job candidate got company name wrong, makeup at work, and more

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

1. Job candidate got our company name wrong in a presentation

My company is currently conducting interviews for an upper-level management position. As part of the interview process, candidates give a presentation to staff. Recently, we had a candidate who got the name of our organization wrong on his opening slide–using instead the similar name of another company. Of course all took note of this, but nothing was said, at least at the time. (We’re asked to fill out candidate evaluations afterwards, and I’m sure every single person mentioned it.)

I’m not on the hiring committee but am wondering what you and the community think about a mistake like this: Should it be considered a serious mark against him? Or if he is otherwise a strong candidate, should it be forgiven/overlooked? (If nothing else, the mistake shows deficiency in “attention to detail,” a classic job qualification. The person in this role would frequently be representing our company by giving presentations at industry events and professional conferences.) Also, should someone on the hiring committee, who helped him get set up on the computer beforehand, have pointed out the mistake so he could have fixed it before everyone else showed up, or was it better to let everyone see?

Ooooh, that’s not good. Of course everyone makes mistakes at times; we are human, after all. But when a job candidate makes an error of sloppiness, you have to take it seriously because you don’t have many data points about the person (unlike with, say, a colleague who you’ve worked with for a while and where you know that it’s an aberration that doesn’t reflect their normal work).

If he were otherwise a stellar candidate, I wouldn’t let this alone be the reason you don’t hire him — but take it as a flag to more closely examine his attention to detail, because you want to make sure it was truly a fluke and not indicative of a pattern of sloppiness. I’d slow down and make a point of looking at other materials he’s provided during your hiring process, and possibly consider creating another opportunity to see him in action so that you can gather more data. And depending on the context, you might point the mistake out to him and see how he responds (mortified? cavalier?).

I definitely wouldn’t have wanted the person who helped him set up to have tipped him off beforehand so he could fix it before everyone else saw it. That would be valuing helping him save face over the hiring committee’s ability to see and assess his work unfiltered.

2. Makeup in a business casual office

What’s the protocol for wearing makeup in a business casual setting? My impression was that it should always remain neutral, but I was wondering whether a red lip (or berry, or some other non-neutral color) would be inappropriate? I’m asking because I love makeup and enjoy the creativity behind it, and I’d love the ability to bring that to the office in small doses. Are small touches appropriate? The only information I could find online came from Cosmo, which didn’t seem like a reliable source.

Yeah, Cosmo would also have you believe that you can wear “business shorts” and skirts that hit mid-thigh. But non-neutral lip colors should be totally fine.

It is possible to go overboard on makeup at work, but that’s usually more about wearing a full face of obviously heavy makeup, or a night-time smoky eye look, or glittery disco eyes – something that says “night out.” Red or berry lips? Totally fine.

3. We agreed to a retainer … didn’t we?

I agreed to a 40 hour/month retainer situation with a client (I’m a freelance copywriter). I submitted my invoice for the first two weeks of the month (per their payroll person) and charged half the monthly fee even though I hadn’t actually put in 20 hours of work for that period. Now the client is griping about that. Isn’t that just how retainers work? They’re “retaining” me for my time/availability, right?

What was agreed to initially, verbally, was they would retain me for 40 hour a month for a set amount of money. They stated this was to ensure I would be available to them and that I would prioritize them over other work. We discussed that if I went over the 40 hours, I’d charge them my regular hourly rate. As I recall, when I asked “what if I work less than the agreed upon hours?” my contact there said, “Well, that’s the beauty of a retainer for you.” So either she’s forgetting what we talked about, or she’s trying to cheat me. I just want to handle it diplomatically.

Yes, that is indeed how retainers work!

I’d say something like this: “My understanding was that we’ve been discussing a retainer agreement where (organization name) would retain me for up to 40 hours a month, with any hours over that being charged at my normal hourly rate. A retainer, of course, reserves my time so that I’m available if/when you need me, but isn’t typically docked if we don’t use all the reserved time (since that’s time that I’m not allotting to other clients). Your email of (date) seemed to indicate that as well, when we were discussing how to handle a scenario where I worked less than the retained hours. So now I’m confused! Did we miscommunicate somewhere along the way?

4. Did my boss violate my privacy when he switched out my filing cabinet?

I have a question regarding privacy at work. Recently, while I was out of the office, my boss switched out a two-drawer lateral filing cabinet that I was using. The documents in it were work-related. He asked another coworker to witness him exchange this out. He replaced it because he wanted all the cabinets in the office to be black, and mine was tan. I did not find out about this until the next day when I returned to work. Was this a violation of my privacy at work? He didn’t discuss this with me at all. The worst part was that the cabinet he switched it for was a broken one, although he did put in a request to fix it.

No. Legally speaking, there’s no expectation of privacy at work with this kind of thing. Your employer owns the filing cabinet and they can change it if they want to. They can also go through your work papers if they want to.

It can feel a little unsettling to have something like this happen — that stuff feels like yours — but I’d let it go.

5. Giving notice around the holidays

I’ve recently accepted a new position and will be giving my notice right around Christmas, and I start my new job shortly after the beginning of the year. I like my current job and the people I work with, but the benefits and career potential of the new position were to good to turn down.

Unfortunately, the timing of this puts me in a bit of an uncomfortable spot with some prescheduled training a week before I plan to give notice and now an office Christmas party just a couple of days beforehand. What’s the best way to handle these situations so it doesn’t look so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to take advantage of my current employer and any advice on giving notice during the middle of the holidays?

It’s not going to look like you’re trying to take advantage of them. The training was pre-scheduled, and office Christmas parties are rarely such coveted invitations that someone would engage in sneaky notice timing just to be able to go (and really, you’re likely to be able to go regardless; no sane company would refuse to let someone attend the party just because they were preparing to leave).

There’s rarely a great time to give notice; there are always events or trainings or business trips or projects that feel like they intersect poorly with a resignation. That’s normal, and your employer is unlikely to find it remarkable.

{ 309 comments… read them below }

  1. Alter_ego*

    Your mileage may vary of course, but on the makeup front, I work in a business casual (and INCREDIBLY male dominated) office, and the second I wear anything more than the most strictly neutral of lipstick colors, I start getting the “ooooOOOoo, hot date?” comments. I’ve never even tried to wear a colored eyeshadow, I can’t even imagine the response.

    Maybe if I wore brighter makeup every day, it would become the new normal and people would stop commenting, but if you’re anywhere close to the only woman in the office, at least in my experience, people will notice and make comments on it.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      I think you nailed it in your second paragraph. If you routinely wear noticeable makeup, it’s less noteworthy on any given occasion. Also, FWIW, I think men in general notice lipstick more than other makeup.

      I think pink, red, or neutral lips are fine for work regardless of the formality of the office. I’d stay away from glittery lips, non-natural colors (like blue), and noticeable lipliner. Depending on the job and your skin tone, you might also want to stay away from dark browns and purples. I’m pale, and on me, dark lipstick looks very dramatic, verging on gothic; I love it, but I’ll save it for the club.

      1. sunny-dee*

        +1 on avoiding the weird colors. I love bright lipstick. If you want to keep from looking too-too, go lighter on the eye makeup. I do skin-colored shadow and no eyeliner when I have my 40s red lipstick on. Likewise, if I want to go heavy or creative on the eye makeup, I do neutral lipstick. I’m in a heavily make industry, but because I play with my makeup, it isn’t a big deal.

        1. HeyNonnyNonny*

          Yes, to balancing your look! I wear red lipstick every single day, but I keep the rest of my face minimal. Our office is pretty conservative, but no one’s ever made a negative comment, and brighter lipstick is a great way to look ‘put together’ without having to put in a lot of effort.

          1. sunny-dee*

            I work remotely, but I’m on 7-8 hours of video conferences a day. I keep red lipstick by my computer because I look put-together when I’m on screen, even if it’s 7am, I have no coffee, and I’m not wearing any other makeup. :D

            1. Laurel Gray*

              I believe there is a red lipstick for day and play for women of all shades. I know it probably seems super old fashioned but when a woman has found her right day red shade, she usually will look put together no matter what she is wearing.

                1. kac*

                  I’m super pale and I very rarely wear makeup, but I looove red lipstick. I go with a matte color instead of glossy, to minimize the Gwen Stefani look, but I don’t think pale =/= no red lips. It just has to be the right shade.

                  Of course, bold colors also has to be your style, more generally, to feel comfortably in the red lipstick.

                2. LENEL*

                  If you’re fair, look for a blue based red rather than an orange/yellow, and like kac advises matte as well.

                  YMMV but I am currently in love with Jefferee Star, they have matte long stay lippies and they’re rather fabulous. They’re a little bit of an investment ($30ish AUD) but when I wear normal oil based lipstick it bleeds appallingly and I’ve had huge amounts of luck with this brand, I really like Redrum as a pasty brunette if that’s any help!

          2. Koko*

            Huh, strangely I’ve found the opposite effect on my face. If I wear nothing but lipstick it pops too much and looks like there’s something obviously unnatural going on with my lips. I need some light rouge, mascara, and eyeliner to bring the rest of my face up to speed so my lips don’t stick out like a sore thumb! (Although I tend to I use dark brown mascara and eyeliner for work instead of black so it’s not so stark.)

            1. Honeybee*

              Yeah, same. If the rest of my face doesn’t have any makeup on it, the most I can do on my lips is a tinted lip balm or a very sheer color (like the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments). Otherwise I have to at least whip some brow powder, eyeliner, mascara and a bit of blush on.

        2. just another techie*

          So this is a serious, not snarky, question from a lady who has never figured out how that makeup thing works. What does skin-colored eyeshadow do? I’ve never heard of such a thing, and my naive impression is that it doesn’t show up? So why do it? There must be a reason, though, right?

          1. Chinook*

            I don’t know about others, but I find that skin-coloured eye shadow isn’t necessarily the colour of my skin (but then again I am just a shade darker than your average ghost at this time of year). Instead, it is usually a touch darker, creating depth on the eye lid, making you look more awake. Or, if it is a shade lighter, you use it to highlight your brows or the eye line to make them pop out, again creating depth. At the very least, it evens out the skin tone. Though, personally, I am lazy and would go without the skin coloured eye shadow and just put on eye liner instead.

            1. Liza*

              Oh, so “skin colored” but not YOUR skin color? That makes sense. (I had the same confusion as Just Another Techie did.)

              I’m lazy about makeup too but want to look “put together” for work (which to some people needs to include makeup if one’s a woman), plus I enjoy adding color to things, so I wear some copper eyeliner in a thick line and that’s it for eye makeup. I really like this copper liner, though. And I usually wear a little blush.

              (And I skip lipstick because I don’t want to deal with worrying about whether it has worn off. But I will recommend Clinique’s “Black Honey” shade of lip gloss to anyone who’s not sure what color would look good on them–somehow they found a color that seems to look good on everyone of all races!)

              1. Koko*

                Yeah my “I should really put on SOME makeup even though I don’t feel like it” regimen is brown or copper eyeliner, brown mascara, and a little bit of rouge/blush. Eye shadow takes forever to do well and the way I like so I save it for special occasions…and like you I almost never wear lipstick or lip gloss because it’s gone 20 minutes after I leave the house anyway.

              2. KH*

                +100 to the “Black Honey” from Clinique. It’s sheerer than lipstick, but more color than straight gloss and it looks good on EVERYONE. I used to carry it in my camera bag when I photographed weddings and loan it out to bridesmaids who needed a touchup.

              3. NowInOhio..*

                Just did an image search for Clinique’s Black Honey – there is a picture with 8 woman of all skin tones. Then I went to Amazon. Ordered it! Thanks so much for the info and suggestion. I’m not a lipstick girl and and haven’t been able to find a shade that looks good on me.. this one looks like it will look good (and if it doesn’t, I know exactly how it will look on my daughter and mother, so it won’t be a waste of money. I love Google!)

          2. sunny-dee*

            It’s usually the color of your skin or slightly darker. It creates kind of a smooth and polished look, like foundation. If you get one that has slight pearlescent (not glitter, but a faint shimmer or glow) in it, it reflects the light and makes your eyes look brighter.

            Depending on your skin tone and facial features, you may not need it. I have dark eyebrows, dark hair, and light-medium skin, and my eyes are kind deep-set, so using peachy-pearl eye shadow brightens my eyes without being conspicuous. If you’re fair or don’t have deep-set eyes, you may not care.

          3. Koko*

            Essentially you’re creating the illusion of your eyes having different shape, dimension, and depth by imitating the way patches of light and shadow would fall on your eyes if they were actually shaped that way. The crease and outer edge are a darker shade than the brow bone and inner eye, which creates the illusion that a shadow is falling there because your eyes are deeply set and more widely open.

      2. INTP*

        Yes – if you normally wear some makeup, then when you go without, people will say you look tired. If you normally wear none, then when you wear some, people will think you look especially dressed up. If you want to build up to red lipstick without drawing a lot of attention to yourself, you can try slowly easing in with some red lip balm, then a sheer lipstick, and so on.

        1. Koko*

          It’s pretty much the equivalent of dressing up when you normally don’t and being asked if you’re interviewing for another job.

      3. AnotherAlison*

        I can’t wear lipstick any more thanks to chronic peeling lips, but it seems lipstick is coming back. I last wore lipstick in the late 90s/early 2000s, but it seems neutral lips have been more of a thing for the last 10+ years. Once people are used to seeing it more, I don’t think people will think this looks “date night.”

          1. Koko*

            Seconding this! Burt’s Bees is to regular chapstick what body butter is to regular lotion – it melts at body temperature and therefore absorbs into the skin so much more readily. I especially like their pomegranate one for moisturizing.

        1. Honeybee*

          Yes, I love that lipstick is coming back! Gloss is okay but it’s always sticky. There are tons of moisturizing velvety lipsticks on the market now that just look awesome :D

          1. ancolie*

            I love glossy lips but when you have glasses AND long hair, it’s utter h3ll when there’s the least bit of breeze. Yaaaaay! Strands of hair blew onto my lips and will somehow then whip onto my glasses!

        2. LENEL*

          Unsolicited advice! But if you’re in Australia, have Australian contacts or they’ve started exporting to the US, Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment is the best thing ever for dry/peeling/chapped lips, it’s absolutely incredible! I keep some at my desk, in my handbag and by my bed, in dry aircon it’s a lipsaver and since I’ve started using it as a lip gloss I don’t get cracked or peeling lips any more!

          (I know I sound like an advertisement today, but I’m so excited that I have things that are awesome I can recommend!).

          1. Brisvegan*

            Oh yes! Paw-paw ointment is the best. I love that it’s sold in the tubes for lips now.

            It is also astonishing as a treatment for nappy rash. It’s the Australian mum’s secret elixir.

            For those from the South of the US, it is not based on what you call a paw-paw. I found that out chatting on another site. It’s papaya and petroleum jelly based, but more alchemically amazing than either. It’s also vegan for those who are interested.

            1. ancolie*

              Ahh, that’s a cool idea. I know papayas and pineapple have enzymes that can “digest” (break down) human tissue. So paw-paw ointment helps to actually break down the dead peely skin without being so strong that it eats live tissue. Neat!

    2. Mike C.*

      I think you’re also working with a bunch of cavemen as well. I get that you need to take this into consideration, but you shouldn’t have to.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing. I work in a male-dominated office and while I’m not the only woman on my team, I am the only woman who wears makeup even semi-regularly (I wear it about 40% of the time, whenever the spirit moves me to put it on in the morning). Nobody ever says anything. (Well, one of my coworker friends will comment if she likes the way it looks.) I also vary my look between jeans and a sweater (we’re a very casual office) and something a bit more put-together and nobody comments on that, either.

    3. Jen S. 2.0*

      Personally, I don’t care if people make comments. So what if someone notices and comments? If someone asked if I had a hot date, I’d just say, “Just trying something new,” and I’d keep it moving. Comments =\= negative sentiments.

      1. SherryD*

        If I change something up, I get comments like, “You painted your nails,” or “you changed your hair.” Um… yeah. Good observation, man.

        1. the gold digger*

          I wore red lipstick to work just once – I usually have on nothing more than beige eyeshadow and mascara – and my former boss was really puzzled. “Did you cut your hair?” he asked.

      2. sunny-dee*

        Depending on the office, I’d make a joke. “Hot date?” “Nope, just looking hot as always.”

        But I work with a bunch of guys, most of them for years, so that wouldn’t be misunderstood.

    4. Oh anon*

      My last office was casual. The only person that ever mentioned anything about my make up (foundation/eye shadows/liner/mascara) was the woman I worked with directly, on a daily basis. Her onky comments were when she liked something. The only time anyone else ever mentioned anything was the day I wore brown mascara, instead of black, and the day I wore none because of an allergy attack – both times one of my male colleagues asked if I was feeling okay.

      1. Funfetti*

        Forget Cosmo – go on Pinterest or every gal’s favorite lady business site Corporette!

        Yes, there’s the argument for knowing your office – but you should also know yourself. What are you most comfortable with? Especially what are features you feel better playing up for playing down? For a long time I didn’t like wearing bright lipstick (anything beyond lip color to mild pink) because I have big lips and was afraid of looking too “sexy” at work. So I did mostly eyeshadow. But now I found the balance of doing mascara and lips, no eyeshadow – I keep it natural but highlighting my best features.

        You can also go into a Sephora to experiment. Tell them you’d like to put together a work appropriate look then buy the products.

        BB cream is a great foundation because it feels natural without being too heavy. Peach to rose blushes are really natural – and don’t wash you out. Mascara is great and makes you look awake. Eye shadow can age people – so just be careful on the layering.

        I’m in a creative field so I can have some fun – but I definitely endorse make up empowering folks feeling comfortable, confident, and pretty. And my favorite come back to when someone says anything about my appearance – even if its a compliment is “I know!”

        1. Former Museum Professional*

          I’m surprised the OP had so much trouble finding information online. A quick google search gave me Business Insider, Glamour, Allure, Martha Stewart, XO Vain — lots of good resources. No Corporette on the first page, which is a shame. That site is fantastic.

        2. Honeybee*

          I love BB cream – it’s a great compromise between nothing and full-on foundation. Smashbox is my favorite, but when I don’t feel like laying out $42 I go with SheaMoisture, which created some BB creams for medium- to deeper-toned women (and they’re only $15).

      2. Cat*

        I think people tend to comment on differences from the norm. I seldom wear make-up and people comment on it when I do (which is irritating, but I can see why they’re surprised).

        1. fposte*

          Right. It’s not about the redness of the lipstick–you’d probably get comments if you switched from a regular red lipstick to a nude shade, too.

      3. JMegan*

        Somebody noticed you were wearing brown mascara instead of black? I’m not judging (either you for wearing it, or the other person for commenting), just surprised at the specificity. I can barely notice the difference between brown and black mascara on myself, let alone on another person!

    5. Sasha Mulberry*

      If a man made a comment to me about my makeup, I’d say, “Yours looks good too. What brand is that blusher?”

    6. Golden Yeti*

      Ugh, I get this too, and I hate it. Anytime I wear makeup, I get the same kind of comments–from my female boss!

      It bugs me so much that if I am wearing makeup for an event after work, I’ve started just wearing the bits that wouldn’t give away I’m wearing makeup (no mascara/eyeliner, lipstick, or eyeshadow) and putting on the rest at home before I leave.

      The sad part is I really like makeup. But our office isn’t public, so nobody here bothers with it. I hate that a job has kind of sucked the wind out of my sails with something I normally enjoy, but that’s the way it is. Plus, if the choices are either sleep or putting on makeup and enduring comments from the same few people I see every day, I’ll choose sleep. :)

    7. Nethwen*

      When I started a new job, I noticed that none of the women wore make-up. For the first time in my life, I was an adult and therefore, allowed to wear whatever make-up I wanted and was enjoying the freedom of experimenting. Also, I love color and didn’t/don’t own browns/skin tones. When my boss went over the dress code with me, I commented that I liked the creativity of make-up and fashion and often wore bright eyeshadow. She said as long as I didn’t come to work with purple spiked hair, it shouldn’t be a problem. So I wore make-up – not club heavy, but definitely noticeable and not neutral colors – and if anyone commented, I started on an enthusiastic rant on how it’s a great way to experiment with creative expression and X color does this to brown eyes and Y color has this effect and so on. I didn’t get many comments after my first rant or two and also became the go-to for fashion questions.

  2. Artemesia*

    I was on a committee to select a VP for finance at the place I worked (giant employer with thousands of employees). One candidate who was pretty well qualified misspelled the name of the company several times (not a typo therefore — but consistently misspelled) I argued that he should not be one of the three we brought in for on site interviews, that this was a level of sloppiness or perhaps lack of seriousness that was in appropriate particularly for this role. I was pretty much hooted down and he was invited in. He turned out to be a clearly disastrous choice and a big waste of our interview budget. Getting the name of the company wrong is a pretty giant mistake. It suggests a lack of seriousness about the job or lack of attention to detail or sloppiness or poor preparation.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      Agreed. I was cringing the entire way through #1. I can see how a mistake like that could happen what with nerves and all, but the fact that this person didn’t notice the company name on the presentation didn’t match the name of the place he/she went to interview when they were setting up is concerning. I mean, is the company name not on the building? This is a pretty big mistake.

      1. Merry and Bright*

        +1 Also, surely you should know the name of the organisation you are applying to, especially once you are interviewing there and/or giving a presentation. This is such a huge clanger to drop.

        I can see another job-hunting/dating analogy here. If your date calls you by the wrong name, would it discourage you from going for a second date?

        1. Elizabeth West*

          If he did it one time and the mistake were pretty close to my name (Liza instead of Liz, for example) and then corrected, and the rest of the date were good, I probably would.

          If the company name were misspelled once, I’d think it was a typo. But repeated misspellings would not impress me.

          1. Delyssia*

            If it’s going to be misspelled at all, I would much prefer that the candidate at least be consistent in misspelling it. To me, it seems extra sloppy to spell it inconsistently.

        2. irritable vowel*

          I haven’t had the problem described in #1 happen, but akin to the dating analogy, I have interviewed people who then addressed me by the wrong name in their thank-you e-mail. (This is a huge pet peeve of mine and happens more often than you’d think. I get addressed ALL THE TIME by a name that is more common than mine but is not anywhere close to similar except that it starts with the same letter. It’s not a simple mixup like Kathy/Katie, more like Amy/Annette.) It’s bad enough when it’s some sales person or someone I don’t have a personal relationship with, but if you want me to hire you for a job, you’d better get my name right!

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      Seriously. One of the things that you Do Not Do in advertising is spell the brand name wrong. Ever. Even art directors, who are held to a lower standard of spelling than copywriters, will get a VERY severe talking-to at the least if work gets shown to the client with a misspelled brand name.

      So what all of us learn is to enter brand names and other words that just can’t ever be misspelled into spell check as customized entries. This person should have done that too, or at least made VERY sure to find out what the name of the company was. I would read a lot into the fact that he didn’t.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        +1 to your last paragraph. And I would think, if one was preparing a presentation for an interview, they’d be copying/pasting the company’s actual logo and using that, as well, so even more weird that he misspelled it.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Also–One of the big things executives do is get other people to help them with the stuff they’re not expert at. He didn’t have anybody to ask to look at his presentation?

    3. AnonForThis*

      I have to agree. I would use the name typo as a data point about this candidate. Please folks – make sure everything is on point with interview materials, etc., and allow someone else to take a look at it. Sometimes you look at things so many times you don’t see mistakes anymore.

      1. Liane*

        Most people cannot spot errors in their own writing. Your brain knows you were typing “4Ever Teapots” and that is what it sees, even though the slide/page says “4Eva Teapot.” That is why, even though I am a copy editor, I have someone else proofread my work.

        1. the gold digger*

          In the draft of my book, I have typed “Christ”* for “Chris” about a million times. Spellcheck does not catch it.

          * Which his mother, an atheist, thought was The Truth.

            1. Kelly L.*

              I always have to watch for “busty” instead of busy. They’re both true, but only one of them needs to be in my work emails. :D

              1. Snork Maiden*

                I, for one, prefer to schedule my appointments when I am less busty. But you know what they say, busty people are more likely to get things done!

          1. HM in Atlanta*

            I once addressed an email about an employee’s relocation package – which went to both the employee and wife – as Good morning Stud instead of Good morning Stu.

            My boss (and his wife, that knew me) thought it was hysterical. I was so mortified that I removed stud from the spell-check library on my computer, just to make sure I would catch it in the future.

    4. Rat Racer*

      Eons ago when I was applying to college, there was an apocryphal story about the student who wrote his admissions essay: Why I want to go to Colombia. Ooops.

      (Actually, I hear that students are guilty of this kind of thing all the time, forgetting to swap out the name of one school for another. I just found this example particularly charming).

    5. LawPancake*

      I work for a company with an incredibly generic name, think American North, we constantly get correspondence written to North American (and there is actually another company called North America). At my company, I would certainly note it, and raise it to see how the candidate responds, but unless there are other signs of sloppiness, I wouldn’t hold it against them. But it depends on what the mistake was here, was it swapped letters/words or some “bigger” mistake? I probably wouldn’t hire the guy for a copy editor position, but for an upper mgmt position, maybe.

      1. Chinook*

        Autocorrect was the bane of our existence at “CNA” because every darn time it would autocorrect to “can” until you went into the background and fixed the dictionary. To this day, I have to manually go over my resume to ensure that this previous employer’s name doesn’t disappear.

        1. Noah*

          I once worked for a company that did a lot of work for the US government, specifically Indian Health Services, usually abbreviated as IHS. Unfortunately it was usually autocorrected to HIS until you manually added it to the spellcheck dictionary.

  3. Hapax Legomenon*

    A few years ago I referred a friend to the call center where I worked. We had never worked together, but we’d been friends for years and knew each other pretty well. When my friend emailed the call center manager, she mentioned she’d been referred by “Hapax Toldyouso”–the name I used on Facebook, because it’s a lot easier to look up than my real name. My manager wound up hiring her anyway, and I’ve ribbed her about that more than a few times. BUT, she became a supervisor a few months in and is now married to someone she met at that job, so considering what a hand I had in improving the quality of her life, I think I get the right to tease her about it now and then.

  4. Sara*

    For #3, maybe the client isn’t expecting an invoice at a two week mark but rather monthly? Just basing this on the agreement explained, that there’s an arrangement for 40 hours a month, not 20 hours every two weeks?

    1. Sara*

      Edited to add… Considering the payroll person wanted an invoice but the client contact may not be aware (often these two septa work to different timeframes) and the billing of 20 hours for two weeks just got the client in a tizzy when they are expecting a monthly charge. Hopefully just some miscommunication internally!

      1. Chinook*

        “Considering the payroll person wanted an invoice but the client contact may not be aware (often these two septa work to different timeframes) and the billing of 20 hours for two weeks just got the client in a tizzy when they are expecting a monthly charge”

        Personally, I am confused why payroll is involved with this, OP #3. As a freelance contractor, I would think you would be sending your invoice to A/P for payment as you, technically, are not an employee. This would also explain why the client was only expecting a monthly bill (maybe they though that if they went over 20 hours in the next 2 weeks it would cost them extra?). Definitely look at your contract (you have one, right) to see how often you are suppose to bill them. If it doesn’t say how often, then you are free to invoice them daily if you really want to.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I wondered as well. In fact, there may be trouble with having payroll involved, with hours, etc., because you are filing for hours you did NOT work, and that could be some sort of accounting/auditing/business ethics problem.

      1. Aaron*

        This. Is exactly what I was going to say. I ran my own small digital consulting firm for 5 years. The contract is critical. People will absolutely and frequently renege on their agreements otherwise!

        There are tons of freelance contract templates out there. They don’t need to be complex.

      2. Sigrid*

        Yes! I’m a little worried that OP says the contract was “verbal”. Get a written contract, OP! Get it now! Written contracts — official-type written contracts, not emails — are your security when you’re a freelancer. They’re essential.

      3. eplawyer*

        A thousand times yes. Put in writing. That way there is no misunderstanding about how, when and how much you will be paid. Even throw in things like how to end the contract, who can end it and how. Everything you can think of. A written contract doesn’t completely eliminate disagreements, but it sure cuts down on them.

        Everyone who works freelance/self-employed/whathave you should have a written agreement with those that hire them.

    2. hbc*

      Yes, I might be a little worried/grumpy if I had used up 15 hours of my retainer, planned for 25 hours for the next half of the month, and then it looked like some of my time had vanished. Nothing that couldn’t be resolved between all three parties, though. Sounds like payroll might be wedded to a biweekly or twice monthly pay schedule and doesn’t realize it doesn’t fit with the terms of the agreement.

      Of course, it might just be that the client is conveniently forgetting that their prioritization is contingent upon them paying for unused time. Something needs to be down in writing asap to make sure the terms and billing are workable for everyone.

    3. Ann O'Nemity*

      I came here to say the same thing. I wouldn’t presume that a 4o hr/mo retainer meant that I could start billing 20 hrs every two weeks unless that was specified in the contract. And there is a contract, right?

  5. voyager1*

    OP1: Not sure how I would go on that one. Misspelled company name, pretty bad. But I would try to take that error in context of the entire presentation. If she knocks it out of the park compared to the other candidates then it probably wouldn’t weigh as heavily.

    1. hermit crab*

      I think it’s like any other potential flag that arises during a hiring process — it has to be taken in context, as part of an overall picture of a candidate.

      That said, our firm’s apparently straightforward name is misspelled a lot for some reason, sometimes even by clients. Some people seem to think it’s an acronym so we get a lot of all caps. And if you leave out one letter, you get a spellcheckable word that lends itself to some amusing puns about the company’s mission. I know of at least one person we’ve hired who misspelled the name during the application/interview process.

  6. Doriana Gray*

    #1: While I do think the job candidate in question screwed up here, and the screw up would give me pause if I was on the hiring committee, I sympathize because I’ve had something similar happen. When I applied to the company I currently work for for a role in one of their professional training programs, I had a surprise two hour panel interview (first hour was with the hiring manager and three other people and the second was with three more employees/former graduates of the program). I was retrieved from the lobby by the woman who would become my boss (so obviously the hiring manager), but I was so flustered by some of the questions, and the process in general, that by the end of the interview I turned to the one male in the room and asked if he was the hiring manager (I still cringe thinking about that and the icky implications).

    I immediately went home and drafted a follow-up email that touched on my interest in the role, and very briefly apologized for my brain fart. I was hired, and once I was in, I made sure to get the cards of every person I met and memorized their titles and where they ranked on the org chart. (And oddly enough, when I talked about how awful I was in my interview six months later, my former boss seemed to have completely forgotten my flub, so impressed by my work, and the uber positive feedback she received about me from everyone I worked with in the org, she was.)

    Long story short – people can come back from these things. Like Alison said, how the candidate handles the mistake when it’s pointed out will make all the difference.

    #2: I work at a business casual company, and I’ve seen women there who are clearly into makeup go all out on their look and no one says anything. Then again, I don’t know if there are any silent repercussions going on for these women, either (like, are they being held back from promotions and such). I’d say that if you’re content with where you are in your career, definitely wear your red lip, and possibly any other bold makeup choice, to work. But if you want to advance, take a look at the women in the positions you’d like to be in one day and mimic their appearance. If the CEO wears light makeup, you wear light makeup.

      1. Mike C.*

        I can read an org chart and I can see the name on my paychecks. So long as they cash, he can wear as much makeup as he wants.

          1. Oryx*

            I miss working in theater because of this. So many of the men looked so attractive with black eyeliner.

          2. Mookie*


            I choose to live my life believing everyone (else) has mastered the art of no-makeup makeup unless otherwise stated.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I totally get the way that the stress of an interview can lead to slip-ups. But I think yours is much more minor than the one in the letter. You had an in-the-moment goof out loud, right in the heat of the interview no less, but it sounds like the candidate in the letter made the presentation with the wrong company name ahead of time. He should have proofread closely enough to catch that before even walking in the door of the OP’s company.

      1. Merry and Bright*

        Good point. I mean, I make as many errors as anyone but this isn’t a good advertisement for the candidate’s work given the time to prepare the presentation beforehand.

      2. Doriana Gray*

        That’s true, but I was also given business cards with everyone’s name and title before my interview commenced (I just didn’t look at them apparently), so I consider screwing up a name/title that’s right there just as much of a lack of attention to detail as the candidate in letter #1. I still don’t see why no one on the interview team in #1 corrected the candidate when the slide came up. People at my company would have (and probably would have laughed about it even if, internally, they knew it was a strike against the candidate) – my former boss corrected me when I asked her colleague if he was the director of the training program, and that gave me a chance to apologize in the moment and fix my mistake going forward.

      3. Arjay*

        The only slightly mitigating factor for me is that it’s really easy to mentally skip over the title page/slide once it’s done because it’s only a few words and you can easily assume that it’s correct, while you spend all your attention to detail on the content/bullet points.
        I once had a document go through a series of very detailed revisions, and on the final check I made sure all of those nitpicky things were correct, but managed to miss that one of the headings had magically disappeared. It had been fine all along, and my brain believed it was still fine. Oops.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I got a resume from a copyeditor that was missing the first letter of her name. In huge top, on the top line.

          Think, in 38-point type:
          heryl Johnson

          I’m sure she just accidentally hit the delete key somehow and grabbed it from and printer and mailed it, and never noticed. I ended up having other people I could use, and so I did. I wondered if she had ever realized it–maybe the next time she opened the file for her resume.
          I’ve hired her since (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s the same “Sheryl Johnson”), many years later, and she’s good.

          I also had someone call me and say, “Right after I got back from dropping the test into the mailbox, I looked at your email and realized I’d left out the “e” in your name (like, Shelly or Stacy, instead of Shelley or Stacy). I totally understand if that’s an unforgivable error, but I wanted you to know that I realized it.” I debated long and hard over whether that should matter; it did a little, but mostly because I had so many other people who did a little better on that test. If she’d been top, I’d have probably been willing to overlook it.

          And I don’t ever tell people about mistakes on their resume’s, and I’d like it if other people didn’t either–I want to know that they’re capable of making those sorts of mistakes.

          If it’s someone I’m mentoring, then yes–I will tell them, and explain, and make sure they’ve learned so that they are NOT capable of making that mistake again.
          And I only proofread resumes for other copyeditors whose skills I trust, so I’m happy to find their mistakes.

    2. fposte*

      Remember, as the hiring manager, I’m not trying to guess if this is something the applicant can come back from; I’m trying to assess this person against the other applicants. You’re thinking longitudinal, but the process is latitudinal.

  7. Sparkly Librarian*

    People tended to unnecessarily pluralize the name of my former employer. Think “Flicker” or “StumbledUpon” or “PayPals” – kinda minor but definitely wrong. Press, customers, candidates… It was a pet peeve of many of my coworkers (and mine, too). I always warned my referees about that, and if a candidate did it in an interview or cover letter, it was a mark against them. Not enough to disqualify them outright, and plenty of hires turned out fine even if they made the mistake somewhere in the hiring process. It just said that they weren’t paying close attention to the basics.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Ha! I used to always do that to B&N until a friend freaked out and was like, “There is no S!” (at the end of Noble).

      2. Not Today Satan*

        It drives me soooo crazy when people say Barnes and Nobles! I used to work there and some coworkers used to even say it.

          1. Phyllis*

            I was a manager. I know my part-time high school workers were totally rolling their eyes at me when I’d go full-bore pedantic and explain it to them– “B. Dalton, who is a Bookseller”.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I bet they’re thinking “Barnes & Noble’s”–Barnes and Noble own the bookstore.

        It could be just a lazy pronunciation thing; S-es make ending the word easier somehow.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        I grew up with a girl who ALWAYS called it this, and Walmart was the only major store in our small town so I heard it a lot. This sounds so backwater-hick to me and it always will.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I think so. People here seem to instinctively think every store is a mom-n-pop owned by people whose name is StoreName. Hence Walmart’s and the like. It irks me…AND YET I’m guilty of Aldi’s and Penney’s.

        1. Meg Murry*

          Yup, definitely a Midwest thing. There are lots of people in my area that work at “Fords” – as in, Mr. Henry Ford’s Factory. They drive a Ford, but they work at Fords. They also tend to shop at “the Walmart” or go to “Walmart’s”.

          The “Fords” thing drives me crazy, but I will admit to being guilty of Aldi’s and Penney’s. Although now I’m going to try to consciously stop saying that – we’ll see how long it takes to break the habit. And it doesn’t help that “Macy’s” and “Dillard’s” actually do have the “‘s”.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I used to do Penney’s as a sort of shorthand. Walmart is Walmart, but we do sometimes call it Walfarts. :) With Aldi, I mess up whether to cap it–Aldi or ALDI.

          I keep wanting to say Fortnum & Masons. It’s Fortnum & Mason, but when they use the possessive, as in, “Imagine waking up to a Fortnum’s Hamper on Christmas morning,”* it messes with my brain.

          *I wish!!!! :{

          1. Kelly L.*

            For Walmart, I actually usually say Walhell. I tried Hellmart, but I found that it confused people more for some reason. Even though Walgreens exists and could conceivably also be hell (though I don’t really mind it).

        1. Sara*

          People do this about schools in my area and I find it bizarre. Not like The Pennsylvania State University, where that’s the real name; my school is Bob Smith Elementary (not really), but everyone refers to it as The Smith.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        I’m not in the Midwest, and I’ve always assumed when people speak the above store names sounding plural, they’re really just saying the possessive.

      3. Sara*

        Yeah, I grew up calling the stores Meijer’s and Kroger’s and Farmer Jack’s (actually Farmer Jack).

    1. Bowserkitty*

      No matter how much I try to correct her my mom still calls Five Below “Five and Below” – and the only reason I try to correct her is because her sister pokes fun at her about it behind her back. (-_-)

      I’ve started to give up.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I also have trouble with CJ Banks. The thin-person version is Christopher and Banks, so I always call the other one CJ&Banks.

        1. Liza*

          I don’t have trouble with remembering that there’s no “&” in “CJ Banks,” but the name does make me wonder what happened to Christopher!

    2. NewDoc*

      I feel like unneccesary pluralization is increasingly common in many things…If you want to drive your doctor crazy, call it “Lyme’s disease” (correct term is Lyme disease — named after Lyme, Connecticut, not after a person).

        1. hermit crab*

          A public health professor once told me that (when they are named for a person) diseases get the possessive apostrophe-S and syndromes don’t. So it’s Parkinson’s disease but Down syndrome, even though both Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Down were real people.

          1. Honeybee*

            My background is in public health too, and that’s not universally true. There’s Chagas disease, Kawasaki disease, Tay-Sachs disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; there’s also Reye’s syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome and a host of lesser-known syndromes that have the “‘s” before them.

            And sometimes there’s confusion – Reye’s syndrome is often referred to as Reye syndrome, for example, and Hodgkin’s disease is very often referred to as Hodgkin disease by reputable organizations (the American Cancer Society and the NIH).

            1. hermit crab*

              Interesting, thanks! I wonder where the professor came up with that, then. Or if maybe it actually is a general rule, but sometimes people name new diseases without following the pattern.

  8. Mike C.*

    This whole thing about misspelling the company name – I can’t help but think this is ultimately a silly thing to worry about.

    Either it was a freak accident of nerves that will be forgotten about six months after the candidate is hired or the first of many signs that they’re a complete mess. If the latter, there will be so many other things wrong that you’ll never bother looking at the misspelling to begin with.

    1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      Yeah, this is kind of where I’m falling. It’s an embarrassing thing, for sure, and perhaps if Billy’s identical twin work wise was also in the running this could be the deciding factor, but really, a candidate about whom this says something is a candidate who will have given you other signs as well.

    2. INTP*

      Yeah, especially since it was just one slide. He could have prepared an immaculate presentation but accidentally opened the one he used for a different interview, or had a copy-paste screwup, or intended to fix the error but edited the slide master instead, or something like that. It’s not great but it isn’t a death sentence for me if the rest of the presentation showed careful attention to detail.

    3. Florida*

      I like Alison’s idea of bringing it to his attention and seeing how he responds. The misspelling might be a mistake but his response will probably be the way he normally responds to this type of thing.

    4. betty lou spence*

      I recently applied for a job and copy and pasted the company name from the job ad to ensure I spelled it correctly. After I submitted my materials I discovered the job ad spelled the company name incorrectly.

      1. Mookie*

        YES. Oh lard, so very much yes. Why does this happen? And I’ve been given the wrong / expired / radically incorrect spelling of surnames of hiring managers, interviewers, and potential colleagues. And on the eve of a group interview some “helpful advice” from a third party that when I first meet them, regardless of how they introduce themselves, I should refer to XYZperson as ABC because everyone in the office finds XYZ too difficult to pronounce, which is never going to happen because that screams xenophobic microaggression to me and I’d rather not insult a perfect stranger within moments of meeting them.

        Provided there’s internet presence or a phone listing (or an on-line CV or resumé somewhere for current employees), you can sometimes catch the most egregious examples, but then there’s a niggling doubt that your research is wrong and that of course HR knows the name of the company and that if you ask for clarification you look like a fool. There’s no ideal way to respond when you’re corrected, I’ve found, but to admit to and apologize for the error (even though, grr, the error wasn’t yours to begin with).

      2. Judy*

        I’d also wonder if the misspelling was an autocorrect. If the other company’s name was a “dictionary” word and OP’s company name wasn’t, maybe the presentation software fixed it, especially if it was PowerPoint.

        1. Liane*

          This! This is why the first thing I do with new, or new versions, of productivity software is make sure auto-correct, grammar check, etc. are turned off. They create more problems than they solve when I write or edit, partly because my projects include a lot of game company names/products as well as SF/fantasy (made-up) words/names.

      3. N.J.*

        Regarding the name misspelling. I made a similar mistake once. I applied to a lower level position at a university and recycled some language from a previous cover letter to use when applying to this position. I ended up using the name of a rival university in the same area, as the cover letter language was used to apply to that institution forst! When calling me to schedule a phone interview, the hiring manager pointed out my error. I was mortified and apologized. He actually had a sense of humor about it, but I wouldn’t have blamed him for putting he in the no pile. I actually ended up doing s phone interview and face-to-face panel interview for that position. I was very lucky he found it amusing instead of sloppy.

      4. Gandalf the Nude*

        My boss has me proofread offer letters, and every. single. time. I have to correct the spelling for both the company and parent company name. I mean, at least he knows he needs his stuff checked, but just update the master, dude!

    5. Traveler*

      We were looking through candidates not long ago, and anyone that was on the fence and misspelled our name was out. It’s a very detail focused job. I’d be more forgiving if they’d reached the interview stage, but they’d need to be a strong candidate to overcome a glaring mistake.

    6. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Well, it depends. If the job would be to send out press releases, it would be a huge deal to send one out with one mistake that then is run with that mistake in hundreds of print and web outlets. Or to send out an email appeal to VIPs with an error like that. It makes the organization look like it is careless. This wasn’t someone put on the spot like Doriana Gray above, this was something the interviewee should have prepared in advance and proofread multiple times.

      It sounds like the position might not have quite that level of responsibility with respect to public outreach, but it’s not a purely internal-facing position either. I do think that once you’re hired, you usually have two or three layers of review for critical communications, so one error might not be a dealbreaker, but it’s not necessarily trivial either.

    7. Tamsin*

      It just depends. It would be an automatic rejection for a candidate in journalism, for example — a field where students will receive a 0.0 on an assigment for misspelling a name.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Yes, I remember the F’s for one misspelling well in my journalism classes. Luckily, we had one professor who would let us redo the paper to correct any mistakes we made, but then we’d only get half credit for the corrected version…which was still an F, so I’m not sure what the point of that was, lol.

        1. Lindsay J*

          Because if they average all your grades at the end of the year a 50 is much less devastating to your final grade than a 0.

          If you have a 90, an 87, a 75, and a 50, your average grade is a 75.5 which is C/C+ range (usually)
          If you have a 90, an 87, a 75, and a 0, your final average is a 63 which is D/D- range (usually).

          In my school anything C and above counted for credit, Ds and Fs meant you had to retake the course.

      2. Oryx*

        Yup, I had an internship at a lit magazine and I had a friend auto rejected as an intern because of a misspelling on her application. If you want to work in any sort of field related to the written word, you have to be meticulous.

      3. Mike C.*

        I find this hard to believe, given the amount of absolutely garbage reporting I see in many topics, including the sciences. That, and names get misspelled all the time.

          1. Cat*

            Obviously some journalists, like some people in every other field, are just bad. But for the most part this is more about the decline of the newspaper industry–and with it the ability to actually make a profit publishing news–than it is the quality of journalism education. There’s barely budget for reporters anymore, much less sufficient copy editors and fact checkers.

            1. Mike C.*

              I appreciate this but the fact is, science reporting is uniquely terrible. I’m mostly thinking about evening/cable news type reporting rather than newspapers.

              Each study is treated as the end all, be all of a particular field, no context to the field of research, never any discussion on the statistical power or methodology and nothing on the limitations of research. This sort of crap generates huge distrust of scientists in general because all most people hear about is “one day chocolate is good for you, the next it’s bad for you, why won’t they make up their minds?!?”

              Though I think it proves your point that the only channel that handles this well is funded by a rich, middle eastern government.

              1. Cat*

                Yeah, I think TV news is a different issue and, will admit, I don’t really follow or consume it. Though I think there are factors beyond the media too – I know more than one person who has left academia because the pressure to distort research results to get more publicity was so high they felt like they couldn’t do ethical science anymore.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                Media is all about who gets clicks first now. They rush it out there and don’t check anything. I’d bet even if you are the detail-oriented journalist, you’d probably have a boss yelling, “Never mind about that–just get the post up!”

                1. Macedon*

                  Not quite. The rumour about newswire* teams earning bonuses by outdoing competitor output by fractions of seconds is true — but newswires are also quick to punish the need for excessive corrections. Industry-wise, “they rush it out there and don’t check anything” is simply not true. We’d lost too much money for it.

                  Mike’s got a point, though: science journo is uniquely terrible. Unlike finance, it’s a field in which it’s more difficult to acquire everyday basics through sheer osmosis. Unless your team’s got a former specialist or a veteran writer, you’re effed for coverage.

                  *I mention newswires because they’re the most speed-oriented.

          2. the gold digger*

            My favorite example of science/math ignorance by a reporter is from about 20 years ago. The Austin newspaper reported that because X% of the blood samples taken at the UT student health center were HIV positive, X% of the total UT student population was HIV positive.

            I have trusted almost nothing related to science and/or math in the media since.

            1. Judy*

              There was a story in the last year or two that stated that an estimated 1/3 of children are being raised by men who think they are their father but aren’t. Because about 1/3 of paternity tests come back that the person being tested is not the child of the expected/suspected father. You know, those of us with no doubts don’t do the paternity tests.

            2. Chinook*

              Leonardo DiCaprio (a UN spokesperson on climate change) is getting ridiculed a lot up here in Alberta because he claimed, in an interview, that he saw the effects of climate change when he filmed near Calgary last fall and he saw 8 feet of snow disappear before his eyes when a warm wind blew through and raised the temperature a few degrees.

              Around here, that is called a Chinook wind and was first reported by a white guy called David Thompson back in the early 1800’s and happen a few times every year (just ask the poor skiers at the 88 Olympics). Comments like that do not make spokespeople sound very intelligent.

              1. Wendy*

                Also famously eagerly noted by Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Long Winter!

                “Waking us up to tell us the wind is blowing?!”
                “Not the wind, Pa, THE CHINOOK!”

                1. So Very Anonymous*

                  Yay for the Chinook, which brings trains and Christmas turkeys! My logic was a little fuzzy as a child.

                  I reread The Long Winter as an adult (I waited until AFTER I was done with my year in North Dakota, thank you) and man, it *really* brought home how dependent those communities were on the trains.

                2. Chinook*

                  “Yay for the Chinook, which brings trains and Christmas turkeys!”

                  You’re welcome?

                  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. )

        1. neverjaunty*

          We all know fields with terrible employees despite stringent entry requirements. I doubt the other commenters are lying to you.

    8. AnotherAlison*

      What bothers me is that it was the name of another company. My company has an i-before-e that lots of people mix up and spell “ei”. You should have learned that in 3rd grade. But, I understand it’s a common spelling error. I’m more bothered if we’re Initech and all your slides say Initrode. I’m not sure if you are recycling a presentation, don’t know where you’re applying, or what your problem is.

      Regardless, if no other signs pointed to the candidate being a bad hire, I could let this one slide.

      1. bkanon*

        Well, in that case, he’ll just have to set the building on fire. :)

        Great-awful movie. I may have to watch that later.

    9. OP#1*

      Hi, all — I heard afterward that one of the members of the hiring committee mentioned the mistake to the candidate and he was absolutely mortified. (They were very gracious about it, I think.) I didn’t hear his explanation of the mistake (or if he gave one–sometimes it’s better to just apologize and not make excuses). Both company names are dictionary words; it’s possible he mistyped our company name and autocorrect chose the wrong one to correct it to. Or maybe he’s applying for a job at that company, too, and had a brain fart or recycled a presentation. But I still find the lack of attention to detail problematic. (And I guess the lesson here is: Have someone else look at your interview presentation beforehand! It’s so hard to see your own mistakes.)

      1. Mike C.*

        Is the other company your nemesis in the business world? Like Coke/Pepsi, Boeing/Airbus, Ford/Chevy/GM?

        If that’s the case that would change things for me a little bit.

        1. OP#1*

          Haha – no. We are both companies in the same industry with name recognition on a national level (them slightly more than us), but not direct competitors/nemeses. Think: America’s Best Copper Teapots vs. United States China Teapots.

    10. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah, I totally see what you’re saying. While at first, I thought it odd he just didn’t use their logo off their website or something like that (that’s what friends of mine have done), but if this guy totally shined other wise, and really sounded knowledgeable and knocked their socks off otherwise, then I’d give him a pass. It all depends on context. I’m also wondering, though, if he really did think he was interviewing at the other similarly named company? I’m thinking of our own clientele here, and there are so many similarly named companies we deal with – literally ABC Co. vs. AB&C, Inc. and things like that.

  9. Andrew*

    The seriousness of #1’s mistake depends on whether the candidates prepare the presentations in advance or are told to put one together on the spot.

  10. JL*

    When hiring interns, I’ve put many CVs and letters in the “no” pile for misspelling our organisation name. My rationale for this was that while different background in education and access to help to proof-read CVs could mean we’d end up discriminating against an awesome candidate, the spelling of our name, which was in the job ad itself, not to mention all over our website, was a grand equaliser. Anyone truly motivated and having a minimum of care for details could and should get this right.

    1. Florida*

      This makes me think of the CEO at nonprofit who was adamant that a misspelling put you in the No pile. No exceptions. After she did this a few times, someone brought out the CEO’s
      resume that she has used to apply for the CEO job. It mentioned aquired (sic) skills. CEO changed her tune and became more forgiving.

      1. JL*

        I think this is quite different actually. Some part of your coverlet and CV are more important than others, and I’d say the company name is among those: getting it wrong implies you didn’t do enough research about the company you’re applying for, and to me signifies a lack of true interest.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Really, that’s another parallel to dating. People will write in to advice columns wanting the One True Line that will get them a date, guaranteed, when there is no such thing because people are individuals.

    2. OP#1*

      One of the people I talked to at my company about the mistake afterwards said that while something like this in a cover letter probably would have caused him to be rejected right away, the fact that his cover letter and resume were good enough to get him an interview should maybe soften the negative impact of the mistake. In other words, if you’re going to make a dumb mistake, wait until you’re far enough along in the process to at least have been judged on your merits first. :)

  11. Jessica*

    The filing cabinet switch would be super awkward for me if the employer didn’t give any warning. I used to keep spare clothes in my cubicle for days that I biked into work, so someone moving my stuff would have had to handle several pairs of my underpants. Yes, they own the filing cabinet and have the right to go through my work files and to do building maintenance, but a little warning would go a long way to preserving everyone’s dignity.

        1. Oryx*

          I’m now imagining this is the 1950s and the boss opens the drawer and sees tampons and like some green toxic light because ZOMG WOMAN IS UNCLEAN

          1. Joline*

            My old job we moved offices from one building to another at one point. I was packing the president of the company’s desk and found out that he uses a fancy tampax box (it’s like a little plastic tote as opposed to a cardboard box) to store small things within his desk drawer. I rather enjoyed the fact that he just figured a box is a box.

            1. the gold digger*

              My [engineer] husband suggested I use the little purple case that comes with my birth control pills as a business card holder. “It’s just the right size,” he said.

              I laughed and discounted the idea, then thought, “Oh! He’s right!”

              So if you meet a woman at a trade show or somewhere and she pulls out a BCP container to give you a business card, you will know it is I.

        1. CADMonkey007*

          Good for you? All I mean is, when it comes to personal drawers, maybe the owner of said items would prefer to handle the items themselves (in my case, breast pump parts) rather than some anonymous person handling them without your consent.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Oh, I don’t think anyone is disputing that OP#4’s boss is a bit off…especially switching a working filing cabinet for a non-working one because it fits in better? And why wouldn’t he just wait until the OP was in the office and let her do it? But while the OP has a right to be weirded out, the boss wasn’t exactly wrong to do that, just…annoying.

      1. Mookie*

        And why wouldn’t he just wait until the OP was in the office and let her do it?

        Yes, that struck me as odd, as did the fact that he apparently felt he needed someone to witness him handling what sounds like non-confidential, totally innocuous, work-related paperwork. Something else is going on, maybe?

        1. Bostonian*

          The witnessing thing stuck me as really weird, too. I feel like there’s a piece missing here. I’d be really confused if my boss said to me, “Hey, Bostonian, I need to move a bunch of files from one cabinet to another. Can you come watch me so I have a witness, just in case?” What exactly is the boss guarding against here?

          1. Elsajeni*

            I think that could make sense, depending on what was in there — for instance, I work with files that contain confidential student information. My boss also has access to those files, and to the same level of information; it wouldn’t be an alarming privacy violation if he looked through them or moved them from place to place. But if one of them went missing, that could potentially be a big problem, and I can see someone wanting to have a witness who could confirm that everything passed into and out of their custody intact — no one wants to be The Last Person Who Saw That Big List Of SSNs, And Also Coincidentally Threw Out The Old Filing Cabinet It Used To Be In, Wonder What Happened To That List.

          2. Eric*

            I’ve done that, but it is when I am running an election, and nobody is allowed to handle ballots without someone watching.

          3. Stranger than fiction*

            Weird, but maybe just in case she did have some private property in there (like a camera or iPod or something), he wanted a coworker as a witness in case she said something had gone missing?

        2. Angela*

          I find it odd that it couldn’t just wait since it was a décor issue and not something more serious. (I once helped moved several files due to a water leak while a colleague was off work, just for an example of a reasonable reason to move things while someone is out.) However, I totally get asking someone to “witness” the file moving. We’ve had theft issues in the past, and while I don’t believe that anyone currently in my office would take anything, you never know who might be thinking, “Everyone just saw boss in that filing cabinet. They’ll never suspect me if I take (whatever) now.”

        3. Lauren in Ohio*

          When you’re going through quasi-private stuff, it’s very normal to have a “witness” hang out with you. It’s more pro forma than anything else, but the idea is to have the two folks keep an eye on each other.

          It’s unlikely, but imagine a situation where the boss had an ax to grind, and took something from the filing cabinet, or planted something. Having an additional person there makes that much more difficult.

    2. Traveler*

      I agree that its a little jarring, but I am also surprised by the amount of stuff people keep in their desk. Everything comes in with me in a bag in the morning and out at night. There’s nothing wrong with it of course, except I guess that you leave yourself vulnerable to stuff like this. I think I’ve worked with too many coworkers who would take things or rifle through or who knows what else that I don’t feel comfortable.

      1. Sunshine*

        This. I work in an office where we have to rearrange people fairly frequently. We try to give a day or two notice, but because we are staffed 24/7, we have to move people’s stuff when they aren’t there. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I’m always stunned by the amount of crap I find in people’s drawers. One girl had 5 pairs of shoes. Another had kept every packet of soy sauce she ever got from the local Chinese restaurant. Christmas decorations (year round).

        It’s always an adventure.

        1. Not an IT Guy*

          +1…one time my manager decided to clean my desk and he ended up throwing out a huge stack of paperwork that was critical for completing a project for him. He told me what he did, and of course since he was the manager I wasn’t allowed to dispute it. He ended up firing me because I couldn’t complete the project and it took me a while to find a new job because telling the truth about what happened sounds a lot like badmouthing the employer, so of course I had to make myself look bad during interviews.

        2. the gold digger*

          In my work drawers:
          1. Three pairs of high heels, two black, one brown. I am not going to ruin my nice Italian leather heels by wearing them outdoors. Not to mention, once it starts to snow, it is dangerous to wear slick-bottomed shoes.
          2. A blanket because my office building is a meat locker.
          3. Minipads
          4. Ibuprofen
          5. Chocolate, peanut butter, tea, peanut butter cheese crackers
          6. Bandaids
          7. Toothbrush and toothpaste

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yours sounds like mine, with the exception of the shoes.
            1. Pads and tampons
            2. Various office sundries (pushpins, sticky notes, etc.)
            3. Tube of emergency lip balm

            1. Four kinds of tea
            2. Nuts, soup, and seasoning
            3. Biscuits to have with my tea (I have chocolate Hobnobs!) :)

            My blanket is in my footrest. The ibuprofen and toothbrush live in my purse or my tote. If anyone touches my biccies, they die!

            1. the gold digger*

              Hobnobs! It has been years since my husband and I went to England. The last time we went, we brought home about five packages of Hobnobs. They are all gone now and we can’t get them here. That is, we cannot get Hobnobs that taste like England Hobnobs here. Those cookies are the best ever.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                They pop up now and then. I found McVities Hobnobs–made in Britain!–at a grocery herein the specialty section. We are slowly getting more international stuff where I live (southern Missouri) that isn’t only German, Hispanic, or Asian food. Not that there’s anything WRONG with those, but Europe isn’t just Germany. At least three places are selling Marmite, but I still buy it online because they sell tiny jars for way too much. And I found Branston pickle at the same place as the Hobnobs!!!! ENGLISH CHEDDAR AND PICKLE SAMMICHES YEAAAAAH

                If only I could get British back bacon…..*sigh*

                Somebody opened a Russian/Ukrainian shop and I found this pickled vegetable stuff that is very similar to the Polish salad I had in London (though a bit more sour). I like it. :)

            2. KR*

              I thought my desk was excessive! I have 4 pictures of my cat, one of my boyfriend, lotion, chapstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, headphones and usually some food kicking around.

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            Yeah, if there’s ever an earthquake and the roof falls down and I’m trapped in my cube, I have enough food and water to last for several days, and enough toys and books to keep myself entertained. Hmmm… I need a wind-up flashlight here so I’ll be able to read those books. And no, I’m not in earthquake country.

            1. Chalupa Batman*

              I’m glad I’m not the only one with emergency provisions and entertainment in my extremely safe office. Most of my other stuff is pretty normal, but I do have a sticker hidden in my desk with a picture of Han Solo that says “Thug Life…Shoot First.” I like the little joke whenever I open my drawer, but I work at a college, so I decided it would be in poor taste to display it openly in light of the events on campuses over the past few years. My non-thug Han is displayed with pride, though.

    3. irritable vowel*

      Should the apocalypse come during a workday, I could probably get by for quite some time on the stuff I have in my file cabinet. Clothes, shoes, snacks…I could even remain hygienic with the toothbrush/toothpaste, floss, deodorant, etc. And the actual files would make a nice fire to keep me warm. :)

    4. TootsNYC*

      But he got a another employee to stand by, so I think he was trying to be respectful.
      (did he do it when the employee was out because he didn’t want to deal with any pushback? Or maybe he did it then because, things were sort of quiet, and there were fewer physical obstacles (like bodies), precisely BECAUSE the OP was out?)

      And I just don’t get being all embarrassed about tampons or spare clothes.

  12. Ultraviolet*

    #1 (misspelled company name): In addition to rereading his application materials, I’d want to ask his references how detail-oriented he is, whether they’ve ever seen him run into problems caused by inattention to detail, etc. If the reread and reference check suggest this error was really out of character…I was going to say I’d forget about it, but honestly I guess I’d have trouble doing so. I’m probably biased because I catch typos easily* but even if I were convinced that getting the company name wrong was totally uncharacteristic of this guy, I would then wonder why he’d put so little effort into the presentation that he let a misspelling slip by for once.

    Ultimately, if he seemed like a far better pick than any other candidate, I’d still choose him pretty confidently. Otherwise, the error would weigh him down a lot.

    Regarding the question about whether someone helping him set up the computer should have alerted him to the typo…you could argue that the best move would have been to let him know about the typo but to also let the rest of the hiring committee know afterward that the typo had been there originally. I’m specifically thinking this would be good because it sounds like the presentation was given to a bigger group of staff than just the committee, and if this guy ends up hired it’ll be unfortunate all around if everyone else’s first impression of him was that mistake. The downside is that seeing the error during the presentation would put the committee on the alert for other signs of inattention to detail during the rest of that talk, so letting the guy fix the mistake first would rob them of that opportunity (and the opportunity to call him on the error during the talk, for better or for worse).

    *I realize I’ve just guaranteed the presence of at least one error in this comment, of course.

    1. OP#1*

      That’s a really good suggestion about making sure to ask his references about attention to detail and problems that might have been caused by lack thereof. I hope the hiring committee does that.

      To clarify my question about whether someone should have said something to him about the mistake beforehand–yes, this was a presentation to a larger group of staff. I would certainly have wanted everyone on the hiring committee to know about the error.

  13. Hannah*

    “no sane company would refuse to let someone attend the party just because they were preparing to leave”

    This just reminded me of the time a coworker attended a banquet on her last day and the HR Director of all people gave her a hard time about it. This confirms he is insane.

    1. hermit crab*

      Ugh, how awful. We recently had a coworker leave for another job, and everyone was glad that she came to the holiday party even though it was a few days after she left!

    2. JMegan*

      It’s actually a really good idea, timing-wise, to go to the party after you’ve given notice. It will allow you to tell anyone who doesn’t already know, say goodbye to people, and so on. Assuming you’re leaving on good terms, there shouldn’t be anything awkward about it.

  14. Daisy*

    I guess I don’t understand why you would consider your work paperwork private from your boss? I’m assuming there are fields where this is necessary but I can’t think of one off hand.

    1. Kelly L.*

      The way I initially read it, I thought the documents were actually gone. If they just got moved into the new cabinet, I doubt the boss even spent any time reading them.

    2. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      What threw me was “He asked another coworker to witness him exchange this out.” That suggests that the boss thought it was a privacy thing too… I think this needs more details!

        1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

          But if there’s just work files, how can he steal work files from his own subordinate?

          I mean, it’s possible, but that detail just makes it all seem… off.

          1. the gold digger*

            But what if he thought there might be chocolate in that drawer? He didn’t know what was in it until he opened it. I keep coins for the soda machine in my drawer at work, so I can see someone doing that. You don’t know what you will find.

            1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

              But this is a filing cabinet. Am I really weird in never keeping anything but files in a filing cabinet?

              1. Artemis Foul*

                In my experience, people stash all sorts of things in them. I would ask someone else to witness me in that situation too.

              2. Alienor*

                I work in an open office with minimal storage at the workstations – we each have a couple of open shelves and a single two-drawer horizontal filing cabinet. So, the top drawer of my filing cabinet is where I keep everything that I don’t want on display to everyone who walks past my desk, including change for the vending machine, dental floss, and a box of super-absorbency tampons. :)

              3. Traveler*

                At my office filing cabinets typically include: clothes, OTC meds, food, drinks, the works! I never go through anyone’s filing cabinets for that reason.

          2. Observer*

            The others are right, I think, about the very real possibility of something other than files being in there.

            I also think that the nature of the question helps explain why a manager might worry about being accused of stealing files, though. I mean how could this be a violation of the OP’s privacy. Either there is a very adversarial relationship, or a significant misunderstanding of workplace norms.

      1. Preux*

        I gotta say, that didn’t stand out to me at all because it would be totally normal in my industry. Anything usually locked (which filing cabinets containing customer information would be) with a key you don’t possess (which a colleague’s cabinet you would not, but there would be a key locked up for use of the whole office for situations like this) needs to be accessed under dual control. Maybe OP is in a similar industry.

  15. Lindrine*

    Go ahead and wear the red lip. I’ve worked in a largely guy environment too and a good response are either neutral responses like suggested above or if you know them well, a bit of ribbing “Been looking for a good lipstick Bob? I’m thinking a nice coral would do wonders, brighten you right up” works well. Now I work in a department that is 70% female and it is more “oh look you did something different with your eye makeup” The “Yep I felt like trying something different” works there too.

  16. Violetta*

    Oops I’m wearing a mid-thigh skirt at my conservative office job right now

    To be fair I’m tall and wearing thick winter tights

    1. KR*

      Mid-thigh dress here! But I’m short and a dress longer than my knees makes me look like I’m in kindergarten!

  17. Oryx*

    The filing cabinet reminds me of when I was working as the only librarian in a super tiny academic library. My manager and I had been talking about things to improve the space, including covering the tile with carpeting and moving things around. Well, apparently, one day he decided to just do it entirely on his own without telling me. I came in Monday morning to a completely different space, with filing cabinets and my desk moved. I stood there for about 30 seconds, just long enough for my brain to process, then put my stuff down and walked into his office. His response, “So, I guess you’ve been to the library.”

  18. FurnitureLady*

    #4 – I’m in a similar situation. I’ll be giving notice this week and starting the new job after the 1st of the year – I too was uncomfortable with the timing, so I’ll be doing everything I can to leave my employer in good shape and will gladly answer questions (a reasonable amount!) afterwards.

    1. chilledcoyote*

      Same for me, and I already had vacation planned for the week of Christmas in addition to two full days of CPE. Feeling GUILTY.

  19. Frances*

    OP 1, did the slide deck and presentation seem like they could have been used in an interview at the other company? Did the candidate heavily customize the presentation towards your company (for example mentioning specific strengths of the company and how those could be applied to specific challenges the company faces) or was it, for the most part, a presentation that could have been given at any company in your industry? To me this is the important thing to look at to see if the candidate is salvageable or not. If it was a cookie cutter presentation then I would not want to hire him. The last thing I want is someone in a leadership position that lacks attention to detail when the stakes are high and cannot grasp that strategies and solutions need to be customized to the situation.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      If it was a cookie cutter presentation then I would not want to hire him. The last thing I want is someone in a leadership position that lacks attention to detail when the stakes are high and cannot grasp that strategies and solutions need to be customized to the situation.

      Yeah, this. I just read it again, and the candidate was interviewing for an upper-level management role. Getting the company name wrong in that instance is a bad sign for someone trying to get into that role.

    2. OP#1*

      Yes, the presentation could definitely have been used in an interview at the other company, but I think that’s characteristic of the industry. (We don’t generally ask candidates to speak specifically about our company but rather a topic they have expertise in. A few candidates for various jobs do customize their presentations to our company and I have to say that really makes them stand out. But it’s not expected.)

  20. Preux*

    ‘No sane company would refuse to let someone attend the party’ – haha. I’m on my last week with the company I’m leaving and just found out that the manager I’ve been placed with isn’t going to let me attend the year end party for my position. (It’s a bank – all the head tellers in the district meet every month to discuss policy changes, but the December one is mostly a party.)

    I’m a float so I’ve worked with all these other people personally, and it’s going to be a major bummer not being able to see them one last time. This particular manager is petty and passive aggressive and currently angry that I didn’t take a permanent position in her branch. The fact that she is allowed to make my schedule and decide whether or not I go to this meeting (NOT the way the float pool used to work) is one of the major reasons I’m leaving. Sigh.

    1. JMegan*

      Aw, that sucks. :( I’m sorry to hear that, and I hope your new manager is much friendlier and easier to work with!

  21. Elizabeth*

    OP2: I currently work in a business casual environment and I previously worked in a casual-yet-conservative, male-dominated government lab and I wear a red lip almost every day. Not only have I never gotten a comment about it (other than one security guard complimenting my “bright smile”), but I have never been treated with other than the utmost respect for my ability. That said, I wear almost no makeup otherwise.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah, my last several jobs have been “business casual” attire and what people wear varies so widely, it never even occurred to me to think about makeup. But, I guess if the person who is the most casual around here (think baggy t-shirt and athletic shoes) suddenly wore sparkly eye shadow and neon pink lipstick, it would stand out. I wouldn’t care, but it might make me do a double-take since I’m not used to seeing that person like that.

  22. Not Gloria*

    Re #1. I used to work at a company that everyone thought was Hewlett Packard. Even relatives who I had told several times that I did not work for HP would ask if I could get them a discount on printers. And since what we did was difficult to explain, people had a hard time separating the two. I could see that mistake easily being made.

  23. Not Today Satan*

    Ugh, I got an org’s name wrong in a cover letter! The thing was, as long as I had been familiar with this org, I always legitimately thought it was called “Partners for [Commonly Used Term]”. Instead it was actually called “Partners for [different term with same meaning (same first word, different second word) that also RHYMES with the more commonly used term]”. The other term is SO much more commonly used in my field that my brain like refused to see the actual name of the org. I was so mortified when I realized… and no, I wasn’t called in for an interview.

  24. kimmy*

    I have an offshoot of question #4: I am expecting an offer sometime next week, likely right before Christmas. I am taking off a week in between Christmas and New Years, and will plan to work out my two weeks after I get back. If I get the offer before I leave on vacation, should I give notice right before I go away so that my boss has more planning time? Or should I wait and give notice after I get back. Either way, I would work a full two weeks (not counting the vacation time) after I give notice, but was wondering what is more considerate to my boss/office?

      1. GreenEye*

        And if your current business shuts down over the holidays, 2 weeks notice would be the first 2 weeks after it reopens in the new year?

        1. Kimmy*

          Well my office doesn’t shut down, I have a planned vacation. But yes, the two weeks would be the first two in January when I get back.

          Thanks for the input!

  25. Jubilance*

    #2 – go ahead and wear the red/berry lip! I work in a business casual office as well, and I’ve been obsessed with red lips this year. I wear makeup everyday but try to keep it to daytime looks – no glitter, light blush, etc. The only place I’ll go bold is my lip color and it’s a boost to my confidence to wear a red lip in the office. I agree with the other commenters to stay away from the non-traditional lip colors but a red lip should be totally fine!

  26. Amber Rose*

    #1: Husband realized last night he typo’d his resume so it looks like he’s been working his current on-call job for three years instead of three months. And he’s interviewing this morning. Whoops! Accidents happen.

    That said, in the process of reviewing stuff for the interview he caught the error. That this guy didn’t catch his error suggests at least partly that he didn’t review his stuff, which is a secondary red flag in my opinion. Not an automatic no but still.

  27. CheeryO*

    #1 – I had a huge brain fart during an interview and didn’t know what my interviewer was referring to when she called the company “_&_” (e.g., “B&N” for Barnes and Noble). Not the same thing exactly, but I was so grateful that she was willing to laugh it off. I would definitely cut the guy some slack unless there are other red/yellow flags.

    #4 – I gave notice the Monday after my company’s Christmas party last year. It was a little awkward (when I asked to meet with my boss, he asked if something had happened at the party), but life went on. I even went to our Christmas potluck lunch a week and a half later.

    1. Snarky McSnark*

      It worked out well for me as we get 4 day weekends for summer holidays (memorial, independence, labor) and my boss asked me to work through month end close for June (3 full weeks of notice) and new company only got out early on the 3rd, hello 2 extra vacation days.

  28. Rex*

    I see I’m the minority here, but it’s pretty tough for me to not see misspelling the company name as disqualifying, especially if it turns it into the name of a competitor. Presumably the applicant is on their “best” behavior now — if they can’t get those sorts of details right in an interview, what kind of employee will they be?

    Maybe I’m just grumpy because I’m going through job applications, and you’d be appalled at the number of people who didn’t bother to put the right organization in their cover letter, leaving in the one from the last place they applied. Something like 1 in 10 applicants are doing this. Instant disqualification.

    1. beefy*

      Yes, I feel like this is an absolute deal-breaker. I could overlook a generic typo (maybe…), but not of the actual company name, turned into that of a competitor, on a presentation prepared in advance. It doesn’t sound like the candidate even noticed the error while giving the presentation, further evidence of the lack of attention to detail.

    2. peanut butter*

      I am a bit grumpy too and I would be alarmed too but the candidate’s reaction referenced above after being told about the error softened my initial response. We once had a candidate who based an entire presentation on her great new idea of having us open 24 hours when we have been open for 24 hours for years and had it mentioned prominently on our website in several pages. She was hired anyway. I think the overall picture of what kind of person will fit into your culture and job and who the other candidates might mitigate these errors.

    3. catsAreCool*

      Sure the candidate is on his/her best behavior but is also probably nervous and probably applying to more than one place at a time.

  29. Hiring Mgr*

    On #1, since it was an upper level management position, I would assume that the candidate was including a corporate name change as part of his presentation.

    1. fposte*

      So you’d soberly inquire of the candidate why he proposed changing your company’s name to that of its competitor? I guess that’s one way to draw his attention to the error :-).

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        He’s obviously a strategic forward thinker who is proposing a buyout or takeover of the competitor… He’s playing chess while the rest are playing checkers!

    2. irritable vowel*

      “And in conclusion, you may have noticed that I put [competitor’s name] on the title slide of my presentation. That was no mistake, friends. Your CEO has invited me here to outline a plan for a merger of our two companies, in which this one will be completely subsumed by [competitor]. Thank you for your attention, and are there any questions?”

  30. Sasha Mulberry*

    I’m reading back through all the makeup responses and I guess I don’t see why anyone should think that bold lip color would be a no-no at any office.

    Makeup is personal expression. It doesn’t matter where you are. I wear lipstick to walk the dog, because I *always* wear lipstick.

    1. the gold digger*

      The contrast when I moved from Miami to Cedar Rapids – no self-respecting Cuban woman would be seen outside of her house without lipstick. But in the midwest, I am with My People, who are too darn lazy to put on makeup unless it is absolutely necessary.

      (Your Midwestern Mileage May Vary. Speaking only for myself and for what I have observed.)

  31. Terra*

    #2 Makeup rules somewhat tend to work the opposite of the way you’re suggesting, the more casual the clothing the more you can get away with playing with your makeup and using brighter/darker colors. A very rigid environment like a bank? Makeup should always be neutral and natural. On the other hand in a very casual environment where people wear jeans with holes in them? You can usually get away with the crazier makeup like bright blue mascara or day glow lipstick. In a business casual environment you should be fine to wear either a red/berry lip or more colorful eye shadow but probably not both at once.

  32. AnonACOD*

    Makeup – rule is one “bright” component. Red lips – everything else super neutral. And I think it would be fine.

  33. Roscoe*

    For #1 I agree with Alison. That to me wouldn’t be a deal breaker completely, but it would just be a point to consider. If he is definitely the best candidate of the bunch, I’d let it go and hire him. If he and another candidate were basically equal, I could see that being the deciding factor to go with the other person. Also, it would really depend on how severe the error was. Was it just on the opening slide? Was it completely out of left field, or is it something that is super similar. Also, part of it really depends on what the job is you are hiring for. I know it was a VP position, but in what department. In something like marketing I think it would be a bigger deal than in something like finance (just as examples).

  34. That Marketing Chick*

    #1 We had open group interviews for final CEO candidates at our organization. One got our name wrong. Maybe he was just nervous. But as a marketing professional always thinking about our company’s name and branding, etc….in my opinion, he was out of the running at that point and I made sure my comments to the board of directors reflected that. You simply cannot ever make that kind of a mistake at a job interview – and especially not at the executive level.

  35. HRG*

    This is an offshoot of the lipstick question but I’d be curious to hear opinions/experiences in regards to wearing no makeup to work. I almost never wear makeup to work. I used to, but found that it was a huge time suck in the morning and I didn’t actually enjoy putting it on or wearing it. The company I currently work at is pretty varied depending on position, but overall pretty casual – some people wear suits and others wear jeans, some wear tons of makeup, some wear none. I’m more concerned about my future prospects – is it going to be seen as unprofessional if I routinely don’t wear makeup to work?

    1. Emily*

      I work at a university, and hardly ever wear make-up. When I first started, I tried to wear it, but after looking around at several of the other women at all levels, I felt confident in stopping. I’ve never been a big make-up wearer, and I’m not very good at it. Plus, I’ve not had luck finding make-up that doesn’t feel heavy and gross after either one hour or eight.

      I will put minimal effort into make-up for an interview – like mascara and BB cream. Because even I can’t screw up BB cream.

    2. Alienor*

      In my large office, not wearing any makeup at all seems to get women pigeonholed either as harried moms or super-outdoorsy hippie types. It doesn’t seem to affect their career prospects much, though. If anything, I think the few women who do a full face of very noticeable Kardashian-style makeup every day (heavily styled brows, shiny lipgloss, contouring, etc.) are the ones who suffer, because they’re viewed as ditzy and high-maintenance. Most of us aim somewhere in the middle of those two extremes in hopes of flying under the radar–not that we should have to, but there it is.

    3. Kyrielle*

      I’ve never even seen it really register, but I’m working in engineering, and have always been in largely-male groups.

  36. Karyn*

    Ooh ooh makeup questions! *jumps and flails, raising hand*

    I work at Sephora one day a week and an office job during the week. Let me just tell you, I rock a red lip seven days a week and most women at my office job ask me where they can find the perfect red. As long as you’re keeping your eyes neutral (nude shadow, with or without brown or black liner), you’re all good.

    I’ve also done fun liner colors on the top only with a flesh-colored shadow and a nude lip and been complimented by my boss, but that may just be my particular office.

    Throw makeup questions my way, dear friends!

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