical, cynical, and misanthropic — and it’s not particularly safe for guests to be eating at and purchasing food from a business that allows untrained and uncertified people to prepare, store, handle, and serve food with components that are not always shelf-stable. Best of luck to you in your job search!

    1. Kelly L.*

      And it would not surprise me if they pretty much never actually hire anybody–they get the free labor out of people and then trump up some fake inadequacy and reject them all.

      1. Three Thousand*

        Yeah, I’m sure they think they’ve hit a goldmine and are patting themselves on the back and wondering why more people don’t use their genius solution. They need to be reported yesterday.

      2. Poohbear McGriddles*

        Seems like if someone performed well in three shifts, that would pretty much negate the need for an interview. That’s what makes this deal seem more shady, and less like they were just ignorant of the law.

      3. Nom d'pixels*

        Especially with opening and closing the store. Those can be the hardest things at a restaurant.

  11. Snoskred*

    #5 – just last week I was surprised to find an email from an ex employer in my inbox. It was clearly not meant to be sent to me, it was about a hotel stay that should have been pre-paid but apparently it was not, and the employer was emailing various people in admin to check the credit card to see if it was pre-paid. It was sent to my personal home email address.

    There had been occasions before where I had been sent emails for someone in admin who had my same first name but a totally different last name.

    What made this especially jarring is that I have been fighting this employer via my union because they have underpaid me by over $10,000, and we did not leave things on especially great terms.

    In your example LW5, I would reply saying my apologies, I think I received this email by mistake. :)

    1. OP #5*

      What’s strange is “John’s” name is completely different from mine. In college I used to get emails all the time from professors and advisers that weren’t meant for me because I have a common first name. This was just…out of nowhere.

      I think the possibility that they’re discussing my application has gotten me more riled up! :D

      Anyway, thank you, Alison! I replied as such. Hopefully it leads somewhere, but I’m already forgetting about it all over again…

      1. Hillary*

        It’s pretty easy to hit Reply instead of Forward in outlook, especially if you’re thinking about a couple things at the same time. Probably a good sign if HR is looking at your application. ;-)

  12. Rebecca*

    #4 – I think the potential employer should have identified herself first, and asked to speak to Richard. She had no idea whether she was calling a cell phone or home phone, as some people use a Google Voice number, so you don’t really know where it’s going or who will pick up. It could have been one of Richard’s relatives or friends who picked up. She should have asked to speak to him, and added “this is Mary, manager for ABC Corp, in response to his inquiry.”

    And as far as using caller ID? Spoofing has made that a waste of time. I answered my work phone recently, and my caller ID showed a phone number in a neighboring area code. The caller asked if they were speaking to Rebecca, and I managed to say “yes, this is” and the call dropped. I called the number back immediately, and it turned out to be the front desk number at a large hotel in a neighboring county, and you guessed it, no one called me from the front desk. They were as puzzled as I was. So, some scammer has me on audio saying “yes” to something. I try to never, ever do that without quizzing the person on the other end as to who they are and why they’re calling. I was distracted by several things and not thinking. That won’t happen again.

    1. tesyaa*

      Good point about spoofing. I’m surprised no one has recalled the poster whose boss spoofed her mother’s number for caller ID purposes (and her mother was having surgery at the time).

      Though I prefer to avoid telemarketers as much as anyone, as someone of the middle-aged generation, I am lucky that my work required me to use the phone in my shy younger days. Today, unlike my younger colleagues and surbordinates, I’m not afraid to pick up the phone and call someone I don’t know to get needed business (or non-business) information. Phone use has increased my in-person communication skills too. And I make full use of email and texting skills too, so it’s not like I have traded off one for another.

  13. Question1*

    I’m the Exec Director from Q1. Thank you, Alison, for your advice. You confirmed my gut reaction and validated my feelings. At the same time, you allowed me to empathize with my predecessor. As you suggest, I will just roll my eyes and move forward. This is really about her… Not me.

    1. Meg Murry*

      Any chance that they always did the same appreciation party every year, and it was already in the works before she left? If it’s at a place that has to be booked in advance (or if that’s the kind of task that could be done at any slower time) it might not be that she’s trying to undermine you, but more just that it was already setup (or mostly setup) before your predecessor left, and the info wasn’t communicated to you?

      If this is a place with a “season” it’s distinctly possible they planned the end of season event early in the season (or before it even started) in order to get it on the season calendar. For instance, we are in the midst of doing our staff appreciation final planning now for a luncheon in May for my son’s school PTO- but we booked the restaurant back in August in order to get it on the “official” school calendar.

      1. Question1*

        Unfortunately, no. She planned it in March (after I had started) and emailed the staff directly. It’s being hosted at her home.

        1. Artemesia*

          Really inappropriate behavior but one that wrestling with gets you nothing. An occasion to ‘rise above’ the nonsense and reflect on ways to establish your authority without reference to her. What a loon.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          You need to call her on it, by inviting yourself. “Hi Former Director, I was planning on having an end-of-the-season party for the staff, but then I found out you have already put one together. It is so good of you to host it in your home and I look forward to being there to join you in thanking the staff, who are amazing, you really did a good job in hiring and training them. But, it looks like my invitation was chewed up by the internet as I never received it. If you could please resend it, that would be great! Also, is there anything I can bring?”

          Two weeks later:
          Dear AAM, Until recently, I was the executive director of X. I then left to do Y but since I had had such respect for my people at X, I decided to throw them an end-of-the-season appreciation party at my home. Now my replacement is trying to attend the party, which was not my intention as it was to be a private affair. How can I convey to my replacement that her attendance is not required at this private party?

          I’m just kidding… yes, it is about her. Perhaps she is using this opportunity to find people to fill positions at her new job? If you are closed for the season and will get a new crop next year, maybe some of them will be looking for full time work, or a summer job.

  14. TotesMaGoats*

    #4-My husband basically refuses to answer the phone unless it’s his parents or siblings. It drives me batty because I hate hearing the phone ring. He just hates talking on the phone period. Listening to conversations between him and his very talkative sister are fascinating.

    When I’m expecting a call to my cell phone and don’t recognize the number I always answer with “Hello, this is Totes.” That’s how I was raised. At home it’s “Hello, MaGoats residence.” I don’t see what’s so hard with that. However, the caller was completely in the wrong to scold the BF. Way out of line. I do think the BF could’ve found a better way to answer the phone and not reveal his name. If that’s what you want to do then be prepared for people to no like it.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I don’t see what’s so hard with that.

      I posted an article above about exactly this phenomenon, check back later to see if it’s been taken out of moderation.

    2. The IT Manager*

      I now answer my cell phone, if I don’t have the person in my contacts, as “This is IT.” It now doubles as my work phone so that’s a compromise to not mention my employer in case it is a non-business call.

      What is wrong with confirming to an unknown caller your name or giving it to them. Is there any identity theft risk or other risk, with saying “this is Richard” before knowing who is calling?

  15. shep*

    #4 – Totally agree with AAM. Also completely understand the boyfriend’s caution in answering an unknown number (although I do think there was some latitude for him to answer with a bit more grace, i.e., “This is he, may I ask who’s calling?” or just “May I ask who’s calling?”.

    My old phone number doubled as someone’s work cell and personal phone line before it was assigned to my account, and I’d get calls meant for him pretty frequently for about a year. It was kind of delightful [“LIIIAAAAM, MY MAN. Heard you’re getting MARRIED IN LONDON NEXT MONTH. WICKEDDDD.”], but some of it was weird.

    I was once accosted by a vendor who refused to believe I wasn’t Liam’s receptionist. He really wanted to speak to the purchaser of the company (whom I assume was Liam), and laughed me off when I said, “Oh, I’m sorry, this is a private number.”

    VENDOR: “Hahaha, yeah right. Let me speak to the purchaser.”
    ME: “EXCUSE ME. This is a private number, like I said.”
    VENDOR: “Uh-huh. What’s your name?”

    Okay, okay, I don’t think I said that I’d call the police, but I’m pretty sure I said I’d take some form of action and that he needed to take my number off his call list immediately.

    I also freely admit that I’m pathologically unable to hang up on people unless I’m really rankled. I try to be optimistic of the eventuality that I can maintain politeness throughout the entire call, no hang-up necessary. I probably should’ve hung up on him a lot sooner than I did.

    But it also kind of tickled me for the rest of the day. I laughed a whole lot at the idea of this inept/bombastic salesman working himself into a fit because I was “lying to him.”

    1. Michele*

      I used to have a phone number that had previously been the phone number of someone named Damon. I know because he was not a very finacially responsible person and was apparently quite a player. I would frequently get calls from women who instantly got angry when they heard me answer the phone. I also very quickly learned to not even give my name because collection agencies would accuse me of hiding him and try going after me.

      Angry interview lady would have hated me. After a few people called and demanded to know who they were speaking to, I just started responding with, “No. You called me. Who are you?”

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yep, another reason the onus of identifying one’s self (and the reason for calling) should be on the caller, not the person being called.

      2. Retail Lifer*

        I’ve had the same cell number for over 10 years, and have consistently (although now less frequently) gotten calls for Earl. Earl’s friends call in the middle of the night and often sound stoned, and sometimes they get angry when I won’t produce Earl for them. Sometimes they demand to know WHO IS THIS, but I always tell them YOU called ME, so who are YOU?

        But giving my name to some random angry guy in the middle of the night isn’t quite the same thing as confirming that you’re the person that someone is calling for in the middle of the day.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I’m so happy that I found how to reject calls directly from my Galaxy S5! I though I would have to log on to the T-Mobile site to do it, but I can block them in the Call Log. \o/

        2. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

          I’ve had my cell number for almost 18 years and still get calls for “John”. Apparently his number is 1 digit off from mine. I’ve gotten calls from people in the middle of the night asking if he is going to come in to work because he had been called in and didn’t show up…they didn’t believe me when I told them they had the wrong number.

      3. Courtney*

        My uncles house number is similar to a local pizza restaurant. Occasionally callers would accuse him of pranking them when he told them they had the wrong number.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      I got my son a cell phone a couple years ago. It is a really neat number with lots of repeating numbers…he didn’t have it a week before he received a text asking for a drugs. Oh to explain that to my 12 year old.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        There was a news story up here a while ago about someone who got a cell phone for their child and it turned out the number used to belong to an escort service. Awkward.

  16. InDefenseOfEmployer #4*

    I am going to be in the minority on this one, but I am totally for the employer in #4.
    If the boyfriend is applying for jobs and giving out his phone number, he should be EXPECTING calls from people he doesn’t know. (I am currently job searching and an unknown number on my cell phone is pure delight!) He is applying for a job in retail and if he gets the job, he needs to bring his super nice friendly A game every day to that job. If he is brusque and unwelcoming for the person who wants to interview him, that is the employer’s first look at how he will treat customers at work. The guy wrote down his phone number but somehow didn’t connect that to the possibility someone might call him?
    The employer may have over reacted by calling him out, BUT, I am wondering if he/she has made several dial outs for interviews and found similarly brusque responses and is fed up. A better response to “who’s this?” would have been “someone who is never going to hire you in a million years.”

    Please remember, we are not talking about cold calling, marketing, or other unwanted calls. He GAVE OUT the number.

    1. Three Thousand*

      I agree with this. I would wonder how bright he is if he’s applying for jobs but can’t put two and two together when a prospective employer calls him and figure out how a “random” person somehow knows his name. Yeah, the employer was rude and condescending, but maybe she thought she was helping him instead of just politely crossing him off the list.

    2. JB (not in Houston)*

      The employer should have identified herself first–that’s what phone etiquette calls for. So she violated the proper etiquette first, then she scolded him like a child when it wasn’t her place to do so. And on top of that, there was no reason for her to get in such a huff in the first place. If she thinks he’s rude, then that’s information she can keep in mind. But the level of offense she appeared to take was disproportionate. Even if he was incorrect in how he handled it, she was more wrong. But at least the boyfriend knows this about her, too, so he doesn’t have to feel like he’s losing out if he doesn’t end up working for her.

      1. Kelly L.*

        This. No matter what one thinks of the boyfriend’s part of the dialogue, the employer was rude (both by not identifying herself/her business at the outset, and then for lecturing), and she was rude while representing her company. A company is evaluating an applicant, but the applicant can and should evaluate the company too, and she did not leave him with a favorable impression. Bullet dodged. This is a boss who would blow up about other small things all the time.

      2. sunny-dee*

        Actually, no, the interviewer doesn’t need to identify himself first. The person who answers the phone identifies the person/place first. Like, “Hi, this is Sunny.” “Hi, Dee residence.” “Work Name, this is Sunny.”

        And then they introduce themselves.

        This guy didn’t do that, and then refused to identify himself when the person was trying to confirm they’d gotten the right person.

        1. Kelly L.*

          No, I’m pretty sure the one who initiates the call is supposed to initiate the introduction, traditionally.

          1. Hlyssande*

            Agreed on this.

            If I’m answering my work phone, it’s “[Company], this is [Name].” On my personal phone? Nope. If someone I don’t know is calling me, the onus is on them to start the introduction.

            I’m 33 and we never answered the phone with an introduction when I was growing up.

        2. Allison*

          That may be the traditional way to answer the phone, but that’s not really the norm anymore and thus it shouldn’t really be expected. Appreciated, sure, but not expected. I grew up in the 90’s, and I was never instructed to say “Hello, Lastname residence, this is Allison.”

          1. Retail Lifer*

            We didn’t do that either. I always wanted to, though, because that’s how the Huxtables answered the phone on the Cosby Show!

        3. aebhel*

          Nope. If I’m at work, I identify myself on the phone because I’m acting in a public capacity. If someone calls my private phone, it’s on them to identify themselves. I’ve been harassed by too many exes and salespeople to give my name out to anybody who calls.

          1. Kelly L.*

            One of my less proud moments: I once chewed out a perfectly nice acquaintance who had the same first name as a crazy ex. I’d been trying to get ex to go away for some time, and then perfectly nice dude–who also had a somewhat similar voice–calls up and is like “Hi, this is Doug, can I crash at your place next week?” I ripped him a new one, thinking he was Ex Doug, and then heard through a mutual friend that Nice Doug wasn’t quite sure what he’d done wrong…

            I do not miss my early twenties much.

      3. Allison*

        I’m going to agree. Scolding someone for rude behavior on the spot like that is something a parent or teacher might do to a child, but when it comes to adults, there are only a handful of situations where that’s appropriate. Like if you’re someone’s etiquette coach. For the most part, rudeness is either a turnoff you keep in mind, or something that warrants a private discussion.

    3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      But he didn’t know that this was someone he’d given the number out to. You can still get bothered with telemarketing calls during a job hunt. I think it’s unfair to expect applicants to act as if they’re at work when they’re not – the boyfriend was reticent but IMO not brusque or unwelcoming.

      You’re right that he shouldn’t be taken aback by unknown callers, but I don’t think that means having to answer your personal phone like you’re at work. You’re willing to excuse the employer’s rudeness in scolding him by saying that maybe she’s been dealing with rude people – she should be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for the same reason. Maybe he’s gotten twelve calls about free cruises or great deals on car insurance this week and it’s made him more cautious.

    4. This is Me Not Being Me*

      I agree, an unknown number when job searching is a delight. I was very disappointed recently when one actually was a seller I’d bought from on Amazon, looking for feedback. They are now on my list of folks not to buy from, which was probably not their goal?

      1. bad at online naming*

        I’m now very relieved I’ve only given Amazon the classic 555-555-5555. Yikes!

    5. Oryx*

      If someone is applying to jobs then chances are they gave their number out to lots and lots of people. He had no way of knowing who was on the other end, which is why he asked.

      More to the point, SHE called HIM. She should have identified herself to him right away.

    6. neverjaunty*

      If the employer doesn’t have the business etiquette to identify herself when calling a stranger for work, AND doesn’t have the basic self-control to refrain from lecturing a stranger because she feels “fed up”, then no, she’s a jerk and completely unprofessional. there’s nothing to “defend”.

  17. Gobrightbrand*

    Because of the nature of my work I get a bunch of calls on my cell from numbers I don’t recognize that I must answer and I also happen to get about 5 telemarketer calls a day. I always answer with a cheerful “Hello” but if it at all sounds like a robocall (delay to pick-up, background noise of a call center) I immediately get defensive. I ask them “What is this in regards to” and if they stammer and take forever to admit while their calling I simply say, “I’m not interested take me off your call list please.” then I add that number to a contact I created called “Don’t Answer Telemarketer”.

    It’s very annoying.

  18. Poohbear McGriddles*

    I was always taught to ask who is calling before offering up who I was. Although I guess that by asking who is calling you’re pretty much confirming that you are either the person they are asking for or someone in the same household or workplace. If I get a call for Oprah, for example, I’d probably resist the urge to ask who thought she might be reached at my number, and will shut it down with a “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number”. But if I get a call for Mrs. McGriddles, I’m gonna see what this is all about in case I need to pass along a message.

    1. Michele*

      My husband and I don’t have the same last name, so when we had a land line, if someone called and asked for Mr. Michele, he would tell them that they had the wrong number. I would do the same thing when people asked for Mrs. X.

      1. Artemesia*

        I have a last name which does not seem difficult to pronounce to me — it starts with a common word and is pronounced that way — BUT most people for some reason mispronounce it. It makes screening for telemarketers easier. My kids used to answer the phone and when they would ask for ‘Ms Mispronouncedlastname’ they would just say ‘she isn’t here’ and hang up. Of course I wasn’t job searching or all calls would have been answered.

  19. Libonymous*

    #1. I feel you. I was promoted when my director took another position. The old director is the partner of the assistant who still works for me and I keep getting comments like, “Old Director says such and such about this that happened yesterday.” If I were Old Director, I would be telling my partner that while he is free to tell me about his day at work and I might make comments, New Director has the helm and it isn’t my place to try to offer advice unless she asks me directly.

    I would think I was being too sensitive about this frequent report of “Old Director says you should do this” and brush it off as the natural way family members talk about their lives, except Old Director did the kinds of odd things like are described in Letter 1 (e.g. hired his partner to be his second-in-command) and I’m working to create a more professional environment with clear professional versus personal boundaries.

    1. HumbleOnion*

      Have you told your assistant that you’re not interested in hearing Old Director’s opinions? I might be looking for a new assistant.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, I was thinking similarly. This isn’t acceptable, and there’s no reason you have to accept it.

    2. Question1*

      I’m the Exec Director from Q1 thanks for sharing your experience! I’m finding others have similar frustrations moving forward or letting go, especially with a small staff/organization. Good luck to you!

    3. Artemesia*

      In my experience when a competent CEO, director, Dean, President or whatever moves on they go out of their way to be hands off. I have observed several transitions like this and have worked for people in these transitions. Usually they are VERY aware of the inappropriateness of trying to meddle in their successor’s work. Of course someone who hires a partner as assistant has already announced to the world that they are not professional and have poorly maintained boundaries.

  20. Dot Warner*

    On #4, it would be helpful to know if the number displayed on Richard’s caller ID as an actual phone number he didn’t recognize (e.g. 212-867-5309) or if the caller ID literally displayed “Unknown.” The former could reasonably be expected to be a potential employer, but the latter is almost always a telemarketer or scammer.

    1. jhhj*

      One company we work with has their numbers show up as ‘Anonymous’ when they call. So do government calls. (Both have the right information on voicemail — “You have a message from 222-555-8888”.) Typically I let these all go to voicemail, because it pisses me off.

    2. BadPlanning*

      Calls from my work place show up as Unavailable or Unknown — the numbers are universally blocked.

      1. Dot Warner*

        Interesting! I’ve never had a call from Unknown that didn’t turn out to be a salesperson.

      2. hermit crab*

        Haha, yeah, my parents’ home number shows up as Unknown too. I think it’s like the 21st century version of being unlisted in the phone book.

    3. Lalaith*

      Some overly-cautious people block their numbers too. Someone in my family does that, and even though I know it might be them, I still won’t pick up calls from unknown numbers (although I probably would if I were job-hunting). They can leave me a voicemail if they’re not spam-callers, I’ll get back to them.

    4. Panda Bandit*

      This is unrelated to the discussion, but I love your name. Animaniacs was my favorite show as a kid.

  21. The IT Manager*

    Caller ID?

    Wasn’t caller ID truly caller identification? Wasn’t the system linked to the phone book so that instead of number showing up the name of the person or business showed up. And people had to opt out to not have caller ID pick up their names (like an unlisted number.) Or is it my faulty memory? I don’t think my family ever had caller ID so maybe I imagine it differently.

    If that is the case, what we have today on our cell phones is not caller ID of old. The only way we know the name of who is calling is if we already have their number stored in our contacts. This makes people much more insular when they don’t answer a number they don’t recognize. They only want to talk to people they know and on their own terms.

    ** And it was different in the old days. People rushed to the phone because there was no voice mail or missed number lists. If you missed a call you missed a call. And there wasn’t text messaging or email as an alternate route to find out the information.

    1. nona*

      I remember caller ID being opt-out.

      And I remember when my family had voicemail without a missed number list. You had to listen to all of the messages and you didn’t know what you would get. Sad times.

    2. RG*

      Not sure about other phones, but on my android, if a number is publicly linked to a business (aka shows up on Google), then the phone will display the name on any phone calls. But, it only works for groups, not individuals.

    3. fposte*

      That’s not how it worked in my area, but I think most of this was system-specific rather than being a national standard.

  22. BTW*

    If someone calls me and it’s the wrong number then I will say so immediately. I think failing to identify yourself by saying, “Who’s this?” just in fact identifies yourself and now you’ve made the conversation awkward.

    At the end of the day everyone is going to do it differently so arguing about who should identify themselves first is a moot point. I think however that we can all agree that what she did in response was rude and uncalled for.

  23. Sunshine Brite*

    OP1: I would say let her have one as well. Especially now that she works at another organization it’s a good networking opportunity for the university students. She should’ve done it when she left, but presumably this will be the only instance of this happening. It wouldn’t necessarily look petty if you did say anything though.

    OP2: I could see the decorating cupcakes part, I think they’d like to know if you could actually do that. But everything else? That’s way too ridiculous to have as part of an unpaid “interview.”

    OP3: I think it’d be difficult, but I think with peers I would be uncomfortable with them fully knowing my resume before we met/worked together. It makes for an imbalanced work environment at first. I think I would create a list of questions/topics/what makes a great coworker to you that you would be interested to know regarding your position.

    OP4: I hate the phone. With an unknown number, on the rare occasion I answer an unknown number, is Hello. – let them respond. If they don’t identify themselves, I’m sorry, who may I ask is calling? Never had people react super annoyed.

    OP5: You were right, pretty obvious ;) and it could have saved you time and worry to just reply instead of searching for all the specifics across social media. It’s just one of those things that get built up easily in your mind.

    1. Question1*

      Hello, I’m the Ecec Director from Q1. To clarify, I don’t have a problem with the staff staying in contact with the former director. I agree, it’s excellent networking. I was struggling with the fact that she planned a celebration and billed it as the official staff appreciation party. Basically the staff aren’t interested in attending two events, and I’m not included in the one being held. But as Alison and other commenters have mentioned, it is a short-term problem. Worth an eye roll and we’ll all move on. Thanks for commenting!

  24. TheVet*

    It bugs me when people call me and don’t identify themselves. Asking me who I am when you’ve called me just seems…rude? I was always taught to identify myself when I call someone from a business.

    {ring, ring}
    Them: Hello?
    Me: Good morning/afternoon/evening this is TheVet calling from ThisPlace. Is Bob Jones available?

    I’ve had an instance identity theft where me confirming that I was indeed TheVet to someone calling me meant incessant calls from a collection agency starting at 8am, multiple dings to my credit report, and led to two years of fighting with AT&T, collection agencies, and all 3 CRAs. I’ve also had a creepy lady stalker, a creepy gentleman stalker, and a very, very unsettling incident with a male recruiter who said he called me because he had a family member who lived near my address and he’s probably seen me and I don’t even realize it. My address instantly came off of my résumé. Anyone who calls with a, “Is this TheVet?” doesn’t get a chirpy, “Yes!”

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      I’m an attorney and when I call new clients, I want to confirm I am speaking with them (if I don’t recognize the voice) before I identify myself. Often times when people call an attorney the matter is highly confidential and they don’t want a spouse, child, employer, friend knowing they are consulting an attorney. Accordingly, I don’t say “this is Case of the Monday’s from Attorney’s office looking to speak with X.” I often start off with “am I speaking with X” or “may I please speak to X.” How would you prefer I begin without giving away that you called a lawyer if it isn’t actually you on the phone?

      Maybe, “I’m returning X’s call, may I please speak to him” without stating from where I’m calling or does that cause the same issue?

      1. Sunshine Brite*

        Can you state your first name if you’ve spoke with them before? Like hello, this is Case, I can only speak with X regarding this matter, is this X? I’ve used that sometimes as a person who works with confidential information if they don’t answer my initial Hello, is this X or may I speak with X greeting.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          I’m not really comfortable saying my name either because if anyone googles me they will see I’m a lawyer and what type of law I practice. If it is a family law case, I don’t leave a message without explicit permission. If they call during biz hours and miss me, my receptionist will ask them if I can leave a message when I call back. If it is a less private type of case (say car accident) then I usually say my name and where I’m calling from when I leave a message. If it is ambiguous (employment case) I will just leave my name and number but not that I’m calling from a law firm just in case the potential client left their work number. (Yes, people actually do this.)

          1. Michele*

            Most doctor’s offices have similar policies. They won’t leave a message or say who has called unless they have specific instructions to because of confidentiality.

        2. Case of the Mondays*

          Just caught that you said first name only. That is a good idea. It is less formal but it could trigger their memory and would make me not google-able. This will work in cases where people are trying to reach me specifically. It won’t work when they call the general line and don’t know which attorney will be returning their call.

      2. TheVet*

        When I volunteered at the DV shelter we’d just say, “This is NotMyRealName returning Bob Jones’ call from {whenever}.” I have no problem with that.

        That runs the risk of not recognizing their voice, so anyone could pick up say they are Bob Jones. What happens when you have to leave a message or if someone gets their phone and can call the number back? <<<My musings in training and not actual an question I'm expecting you to answer.

        My doctor has a box that I have to check regarding how they leave messages for privacy reasons each time I have something done that will require them to call me. Too bad I don't pay attention to what it says because it would probably be helpful right now.

  25. DrPepper Addict*

    Wow, what a way to start a Monday. 3 of the 5 of these letters got me really riled up. It’s amazing how some people think it’s ok to act in certain situations. #2 and #4 are especially egregious.

  26. KMNN*

    #2. So, so common. My boyfriend and my friends in the industry work for free for at least a shift ALL the time. It even has a name — a stage. Sometimes you even get paid, and, sometimes, the bakery or restaurant doesn’t even use what you prepare. Obviously, of course, times a million, this is NOT a good or legal thing much if not most of the time. But if you’re looking for work in a restaurant or bakery, expect to run into this working interview thing a lot. For one job at a very reputable and fancy restaurant in our town, my boyfriend worked five (!!) shifts and ultimately didn’t get hired. He did get paid for that one, though.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Paying someone for a trial “tryout” is a great idea, especially considering that asking interviewees to do ANY unpaid work that benefits the company is absolutely illegal. (It might be OK if the bakery threw away the cupcakes afterwards, but there’s no way that works with waiting tables.)

      1. Michele*

        Yeah, if the baker had the OP decorate a few cupcakes then sent them home with her (him? I missed which one it is) that would be fine, but profitting off of someone’s interview is completely unacceptable.

  27. Retail Lifer*

    #4 – As Alison pointed out, shouldn’t the boyfriend be expecting calls from strange numbers when job hunting? I might be a bit taken aback by the “who is this comment,” depending on the tone. I would not, however, berate over the phone for that. I’m not his mom.

    1. FiveByFive*

      But why would he be expecting that specific call, at that specific time? He has no idea, which is why people simply ask who is calling. And I don’t think his phrasing is rude at all, as it was prefaced with an “I’m sorry”, which is meant to excuse any possible inference of rudeness. It’s a bit narcissistic to not understand that other people besides you might call this person, and to take a “who’s this?” as a personal affront when the person doesn’t even know it’s you.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I think the point was that, since he is job searching, he might expect calls from prospective employers on his cell, and at least asked in his most chipper and polite voice, “Who is calling, and what it is regarding?” Especially if this job has some phone or even customer service aspect…it would be unfair, but possible that employers who call could judge someone on that. Just for his own benefit, he might want to either try that or let all unknown numbers go to voicemail, then check it right away.

        1. FiveByFive*

          I guess we don’t know what his tone was. I don’t see a difference between his “I’m sorry, who’s this?” vs. your “Who is calling, and what is it regarding?” Maybe I’m missing the subtlety in the wording. Granted his response could have been a bit more formal, but assuming the tone was polite, I don’t see how he could be judged on this.

    2. Hmm*

      Sure he should be expecting calls. However, the manager could use a lesson in phone etiquette. When I was a training manager I made many, many calls to new employees, interviewees, etc., and it always went like this:

      Them: Hello?
      Me: Hi, this is Wakeem calling from Teapot World — may I speak to Richard, please?

      Not only is this polite but it will get WAY better results (in terms of probability that I would get to speak with Richard, or probability that I would get to leave a message versus the person who answered hanging up) than just asking for him by name without any other information– because they knew it involved work.

    3. Overthinking Anon*

      I think this could depend on the nature of the job hunt. I work in a very slow moving industry and am interested only in a specific subset of jobs. That means that I might have applied somewhere anytime I see something that meets my narrow criteria, and I might not hear back for a long time. It feels like an eternal job hunt rather than a short intense period of job-hunting where new rules apply.

    4. AnnieNonymous*

      Telemarketers and scammers don’t stop calling just because you’ve turned in a few job applications.

  28. Retail Lifer*

    #2 After a successful interview, I was asked to stay on for a brief “working interview.” It only lasted about 20 minutes and I just had to talk to customers that came into the store and perform a demonstration of one product. Not having detailed product knowledge yet, the manager just wanted to observe how I interacted with people. That wasn’t unreasonable. What OP #2 is experiencing sure is.

  29. Student*

    #4 – You seem a little over-invested in your boyfriend’s job search. You wrote to an advice columnist to get confirmation that a potential interviewer was unkind to your boyfriend on a phone call. It might be time to step back a bit and get some perspective. This is his battle to fight. You can be supportive, and you can offer him advice when he wants it, but you can’t fly his job search for him, nor protect him from getting hurt feelings when it goes badly.

    1. aebhel*

      ….or she’s using his experience as a jumping-off point for a question on phone etiquette?

      Generally speaking, it’s rude to respond to a stranger’s question by giving them a lecture on their emotional issues, unless you’re a psychiatrist and the stranger in question is your patient.

    2. fposte*

      Yeah, I think this falls under the heading of being too hard on letter-writers. If Alison is okay with answering questions from SOs, I think that’s something we should accept too.

      1. Kelly L.*

        This. It would be over the top for the LW to call up the employer to harangue her. But to ask a question of AAM out of curiosity, no. It’s only over-involvement when you actually stick your nose in and do something (like the LW whose husband quit for her).

  30. Michele*

    The situation in #4 could have been completely avoided if the manager had emailed ahead of time to set up a phone interview. It is so rude and unreasonable to cold call someone for a phone interview. You never know what that person could be in the middle of. Plus, what is the advantage of catching them off guard? They have probably applied for 20 positions, and it is just curteous to let the person know that they should expect you to call.
    On Friday, I sent out emails to 5 people asking if they would be available on one of 2 days this week. All 5 responded yes, and one of them said that he would only be available during a particular block of time. I responded to each of them with a specific time at which I would call. I expect them to be prepared and to have a quiet place set aside so we can talk without interruption. That is how you do a phone interview.

    1. voluptuousfire*

      +1 x infinity. On the fly phone screens are never a good idea. If you miss the person, you can end up spending days playing phone tag, which is a massive pet peeve of mine. Just shoot ’em an email asking to schedule a time and you can get something set up quickly. No fuss, no muss.

  31. AnnieNonymous*

    If the employer in #4 is so obsessive about phone manners, she should know that she was the one who screwed up by not identifying herself first. This might be a bit of a generational or regional thing, since with all of that being said, I don’t see anything wrong with what Richard said. I’d have said the exact same thing.

    1. MRM*

      ugh THANK YOU.

      no, you don’t answer your phone “who’s this.” Which is why he answered by saying hello. Duh.

      I hate when people with crap manners police my manners.

  32. Dew E. Decimal*

    I feel like I was raised in a barn or something based on my apparently non-existent phone manners. In my experience in life, the following exchange would not be unconscionably rude:

    “Hello, may I speak to Richard?”
    “Richard speaking.”
    “Hi Richard, this is Jane from Chocolate Teapots Inc.”

    If I were calling that’s how I’d phrase it and I don’t think it’s evidence of poor manners. It doesn’t announce to all and sundry who is calling for Richard to at least make sure I’m talking to him first – maybe this is a call back to when people actually shared phones. Which of course some still do. I personally find the OPs boyfriend’s tone a bit abrupt as presented. The interviewer on the phone was way out of line with the lecture to be sure, however.

  33. Jack K*

    #2: Unpaid trial shifts (staging) in bakeries — not legal, but very common, in the same way that unpaid student internships are normal in media & politics. Personally, I wish it wasn’t and think it’s exploitative, but that doesn’t help answer the question of what this request tells you about your employer or how refusing it will impact your career. If this is a field you have your heart set on, I’d see if you can ask somebody in the industry for more detailed advice.

  34. Cassie*

    I always answer calls on my cellphone, even if it’s a number I don’t recognize – first of all, I don’t get many calls and secondly, I’d rather let the person know they have the wrong number than have them try and call back later. Or have to listen to/delete a long rambling voicemail for Brenda or Chuck or whoever.

    If I did get a phone call from an unknown number, and the person asked “is this Cassie?”, I might say “who is this?” without saying “yes, this is Cassie”. I’d want to know who is asking first and if the person can’t identify themselves, well, we’re probably not going to work out. When I call my boss’s lab, I usually say “Hi, this is Cassie, who is this?” which I’ll admit is not the politest way to talk on the phone. But I don’t know of another way to easily find out which student is on the line.

  35. Aflo*

    So I am the one who submitted question #2 and just wanted to say that I went in for the opening shift (shift 2 of 3) and ended up walking out. It was a whole chain of bad events but ultimately, I over heard the other employees gossiping about me (with the manager in the same workspace) after I said something about previously training as a cashier for 3 hours. Apparently I’m stupid to think that 3 shifts is excessive and shouldn’t have asked about it. My mom and I are working on a letter to the corporate office, as well as compiling research on labor laws. I’ve never been treated in such a terrible way before.

    1. Michele*

      It is good to hear that someone is standing up to the bakery for their unreasonable and illegal practices.

  36. 2horseygirls*

    LW #2: There’s only been one instance where I have “worked for free”, and it’s basically because I insisted on it.

    I had just relocated 90 minutes away, and because my daughter was in first grade, left my job as a real estate office administrator to find something closer to home. (In Chicago traffic, with no direct route from the North Shore . . . anywhere, it could be 2+ hours on a good day, which emergencies NEVER happen on.)

    I learned after my replacement was hired, while training her, why her office was just thrilled to get rid of her. :/ She couldn’t do the most basic functions that are universal to all real estate offices, and would stare off into space, sitting on desks and swinging her legs back and forth, not taking a single note during explanations.

    So when I started interviewing in real estate offices in my new town (three interviews from cold-sending a letter and resume to the top 10 offices in the county!), I insisted on doing a “working” interview to demonstrate that I actually had the skills I said I did, including entering a listing into both MLS systems. But it took me maybe 30 minutes for both, not 11 hours!

  37. brownblack*

    Things like #2 are so bizarre, it makes me wonder if the writer is somehow confused. How on earth can a company make you work for multiple shifts and still claim they haven’t even “interviewed” you yet? Should I be surprised that someone could run a business and be so profoundly clueless?

    1. Aflo*

      Yeah I definitely did not interview with the manager before they asked me to come in. I turned in an application and they called me, asking me to come in for a shift to see how I would do. I sat down with a manager after that shift but found out she was fired the next day. I never talked to anyone else and was never properly interviewed or offered a job.

  38. Cactus*

    To add onto #5: I once got an e-mail not intended for me from a workplace I applied to. That I had already gotten rejected from. Said workplace was a hospital. The e-mail was sent to me, a bunch of employees, and a bunch of non-related people…and it contained sensitive information about a specific patient. I tamped down my evil instinct and did not hit “reply all” when I told the sender what she had done, but wow.

Comments are closed.