company sports team is causing bad feelings, how much detail should an offer letter have, and more

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

1. My company has an exclusive sports team that’s causing bad feelings

I work for a company that sponsors various sports teams throughout the year – all coed and open to anyone who wants to play. Once a year, there is an industry-wide tournament with some very competitive teams and a bit of prestige on the line. In the past, it was an invitation-only team, but that’s becoming hard to justify, as the participants get a day off with pay to go have fun and participate in this event (which includes free food, beer, and a t-shirt). The people who organized it this year are ultra-competitive and while they said all the right things when I brought it up, I know that they chose only people who can help them win and with whom they would enjoy spending a day.

Do you have any suggestions on how this should be handled going forward? There are plenty of people who would have loved to play but didn’t receive an invitation, and now it’s this big awkward thing.

I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to have try-outs or otherwise make it competitive to get a spot on this particular team, particularly since it sounds like your company has lots of other sports teams that people can join if they want. But the selection should be based on actual ability to perform on the team, not on who the organizers want to hang out with. And the selection process should be transparent — people should understand how people are picked and why. Otherwise, you’re going to get people feeling resentful and left out, which is the exact opposite of what activities like this are meant to achieve in the first place.

In the future: try-outs, neutrally judged, or invitations based strictly on people’s stats from their participation on the company’s other teams (like an all-stars thing).

2. How much detail should an offer letter have?

I am wondering about what level of detail on benefits/work conditions/perks is normal to put in an offer letter or contract. In my current job, the offer letter I signed says my salary, total amount of PTO, and that I get a professional development stipend. Different written policies govern how all those things actually work (for example, how much the PD stipend is, when people can request vacation, extra, non-pay, benefits for time based in our remote offices, etc.). These policies were available to me before I started but weren’t spelled out in the offer letter or signed. However, in the last year those policies have changed several times, and on balance, the changes made the benefits significantly less valuable to me.

This is my first job with benefits, and I’m not sure what’s normal to look for in the future. Are these sorts of details usually written into offer letters? Do most companies put a timeline on policies (i.e., here is the vacation policy that will be in effect for all of 2016) or is changing them without warning common? When I re-negotiate my contract (I’ve almost finished, and my manager wants me to re-enroll for another year), will it sound out-of-touch or high-maintenance if I ask that the policies be frozen for me – that if there are future changes, I can be grandfathered in?

It’s very normal for an offer letter to just include salary and your total amount of PTO, and for details beyond that to be spelled out in an employee manual — which, yes, can change at any time.

If you specifically negotiate something as part of your offer, it’s reasonable to ask for that to be included in the offer letter — but it’s not going to come across as reasonable to ask that policies be frozen for you in general (and employers are very unlikely to agree to that, particularly if you’re not very senior).

Keep in mind that an offer letter isn’t a contract; it’s just a summary of the terms of employment that you’ve agreed to. Most U.S. workers don’t have contracts.

3. Should we courtesy interview an internal candidate we’re unlikely to hire?

I’m currently on a hiring committee for a filing job. There are currently two people in very similar positions, except one has more hours and some more responsibilities.

The one with more hours is retiring and we are hiring for her replacement. The one with fewer hours has applied, but her application and cover letter were somewhat unprofessional and we have some other concerns about her having so many more hours.

We have four other candidates who we are really interested in. Should we courtesy interview the internal candidate even though we are pretty sure she won’t be the right fit?

Well, there’s an argument to be made that if you’re sure you wouldn’t hire her for the job, it’s kinder not to get her hopes up. But many people feel far better about being turned down for an internal job if they feel like they at least were given a shot at it, and it can be really demoralizing for an internal candidate to feel like she wasn’t even considered. Because of that, I’d interview her, and even try to go in with an open mind because who knows what you might learn.

But assuming you don’t end up hiring her, I’d make a point of giving her feedback about her candidacy afterwards. That’s always smart to do with internal candidates so that they feel like they were taken seriously and treated well, have some insight into why you went with someone different, and come away with an understanding of how (and whether) they could be a stronger contender in the future.

4. My colleague gave me a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn — and then used the exact same content for someone else

Last year, I worked on a very big project with a senior manager of the client side. At the end of the project, he gave me a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn allows you to see also the other recommendations your reference has given, I noticed at the time that he had only previously given one other recommendation.

Now I see that about two months after he left me the reference, he had given a reference with the absolutely same content as mine to a colleague of his. Only a few words had been changed.

Does this somehow reflect poorly on me? I think it shouldn’t, especially considering that my recommendation was given first and the date is visible. Or does it more reflect poorly on him for lacking creative and critical thinking skills? Or is it generally not considered a big deal?

Eh. LinkedIn recommendations don’t really carry that much weight. Because they’re public and written for you to see, employers know that no one is going to say something critical about you there.

Your colleague is a lazy LinkedIn recommendation writer, but I doubt anyone is going to notice or think too much about it. If they do, it reflects mostly on him.

5. Staffing agency contacted me after nine years

I received an email from a staffing agency. A little background: I registered with this agency in January 2007, at which time I had no idea the economy would tank the way it would do in a few months. They never contacted me (getting the time of day would be an accomplishment). They asked me to update my paperwork in October of that year (per federal law), and on the day I did so, the recruiter had me wait about 45 minutes (and asked me to wait more because she had to use the restroom). I swallowed my pride (and maybe even my dignity), kept in contact with them for a few months, and then gave up.

Fast forward to last week. I received an email from this same agency (how they got this email address, I don’t know, because I didn’t establish it until 2010), just as I started two jobs. Here is the email in it’s entirety:

“Hope all is well. I was researching our files while conducting a job search and came across your resume. It’s been awhile since we have spoken to you and I wanted to see what your job status is. Currently we have openings both on a temp, temp to perm and permanent basis in both areas of Accounting and Finance. We also have another division that handle Administrative, Human Resources and Marketing positions. If you are currently looking for employment, please feel free to call me or email me at any time. Also if you could forward me an updated copy of your resume as well, that would be great. Thanks!”

Should I re-establish contact and try again, or is this bridge too badly burned to bother trying? I believe a person should never make someone an priority if said person was made an option, a rule that I believe applies in the professional world as well.

Well, temp agencies are always going to make you an option, not a priority. That’s how they work; they work for employers, not temps.

I don’t think the bridge is burned at all, unless you want to consider it burned. But if you’re interested in what they have to offer, get back in touch with them. If you’d rather not work with them, that’s fine too. But based on what you’ve written here, I don’t see anything to be outraged by.

{ 182 comments… read them below }

  1. MK*

    #5, I think this is one time where the dating/hiring analogy most definitely does NOT work. This rule that says “don’t make someone a priority if they make you an option” cannot apply in the professional world, because the work will always have the priority.

    By that way, I don’t see how the temp agency is even asking the OP to make them a priority; they are not demanding that they drop everything to work for them, just to send an updated resume and consider taking a job, IF the OP is still interested in temp work. Sounds to me that they are making the OP an option and want the OP to keep them as an option in return.

    1. Josh S*

      Truly, I see no indication that the Agency even looked at the outdated resume from 9 years ago. That reads like a completely generic form letter to me–one I’ve gotten more than once.

      OP#5, if you are interested in looking elsewhere and hold no ill will to this agency for never getting back to you, then respond. But they certainly aren’t looking to do you any special favors here. They’re just trying to fish for good candidates.

    2. TootsNYC*

      Yeah, this is not a social relationship.

      It’s business. It’s all about “What’s in my best interests?”

      For the agency, their best interests are to find candidates they can hire out. Maybe getting in touch with the OP will help them make money.

      For the OP #5, their best interests are to get work. Maybe sending their resume in to the agency will help them make money.

      That’s all it is. OP #5, will it help you? Then do so.

      But don’t confuse what type of relationship this is, and what each of you owes the other.

      All you really owe one another is professionalism and reasonable civility. Not loyalty.

  2. The IT Manager*

    LW#1, I’m not sure what you’re hoping for: Everyone who wants to play makes the team? Your company to sponsor multiple teams so everyone who wants to play can? Randomly picking the players from everyone who would like to play?

    I agree with Alison’s answer. For this competitive tournament where prestige is on the line, your company wants to put it’s most competitive out there. I do agree that “people they want to spend the day with” could be problematic if these people are not the top players when they’re claiming merit based selection.

    It does sound like the other teams may be after hours and this tournament is the only one with the perk of a day off. Is it possible for people to be granted time off to watch and cheer? That way they still get the major perk – which is the time off. The free food, beer, and t-shirt seems like a minor perk to me, but if it matter that much, can you company pay for their spectators to have lunch and drinks?

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      That would be a nice thing for the company to do, but it may not be feasible due to staffing and/or workloads. Still, it never hurts for OP to float the idea to the decision makers and see what they say.

      Getting a free day off to do this is cool. My company does an annual golf tournament with a vendor and whoever joins our team from my current division has to take PTO if they want to participate. A lot of the guys who were interested in going this year backed out when they realized they weren’t getting a freebie (though my division will give us freebies when we head out to division-sponsored events).

    2. Joseph*

      The issue here is the perk (which AAM oddly didn’t address at all). Unless your employer is named “Cardinals”, “Red Sox” or something of the ilk, athletic ability shouldn’t be a factor in who gets a *free day of PTO*. You’re essentially giving the young, talented people a bonus for their athletic ability – which is sure to set off alarm bells elsewhere. I don’t think the issue is really the baseball, it’s the fact that some people are getting a free day of PTO, with beer and hot dogs and etc, while people with less ability (or health issues!) are stuck at work.

      Fortunately, there is very simple fix here: Give the rest of the company the option to attend as spectators – take the day off, have some beer and hotdogs with the team, and cheer us on! Now it’s purely about athletic ability on the field and even the talentless get the same perk. *And* your team will probably play better having people rooting for them.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I like this. It takes away that “high school” feeling, where athletes had preferential treatment. I can see what you are saying, OP. As adults we expect a more level playing field in the workplace. Would the company be willing to have a similar program for people who like, let’s say, chess or photography?
        If things continue as you describe here, it looks to me like at some point the company may have to consider that it’s sports program is not creating the outcome that the company had hoped for.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        Based on this being a prestigious, industry tournament, this sounds more analogous to a business development opportunity than a PTO day. A day of work for BD folks can sometimes mean being out playing golf and taking clients to dinner, while back at the office we’re grinding out spreadsheets. They do that because they’re good at building relationships and negotiations, while I do my job because I’m good at analytical stuff. The employees who make the athletic team have the skill set needed to excel in this event, and they get a day when their work duties are reassigned to that activity. It’s not a PTO day. [Said from the person who would only make the team because it’s co-ed and my company is 10% women, NOT because I have any athletic skills.]

        1. OhNo*

          If that was the case, they would be choosing the best networkers and schmoozers, not the best athletes.

          It sounds more like this is a competition for bragging rights in the industry, if they are competing against teams from other companies. The company may get something out of participating – bragging rights can be useful, after all – but it’s not something that’s necessary for the business to succeed the way wooing clients is.

          I like Joseph’s solution. For someone like me, who will never compete on a sports team like this, getting a day off to cheer seems to be a fair alternative.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I didn’t mean it WAS a BD opportunity. I meant it was more similar to that than it is to PTO. They don’t need schmoozers and networkers. They need the best athletes to earn whatever market benefit comes from winning this. With the similar types of things my company does, it’s mostly a PR benefit and a recruiting benefit (“look at all the great things Key Teapots does compared to McTeapots”).

            I think it would be great to give everyone the day off to spectate, too, but in my company, it wouldn’t be feasible. You can get 10-15 people time for an event, but 1,000 people would be a huge cost. People participating are often taking time to train or practice (maybe not if it’s a fun softball tournament or something). And, you often still have to get your weekly work done. Personally, I think my company does a good job of making stuff like this fair. It’s NOT during business hours, and they encourage spectators and athletes to join in.

            1. Newby*

              Even if they can’t give everyone the day off to go watch, they could do a lottery for those interested. It seems like the main problem is the way that the participants are selected. If at least some spots (even just as spectators) was open equally to everyone it may soothe those who are upset.

            2. neverjaunty*

              Meaning that out of 1000 people, only 10-15 are eligible for the perk, based on skills that have little to nothing to do with the job?

              Joseph is right, and I agree it’s a little weird that AAM jumped over that. If the company wants to sponsor an employee bonding activity like a sports team with buying an ad in their program or similar, great, but when the benefits of being on the team are a direct work benefit like PTO, alarm bells should absolutely be going off.

              1. Artemesia*

                Why? I don’t see a problem with it and I would never compete in something like this. For a tournament.

        2. Kimberlee, Esq*

          I agree with this. If it were an outright day off, it would be one thing, but this is a business event. It could even be that the people OP thinks are chosen because they’re who the organizers want to hang out with really are the people who are the best schmoozers and networkers or whatever, and that’s why they’re on the team. I think if the scenario people are outlining were true (that the fix is to give everyone the day off to spectate) we’d be getting letters from people who think it’s ridiculous that they have to choose between a day at work and a day watching a sport they don’t want to watch.

          1. Vera*

            If this is the case, then it would be great for the company to be transparent. I know that’s not always feasible, but it is definitely demoralizing to hear that colleagues are out of the office playing in a sports event. And in my experience, when they do come back to work, their talking about the play-by-play, and not the contacts they made.

        3. pomme de terre*

          I also thought of that — if it’s an industry tournament, it’s more of a BD/networking thing than a proper day off. You’re not on the line QA-ing teapots but you’re still working. I’ve definitely attended cool events for work but they were still for sure WORK.

        4. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s exactly how I see it — it’s a business event. It’s like if you sent a team of people to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for the day, or golfing with clients, or whatever. It’s different than their normal job, but they’re doing it for work.

          Giving hundreds or thousands (or more) people the day off work may not be at all feasible.

          1. BananaPants*

            Yeah, we got to take a day away from the office to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity but it wasn’t given as a day off or PTO. Even though it was fun, frankly, the only reason we were there as a group on a weekday was to get some nice PR for the company.

            I’ve attended many an awards breakfast or dinner on behalf of the company, and gone to my alma mater to do college recruiting; technically it’s time away from my normal job responsibilities but it’s still related to the overall operation of the business. It’s not really a day off, and it may be fun, but it’s still work-related. An industry-wide sporting event would certainly seem to fall in the same category.

          2. neverjaunty*

            “Golfing with clients” has a really long history of being exclusionary, especially given that golf venues have traditionally not exactly been inclusive about who gets to be a member (or when guests can attend), so that’s probably not making the point you thought it did.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Sub in dinners with clients then — the point is that sometimes people get to do things outside of work that some might consider fun or at least non-work-like.

              1. neverjaunty*

                But the point, or rather points, about this particular fun outing are 1) the company is offering free PTO for those participating in it, and 2) this particular activity *is* very limited in who can participate – this isn’t just ‘y’all come play softball’, but the organizers of the team turning it into their personal clique.

              2. Vera*

                In this case, though, the event has nothing to do with their role. For example marketing managers might get to take their agency reps to dinner, or sales people take their clients golfing. But the people on this team aren’t playing softball because of their role, they are playing softball because 1) they are good at softball and 2) it increases the company’s visibility in the community.

                1. TootsNYC*

                  But isn’t increasing the company’s visibility a company goal, not a personal one?

                  And wouldn’t the company then choose the most effective personnel for this?

                  My company has an awards program, and they ask some employees to participate in public events related to it. It’s fun! (yay, cooking school) But they send people based on who would be particularly good at it. I’m a bit of a mentor-type person, so I was asked to go along on the one w/ college students.

                  It was fun, it was out of the office. And I learned some cooking stuff. But my company’s benefit far outweighed mine.

              3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Yeah, I hear both of you. I just don’t think a single day where you’re out of the office playing in a tournament on behalf of the company is particularly an outrage.

      3. Person of Interest*

        Rather than have the only option for non-players be to attend as spectators – because I don’t really see sitting around for a day watching other people have fun when I could be accomplishing something useful as comparable compensation – why not offer them a paid day to volunteer in an activity of their choosing? It seems like allowing a volunteering day would accomplish the same kind of goodwill/visibility for the company as the softball league does, and would let the non-athletes contribute in a way that is personally meaningful (as well as suited to their physical abilities). Why have only the one option (play or nothing)?

        1. Kimberlee, Esq*

          Because all options require staff time and effort to organize, and because workload and coverage needs may prevent everyone from having the day off. I mean, I think it could be great if the company is down for it, but if it’s something where everyone can take a random PTO day, it’s not going to create visibility for the company (which isn’t to say it’s not a neat perk, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to accomplishing the presumed goals of the game).

          (All the comments I make are from my perspective, which is that of someone who does not care if part of other peoples’ jobs is playing in a company softball game, and who would much rather work than attend a game to cheer or have a floating volunteer day.)

        2. Vera*

          Agreed. Maybe give all employees a “Goodwill” day, with guidelines such that it can be structured to use on a company event like this one, or a volunteer event.

          My ex-job used to be a sponsor of a big golf tournament and as such got to participate in a Pro-Am. The company employees selected to participate seemed to be 100% based on people that have golf skills and people who knew other people who had golf skills. They got 2+ days out of the office, playing at some of the most prestigious golf courses (think Hawaii, Augusta, etc.), eating, drinking, etc. with golf celebrities. There was never an all-call for anyone who may be interested, or a try-out, or anything similar. And even if there was, if you didn’t play golf, you wouldn’t be considered at all. I always understood it was technically “work”, but it really sucked for employees that didn’t get to participate.

      4. Anonyhippo*

        I agree with this.

        The issue is not so much the “eliteness” of the chosen athletes, it’s the fact that they get a free day off while the other employees do not.

        Two ways to solve:
        1) Everyone gets an additional PTO, OR
        2) The “chosen ones” must use a PTO day to participate.

        1. Zillah*

          It’d be really crummy to require people to use PTO for a business activity – I don’t see how that’s an improvement on this.

        2. BananaPants*

          It’s not a free day off, though. They’re there to participate in the tournament and, from the sounds of it, schmooze on the sidelines. They’re still “working”, just not in the office at their normal duties.

    3. Mephyle*

      From the description in the letter, it seems that people don’t get to join the team because of try-outs where they can demonstrate that they have the quality to be on a team of the best, but rather because they’re invited by the organizers.

      1. Hal*

        It’s not a true day of PTO though. The people competing are fulfilling a company obligation. It’s true that some may consider it a perk and fun (and that some people will see the whole thing as silly and pointless), but it’s not PTO or even analogous to PTO. It’s a day out of the office on behalf of the company.

        As for tryouts, that could possibly work, but those would turn this into even more of a timesuck than it already is. And then you have to go through the process of explicitly rejecting people, which isn’t pleasant.

        1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

          It’s very much analogous to PTO, although not exactly the same. It’s not much different than volunteering on behalf of company on their dime. Most people see that as a day off from the grind. If only young, attractive, employees were allowed to volunteer on company dime, and others had to use PTO to do the same most people would be furious!

          How is athletics any different?

          1. Hal*

            PTO is paid time off, not paid time out of the office. I’m not saying the situation here is necessarily fair or good for overall morale or anything positive at all. I just don’t think doing something on behalf of the company out of the office is reasonably considered a “day off.” It’s a day out, even if companies sometimes charge people PTO to do certain things out of the office on behalf of the company.

            I don’t necessarily think sports are a special, but if a company wants to make a special sports exception, it probably can.

            1. Zillah*

              I agree. PTO is not having to deal with work – company events are not the same thing, whether or not you have to be in the office for them. They’re not treating employees performing the same task differently – they’re extending a perk to a few people. I’d see a problem if this was a more extensive event, but it’s one day a year.

        2. Joseph*

          The “company obligation” involves enjoying a sport, drinking beer and eating hot dogs. It might not be the same as a true day of PTO, but it’s certainly far different than sitting in the office writing TPS reports.

          More importantly, OP says that people are getting irritated and jealous. So it’s clear that people in the office *do* see it as a perk, not an obligation. Do you really want your company softball team to be a major source of friction and wrecking company morale?

          1. Hal*

            That wasn’t my point. My point was that it’s simply not PTO.

            Maybe if people had to use PTO to participate they wouldn’t bother going, as mentioned above. This day may be fun compared to being in the office, but I bet a lot of people wouldn’t find it so fun they’d lose a day of vacation to go play softball with coworkers.

            There’s no indication that there’s a “major source of friction” or anything “wrecking company morale.”

            1. Joseph*

              The OP used phrases like “that’s becoming hard to justify” and “now it’s this big awkward thing.” And OP wrote into a management blog to begin with which she presumably wouldn’t do if things were perfect. Maybe it’s not a disaster (yet!), but it certainly doesn’t sound like people are completely fine with the way things are either.

              Situations like these also have a tendency to get worse with time if they aren’t addressed – If it’s awkward now, how much worse is it going to be after the tourney when The In Crowd is all excited about the game, getting feted by the company by their (hopefully) win…and the others are reminded that they were stuck in the office while their co-workers were drinking beer and relaxing.

              “Maybe if people had to use PTO to participate they wouldn’t bother going, as mentioned above. This day may be fun compared to being in the office, but I bet a lot of people wouldn’t find it so fun they’d lose a day of vacation to go play softball with coworkers.”
              The problem is that the situation right now IS that softball is being compared with being in the office:
              1.) If you’re young, athletic, and good at softball, you get a paid day to go drink beer and playing softball.
              2.) If you’re older, injured, unathletic, and/or bad at softball specifically, you’re stuck at your desk writing reports or making teapot sales calls or whatever.

              1. voyager1*

                Serious question to LW: How much time does the team spen practicing after hours or on weekends?
                Without that information hard to say if this is really unfair or not.

                1. Andrea Larsen*

                  Hi All – I’m LW. The teapot tournament is industry-wide, but has nothing to do with networking. It’s all about who’s team is the best. The organizers included people who they considered to be the best teapot makers, and specifically excluded people they didn’t want to spend time with. They had 1 after-work practice before the tournament.
                  Normally we FB the heck out of our after-work team endeavors but clearly the organizers realized they were in the wrong because they tried to keep word of the tournament on the DL. When word leaked out, resentment stemmed from a) not being chosen, and b) the manner in which it was organized. In fact, when people had to drop out, the organizers had trouble filling the spots because of the resentment.
                  My job revolves around engagement and employee experience, and as soon as I heard about the team I knew it would blow up. I am not one to give participation medals to everyone, but I really feel like it should have been opened up to anyone who wanted the chance to play and make the team.

                2. Roscoe*

                  Hmm. I mean if they specifically invited the people who are the best players, I don’t really have that much of a problem with it. When you play, you know who the best players are who the ones are that try, but aren’t as good. For a one off tournament like that, I don’t personally see it as a big deal. I mean yeah, some peoples feelings may be hurt if they think they are at a similar level of ability as someone who did get picked, but for the most part, they weren’t solely picked based on being friends, they were picked on how good they would do.

                  The resentment seems a bit much to me.

                3. Lilian Field*

                  I think two things here make a critical difference. OP says, “The organizers included people who they considered to be the best teapot makers, and *specifically excluded people they didn’t want to spend time with*.” She also says, “Normally we FB the heck out of our after-work team endeavors but clearly the organizers realized they were in the wrong because they tried to keep word of the tournament on the DL.”

                  That’s not choosing the best team based on athletic ability–that’s saying, “Well, Chad, Andrea, and Michael are clearly the best soccer players, but Michael is unsufferable, so we’ll just invite Chad and Andrea and maybe Tony, who’s okay at soccer, and then we’ll just keep the whole thing under wraps and it’ll be fine.” And then it blew up…because a) keeping it all on the DL seems shady, and b) the process of choosing the team was unfair, since the organizers disqualified people “they didn’t want to spend time with” regardless of their athletic ability.

                  Sorry if this post is in the wrong place–I couldn’t figure out how to respond to Andrea Larsen (OP) or Roscoe’s post directly.

                4. Roscoe*

                  Lilian, that is a fair point. I guess I just read it as the people are mostly the best, but if they aren’t pleasant to be around, they weren’t chosen. Which, having coached sports and manage my friends intramural leages, is also a thing to consider. Sometimes having the most skill isn’t all it takes on be a good team member. If Michael is insufferable, it can negatively impact team chemistry. So yeah, while it may be “shady” it doesn’t mean it wasn’t done to put together the team with the best chance of winning. I have some friends who are great athletes who I’d never want to put on one of our teams because I know people wouldn’t like playing with them as much.

                  Its also very possible I’m giving these people too much credit and that they are jerks. Its hard to tell from the letter

              2. pomme de terre*

                If it’s an industry event, they’re also making connections with potential clients/recruits/suppliers/partners/whatever. That’s not a day at your desk, but it’s not a day off either.

                1. Amy G. Golly*

                  That in itself could definitely be considered a perk: the opportunity to make business connections on the company dime that would enhance the careers of the participants.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            But lots of company obligations involve enjoyable things and eating and drinking — like entertaining clients — and those are usually things that aren’t accessible to everyone.

            1. neverjaunty*

              Like taking clients to the strip bar?

              Maybe I’m showing my age here, but this is exactly the kind of argument that used to get busted out to explain why it was OK to send male associates to golf with clients at courses that limited “ladies’ tee times”, or why the firm sponsored memberships at exclusive clubs that admitted men but not women as full members – it’s networking, it’s good for the company, we’re sorry that it isn’t available to everyone but that’s just how things are, maybe you can come up with some other way to get the same benefit?

              1. BananaPants*

                No. Some of the enjoyable events I’ve participated in on behalf of my company have included awards dinners for women in STEM, joining visiting suppliers for a nice dinner on the company dime, going back to my alma mater to collect resumes at the career fair, attending a trade show, and going to a networking breakfast. I’d love to be picked to go (with my spouse) to a gala later this year but haven’t gotten lucky in the ticket drawing in previous years.

                None of them involved strip clubs, exclusionary rounds of golf, or other unsavory activities.

                1. neverjaunty*

                  But that’s exactly the point – the OP isn’t describing an activity where work-related skills drive who’s selected, or where there’s a random ticket drawing. The issue here isn’t whether people are getting to do something fun related to work; it’s that the company is directly rewarding, via free PTO, an exclusionary activity.

                2. BananaPants*

                  But it’s not free PTO, they’re doing something during the workday on behalf of the company. PTO is paid time off, i.e. not having to do anything associated with work. This sporting event is doing something perceived as fun, while on the clock. The participants don’t get to go and do their own thing for the day.

                3. Anna*

                  No, the OP has made it pretty clear that the people organizing it kept it to themselves so they didn’t have to spend time with people they didn’t want to spend time with. That makes it a social event, not a work event, they did essentially get PTO to hang out with their friends.

                  I think Alison missed on this one.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  To make sure it’s not lost, I’ll say again that of course they shouldn’t be selecting people that way. (That’s what I wrote in the original post.) But as long as they’re not, I don’t have a problem with it.

            2. Amy G. Golly*

              To me, it makes a big difference whether or not it’s a true “obligation” undertaken for the benefit of the company. The way the LW has described the tournament (in the original letter, and in follow-up comments), there’s no networking, no client schmoozing, and no professional development opportunities. The only benefits to the company are bragging rights (for whatever those might be worth) and then the benefits in morale and team-bonding that will happen among the employees chosen for the team. (Benefits not available to the rest of the employees and the denial of which is actively causing bad feeling among the rest of the staff.)

              To me, the situation seems more analogous to the company arbitrarily choosing a group of employees to attend a paid, company-sponsored picnic for the day rather than the genuine networking and business-building events this tournament is being compared to, and that naturally come with some employees’ roles and not others.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Though, maybe they’re chosen because they’ve demonstrated baseball skills as well as an interest in the sport. Their play over the past couple of seasons was their try-out.

        So yeah, the organizers are picking and choosing, but it’s about the skill. If there were try-outs, these same people would probably make the cut.

        1. Anna*

          But they’ll never know if someone else would have made it because they limited only to a few specially chosen people they liked. This is a high school popularity contest if there ever was one.

    4. Cat*

      And there might not even be that many people who want to watch. Send off the grumblers, and then I’d be like “cool, the sports people are gone, who wants to talk about Hamilton.”

    5. INTP*

      Yeah, the team organizers are clearly the ultra-competitive type of people who aren’t going to allow this to be some relaxed team where even people who play badly can participate and have fun. Even if they’re forced to allow everyone to participate, they won’t make it fun for the less talented players. (Having flashbacks to middle school PE volleyball games now!)

      If this is a small company and the game is the only or nearly the only event where some people get out of the office all day with pay, I like the idea of letting others out to cheer, but only if other teams bring spectators as well. If there is a whole tournament and the LW’s company is the only one with spectators, it could be a bit odd, though everyone leaving early for a happy hour the players can join later would be nice. (If it’s a large company where it’s not uncommon for a specific team or people participating in a specific initiative or whatever to have a day out of the office, I don’t think it’s unfair for only the players to attend the game.)

    6. CC*

      I mostly agree with this, although I think there is a very heavy layer of “it depends” throughout. I play a team sport on a semi professional level, and team makeup can be extremely complicated, and factors like attitude and ability to work in a team environment are definite factors independent of talent and skill at performing major tasks of the sport.

      Additionally, I’ll second that if the sport has major practice requirements/game times, those also take time and effort and planning. They’re certainly very pleasant pieces of work, but there remains an obligation and a loss of flexibility in scheduling outside of work. Assuming this is something that does take place at a high level and require a high degree of commitment, I don’t think a day off to play ball is necessarily off-base. Which it shouldn’t be, because I’m assuming it’s softball, and many softball leagues don’t allow leading.

  3. Seal*

    #3 – In addition to everything Alison mentions, consider how it will look to your other employees if you don’t interview an internal candidate with similar position to the one that’s open. Nothing kills morale faster than thinking your employer doesn’t value their employees enough to consider them for promotions (which is what this sounds like).

    Besides, this woman may surprise you and knock her interview out of the park. If nothing else, it would give you a chance to express your concerns to her in person and see how she responds. Over the years I’ve seen too many people who look good on paper tank face-to-face interviews and vice versa to think that any candidate who at least meets the basic criteria for a job doesn’t deserve a closer look.

  4. Christopher Tracy*

    I like the response for letter #3, though I’m torn on it. I posted for an internal position last September after speaking to the hiring manager about it and getting the thumbs up from her that I should apply so we could discuss the role further. It would have been a role more closely aligned to what my degree is in than what I went through my company’s training program for, so I thought I had a pretty decent shot. Well, weeks went by with no word after I applied (and suffered the wrath of my now former manager to boot) and then I was emailed by the HR rep for the position telling me they were moving forward with other candidates. It stung and I was a little annoyed seeing as though I was now taking a ton of verbal abuse and gaslighting from the Boss from Hell for daring to post out, and none of this would have happened if the hiring manager had just said, “Eh – this position gets a ton of candidates who are very competitive, and since you haven’t worked in this function in six years, I don’t think you’d be the right fit.”

    But then when I applied to another internal position in October, in my previous division but on a different team, they interviewed me all the while knowing they weren’t going to hire me for the role because they didn’t want to piss off Boss from Hell (the hiring manager was her friend and lived a couple blocks from her). So that irritated me because they wasted my time.

    I like how my current division handled it. I hired the AVP (he was the hiring manager) the day after getting rejected for posting 2 expressing my interest in his open role, asked him to coffee, he upped it to a lunch chat with him and his boss, the Senior VP, and they both told me to hold off on applying for the role officially until they could crunch the numbers and get me a deal I’d be happy with. They did that the next day, I was promised a promotion and 10% raise, they told me to officially apply so we could loop HR in and make everything official, and eight days later I was hired and given everything they promised (though I didn’t officially start with them until January, but that’s another story and Boss from Hell’s fault). They didn’t waste my time or any external applicants time either. Once they knew I was interested, they pretty much stopped looking externally and didn’t bother bringing anyone else in to interview (and my official interview was a half hour conversation where I got to ask any other questions I didn’t get answered during the two hour lunch chat).

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      Should say “I emailed the AVP” in the third paragraph. Clearly I need to go to bed.

    2. Liz*

      Part of the reason I was torn enough about it to ask is because I have been an internal candidate before as well. At a previous position I interviewed for a few positions that I was later told I was never going to get. Not only did I feel they had wasted my time, I also got no feedback from my boss (who I was interviewing with). At least one time she flat out lied and told me they decided not to hire for the position when they did. I only found out I never had a shot from her boss when I left the company.
      Alison definitelybrought up some points that I hadn’t considered and I will make sure gets good feedback about our concerns with her, as well as trying to go into the interview with a more open mind.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        Ugh. No feedback sucks. Though I guess I would have preferred that as well instead of the BS feedback I got after being rejected for post 2. Boss from Hell’s friend had the nerve to tell me it was “real close, but ultimately, I went with someone who has slightly more experience than you.” Which would have been fine if it was true. The person they ended up hiring for the role, which would have been a lateral move for me, was another internal candidate from our corporate office who had never done our type of work before – she had been in a totally different function for years and would need to be trained. She started the week before I left for my new division, and I had to laugh because I knew her. One of my former coworkers knew her – did he think I wouldn’t figure out he lied? And former coworker, who had worked with her previously in the corporate office doing the job function newbie had previous performed, said, “That’s who they hired?! She’s notoriously slow at everything!” (The job requires a thirty day turnaround.)

        All I could do was smile. That’s what he gets for telling lies.

      2. Smithy*

        While I think the ‘no feedback’ thing is miserable – I would counter that having the chance to interview is a professional development opportunity. Whether it’s because the interview is for a position that would be someone’s first (i.e. first time in management) or just because someone’s been hired for a while and hasn’t actively been looking for a job – interviewing is a skill and nothing beats a “real life” opportunity to practice.

        Hearing no at any stage along the road is a bummer, but I would advocate that practicing interviewing is always a positive opportunity for a candidate.

  5. uh*

    #3 – As a potential internal candidate, don’t waste my time for no reason. I am an adult, and I have heard the word “no” before. I promise I won’t melt.

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      It’s not about “sparing” the internal employee’s feelings but setting a clear tone that upward mobility is given serious thought.

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        I think that could be addressed by skipping straight to the feedback portion of the advice. Instead of spending time on what your certain will be a fruitless interview, meet with the candidate and explain why you’re not interviewing this time and what she can do to become a better candidate next time.

        1. SophieChotek*

          This makes sense to me. I think if you truly know that internal candidate would never get hired for specific promotion, it does waste time for everyone. But skipping to the feedback and saying, 1) We got your application, we’re happy you see a career for yourself here, 2) we’re interested in seeing you grow and want to see you grow, 3) but here’s what we would need to see for you to be a serious contender…(Ideally, I suppose, candidate is asking boss all along how to improve for promotions or what they need to continue to grow in company/position, but maybe they have not, or not gotten feedback, or didn’t even realize they wanted a promotion until a job suddenly popped up.)

          If it’s a different department, though, then it might still make sense to interview (?).

          Wasn’t there someone else last week someone posted about how someone declared Person A would never get hired but then another person from a different department hired them and apparently works well with them? (i think was in regards to discussion of putting memos on files to not interview someone again.) The situation here is a bit different, but I could see where one department manager thinks a person doesn’t have what it takes to grow/get this specific position, but a slightly different position might be the right fit for them (under a different manager)

          1. Smithy*

            Having the chance to interview or not always reminds me of the Rooney rule in the NFL where whenever teams hire a head coach they’re required to interview X number of minority candidates. Whatever one may feel about that, one argument for the rule (old boys clubs aside) is that being the head coach of an NFL team is a very unique position where having multiple chances to interview likely makes every time you go in better and better.

            I’ve said this before, but I rank job interviewing right up there with any other professional development opportunity. Now if there’s an employee applying for every position under the sun, then I think a different interview makes sense – but as long as the applications are largely reasonable I really don’t see a justification to deny an interview.

      2. Smithy*

        I have to say, this is huge for me.

        When it comes to not even being asked for an interview, if the position would be changing roles/departments – then the message is that changing fields internally is either very very difficult or impossible. And if the position is within your own field/department – then again, it raises questions on whether upward mobility is possible.

        I had been told by my previous boss that he had been advocating for me to get promoted and then he left. His position was never posted (another issue all together) but as his title was two levels above me, I was never entirely expecting to replace him. However, he was replaced by an external candidate at the level I was told I would be promoted to. If we had both applied for the position and both interviewed and she had been chosen, I would have understood. But by never being given the chance to try or receive any feedback – I’ve been left with a very negative feeling on my position within the organization and possibility for mobility.

        I also strongly believe that having the opportunity to interview is always a bonus. Job interviewing, like most things in life, is a skill. And when you’ve had a position for a few years, those skills have a chance to rust over. I for someone in a very large organization who may possibly going in for lots of internal interviews – I can see that becoming tedious if there’s no hope of being hired (I used to be a research assistant in a hospital, and could easily see someone in such a position). But outside of such circumstance, being denied such an opportunity in my book is similar to being denied professional development opportunities.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        And yet, if you make a habit of interviewing internal candidates but never promoting them, that sets a tone as well.

      4. INTP*

        But the “tone” they’re setting is 100% BS if they know they aren’t going to hire the candidate.

        Courtesy interviews aren’t “serious thought” and when people nail their interviews and still don’t move forward in the process, the message is going to be just as clear as if they weren’t chosen for interviews in the first place, and far more demoralizing.

        If OP would be willing to hire the candidate if the candidate really shines in the interview, then the interview is worth doing. If the OP has already chosen not to hire the candidate period, the interview is a waste of everyone’s time.

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          + 1 to you and Rusty Shackelford. I nailed my interview for the second posting I applied to (the panel told me so), and yet, when I was passed over for someone with less experience, I was not at all convinced upward mobility in my division was possible. Demoralizing is the perfect word to describe the feeling I had afterwards, and I was all too eager to leave shortly thereafter.

          1. Roxanne*

            Demoralizing is right. I was invited to interview for an opening for a permanent administrative job where I was temping and I thought I did okay in the interview. They chose an external candidate as she “had more executive experience” than I did, despite my having been there eight months and very familiar with the work, staff and the executives. The “more experienced” person lasted two days, citing it was too much work for her to handle (plus the commute).

            I held on to a faint hope that I still had a chance. Nope. They reinterviewed, but I was not among them, and they hired a woman who was older than me…and could barely navigate Windows XP and Office 2003 much less the upgrade to 7 and 2007. Her previous job’s manager loved paper and pencil. And I had to train her as the person she was replacing had already left. We had to train her three times to enter her time sheet.

            These were the people more “experienced” than me. While I can accept that my personality that I may not have been perceived as a good fit for them, it was hard to swallow that my lack of experience was the final issue. I had had no negative feedback prior to the interview and HR invited me afterwards to explore “what’s preventing you from being hired.”

            I was so demoralized that I bust a gut trying to prove myself at my next temp contract…all the while trying to be more likable.

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              Ugh. That’s terrible. Well, it sounds like it blew up in their faces, so take comfort in that :)

    2. Cordelia Naismith*

      I don’t know. As long as they haven’t already made up their minds to hire Candidate X, I think it makes sense to at least interview internal candidates, even if they think they probably won’t hire you. As long as there is even a little bit of a chance, that is. You never know — you might blow them away in the interview and end up getting the job unexpectedly!

      However, if they are 100% sure they are not going to hire you, then I agree — having the interview only wastes everybody’s time. But how often is anything in a hiring situation ever 100%?

      1. doreen*

        I don’t think it’s that uncommon with internal candidates. Most of the jobs at my employer are only open to internal candidates and it would surprise me if I were to get a candidate list without at least one person who I would never choose. Most of the pool is local ( people from Buffalo don’t generally apply for positions in NYC) and my own career path means I’ve worked with most of the likely applicants. I don’t usually know who I’m going to pick, but it’s pretty common to know who I won’t pick.

  6. GreenTeaPot*

    I was hired as CEO of an NPO 10 years ago. Almost immediately a key staffer – who had applied for the job but was not interviewed – resigned. Many years later, when I gave notice, two staffers left for the same reason. One of them would have made an excellent replacement.

    1. Pwyll*

      Anecdotally, it seems to me a lot of non-profits go through this issue. Boards of Directors IMO seem to think an Executive Director departure is a great time to “bring in new energy and ideas,” as if their internal candidates couldn’t possibly come up with anything new.

      1. voyager1*

        People still leave even when interviewed and don’t get the promotion. If you have an internal applicant you reject just assume they are going to leave.

      2. neverjaunty*

        It’s the unicorn thing, right? Hire someone from outside and they will fix all our dysfunction for us!

  7. Ellie H.*

    #1: It strikes me as pretty unfair that people who qualify for a competitive sports team are given an extra paid day off. I know life isn’t fair and workplaces can do whatever they want, but it seems wrong that the perk of an extra paid day off for a fun activity is handed out based on athletic ability rather than performance, how long you’ve been at the company, job type or what you negotiated etc. I don’t understand how there is a difference from giving this privilege (it sounds like a privilege rather than an obligation to play in this tournament, bc LW#1 describes that a lot of people would have loved to participate but didn’t or couldn’t make the team) based on athletic ability rather than just who the organizers want to spend time with. I wouldn’t think it was a problem if it were just a selective team (not super inclusive, but whatever, it sounds like there are other non-traditional teams anyone can participate in) but again the paid day off to do an activity others would want to that is fundamentally given based on athletic merit not a work-related reason seems wrong. I know it’s a paid day off for the sports event, not to do whatever you like with but it seems different than saying some people can get paid to go to a conference or whatever because that is work related. I think the idea of offering the same paid day to people who want to participate in some other way (cheering at this thing, maybe a different sports day for non-tryout teams or something) could be a good solution that would retain the spirit of the thing but be inclusive of all who wish to participate.

    1. Dangerfield*

      Yeah, that would be a bit of a morale killer for me. I’m never going to make the team because a childhood disability has left me as basically the least athletic person on earth. Could you have the team, and then the same number of people who didn’t make the team (maybe drawn at random, and a record kept so they can’t go twice in a row) to go along and cheer or watch?

      1. Pwyll*

        This is what my old firm did. I have absolutely zero interest in playing sports, but I’m quite happy to cheer the team on and spend some time outdoors (especially with beer.)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I would hate this, because I have zero interest in either and so would be stuck at my desk. If the company culture is that into sports, I probably wouldn’t fit in anyway.

          Now if I were all alone in the office and could blast my music while everyone was gone, then I probably wouldn’t mind working. :}

          1. Pwyll*

            Heh. Touche.

            I guess in my mind this is fine so long as there are other types of opportunities for non-sporty people to participate in marketing events (because these sports things are usually done as a way to get the company’s name out there). Are there other volunteer events, professional events, conferences, etc. etc. that get the company’s name out there and people can opt to participate in (on paid time)? If so, no problem. If the ONLY way to get paid time off doing arguably company-promoting activities is to play baseball, then I think we’ve got a problem.

      2. LD*

        I like the idea of a random drawing and I think asking people to sign up if they want to be included would be a good way to handle it. That way you don’t include people who would find it uncomfortable, boring, or unpleasant in any way; only those who enter would be included in the drawing. I worked at a company that had a box at one of the major sports venues and twice a year they held a drawing. They handled it by having anyone who wanted to go sign up and those employees names were included in the drawing for tickets and a spot for them and a guest. I won one year and it was great fun! But I don’t think I’d register to go sit in a ballpark to watch an all day tournament just for a day out of the office and a free hotdog. I’d pay to not to have to go to this kind of event.

    2. Ashloo*

      Completely agree. The exclusivity of the team really doesn’t bother me since it’s one of many company teams and there’s no pressure to participate presumably, but the free PTO would totally irk me. I’d never even try out, but I think anyone who wants to go watch the game should get the same PTO perk. Or else, participants know in advance that they will be required to use PTO for the game.

  8. Chris*

    With number 3, I would err on the side of interviewing the internal applicant regardless. That is, assuming it’s a reasonable application (a 6 month-hire entry level person applying to be senior management, obviously not). I worked for an organization that was constantly raving about the staff, and how we were their real assets, etc. Yet… for example, I applied for DOZENS of jobs that were obvious next steps (and even the next step I was overqualified for). Yet not a single bite in three years.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m some golden child. But this experience was one many of my coworkers experienced as well. And then the next week, we’d read about a new external hire filling that position in the employee newsletter. It fostered a TON of resentment and disgust with the administration.

    I did get one interview internally (yes, one total), which I had a good interview for. I did not get the position (which is fine), but when I asked for feedback, I was cheerily told “Oh, we just had to choose someone. But you came in second!” Not sure why HR people think that means jack diddily to me, but whatever. Please, DO NOT give feedback like that. If you interview this internal, give them real feedback. Why did they not get the position? If it’s experience, presentation, communication… LET THEM KNOW. Otherwise it just sits there and simmers.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is a big deal. One company I worked for had no clue how the rumor mill was going to kill the company’s ability to function. A huge part of the stories that went around was how hiring decisions were made. We were routinely told, “Oh do not apply for this or that because THEY have already decided who to hire.” Who is THEY? Not sure but who ever it was had total freedom to sink the company, according to the rumor mill. In reality, the rumor mill itself was going to sink the company.

      Be clear. Let people know where they stand and why. Don’t waste people’s time and energy. Take it for granted that there is a company rumor mill; to assume there is not a rumor mill is naive at best.

    2. Recruit-o-Rama*

      I would counter that applying for dozens of jobs, whether internal or external, is not necessarily good optics.

    3. AMT*

      A lot of companies just don’t care about retaining internal employees. My wife’s workplace sees tons of employees quitting for other jobs, only to come back a year later in order to get hired at the external applicant pay rate. People routinely have to threaten to leave in order to get a raise or promotion. There’s no way that’s a good strategy for retaining competent employees.

    4. Smithy*

      I strongly agree with this. Early in my career I worked in a large research hospital, and applied for lots of research assistant type jobs (which would have been a career change for me from clinical to research). As an internal candidate, I was initially interviewed by the HR of the research department and then specifically encouraged on which positions to apply for and subsequently interview for. The process made me feel very good and valued, and even though some interviews didn’t work out – none of those experiences felt like a waste of time and I did eventually get hired.

      On the other side, where I am now the hiring and promotion process is completely opaque which feeds into a heavy gossip mill.

    5. KarenD*

      I would also err on the side of granting the interview because you never know what you are going to learn about the would-be candidate.

      I’m thinking of one particular situation several years ago where, on its face, the applicant was in no way qualified for the spot she was reaching for, which would involve a move from a remote office to HQ. She didn’t have enough experience and her work product was not up to the expected standards; in addition, her boss (who was generally well-liked though he didn’t interact with the main office much) didn’t have much good to say about her (not much bad either, he was pretty taciturn), and in a few short fill-in stints at the main office she hadn’t impressed. But they gave her an interview anyway.

      Two things came out of that: She was clearly a high-energy person who was a bad fit for the sleepy little outpost where she was stationed. And she spent a good amount of time in the interview talking about her perception that the company needed to focus more on social media (at the time, the company’s online strategy began and ended with having a decent website. We couldn’t even access Facebook or MySpace from a work computer.) She came armed with examples of companies that were doing cool stuff on social media and strategies about how, if she got the new job, she would use Facebook, etc. for outreach.

      She didn’t get the job she was after (and she was pretty vocally discontented about this, which didn’t help her) but she did get some of our managers thinking. They looked at the examples she provided and realized they were actually pretty cool. With the air that they were conveying a consolation prize, she was given the “side job” of spearheading social-media engagement among her colleagues.

      Well, I’m pretty sure we can all guess how that story turned out. After establishing a respectable bulkhead at our company, she leaped into a series of jobs across the industry that established her as a forward-thinking, innovative “second-waver” in the use of social media. So it turned out we had a star – and she was just stuck in the wrong constellation. Obviously, this is a pretty rare occurrence, but there’s always the possibility that you might find hidden talents or someone who is simply in the wrong position.

  9. Cat H UK*

    I remember I was contracting on a three monthly basis and it had been renewed twice previously. I applied for the permanent version of the job I was doing as a contractor and got an interview. After that interview I got a meeting request about the job. They wanted to tell me to my face that I didn’t get the job! They didn’t even offer feedback, I had to drag it out of them (apparently I didn’t have the experience they were looking for). Then they had the audacity to extend my contract again! I was so embarrassed.
    I guess the point of my story is that I was annoyed that they had to tell me to my face and see my reaction. Obviously I was upset about it and I think it’s a mean way of going about it!

    1. Blue Anne*

      I think it’s usually considered a professional courtesy to give this type of news in person.

      1. Cat H UK*

        Hmm, I’ve not come across that before – but from the interviewee side of things, it really sucked to not be able to deal with it on my own without two people staring at me!

        1. Beezus*

          I have always gotten it in person, except for one time when I was sick the day they wanted to publicly announce the hire, and then I got a phone call at home so I didn’t hear it from elsewhere first (and I was mad about the timing then, but the hiring manager made it up to me later, and the person he hired was truly amazing, so I don’t hold any grudges over it).

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Maybe I am old, but I think it should be done in person also. However in Cat’s story here it seems like they had not prepared for the conversation as the delivery was VERY poor.
        Difficult conversations need prep time, unless you have been doing these types of convos for years and know how to handle the conversation. In times that I have had to fire someone or tell them there was no work, I spent quiet time at home thinking through what I would say and the types of questions they might ask. It does not take long to do this, but you have to collect your thoughts before starting the conversation.

        1. Cat H UK*

          Possibly this!
          When they told me I was out of the running they just kind of stared for a bit. I said OK – fair enough, and there was a very long silence where they just stared at me! Very odd!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Sounds to me like you were speaking to someone who did not know how to do THEIR job– I hope that framing it this way makes it look a little different for you.
            That sucks that happened to you.
            Back when my cousin and I were in our early 30s, she had a job managing and she had to fire someone. First time ever and none of her bosses seemed to be helping her. She called me and we tossed around some ideas. She got to hear herself say things out loud by talking to me. In the end she landed on telling the person that the field was just not her gig. She explained the job involved a lot of science and a lot of math. (This is where the errors were.) Then she went on to explain, “There is something out there you are great at. I probably suck at it and I will end up paying you to do it for me.” Maybe she spent an hour talking to the young woman, but it made a difference. Before she left the woman thanked my cousin for taking the time to explain all this stuff.

            It showed the woman that she still had value as a person. And that is why my cousin called me. She said she did not want to send someone on their way in a shell-shocked state of mind. She wanted them to think about regrouping and trying again with something different. In order to accomplish this, it takes thought and, sometimes, talking it over with others.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Using up a contractor’s time (which you are otherwise paying for) in order for them to come to your site and learn they didn’t get a job doesn’t sound particularly courteous to me.

  10. Random Lurker*

    #1 – I once worked in an office that had a few sports teams. Like your letter, it was open to all, but there was an exclusive team where some serious bragging rights were on the line. I can’t remember if they had a day off, as I was no where good enough to compete on that team. But what we did was we had an office wide celebration after their tournament/season/whatever. We brought in pizza, cookies, beer, and had a social hour starting at 2pm one afternoon. It seems to have built morale for the people who weren’t going to participate in sports regardless, elite or otherwise.

  11. Not an IT Guy*

    #3 – My company has a policy to interview all internal candidates, regardless of whether or not they are qualified (they call it doing their “due diligence”). I don’t necessarily agree with this policy, after all why waste someone’s time if you are not going to hire them? Of course this pretty much stems from the harsh feedback I received the last time I applied for an internal position.

    #5 – This is more or less a form letter sent because the contact information is still in the database, I’ve received similar emails before.

  12. Joseph*

    #2 – It’s not really common to include exact details beyond the salary and PTO.

    An offer letter will commonly list off benefits (after all, they want you to be excited to accept!), but it’s typically done with a completely generic, no details statement like “Additional benefits include participation in our company healthcare plan managed by HealthCo, profit sharing, and participation in the 401k program.”

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I curious what management feels about changing benefits shortly after starting.

      The week I started, yes literally my first week, several benefits were rolled back. The total additional compensation in these perks/health benefits/401 K match changes was over $5,000. I was pretty pissed! It felt like the company purposely lied to me about benefits, knowing they were about to make serious cuts to them, in order to get me in the door cheaper.

      1. Hlyssande*

        That would make me furious as well, especially since the perks/health benefits/401k would be a large factor in my decision to take the job.

      2. Joseph*

        That would really irritate me as well.

        I would say though, that there’s a difference between your scenario where they undoubtedly KNEW the changes were coming and mislead you about them (and, given the way open enrollment works, had possibly even already informed employees about the changes!) and how I’m interpreting OP’s post.

        OP’s wording about “several changes over the year” sounds like just the usual modifications companies make as things go along:
        >In January our insurer stuck us with higher out-of-pocket maximum on the health care.
        >In June, we modified the 401k options available.
        >In July, we had an issue where everybody wanted a long weekend for Fourth of July, so we revised the PTO rules to require approval and only allow 2 people on vacation at a time – making it hard to take high-demand days like Christmas Eve or the day before Thanksgiving.
        >In October, we talked to insurer more about the health care plan and negotiated that individuals could keep the current plan or select an alternate with a lower out-of-pocket-maximum but higher regular premiums.

        Maybe on balance, all of those changes end up summing out as a net negative, but it’s not intentionally misleading OP.

        1. OP2*

          Hey, I’m the letter writer. This is right, the changes were spread out over time, and I definitely do not think they were announced with ill intent (just to get people to sign on). It sounds like this if pretty normal for how companies work.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          2. My contract of employment has an appendix with the details of my remuneration and benefits, but all other details are included in the company handbook. Every so often the handbook gets updated, and we are informed of this.

  13. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

    #1 I”m curious if anyone has ever had an office sports team that DIDN’T cause more problems then it solved.

    My experience with office sports team have been thus:

    > Fat people are never allowed on the team. On the rare chance they do make the team, they get benched.
    > Management on these teams = perceived favoritism.
    >Management on these teams = your boss and the new guy are suddenly BFFs because OMigosh that game!
    >Your whole team is on office sports team but you can’t because injury/disability/not interested/life conflicts? “Not a team player” and “Needs to connect with coworkers” suddenly rears it ugly head on your performance reviews.

    Seriously can’t think of a singe corporate team that did not have these problems.

    1. Brett*

      Well, at least job we had a boxing and mma team where we went through try outs, qualifiers, and a final competition in a normally sold out 20k seat arena. I’ve heard the event has raised over $4M for charity to date.

      I think there were some issues of people who competed getting workplace favoritism, but the other issues did not really come up. Probably helped that people who were closer to ringers (pro or ex-pro mma fighters or boxers, div 1 wrestlers, etc) were disqualified from competing (but could help people train). A few people were injured in the events over the years, but no one seriously (having very good professional referees helps).

      When making the team involves being a in a boxing or mma fight against someone else with serious training, I’m not sure people without a competitive level of ability were that concerned with not making the team. And I think maybe 4 people qualified for the major event out of 2,000+ employees, so not participating was not much of an issue.
      Meanwhile, lots of people got into supporting the qualifiers and rooting on the team.

      1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

        Management favoritism = issue. You provided an example upholding my comment. That every workplace sports event has at least one of these issues.

        1. Brett*

          Ah, I thought you meant all of those were recurring issues.
          I’m not sure the favoritism though was any more than you would see for other employees who participated in major fundraising event. My co-worker organized an annual fundraising event that brought in several hundred thousand for charity, and he definitely received very significant favoritism for that.

          1. Zillah*

            Without more information, that sounds more like good performance being rewarded, not favoritism. Treating employees differently doesn’t automatically amount to favoritism.

            1. Anna*

              Noooo…Not unless organizing the major charity event was directly related to their job. If not, then it is by definition favoritism.

        2. JM in England*

          I’ve an example of management favouritism too. A OldJob, two coworkers at my level were interviewing for a position at the next level. One candidate played in the company soccer team alongside the department manager. No prizes for guessing who got the job!!

          At this company in general, I noticed a pattern of those who kept getting the perks & promotions were both pally with the aforementioned manager and played sports…………..

        1. Brett*

          A mix across the organization. Mostly positions that would be considered blue collar, but certainly plenty of white collar positions, including quite a few of the people who competed.
          (The competitors were mostly blue collar, because they were the younger members of the organizations just by nature of the type of competition. But some of the older white collar workers made it through too.)

      2. Busytrap*

        I think I would support pretty much any event where the odds are good I might get to see a member of the BTP get punched in the face, even if it meant I didn’t get picked for the team. ;) But maybe I’m just naturally violent?

    2. Case of the Mondays*

      The event that I am familiar with is police versus fire hockey. It is a huge fundraiser for the local children’s hospital and makes a lot of money. The players are given superstar status but that is part of the fun of it. It’s a little different though because each department that participates sends 1-3 players. So, it’s not like you have 12 people from one department on a team and the rest are “left out.” But, they rent out a professional arena, have a professional announcer, the players are given cards to give out to kids, they get fancy uniforms and locally it is a big deal. It doesn’t seem weird to me though because it’s kind of like going to a Division I college. You have some kids that are famous athletes and also students. The players don’t get much special treatment here except some leniency on scheduling. They still work the same hours as their peers but they aren’t scheduled for shifts that conflict with the game/practice. There are huge bragging rights and you want to do your department proud if you are on the team. They also get professional coaches and the games are amazing to watch. They have real skill and it’s cool to see your “hometown heros” on the ice.

      Part of my point is, if public service jobs can do this than private companies surely can. Public service is usually held to a higher standard due to tax payer money and union regulations. But, I’m fairly certain that everything for the event I describe above is donated or fundraised and no tax money is used on it. The players that participate work their butts off fundraising. It’s basically a second job and they deserve the praise that they get for it.

    3. Oryx*

      Mine does and it doesn’t seem to cause any issues. Anyone can sign up for any of the activities and they have a wide variety, including things like skee ball and bowling, to appeal to a range of interests and abilities.

    4. Roscoe*

      I’ve been at a lot of jobs with workplace sports teams, and there has never been the issues you described (not saying I don’t believe they happen, but I’ve never seen that). What has happened

      – You get to know people you don’t interact with on a regular basis, so you work better when you do see them.
      – You get to know your immediate co-workers in a different light. Turns out super uptight Jane can be really fun
      – You may actually have fun

      There are things that I feel like people mainly have problems with. First, anything that is extra face time with management outside of work, people find unfair. No matter if anyone has the option to do it, they just don’t like that people are getting something “extra”. Also, a lot of people had such bad PE experience growing up, that they have an attitude about people who play sports and how they will be treated if they aren’t good (again, not saying it never happens, but I don’t think it happens nearly as often as people like to portray it).

      1. CC*

        I’ve also found it a good way to make yourself much more approachable and trustworthy to more junior employees in an organization, since it’s a lot easier to approach the jolly guy on 1st base than it is to approach the senior engineer on a project. One of the younger engineers on a project approached me after a game to talk about how to raise the questions of increased rates with a client and such – I don’t think he would have felt as free to bring it up if we hadn’t played on a team together.

    5. Spondee*

      I’ve worked at 3 offices with 4 sports teams (softball, soccer, basketball, and racing) and the only one that caused an issue was the racing team. For the other 3, anyone could participate at any time in any way (so if you were only available to play in 1 game, then you were on the team for that game. If you just wanted to just get drinks afterwards, that was cool, too.)

      The racing team was different because no one knew how the participants were chosen, and when people started asking how they could join the team, they were told that it didn’t exist. So who paid for your uniforms and sent your picture to the company newsletter? I happened to write the company newsletter and got a lot of hurt/angry emails about that one.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Am shaking my head. Is anyone doing any real work in this place? Although, I am not a sports person, I do understand that no one works every minute of the day. I don’t care what the distraction is really, but if no one is focused on the job I would find that concerning and the nature of the distraction would be secondary for me.

  14. Brett*

    #1 It is very easy to view this as a day off for the people who qualify for the team, but when I did high level competitive sports, a competition day was never something I would have viewed as a day off.
    (Though I question how competitive this actually is if there is free food and beer involved, which also make me wonder how much athletic ability really matters in picking the team.)

    1. Joseph*

      You might be right that it’s physically demanding and a a high stress environment to compete at a high level. However, the guy who’s sitting in his office is going to see it as “Brett got a paid day off to go drink beer, eat hot dogs, and play games…while I’m sitting here doing actual work.” And there’s really nothing you could say to change his mind.

      1. Brett*

        Well, you could actually propagate information about what the people are doing to compete. For the event I mentioned above, there was normally a promotional video released internally every year about the people who qualified. They were all doing several hundred hours of off-the-clock training and practicing to compete, and most people in the org were aware of this.

      2. Murphy*

        And I’d argue that if the competitors are drinking beer and eating hotdogs while playing the game, it’s probably not so high-stress and competitive. Hard to be on point when you’re sloshing around in cheep beer and ballpark hotdogs.

    2. Chinook*

      “Though I question how competitive this actually is if there is free food and beer involved”

      Maybe it is a Canadian thing, but there are two sports – slo-pitch (grass in the infield allows for beer cans to stay up) and curling both involve drinking while competing. True, those who often win are less likely to be drinking while competing, but it is part of the sport’s culture (to the point that Olympic curlers feel the need to point out that they don’t do this at high level tournaments). These are also sports that are often done within companies with weekend curling bonspiels and slo-pitch tournaments being an enjoyable way to get to know your co-workers. Then again, they are most common in “company towns,” so they are also seen as a good way to get to know your neighbours.

      1. Murphy*

        But I don’t think anyone would argue that a slo-pitch team is the height of competitive, stress-inducing sports. Hell, I’m a big ol’ out of shape fatty and even I play slo-pitch. :)

        1. Chinook*

          “But I don’t think anyone would argue that a slo-pitch team is the height of competitive, stress-inducing sports. ”

          I come from the home of the “biggest slo-pitch tournament on the planet” and would disagree. While there are teams which are low key and drink beer on the field, there are definitely others that are highly competitive and are playing for money and prestige (the local sawmill sponsors and the prize is nothing to sneeze at, though much less when split between all the team members).

      1. E, F and G*

        I was thinking human curling just because I like imagining a team of ultra serious competitors pushing each other on chairs/tubes/large block of ice.

  15. Brett*

    #3 Look at the Rooney rule in the NFL. (Requires every team interviewing for a head coach or head of football operations to interview at least one minority candidate.)

    Despite the fact that it sometimes requires teams to interview candidates who will not get the job (especially in the early days), there is no doubt that the Rooney rule significantly increased the number of minority coaches and the number of minority coaches in high positions. It is not a perfect rule, but the success it has had points to the benefit gained by just interviewing, even for a position that you are not prepared for. (And the benefits to the interviewer, to be exposed to candidates they would otherwise have passed over.)

  16. Audiophile*

    #3 – I was working at a large financial corporation for an outside company. I had a cooperate email address and was encouraged to apply for in-house positions, since having an email supposedly meant cutting through some of the red tape. I was never interviewed at all and submitted at least six applications, if not more. In more than one case, I received personalized rejections because the recruiter figured out that I worked there and that since I sat at the front lobby, they’d see me pretty regularly.

  17. baseballfan*

    #5 – What do you have to lose? A recruiter contacted you, so respond (or don’t) based on whether you think something will come of it.

    I don’t understand where a bridge was burned. Years ago you reached out to these people, got little to no response, and so you moved on. I’ve been in that situation myself plenty of times. It’s a new day.

  18. baseballfan*

    Sorry, should have put these in one comment…

    #3 – I see no reason not to interview this person. She’s applied, you say it’s “unlikely” she will get the position – but unlikely doesn’t mean absolutely not. You might be surprised at her vs. the other candidates. And regardless it’s a feedback and coaching opportunity.

    Recently I had two job interviews in one week and the first one offered me a job immediately after the interview, with the second interview (with the different company) still a few days away. I almost canceled the second one, because I was very sure it wouldn’t be my preferred offer if I was lucky enough to get offers from both, but I decided if it was me, I’d prefer the candidate at least hear what I had to say.

    1. fposte*

      Interviews do cost, though, so that has to be weighed against the value of the interview. I still think there’s merit in leaning toward interviewing internal candidates, but the labor hours for prep and interviewing matter too.

      1. baseballfan*

        Yes of course – and actually when I was considering whether to take that interview with the second company, I considered that. Either option has its drawbacks – either I waste their time with an interview unlikely to go anywhere, or I tell them I’m not interested in even hearing them out. I ended up going through with the interview by putting myself in their shoes – If I was the hiring manager, I would want to have the opportunity to evaluate, rather than canceling altogether, assuming of course the candidate is reasonably qualified.

    2. newlyhr*

      I tend to support interviewing an internal candidate, provided that you do proper follow up. Explaining why they didn’t get the job, AND OFFERING DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES to help them become better qualified can be a great outcome. We make sure we have some people on our interview panels who do not know the internal candidate so that we can mitigate internal bias–pro or con–about the candidate. We offer a debrief to all internal candidates as well as a development plan to help them become more competitive the next time. We see the ‘cost of the interview’ as part of the cost of the development plan for that candidate.

  19. Annoyed*

    #3 I’m In the camp of don’t waste the applicants time if you know you won’t hire them. I applied for an internal position once at a place that was very big on internal promotions. I had interviews with this manager previously for a different position that I didn’t get, but I felt I had a very fair shot at it. This time, I didn’t hear anything for a while, and one day I saw the team interviewing someone. So I emailed the hiring manager just asking what was up with the position and my application. She replied back almost immediately with a meeting request for an interview the next day. I did the interview and it was fine.

    About two weeks later I still hadn’t heard anything, and I was introduced to thee person they hired when they were showing her around on her first day. I played dumb and emailed the hiring manager asking what the status of the position was. Clearly she forgot to set up a follow-up to tell me I didn’t get. she replied back setting up a meeting for the next day, where she told me I didn’t get it. But it was very clear I was never given any real consideration and she only interviewed me because she had to. I would much rather have just been told I wasn’t qualified up front and not gone through the charade.

  20. Pwyll*

    #5 This has literally been my experience with every single temporary firm I’ve ever worked with. I found their outrageously long interviews (mostly due to the wait), the assembly line mentality and their mountains of paperwork to be frankly off putting. I know they have their place, and I’ve used them on the employer-side many times, but I still have a pretty negative view of most of them due to their treatment of candidates. (Talking about the administrative role ones, I haven’t worked with any for other types of roles.)

    To this day, I’ll receive voice messages from a temporary firm I signed up with in 2004 about once per year. They’re almost always looking for data entry in my hometown it seems. One of the recruiters even pressed me for why I wasn’t interested in updating my resume with them when I told them they could remove me from their database (she was incredulous that I wasn’t interested in being considered for data entry when I said I was now living 500 miles away and was now an Attorney.)

    So I think this behavior is par for the course. That said, if you’re interested in the work they do it certainly doesn’t hurt to chat with them about positions every so often. Who knows, you may get offered something interesting?

  21. Former Computer Professional*

    I will bet piles of cash that #5 is a form letter. I get these from time to time for computer jobs, even though I’ve been out of the field for years and have removed my info from all the old job-finding websites.

    They’re just dumping out an ancient database to fish for a lead.

    Also, to nitpick: The form used “awhile” incorrectly. While is a noun (think of it as a time period (a month, year, etc.) and awhile is an adverb. “Awhile” basically means “for a while.”

    When the form says “It’s been awhile” they’re saying “It’s been for a while.”

    Nitpick over. :)

  22. newlyhr*

    TEMP AGENCIES: One thing I think they can do better is to set more realistic expectations about when and how they will communicate with candidates. I worked at one for a long time. We used to tell people that they would not hear from us unless we had a bona fide job possibility for them, that we did not spend our time calling them or emailing them to tell them we didn’t have work for them. Our time was better spent calling employers and trying to find work for them. We made it clear we were not job search coaches, career counselors, resume writers, or unemployment therapists. Being direct but kind about setting these expectations seemed to work well. We were very successful and seemed to have a good relationship with candidates and employers alike.

    I don’t see that the letter writer has any reason to feel offended by the staffing company. Respond or don’t respond, that is the letter writer’s choice, but don’t waste time being offended by something you think should have happened 9 years ago. It was a tough time in the industry then and nobody was hiring. The fact that they didn’t call you doesn’t mean they didn’t think you were a good candidate–it meant they didn’t’ have any work to offer you. And…the staffing person might have been sick when you showed up. And if you ever wonder about why something is or is not happening–ASK!

  23. Slippy*

    #5 This sounds like they are just trying to refresh/update their old resumes, and I seriously doubt there is a job available. Why would they try to a fit a position with a 9-year-old resume? Before sending in your resume to be database/marketing fodder it might be a good idea to ask them what they have available since in their letter they said they have positions available not whether any match to you.

  24. Another perspective*

    #1 These folks are not getting a day off. They are having an unusual workday. The purpose of an industry-wide competition is to show that your company is a winner, maybe by actually winning, but also by looking like a fun, organized, and competitive place to work. This is about positioning your company within the industry and attracting strong employees to your organization. It’s a PR event, and I would venture to say that that is where the costs of it fall on the annual budget.

    We send employees to annual conference and pay for them to be there the whole week if they are presenting. There is no direct gain for our organization when they present, and in fact there is cost (beyond the trip) in that the prep for those presentations often happens on work time. Why do only some employees get to have this perk? Because they are good presenters (even though presenting is not their job) and because it is good PR for the organization. When someone from our organization presents on current topics, we demonstrate that we are an organization that is keeping up with (and sometimes ahead of) the industry.

    Is it fair? Not if your version of fairness states that everyone gets treated the same. In the work world, though, people who bring value to the company through whatever means (great work, great contacts, and occasionally even athletic prowess) get rewarded with perks. It is annoying that athletic prowess might bring perks in a field unrelated to athletics, but we’re talking about getting to go to a one-day tournament, not getting a corner office and a company car.

    My suggestion to you would be to get behind supporting your team. They are representing your organization, and if they do not do well, they will come home feeling beaten and probably embarrassed. The company’s pride is on the line when they play. Personally, I would rather be at my desk at the office than have that pressure!

    1. pomme de terre*

      Your response is awesome — I totally agree! Tournament Day isn’t PTO. It’s a promotional event. Even if you enjoy the day, you have to figure out how to get a week’s worth of work into four days if you go.

      Some firms can have a bias towards sport-y pursuits, though, and should balance them with non-sport-y things like a trivia team.

      1. Ultraviolet*

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that not everyone can participate in this particular weird workday. But if this is the only weird workday opportunity that regularly arises, or if all the opportunities require some athletic ability, that’s starting to feel inaccessible and unfair to me. And if all the opportunities are invitation-only, with invitations reserved for people the organizers like hanging out with, there will be a lot of resentment and the chance of repeatedly excluding certain people.

    2. Roscoe*

      Hit the nail on the head. People are often rewarded for things that don’t have to do with their day to day work. That is life. People have this weird feeling that everyone must always have the same things given to them.

      1. Andrea Larsen*

        OP here, the problem isn’t that we aren’t behind the team. The problem is about how the members of the team were chosen – no try outs, just hand-picked friends of the organizers who are really good at making teapots. Our company is only 100 people so the fact that 15 people were tapped (including the sister of one of the organizers) left 85 people wondering why they were covering for those 15 when they would have liked the chance to be one of those 15.
        I am loving reading the replies and suggestions – both for how to handle the team next year and for offering up something to others that would be fulfilling for them.

        1. Muriel Heslop*

          This whole situation has made me feel much better about how I handle eighth grade volleyball tryouts. Transparency is key!

    3. Muriel Heslop*

      I have a sign on the front of my desk that reads, “FAIR does not mean EQUAL.”

      (I also have a sign on my desk that reads, “Is your name on your paper?” so take that for what it’s worth.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I honestly don’t get this. I guess that is where my heal dragging comes from. Why does it matter if Bob from X company can hit a home run and Sue from Y company can’t? It does not have anything to do with building teapots. Sue could be the best teapot builder in the industry. Do people say, “I have to join Teapot Company X because Bob can really hit it out of the park.”? I would think most people would want to work with Sue regardless of how well she played baseball.
      The dots just don’t connect for me I guess. If you are teapot company then your pride should be in your teapots. If losing a game causes company pride to fall apart, then it sounds like company pride is fragile to begin with.
      Now if it were a teapot contest with teapot companies, this all would make sense to me.

  25. Hlyssande*

    #5 – I agree with you that it’s weird that they somehow got your current email address when it’s not the one you registered with. I think I would be tempted to ask them how they got it, and let their answer help me decide whether or not to work with them again.

  26. Newish Reader*

    #3 – I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. I think it’s best to carefully consider the internal candidate’s strengths and weaknesses against the position being interviewed for, just as you would any other candidate. One strength could be that the person already works for the company and (theoretically) has an understanding of the company and some aspect of the position. But if there are weaknesses in the application materials (unprofessional cover letter, etc.), don’t overlook those when considering whether or not to interview. If you feel the person really doesn’t meet enough of the job qualifications to ever be hired, don’t waste anyone’s time with an interview.

    One big double-edged sword for internal candidates is that they are a known quantity to the interviewers and hiring manager, even if just by reputation. That has both helped and hindered me over the years as I’ve moved around to different offices within the same company. I’ve had managers hire me based on my reputation within the company and I’ve had managers choose not to hire me because they knew my work style and personality and felt it wouldn’t mesh with their office and current staff.

    I’d applied for numerous jobs within my company over the years and haven’t always received an interview. In those cases, I figured that if the interviewers were confident that I wasn’t the best fit, I’d rather not waste my time in an interview.

  27. chocoholic*

    #5 I don’t think it is uncommon for a staffing agency to go through old applications/people who had been registered with them a long time ago. Many many moons ago I worked for a temporary staffing agency, and if we were having particular difficulty filling an order, that is what we would do. This was before the days of fancy databases and email, so we would call people who had not worked for us in some period of time and leave messages asking if someone was looking for work, etc. I would guess there was a search on skills required for the skills and a blast email sent out to people who were not on a current assignment for them. They have nothing to lose. If you are not available or don’t want to work for them, then don’t respond.

  28. .....*

    In my experience, interviewing external candidates while not interviewing internal applicants will immediately cause the internal applicants to look at leaving the company. And with good reason – it’s an obvious disregard for professional courtesy, and is a surefire way to make turnover rates skyrocket.

    Unless this is a position that requires extremely specific qualifications that the internal applicants don’t have, out of professional courtesy you should interview the internal applicants. In situations where a particular certification is needed, and people who do not have those skills apply, it’s best to talk to them in person in regards to why they weren’t interviewed (so that they understand it’s not a slight against them; you’re looking for someone who is trained in a highly specialized area).

  29. Beckajo*

    #3….no, DON’T courtesy interview the person. If you don’t think they are the right fit, tell them up front. I think you actually should have told them when you first heard they were interested in applying. You could have addressed your concerns about the extra hours and professionalism at that time. Then you could have also established if this employee actually has a future in your company (and what things they would need to do to ensure that, and become a better employee for you) – or if they’re at a dead end for whatever reason, and they would know to move on.

    Interviewing an internal candidate is a waste of everyone’s time unless you actually want them. Actually, interviewing ANY candidate, internal or external, when you already have doubts about them is a waste of people’s time! Why bother interviewing someone if you don’t think that you would actually hire them? You have four candidates you are actually interested in, focus on them. Don’t jerk other people around.

  30. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #3 but you are going to end up with a situation if you don’t interview the internal candidate. At the least, give him/her a shot. You will have to do a “passover dance” but if you can legitimize (I said, legitimize, not RATIONALIZE) the passing over, you’ve done the best you could.

    NOT interviewing an internal candidate can send danger alerts – not just in your group but through the organization. Someone else might think “oh they are scrapping the internal promotion system”….

    #5 – sounds like, as people said, that temp agency is fishing for candidates. Nothing wrong with that. You can contact them or not do so – it’s your call.

  31. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

    Did anyone else read #1 and start thinking about the annual cricket match between Pym’s Publicity and Brotherhood’s, Ltd., wherein Lord Peter Wimsey forgot himself so much in pursuit of victory that he put his undercover identity (Mr. Death Bredon, copywriter) in jeopardy (and after which Mr. Bredon was publicly arrested for murder)?

    Yeah, I figured it would just be me.

    1. periwinkle*

      Not just you.

      Ever re-read “Murder Must Advertise” and wonder what sort of letter Mr. Copley would write to AAM?

      1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

        The letters Pym’s could generate would be awesome. New fanfic idea, ahoy!

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