a round-up: for-profit schools decrease your earnings, a jackass of an interviewer, and more

Three interesting things —

1. A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the employment and earnings of 1.4 million people who attended for-profit colleges (like University of Phoenix, etc.). They found that on average, people who attend for-profit schools “experience a decline in earnings after attendance, relative to their own earnings in years prior to attendance … In absolute terms, we find no evidence of improved earnings post-enrollment for students in any of the top ten for-profit fields and we can rule out that average effects are driven by a few low-performing institutions.” So they not only charge you obscene amounts that are far more than you’d pay at better schools and do harm to your resume (to the point that you probably shouldn’t put it on your resume), but then decimate your earnings. Stay far away.

2. If you want to read something by a jackass, here’s a CEO describing how he schedules interviews for 6:30 a.m. so he can judge how people react: “Sure, I get up early. I think that’s important. But, I really wanted to see how people reacted to a 6:30 am interview … how you react to that challenge tells me a lot about not only your character, but also how you choose to handle situations that take you out of your comfort zone.”

I’m a night owl, so I’m going to invite this guy to meet with me at 2 a.m. in order to learn about his character.

3. BravoTV’s website did a piece on Ask a Manager.

{ 296 comments… read them below }

  1. Rebecca*

    “So, think about how you show up when you’re out of your comfort zone.”

    Maybe I’m grumpy today, but this sounds so entitled and clueless. What about the interviewee who depends on public transportation? Maybe they can’t get a bus or train that early? Or a parent with child care issues? Or someone who needs to make sure a younger sibling gets up and out the door in the morning? Or someone caring for an elderly parent, and their daytime caregiver won’t change their schedule to arrive earlier?

    There are a myriad of reasons why a 6:30 AM interview could be problematic, all way past the “oh, I don’t want to get up that early” mentality.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I was comforted to see that almost all the comments over on LinkedIn were along these lines, with multiple people pointing out that this discriminates against parents and people who rely on public transit, and almost no one said, “What a great idea!”

      It also is a signal to the interviewee that this is a company where the boss will make you do potentially unreasonable things on a whim or because that’s how he likes to do them. So it’s a good way for the company to screen for desperate candidates who don’t have other options.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        I noticed that the author took the time to go through the comments and “like” all of the ones that agreed with his stupid premise.

        1. Laurel Gray*

          Yeah I noticed that too. There is quite a bit of asshattery in the comments section there. Some of that “if you want it bad enough” “if you are driven” MLM-ish type talk is sprinkled into the comments. Anyone who would play this kind of game with career related stuff, probably lets it spill out into other aspects of their life like dating and family relationships.

      2. Michelenyc*

        Given where I live in the city this would be a huge nightmare at that time of day. I would have probably have to leave by 5:15am to make sure I got there on time. The MTA loves to work on the tracks during the night and weekends so if they are doing track work the first trains don’t start running in the morning till 5:00am so even leaving at 5:15 I could potentially still be late.

      3. INFJ*

        Yes, I also looked at the LinkedIn comments to see what the response to this was. I really liked the top comment (Richard Bird). His response was very Alison-like.

        1. Adam's Off Ox*

          Is there a trick to showing the LinkedIn comments? I click it and it just zooms to the empty space between the articles. Do you have to be a LinkedIn member to see them?

    2. Clinical Social Worker*

      And I’m sure this guy’s response would be “If you want the job you’ll make it work.” You’re right, he’s clueless. Most job interviews happen during business hours 8 – 5.

      1. PollyQ*

        To which I would say, “If you want the best employees, you’ll meet them halfway.”

    3. Jennifer*

      He wants to know the following:
      (a) that you have a car
      (b) that you are a guaranteed early riser
      (c) that will happily wake up at 4 a.m. or whatever to prep for it.
      (d) that you have no family that this will be a problem for.

      1. neverjaunty*

        But that’s not what he says he wants to find out, and all of those are things better learned through direct questions. A lot of people could manage to borrow a car, take an early bus, leave the kids with a spouse, and set their alarm clock for a one-time early meeting; that says nothing about their availability on a regular basis.

        1. Alienor*

          Right?! If I were asked to come to a 6:30 a.m. interview, I would think it was weird, but I would rearrange my schedule to make it work. I will also occasionally rearrange my schedule for a special event that requires me to be there early (like a few months back, when I was helping out at a conference and had to leave home before 6 a.m. to get there on time). That doesn’t mean I can commit to doing it every day, which this power-tripping CEO would quickly find out in the course of the interview.

          1. Sarahnova*

            I once started a client meeting (in Dublin… which is not where I live) at 6:30am. But only because there was a really good reason for it.

            1. K.*

              Yeah, I worked for a company with offices in lots of time zones (East Coast, West Coast, UK, Asia) and sometimes you’d have calls at random times to handle that. I had a few calls with Singapore at 9 PM East Coast time because it was the start of their day.

    4. Early Bird*

      I had a job where I chose to roll in the door around 6:30 every morning, and even I’m put off by this guy’s sense of moral superiority and entitlement.

      1. Awkially Socward*

        I’ve had several jobs where 6:30 would be late.

        As I am now, medical problems mean 6:30 would be next to impossible.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        Exactly. I have a sleep disorder that makes 6:30am meetings not impossible, but something of a herculean task essentially meaning that meeting prep and recover takes me half the day before and the whole day after. I’d rather not kick off a job interview by mentioning my disability.

        And, although it’s rude to ask, I guarantee you everyone wants to know a little bit of the details; falling back on “I have a disability that makes that very difficult, can we reschedule for a different time?” pretty much makes me stand out in a bad way.

        Luckily, I wouldn’t wanna work for this guy anyway. I’ve paid my dues with bosses who set arbitrary deadlines “to test you” or “to see how you handle pressure” and … no.

        1. JuniorDev*

          And as your comment illustrates, it’s a totally different level of burden on different people.

          It was like how at the startup i worked at, the (male, able bodied) founders thought it was a sign of their devotion to the company to all pile into a guest bedroom at the CEO’s house while on a business trip to his city, whereas for me–a young woman with health problems–it sounded like the most horrifying thing ever.

          I ended up convincing them to get me a hotel room but they were not happy about it.

          1. Murphy*

            Exactly. I could swing a 6:30 am meeting if my husband was in town to manage the tiny one, but if he’s away, nope. But a 5:30 pm meeting? It better be bloody important for me to not see my kid that night (she’s in bed by 7) and downright impossible if, again, my husband is out of town.

            But, just because I could make it work doesn’t mean I want to. And I certainly don’t want to work somewhere where this is expected.

        2. So Very Anonymous*

          Sleep-disordered night owl here. Someone expecting me to do a 6:30 am interview = I’ve just learned some very important things about this job, including that I don’t want it.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            Heck, I’m not sleep disordered, just not a morning person, and *I* just learned I have no desire to work for that dude unless that job is all that stands between me and a catastrophic failure to make the rent, because he’s a total jackass and I don’t want to work for a total jackass if I can possibly help it.

            Interviewing is plenty tricky without mind games.

        3. always sleepy*

          Someone had a post on this that basically this guy wants to know that you are ok for for a bully and being treated like garbage. Can I ask about your sleep disorder? I’ve got hypersomnia and mornings are really difficult for me- were you or have you been able to negotiate later start times at jobs in the past? I’m worried about attempting to do that. I’m currently looking for a new job and am not near that position yet but would love some advice

          1. Connie-Lynne*

            I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. I’m lucky in that in my field we mostly start late anyway.

            When I start a job, I just let my boss and HR know that if I have a bad night I might need to occasionally sleep in.

      3. MashaKasha*

        Right? I was on call 24×7 for six years, where it was business as usual for us to get out of bed and work on a support issue at 2AM, 3AM, 5AM, 6AM, sometimes all of the above on the same night; and then come into work the next morning. But when we had to work at night, it was for a very valid reason that production was down and the company was losing $$$$ every minute it continued being down. Not because a CEO decided to see how people would “handle the situations” when he says “jump”. Geez Louise. This would tell me everything I needed to know about this company’s and its leadership’s priorities, and I’d be one of those people who’d cancel the interview.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I did a bunch of shifts as the 6am technical support on-call for an overseas team because no one in their timezone knew how to troubleshoot their equipment. I’ll play ball if someone actually NEEDS me at Oh Crap O’Clock, but I am not getting out of bed for a 6:30am interview because some douchebag thinks how I respond to that says something about my character. (The thing it actually says about my character is that I’m spectacularly not a morning person and I don’t like being jerked around.)

      4. Sydney Bristow*

        Same here. I get to work around 6am by choice. Does that make me the kind of person he wants to hire? It’s not out of my comfort zone so I don’t know what he’d learn about me other than I tend to work early. Throw me off my game by suggesting a 9 or 10pm interview.

      5. CenterofTheSun*

        Me 2, I roll in at 6:45 am regularly, but I also leave about 4 pm. This would be the sort of guy who would expect me to stay until 6 pm ‘because everyone else is here and this is the ONLY time we could get everyone together on Friday’.

      6. Elizabeth West*

        A bf and I once worked an hour from where we lived in a rural area–we had to get up at 4:30 and be on the road at 5:30 (to give us time to navigate around any potential road hazards along the way). I would usually catch a bit more sleep in the car while he drove. It backfired on me the morning I missed a mama bear and two cubs walk across the road before he could wake me up!

        I was super glad when I got a different job and could sleep in a bit, though. Gah, that was rough.

    5. Honeybee*

      Exactly! Real people have real lives; routines exist for a reason – not just because of comfort but because they help us get shit done.

      And the other thing is, even if I don’t have a specific reason I don’t want a 6:30 am interview, an interview that early is so far outside the boundaries of normal business operations that it would make me wonder about this company’s (and this CEO’s) business practices. It’s not really about my comfort zone – it’s the fact that this is a signal that this CEO is both loony tunes and entitled, and that this would not be a place I’d want to work for.

      1. ZenJen*

        YES, this helps ME to screen out an employer who won’t respect boundaries or normal workplace behavior. so it’s definitely a sign.

    6. AF*

      You are totally right (and I’m agreeing with others) – but I don’t think he WANTS people working for him who have any of these issues (with childcare, needing public transit, etc.). He’s looking down his nose at people who can’t afford a car, or to take a cab, have kids and no full-time nanny, and, apparently, aren’t avid exercisers (with the mention of the gym). So he wants people who are just as privileged as he is, which is a recipe for disaster. But clearly he knows better than we do, because he’s the successful entrepreneur! (*sarcasm*)

      1. I'm a Little Teapot*

        Yes yes yes, to you and Jennifer. As far as he’s concerned, screening all of *those* people out is probably a feature, not a bug. God, I hope this tactic doesn’t spread.

        1. Pixel*

          I respectfully disagree – this is a great way to avoid the bait-and-switch pleasant interview face that later becomes a leading candidate in the Parade of Bad Bosses. As other posters said – thanks, CEO, for letting candidates know exactly what they’re up against.

      2. Professional Sweater Folder*

        Not to mention people who choose public transportation for reasons other than unable to afford a car. I do not and probably will not ever drive due to a serious case of ADHD.

        1. TychaBrahe*

          I take the bus because I hate driving in traffic and because it costs $$28 dollars a day to park downtown.

      3. Chickaletta*

        He comes across to me as someone who never even had those things cross his mind. I get the vibe that he lives in a bubble and has no idea that there are other people who don’t live and think exactly like him. He’s seems privileged in a way that he doesn’t even know it, and I bet reading through the comment section is going to confuse him.

    7. Meg Murry*

      This is a great way to signal to me that this is a job I do not want.

      If clients actually ask me to meet with them at 6:30 am (unless it’s a one-off like for breakfast at a conference, or for a once a year event) – that isn’t something I can do regularly without jumping through a million hoops, and therefore I don’t want the job.

      If there actually are pretty much never 6:30 am meetings – then the CEO is a jerk for imposing a condition upon the interview that’s totally not realistic, and since I don’t want to work for a jerk, I don’t want this job.

      This CEO is saying “I want you to jump when I say jump, and I want you to pretend to be happy about jumping!” What a power trip from a jerk.

    8. MissDisplaced*

      Hmm… well I’d actually be OK with a 6:30 am interview as I typically start work at 7:30 anyway. If I could get the interview in before my workday, I’d be fine with it. It’s one day.
      So, even if this is my comfort zone, I still don’t like the guy’s attitude.

    9. TootsNYC*

      Actually, I think this is actually good advice: “So, think about how you show up when you’re out of your comfort zone.”

      Not that deliberately asking people to interview at 6:30am is at all acceptable.

      But it does matter what the first things are that you say. It’s a first impression, and it’s important. If you do agree to that interview, don’t gripe, be there on time, etc.

      Now, this guy has also made a first impression, and I’m not at all surprised that he gets candidates who say, “No thanks, I’ll pass on interviewing if you want me to be there at 6:30. That’s unreasonable, and it also indicates to me that you’re going to be a horror to work for. So, never mind.”

    10. Brett*

      It was a startup company. Unfortunately, for many (but not all) startups, people in those situations are ruled out because they cannot totally commit to the mission.
      Nearly the whole post reeks of that “commitment to the mission” mantra. (Even though the real mission is the often just a lucrative exit.)

    11. Vicki*

      Going to work every day takes me out of my comfort zone. Working for an entitled, clueless, and tone-deaf CEO is way down my list of priorities.

  2. Rae*

    To be honest, as someone who’s always had a job while seeking another I would of kissed the feet of someone who offered me a 6:30 AM interview. Sure, it’s early but it’s guaranteed not to mess with a work schedule, or minimally impact it. I began work at 7:30 (first job) then 9am when I was in a different position and currently go to work at 8 (current job). Interviews were always at a horrible time like 10am so I had to take the morning off or 2pm so I had to take the afternoon off.

    1. Happy Lurker*

      I thought I would be the only one that would love a 6:30 interview. I am a morning person and probably would love to get an interview out of the way instead of thinking about it all day.

      1. sparklealways*

        I would also love a 6:30 a.m. interview. I don’t consider myself a morning person, but I do like to be done with my day as soon as feasible, and I like having free afternoons and evenings. I also think that this would be easier for people who are employed and job searching to keep their search a secret. That being said… this guy’s attitude and logic are wayyyy messed up and I would not want to go work for him!

        1. Felicity*

          exactly. I try to schedule Drs appts for 7:45 am so I get that done and out of the way for the day to be free.

    2. Ad Astra*

      I wouldn’t mind having 6:30 as an option, for all the reasons you say. It’s awesome when people are willing to interview outside of regular business hours. Love it.

      But this CEO is clearly judging people based on whether they like what he likes, and whether they’ll bend over backwards to please someone making unreasonable demands. That’s not a great way to evaluate people.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        Yes, absolutely. If an interviewer said, “I’m a morning person, so would be happy to meet with you at 6:30 so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of the workday. We can also meet at 9:45 if that’s better for you,” then I’d think, oh, nice thoughtful person.

        “Your interview slot is at 6:30,” on the other hand, would put me somewhere between massively annoyed and wondering if this guy wants to meet me in the office when no one else is around so he can turn my skin into a suit without any witnesses.

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Oh, wait, he’s meeting them at coffee shops. Well, no serial killer, then, just boss who values his own preferences and whims far beyond social norms or other people’s preferences. And hey, Mr. 6:30, I shouldn’t need to say “well normally I’m out swimming to train for a triathlon!” to have a good reason to not want to be interviewed at a time when I’m normally groggily spooning cereal into my mouth.

      2. Rae*

        I guess I don’t see 6:30 as that unreasonable. So many jobs start at 7am…it’s not a 9-5(or 6) world anymore.

        1. neverjaunty*

          It’s not unreasonable to ask people to work evenings in many jobs. That doesn’t meant it would be reasonable to set an interview for 11 at night to test “character”.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          I could make a 6:30 regular start time work, and in fact I would like it because it would mean my work day would end earlier. But for an interview? No. I want to take my time getting ready, take a little extra time with my hair and makeup, leave early enough to have enough time to find a place to park and still arrive 5-10 minutes early, and so on. I’d have to get up at the crack of dawn, and I’d have trouble falling asleep the night before because I’d be so worried about oversleeping.

        3. rock'n'roll circus*

          Which is fine, but the guy is mocking people who turn it down. I wouldn’t take a job at 7 am! My current job starts at 9 and the last few were at 10 or 11, I am more then happy to stay til however late 9 pm 11 pm, I think the latest I’ve been home from work is 1 am. But I do not want to have to deal with leaving the house everyday before 6 am. It’s a personal preference thing, but for some reason I get the idea that people who prefer to work at night get looked down at as lazy by people who are super early morning people.

          1. MissDisplaced*

            Actually, what happens to me is that, as an early starter, when you leave at 5pm you get looked down on as “oh she’s leaving early,” even though I’ve been in the office 3 hours before the others. Grr!
            Like, NO I’m not leaving “early,” I’ve already put in a 10 hour day.
            It’s like trees in the forest: I no ones sees worker at 6am, then she’s not working.

            1. Annoyed*

              Yes, this. I used to work at a place that had flexible hours. Then they did layoffs and the three in group that were let go were the three of us who who worked the earliest hours.

            2. davey1983*

              I had the opposite problem, in my last job most people got to work at 6 or 7 am, and then left at 3 pm. I, however, would get in at 9 or 10 am and work until 6 or 7 pm. However, some of my coworkers believed I wasn’t working as much as them because I was getting into the office later than them and they just knew I wasn’t working after they left.

              A couple of times they actually went to my manager complaining about my ‘lack of work’. Fortunately, my manager told them my work performance was none of their business, and that if there is a problem he would deal with it.

      3. writelhd*

        Yeah, it’s not the time so much as the attitude about it. It’s not a good time for a lot of people for all the reasons mentioned, but for some people it’s a great time. But in either case, it’s not necessarily about your “comfort zone.” Arrogant for the guy to decide that this unusual thing he do is a test of someone else comfort . You can’t assume you know *what* puts people out of their comfort zone without knowing them, just deciding an interview practice tests for it is not really assessing anything at all.

        1. JustALurker*

          But his tone says its not just about comfort. He is making this ridiculous, arbitrary time a “test” of character and work ethic. Which is really just so entitled and wrong.

    3. T*

      Good point, but isn’t there a big difference between offering a 6:30 am interview time and demanding it?

      1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        There is a *huge* difference!

        When setting up interviews I always ask if something 9-4 will work, or if it is better for them to schedule something outside of work hours. But it’s a choice, and I definitely do not judge the person based on what time they choose.

        The one time in my life I had a 7 am interview, it was for an out-of-state company and the hiring manager was in my city for a conference. He *offered* me that chance to have a casual, face-to-face chat because he was in town and 7am before he left for the airport was the time he had available. It wasn’t a test of my character.

    4. Caitlin*

      Yeah, I think I’d love a 6:30am interview if the employer were willing to schedule one (and not just forcing me into that slot because of completely nuts ideas about what that indicates about “how I handle situations that take me out of my comfort zone”).

      I just don’t think you could pay me enough to do a 6:30am interview with this particular guy.

  3. CM*

    Honestly, I didn’t find the CEO thing to be that bad. If it’s the sort of company where you’re going to be expected to cheerfully rearrange your schedule to be on company time, I think it’s good to know that upfront and it seems fair to evaluate how people react to that. As a test, it doesn’t seem as bad as the more “psychological warfare” ones where people purposely put the interviewee in a stressful situation to see how they react, but don’t tell the interviewee that it’s a test.

    1. nofelix*

      I am surprised that he finds people’s responses that useful. Surely most people know that complaining about the time of the interview at the start is a horrendous idea.

    2. JMegan*

      As a test, it doesn’t seem as bad as the more “psychological warfare” ones where people purposely put the interviewee in a stressful situation to see how they react, but don’t tell the interviewee that it’s a test.

      To me, that sounds like *exactly* what this guy is doing. Not only is he scheduling the interview for a ridiculously early time, which would be stressful to a lot of people, but he’s judging them on how they respond. He wants to know if they can rise to the challenge, or if they’re normally up at that hour being Super Awesome, or if they seem tired or stressed or whatever because of it. He is absolutely testing people on this criteria.

      And there are not enough FU’s in the world for “graciously explaining what they’ve learned about mornings and productivity.” Seriously. I would be inventing new swear words for anybody who wanted me to graciously do anything at 6:30 in the morning.

      (And in case it’s not clear, all my venom is directed at the author of the piece, not you, CM!)

      1. Kyrielle*

        And they’re supposed to know to do it! Magically! Silently!

        I would be assuming that the time was picked because it was all he could make work, and that he would reasonably expect I might be a little tired. I’d give him a “Good morning” and no comment on the time (positive or negative), and might well fail his test depending on how he read my ‘mood’ and ‘manners’.

        And I get to work earlier than 6:30 now, by choice.

      2. Sunshine*

        This. There are two versions of me at 6:30 am – incoherent zombie or raging b*tch. Neither would be an enjoyable interview.

        1. OhNo*

          Although I suspect either would be highly entertaining for the rest of the patrons at the coffee shop.

          1. Charlotte Collins*

            I’ve been in some coffee shops around 6:30 – how could you really conduct an interview? There are so many people coming in for their morning drink and so much foot traffic going on…

        2. T3k*

          Same. Luckily I’m mostly the former than the latter and as such, at my last job, one of the bosses made a running joke not to talk to me until it was noon (we started at 10, so it was only 2 hours of feeling groggy).

    3. Bookworm*

      I agree, but I also think it demonstrates a kind of…almost naiveté on his part. I often feel that way when I read columns or blog posts by people who claim to have found a ‘shortcut’ for getting to know people the hard way.

      Essentially, I highly doubt that the 6:30 time slot is measuring the traits he claims it measures. For example, he seems to insinuate that the people who turn down the time slot are doing so because they’re lazy, or not go-getters. But maybe they’re doing so because someone scheduling so dramatically out of the normal business hours (without asking) gives the impression of being high maintenance – and these are strong applicants with other options.

      Basically, unless the job is a specific one that requires it (I suppose if you were interviewing for a job that started at 5:00am, a 6:30 interview slot might be more in-line), extra hoops in an interview process seem like, if they’re going to self-select for anything, it’s going to be for people who have fewer options.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Your first paragraph is spot-on. This is the kind of ‘trick’ used by people who don’t know what they’re doing, and want to substitute clever-sounding shortcuts for actual expertise.

        Notice how he doesn’t say that his method has in fact let to better hires.

        1. BRR*

          “By people who don’t know what they’re doing.” Exactly my thought. If I got an email asking if I could interview at 630 am because *good reason* and apologizing about the inconvenience I’d ubderstand. If it was scheduled casually I would take it as a red flag. These sort of tests are stupid and don’t tell you anything. They’re gimmicks and just like the gimmicks for job hunters, they’re not good.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        Reminds me of that outdated job search advice your grandparents give.
        Just show up every day at the hiring manager’s office with your resume. They’re be sure to recognize your go-getter attitude and gumption! :-)

    4. Honeybee*

      Why not just say that in the interview, and then ask a behavioral question about a time when you’ve had to rearrange plans for last minute meetings and things?

      Besides, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to show up to a 6:30 am interview (for which you have plenty of notice and lead time to plan) with a cheerful, friendly attitude. That says nothing about how good I am at rearranging on the fly or interacting with international clients.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      I agree. It’s being up front. Sort of like saying “Our salary range for the position is $40-45k” in the ad instead of “compensation is competitive.” This interview request is essentially saying, “You don’t have to wonder if your CEO is going to be an inconsiderate jerk. He’s telling you now. If that’s something you want, please come in and interview.”

      1. JustALurker*

        This “test” of his just screams PIA boss who doesn’t give a hoot about his employees or work/life balance.

    6. CM*

      You’re all making good points. I was just thinking that the interview time is a screening mechanism — the second I hear, “Come in at 6:30 am,” I’m on notice that this company is making unusual demands, and I’m free to decline. As for the “test” part, an interview is an interview even if it’s at 3 am on the moon. If you choose to show up, why would you grumble about it to your interviewer?

      1. CM*

        (In other words, what Anonymous Educator said. I should have refreshed the page before commenting.)

      2. BRR*

        I would consider grumbling about it acceptable small talk. But I’m with you that the second I hear it without acknowledging it I interpret it as run for the hills.

  4. curious*

    Do people consider extension schools of accredited universities to be the same as for-profit schools? I’m talking about schools like the Harvard Extension School or NYU Continuing Ed. I know a lot of people go to those schools because class schedules are great for people who also work or have kids or non-traditional circumstances, and they tend to be cheaper than the normal tuition at the school. They’re still part of the university, just a different branch, but I’ve always been curious if they’re considered in the same light as a for-profit school.

    1. fposte*

      No, because they’re not for-profit schools. They’re not the same as Harvard or NYU (and I think there’s a Columbia one, too) either, but they’re somewhere between community colleges and urban commuter schools, depending on what you’re doing there and which one you’re talking about.

    2. bridget*

      I think they’re generally considered to be legitimate institutions, but I know that the original schools insist on the extension graduates noting it as such on their resumes. Because even though they are in the realm of “real schools,” they aren’t the same as a true Ivy degree/degree from the brick and mortar institution.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        If I recall correctly, some of them require attendance on campus instead of just taking classes online.

        1. fposte*

          It’s not the brick-and-mortar vs. online distinction, which matters less in general than people think–it’s the nature and intensity of the program. Harvard’s doesn’t even really focus on terminal degrees–Wikipedia says something like 2% of attendees end up with a degree.

      2. davey1983*

        It depends on the school when it comes to them caring or not if the graduates note the degree came from the ‘original’ school or the ‘extension’.

    3. hayling*

      Definitely not the same. However, depending on who you ask, they don’t always have the same reputation as their sister school. My university had a “School of Continuing Studies,” and it was widely known that the classes were a bit of a joke.

      1. Green*

        A lot of those classes are offered as a service to older people and alumni (at private schools) or as a service to the community (at public institutions), not for the purpose of getting a degree. At most, they typically offer a certificate. They’re absolutely not the same (there are no admissions standards), but they’re also not intended to be presented as a degree on your resume. (I don’t think the classes are a “joke” either, but are an interesting way to keep up with technology for older folks or have something engaging to do for lifelong learners. I will definitely take those classes when I’m retired!)

        1. AD*

          This is a huge generalization that is lumping together schools that offer degree programs, certificates, and also one-off classes for continuing ed folks. There is definitely an admissions requirement for degree programs at all of the schools mentioned above, and generally pre-requisites for one-off classes.
          I really, really advise people who don’t know about these kinds of schools and programs to make blanket statements that are factually incorrect.

          1. Natalie*

            Indeed, the Continuing Education program that I’m in is just a different admissions process – all of the classes are identical, and when I take day classes I’m the only person of legal drinking age except the professor.

          2. LPBB*

            I did my professional masters’ degree entirely online (at a well-established, competitive, accredited, not for profit, bricks and mortar university). Online students were considered to be part of the School of Continuing Studies even though our degree was granted by the School of Teapot Studies. It was simply an administrative difference. We “attended” the same classes as on-campus students — most on-campus students took a 50/50 mixture of online and physical classes– had to meet the same requirements (admission and otherwise) and got the same degree.

            Since so many “real” schools are offering online degrees nowadays, I really really wish people would educate themselves more about it.

            1. fposte*

              These mostly aren’t, or at least weren’t, online degrees–Harvard’s program is over a century old.

            2. MissDisplaced*

              I did something similar for my undergrad. It was the School of Professional Studies (or the more scary sounding Adult College) of a regular and well-respected university. The requirements for your REAL degree were exactly the same as the rest of the university, the only difference is that you 1) could transfer in a lot of previously taken college credits and 2) no SAT or entrance essay nonsense was needed to be admitted. Cost is a bit lower as well, you pay by class, not semester.

              The classes cater to working adults who have already had some college, with mostly online and evening selections, and the degrees are limited to what I term very broad majors (think English, Business, etc.). I actually took some day classes with the “kids” and let me tell you the academics at the Adult College were every bit as rigorous– they’re just more flexible–with less in-classroom time and professors that understand you have a family and/or a full-time job.

              It’s not for everyone (certainly no engineering or nursing degrees), but it allowed me to finish in just a year and move on to graduate school and study what I really found important. I had no issues with my degree being accepted by my choice of graduate school (not Ivy league but close to it in level of respect) and I felt well-prepared for my masters program.

              I can’t fathom why people would choose a for-profit like UoP over something like this, but perhaps university programs like this are still not available in many areas.

        2. Erin*

          @ Green, That’s wrong I went Universty of Michigan-Flint. I earned my bachelors degree from there. In fact my degree only say Flint in small letters at the bottom. I never met anyone taking a class without the goal of earning a degree.
          Most people could get into U of M Ann Arbor, but Ann Arbor was twice the cost for tuition and living expenses. When I went U of M Flint it was a great commuter school for people who were working or were non traditional students. The biggest difference between the schools was that the graduate level programs were limited.

      2. hayling*

        For sure. I was just noting the situation at my university. The SCS did grant full degrees (as well as certificates and AAs). At a previous job I worked with a class that was learning about my industry, and I was shocked at how unpre

    4. AD*

      It depends on what you mean by “people” – is that Joe Schmoe who doesn’t know who or what these professional studies or extension schools really are, or do you mean employers?
      There’s a lot of misinformation about these schools and programs online, and I think a couple of the comments here are kind of based on those inaccurate assumptions. Harvard, NYU, and Columbia have highly regarded continuing education/extension schools and departments that are degree-granting. They are most certainly not “between community colleges and urban commuter schools”. In fact most if not all Ivies/top tier schools have similar kind of schools.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yes – Columbia’s MS in actuarial science is through SPS, and I think that program is generally well-respected in the field. They also offer an MA in bioethics which is pretty good. There are at least 10 other MS or MA programs offered through SPS in a variety of fields.

      2. fposte*

        That’s my quote, and I think it’s a fair summation. The ones where most people don’t study to a degree (Harvard) are more like community college; the ones where people do are more like urban commuter schools, which were designed to fit around the lives of busy working people rather than geared to the eighteen-year-old who could make full-time college a job in itself. I’m not sure why you find that insulting, since both are honorable and valuable kinds of institutions that provide useful education.

        1. HES degree*

          Harvard Extension School is tricky, though. Sure, it’s might be like a community college for those who are there just to take classes, but the actual degree programs are pretty intense and I’d say above community college level but more on par with public university or small liberal arts college levels. You still have to get admitted and part of the reason not many people finish a degree is because they don’t get accepted. In one of the required classes I took for the degree program, about 75% of the class wasn’t accepted into the program.

          I think there’s some knee-jerk reactions because there’s still a lot of stigma about community colleges in the US, especially the view that they’re “less than” in regards to quality of education.

          1. Kay*

            I dunno, I did a few MA classes at the Harvard Extension school and they were kind of fluffy. I think it really depends on the program. I did them because it fit with my schedule and work would chip in toward them. I eventually transferred the credits to a degree program at another Boston school. I had the option to do that degree at Harvard but was deeply unimpressed with the Extension School program. That said – I’ve known some good people out of the program. I think it’s the kind of program where the good people will get a ton out of it, and the mediocre people will just coast along.

    5. Al Lo*

      I took a certificate at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies in between my undergrad and my masters – it’s in a field related to my masters, and was sort of a gauge as to whether I wanted to commit more years to it. It was an 8-week full-time summer program, although I remember that the same certificate was available piecemeal in individual classes, too. You couldn’t combine the two (take some classes and some with the summer block).

      I don’t remember there being an admissions test, but it was fairly rigorous for the time period allotted. I think it was 6 weeks in class, and another 2 to finish all the assignments. It wasn’t graded, but I did get a certificate at the end that was contingent on all of the class work and assignments, and I thought it was valuable for my own learning. Definitely not at the same level as either of my degrees, though. I know other schools and programs are different, though.

      I would totally do it again for a subject I was interested in, even if it was only tangential to my work. I really liked the summer block and that finite “being in school” feel.

  5. Clever Name*

    I guess it’s because I’m a morning person that I don’t think it would be a huge hardship for me to get anywhere that early. (I’ve had to sample remote locations that took an hour to drive to at some ungodly hour like 5:30 am, and I did it and it wasn’t that big of a deal) Since a business meeting that early in the morning is outside the norm, my reaction would be more along the lines of, “Uh, okay” and then I’d arrive on time without comment.

    1. Kyrielle*

      I could make it – but the mother of one of my son’s friends probably couldn’t. Even if I assume it’s only 10 minutes from where she is to the interview, the childcare facilities here in town do _not_ open before 6:30. I’m not aware of any that do. (Some don’t open until 7:30, but 7:00 or 6:30 is more common.) Maybe, maybe she could find someone willing to come by her house that early and watch him there until she completed the interview. (It would cost more than the normal hourly rate, I’d imagine, though.)

      And if it was, say, in the downtown core? Well then she needs someone to stop by about 5:45 at the absolute latest to watch him. Assuming traffic is kind. (And she has a car! Without a car, you’d need to be on public transportation probably by about 5 am. I’m not sure if it runs that early….)

      1. Roxanne*

        In my town, some buses do not run until 6 a.m. or a bit later. So, for example, I lived in the West End of town and I needed to get to the East End of town for 6:30, and I know it could take an hour to do so and you want to be on time, it would require a ride to the park and ride to catch one of the few buses running that early or a walk to a stop for a bus that runs that early.

        I once took a bus very early to make it for a 6:30 a.m. train – I was surprised how many were actually on the bus.

    2. Bonnie*

      It really has nothing to do with the time to me – it’s his attitude about playing mind games in hiring people. Interviews should be a two way street! Though I have to agree with Green below — it’s an easy way to weed out a terrible potential boss!

      1. Joseph*

        I like the fact that he actually is flat out wrong about the purpose here: “I understand if you’re not a morning person, this might be a struggle, but how you react to the challenge tells me a lot about you as a person”.

        Except it actually doesn’t. Why? Because someone who actually IS a morning person isn’t even seeing this as a challenge (see many of the “wow, that sounds awesome” comments above). Given that I wake up at 5:30 every day, if you ask me to show up at 6:30, I’m not even the slightest bit outside my comfort zone. Given how much I hate sitting in traffic, I’m more in my comfort zone than if you’d picked 9:00!

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yep. He’s selecting for criteria he doesn’t realize:
          * Able-bodied, or at least disabled in ways that don’t impact getting ready and being present early in the morning. Or that can be worked around (painfully or otherwise) for the sake of an interview, in which case he may get someone who *cannot* do that on a regular basis.
          * Reliable transportation to the area of the coffee shop he’s chosen for the interview, which is available at that hour, OR the ability to procure one-time transportation although it may not be a sustainable long-term solution.
          * No family responsibilities (childcare, elder care, etc.) that preclude leaving the house before most programs for assisting with such are open, OR sufficient spare money to purchase a one-time more expensive form of care to cover for that issue.
          * EITHER is a morning person OR is able and willing to fake being awake and functional (and maybe happy?) at that hour.

          That’s a lot of hoops, and not all of them are what he claims he’s selecting for, which as you point out, he isn’t even getting, since there are paths through those hoops that _don’t_ demonstrate it.

          1. Lynn Whitehat*

            Oh, I think he realizes, all right. He just knows he’s not supposed to say it.

            1. Kyrielle*

              …probably true. *sighs* I really want to believe otherwise.

              The one good thing about this is, he is telegraphing good and loud that it would be awful to work for him. I suppose that’s better than finding out about this side of him *after* being hired.

        2. TootsNYC*

          And also, a smart interviewee won’t spend any time and energy talking about how hard it was to get up that early.

          I suppose if I don’t bitch about it, that’s good. And if I do, then you know I’m definitely outside my comfort zone AND handling it poorly.

          But if I don’t talk about it, you don’t have any idea.

    3. Mike C.*

      Yeah, but when you were asked to do that, there was a good reason for it rather than to simply appease the ego of some jackass.

      1. Clever Name*

        Exactly. I read the CEO’s explanation as to why he does this as him wanting it to be an opening for a discussion about the “challenge”, and it wouldn’t even occur to me to discuss it. I mean, who arrives at an interview talking about how much it was a challenge to get there? If he wants to get knowledge about how someone handles different situations and how they react to stuff “outside of their comfort zone” there are much better ways of doing it- like, you know, asking thoughtful questions during an interview scheduled at a normal time.

  6. Green*

    I would love for him to continue doing 6:30 a.m. interviews. That would let me weed out his company very easily!

    1. neverjaunty*

      Exactly. There certainly can be sound reasons for setting an interview at 6:30 am, but “I am using this as a secret test of your character” is not one of them.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      It is part of your character: willing to indulge unreasonable requests to accommodate inconsiderate people.

  7. Allison*

    But I wonder what specific judgments he makes about different reactions. Does it always count against people who say “No, I’m sorry, that’s too early for me, I can do anything after 9AM”? I’m just now learning that it’s healthy to have boundaries and it’s okay to say “no” to things that are unreasonable, it’s a sign of self respect. Does this interviewer not want to hire people with self respect?

    1. Jennifer*

      I would bet money he doesn’t want people to have self respect. He wants to see who will contort to his will.

    2. Clinical Social Worker*

      No, he wants to hire a door mat that will bend over backwards to do what he wants.

    3. INFJ*

      On that note, since asking someone for a 6:30am interview is obviously a test, how does one know the correct way to pass it? Is the “test” whether or not you will stand up for yourself and say no? Or is the “test” that you will actually be able to make it for that time? Reading his article, we know that the “test” is what you say when you come in (if you come in, and on time). But anyone who encounters this in real life is not going to have that context.

      1. BRR*

        Exactly. It’s clearly a test and when I read the title I thought he wanted to know if people would speak up. It’s like another article I read where the interview was held at a restaurant and the interviewer told the server to mess up the order to see if the candidate would speak up. Are you testing to see if someone’s a pushover or a go getter (their thoughts)? Not to mention it’s not representative of anything. And if the order is wrong and I’ll eat it what then?

  8. jhhj*

    Offering up a 6:30 interview time? Fine, whatever. As is clear, it would be convenient for a lot of people. Insisting on a 6:30 interview time in order to test interviewees because morning people are just plain better people? Glad to stay far away from you.

  9. Ell like L*

    Ugh, 6:30am CEO guy comes from such a place of privilege. This is someone with transportation he controls, either no kids or private childcare (and can thus easily control his own bedtime and wake up time), probably no disabilities that would affect irregular transportation times or home care times, etc.

    Just really gross, because he’s ALSO screening out people who don’t have the above privilege. A single parent would have a hard time doing this, a person who requires a home health aid to help them with personal grooming would have a hard time doing this, a person who relies on carpooling would have a hard time doing this.

    It’s not all about attitude dude, it’s also about access. This is stupendously offensive.

      1. Sarahnova*

        Or he just doesn’t take any responsibility for said children, because his wife handles pickup and dropoff.

      2. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Or stay at home dad.

        Or kids who are self-sufficient and responsible teens.

  10. VX34*

    A 630 AM interview is a neon glowing sign craziness that the organization must have as part of its culture.

    Better to learn of that immediatly and be able to say – and I quote – “Hahahaha no way.” before Day 1 of employment begins and so does the madness.

  11. F.*

    I just offered a 6:00 a.m. interview time as an accommodation to a candidate who is having a hard time making time for an interview during the work day. He still turned me down. But I did not do it to play games. He had already said that he couldn’t make it during normal work hours any time in the next week. I normally arrive at work at 5:50 a.m. anyway. I am questioning his desire, though.

    I would not want to work for any company that thought they owned me 24/7/365 and could play havoc with my schedule on a whim. I expect respect to go both ways.

    1. Clinical Social Worker*

      I’m glad you were willing to be flexible with that candidate, even though he turned you down.

  12. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

    I probably wouldn’t mind the 6:30am interview too much, either. But judging by this CEO’s “logic”, he’d probably keep you waiting until 8am before he even saw you.

  13. Nancypie*

    I think I would like a6:30 interview, because it wouldn’t interfere as much with the rest of my day. But, I have childcare worked out and have a car. I also pretty regularly have 7 am meetings due to different time zones. This is a good reminder for me to remember that if I have a position open up to highlight that sometimes the candidate will have to be at the office and easy to present at 7am.
    I think this guys motivation is crappy, but I hope that the candidates also use it to find out what the time expectations for the actual job is.

  14. Early Bird*

    I wonder what “See me at 6:30” would think if the response was “I’m sorry, that’s when I go to work now and my job permits me to leave early but not arrive late.”? I worked at a place with several hundred less parking spaces than employees. If you weren’t in by about 8, you might as well not show up that day.

    1. SusanIvanova*

      When my company had a similar parking crunch, a lot of us who’d normally show up around 10 started showing up at lunchtime to steal the spots from anyone foolish enough to abandon their spots just for lunch. But software skews a lot towards non-morning people.

      First job I had was software run by a guy who’d been in office products wholesale previously. He was a total morning person, he’d wander the halls in the mornings when we were all still half speed, but by the afternoons when we were at full speed he’d be in his office for his half-speed time, and so his impression of our work habits were skewed. So my reaction to the 6:30 CEO is “sorry, this won’t be a good fit, goodbye.” I’d bet that even if he does allow flexible working hours, he’s going to have a low opinion of the people who come in later and work late. Or worse, he thinks that everyone should come in at 6:30 *and* work late.

    2. Mike C.*

      Heh, I know all about that. Either you arrive at shift change, or you’re walking.

    3. Cordelia Longfellow*

      Ugh, parking. I work at a building that was built to environmental standards that deliberately restricted the number of parking spots to 75% of the number of employees. Great in theory to reduce dependence on cars, but the nearest transit stop is a 25-minute walk away from our building! I’m “lucky” enough to have a disabled parking pass, but I’ve actually had colleagues say that they think the disabled spots are a waste because sometimes some of them are empty. Ableism FTL.

  15. Kate the Little Teapot*

    “I cannot make it to your interview because public transit does not run early enough, sir. The fact that you are clearly taking Uber to the interview shows your stunning lack of regard for public services in this city.”

    PS: jackass.

  16. Katie F*

    To #2 I’d probably say, “Dude, I’m the mother of a 2 year old, I’ve been up since 4:30. COME AT ME, BRO.”

    1. Batshua*

      If that was me, I’d be impeccably dressed for my interview, AND I’d bring my 2-year old. :>

      … I might be a little evil.

    2. esra*

      Hahaha that would be perfect. Just show up to the interview and chest bump him. HECK YEA I’M UP AT 6:30AM

      1. OhNo*

        You joke, but based on his examples that does seem to be the sort of person he’s looking for…

        I have a feeling the first thing out of my mouth in an interview at that hour would be, “My cat likes to wake me up at 4am, too, so apparently you and her have something in common.”

    3. fposte*

      “Would it be possible to move it up to 5? Though of course I can make 6:30 work if you get started late.”

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Oh I’d need that. If I have to visit a job site, I try to be there by 6:30 and would need to interview at 5 to allow travel time.

  17. AMT*

    I’ve been wrestling with my prejudice against for-profit college attendees, and I understand that attending college is not something everyone’s circumstances allow, but I just can’t consider these degrees on par with those from nonprofits. I’ve come to the conclusion that, even disregarding the academics themselves, going to a for-profit college says: “I make major life decisions based on commercials.”

    There are so many better, cheaper offerings from state schools and community colleges—online and offline—that you have to have either (a) done zero research and gone to the one with the best jingle, (b) disregarded all the big, glaring warning signs, and/or (c) been unable to get into any other college. Might sound harsh, but I don’t want someone like that on my team.

    1. Cass*

      Unfortunately, based on a family member’s experience with a for-profit law school, I have to agree. (Family member wasn’t able to get in any other law school.) She’s trying to become an ADA but I really don’t think its ever going to be likely given her degree. I don’t think she realizes that, but it crushes me because she paid so much money for the degree.

    2. Alienor*

      Not necessarily. I knew someone who got a degree from University of Phoenix back in the late 90s. The reason she went there was because she had a full-time office job that she couldn’t afford to quit, and U of P had classes at night and on weekends, unlike “real” four-year colleges. (She had already gone to community college for two years for the same reason.) These days it’s different because so many degree programs are available online, but up until 10 or so years ago, for-profit was pretty much the way to go if your schedule didn’t allow you to be at school in the middle of the day.

      1. AMT*

        You’re right, that’s definitely a special case. The ability to get a four-year degree online or part-time is a recent thing.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          Actually, it isn’t. My mother got one through a special distance degree program aimed at working women. It was all done via correspondence with a few weekend trips a year and through a very old, accredited private college. She graduated in 1994.

          The college where I did my grad work was already providing online classes for distance learners (who often lived in very remote areas) by the mid-90s.

          Distance education has a very long history in this country.

          1. AMT*

            This jogged a memory of mine: my mom taking classes by mail from the University of Iowa in the nineties. I didn’t know you could get a bachelor’s degree this way, though! I’m glad there’s more of a selection now. The enormous public university system in my city offers nearly all their majors and even a number of graduate degrees online.

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              They used to be called “correspondence courses.” Same basic concept, but the technology has been updated a bit… I believe they were very common for agricultural degrees in the late 19th and early 20th century.

              1. Blurgle*

                Athabasca University still offers correspondence courses to students in rural areas of Alberta that don’t yet have internet coverage. It’s a fully accredited public university.

            2. BananaPants*

              I’m in a master’s program that I’m doing online (it’s also offered on-campus with around a 50/50 split of on-campus and distance students). They’ve been offering it via distance learning since the 80s; they sent out VHS tapes of lectures and students literally mailed their assignments in. It’s so much easier now with everything being online!

              The school is regarded as one of the best in the world in this specialization – and they offer the program online unlike the other big-name school. Matriculating was not a perfunctory exercise; I actually sweated the admissions process, given that I was already taking classes as a non-degree student when I applied.

              To my knowledge there’s only one ABET-accredited distance bachelor’s degree program in my undergrad major and it requires on-campus labs during the summer (1-2 weeks each). Engineering is very difficult to do via distance learning at the bachelor’s degree level, but it’s really common now to have online programs for master’s degrees.

      2. Doreen*

        That’s very location dependent , though. I graduated 30 years ago and even then my public university had evening and weekend classes and loads of part-time students. And the scheduling was more flexible than it was at the for-profit I worked ar for a short time.

    3. Sunshine*

      I’ll admit, I never realized the bad reputation of for-profit schools until I read about it here. Granted, I’m hiring for positions that don’t typically require a degree, and it’s been a couple decades since I thought about any schooling for myself… but still. I wouldn’t have known if it showed up on a resume.

      My kids are approaching college (which makes me turn green), and I’m glad I know that now so we can make the right decisions.

    4. Laura*

      I love that you said this. I work with future college students (primarily doing financial aid education) and we always tell them DO NOT GO TO A FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL. There are quite a few in my area, and many of students (especially from low-income areas) fall prey to the manipulative advertising tactics. My heart breaks for all of them. My dad worked hard to get an MBA from the University of Phoenix, which is now worthless. I don’t want others to make the same mistake he did.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Yeah, I had a friend a few years back who already had a bachelor’s degree and wanted to get into teaching. She had tried an alternative teaching cert program, can’t remember now why she didn’t finish it, but she didn’t. Anyway, she decided to get a master’s in education from University of Phoenix. I tried to talk her out of it, but alas was not successful. She completed the degree. It’s been 3.5 years since she got the degree and she’s not teaching now. Couldn’t get a job in the teaching field apparently. So…yeah. It’s a shame, but now there’s tons of debt and for nothing that was worthwhile.

    5. SusanIvanova*

      And (d): Scammers. The 30-year old stepbrat (he has totally earned that name) is “attending” an online for-profit college – which is to say signing up for classes so that he can continue to check “student” on whatever benefit system he’s scamming. He actually did a lot of research, according to my mom – the local colleges he applied for were ones he had no chance of getting into (specialty schools he lacked background for, places that he couldn’t reach via public transit), while bypassing the ones he could.

    6. LQ*

      I’ve tried so hard to talk people out of these schools. And today it is so much easier to do a legitimate school online. (And yes, there are good and rigorous programs you can do online.) Or to find alternate times to do it. But these schools are really good at selling, they know their target market, they’ve read the behavioral econ studies, they know what they are doing.
      With other schools people don’t even know how to start, how to find one, what to do, what they are looking for, how to judge it. And they are often already working a job, already have a family to take care of, are overwhelmed. For-profit schools make it so easy. They come to you, they promise you the moon, they tell you that you are awesome and it will be easy. And isn’t your future for your family worth the small investment.

      The warning signs aren’t super obvious unless you already know them. And everyone I know would have at least been able to get into the WAY CHEAPER local community college. So yeah they do no research they just want to help their family and they want people to recognize the skills they already have.

      So yes, I’m prejudiced against the schools, but I try to be understanding of the people who go.

      (My success rate is not all that good, but it is getting better. Sadly I’ve had a lot of these conversations. At least one of those conversations ended with me shouting “You’re wasting years and thousands of dollars on shit!” It wasn’t helpful. :( I try to do better now.))

    7. Natalie*

      I understand how it can seem like that, but I think it’s worth remembering that these schools are basically sophisticated scams. Becoming a mark doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a lazy or stupid person, just that someone else has tailored their con to my exact circumstances.

      The average student at a for-profit college is coming from a completely different world where college just isn’t a part of their experience, or the experience of basically anyone they know. Who are they going to ask how to evaluate colleges? If they research online, what general knowledge do they have to gut check what they read? You can be assured that the for-profit school will have a lot of data about incomes with a college degree that will not differentiate between non- and for-profit, and why would their average student even know their was a difference? There’s plenty of people at this very site who confuse for-profit and non-profit but fully online, and as a group we have way more familiarity with college than the targets of for-profits.

      Sadly (and enragingly, IMO) scam artists often target poor people, as they possess a lucrative combination of ignorance and desperation.

      1. Cam*

        I think this is a really, really important point. These “colleges” specifically go after poor people, people who are the first in their family to attend college, and immigrants, many of whom come from countries where there is no for-profit university system. This is why there really needs to be more government regulation of this industry. People should be wary of scams, of course, but let’s remember that the perpetrators are the still the ones at fault.

    8. BananaPants*

      I completely agree. There are so many online and bricks & mortar coursework and degree options that have come out in the last 10-15 years from affordable schools with more academic rigor, that someone who obtained a degree in that timeframe and chose a for-profit school is communicating that either they’re too-easily swayed by marketing or they couldn’t get in anywhere else.

  18. Alton*

    What stood out to me about that CEO is that he frames it as wanting to see how people deal with challenges, but his examples of what he considers good reactions all seem to revolve around people expressing that they’re usually morning people. If someone is usually up and about by 6:30, then going to an unusually early interview may not be a challenge to begin with. So they’re not really demonstrating much.

    And he seems oblivious to the possibility that an early interview could be a hardship for someone for reasons other than them having trouble getting up early.

    1. pomme de terre*

      That is a great point. I understand the psychology behind asking an unusual question in an interview (it breaks you out of your prepared and potentially misleading answers) and the early start time is a pumped-up version of that. But he just wants the candidates to reflect himself back to him. If he’d said something like, “If the person turns me down but does it with grace, I know they can handle negotiation well,” I’d almost give him a pass on this dumb idea.

    2. TootsNYC*

      actually, *all* his reactions he’s looking for strike me as unprofessional, even the good ones.

  19. Julie*

    The only possible reason I could think to have an interview at 6:30 am AND judge the candidate based on their ability to be functional at 6:30 am is if the job required the employee to be at work and chipper at 6:30 am. There *are* jobs like that. For example, when I helped run conferences at hotels, my workday would start around 6:30 am and the hotel’s liaison would already be there waiting for me and they were invariably helpful, friendly, and accommodating. You would never know by their demeanor that it was stupid-early o’clock. For a job like that, I can imagine a hiring manager setting an interview time at the same time the shift would be supposed to start, to get a sense of what the candidate was like at that hour of the day.

    But for a normal-business-hours office job? It’s ridiculous.

    1. jhhj*

      The problem is this: right now I start work at 9:30, so I’d be exhausted at 6:30. However, if I had a regular schedule of starting work at 6:30, I would regularly be going to bed early enough for that to be fine. If you work graveyard shift, your interview isn’t usually 3 am; they understand that you will change your sleep hours only if you get that job.

      1. Mike C.*

        Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking. My current job starts around 5:30-6am. It’s not so bad now, but at the very beginning it was like I had jet lag.

    2. Alton*

      Well, and on the flipside, if someone asked me to meet them for a 6:30 AM interview, I would probably take that as a reflection of the usual hours, and it might make me nervous about the work environment if I wouldn’t be able to (or didn’t want to) work at 6:30 as a recurring thing.

    3. Lissa*

      Thanks, I was thinking this too! I don’t think it would be unreasonable to set an interview for a time that’s similar to when your shift would start, be that 6:30 AM or 8 PM. But, I think in that case the interviewer should be flexible if the person is currently working a job that’s nowhere near those hours. And yes, CEO sounds like a jackass either way!

  20. peachie*

    Wow, that CEO just sounds like a jerk (not the 6:30 a.m. thing itself, but his holier-than-thou early bird mentality). “Sure, I get up early. I think that’s important.” — really? Ugh, I just can’t handle the smug superiority that comes with something as inconsequential as naturally going to bed earlier and waking up earlier than other people.

    1. Ell like L*

      Hit the nail on the head.
      I hate getting up early, and I think that’s important. To me only. Because I’m not a smug jerk (always).

    2. Nedra*

      I agree! I couldn’t even figure out what “I think that’s important” meant in this situation. How is that important at all?

      I have to get up at 4:30 to go to work. It doesn’t make me a “morning person,” it’s just what I have to do for my job. If someone expected me to go to an interview at that time for a job that doesn’t regularly start at that time, I wouldn’t “graciously” explain what I have learned about mornings and productivity. I would just look for a less loony boss.

    3. pomme de terre*

      Smug morning people might be worse than smug “I don’t watch television” people.

        1. Kelly L.*

          And why is it that approximately 75% of anti-television evangelists…watch TV all the time, but on their computers/phones, which somehow is OK in their book?

          1. ancolie*

            Oh.my.GOD, there’s this pretentious twit on a message board I’m at who will explicitly argue this point. He SNEERS at television and then says that watching television shows on Netflix ISN’T”watching television”.

    4. Collarbone High*

      If I could strike one adage from the English language, “early to bed and early to rise” would be high on my list. That *was* fairly good advice when we had an agrarian society and no indoor lighting (so, Ben Franklin canceling himself out in this post).

      Now that it’s possible to see after the sun goes down, and now that science knows people have different circadian rhythms, the whole idea that waking up before sunrise is the only proper way to live needs to go the way of dinosaurs. Modern society relies heavily on late risers — unless we want things like the ER and the fire department to close at 5 p.m., we need night owls — and the mentality that people who pull an overnight shift and then get 8 hours of sleep, or whose body clocks don’t work like this CEO’s, are somehow lazy is smug, outdated and annoying.

    5. ancolie*

      Ugh, agreed. If I can have total rein over my schedule, I do my absolute best and most productive work … between 1am and 5am.

      But somehow staying up late like that isn’t ~*~virtuous~*~ like getting up at the buttcrack of dawn.

  21. L.L.*

    Ok, so I want some advice from this group on the for-profit college situation.

    I work for one of these schools. Please don’t attack me for it! I was approached for the job & originally took it to get out of being a stay home mom, which I hated. I’ve been at my job for several years, and have found that I am good at it and have learned that the large state university in my city frequently hires employees from our particular campus. Working for that particular university has been a dream of mine for some time. So I’m here. For better or for worse.

    Now that I’ve defended my job choice – please, I get it, but don’t attack – here is my question. My husband was recently promoted to a job that requires a bachelor degree despite not having one. Exceptions were made for him because they wanted him badly enough. To move up further in his company, he needs the degree though. He could attend a for-profit school affiliated with my employer for absolutely nothing, not even book fees… Or he could attend the local state university, which would take longer due to scheduling & it obviously cost quite a bit.

    Given our circumstances, should he take the free education at the for-profit or attend the state school? He’s asked his boss and she has said it doesn’t matter where he goes to school, but obviously this is only one person, and one who really respects him.

    Any opinions?

    1. TuxedoCat*

      I would go for the state university and see if he can do some of the coursework at a community college and transfer credit in. I would feel more secure having a degree that people wouldn’t down upon- what if he wants to switch companies?

      1. Laura*

        This this this. There’s no guarantee that OP’s husband will be at that job forever, and he needs a degree that will be recognized by any workplace, not just this one.

    2. Cass*

      Interesting – I’d say go for your employer’s school, if the only thing he’s giving up is his time. (I agree with TuxedoCat, if he ever wanted to change companies it might pose a problem. But it seems like if its 100% free it wouldn’t make sense to pay a lot for another degree. He still has the option if he changes companies to go for the state school degree and remove the for-profit from his resume.)

    3. insert pun here*

      If he expects to ever leave his current company and get another job where a BA/BS is required, he should go to the state school.

      Or, he could call State U and ask if any credits from For Profit U will transfer. If yes, take those courses for free. But it’s likely that many credits won’t transfer at all.

      1. OhNo*

        ^ This

        Some state universities, especially one that sounds like it has a close-ish relationship with the for-profit school that you work for, will accept certain credits from the for-profit school. That would be a good way to spend less money, but still end up with a terminal degree from a respected school.

        Make very, very sure that the credits will transfer over, though. It would suck to do all the work for a difficult course and not even get credit for it when he transfers over.

    4. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

      Assuming he hasn’t already, he should talk to his employer about potential tuition reimbursement, it might make the state university a more financially attractive option and save the stigma of a for-profit school being attached to his resume.

      But honestly, if I were in his position, I’d be leaning strongly towards the free tuition, ethics be damned.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        The problem there is, that only helps him at his current company. If he ever wants to leave (or the company closes down and he has to leave, or he moves and he has to), the state school would be a better option.

        1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

          I’m assuming he has quite a bit of actual work experience that can boost his resume though. The successful people I know with for-profit school degrees are all people who had desirable prior work experience but needed a degree to be considered for advancement, the degree was more a formality (potential caveat: these people also usually had a bachelor’s at a non-profit school with their advanced degree being for-profit. Depending on OP’s husband’s field he might be interested in switching that and going to the state school for a master’s- especially if it’s a discipline with good funding opportunities.)

    5. Meg Murry*

      Does it matter what his degree is in, or only that he has any bachelor’s degree at all? Does he need the degree to hold a license to advance in his field? Is the program he would do at your school accredited?

      Did he start college but not finish it, so he only has a little bit more to go before getting his degree, or is he pretty much starting from scratch (or nearly scratch)? If from scratch – that could easily take upwards of 4 years. Do you think you’ll still be at your current job in 4 years? Does he? It seems a gamble to start on the program at your school if you or he will be moving on before he gets the degree.

      Since they wanted him so badly, could he see if his job will pay for part of his degree from the state school?

      Alternately, could he find out if the state school will accept transfer credit from your school? Or if he can test out of lower level requirements? If he can transfer English 101 or take Math 101 and then pass the placement test at state school,that would be worth considering.

    6. Ghost Town*

      insert pun here hits the nail on the head. Sounds like the people at his current employer don’t care what the degree is in or from whence it came, just that he has the paper. As long as he doesn’t plan to leave said employer and is confident that the degree policy won’t change, going to For Profit U for free is awesome.

      However, if he does plan to leave, have the flexibility to leave if he wants/situation changes, or the hierarchy decides they feel differently about his credentials, having the degree from State U is better for him.

      Don’t forget transfer credit. The uni where I work has a handy credit transfer calculator where you can input courses and colleges, and see if/what they’ll transfer as. When my husband was taking classes at our local community college, this came in very handy.

      To help offset the cost, look into things like Pell grants (income dependent). Also, the uni where I work has an adult student resource office and (albeit small) scholarships for non-traditional students.

    7. Mike C.*

      Well according to the data above, earnings will go down over time so that free degree isn’t even free.

      1. Mike C.*

        Also, I know you have no control over this, but if your husband’s company is actually committed to promoting and developing from within, they need to have some form of tuition reimbursement. You husband is getting the degree for the benefit of his workplace, and they should be doing everything they can to make it happen.

        Perhaps this is something your husband can negotiate? It’s not an uncommon thing, and there are ways to deal with common issues like limiting to certain majors/schools and prorated repayment if the employee leaves right after. It never hurts to ask.

    8. Honeybee*

      I’d still go for the non-profit local state university. If his goal was to stay at his current employer forever and only secure his promotion potential, then he might consider the for-profit, but assuming that he wants the flexibility to be able to leave later and pursue other opportunities, the local state university will be more respectable on his resume. There’s also always the chance that his current boss leaves and he gets a new one who doesn’t respect for-profit schools, or that there’s someone higher on the food chain that doesn’t, or that he finds himself competing with someone who has similar experience but the nonprofit.

    9. insert witty name here*

      I’m going to go against the crowd here and say: I’d like to know more about your for-profit college. Although very, very rare, there are a few that don’t have a bad reputation. In my experience, these are schools that pre-date the current wave of for-profits, are extremely local and if you really research them you should uncover c-suite alumni. Obviously I’m not talking about U of P here. And given the local nature of the school, it’s likely no one outside of your area is aware of their reputation.

      1. Charlotte Collins*

        This. I do know some people who’ve gone to the types of schools you mention (we’re probably thinking of the same ones – they tend to have a very narrow, technological focus). If it’s one of these, then this might not hurt him.

  22. bridget*

    These stories about for-profit universities (and the *especially* the questions we’ve had here from graduates) are seriously heartbreaking to me. They really did work hard, spend a lot of time, money, and general life resources, and are proud of their accomplishments. It makes me want to punch the people who took advantage of that, without giving the students anything in return.

    1. Natalie*

      There are also lifetime limits on many of the federal student aid funds, which a for-profit school will happily gobble up. Then even if you realize your mistake and want to rectify it, you’d have to pay out of pocket.

  23. Chriama*

    The CEO is screening for people who either:

    – already have schedule and so this works well for them
    – are desperate to work for him or desperate for a job and willing to bend over backwards to accommodate his arrogance
    – are people-pleasers who are uncomfortable saying no to unreasonable requests

    Whenever you do something outside accepted social norms to “see how people react” you’re not getting an accurate reading of anything about their personality. You’re just being a douche.

    1. AMT*

      Why not have some fun with it? He could make them do a little dance while he’s at it!

      1. Chriama*

        I’d like to see the rest of his hiring process. People who do stuff like this and then attach moral judgements to it without examining their lenses of privilege are usually tone deaf in lots of other areas. Maybe he’ll make you come in and host a barbeque for his entire existing staff? Or is he a fan of group interviews? Or video resumes? Maybe he’ll make you conduct the entire interview as an opera or interpretive dance. Think of all the things he could learn about candidates that way…

    2. Misc*

      Or me, a severe ADHD insomniac who would just stay up all night rather than try to drag myself up at 6.30 after pointlessly trying to get more than an hour of sleep beforehand. That is not a good long term strategy for jobs, but I would *pass* as a morning person who was very onto it, then go crash after it was over.

  24. evilintraining*

    He “really just wanted to see how people reacted to a 6:30 a.m. interview.” Some may disagree, but I have a real problem with people who see their job candidates as lab rats.

  25. Laurel Gray*

    That CEO is a total asshat. Thank you for giving candidates such a “challenge”.

    Here are a few other challenges he should consider:

    Send candidates a picture of 4 suits, 4 ties and 4 dress shirts to see what combination they would come up with – you know so he can determine their character and style from how they put french blue and silk stripes together.

    Give them a k-cup, a Keurig, and no cup….ooooh talk about a challenge! “I’m so ambitious I’d just let it brew right into the cupped palms of my bare hands…and that’s how I’d be on the job” #saidnocandidateever

    Put a paper application on the table with a blue and black pen and see which one they choose – you can learn so much about a candidate by what color ink they fill out a form with!

    1. Chriama*

      > I’d just let it brew right into the cupped palms of my bare hands

      Because I am a BOSS and also literally superman. And that’s why you want me for the job.

  26. animaniactoo*

    What I really want to know is what jackass CEO does about the people who “flat-out reject” the 6:30 am interview time? Does he agree to meet them at a later-in-the-day time? Or does he just rule them out?

    Because if 6:30 am is a requirement, it’s outside the normal hours I would be expecting to be working, I would scrap the entire interview over that unless they could reasonably explain why that was the only possible time that worked. And I am (if I do say so myself) mf outstanding at changing on a dime. I work in a deadline driven job. I do whatever it takes to meet the deadline. My last performance review literally said “has never missed a deadline”. In the 10 years I’ve been under this manager. I showed up to work today and found 6 things have been added to my list of “must happen today”. And I’ll get them all done.

    I’m not a perfect employee, but I shine at executing the job and getting it done – last minute changes, annoying changes, and all. Diplomatically (usually), with a lot of humor. And this guy would lose me – and other people like me – who do unreasonable things all the time when it’s unavoidable due to external factors. But have no interest in doing unreasonable things when it’s possible to do them reasonably. I despise that kind of inefficiency/lack of respect/lack of courtesy.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      What irks me about people like this CEO is they use stupid tactics to gauge people’s reaction for situations that would probably never happen! Asking me to interview at 6:30AM will reveal how I would react to having lunch with a client in an unfamiliar city? Because if I can’t make 6:30AM (I can not!) it means that when a client suggests an oyster bar I am most likely to react with “Oysters? Ewwwwww!” ?? (For the record I would not, oysters are delicious).

      1. Kyrielle*

        And I could probably make the 6:30 interview and do okay, assuming he didn’t expect me to address the time directly unless he brought it up (because it wouldn’t occur to me to do so!).

        Going out to lunches with clients? Oh, meals are SO fraught for me, health-wise. (Then again, I’m not likely to be seeking a job where working lunches are likely to be common.) Coffee shop? Sure, I can have some tea. Meal? Uh…not awesome.

      2. animaniactoo*

        That’s what I’m sayin! Unless he thinks that “Hmm, that early doesn’t work for me, do you have something available at a later time?” is a good and reasonable response and will work with people on the interview time, it doesn’t actually do a damn thing to gauge how people are going to react to the *real* things that will happen – except by culling many candidates who have common sense and practicality and aren’t desperate for a job.

  27. AF*

    I read the for-profit schools article twice, and I am confused. I am not defending for-profits (I agree that they’re terrible), but it sounds like they’re saying graduates did do a little better afterwards. But if you didn’t finish your degree, you earn less. Wouldn’t that likely be true of most schools (including non-profit and public schools) if you don’t actually graduate? And perhaps the wage increases aren’t as good for for-profit grads, but it’s still a positive effect.

    They also say that having a Master’s from a for-profit is good for earnings. I have a Master’s degree (in Public Administration) from a very good public university, but in the region where I live, some employers haven’t figured out that for-profits are bad schools. The former Secretary of one of the largest state-level governmental departments in my state had an MPA from U. of Phoenix (imagine my disgust when I learned that!). Meanwhile, I’m struggling to find a good job in the field. (Although, I totally agree with Alison’s previous advice, that a grad degree will not solve your employment problems!)

    1. Pwyll*

      I only briefly skimmed the research report, but it seems to me the takeaway is that, given the huge propensity of students at for-profit schools to never graduate, the average attendee of such a school would have been better off never attending at all.

      The report notes that for-profit dropouts receive substantially less earnings upon their withdrawal, whereas non-profit dropouts receive modest increases in their earnings. Likewise, non-profit graduates well out-performed for-profit graduates. But the entire report is filled with all sorts of caveats, likely from limitations in using aggregate government data to try and project outcomes.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Yes, the report is full of so many caveats that I’m not sure it can really draw a conclusion, since it doesn’t have a good control group.

        The part about lumping together people that finished with those that didn’t is one thing that stood out – because I know that’s a problem for non-profit students as well. If you read the actual data, the people that *DID* complete the degree had their average income go up – it was the people that didn’t complete the degree (2-4 times as many as those that graduated) that are skewing the overall data.

        But another huge factor is that they are using the period before 2007 vs after 2008 as their comparisons. For me personally, I took a huge hit in income in 2007 – my employer had actual demotions, plus no overtime for hourly employee – and that was for those of us who were lucky enough to not be laid off entirely. I’d be interested to see the US population as a whole comparing the average earnings before 2007 to average earnings after 2007 – and especially the people in the bottom 25% income bracket (as the average income was for this study) as that group was hit especially hard.

        Do I think for-profit schools are not worth paying for? Absolutely. But I’m not sure that this study actually proves anything.

      1. AF*

        Thank you all for your insights and the link to the paper. If nothing else, the paper says their tuition is much higher, and I’d love for someone to do an in-depth analysis of the quality of education, which I bet is seriously lacking.

  28. Tiffin*

    I liked the comments on LinkedIn that noted that this CEO’s approach is a good way to select the most desperate candidate from a pool of mediocre ones. Being offered a 6:30 am interview in the office would be fine. Being told that you must be interviewed at 6:30 am in a coffee shop? That would set off all kinds of warning bells. I’m not a morning person, but I could be there and be chipper at 6:30 am, but I wouldn’t want to without a very good reason because it’s so far outside the norm. A lot of the best candidates are going to opt out because this seems fishy and will likely lead to a job in which the boss is unreasonable and wants everyone to function exactly as he does.

    Plus, the mind games are completely ridiculous and don’t teach him a damn thing, despite what he thinks.

  29. Lora*

    Jackass is apparently not hiring for high level positions or positions requiring a lot of creative and independent work. I haven’t had a job with an official schedule above and beyond “show up for meetings on your calendar” in 13 years. I think it’s been about that long since anyone *told* me an interview date and time, instead of asking, “I have (date), (date) and (date) available, will any of those work for you?” like a decent and respectful person.

    If he thinks I can’t deal with challenges, I invite him to come do my current job for a week. I’ll check in with him on Friday afternoon and see how he feels about explosions, biohazard releases and the laziest admin on earth. After all, challenges are a test of character, amirite?

    1. SusanIvanova*

      It has something to do with soccer. According to the company website they have people who’ve played “at the highest levels” and the CEO has “an impressive soccer career” but I can find no trace of that.

      Do people like this not know that Google exists?

  30. Minion*

    That first article seems a bit misleading. I’m not advocating for for-profit schools by any stretch and I won’t be attending one, but this sentence stood out to me:
    Although we cannot control for the endogeneity of degree completion, we find that graduates fare better, experiencing positive earnings effects.”]

    This makes me think that those who fail to graduate are the ones who are earning less than they were to begin with. I think that might be true of any school, but I’m not in a position to know that for sure.
    So, that article seems a little less than honest in trying to imply going to a for-profit and actually earning your degree will negatively impact your earning potential in the future when that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    1. Minion*

      Okay, I see the paper that Alison linked above, so that may explain a little better.

    2. Pwyll*

      I think the article writer probably did as best a job as they could with a study that frankly doesn’t tell us all that much due to limitations with their data sources. The takeaway seems to be that, given the high risk of dropout and high debt, the average student would have been better off not attending at all.

      That said, the actual report notes that public college dropouts actually saw modest income gains.

  31. Blah blah blah*

    My question is if the CEO actually expects people to come in, or if he expects them to stand their ground and decline the early time. I work in an industry where clients often want to come in before/after work hours to avoid impacting their own work schedule… we need people that are going to say no, not disrupt their personal life to come in and get the office up and running for a single client.

    I would think that an interviewee that bent over backwards like that wouldn’t be as desirable as a candidate that said “No, that time will not work for me. I am available between X-X for interviewing.” It would be even worse if they made weak excuses about why they couldn’t rather than a firm no… but then that may also be his goal, to get them to reveal their true character since it is generally accepted that interviews that early are not acceptable.

    1. SusanIvanova*

      I suspect he wouldn’t be bragging about it if he didn’t really expect people to bend over backwards for him. I just googled him and he’s a type I see a lot of in Silicon Valley – coasting on having started up so many businesses even if they fizzled out later. It’s all about the splash and the ego, and appealing to people just like him to get money for the Next Big Thing.

    2. Mike C.*

      I like to call these things “secret morality tests”, because it follows that trope where in one case the contrarian answer is correct because it shows “gumption” or “self respect” while in another situation the straight forward answer is the correct one because it shows “respect”, “common sense” or “willingness to work hard”.

      Which case are you in? Who knows?!

  32. pomme de terre*

    Man that 6:30 article is horrrrrrible. It reminds me of this equally terrible one from INC. The Refinery29 guy is doing some serious cultural dog whistling, the guy in #8 is a lunatic, and the woman in #6 has never met a goalie or possibly never watched sports. Goalies can be bossy diva headcases, but they’re never wallflowers.


    I appreciate the idea of weirdo questions to get spontaneous, honest answers from overly prepared or nervous candidates but they should function more as icebreakers that may also provide unexpected insight and less as riddles to be decoded.

    1. esra*

      Those are all the worst. Especially 8, but all of them. But 8.

      Seriously, who does that?

    2. SusanIvanova*

      Whoa, yeah, #6 is clueless. #7 not wanting people to say they’d open the same kind of business they’re interviewing for? I have a very specific set of skills; that’s why I interview where I do. Unless you add in a condition that it *not* be the same to let me know you want me to get out of my comfort zone, I’m going to say “this kind”.

      #8 – sorry, but I assume that if you say “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this is the right fit for you” you’re saying “this interview is over”, not “push harder for this job!”

      #4, though, has me giggling, because if Richard Branson wanted to hear a funny story, I’d talk about the time I fangirled at Steve Wozniak while he was with some vaguely familiar guy waiting for a concert to start. Yeah, VFG was Branson. Only in Silicon Valley :)

      1. Observer*

        #8 But, but, But! Don’t you have GUMPTION and PERSISTENCE?!?!

        It’s kind of hard to blame advisers for giving the kind of advice we like to laugh at when they read this kind of stuff from people who supposedly know what they are doing.

        1. Tia*

          And this is why HR ends up having to have job seekers removed from the premises by the police

      2. pomme de terre*

        I actually don’t hate the Richard Branson one! That one seems like a genuine icebreaker and not an insane psychological riddle. I’d probably be befuddled and then push through to tell this dumb joke that always makes me laugh:

        Q: What’s a zombie girl’s favorite hairstyle?

    3. LQ*

      For #2 I’d be so tempted to say “The I’m Not Into Cultural Appropriation Bear” and just watch.

      1. ancolie*


        My immediate reaction reading #2 was, “I don’t have one, because I don’t like trivializing something that is integral and sacred to many cultures and dragging it down to a Buzzfeed quick quiz level.

    4. Chriama*

      Everyone respond to the questions! My answers are below:

      #1 favorite restaurant – I don’t have a favorite, but I love brunch buffets. I could not care less about ‘artisinal’ anything, except if it means the portion sizes are small – then I’m not interested. Sorry I’m so terribly common and my tastes are plebeian.

      #2 spirit animal – I don’t understand what this question means. Is it an animal that represents my personality, and animal I like or an animal guide? I don’t actually really like animals and I definitely don’t think of myself in animal terms but kittens are really cute so if I had to have a ghostly animal following me around and offering moral advice I’d like a kitten.

      #3 What’s my story – This would pretty much be a rehash of my resume. I’d discuss my educational experience and job history. I would not offer any information about my personal life or hobbies unless you explicitly asked for it. Have you ever noticed that people often answer the question they think you asked rather than what you actually asked? I would assume this was a rephrasing of the generic “so tell me about yourself” and the implied part is “as it pertains to this job”. So unless you’re clear about it, you won’t get anything interesting from me. Sorry!

      #4 tell me a joke – I don’t really keep jokes on hand. Like… I can’t think of one right now. And most of the funny things I hear or see are on YouTube videos. It’s not really a funny story unless you see the guy accidentally burn off his eyebrows in person. I would ask to skip that question and come back to it. And lots of humor is done in the moment – an inside joke about a work task, a sarcastic quip made in response to someone else’s comment – I laugh a lot during the day, but not by reciting oneliners from my big ol’ book of jokes. Also, a lot of fart jokes and “your face” comments because I’m actually 12 years old :)

      #5 elephant in your backyard – I actually like this one just because it’s so silly. I don’t think I would show creativity – elephants are an endangered species and I live in the middle of a busy city, so I would obviously call trained professionals to deal with it and maybe notify local authorities to evacuate the surrounding houses – but I love to talk about random hypothetical situations and I would talk for a while about why the elephant got there and what I know about elephants and whether it was being kept as an exotic pet by someone and should I try to find out who and have them charged with smuggling. So I think silly questions like this have a way of making candidates comfortable and drawing out some of their personality but I don’t think you can draw any real conclusions from the answers themselves.

      #6 – sports – ugh, this one is so fraught for me. I never got into sports as a kid. And I hate how sports are used as a moral judgment (they teach teamwork! and self esteem!) or a means of evaluation. Not to mention school gym class and body image issues. I did a lot of extracurricular stuff and volunteer work, but no sports. Also, people who want to be “in front of the ball” all the time are often lousy players because they’re self-centred and would rather have the ball stolen by the other team than pass it and let someone else score the goal. So… yeah. I don’t like sports and I don’t like the moralizing around them at all. Is there a replacement question for people who aren’t into that stuff, or does she only want athletic people at her company?

      #7 my own business – I would do something that allows me to work remotely and travel a lot. So like a tour guide or remote web programmer. I’m not sure what she wants to hear from this. If people are interested in starting their own business, why are they applying to be your employee? And what’s the point in having them daydream about a business they never plan to open? Anyway, bottom line for me is I’m not interested in any of the administrative work around managing a business, so I’d just be an independent contractor/sole proprietor and charge people obscene amounts of money to do my own thing.

      #8 not the right fit – this is literally insane. If someone tells me they don’t think it’s the right fit for me, what do I gain by arguing with them? It’s not about being motivated to convince them of my awesomeness or folding under pressure (what pressure? He said he’s not interested and ‘no’ is a complete sentence.) , it’s about being professional and respectful. This is also one that has significant gender impact. Women are socialized to be more ‘polite’ and studies show that women get penalized for being aggressive when using the exact same tactics as men. So not only does he run the risk of unfairly dismissing more female applicants, he’s also more likely to evaluate them negatively even if they do try to convince him. Also, hiring is a 2-way street and I don’t think I want to work for someone who thinks I’m the only one who has to impress them in this scenario. Also, unless you’re interviewing for high-pressure salesmen, you’re not really screening for “superstars”, just people who are desparate, arrogant, or used to having to convince other people of how ‘awesome’ they are. What does that say about their skills as a software developer or accountant?

      1. HeeHaw*

        Excellent responses.

        #7 My own business: I would start a business that sells artisanal sporting equipment for every position EXCEPT GOALIES. Goalies, and people like them, can just shop elsewhere.

            1. Chriama*

              Are they really artisanal though? I don’t think a goalie can be really artisanal. They’re probably just posers. Can they name the best infused flavor of olive oil to pair with wild pacific salmon? Can they tell me the current market price of truffles? If not, they’re not real fans!

              1. esra*

                Wait, are these locally-sourced goalies? We care about the environment here at Assholes, Inc.

      2. HeeHaw*

        #1 Favorite restaurant: A steakhouse specializing in free-range, ARTISINAL tiger, mountain gorilla, white rhinoceros, and sea turtle meat. Because these are my SPIRIT ANIMALS and I must eat them to absorb their power. You know, so I can do a good job for your company and stuff.

        1. Chriama*

          Lol. So artisanal means endangered? It would be amazing if someone asked all these interview questions, one after another, and then drew up a psychological profile based on they answers. Would I be a psychopath, INTJ or Sansa from GoT?

    5. HeeHaw*

      Wow. That is one of the worst interview-related things I’ve ever read. (The Inc.com article, not your comment…)

      The interview, and my interest in that company, would be completely finished if I was asked any of those things.

      I’ve sat on enough hiring committees to wonder, why does everyone think they are a forensic psychologist during the hiring process. I blame television and movies where the ubiquitous “FBI profiler”, spends 30 seconds going over a few “clues”, and their computer-like brain spits out a precise psychological profile that sends the team out to find the perp. That or some wack-a-doodle Silicon Valley/Wall Street CEO describes some stupid interview question they use and hiring managers across the globe become hypnotized with the notion that Cheryl Sandberg or Warren Buffet do this, so I should do it too. Sheesh. If I show up for an interview and the interviewer cannot act normally and professionally, I’m out.

      1. Chriama*

        > why does everyone think they are a forensic psychologist

        This is the biggest thing. In a legal trial, both sides will bring out multiple experts. Your intro to sociology or psych 101 classes do not make you qualified to assess anything about the mental state of a person who you have *no* other information about! People always think they’re smarter than they actually are, and of course that leads to so many biases getting perpetuated (like what if you were too poor to afford team sports?)

    6. Rocky*

      In all seriousness, I can’t think of a single joke I know that would be remotely appropriate to repeat in the workplace.

      I think #1 is almost as bad as #8 in terms of mind-gaming and general offensiveness.

      I actually kind of like #5.

      1. Carpe Librarium*

        Here’s my ‘safe’ joke that you can all have for free:
        Two fish were put in a tank; one looks at the other and says, “You man the guns, I’ll drive.”

        Depending on your audience, there’s a similar one:
        Two fish are swimming down a river when they come to a large obstruction they could not pass. One fish looks at the other and says, “Damn.”

        I’ll show myself out.

        1. Hlyssande*

          I’d be hard-pressed not to tell a certain joke from someone at my alma mater, which includes props and a terrible groaner of an ending. It takes about five minutes.

    7. KTB*

      #8 is essentially the professional equivalent of negging a member of the opposite sex in an effort to pick them up.

      So. Gross.

    8. Collarbone High*

      “2. What’s your spirit animal?
      Here you’re looking for a killer sense of imagination.”

      Here you’re looking for clueless cultural appropriation.

    9. BananaPants*

      Ha, #6 has clearly never met a high-level/elite soccer, lacrosse, or hockey goalie. Did this jewelry company founder actually play a team sport beyond a middle school rec league? “I want people who want to be in the action and do everything they can to get in front of the ball.” Um, does she not realize that a goalkeeper literally DOES get in front of the ball?

  33. Nethwen*

    Besides the whole ridiculousness of saying an early-morning meeting has to do with comfort zones rather than business norms, the first thing out of my mouth (assuming I went to the interview, which I probably wouldn’t) would be none of the things in the article. It would be equivalent to what the first thing out of my mouth at a 1:00 p.m. interview would be.

    I also don’t understand how an early-morning interview is a “challenge” in any relevant business sense.

  34. Lily Evans*

    My first thought when I saw BravoTV in the description was how cool it’d be to have an AAM talk show. Just imagining Alison being like Oprah: “Everyone in the audience today is going home with a Hanukkah Ball!” Or catch phrases that the audience chants along with “You’re boss is a jerk and they won’t change!”

    1. BananaPants*

      YOU get a Hanukkah Ball, and YOU get a Hanukkah Ball! Hanukkah Balls for EVERYONE!

  35. DaisyC*

    “I’m a night owl, so I’m going to invite this guy to meet with me at 2 a.m. in order to learn about his character.”

    I LOL’d. Thank you for that gem.

  36. Eohippus*

    2. Sounds like a great way for Lackey (oh, irony!) to find himself some passive yes men instead of people with good sense who are able to question bad ideas. I’m betting buzzwords comprise 75% of his vocabulary, and he’s a fan of nutty ‘team building’ retreats.

  37. LeRainDrop*

    6:30 a.m. interview? Unless this is a job opportunity I’m very excited about, I’ll pass — I probably don’t want to work for you anymore. I can handle plenty of challenges and disruption, but this move signals something negative to me about the employer.

  38. eplawyer*

    Please Alison by all that is great and good, schedule an interview with that jerk at 2 a.m. You could get it by flattering his ego. He’d fall for it in a red hot second.

  39. CrazyCatLady*

    How insane is this. I remember not being able to take off time from the job I was working at and being so immensely grateful when the interviewer volunteered an 8.30 slot which meant I could still make it to my then job on time. I appreciated that he was willing to change his regular schedule to accommodate me (the normal business hours of that company were 9.30 – 6pm), realising how even an hour in the morning completely skews your routine. I certainly wouldn’t expect anyone – job seeker or interviewer – to accommodate 6.30, especially as it’s on a whim.

    Funnily enough, we made a few jokes about both being night owls and I got the job (due to other factors, I’m sure). 8.30 is a challenge in itself for some – but it’s business hours and the trains are running.

  40. HRChick*

    In my younger years, I took a class at a for-profit school. This was a business class to get your MBA.

    Someone said, “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” and the “professor” acted like she was so shocked at the “bad language.” And I mean, like someone who had never had someone say “well, phooey” around them in their life time. I remember that the way she handled it struck me as extremely immature. I get if you don’t want cursing, but it was like she’d never left the convent before.

    Then, as an in class assignment, she handed out construction paper and some printed out words cut out individually. We were to glue them in order to the construction paper. That’s when I walked out. I went straight to the office to withdraw with the reason that “I wasn’t learning anything and we are being taught like we’re in kindergarten instead of a graduate level class.” They fought me tooth and nail on withdrawing and then getting my money back. And the they called and called and called and called asking me when I was going to reenroll. Even when I got rude with them, they kept calling.

    Never again.

  41. A Definite Beta Guy*

    I would love 6:30 AM interviews. I’m an early riser. This morning I was awake at 4:30.

    No problem for me!

    1. pomme de terre*

      If you Google “Should I go to University of Phoenix” the first thing that pops up is the AAM article saying you should take it off your resume.

      So I imagine their Google Ads words are working against them.

  42. Cynical Lackey*

    I had a 7:00 a.m. interview once. I was flown in from out of town for a Tuesday interview. The morning interviews went well, but the CEO was called away fr a family emergency. He graciously and apologetically drove out to the airport hotel the next morning so we could meet before my 930ish flight home.

  43. Ruth (UK)*

    I’m a morning person and would not actually find the interview time of 6:30am too difficult. However, if asked to attend an interview at 6:30am I might question something in my head about the type of person who thinks this is an ok time to schedule interviews, considering it’s probs not a nice time for most people. (however, it would be super handy if you didn’t want it to clash with anything else, and get it done before your normal work day etc, so no time off needed!).

    Incidentally, I once had a misunderstanding with someone over a time where I assumed they meant am not pm. I was house searching and arranged to view a room in a bedsit. I communicated by text with someone who was living there already. She asked if I could come over on Saturday and I replied that I was working from 10am-8pm that day (it was a fast food job at the time so some funny shifts) but that I was open to early mornings or late in the evening if she was. She wrote back a couple hours later asking if I could do 5:30. Because I had JUST told her my shift of 10am-8pm in the previous message, I ASSUMED she meant AM and replied just ok. Luckily, the day before I texted to check it was still ok for me to come over the next morning. Morning?! she wrote back. She thought I’d agreed on 5:30pm?! I replied that I was working at that time and assumed she had meant 5:30am. She replied that that was an odd assumption to make… apparently 5:30AM is so unreasonably early that I was nuts to think she meant that time rather than 5:30pm. I replied I couldn’t make that day and asked if I could come on another day.

    She replied that I would probably ‘not be a good fit’ for the ‘culture’ of the house (maybe she was worried I’d be awake too early?) and I found somewhere else to live…

    1. animaniactoo*

      You mean, you wouldn’t be a great fit because you actually expected people to follow a logical train of thought? “If I told you I am working until 8 pm, obviously I am not available at 5:30 pm because I will be at work…”

  44. Observer*

    I think it’s worth noting that this CEO does not have much of a track record in terms of longevity at any given place.

    1. BBBizAnalyst*

      I noticed that too. He’s a CEO hopper, if that’s a thing. Very odd and I wouldn’t be keen on taking advice from someone who’s founded
      companies that don’t last.

  45. Yachtie*

    Wow! BravoTV did a piece on you? You’re officially legit now, congratulations! (this isn’t meant to be snarky. I’m a HUGE Bravo fan!!)

  46. Florida*

    Brava on the Bravo spot!
    I like how you always point out that there is no shortcut to having the uncomfortable conversation.

  47. Lauralk80*

    The 6:30 thing … I also didnt care for the bit in the write up about “telling me where you run or jog every morning…”. So if im not into fitness i’m also not an ideal candidate? All aboard the nope train!

  48. Milton Waddams*

    #1: One thing many people are nervously circling around is that this is also true for many “not-for-profit” schools as well. I will point out that comedians have been talking about this problem for a while now — Daniel Clowes’ 1991 “Art School Confidential” is a classic: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e5/94/83/e59483a6ac865c5007288b17eb22a399.jpg There was some hope, I think, when the comic became a major motion picture in 2006, that there would be more honest dialog about the subject.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I LOVED Art School Confidential… what a funny film. Although I’m not sure art is perfect example of what is wrong with our college education system, given that art by its very nature is extremely, almost entirely, subjective.
      Technically, one could be “an artist” with no college, while this is not the case for an engineer, teacher, scientist, etc.

      However, if anyone in the arts (writing, graphic design, communications, illustrators, film, photography, television and even acting) wants a gig in Corporate America, degrees are now REQUIRED for almost every job. And this is the real problem isn’t it? REQUIRING a degree for everything.

  49. Joanna*

    Number 2 is more than a little crazy. It’s still dark at 6.30 here. If someone I’d never met tried to get me to come meet them while it was still dark somewhere there may or may not be many people around, I’d worry that it wasn’t a job interview but the setup for a assault.

  50. Thebe*

    Regarding the 6:30 a.m. interview: If I really liked the job prospect, I would assume that time was for a good reason. I’d show up on time and be calm and gracious. Once I found out it was this guy’s sick little test, however, I’d immediately stand up and walk out. I don’t mind a little inconvenience, but no way would I work for someone like that.

  51. Eric*

    Waking up to be on time for a 6:30 A.M. interview isn’t a “challenge”. The tone of the plus his LinkedIn profile (bunch of short job stints at tech firms, vague talk of “innovating”) makes me think that he’s writing the article to justify and congratulate himself for being weird and difficult.

    Which ties in with my experiences with interviewers calling too early or scheduling interviews far outside of business hours:

    1. Large bank, recruiter insists that we do a combination phone interview / programming quiz at 6:00 A.M. because the interviewer is across the Atlantic for the time being and it would be convenient for them. I ask if we could move it up to even 8 or 9, recruiter refuses because “that’s not the way [we] do it.”
    2. Phone interview scheduled for 8:30 A.M., which I have no problem with. I was unemployed at the time, so it’s doubly no problem. The company is also located in my time zone, so there’s no confusion on when exactly I should expect the call. Interviewer calls me at 7:45 and says that he likes doing that because it shows him how people respond to being caught off guard.
    3. Recruiter contacts me for another financial firm, who insist on giving candidates a written paper test (necessitating being physically present at their office) at 7:00 A.M., and if I pass that I”ll be invited back in for an in person interview. I say that’s not doable for me for a few reasons, the recruiter again says “that’s not the way we do things.” They contact me again and ask me to reconsider because the hiring manager rejected the other candidates, I tell them that I’ve got another offer in hand (which is true), so I can only do it if they can expedite the process and give me their own response and offer by Friday. They explicitly say they don’t deviate from procedure.

    So to me it sounds like this guy is just trying to justify his own annoying behaviors that have probably lost him a ton of candidates.

  52. Chelsea*

    Leaving University of Phoenix off your resume remains the most interesting fact I’ve gained from AAM. Extremely interesting. I feel bad for the poor suckers who pay for something that will essentially make them less employable.

  53. Ron Skurat*

    I worked at a tech startup many moons ago, and this sort of clueless arrogant behavior is more common than you might think. Most brogrammers have the social skills of a Deke brother, and have an extremely narrow skill set that is focused largely around duping potential investors.

    Twenty years from now, when no one in tech will hire him and he’s going through his third divorce, it would be interesting to see if his worldview has changed.

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