I’m insulted by a junior hire with the same title as me, thank-you notes after terrible interviews, and more

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

1. I’m insulted that we’ve hired someone very junior to me with the same title

Hello from Scotland! I’ve spent 15 years in my field and my title is “senior consultant.” I’m good at what I do and I love it. Recently, the managing director of the small agency where I work has hired someone with three years experience in my field (for three years before that she was an au pair) and also given her the job title of “senior consultant.”

Apart from the fact that we didn’t need another consultant (I’m not overloaded and there’s no business need), I’m seeing a big red flag in her entry into a senior level position and can’t help but feel — well, insulted, is the best way of phrasing it.

To me it feels like my director values my experience so little than anyone with a fifth of my experience can do what I do for the business. How can I approach this in a way that enables my director to understand that not only will clients be disappointed when they don’t get the expertise that they presume she’ll have but also that I feel like my own experience has been undermined in front of both clients and colleagues — without coming across like I’m threatened by her?

Well … there’s nothing here about your new colleague’s skills, and that’s where you need to focus. Right now, it sounds like you’re taking her hire too personally, and that you’re defending your turf more than you’re pointing to any real problems for the business.

I do get why this would feel insulting, but you’re probably not going to get anywhere with your boss with that approach. Clearly she does think this new hire is qualified, since she hired her — and so arguing that her experience makes her inherently unsuitable isn’t likely to be convincing and is likely to come across as you overly personalizing the situation. The best thing you can do, hard as it might be, is to approach this with an open mind and see what your new coworker brings to the job. As you get more familiar with her work, if you see the problems you expect to see, then you can raise those — but you’ll be a lot more credible doing that when you have real specifics to talk about.

I wouldn’t worry a lot about clients thinking you have less expertise than you do just because a less experienced coworker has the same title. They’ll be able to tell if they get more expert, more nuanced work from you than they do from her.

2. Should I send a thank-you note if I bombed the interview?

I did an internship interview earlier today that went pretty terribly. The advertisement for the position was really general sounding and seemed like they needed someone to help around the office with a lot of different tasks, but it became clear in the interview that it was to help with a really specific project that required a level of subject knowledge I didn’t have. I became pretty flustered and walked off feeling really mortified. I clearly wasn’t qualified for the job and they didn’t do a good job communicating that they wanted someone with that knowledge.

I typically write thank-you emails after interviews to mildly bolster my candidacy. Do you think I should do it when there’s no hope for me being considered? I feel weird writing a thank-you as if I’m in the running for the job when it became clear in the interview I wasn’t the person. I’m not sure what I’d even say? Apologize?

First, if anyone here should apologize, it’s them, not you. They wrote an overly vague job ad and (assuming your resume wasn’t misleading) they called you for an interview without confirming that you had the core qualifications they needed. You understandably assumed that if they were interviewing you, you were at least a plausible match for the role. So you have nothing to apologize for. It was just a misunderstanding.

But no, you don’t need to send a thank-you note if you’ve decided the job isn’t for you. In theory, you could send a note saying it sounds like they’re looking for someone with experience in X, which isn’t you, but you wish them luck in filling the role. But you don’t need to do that; it’s fine to just leave the ball in their court if you want to.

That said, there’s an argument that it’s always good to send a thank-you note regardless, because (a) your assessment of how you did might not be correct — people have gotten job offers after thinking they interviewed terribly, and (b) they might have another role that you’d be stronger for. But it’s really up to you (and if you walk away thinking, “Ugh, I’d never work for them in any capacity,” then definitely no note is needed).

3. Rural jobs are rejecting me because of my bigger city salary history

I moved to one of the most remote rural communities in the lower 48 about two years ago. Previously, I had lived and worked almost exclusively in large metropolitan areas — think New York, Detroit, Dallas. I was in an extremely specialized line of work that I excelled at, and I was compensated as such.

Now that I’m looking for work again, but in a rural area (I’m in the only “city” for several hundred miles, and there’s only about 20,000 people in this “city”), I’m running into a wall where I’m being told that I’m overqualified for any job I apply for, even in my field! Many of these applications are asking for salary history. I’m not expecting New York pay out of a small mining town, but I think companies are balking. It’s a big difference! A good job here might pay $40k, and I was making $120k at my last city job.

Should I just leave these fields blank if their application platform allows me to? How do I address this in interviews?

If you can leave those fields blank, definitely do. If you’re required to put something, try putting all 1’s or something else that makes it obvious you’re not giving a real answer (which should prompt them to ask you in a real conversation if they want to push).

In general, try to avoid talking about salary history entirely if you can because your past earnings are no one’s business but yours. There’s advice here and here on how to do that. But if someone is really pushing for an answer, try saying, “My previous salaries were in markets like New York, where the market and the cost of living are incredibly different. I don’t expect to be paid a New York salary here. I’m looking for something in the range of $X.”

4. A recruiter changed my resume without my knowledge

I recently worked with a recruiter from a very large contracting firm in the area I live to get into a huge, Fortune 50 tech company. During my interview with said huge company, the hiring manager made a passing comment about how my resume “was not reflective” of how I interviewed or my qualifications. I was surprised, as I’d received many compliments on the same resume from other companies, and gotten many callbacks. When he pulled it out of his portfolio, I was appalled to discover the recruiter had completely deleted my header with name/contact info, etc. and sloppily inserted their own “resume header.” It completely screwed up my formatting and made my resume look like a gigantic train wreck. Fortunately I had my own original copy with me to show him.

He much later confessed that the only reason he had called me in for an interview was because I was the only woman applicant in the pile and the company prides itself on diversity, and if that wasn’t the case, he never would have because the resume he was given was so bad. (I did get the job on my own merits — he said my interview blew everyone else out of the water.)

I discussed this with the recruiter in question, but I figured it was a good “general warning” for people: make sure they’re not changing your resume and ask to see the version presented to the hiring managers.

Yes! This is a thing some recruiters do. It’s because when they “own” your candidacy, they often want to ensure all communication goes through them. That desire itself isn’t inherently unreasonable; lots of recruiters do that because that’s how they earn a living. But altering your resume without your permission or knowledge and making it look worse than it did before isn’t okay, and is the mark of a crappy recruiter.

Some recruiters go even further than yours did and change details about your jobs, which also isn’t okay to do without your knowledge.

When you’re working with a recruiter, it’s fine to ask if they’ll alter your resume in any way.

5. When a company flies me out to interview, can I ask for something other than a simple roundtrip flight?

Is it appropriate to ask an organization flying you out of state for an interview to reimburse something other than a roundtrip flight? For example, if you have a fly-out to one city a couple of days before you have a conference in another, and would prefer not to fly home in between, could you ask to book an non-roundtrip ticket, and/or delay the departure leg a day or two (with lodging, ground transport, etc. at your own expense)? Or would that look high-maintenance? (I’m assuming here that I would be doing the legwork of booking so it wouldn’t make any extra work for the organization.)

As long as you make it clear it won’t add to the cost for them, you can ask to do that. But do first make sure it won’t add to their costs, since a flight “back” to a third city can be more expensive than a simple roundtrip. But once you find a way to do it that won’t increase their costs, you can say something like, “Since I have a meeting in San Diego right after that, I’d like to book my second flight to San Diego rather than back to Boston. It looks like it would cost $350, the same as flying me back to Boston. Okay for me to book it that way?”

Then when you’re submitting for reimbursement, include a note like, “Per my discussion with Liz on 10/7 (email copied below), my flights were Boston to Vegas, then Vegas to San Diego. Also, note I’m only submitting for one of the three nights on the hotel bill.”

{ 429 comments… read them below }

  1. Lena Clare*

    The general advice for LW3 is very helpful! I dislike that employers ask for salary history, and dislike even more that in many application forms it’s impossible to leave it blank.

    1. Quill*

      Isn’t it also one of the most commonly cited reasons behind perpetuating gender and racial pay gaps, too? (Because if one person starts underpaying you people consistently underpay you once they know that?)

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        Yup. This is why many states and cities are now moving towards banning the question altogether. Employers know what they want to pay for any given role they’re hiring for – they should just post the range and let the candidate decide whether or not they want to proceed in the process with that information.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#3, it may help to drop a line about why you transferred to a “rural” area, or why you plan to be there for a while, in your cover letter. It shouldn’t be so expansive that it would distract from the core purpose of your letter, but it should be enough to assuage an employer’s fears that you’re unlikely to accept an offer at their price point. I’ve moved from urban to rural areas a few times, and the only way I get over the rural pay differential hurdle is by explaining why I’m committed to serving rural communities. It also helps with the “not from around here” protectionism that sometimes happens.

    NB: Of course, if you’re in a city of 20,000 that’s widely thought of as a city by locals, then don’t characterize it as rural. But do offer something specific to the region or geography.

    1. Mid*

      That’s what I was going to mention. If they consider it a city, possibly a “large city,” calling them rural could (somewhat irrationally) insult them. I’d say something along the lines of “my previous salary was in line with the higher cost of living in my areas of residence. I’m looking for a salary in the $xx range currently, as is appropriate for my skill set and this market.”

      1. MK*

        There is nothing irrational about considering a town of 20,000 people a city, albeit a small one, if it has the structure of one. And characterising as rural may well be completely inaccurate, that’s not only about population size. Not that reasonable people would be insult as such, but it might brand you as clueless.

        1. Avasarala*

          Well terms like “rural” or “large city” are based on your individual perspective and experience. When I lived in a rural town of 10,000 the “big city” was the regional hub of <1mil. Now I live in one of the top 10 most populous cities in the world and it would be pretty irrational (in my context) to consider a town of 20,000 a "city" (that's like the size of my block…)

          Another thing to keep in mind is people used to urban life can tend to use words like "rural" to mean poor, backward, conservative, inconvenient, or bad. And people used to rural life can be very sensitive to any hint of condescension. Best to just drop those words entirely if you can.

            1. Lynn Marie*

              As a rural person who lives in an area where many urban people like to move, don’t say this – it’s patronizing and clueless. Rural life is hectic.

          1. Kiwiii*

            As someone who grew up very rurally (our 3,000 population town was the largest in several counties) and now works in a decently sized city (250,000ish ppl), theres often a distinct impression from the people who live there of the rural areas being much safer, so that might be a thing to highlight as well as the thing you’ve traded for.

          2. 4Sina*

            I grew up in a town of 900 people in the rural Midwest and we were the Village of XYZ, becuase we were under 1000 people. It’s on our signs, it’s on the local government letterheads. This is an actual definition, and the town of of 30,000 a half hour away was the City of ABC. When in doubt, go to their website or social (and I GUARANTEE a lot of rural places have a website these days – or at least a wiki page!) and see how the township of your employer refers to themselves.

            Words absolutely do have meanings, as Avasarala said, and there are absolutely subjective nuances to how you talk about your future or current surroundings, but by and large these places already have definitions that they use.

      2. Mel*

        Nah, I’ve lived in cities and small towns and I’ve worked waaaay out in the country. Rural places know they’ve rural. They’re not surprised you miss Target. They know.

        What they underestimate is the value of not paying as much for stuff. A former coworker could barely afford his apartment on his D.C salary and had this exact problem when he moved to the semi-rural midwest. When he finally got a job, at a much lower salary, he could afford a beautiful home, because everything is dirt cheap around here. It’s beautiful.

        1. WellRed*

          Thank you. I’m really surprised by these comments. Rural people know they’re rural. They’re not children playing make believe.

          1. CMart*

            Right, but what if the LW is saying “rural” and it’s… not rural, by actual local standards? It just seems that way to the LW because they’re so used to living in huge cities like NYC?

            There are a lot of suburbs of big cities in the Midwest, for example, that are perfectly well appointed with commerce and culture and things like Target and several Starbucks, but also still contain a lot of farmland. I’d be a bit squinty if someone called Plainfield, IL a “rural community” despite the name, population, and farms. And there’s a low level regional resentment in the Chicago area from people in the outlying suburbs who feel looked down on by people who live in the city proper.

            I think that’s what PCBH is warning against. Not that rural people are trying to pretend they’re not/would be offended at being considered so. But that not-rural people would indeed be offended if their “smaller than NYC and with more spacious house lots” small city was called “rural” by someone.

            1. Kiwiii*

              I’m with this, too. A coworker at my last job commuted into Madison from Milwaukee, and it was clear that she considered anything outside of Madison or Milwaukee and their immediate suburbs “the country” despite like, say, Appleton or Eau Claire’s culture/commerce/shopping/amenities. They’re not Huge cities, but that doesn’t make them rural. And calling them that would make it look like you’re missing the mark.

        2. Washi*

          True, rural places definitely know they’re rural. But I think PCHB’s point is more that if people commonly refer to Smithville as a city, you can just refer to it as a city too without conspicuously calling it a small town or making comments about how it’s not a real city. In a job interview, it’s fine to say you wanted to move to a rural area or a smaller town as opposed to NYC, but in other contexts, you don’t want to be seen as correcting people on how they view their area.

          I grew up in a rural area and there were city folks where if you said something about how X is a great store/museum/venue they would chime in with “well in Boston that would just be a tiny hole in the wall and a dime a dozen” and that got pretty old.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There’s nothing to indicate the OP is planning to use any particular terminology or that “rural” would be a problem for the people in that area. They used the term in their letter to give us context and it’s starting to become language nitpicking so let’s not derail on this…

    2. WS*

      I live in a town of 800 people, but work in a town of 35,000. Nobody would be insulted by calling it a rural city or a regional city – it promotes itself that way! And it’s a really nice place to live, so we get a lot of people from much bigger cities wanting to move here for lifestyle and property affordability. Complimenting the city always goes down well!

    3. voyager1*

      PCBH, Please understand I am asking this in complete curiosity. In what rural areas does that approach of “helping rural communities” work and defuse the you are not one of us/not from here. I have lived in rural Georgia, Mississippi and small city South Carolina. The locals ALWAYS know you are not one of them. Honestly I can’t see your approach working well, I think a lot of folks who I have known would find it condescending. To be blunt, “fly over country” knows it is what it is, and they are proud of their own identity. Maybe places like rural northern California are different.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I think if “helping” means “providing what they don’t have due to their size” rather than “providing things they can’t do because they’re a bunch of rural hicks,” it can work. Example: “Because of Mayberry’s size, it doesn’t have medical specialists, so my organization provides online consultation with doctors in various specialities.”

      2. AnotherAlison*

        PCBH is a lawyer, so the “helping” terminology makes sense. I don’t think it would make sense in a lot of fields, but if you have a job in the legal, medical, or education fields, it seems standard, not condescending.

        1. BadWolf*

          Exactly — I was just reading an article about areas in my states where the minimum drive to find a doctor if you need to delivery a baby is getting longer and longer as small offices and hospitals close and merge.

          I mean, you don’t want to wax on about “becoming a country doctor, making your rounds” in some sort of romantic Little House on the Prairie fantasy.

    4. LCH*

      yes, my current “city” has 14k and any references to it as a “town” makes people so angry.

  3. Jax*

    No. 1 … OMG my boss a few years ago hired as a “senior X” someone who literally had only three years of work experience in our field (after graduating with an undergraduate degree) — an amount that actually is considered the MINIMUM to be hired as a X, nevermind senior X. What happened is the boss was new and this was her first hire, and the hire had very much argued for a pay level far above the top end of what an X makes. Boss, whose background is in a different profession, classified the candidate as senior purely to put the candidate within the pay band negotiated. But my God. The turmoil and disruption this caused … I can’t even tell you. This person who should have come in as basically entry level had both the title and pay of nationally known colleagues. And worse, the new hire stomped and complained when she was expected to produce the work of a senior X. There was such disruption the company reworked job descriptions and pay bands to be very clear, many people got hefty raises or promotions. That part was good in the long term but they had to do it, they were going to lose people with big names who they were paying less than this new, green hire.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      It’s possible that what you said happened with your former colleague happened here – OP’s new coworker could have negotiated a salary that was much higher than whatever the entry level salary was, so OP’s boss gave her the next title up so she’d fall within the correct pay band.

      Or, OP’s colleague is actually very good at what she does, even with her lesser years of experience, and OP’s manager decided she deserved to be at that level because something in her work history indicated she could perform well there. OP has no way of knowing which scenario is the case here, and it’s rarely a good idea to call your boss’s judgment into question about her hiring practices (to her face at least), so OP’s going to have to let the hurt go on this one.

      It’s frustrating to see this happen, OP – believe me, I’ve been there (and yes, the guys who were promoted up to my senior level were mediocre at best, which pissed me off even more). But there’s no way to bring this up with your manager right now that’s not going to come off as sour grapes. What you can do is, if there’s another level above you, look at your performance over the last year and your accomplishments. If you think your role has changed substantially over time so that you’re now producing at the next level, write a case for a promotion and go speak to your boss about that possibility. If there is no level above you currently, ask your manager if she can work with HR to create one. My manager is in the process of submitting a title change request for me and my counterpart with HR right now (my counterpart hates hers – our titles will be different because we serve different functions – so I anticipate a long process for her where they try to agree on something she’ll like), so it’s not unheard of for companies to create new roles for high performers; people who have been misclassified (this was me and my coworker); and even for people they can’t technically promote, but they still want to recognize for their hard work. You may have more traction with these options.

      Good luck, OP, and try not to let your (understandable) annoyance with this situation taint your relationship with the new hire. Like it or not, you guys are peers now, so if you want to have any chance of a title change in the future, you can’t show any bitterness about her position in your department.

      1. AnonyMousse*

        THIS! I think OP is making a lot of assumptions here about the qualifications of the new hire. If this is an industry that is increasingly evolving with contemporary tech and culture, 3 years of recent experience can mean just as much as 15. Let the new hire’s work product speak for itself and then judge.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          This. I work in a library. A recent-ish MLIS grad could very well have a very different skillset than a long-timer and, depending on that long-timer’s attitude, the new grad’s skill could be a lot more relevant to library work in its current form. We’ve had damage done to our institution by long-time employees whose skills hadn’t really kept up with the times.

          1. pleaset*

            Ohhh snap….. and that can be true. Sometimes. Sometimes. Not all older librarians! Sometimes.

            I’m reminded of something someone once said to me, in another field, critiquing someone who over-rated themselves: “Does he have ten years of experience or does he have one year of experience repeated ten times?”

            1. Dust Bunny*

              No, definitely not all older librarians, but we’re a nice place to work and consequently have low turnover, and the librarian who did the most damage started out as a fantastic employee . . . in the early 1970s. And did a tremendous amount of good. But did a lot of it using methods that quickly became outdated, without updating them as we went along.

              The current director has had an uphill slog bringing us out of the 1980s.

          2. soon 2be former fed*

            No continuing education in your field? I must complete 80 hours every two years, along with my 30 years of experience this make me a valuable asset, not a risk for doing damage. This post promotes ageism, to me. Your institution should require ongoing training and professional development, or one day your new hires will be obsolete too.

          3. Sorrel*

            I don’t have a link to hand, but there was a study on doctors – and they get to the most skilled about 5 years after they train, then their skills go down. (maybe complacency, maybe a lack of deliberate practice, maybe they are not keeping up with the most recent methods)

            So if this applies then someone with 15 years experience may be of a similar level as someone at 3 years experience.

        2. AnonyMousse*

          Upon reading some of the other comments below, I’m beginning to see another side to why OP is irked. If you feel like this is a move by the boss to push you out because the workload doesn’t warrant the added hire, I’d say that that’s an issue with the boss instead of the new hire. OP is justified in feeling annoyed and threatened by this esp of the boss didn’t give much pretext or explanation of the hiring decision. Regardless, this really isn’t on the part of the new hire’s fault or deficiencies and I think it’s really important to acknowledge that.

      2. Kiwiii*

        I think you make a good point in that perhaps she /is/ very good at what she does. I’m 3 years out of college and worked as a supervisor at a grocery store for one of them, but last year I was in the running (at both my manager and a senior coworker’s suggestion) with 4 months of Support Coordinator experience for a Senior Coordinator position at OldJob and would have been making literally double my pay overnight with significantly less experience than anyone else would have had when they came in (and I would have been Very good, but someone who’d literally done the job a couple years ago came back and there’s no real arguing with actual experience). It happens sometimes that strange candidates are a good fit (or the best fit in the candidate pool); it’s up to assess for yourself if she is one of those.

        However, another question might be — if they think someone with 3 years of experience can do the job you’re doing with, perhaps it’s time to find a company that doesn’t think that?

      3. Consultant Catie*

        Came here to say this – I’ve seen a few times where a company wants to hire someone for X task, the person negotiates Y salary, and then the HR team will put that person into the system with whatever title has the correct pay band.

        I totally understand why you might be upset about your new colleague’s title compared with their qualifications/experience. However, I would also add that the more strict/stringent you seem about titles and hierarchy, the less likely people will be to respect you and your expertise. Think about how people a senior manager who says things like “my team is really who does the great work, I’m just here to support them with whatever they need!” vs. a senior manager who constantly makes a big deal out of “Please address me as the SENIOR manager. I’m the most senior person here, and I want you to constantly be reminded about my seniority and expertise.” (Not that that’s you – I’m talking more about just being careful about how open you are about the feelings in your post and how you portray yourself.)

    2. Language Lover*

      In this situation is where you’d hope someone in HR would notice flag that qualifications don’t match the title/job description they’re receiving.

      I kind of understand the frustration of the new hire too. It sounds like she may not have handled it the best way but she was being asked to do a higher level work than what she interviewed for/was evaluated for all because your boss couldn’t say “no, we can’t meet those salary requirements.”

      1. Avasarala*

        Yeah that sounds like
        1. boss didn’t say no when they should have
        2. company is paying people really unfairly, or has a such a disconnect between titles and pay bands as to render them meaningless (since you can just get a title if you’re paid more…were you denied a title if your salary was too low? what’s the point of a pay band then?)
        3. salaries are way out of line compared to market (how could a greenhorn come in demanding such a high salary, and the company accepts instead of laughing her out? was everyone else way underpaid?)
        4. average people in the company making salary decisions (managers) and setting salary guidelines (HR) don’t understand their own system well enough to pay people fairly based on skill/budget/their own guidelines vs. how each person negotiated when hired.

        So indicates real problems here! I’m glad your company examined them because that sounds like a mess.

      2. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        HR, in my experience, generally doesn’t check for that unless there’s a need for certain qualifications or certifications. (like, we need proof you truly finished that certification program…)

        There’s managers (who have a budget), there’s recruiters (who need to fill empty job seats) and then there’s the rest of HR (who handle benefits, etc.). If someone unwittingly lowballs their hoped for salary and it’s somehow within the pay band, the employer will take it and count on people not to share their salary info. If someone manages to negotiate a higher salary and the manager and recruiter state (insist?) that this is a good candidate for X reasons, HR will move forward.

        Many jobs ago, I didn’t know the pay range and when I was offered X, which was current salary plus 3K, I jumped at it. Someone else with the exact same job title and description of tasks asked for 8K above my X and got it. We both met the job description but she only had high school and I had a BA (which counted for something then). HR didn’t care at all. When I discovered the salary differences I raised it to my manager and the company grudgingly raised my salary but we still didn’t match. I was the higher performer, too.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        I’m finding this twist kind of fascinating. Applicant negotiates on salary and the company just rolls right over and gives them an amount wildly out of scale with the job. To fit this salary band, they give the applicant a huge promotion in title. Other employees notice. Customers notice. Chaos ensues.

      4. Jax*

        HR didn’t flag it — boss had discretion to hire an X or a senior X. It did lead to a complete review of market salaries/formalization of job descriptions/pay bands — like I said, in the long term it wound up benefiting staff all around (hefty raises or promotions resulted from this major market and industry research). Regarding the titles — it seems different industries approach this differently, with “senior” in some literally just being a nice title to vaguely strive for that doesn’t necessarily come with much more, and in others it marking clear distinctions in measurable technical or professional skills and importantlt tied to pay bands.

        The new hire was solid — as an entry level X. She wasn’t star entry-level X caliber though. Don’t feel too bad; she went on to more than double her pay within two years by parlaying her senior X title into a position in an adjacent field that usually requires a minimum 10 years of experience, ha. (Her real talent seems to be negotiating salary. I think of how Big Head on “Silicon Valley” kept failing upward. She’s not in any way doing that, but it does seem like a perfect storyline for that show or The Office or Office Space.) She’s about five years out of an undergrad program in liberal arts making a quarter million dollars.

        1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

          I need to meet her!!! LOL! Damn, she’s good. She should write a book on salary negotiations.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Holy cow! Kind of glad that I don’t have her skill. Otherwise it’d have been a tough decision for me between whether to use it to BS my way to the top, and stay there making a ton of money (that I desperately need!) but knowing that I sold out and steamrolled over a lot of good workers on my way, and am adding no value to the industry; or to stay at a much lower pay so I can live with myself. Damn, that number would’ve been tempting.

          (At least she somehow caused raises and promotions for everyone, so yay, I guess!)

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I hope that she has enough smarts to be saving that cash up! That kind of shenanigans tends to crash and burn at some point.

          If someone doesn’t want what we’re offering and it’s not within our pay bands, we just say “okay looks like it won’t work out.” Like…why would I ever give someone money when I don’t even know them, they don’t have any proper experience and so on. Yikes at her being able to flush out all the jokers willing to pay her for just existing

    3. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      I had a similar, but opposite problem. I was seven years more senior (in experience) than the rest of my team (including two new hires), and doing work that was well in advance of the work they were doing, but HR refused to change my job title to Senior / Lead Lighting Appreciator because it would put me in the next pay bracket and there wasn’t the budget (at that time) to justify a pay rise. Apparently the choice my manager had been given (unknowingly) was increase your team size to cope with the increased workload, or promote your best/most experienced employee.
      My manager fought hard, and lost (no access to the purse strings), and I started job hunting.

    4. Feline*

      Oh, OP1, I feel your pain. I’ve been in my position 8 years, and management just promoted last year’s intern to my job title. In my case, the real issue is that no one in my department has been promoted for over 8 years while layoffs left me staggering under the work formerly assigned to 3.5 people, and the only promotion went to whiz kid. My manager insists it’s a budget constraint and she is only able to promote one employee a year, and she chose whiz kid because she planned to bring a new hire into his subject area he would have to mentor… and you can’t ask someone to mentor when they are at the same title. OP1, it’s a shame your manager doesn’t have that philosophy, since you’ll no doubt have to mentor this new hire. Is there any title above yours that you could potentially be promoted to?

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        My manager insists it’s a budget constraint and she is only able to promote one employee a year, and she chose whiz kid because she planned to bring a new hire into his subject area he would have to mentor… and you can’t ask someone to mentor when they are at the same title.

        That is the biggest crock of excrement I’ve ever heard. My first professional job out of college, my team lead/trainer/mentor was someone with my title – she’d been with the firm for years, so they had her train all of the new hires at our level. At the next company, it was the same thing. At my last company, I was a proposal manager who was mentored/trained by another PM who’d been there two going on three years. Your company’s logic doesn’t make a lick of sense.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          1) yes you can mentor someone with the same title, I’ve seen it done all the time
          2) interesting how the company does not have the budget for promotions, lays large numbers of people off due to budget constraints, but can afford a new hire.

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            #2 would be the reason I’d start job searching. It makes no sense to hire a whole new person when you can just promote or give nice size merit increases to the employees you already have.

            1. Jill March*

              If one person is doing the work of 3.5 people, then I think it makes sense to hire before giving raises. Ideally, you’d work in doing both, but if it were one or the other, I can see the case for using that money to staff up to the workload.

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                What confuses me is that the reason why one person was doing the work of 3.5 people is that the other 2.5 people were laid off; presumably because the company did not have the money to pay them. But now they do? just not to the 2.5 people they’d kicked out?

                1. Jadelyn*

                  If the 2.5 people they laid off were more senior and getting paid more, they may have used that as a way to cut salary costs overall. I’ve seen it happen before: lay off your highest-paid folks, then rehire for their positions with entry-level folks who you can get away with underpaying. FTE remains more or less the same, but you reduce your salary costs.

            2. Oh So Anon*

              It does make sense when you’re hiring for a skill set that isn’t already represented on your team, though. It doesn’t mean that the incumbent is really at risk of getting fired, it’s more that management suspects they’ve maxed out their professional development. It’s a lot easier to hire for what you need than it is to convince everyone to upskill.

          2. Junior Assistant Peon*

            Mentoring can even come from a lower-level person with more experience. At a former employer of mine, it was common practice to have a seasoned lab technician report to a young PhD chemist, and the idea was that they would both learn from each other. A typical new PhD had zero professional experience, just academic research and typical high school / college summer jobs, so having them work closely with an experienced person in a junior-level role helped them acclimate to a professional work environment.

          3. Oh So Anon*

            Yeah…I suspect that a lot of “layoffs” and “no budget for promotions” issues is cover for separating people who are perceived as, well, not being as good as someone else in that position could be.

            It’s especially suspicious when the new people who get hired are coming in at more senior positions with similar or higher compensation.

      2. Senor Montoya*

        BTDT. Employee at a state university, we’ve had years where all state employees got the same laughably small across the board pay “raise” and the U had a mingey amount they could spread around. Some divisions got $ and some did not, trickling down to departments and programs that then might or might not get $. Anyway, my department had a small pot of $ for merit raises each of those years. Which the boss gave to newer hires along with a title boost to try to retain them instead of to employees who’d been “exceeds expectations” for years w/o a raise or title change — it *never* worked to retain those newer hires and it generated a lot of resentment, both for the money but especially for the titles.

    5. glebers*

      I appreciate everyone’s instinct to advise the OP not to take it too personally. But the reality is most non-supervisory employees only have so many data points to gauge how their organization truly works and this seems like a pretty big sign that OP’s understanding of it may not have been correct.

      It sounds like OP and her boss need to do some expectation resetting. Even without making it all about the new hire, I think there’s a lot the two can discuss. And if it’s true that the job title range is simply large and that the new hire isn’t a signal about OP’s standing in the organization or advancement opportunities, if OP’s boss is any good she’d want OP to know that rather than laboring under misconceptions. And she may not know if OP doesn’t ask.

      Basically, OP thought “senior consultant” meant X. She now has a data point that it means Y. As a senior consultant herself, she should clear this up! (But yes, as it pertains to OP, not the new hire.)

    6. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      I’m surprised more people haven’t agreed with Jax. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. A position is open, someone hires a Smooth Talking New Superstar, everyone is psyched and eagerly delegating work to this excellent new person, and before anyone realizes the Emperor Has No Clothes, the smooth talker has managed to destroy all of the departments beneath them while alienating and undermining the people whose skills were a proper match for the job (How dare you criticize New Hire, they are excellent!). Their poor decisions alienate all of the customers/clients, who flee.

      Within a year, the Smooth Talker is fired, most of the qualified underlings have left, and there’s nothing but scorched earth remaining so the next person has to start over completely from scratch.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        Maybe more people didn’t agree with this because these scenarios aren’t actually that common. I mean, I’ve never seen what you detailed before in my entire work life, it’s that extreme (which isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen because you’ve obviously experienced it, it’s just not the norm). I think most employers are middling to good and not just straight up dumpster fires of dysfunction.

        1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          We recently had this situation in my tiny office. Probably the most notable characteristic of Smooth Talker was that while she had the patina of a rock star, underneath she was a marginally okay entry level unicorn walker. She kissed up to the unicorn trainers, who all enjoyed playing mentor to the admiring young’un and playing up their own knowledge as they taught her. But she dumped the unicorn walking pretty quickly, which led to resentment by the rest of the unicorn walkers. She left a year and a half later after blowing off much of her real job and fomenting so much annoyance by people who depended on her. And yet those trainers still talked like she was the greatest thing since one-step unicorn polish.

      2. Anon for this*

        I see it allllll the time where I work. (Hence the Anon alias.) Not so much in the professional positions where you have to get tangible things done, but there seems to be the trend lately to hire random new people with no experience in the field for PM-like positions, and then a few months later to promote them directly into management, or at least into key roles with titles that have the word “manager” or “director” in them. Don’t know when the Dilbert Principle became an actual management technique that companies follow in earnest, but here we are.

        Not knowing OP and the new hire, I cannot tell whether this is the case of the same thing happening, or the new hire really is talented and qualified. It really could be either way, depending on how good the new hire is at her job. Three years of experience can go a long way, and, at least in my field, after a certain point, the large number of years of experience, at best, does not matter, and at worst, can work against you, because it tells people that you are (gasp) old.

      3. Alternative Person*

        Been there. I had a co-worker like this wreck nearly a year of careful work with a client, and damage a few other things, against my instructions no less.

        Long story short, turned out she was padding her time card out the wazoo, head office put us on audit, she quit (in a big huff no less, she’s lucky the company didn’t try and claim the money back), I’m now sorting out the mess with said client and there’s other stuff that hasn’t been my issue that really made another co-worker regret taking her side.

    7. Shadowbelle*

      I am IT and have frequently worked with outside consultants during the course of my career (I’ve also been a consultant). On one occasion, my firm engaged the services of a well-known consulting firm. This firm would hire promising people straight out of college and train them by sending them out as part of a team, but for free. We got one of these freebie trainees. She was a complete pain. She had no skills or expertise or experience; she was a flippin’ trainee. But when asked what her special area was (normal part of introductions), she would say that she was a “management consultant”. AND she behaved like she was there to provide expertise, rather than to learn. Her own manager (consultant) got so fed up with her in one meeting that he threw a pencil at her.

    8. Summertime*

      It is also possible that the expectations of senior X have changed over the years.

      I have the same title (Project Engineer) as another coworker in the group even though I am quite early in my career. However, it’s understood that the more difficult projects will go to my coworker and I will gradually take on those projects as I gain more experience. In the past, most project engineers were engineers with more experience under their belt, maybe 10+ years, but expectations for the role have changed and my boss hired me believing that my technical expertise could be cultivated if my interpersonal skills were well suited for project management. So my coworker and I have the same job title, but not necessarily the same job.

      I agree that it can be demoralizing for OP to see a less experienced person hired in at the same job title, but I think the direction to go is to have a chat with OP’s supervisor on whether it is time for you to grow out of your title and the spread of work between OP and OP’s new coworker.

      1. Oh So Anon*

        This. Like we have senior people who have either led and/or adjusted to the shifts in our organization’s and industry’s cultural priorities over however long they’ve been here, and there are others who haven’t. Some of it is that we value interpersonal and communication skills more than we used to (this doesn’t mean an anti-introvert bias in our case), which is more challenging for people to adjust to.

        The big challenge for folk who maybe don’t have the strongest situational awareness is that they aren’t really attuned to the organization’s implicit shift and unwritten norms well enough to adjust. The other part is that they often think they’re putting our values into practice, but they’re doing so in a way that comes across as misaligned with their peers (e.g. questioning others in a way that can come across as presumptive, etc.)

  4. Mid*

    When I worked with a recruiter, I gave them my long version of my resume, with the understanding that they would cut out the jobs that weren’t relevant to the position their were putting me forward for. I would have been very upset if they changed my wording or formatting though.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’ve encountered what the LW describes and it ended up with a totally butchered document.

      When one interviewer asked me about “inconsistencies” I was able to bring out my own clean copy. I know opinion is divided re bringing spares, but if you weren’t the one to submit it then I think it prudent! If there’s any chance they are going to judge you on your presentation, make sure it’s your presentation…

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Wait, opinion is divided about bringing copies of your resume to an interview?? Since when?

        I’m the guy who NEVER prints anything (I prefer to annotate in Word or Acrobat), and I bring copies of my resume, and I actually brought printouts to jot notes on when I was interviewing! As an interviewee, at worst you never pull them out, and if I saw them as an interviewer I would think hey, this person is prepared for anything, even if I didn’t want or need one.

        1. Antilles*

          Yeah, that’s how I’ve always viewed it too. It’s all upside:
          1.) You can use that copy of your resume for notes and as a quick reminder of things you want to discuss.
          2.) It makes you look prepared and professional. I’m as firm on the “this appearance-related stuff shouldn’t matter” bandwagon as anybody, but the blunt truth is that it does. Walking in with a nice folio case with a note pad, copies of your resume, etc conveys a much better impression than walking in empty-handed.
          3.) If it’s an unprepared interviewer without a copy of your resume, you can give them one of your spare copies and keep things moving rather than a totally useless “so uh tell me about yourself, I guess” unfocused question.
          And on the flip side, all it costs you is what? 50 cents for copies?

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            It doesn’t even have to be an unprepared interviewer. I once interviewed for an audit position at a bank by one of the AVP’s of the risk management group, and she had my resume on her laptop with notes she jotted down that she planned to reference when asking me questions. Well, low and behold, she ended up having connectivity issues during our interview, so I asked if she needed a hard copy of my resume and handed her one. She was impressed that I had the backup copies and said she liked my own preparedness. She ended up offering me the job, and though it probably had little to do with the resume save, I like to think it helped a bit to solidify in her mind that I’d be thorough and ready for anything, which is helpful for an auditor.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              “Doesn’t have to be an unprepared interviewer” – second anecdote in support.
              I was interviewing with a company when the semi-retired company founder happened to come in, unscheduled. He joined the interview, asked to see my resume, and I had a nice clean one to give him. “Oh good, because I’ve been taking notes on this!” the hiring manager said.
              (That was my lightning-strike of a unicorn job for me. I left after 4 years when I married someone out of state, and unfortunately had been promoted to work under someone who didn’t like working with remote employees.)

              1. Jadelyn*

                Thirding – I’ve been abruptly dragged along to an interview when the secondary interviewer couldn’t make it and they needed someone else, and I hadn’t even seen the resume ahead of time and didn’t have time to print it before we had to be in the meeting. A candidate who has copies themselves saves me time and hassle by being able to just give me one, instead of me needing to look over my coworker’s shoulder or just go without. It’s not a deal-breaker if they don’t, but it does provide a data point.

            2. JustaTech*

              I once had an interview where the interviewers had a copy of my resume. Unfortunately it was a 4 year old version of my resume (the university system had some kind of major hiccup) from when I was a new grad and had basically no experience.
              The interviewers were delighted and amazed by my (current) printed resume.

              (And I noped right out of that job since they only wanted a very junior person and I was looking to move up as well as out.)

        2. Elizabeth West*

          That’s what I do. Somebody always forgets to print a copy of my resume, and I don’t trust my anxiety brain to remember everything I heard in an interview. So I go in with a printout of the job description and make notes on that and a document with a list of MY questions.

      2. Allypopx*

        I have never heard mixed advice about bringing a copy of your resume, I’d love to hear the reasoning.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I don’t think it’s mixed advice, but mixed opinion here in the comments. I remember a few comments about it quite a while back. From what I remember, a few people felt they shouldn’t need to bring a copy because the interviewer should have it already. It wasn’t by any means a majority opinion.

          1. Junior Assistant Peon*

            I think this attitude cost me in past interviews, when I thought to myself “this idiot doesn’t have his/her shit together” and didn’t do a good job of hiding it. I soon learned that unprepared interviewers are a standard thing, and often indicate a disorganized HR department (or a company that only hires once in a blue moon) rather than an incompetent interviewer.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Or, honestly, just an interviewer for whom interviewing is not their main job duty, which should be just about anyone. Anyone who interviews people should be a manager, and probably has a lot more going on at their job. And if it’s a particularly busy or complicated day (or, with some jobs, even when it’s a typical day), the interview could be pushed from their mind by other concerns in the hour or two right before it!

            2. InfoSec SemiPro*

              Interviewing for a new job is the biggest thing I’m going to do that day, probably.

              Interviewing a candidate is unlikely to be the biggest thing I do in my job that day. While I’d like to say I carefully prep for every interview… I do not. I have put work into the interview process, into the materials we use in interviews so that I can check the job we’re hiring for, the aspect of it I’m supposed to measure, and grab the appropriate package of questions so I can be basically prepped in a few minutes. But if the printer doesn’t work during my 5 minutes between my last meeting and the interview, or if my previous meeting ran long so I had 0 minutes, or the recruiter put the wrong room on the interview invite and I needed to pick up a text message to get there at all, or any of a dozen things, then I will show up without a copy of the candidate’s resume and be grateful they have a spare.

              I’ve usually read it before, unless I’m a replacement interviewer and really squeezing it in.

              Ideally, I show up with my notes on their resume, a question/situation/discussion handout, a business card and a calm smile. But that’s only about half the time, because it means I need about a full 20 minutes in a row to prep. Empty half hours are unreliable in my world.

              Its sucks and its unbalanced, but its reality.

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            The most recent job I interviewed for (and got), the person who I was supposed to interview with came down sick the day of the interview and had to leave early. I ended up interviewing with a different person, who low and behold hadn’t been given a copy of my resume or cover letter. I had back-ups of bot plus extra copies of my reference list as well.
            You never know when life will happen, being as prepared as possible is never a bad thing.

          3. Avasarala*

            That’s so bizarre. Of course you shouldn’t need to but it’s such an easy way to look prepared. Like coming to a picnic and bringing wet wipes, or having bandaids on a camping trip, or 2 more cups in your house than people who live there. It shows preparedness and conscientiousness. Just bring it out if needed.

      3. ellex42*

        I have *always* brought at least 1 extra copy of my resume, and would say at least half the time if not more I’ve given it to the interviewer…in some cases, because the interviewer was not given a copy of the resume I’d previously submitted, in some cases because the company had an online resume form that I had to fill out to apply and the interviewer wanted to see my own version, and in some cases because there were multiple interviewers but only one had a copy.

        I have a nice little portfolio with notepad, places for pens, pockets for business cards, and a couple of big pockets that I can fit a few copies of my resume into. That way I’m also prepared to take notes if necessary, I have pen and a makeshift desk if I need to fill out yet another job application (yes, I’ve had to fill out an online application, a paper application, AND supply a copy of my resume, both as a computer file and on paper, all for a single job), and I look prepared for any eventuality.

        If I don’t need to hand over a copy of my resume, then it just goes home with me until next time.

        1. LW4*

          I’m LW#4. I almost didn’t bring my resume copy just because I’d had several interviews in a row where I didn’t need them and had heard it was “outdated” advice, but I was like…. ehhhhhhhhh it won’t hurt, right? I’ll definitely always have it from now on, why not? It can just sit in my notebook if they have a good copy with them.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I do too! I love my leather padfolio! Even though it’s branded with the name of my former company, it’s very nice and I see no reason not to use it even though I don’t work there anymore. No one has asked, but if they did, that’s what I would tell them.

      4. Jadelyn*

        Same. It drives me up a wall when recruiters do this! My partner recently worked with a recruiter on finding a new job, who wanted to “help” with his resume. I’m the one who built his resume originally (I’m in HR, he asked for my help), so when the recruiter sent back the edited document my partner shared it with me to get my feedback.

        The recruiter had removed the header and added their company’s logo to it (which really rubbed me the wrong way, tbh – yeah, you’re the one putting the candidate forward, but the candidate isn’t your property or your employee so why are you sticking your branding on them?)…which, okay, but he also clearly believed in the one-page rule, so he’d butchered the hell out of it to reduce it from a page and a half down to one page, including changing wording on some technical stuff to compress it. The problem was, the things he changed sounded equivalent to an untrained ear, but made it gibberish to anyone who knew the field.

        He only sent back a PDF, to prevent my partner making further changes, but I have Acrobat on my work computer, so I was able to repair the worst of the damage. My partner took copies of the corrected version to his interview. He told me he was glad he had those copies when the interviewer asked about the weird technical gibberish errors, so he could just hand the corrected version over instead.

      5. Chip Hackman*

        I’ve done interviews to bring people on to my team from subcontractors to my company and they definitely change people’s resumes. They’ll put them on their own letterhead which messes up formatting, mess with the general format and then I guess not double check them before sending, and put in buzzwords for what we’re looking for when they isn’t really what the person did before. Most people bring copies of their original which leads me to believe that they haven’t seen the changed version. Its very frustrating for all involved and we have asked repeatedly for subcontractor firms to not change them.

    2. JustaTech*

      One of my coworkers was initially hired through a temp agency and for some reason the temp agency sent along her entire CV rather than her resume.
      One of my other coworkers was very much “why the heck is she including all this ancient stuff, look at all these jobs, what a job hopper!”
      I was glad I could explain what a CV is (and how it’s different from a resume), or we could have missed out on a great coworker.

  5. Dan*


    That would leave me with a “WTF” as well. Serious question: Is it possible your boss is going to be pushing you out? If you don’t think you have the work for a second staffer, either one of two things is true: 1) Your boss is expecting a new client that you aren’t aware of, or 2) You’re training your replacement.

    Side note: At OldJob, they decided to let the old HR guy go. How did they break the news? Well, HR being HR, one of his friends called him up, asking about the “new” VP-of-something-HR-related that had been posted on some recruiting website. HR guy had no idea what that was all about. When he “inquired” with senior management, the news was broken to him about his pending departure.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      Damn, that’s cold. I hope OP’s manager wouldn’t do something that shady.

    2. Not Australian*

      This was my thought, too. I’d be having a serious talk with the boss and asking if they thought I had gone as far as I could with the organisation and should I be looking around for something new. Apart from anything else, this would give a clear indication of just how unsettled this move had made the OP feel.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Totally agree. This is what I saw with that letter also.
      It could be just a coincidence but this is the way I have seen it actually play out in the workplace.

      OP, I noticed that you have your guard up here and I am wondering if this is part of a larger story or is this something that happened in isolation?
      Take a look at your job description. Does it indicate how many years experience a person should have for your title? Oh, wait. Is there a job description at all?

      I am impressed that Alison can navigate this one with ease. I couldn’t. I read here for things like this, how DO people push past something like this? I have to agree with Dan, my thought would be that they hired someone at a cheaper rate and I was going to be put out in the cold.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        “Take a look at your job description. Does it indicate how many years experience a person should have for your title?”

        This. As a 20-year person, I get the value added with 15 yrs experience vs. 3 yrs, but at the same time can a 3 yr. person fill the client’s needs at a lower billable cost, allowing the company to get more business that they aren’t getting with you?

        Personally, not all the work I do requires my experience. There are people in my department with half my experience and the same title. There are people with twice my experience with the same title. And of course, you can also get into that “10 years experience vs. 1 yr experience 10 times” situation–does your boss see you that way, or as having 15 years of progressive growth?

        1. A*

          I am here to say just this. I came into my position at “advanced position” as my title but I really did not have the same years of experience as any one else but that’s what the job was and now that I’ve been here a decade I still have the same title and people who don’t know as much as I do have the same title. I am making more money than them though just due to raises etc. I don’t really care as long as people are willing to learn then fine.

        2. Filosofickle*

          This was true in my previous career. I became Senior X at 3 years, and I worked alongside other Senior Xs with 15+ years of experience. It was the standard title for everyone between entry level (which was usually called X, not Junior X) and Director. There were no other levels.

          OTOH, I understand being insulted. I was bent out of shape a few years back when a young colleague was given a title I’d spent years earning credibility for — she wasn’t even doing that job yet! (10% capability, tops.) But her boss wanted her to have the aspirational title at the beginning of her training. I think it came down to appearance — we’re in a consulting business and he felt that putting forward a more advanced title sounded better to clients.

          The lack of need for another person is the bigger flag IMO

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          I live in this world, too. Absent some very niche, specialized expertise, there is a plateau to years of experience, and someone with 3-5 years can typically do the same work as someone with 15 (who has, for whatever reason, decided not to specialize) for a lower cost to the client. Would I rather the person 15 years in handle it? Yes. Is it strictly necessary? No, and sometimes impossible on a tighter budget. I have had to lower people’s billing rates in the past few years to be able to use them on client projects and keep them busy.

      2. OP1*

        There is no job description.

        The good news is, they can’t push me out, really. Employment laws here mean unless I do something very, very bad, or seriously underperform, it’s very hard to get fired.

          1. londonedit*

            They can make it miserable enough for you to quit, but you’d then have a pretty good case for constructive dismissal.

        1. ImAGhost*

          So you’re complacent. I understand why they would hire someone with more fire. Don’t kid yourself. In your employer’s eyes you ARE seriously underperforming to the point that they had to hire someone else when the demands of the workload don’t call for it. At senior level I would expect you to do more than just the minimum to get by. You need to make your skills and knowledge current or you’ll be looking for a new job.

          1. Starcrunch*

            What? This is quite a leap from OPs comment that its difficult to be fired where they live.

            Its difficult to fire people in the UK. Doesn’t mean all UK workers are just skating by. Seriously you have guzzled the unfettered capitalism kool-aid hard if you think “hard to fire” = “complacent lazy bones”

          2. AGoodNeighbor*

            ImAGhost, what an unhelpful, unnecessary comment. OP1 has said nothing that implies s/he’s complacent, under-performing, or lacking fire.

        2. Confused*

          Hi OP, just FYI, I’m not sure if I’m your colleague, but I’m in the junior position. Trust me, it feels like crap that you don’t value my work or my contributions. It sucks that you think so little of me and my contributions that you won’t let me take on a single task unless you’re out of the office.

          I know that you don’t like me. You won’t let me develop relationships with stakeholders, so that they have to come to you, and I’m continually boxed out or relegated to admin tasks (again, unless you’re out of the office and actually need me – and much to your surprise, things still run just fine when I’m doing them). I know that you have more experience than me and that some tasks are better suited for you to handle. But we still have the same title and the fact that you think I have to earn the right to do the job I was hired for is insulting and hurtful to me.

          Don’t worry. I’m not trying to stick around for much longer.

  6. Dan*


    You ask a good question to which I’m not sure there are great answers. I work in BigMarket with BigMarket salaries that make people “back home” think I’m loaded.

    Every once in awhile I look at jobs in smaller markets. The reality is that I can take a big paycut and still come out ahead. When I do fill out applications, I leave the numbers blank if I can. My preference is to get them to name a “take it or leave it” number that I can evaluate on its merits.

    1. Jessen*

      Oh yeah I’ve been dealing with the same thing. I’m looking at some point to switch from DC area to something closer to Detroit (I have friends there). We’ve compared rents and it’s just ridiculous – I’m paying more for a 300 square foot apartment an hour from work and 30min from about anything else than my friends are for two-bedroom apartments close by their jobs.

      Usually once I start describing the apartment and how much I pay for it I’ve found people start getting the idea.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      My spouse got annoyed with me for sending the MLS listing for our new house to the entire family a few years ago. Apparently, they got a lot of commentary about the price of the house, which is totally unremarkable around here. Our one-bedroom condo cost more than their brother’s 3500 square foot home on 10 acres in the rural area where they grew up.

      They think we’re loaded but then make a huge deal out of the prices of things ’round here when they’re visiting. That’s what the COLA is for…

    3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

      Sometimes people just don’t get that all the numbers are bigger in the big city, not just the salaries. When I left my 50,000-some population hometown for Metropolis-in-the-Desert, I called my dad to tell him about my new job & apartment. He was blown away by the “enormous” salary of my modest office job. Then I told him the rent on my basic 1-bedroom in an ordinary nice neighborhood and he hit the roof: “You could get a house with a fenced yard for that much here!”

  7. Annette*

    Very shocked by LW4’s story. My understanding is – it’s illegal to base hiring decisions on gender. Interviewing a seemingly terrible candidate because she’s a woman would = gender discrimination, wouldn’t it? One way or the other – if a company only has one female applicant I question their commitment to ‘diversity’ even more so if they’re telling someone openly they only got the interview because of gender. Woof.

      1. JamieS*

        Where’s that line though? Logically if you give someone an interview based solely on their gender but don’t give seemingly more qualified candidates a chance to interview (therefore not give them a chance to be hired) because of their gender and then wind up hiring that person how can you say the hiring wasn’t based in large part on gender? Gender’s the only reason they were even interviewed in the first place.

        1. Plush Penguin*

          I love your logic that interviewing based on gender means they’re not otherwise qualified.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Right, clearly this person was qualified enough that she ended up getting hired. The issue was only that she had a badly formatted resume.

            But you’re allowed to say you want to ensure you’re interviewing a diverse group of candidates. You’ve even allowed to say “every interview group must have at least X% of the candidates be from traditionally marginalized groups.” Look at the Rooney Rule, for a well-known example.

        2. Qwerty*

          Companies can interview as many people as they want. It’s far more likely that they decided to interview 6 people instead of 5 so that they could have a more diverse pool rather than replaced one of the male candidates that they already picked out.

          I’m not saying that I like that they picked someone to interview based on gender, but I’ve seen companies get a little desperate about how to diversify their applicant pool and sometimes talking to the few people in an underrepresented demographic who do apply helps the company fix their pipeline issues.

          1. Evan Þ.*

            Absolutely. See, for instance, this blog post from someone who used to work in a software recruiting company:

            There’s another option: you can be likelier to talk to them in the first place. You can let someone through to have an interview even if you think, based on the phone screen, there’s only a 15% chance that after the interview you’ll want to make them an offer. This does not involve hiring less qualified candidates, just talking to more people in order to miss fewer qualified ones. I think this is the most common actual diversity tradeoff involved in actual hiring…

        3. Declasse*

          Interviewing additional candidates that bring diversity to your pool doesn’t mean other quality candidates are pushed out. Why would you think that?

          1. JamieS*

            OP specifically said she was told she was only interviewed because she was a woman not on her perceived merits. That would indicate men who applied with those perceived merits, and likely higher merits if the recruiter made her resume as bad as it sounds, weren’t interviewed.

            Yes I know OP’s actual qualifications weren’t accurately reflected but the employer didn’t know that. They thought they were interviewing a less qualified person based solely on her gender. Lowering standards for some isn’t how to achieve equality. I’d say it actually hinders.

            1. Close Bracket*

              That would indicate men who applied with those perceived merits, and likely higher merits if the recruiter made her resume as bad as it sounds, weren’t interviewed.

              No, it doesn’t. It means everybody who had the right merits was interviewed and one more, the LW.

        4. Close Bracket*

          Men have been getting interviews and jobs based on their gender since the dawn of the industrial revolution. I’m ok with giving women and other genders a spot on that gravy train.

            1. Close Bracket*

              I want to end discrimination. Since that is not happening, I’m ok with unearned privilege for all.

                1. Ico*

                  Close Bracket said they were fine with women getting jobs based on their gender. That’s flatly illegal. Why would you want to give that a standing ovation?

      2. Unfortunate*

        I see it in all the time in certain industries. For example, “male production assistants needed. This is a job that requires heavy lifting. Must be able to lift X lbs unassisted.”

        While that job would not be suitable for me, my female friends who are in production definitely feel slighted because they are able to lift X lbs unassisted but won’t be hired because the ad said “male”

          1. Unfortunate*

            What if a company tries to justify it by saying something like “must be male size Large T-shirt due to uniform requirements. Shirts have already been ordered”?

            Or, if you’re looking for someone with specific measurements because, say, you need someone to play Elmo from Sesame Street and you are providing the costume? The costume only fits people from X height – Y height?

            1. Wren*

              You can certainly do the latter, you just can’t specify that a short man need not apply. I doubt the first one would fly, however.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Even with the latter, it’s probably not legal. If you have a job requirement (“must be X height”) that ends up having a disparate impact on women without being a true qualification for that job, that’s not legal. Unless this is like a $100,000 costume, they’d likely just need to get another one.

                1. fhqwhgads*

                  I’m guessing the example is something like the meet and greet characters at theme parks. It’s not so much about the value of the costume as the requirement of the character, but that situation is different than someone lifting X in a warehouse, etc because it’s a “casting” decision, and it is a genuine requirement of the job to fit exactly this costume with exactly these proportions, not one that looks slightly different or could fit someone smaller/larger. “Must be between 5’8″ and 6’1″ to play Tigger/Captain Hook” is fine. There’s also “Must be between 5’3″ and 5’6″ to play Eeeyore/Dale”. (I’m making up the heights here as I do not recall the exact ranges, but there are definitely height ranges for the characters and my understanding is when hired, you’re basically hired to play any of several characters whose costumes have the same height requirements, and there are several different buckets of characters in different height ranges. )

            2. Declasse*

              Then you say you need someone of a certain height, not MALES specifically.

              You can’t exclude women because you only ordered a certain SHIRT SIZE. “Male XL” does not mean ONLY males can wear it??

            3. Ask a Manager* Post author

              No, it’s illegal. You could only do it if being a man was what the law considers a bona fide occupational qualification — like you’re casting a play with a male character. In your examples, you’d need to buy different uniforms/costumes.

            4. Tequila Mockingbird*

              I find your comments here really troublesome. You’re making gender assumptions all over the place – that only men could have certain size/measurements, that only men can lift X lbs. Please read up on what BFOQs are, and how courts almost always reject them, instead of trying to justify a completely illegal job requirement.

              1. Avasarala*

                I don’t think they were necessarily agreeing with the assumptions, just sharing what they have seen and wondering if it were illegal. They even shared that some of their friends were not happy about it.

            5. JamieS*

              They might be able to have those requirements, IDK, but they couldn’t really justify specifically excluding women. A lot of women could meet requirements like that.

            6. Princesa Zelda*

              Acting, including character meet-and-greet acting, where you’re cast for a part is different. You’re allowed to put out a casting call like “Looking for a Hispanic woman, between the ages of 18 and 28, with brown eyes, between 5’6 and 5’8” if you’re casting for, say, Elena of Avalor. If you’re looking for someone who will wear a full-body suit like Elmo, it’s perfectly fine to say “Looking for someone between 4’9 and 5’3, between X and Y lbs.,” but you can’t say “looking for ” because those things will no longer have a bearing on the ability of the actor to perform their part.

              1. Princesa Zelda*

                Ack, forgot AAM used html; the 2nd sentence should read:
                ….but you can’t say “looking for [race] [gender] [age]” because those things will no longer have a bearing on the ability of the actor to perform their part.

          2. Tequila Mockingbird*

            Lawyer here. Damn right that’s illegal. Federal law is really clear on this. (“The refusal to hire a woman because of her sex based on assumptions of the comparative employment characteristics of women in general” is prohibited – 29 CFR 1604.2)
            You CANNOT, ever, specify gender in a job ad unless you can demonstrate that gender is a BFOQ – a “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” – essential to perform the job duties. Examples might include a basketball scout recruiting NBA players, or casting director looking for an actor to play Abraham Lincoln.
            Absent a BFOQ showing, filtering out candidates based on gender is totally off-limits.

            1. Unfortunate*

              All of the examples that I have given are actual job postings that I have seen. I am not the person doing any of the hiring.

              1. John Thurman*

                Yeah, if you look at a big job board you’ll definitely find a few illegal ads.
                I used to tweet links at lawmakers but doesn’t seem like there was any enforcement mechanism.

              2. Close Bracket*

                I believe you about that. The existence of those ads shows that people break the law, and there are no people around who have the time, inclination, or funds to go after the law breakers.

      3. Scion*

        It’s tricky though – what does “hiring decision” actually mean? Does it only mean the final decision of who to hire? I think most people would consider inviting or not inviting someone to an interview would count as a hiring decision.

        Also, what about the reverse? If a hiring manager was to deliberately exclude all people of a certain race or gender from interviews, would that run afoul of the law?

        (*Obligatory note that I fully support things like the Rooney rule, I’m just wondering how they square with the legal aspect)

        1. Jadelyn*

          Legally speaking, “hiring decision” refers only to the final decision. Everything up to that is sourcing and recruiting, and IIRC the only labor law that applies at that stage is ADA-related restrictions on what questions you can and can’t ask about disability. The rest of the labor law landscape is focused on the point of hiring decision.

          1. Jadelyn*

            (…well, and other employment decisions after that, like promotions/pay/etc. Oversimplified a tad, sorry.)

    1. MK*

      What I find weird is that this interviewer found the resume horrible, but apparently the only thing they changed was the header? I get that it can make a resume seem sloppy, but it’s also pretty nitpicky to be so concerned with format, unless the job demands it.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        Sloppy can mean unreadable. If the header was ginormous and messed up the formatting of the body text, she could have had lines running together or random words in random spots, dates and company names/job titles could have been all over the place or even with the wrong bullet points, etc. If something like that came across my desk, I’d trash it.

      2. Washi*

        Changing a true header in Word wouldn’t mess up the stuff below, but if the “header” is actually in the body of the document, changing that can mess up the spacing of everything below so it’s all off center and running onto new lines when it shouldn’t. I assumed the latter is what happened to the OP.

      3. Hamburke*

        I helped my daughter (18) with her resume recently. She used Google docs to set it up (schools use Google classroom so it was for her comfort). I downloaded it and opened it in word. I got something like this:

        First L
        ConTacT info

        DatesJob1 Job2

        I had never had this much issue formatting between the 2 but she had used a template with heading markers and either columns or a table and it didn’t transfer over well. I’m glad I checked it but it shows how this could happen.

        1. Alternative Person*

          I was swapping some stuff between google docs and word and yeah, I had stuff like this happen. Even between different versions of word weird stuff happens if you have special formatting and objects in the document.

          (I e-mailed myself a document in arial recently, as I was going to download it, the preview showed wingdings. Downloaded it, got mostly arial and some spacing issues)

          1. Jadelyn*

            You also find this issue sometimes between Mac and PC versions of Word. Less nowadays than you used to, but this is why I always recommend people export/save/submit their resumes in PDF format. PDFs are meant to be static WYSIWIG, and opening it with one program vs another, or on a different OS, doesn’t affect that.

            There was an old shitpost on Tumblr I saw a long time ago, that was something like:
            Me: *moves a table a millimeter to the left in Word*
            Word: six new pages appear, images rotate and distort, headers spontaneously combust, sirens can be heard in the distance

            And that is why I use Word as little as is humanly possible, unless I’m doing a very basic document. Tables involved? Excel. Fancy layouts? Publisher. Word can go rot.

            1. Veronica*

              I agree! Word has this way of taking over and doing what I *don’t* want!
              I use it for lists, but I never use automatic formatting. Numbering, bullets, etc. I do manually.
              (you can turn off the automatic stuff in Options.)

              1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                Yes yes yes. I used to say Word was so idiot- proofed, you had to be an idiot to use it. I want to tell the darn program what to do. I don’t want it giving me what it thinks I want. Such a pain to turn off all of Bill Gates’s assumptions.

      4. JustaTech*

        My resume is in Latex (la-tech) and when I’ve had to try and move it into Word it’s been basically unreadable.
        Which is why I made a plain Word version as well as the pretty PDF version.

    2. Mookie*

      Yeah, they’re telling on themselves that their “pride” in being committed to diversity is in name only and doesn’t actually extend to actively recruiting a diverse candidate pool. They just cross their fingers, close their eyes, and hope somebody shows up in the pile on their desk. No work, all lip service, and they get to keep things exactly as they want them with no effort required while patting themselves on the back for being so enlightened that they actually let the little lady come in for an interview.

      And if they object to that description, they should not be communicating the kind of weak apathy this hiring manager was happy to confess to.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        That lack of diversity might also be a second sign of their recruiter being a poor one.

        1. Lora*

          Am in extremely male-dominated field whose notion of “diverse” at all too many companies is “we also interviewed an Asian guy”, with my office at a location that is 94% white as of the last census. Even in a good economy where the hiring pool is pretty thin, we can usually find at least two women to interview, and usually a few POC too, all very qualified. And that’s for advanced positions that require well over 15 years of experience, so people who were mostly educated in Ye Olden Dayes (for reference: when I was in high school, I was told that women shouldn’t be taking advanced college prep math and science because girls aren’t good at STEM and you don’t want to scare off a potential future husband).

          Now, what happens after the interview is a different story because “personality fit” etc etc…you’d think people would just fall over DEAD if they can’t play golf with their co-workers, honestly. But yeah, if you can’t get together a diverse hiring pool, you’re either 1) not trying 2) are notorious ALREADY among women or POC as a terrible place to work, and everyone is avoiding you.

          OP, good luck being a trailblazer. Have spent most of my career being the only woman in any given office and it has a lot of challenges.

          1. Gumby*

            But yeah, if you can’t get together a diverse hiring pool, you’re either 1) not trying 2) are notorious ALREADY among women or POC as a terrible place to work, and everyone is avoiding you.

            Or the job requires a PhD and under 20% of doctorates in the field are awarded to women annually – and that is now, if you want experienced people from 10+ years ago when it was 13%, good luck. We have quite good of country-of-origin diversity but are not great on underrepresented minorities – which comes as no surprise as they earn less than 8% of all PhDs in the field.

            Sometimes it really is the field.

        2. Jadelyn*

          Sure, but that’s still 1: a problem, and 2: something the company can and should correct. They’re obviously not doing anything about diverse sourcing if their candidate pool is so homogeneous they resorted to “let’s interview her just so we can say we did”, and it’s fair to call that out.

      2. Colette*

        We don’t know how many candidates they got – if they got 4 applications in total, 1 of them being a woman would be reasonable in some fields. And since they are going through a recruiter who is presumably filtering out applicants, it’s likely they didn’t get 400 resumes.

        1. Quill*

          It sounds more like they’re going through several recruiters, not one dedicated one, or the resume snafu would have applied more than once!

          I’m guessing they got around a dozen resumes or less and LW’s resume ended up on the “has our requirements but is a trainwreck” pile rather than the trash pile, and when they called 3-5 people for interviews they moved her back over.

          1. Colette*

            It depends on how the other candidates had their resumes formatted – some may not have been affected. But it could have been several recruiters – either way it’s likely to be a small number of resumes.

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      Telling someone they’re a “diversity hire” is a pretty racialized or (as in this case) gendered way of putting them in their place and making them doubt their own skills and qualifications. It says, in an ugly way, “You’re only here because we’re doing you a favor, and you’d better be grateful.”

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        Yeah…the hiring manager probably should have kept that little tidbit of information to himself.

      2. CM*

        In this context, the OP said the hiring manager confessed much later and also said they blew the other candidates out of the water, which is completely different than saying “you’re a diversity hire” — in fact, it’s kind of the opposite, saying “thank goodness we hired you instead of turning you away for a reason that turned out to be irrelevant.”

        Also, for those wondering about the legality of something like the Rooney Rule, which is about interviewing at least a minimum number of people from traditionally marginalized groups — it’s not discriminating against men or white people to expand the hiring pool to everyone. You still hire people based on their qualifications, you just allow others to get in the door who might otherwise be dismissed for “not a good fit” reasons.

        1. Scion*

          Would it be legal to institute a “reverse-Rooney Rule”? Something like we must have 50 male candidates for every 1 female candidate, and then we hire the best candidate from that pool. Obviously that would have the effect of drastically reducing hiring of women.

    4. Kiwiii*

      I know that some tech companies will grab All the candidates they think are qualified, and then look at the next “almost” tier for additional poc and women to also interview, in case they’re just as capable/qualified but don’t have the resume to prove it or haven’t been given advancement opportunities other places. It’s a balancing out, not an “only because of” situation. If the impression of those candidates after the interview was still that they weren’t the best fit, they definitely wouldn’t get the position.

  8. Eleven*

    LW4: yes, wow, I would have been very upset as well. I’ve dealt with a lot of recruiters and none of those experiences have been positive ones. In my experience, recruiters are like Facebook “friends” who are always trying to railroad you into becoming their MLM downline.

  9. Kiki*

    I assume you picked cities at random for the answer to #5, but it’s kinda spooky that you listed an EXACT flight pattern I took while interviewing! I lived in Boston but was interviewing for a job in Vegas (my hometown, which I’ve since moved back to), but I had to attend a conference in San Diego immediately after my interview.

    Btw the company covered the flight to San Diego, no problem :)

    1. Angelinha*

      Did it raise red flags that you were interviewing for your company in Boston (assuming the conference was work related)? I would worry that the company would ask why I was not having them pay for my travel to San Diego.

      1. Kiki*

        I told them I was visiting family in Vegas before the conference, which was technically true. I just failed to mention there was an interview during the visit. The plane flight from Boston to Vegas was cheaper than Boston to San Diego so they didn’t have a problem with booking it.

  10. Rich*

    OP1, I spent well over a decade in consulting with several firms and a couple hundred clients. One thing that was consistent at almost every firm I either world at or worked with was wildly inconsistent titles. There are some firms that are disciplined about titles and rank, but in general, I’ve found it to be the wild west.

    The worst was a consultancy with 34 billing resources on staff. 30 of them were “director of something-or-other”. The other 4 of us billed more than any 10 you could draw a circle around.

    And that’s not necessarily inappropriate, though there were times it was personally frustrating. Consulting is as much about creating the belief that you can do the work as it is about doing the actual work. And sometimes, a customer needs the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with having a “senior” (or director-level) resource on a job regardless of the actual skills required.

    In the end, in my experience, the only things that really matter are:
    – Do they get the work done to the client’s satisfaction
    – Do they bill enough hours to justify their cost to the firm
    – Do they work at a level of quality, or insight, or something that brings _new_ work into the firm.

    If you do those things, your title could be “bucket scrubber”, and the bosses will love and reward you, because those are the things that make both the customers happy and the partners/leadership in the firm wealthy.

    If your newbie is doing that, they’re doing fine and being called senior is perfectly justified.

    But if _you’re_ doing that, it genuinely doesn’t matter what they call the newbie. Customers know where the good work comes from, and leadership knows who makes the numbers.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      Exactly, to your entire post really. Titles are wildly inconsistent pretty much everywhere (my current title doesn’t remotely match what I do and my manager’s trying to fix that), and if OP’s been a rockstar with clients, she has nothing to worry about with another senior-level consultant stepping in. And, hey – for all OP knows, she could be getting promoted and that’s why another senior consultant was brought on. OP just needs to wait and sees how this all plays out.

      1. Jamie*

        They are. In this new job my title is something I actually thought they made up, until I googled it and saw other companies use this crappy title too…but usually for position with lesser responsibility. I honestly don’t think about it until it comes up, but I do have to work to keep from cringing when it does.

        I’ve been deliberately side stepping business cards because I didn’t want to see it, but had to cave due to upcoming meeting where I’ll need them.

        For people who think titles are irrelevant I agree emotionally as it’s the responsibilities and the job itself that matter, but as a practical thing in dealing with people at other companies they absolutely do matter. I was a director for over a decade and now even though I have many of the same responsibilities I had before now that they’re coupled with a significantly lower level title I’ve seen a stark contrast in the responses I get from colleagues outside my company.

        1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

          Yeah, this is exactly why I’m so glad my manager understands the need for me and my counterpart to get new titles now that we’re officially reporting to him on a newly created team. I was originally hired under one manager with a dotted line reporting structure to the guy who’s now my direct manager, and the title they advertised this position with is very common in our industry; however, since it was brand new to the company and I was given almost complete autonomy over what work assignments I’ve been given, my role has expanded and shifted far beyond what they originally intended it to be.

          My boss came up with a different title for each of us (based on job title suggestions I gave him), and I’m praying HR approves it because the new title will not only accurately reflect what I do for the company, but it will also expand my pay band. Because my current title is off, I’m essentially being paid 50% more than what people with my title are typically paid in my line of work. That’s going to kill me come salary review time if he can’t get change approval because HR probably won’t sign off on me getting a sizable merit increase because my salary looks wildly inflated already. Meanwhile, the new title has a range from $52k to $121k with a $78k average – my base salary is $8k shy of the average. I need this new title so I can sit in this position for a while and actually have a salary progression commensurate with my experience and output (which is of high quality).

      2. Zephy*

        Titles are meaningless. My position is pretty much entry level, but the title is so vague that IT initially set up my access in our internal database for a different department entirely. It took almost 10 days of my boss emailing back and forth with IT to get me set up with the right permissions and access to do my actual job.

        1. consultinerd*

          Well… titles are often meaningless, wildly inconsistent between fields/companies/departments, and poorly thought out, but they do matter for a couple purposes. First, if your company has salary bands tied to your title, the wrong title can make getting appropriate compensation for your contributions/skillset unnecessarily difficult. And second, if you need to collaborate and be taken seriously by external clients/partners or even just someone from another department, having “senior” or “Director of…” in your title can make a big difference in responsiveness to requests.

          Things that shouldn’t matter sometimes do.

          1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

            And how. I have a weedy title that sounds like I’m the staff orphan and has nothing to do with the work I do now that an assortment of leads and managers have flown the coop.

    2. Blarg*

      I just started at a position where the ranks are basically opposite my old job — like manager reports to director vs director reports to manager. It’s all amorphous and “senior” gets added all over. My role is somewhat unique to the organization so I’m outside of the weirdness (but I’m also the only person with this very common title that makes me sound not very advanced despite job duties).

      I’m not sure how I feel about the job as a while yet. But rest assured that with the exception of CEO and CFO, every other title seems to mean very little outside of an agency/company, and your clients and colleagues will know that.

      In the US, Trauma 1 hospitals are the most advanced in that field. But for NICUs, level 1 is the lowest; level 4 is the highest. The names mean nothing without context.

    3. T3k*

      I was just thinking this about a past work place. Assistant was entry level, associate was typically 3 years, and senior could be 5 or more and director was just up in the air. Made it fun trying to find job postings because some replaced associate with coordinator, some required 5+ experience for associate, and even where you worked determine how many years experience others thought you had (apparently where I was, the prestige of the company was so big, 1 year could sometimes equate to 2 with smaller companies).

      1. Quill*

        In my industry “associate” means you were a contractor. But I worked at a tiny startup for 2 years where my title was “research scientist” and people keep asking about that…

    4. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      The word “senior” can quickly become meaningless. Everyone in a particular role at my workplace is a senior officer, regardless of age, experience or seniority. It’s silly. There are no junior officers or plain officers.

      I worked at a different place where one of the three administrative coordinators was a senior administrative coordinator. Two months into that contract, I realized she somehow worked her managers/system to “earn” that senior beside her title to get the recognition and respect it supposedly gave but she worked no harder or better than the rest of us (and in fact, seemed to work less because as senior she could farm out work she didn’t want to do).

      1. Mazzy*

        This is my company. We have had people become “directors” by 30 who have no direct reports. It is weird. And I know I’ve mentioned this before and people said “well maybe they direct their area,” but how does someone who only has five years of experience on average have such a breadth of experience that they can direct all of the nuances situations they will encounter? They can’t yet. And they don’t manage anyone. It is weird when you come from somewhere where a director had to manage people.

      2. WellRed*

        We have a bunch of directors. Our company is 10 people. The only things they are direct are themselves.

      3. londonedit*

        This is common in my industry, too. Pay is generally rubbish and there often isn’t a lot of scope for moving up unless you want to move to a different company (and with it being a small industry there often aren’t a great deal of jobs that fit your specific skills/experience/interest) so after a couple of years people are often given a small pay rise and a ‘Senior’ job title just so they have some progress to show for their efforts. It doesn’t mean they’ve been promoted in the sense that they then have responsibility for other people, or any great additional job responsibilities, it just means they’ve organically taken on more responsibility in their role, or proven themselves to be successful in their role, and they’re given a bumped-up title to reflect that.

    5. Risha*

      I had an appointment with a new doctor yesterday.

      Him: “So what do you do?”

      Me: “I’m a consultant. Well, a system developer, really. Sort of a programmer, maybe. I know those are all really vague.”

      My job title, like 75% of the company, is simply “Consultant,” despite almost never speaking directly to a client. Odds are I’ll be promoted to “Senior Consultant” next month as I’ll have hit 3 years with the company and have been doing the work of one for about 18 months. My actual work duties will not change an iota.

    6. Malarkey01*

      I agree with all of this. I’m also in a role where I got a “director” title after 5 years in an organization and kept it for 15 years even as I rose in responsibility/roles/salary. With 20 years of experience I am more qualified than others getting that title with 5 years of experience, but that doesn’t mean I was unqualified when I first got it.

      Look at roles and responsibilities and how you are treated and or respected in an origination and try not to get hung up on titles since everyone is usually the “lowest” senior whatever when they first get the position.

    7. Missy*

      Exactly this. I do government legal work and around here anything over 3 years of experience will move you into Senior Attorney territory. The only thing above that is general counsel, and many people don’t want that job (it is highly political). So you have Senior Attorney’s with 3 years and ones with 30. Obviously the work will be different based on experience but the title really catches almost everyone.

  11. Fikly*

    #1 seems like the reverse of the post with the complaint about the new employee who felt superior because they had a degree, and thus must know all. Experience does not equal skill, nor does lack of experience equal lack of skill. Skill is what means you can do the job.

    1. Avasarala*

      That’s how I would approach it. “Wow, if she’s already senior after such a short time, she must be very skilled.” Give her the benefit of the doubt and wait to be proved wrong.

    2. D'Arcy*

      OP #1’s aggressive emphasis on the new hire’s previous employment as an au pair certainly gives the impression that they’re trying to downplay the new hire’s actual degree and qualifications.

      1. Mookie*

        Combined with no substantive criticism of the colleague’s performance thus far, which, if it existed, I’m guessing this LW would be eager to share with us.

      2. EventPlannerGal*

        I agree – I don’t want to nitpick but OP, I would lay off that if you bring this up. If you go far back enough into anyone’s job history you can likely find something irrelevant to their current position. It means nothing. And a lot of people do au pair work for flexibility so they can fit in another job or a degree, which really just shows an admirable work ethic. Mocking that type of work says more about you than her.

        1. OP1*

          Like I said below, I wasn’t mocking at all. I was pointing out that her previous role wasn’t industry adjacent which would have contributed to skills and experience.

          1. EventPlannerGal*

            I appreciate that you’ve clarified that, but I still think you shouldn’t phrase it as “she used to be an AU PAIR” as it can really come across badly even if you don’t intend it like that. If you mean “she has little industry experience prior to this job”, just say that.

          2. Jadelyn*

            You may not intend it mockingly, but people are trying to communicate that it’s going to come off that way to other people. It obviously sounded that way to a not-insignificant number of us here. (I count myself in that – I found the specific call out of au pair condescending and insulting, and it also added a gendered aspect that concerned me. Rightly or wrongly, most people’s mental image of “au pair” starts with a young woman, so to dismiss someone for having been an au pair before this starts to feel like a “run along, little girl” sort of attitude, even though that’s not what you intended.)

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          My niece au paired after undergraduate because she realized that she had spent the past 17 years being extremely good at passing tests, and what did she actually want to do? Go to Paris, she decided.

          After a couple of years she returned to the US and used the alumni network to land a job using her BA skills (math) at a good salary.

        3. londonedit*

          Yep, just recently one of the British tabloid gutter newspapers referred to Lady Hale, the president of the Supreme Court, as a ‘former barmaid’. The woman graduated top of her class at Cambridge, has worked tirelessly to improve opportunities for women at the highest echelons of law practice, and has been a trailblazer throughout her extremely distinguished career. But of course the Daily Fail saw fit to trawl through her entire job history so they could sneer at her for once having served drinks.

          1. Jadelyn*

            It’s like the people who are shitty to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for having been a bartender before getting into politics. Clearly once a woman has had some kind of service job, that’s all she can ever be, and at any time may be relegated back to that status regardless of what else she’s done in her life.

          2. Veronica*

            The people sneering at them couldn’t do those jobs to save their lives. A good bartender/barmaid has to have superb people skills, think fast on their feet (literally, while moving fast), coordinate the making and serving of drinks to dozens of people at one time. It’s a highly skilled position.

          3. AnnieB*

            Yes! And crucially, you probably can’t call Boris Johnson a former “any kind of low-wage/status job” because he was able to just live off his parents until the opportunity to get a job he wanted came along.

        4. Jedi Squirrel*

          Agreed. And really, all jobs teach you skills that are transferable to positions in completely different fields.

          My first job at age nine was cleaning dog kennels. 75 cents for two hours worth of work. But that skill has definitely transferred to most every other job I’ve ever had.

          1. LB*

            Yeah, I’ve brought my retail job experience into every role because it taught me a lot!

            I’ve had something similar happen but you do just have to bite your tongue and get on with it, and make sure you show you value rather than focus on the other person.

            I do wonder though if this new hire is a young lady and the boss is male, is there some suggestion of attraction?

    3. Birch*

      I also wonder how far into that 15 years of experience OP gained that title. Makes a huge difference if she’s been in that position for 7 years already or has just been promoted recently.

      1. OP1*

        Hi! I’m OP1. I became a ‘senior’ about a year and a half ago.

        I’m very aware job titles are arbitrary and have been nothing but sweetness and light to the new hire – I like her! I’m also very aware, having had conversations with her and having worked with her for a month now that’s she’s very tactical in a job that requires strong strategy (as that’s in the job title too). My reason for mentioning that she was an child minder was to illustrate that she wasn’t working in an adjacent field that could contribute to experience. Not to be dismissive or sniffy!

        I think my male boss chose the job title as he thinks that’s what clients want to see and he wants to make sure clients listen to us both, which is made easier with a ‘senior’ title, but it has made me feel unsettled and wondering if I’m being pushed out. I have addressed that aspect directly – I asked the boss if there was anything I wasn’t doing that I should be, or areas I needed to improve, and he said no. His stated reason was ‘she speaks about our topic with great conviction and we always want to hire people like that’ but honestly, there’s just not enough work for two of us.

        I’m going to keep doing what I do best and take the high road – but I am going to ask my boss where he sees my role developing and what his vision is for me in the business. I have my own thoughts on that but I’d like to be reassured that he thinks there’s movement for me in the future!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It looks like the core issue is there is not enough work for the both of you.
          Is it possible the boss has something in the pipeline that you don’t know about?

        2. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

          His stated reason was ‘she speaks about our topic with great conviction and we always want to hire people like that’

          Well, sure, but that doesn’t mean you need to hire that person in at a higher level. Your boss’s explanation is odd and evasive.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            That, and “speaks with great conviction” =/= “says things that are substantive and accurate,” which to me is the stronger argument. Nothing to say she’s not doing both, but to focus on the conviction part as a selling point is weird. Passion does not replace the value of experience or knowledge, except to those who can’t tell the difference. I would be put off by that explanation too.

            That combined with the relative delay in promoting you to the title suggests to me that your boss is one who doesn’t get the difference and who may continue to be swayed by enthusiasm over competence (again, not saying the new person is lacking competence, but the boss explicitly called out conviction as her selling point). I mention the possibility because I have been there myself and it did not help my career at all.

            1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

              That, and “speaks with great conviction” =/= “says things that are substantive and accurate,” which to me is the stronger argument.

              THIS! I had a coworker who always spoke with great conviction and authority, but this fool was always wrong, lol. My manager hated him and actively tried to fire him (her boss intervened and made her put him on a PIP instead).

          2. Oh So Anon*

            Yeah, it’s odd and evasive in a way that either suggests that your boss:

            (a) Doesn’t have a great handle on what they ought to hire for
            (b) Is implying that new person has strong communication skills and can build rapport easily with clients…perhaps moreso than OP.

            Coming across as conversant in the field is a big part of what makes consultants seem credible to clients. If this is something your boss sees as an underlying issue, they need to be honest with you, and soon.

        3. Allypopx*

          Your boss seems to be handling this strangely, but maybe a lighter workload is a chance to ask about higher level projects or professional development that could help you move into a more advanced role.

          1. OP1*

            Unfortunately I already work on the highest level projects, and due to the politics in the UK, a lot of clients aren’t spending money with consultancies. So there’s nothing big on the horizon – and there’s not any money for training. I am however, speaking to people outside my immediate industry that do similar roles to understand a bit more about how they approach the skillset and how I can expand my toolbox of skills!

            1. Veronica*

              Yes, it sounds like you might want to be prepared to move on, just in case. If there isn’t enough work in your current industry, you might have to work in a different one.

        4. MCMonkeyBean*

          I’m obviously not familiar with your field, but to me it seems less odd that she is called “senior” after three years than that you were *not* given that title until after 13-14 years.

    4. LawBee*

      I caught that as well. I also wonder how clients would know that they’re getting someone with that much less experience unless the work product was wildly different or someone tells them. If it’s the work product, that will come out. Otherwise, don’t be the person who says anything.

      Benefit of the doubt, OP. But definitely don’t let your (understandable) feelings get in the way of your relationship with her. She probably didn’t come in with the intention of undermining you.

  12. Paperdill*

    Regarding #2: Atent the purpose of thank you notes to, you know, thank a person/people and be polite not to bolster one’s chances of getting a job?

    1. Avasarala*

      Socially yes. But there’s a benefit to seeming extra polite and grateful to someone you want something from.

    2. Mookie*

      Hiring managers with a very obvious lack of desire to hire you don’t need to hear from you. The gesture in that situation is not polite, but a wasted effort (writing, reading) for both parties. No one needs to be thanked.

    3. Koala dreams*

      From reading this blog, it seems like thank you notes in a job context mean something very different compared to the every day meaning.

    4. Rakah*

      Nope. It’s a strategy, like anything else in the application process. It’s not really meant to be a thank you at all – Alison even says in one of her articles (link in following comment) on this that they should be called follow-up notes not thank you notes. They aren’t merely a social thing, like thank you notes for gifts. They’re about adding to your candidacy.

    5. Asenath*

      I think whether thank-you notes are required in the job market varies from place to place. I was required from the time I could print to produce thank-you notes for gifts (many of my relatives lived far away and mailed gifts, so I couldn’t use the “thank them face-to-face” substitute. Yet, I never hear of or sent thank-you notes in a job search. I don’t think its a thing in Canada, at least not in my region. I’ve organized literally hundreds of job interviews over the years – I’d say I got a thank-you, verbal or written, from less than 1% of the applicants. Some might have thanked the interviewers directly, but I’ve never gotten the impression that was common or seen flocks of notes arriving for interviewers in the office mail. And that’s for interviews which weren’t so badly targeted as OP’s interview was. I don’t think OP needs to send a thank-you note unless she’s in a culture where one is absolutely required.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        Thank you notes in the US are typically emailed, not sent through snail mail.

        1. Asenath*

          I don’t think many, if any, of the few I got were through email, although I corresponded frequently with all applicants that way, so they all had my email address and office address. They might not know the interviewers’ email addresses at all, unless they were internal applicants (who were a small minority), since those email addresses are often not public. I don’t think there were many if any emailed thank-yous getting to the interviewers. Different places, different norms, I guess.

      2. Thankful for AAM*

        It is typical in the US to email a thank you, or if not typical, it is very common, at least for positions considered “white collar.” Most interviewers give out business cards so you have their email addesses or you already have the email address of an HR or other point person so you send them the thank you.

    6. LawBee*

      I like Alison’s view of the interview as a business meeting – because it is! They’re not thanking me for the time I took out of my schedule to interview them because it’s business.

    7. Turquoisecow*

      In theory, but the subtext is there.

      I actually thing the OP should send a note, just because even if this particular job isn’t right for them, the company might have something in the future they might want to apply for, or the interviewer might change jobs and try to hire at another company OP is interested in in the future. Best not to totally burn bridges!

  13. Clementine*

    It is totally okay to ask a prospective employer to pay for flights that suit your schedule when they are trying to hire you. You are doing the company a favor by fitting an interview into your busy schedule, and they are typically happy to accommodate you. I’ve never tried anything ridiculous, but always had a legitimate reason. For example, I had previous plans to be in City X two days before the scheduled interview date in City X, but I had also previously planned to go home. Rather than pay for a flight from home to City X, I asked that they pay for an extra hotel night so I wouldn’t have to fly back and forth for no real reason, and then a one-way back after the interview.

  14. cncx*

    RE OP1, not saying it is right or wrong but i have seen bigger companies, mine included, give people similar titles for org chart/hierarchy reasons. My immediate coworker has about ten years of experience on me and is way more skilled but we have the same title for administrative reasons (luckily for him not the same pay). You said yours was a small agency so this probably doesn’t apply, i’m just saying it isn’t a red flag in itself in bigger companies.

    1. Birch*

      It could also be a quirk (red flag or not) of whoever is in charge of assigning titles. In my team we have a literal teenager with the title of “manager” while 3 of us have PhDs and years of professional experience…. and “assistant” in our titles. Sometimes titles are BS.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Oh yes. My BFF worked for a guy who (besides begrudging having to pay his staff AT ALL (this guy makes Scrooge look like Philanthropist of the Year)) decided that titles were an arbitrary way of making his staff feel good.
        Want to call yourself HR Director? Knock yourself out – it’s a department of just you and there’s no board of directors on which to have any influence.
        How does Senior IT Manager sound? There’s no extra money in it, or any staff to manage since the IT assistant is on the same money and same responsibilities but it sure looks good on the website org chart, and it’ll stop you b*tching about career progression.
        The man was a complete tool and staff turnover at that place was a joke. If you made it beyond 18 months you practically *deserved* the “Senior” prefix title.

  15. Cathie from Canada*

    Send the thank you note!
    Twice I got jobs where I left the interview convinced it had been a disaster. One time I almost got into an argument with the woman from HR over some point, and then it turned out everyone else on the panel disliked her intensely so my push back was actually seen as a point in my favour. The other time the interview “panel” was a 20-person round table and I was convinced I had blown it, but it turned out that the rest of the candidates were also flummoxed by this format too, and one of the interviewers whom I had known before really advocated for me, so I got the job.
    So basically, you never know!

    1. Mookie*

      The LW doesn’t appear to want the job and, given that she’s not qualified to fill it, that’s a pretty understandable position.

    2. BadWolf*

      I was thinking the same! Sure, try to improve on things you thing you need to improve on, but it’s always hard to read impressions. And you don’t know what the pool was like. Or the whim of the interviewer.

      And I love your two examples of “bad interviews” turning good.

  16. ceiswyn*

    LW4 – are you submitting your resume as a Word file or similar? Submitting resumes as PDFs can prevent recruiters doing this sort of thing.

      1. ceiswyn*

        Well, that’s one way to find out that they’re going to modify (and possibly mess up) your CV…

        I’ve never had pushback. I don’t know whether that’s due to differences in geographical area, professional area, or that I’m usually a sufficiently strong candidate that it’s a bit of a seller’s market.

      2. Consultant Catie*

        Couldn’t LW4 refuse to send the DOC file and only provide a PDF? Or ask what changes the recruiter would make and modify the PDF on their own? That way they both get what they want. At the end of the day, (external) recruiters are basically in sales, and are more likely to acquiesce to requests/quirks like this than internal recruiters may be. LW4 might even be able to apologetically say something like, “sorry to be so picky about this, the last time someone asked me for a Word doc of a resume they ____(talk about this formatting thing or make up something horrible)___ so now I’ve made it a rule for myself to be extra picky.”

        1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

          I’ve asked for a template and made the changes myself, and the recruiter was fine with it. I figure I’ve saved them the work of forcing my resume into their format, and myself the worry about them messing up my skills and accomplishments. Everybody wins!

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        PDFs can be edited with Acrobat Pro….and it’s not hard to find a way around its security from what I hear.

    1. The Goat Gruff*

      It’s easy enough to convert PDFs to text, though I agree it could be a deterrent. Submitting as a PDF is not a substitute for asking the question though.

      1. ceiswyn*

        It’s not a perfect solution, but IME the effort involved is more than most recruiters are willing to put in. At most they’ll use a quick’n’dirty PDF editor to add some text or an image, but that won’t muck up the formatting the way editing a Word original would.

    2. Brett*

      As mentioned, they will definitely copy-paste the text out if you do that (or request a doc).

      Many fortune 100 companies use applications like Taleo or Fieldglass for recruiters, so the recruiter has somehow get the text out of your resume into taleo/fieldglass. For the hiring I do, I never end up seeing the candidates original resume.

      1. ceiswyn*

        They won’t ‘definitely’ do that, because they have never done it to me. However, as mentioned, I appreciate that my situation may differ from the experience of others due to location, field, or desirability as a candidate.

        In my profession the resume is essentially a sample of your work. If the hiring manager doesn’t see my original, they are missing really important information. And if the recruiter copy-pastes out the text into their own doc, they will materially reduce the chance that I’ll get hired (and therefore that they’ll get commission).

        1. Brett*

          Do you have access to the corporate talent recruiting system that you are being submitted to?
          As a candidate, you would likely never know that they moved your resume text into that system.

          As I mentioned below, I _never_ see the candidate’s original resume. I get the talent recruiting system version of it.

          1. ceiswyn*

            I have seen my interviewers referring to and annotating copies of my resume during interview. So yes, I DO know that they didn’t move my resume text into a recruiting system.

            I have also been the hiring manager for junior members of my profession, and hiring has never involved moving a candidate’s resume text into a recruiting system. They are not as universal as you seem to think.

            1. Brett*

              Oh yeah, they definitely are not universal. It’s something very specific to fortune 100 (maybe even just fortune 50) companies like the OP was applying to.

  17. Sun Tzu*

    Re OP#2, once I had a job interview that lasted 10 seconds. I barely had the time to introduce myself when they told me that they were looking for a different profile for the job. I was disappointed and pissed off of having spent hours to prepare, dress up, and go for that interview.

    I didn’t do anything odd or inappropriate, so I think they had an internal candidate they wanted to hire but were required by law to interview people, as often happens.

      1. LawBee*

        Good luck with legal repercussions – nothing illegal happened here, and the only harm would be legally negligible. That’s a good way to making hiring more difficult on both sides.

        1. Angelinha*

          If there really was a law requiring them to interview people, though, as Sun Tzu says there was, then not actually going through with those interviews probably would be illegal?

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          If someone said I didn’t fit their “profile” as soon as they met me, I’d wonder if it was because of my sex or age (or race or visible need for accommodation or many other things that would actually be legally actionable).

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Yep. I once applied at a temp agency where the receptionist checked off a person’s job “type” (front office, back office, retail/customer service, or light industrial” literally the moment they walked in the door, without even looking at their resume. I suspect I was assigned “front office” because I was a young white woman, and further suspect they’d have checked “light industrial” if I’d been a black man.

          2. The New Wanderer*

            Anyone not a young-looking, fit-looking, white-looking, male-looking person could safely assume that. What an extraordinarily and problematically bad call to say it out loud to a candidate.

          3. Sun Tzu*

            They actually specified they were looking for someone with experience in XYZ; I didn’t have that experience, so I was not the right profile for them.

            I wish I had asked them in that moment “Why the hell did you call me in for an interview, then?” but well… esprit de l’escalier.

    1. KayEss*

      “Looking for a different profile” makes me think of the movie scenario where the job interview involves a plastic surgeon checking the applicant’s facial bone structure because the (unstated) job duties include “corpse body double for when the boss takes his own gruesome death.”

  18. M from NY*

    OP1 I have a relative that more than once has refused a promotion because they like their job, doesn’t want responsibility of a manager then gets mad when employer hired someone new with less experience and given same title. New hire #1 put in work and accepted promotion three years in. Relative left job. Second time at different job new hire #2 did same thing after a few years. Relative was insulted again and took different job. Now at current position boss brought in new person as co director and relative is mad again.

    At this point in career with 20 years experience relative is overqualified for work they love and unwilling to take on additional duties while expecting raises on annual basis. [Deliberately left gender off because it boils down to this point].

    Take an objective look and see what is really best for you and your organization. You may be over valuing need for customers to have rep with 15 year experience when someone with 3 can get job done. If you’ve been offered promotion and refused then it may be that you’ve hit top of pay band employer is willing to pay. Your letter focused on what you want but you need to step back and see what does your employer actually need and whether those wants and needs align anymore. This isn’t about your feelings.

  19. Daisy*

    2. I’m pretty suspicious of a company that needs someone with specific knowledge to work on a specific project but is calling it an internship. Seems like what they want is an employee and are trying to get away with paying shit (or nothing).

  20. Lynca*

    OP 1- It sounds like you were the only consultant at the business before this person was hired. I’m basing that on the fact you say that you weren’t overloaded with work, rather than the team.

    Having only 1 dedicated consultant is a pretty big failure point. What would happen to your clients if you needed to take a long leave of absence? It may be that the business is getting big enough that they feel they need that additional coverage. I think you need to go into it with a more open mind and not be so hung up on what their title is or that they have work experience outside your field.

    At about 6 years out of school, my resume was half administrative jobs. It’s not uncommon especially if they were working those jobs while in school or just out of school.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Or the big boss is planning to expand the business in the near future. There might not be enough work right now for two, but plans on having enough then. Rather than over work you when that happens, the BB is planning a reasonable workload for everyone.

      Also are you sure there is not enough work or are you just used to putting in insane hours so you think there isn’t enough?

      1. OP1*

        Well, I had said previously that I would like to build a team and originally in the team structure they had plans for a plain ol’ Consultant that sat under me. I would have absolutely welcomed her in as a member of my team that could act up during vacation time etc. I’m still unsure as to why that didn’t happen.

        And there’s definitely not enough work. I work fast, but I don’t work long hours. I’m longing for a new project to keep me occupied!

        1. Czhorat*

          The solution might not be for them to get a junior title (once the new employee is hired they can’t be demoted without a feel that the job offer was a bait and switch), but for you to get a more senior one.
          Now that there’s the beginning of a team, you can ask what the path upward is for you. What comes after “senior consultant”?

        2. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

          With the additional information you’ve been giving here in the comments, I think you should spend your free time polishing up your resume and putting out some feelers. This just doesn’t sound great.

  21. Mel*

    OP1: I feel your pain! I’d been with my old company for probably 8 years when they hired another graphic designer, fresh out of of college.

    The title wasn’t an issue and we definitely needed another designer, but they treated us as being on the same skill level and, since she was pretty bad, it made me really question what I was doing there.

    Things only got worse from there and now I’m somewhere that’s really much more committed to excellence.

  22. Cat Meow*

    I disagree w advice for #2- I think that society needs to go back to the original purpose of a thank you note – to say thank you for the time that the organization spent reviewing application materials and interviewing you. I don’t like society’s idea of a “conditional thank you”- I.e. I’ll only thank you if there’s something in it for me.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      Yeah, I send thank you emails after job interviews, even if I have no intention to take the position, just to acknowledge that I appreciated the interviewer’s time and wish them luck on finding someone who will actually accept the role.

    2. Allypopx*

      Eh I dunno, if it felt like I bait and switch and a waste of my time I wouldn’t be super grateful.

    3. Anononon*

      But it’s just a business transaction. If that were the case, employers should send thank you notes to interviewees thanking them for their time and coming it. Job seekers shouldn’t feel grateful for a company going through a hiring process.

    4. Washi*

      Since an interview is a business meeting and not a favor to me, I don’t send thank you notes if I don’t want the job. It’s kind of a silly convention (why doesn’t the organization thank me for taking time off work and prepping?) and not a hard and fast requirement of the process, so I only do it when it will benefit me.

      1. Colette*

        I’ve been thanked for coming in in interviews – it’s a pretty normal thing. The thank you note is about reiterating interest and following up 0n the conversation – if the employer wants to do that, they can just schedule another interview, but the candidate doesn’t have that option.

        1. Washi*

          Right, but if I don’t want the job, why would I reiterate my interest? (And I verbally thank my interviewers for their time and they verbally thank me, but that is different than sending a thank you note.)

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            I’ve sent thank you emails when withdrawing my candidacy for a role to a) let them know, in writing, that I’m not moving forward with the process and I wish them the best, and b) to ask them to keep me in mind for future opportunities – but that’s only if I truly liked the company and would consider working there in the future in another capacity than the one I interviewed for.

              1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

                Thank you :)

                I aspire to be like her, and her iconic character, Dominique Deveraux, when I grow up, lol. She was EVERYTHING.

          2. Colette*

            As Diahann says, withdrawing is another reason to send a note. But if you know you don’t want to continue and you are OK with letting them think you are going to continue, it’s fine not to send one. It’s even fine to not send one if you want to continue – you’ll miss out on an opportunity to follow up, but they’re not mandatory.

            1. Kelly L.*

              Yeah, I once deliberately didn’t send one because I wanted them to forget me as quickly as possible–I wanted so badly to not work there after the atmosphere of the interview. (And no, I wasn’t worried about burning bridges either; it wasn’t adjacent to my usual field or social circles at all.)

    5. Thankful for AAM*

      I look at the thank you in a more “meta” way. I know I should say thanks for your time and they know I should say thank you as it is the polite thing to do. So in reality, sending one does not signal that I am polite and happen to actually be thankful. It signals that I am savvy enough about business norms to actually write a thank you, that I come from a socioeconomic class that knows the convention, and that I (hopefully) write well.

      And the elephant in the room is that both sides know that writing a good thank you is an extension of the job hunt.

    6. Cat Meow*

      Thanks everyone in this thread for offering your perspective. A point I had not considered is that it should go both ways if it is really a thank you note. I think that the language, ie thank you, throws me off. I wonder if it should be called a “Follow up note.” I am still learning business norms and people always tell me I’m way too nice so maybe this is part of it too.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I disagree with #2 for a different reason–making a good impression on the person who misunderstood the role & pulled you out as a mismatch. Because sometimes another position comes open that would be a better match for you.
      So send a thank you for their time, and say although you’re not interested in the Llama Grooming Manager position, you’d like to be called back if a Llama Braiding position opens up in the future.
      It doesn’t even take a stamp and a piece of paper anymore, just five minutes and a few electrons. Cheaper than the lottery!

  23. Czhorat*

    For OP#1, perhaps after fifteen years you can ask what the next step in your progression can be. If the more junior person is a “senior consultant” does that make you, say, an associaten principal or similar?

    You’re not wrong that titles time a message, both to current clients and to prospective future employers should you choose to move on.

    If you frame the discussion as “I want to take about must steps in my career and possible advancement” that comes across better than “I think the new person’s title is diluting mine”. Make it about what you need rather than what they are getting

  24. Allypopx*

    Maybe it’s my control issues but this website has made me feel like I could never use a recruiter. It sounds like there are too many ways for it to go wrong.

    My friend is working with one right now that’s pushing her super hard to quit her current job without something lined up so they can direct her towards immediate start positions (nothing they’ve shown her is in her required salary band).

    But in particular my resume…I want to know how I’m being marketed and this sounds super sketchy.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      Your friend needs a new recruiter – this one is more concerned with her own commission than she is with finding your friend the right position.

      1. Allypopx*

        She’s been pulling away from them and doing her own job search, but yeah I said something similar.

    2. Thatoneoverthere*

      I have had terrible experiences with recruiters and I worked very briefly for one. It is a strange industry and personally would never work with again.

      1. Peaches*

        Same. I once worked with one that was extremely personable and helpful upfront. I ended up getting a job offer for a job I’d interviewed for via the recruiter, and another job I’d interviewed for myself. When the recruiter offered me the job, I asked for a couple days to think about it since I’d just received another offer as well. Her response? “You were seriously interviewing for other jobs without my assistance? I guess I just didn’t realize you weren’t being upfront about interviewing not through us. I’ll need an answer for this job by 7:00 PM tonight (she called with the offer around noon), I’m not going to waste the employer’s time because you need a couple days to consider other jobs.”

        I took the other job.

      2. Goldfinch*

        I have also had nothing but bad experiences. Luckily, when I laid out the story to my current boss, she pushed for that agency to be dumped by our company.

    3. Brett*

      Since working at a fortune 100 company, I have learned that ~80% of our jobs go only to recruiters first and are not advertised on our job boards. The ones that go on the job boards are much more difficult to get direct hire positions or have already gone out to recruiters without finding a candidate.

      1. Allypopx*

        Very interesting! Neither her nor myself would be applying to a company of that size, most likely, as we work in nonprofits, but that’s good to know regardless.

    4. Heidi*

      I guess you’re not going to write for advice if you had a great experience. There are probably some that are excellent. But it also sounds like a pretty competitive field that pays based on how many people you place, which leads to some pretty aggressive tactics among the less successful players.

    5. TC*

      I’ve worked with good recruiters before — they take the time to learn what I’m looking for and what their clients are looking for, and if I was ever looking for another gig, I would call them and ask what was going. They’re few and far between, but if you’re moving cities or have a limited network, a good recruiter is such a help.

    6. Veronica*

      Your friend should *not* quit her job with nothing else lined up because of this recruiter!
      What if the recruiter submits her for these jobs and she doesn’t get one? The recruiter won’t care, and your friend will be unemployed. This recruiter is *not* her friend!!!

  25. Luna*

    About the recruiter, I hope you told the recruiter what a crap thing that was to do, and maybe even go to the company the recruiter comes from and tell them that you are not okay with their employee having changed *your* resume without your permission (emphasize this). Good thing you got the job nonetheless… though I can’t say you got the job on just your own merits. But I don’t know, a company that chooses to give interviews based on the need to have ‘diversity’ is not one that sounds good to me.
    I don’t know if there’s such a thing as reviews for recruiter companies, but I would leave a pretty scathing one about them changing something without your okay. That’s just… all sorts of wrong, and a good reason to not use recruiters.

    1. Allypopx*

      “But I don’t know, a company that chooses to give interviews based on the need to have ‘diversity’ is not one that sounds good to me.”

      Eh I don’t know. Many companies are SO bad at hiring in general. At least the goals are good here even if the execution isn’t?

    2. Blueberry*

      But as the Moon, don’t you shine on everyone, not just selected groups? I think the way the interviewer phrased it was clumsy at best, but I can see benefits beyond tokenism for a company to consciously pursue having employees from different backgrounds and with different experiences to expand the range of ideas and knowledge available.

  26. Rockin Takin*

    In response to OP1, I can offer the perspective from the other side.
    I was hired into my current supervisor role with about 4 years of industry experience. I am 15 years younger than the next youngest co-supervisor, and the majority of the supervisors have worked here 15+ years. It was very difficult in the beginning because I could tell people did not like that I was young or that I was less experienced as the others. Sometimes this is still an issue.
    My boss hired me because of my experience with quality standards and document revisions in our industry. He also wanted someone with fresh eyes who could look at problems from a different angle. I have been revising SOPs and documents to help our team.l, and also helped facilitate many improvements to our work.
    Most people now are ok with me and value me as a team member.
    Even after ‘proving’ my worth over the past year, I still have people who refuse to respect or listen to me based on my age alone.
    Before I worked in industry I was in education and also worked on the side as a nanny.
    I guess my point is to please not discredit people until you see the results of their work. And don’t take it personally if someone is hired at your level with a different background/experience range.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I keep worrying over the description of the junior staffer as an author pair, like it’s a bad thing. Some kids take a lot of management and psychology! Would it be different if the former job was as a landscaper or a roofer or a carpenter?
      And if so why!? They’re all jobs that can pay the rent while you focus on job hunt, education, sports competition, or the next great novel. I hate wondering if an excellent life-skills teacher is being denigrated for the role as ‘just an automatic pair.’

  27. Thatoneoverthere*

    OP1- Its possible this job title is for clients to feel more comfortable. If I saw Senior Consultant I would be more comfortable and confident in service provided, than if if were Consultant or Jr. Consultant.

      1. Oh So Anon*

        Absolutely. When I worked in consulting, our leadership was pretty open about ensuring that once analysts and associates had the skills to do client service independently, they needed the title bump to be regarded as legitimate by clients.

  28. Scarlet*

    LW #1 and people who think like her are the reason I lost out to a promotion once. I was 27 or so and everyone else in the position was late 30s. My boss loved me, interviewed me, and wanted me in the role. She consulted with the team and received heavy feedback – “I spent 10 years trying to get into this role, she’s not getting in after 3”.

    Yeah, thanks a lot, jerks.

    Needless to say I am still snarly about it all these years later, even after leaving that company and changing industries.

    So to LW #1, I would say – it’s not about years of experience, it’s about skills the person brings to the table. You also couldn’t possibly know all the nuances of what went into the hiring decision unless you were part of it. Perhaps she brings a particular skill to the table, that while not crucial to role, will help move the company forward in a certain direction? Who knows? But you have to give this girl a chance. You know really nothing about her and are only frustrating yourself by assuming she doesn’t have what it takes.

    1. Jennifer*

      “I paid my dues and so does she!” I hate that attitude. You would think people would want to make it easier on the newer generation coming up, not harder, particularly on fellow women.

  29. Lily in NYC*

    A recruiter changed my resume without my knowledge and emailed it to the firm before my interview. Of course, I brought a printed version and the interviewer noticed they were different! The recruiter took out two of my promotions because I was applying for an executive assistant job and she apparently thought it would be assumed I was just looking for a “foot in the door” position instead of a career admin role. I was PISSED. The interviewer was upset as well. The recruiter was mad at me because I made her “look bad” and told me the company was going to stop using them. I told her it was her own damn fault and to remove me from her firm’s database.

    1. Luna*

      The only response to that recruiter’s complaint about not being used anymore would be a resounding, grumpy-cat-like “Good!”

  30. Fabulous*

    #4 – I’ve had that happen to me too! Not necessarily to the extent that the recruiter made my resume totally unreadable, but there was definitely a marked difference between the one my interviewer had and my own. I was so glad to have another copy on hand to show them my formatting wasn’t really that sloppy!

    I always send my resume in PDF format to avoid that, and when recruiters ask for Word versions, I’ve resent a PDF minus my contact information. My job is literally formatting documents. Never again, LOL.

  31. Daughter of Ada and Grace*


    I once worked with a recruiter who requested a copy of my resume so they could put it into their own format. (I was told this was for consistency, so all their clients would get the information in the same format.)

    I pushed back, and requested a copy of their template so I could send them a copy of my resume that was already in their format. The recruiter agreed, and when I sent her back the formatted copy she said it was one of the best examples she’d seen. (I did a small amount of cleanup on their template – typos, alignment, that sort of thing.)

    I didn’t get the job, but it would’ve been a big stretch position for me, and the recruiter was clear about that from the beginning. Overall, it was a positive experience.

    1. Fabulous*

      That is a great idea! If I ever work with a recruiter again who asks this I will definitely request their template and to do the transfer myself!

  32. Senor Montoya*

    OP #2. Yes, write a nice thank you note. In addition to Alison’s points, I’ll add that you never know who people know.

  33. blink14*

    OP #3 – I think some of this is less about salary, and more about the perception of the “big city” newcomer looking for a job in a small, rural city. Some of the people reviewing your resume may have these questions: Why did this candidate move here? Will they be long term or move to a more populated area within a few years? Will our company live up to their big city expectations?

    I grew up in a rural area and have spent a significant amount of time in a very remote town, where my family has a second property. There is definitely a perception that the “big city” who have moved to both of those areas will not stay, and in large part this is due to employment opportunities – both quantity and quality. There are far less high paying, high education level jobs in both places than there are in larger cities. I grew up in a farm town that has evolved into a town with a large commuter population, post 9/11, and the office job opportunities still are far less than service oriented jobs (like health care, schools, etc) and manual labor jobs.

    I would start spinning this in your cover letter, and express why you’ve moved and why the job you are applying for is the one for you. Give them the answers to their questions – why you are there and why you would be happy with that job.

    1. blink14*

      And as an example – I currently work at a university in a major NE city. If I were to move back to my hometown, and wanted to continue in higher ed, I would either have to “downgrade” to a community college position or commute to a private 4 year college the next county over or into NYC to one of the bigger universities. I guarantee the hiring manager at the community college would question why I was applying.

    2. Asenath*

      As another person from a smaller population area, this is very true. Yes, potential employers might think OP expects Big City salary, and that needs to be addressed. But many rural and smaller centres have seen a lot of potential employees from larger centres come, often with initial enthusiasm, and then quickly decide they don’t really like the life in a smaller population area at all, resign and move on. This is partly due to the employment opportunities – especially if the applicant is half of a couple, and the other half can’t find a good job. But it can also be due to social factors – the lack of friends or relatives to form a social network (and sometimes the difficulty of starting a new one), the lack of entertainment and shopping options, the sheer distance and therefore expense for vacation trips back home to the big city, and so on. So it can be a serious disadvantage if an applicant, as far as the employer can tell from the application, has never lived outside a major metropolitan area and possibly has never even visited the region in question. They want to know what attracts you there and why you think you’d like to stay a while. It shouldn’t be necessary at all to say so – but don’t put the name of the wrong Small Regional City in your letter! It’s not only careless, it looks like you think the cities and regions are all interchangeable.

    3. Filosofickle*

      Yep. And it’s not just moving to a place with fewer jobs or lower pay. Every major move I’ve had to explain. Companies often fear that anyone relocating won’t stick around, and I’ve certainly heard enough of friends not being happy in their moves to understand why. Reassuring them that you are realistic, are 100% committed to the move (ideally you have a place already and/or a move date), and have a good reason to make the change go a long way.

      I live in one of the most desirable places in the country. Everyone knows why candidates wants to move here, but they still wonder if they’ll stay. It’s a very expensive and crowded place to live and lots of transplants don’t last long. People don’t always know what they’re getting into.

      1. Veronica*

        This taps into a cultural attitude I’ve noticed here in the US – people act as if all places are the same when it comes to a job. They get their training/degree and think they’ll move to wherever they get a job and be happy there.
        That often doesn’t work because people don’t think about the lifestyle things and what they like. Do they like inner city, or find it stressful? Do they love the laid-back ways of smaller towns, or find them boring?
        How long a commute are they willing to do? Do they like to drive for their commute, or prefer a train? And so on.
        Even within my major metro area I’ve seen people move from the city to suburbs more than one hour away, without realizing what that change and commute will do to them. People need to think about these things before they do them.

        1. blink14*

          Totally agree – I think this is a symptom of the work culture in the US, and work/life balance really isn’t ingrained here like it is in other countries. Generally speaking, the public transit systems in most major US cities are lacking in comparison to major European cities, and rural transit is horrendous in comparison.

          I would likely never relocate just for a job (unless it was a true dream job). I’m more willing to relocate to a new and interesting place because I want to, not just because of a job (obviously finding a job would be vital).

          1. Veronica*

            I’ve known since my teens I like inner-city and don’t like most other areas. So I moved to the big city and looked for jobs here, and never moved to the suburbs.

  34. CJ Record*

    For #3, I wonder if framing it as “I was making X% of the local median income, which ended up being $Y. Around here that would be $Z.” Which does mean both a little research and math, but homework doesn’t end after college!

  35. another Hero*

    LW1 mentioning the new hire used to work as an au pair seems oddly petty and personal – the lower-status work she did before this field doesn’t diminish her qualifications, and if it’s there to indicate her age, that’s still v off-base. Stick with her skills – and if she can’t handle what you can, that will become obvious.

  36. Brett*

    #4 For the interviews I do, where all of the resumes flow through a third-party recruiter (there is no other way to get hired into these roles), we take it as a given that the recruiter has modified the resume. On the negative side, this means that we always assume that the experience listed is overstated or inaccurate. On the plus side, when we see glaring errors (e.g. 20 years experience in a software package that is only 10 years old) in a resume we never hold that against the candidate; it is almost always a recruiter edited that confuses the candidate as much as it does us.

    These roles are contract roles that are technically 1-year renewing statements of work with the recruiter’s company (large tech consulting companies). That is why the resumes must flow through recruiters. (Other than the few extremely rare cases where the candidate forms their own contracting company and has it certified for work with our company.)

  37. Anon DC*

    I bet #2 was a DC employer. The job market here is so saturated that entry level jobs require at least 2 years experience, and “internships” are technically the same as FT jobs on a contract basis, so that they can justify paying someone with expertise $15/hr. But yeah, they should have been more clear in the job ad, starting with “full time job” and not “internship”.

    1. G*

      I’m the asker of #2 It wasn’t DC but a city in another country with DC-like characteristics for a very DC job so congrats for spotting it. Think tanks kind of suck at hiring.

  38. Solar Moose*

    LW4, I absolutely refuse to work with independent recruiters because of slime like this. It’s just not worth it. You can search for job listings online, you can reach out directly to employers who don’t have listings, and you can reach out to the network you’ve (hopefully) developed.

    I also send PDFs of my resume only, so it’d be more effort for someone to write in their own details.

  39. S*

    #1 I totally feel your pain, when I was an analyst my boss hired someone who was a Hooters waitress as a second analyst. She was hired because she was friends with the boss and had zero experience with our industry or the job. It was as horrible as you can imagine, she couldn’t/wouldn’t do the job and my boss tried making me do her responsibilities. Bad management all around. All you can do is perform your job as best you can and don’t let the other person drag you down.

    1. new kid*

      You and LW1 tell on yourselves when you include irrelevant details about your coworkers’ prior job histories. You could get the same message across just by saying she has no industry experience, but you specifically call out her waitressing experience because you see it as being beneath you, which is super condescending.

      Maybe your coworker is as terrible as you say, but it’s really hard to take your word for it with such an obvious bias presented, jsyk.

      1. Asenath*

        “No industry experience” includes many people who have relevant skills from a related industry. In the context of an office job, “waitress’ or “child care worker” are so distant that the skills are not relevant to the vast majority of office jobs. Turning it around – there are lots of businesses where my general office skills could be applied, most of them not in my current industry. “Waitress” or “Child Care Worker” aren’t among them, and no one in their right mind would hire me to do those jobs unless they had no experienced or trained applicants whatsoever. So “no industry experience” and “only experience in completely unrelated occupation” do not mean the same thing.

        1. new kid*

          Sure, change ‘no industry experience’ to ‘no relevant experience’, but my point still stands. Someone who is specifically introducing a hated coworker as a former waitress (and specifically calling out the restaurant itself, which it utterly irrelevant) is someone who has a pronounced bias.

        2. J*

          True. But the inclusion of where this woman waitressed makes it difficult to think that S’s objection is strictly that service industry folks don’t have experience as office workers. Unless there’s something about serving tables at Hooters rather than Olive Garden or that little French place that opened downtown that makes you extra unqualified. Hmm…

      2. S*

        You’re inferring way too much information from my comment. I used to be a waitress for several years, and no I could not make the jump from waitress to analyst. Between those jobs I gained a degree and several years of experience in another industry. My specific comment was about how someone with zero needed experience, and who happened to be a waitress, was hired for a job due to nepotism.

      3. Luna*

        I find the specific mention of having been a Hooters waitress to be more telling. Not that I would look down on that type of waitressing job because, while it is absolutely based on looks, it is just as demanding as other waitressing jobs. Maybe even more because of Hooters being what it is and demands of waitresses.

    2. Jennifer*

      It’s not the same thing at all because LW1’s coworker has three years of relevant experience.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Her no experience isn’t a huge flag if someone knows her and is judging fairly. They also need to be willing to do the training though.

      I was thrown into accounting at 19 and it worked out well. No schooling or experience. But the catch is the boss trusted I could learn. And she taught me the basics kind of (like how to pull up a screen to enter data but I was left to find the data points myself.)

      Nobody taught me how to even file. I just got thrown a foot high stack and told to put it away. I had the ability to go look at how the system was setup and replicate it.

      Unless it’s a job that requires licensing or certification, it’s usually a job people assume can be learned.

      I get it though. I have given chances to seemingly bright people who can learn things fast with only a barista background and been burned. It’s not because they’re only a barista though.

  40. A Simple Narwhal*

    Ugh I feel #1 so hard. At OldJob the titles went Teapot Intern, Teapot Specialist, Teapot Analyst, Senior Teapot Analyst, Teapot Manager, etc – when we hired interns after they graduated, they became specialists. I was brought in with five years experience as a Teapot Analyst.

    Two years into my tenure, in response to the pending overtime laws, specialist became an hourly position. My manager decided they didn’t want to “deal” with the hassle of tracking hours (aka having to pay overtime) when they hired our intern, so instead they hired the intern as a Teapot Analyst, skipping the specialist role. Suddenly my position, which had required five years experience to be hired into, which I still held with seven years experience, was the same as the kid who had just graduated college and only had this internship under their belt. It didn’t help that I had also just been passed up for a promotion to senior analyst. So not only did I not get the promotion, it felt like I was also getting demoted.

    When I expressed concern to my manager, they told me that “titles didn’t matter” and to “worry about myself, not the (former) intern”. Felt like a slap in the face, and honestly was one of the reasons I ended up leaving that job.

  41. Goldfinch*

    #4 I send recruiters a password-protected PDF of my resume with all the contact info in a clean, small header. I’m mid-career, and I’ve run out of patience with charlatans altering my documents. If they push back for an editable document, I send a “still password protected but header-free” version, so they can see that my contact info is removed. The ones who continue to protest out themselves as unreasonable, and I don’t move forward with them.

  42. Buttons*

    That is appalling that the recruiter changed the OP’s resume and messed up the formating! No. No. No. Always send your resume in PDF format, it isn’t a guarantee a determined person can’t change it, but it does make it more difficult. I am so glad the hiring manager still interviewed and hired the OP.
    At my company we give the hiring managers a “blind resume” however, it isn’t the applicant’s uploaded resume, it is a resume generated by the system they enter their information into. They don’t see the applicant’s uploaded resume until the person has been scheduled for an interview.
    As a side: I have had recruiters and even hiring managers and people on a hiring panel ask for an editable version of my resume when I ask why, they have said they like the design so much they want to use it. UM… NO. I use special software I pay for, it is my design aesthetic, which is important in my line of work. My resume is very reflective of my design skills, and no one else gets to use it!

  43. Leela*

    Former recruiter here, and if I could ask one thing of candidates…every time you say “my recruiter did X!” please try rephrasing it as “the company my recruiter works for demanded that my recruiter did X” because that’s far more likely, and we take a *lot* of flak for things that we had to do or get in trouble with our bosses. Yes, we know it sucks for you that we didn’t tell you the salary range, that we changed your resume, or any other thing, and we’re sorry, but if we don’t do those things we’re going to get put on a PIP because that’s what our company requires. Deal with the company; if you just tell the recruiter that you’re upset the company won’t care and you’ll just be rubbing salt in the wound for the recruiter who definitely did not want to do whatever it was in the first place.

    OP, I’m sorry that your formatting got all screwed up (and I’m appalled by the fact that your boss told you you were only called in because you’re a woman)!

    1. Arctic*

      Your company demands that you not tell a candidate you are changing their resume? Even if true how is that remotely enforceable?
      I’m sorry but if an adult with free will changes my resume without consent I’m talking to them about it.

      1. Gilmore67*

        Exactly. And if the recruiter doesn’t like the way they are being asked to work with candidates and resumes and so on then the recruiter can go find another job. It is not my problem to make sure the recruiter doesn’t get in trouble with their company.

        When looking for a job my focus is, getting a job, not making sure the recruiter’s doesn’t get a PIP.

        How would I know any internal policies that recruiter company has? And if I knew those policies ( the ones we are talking about) I would not use that company to help me find a job.

        1. Leela*

          What makes you think they aren’t looking for another job? And while it’s not your problem to make sure the recruiter doesn’t get in trouble with their company, they’re going to have to do what keeps them getting paychecks, not whatever makes you less upset. How would you know about policies a company has? By asking, instead of going straight for the recruiter. And I agree, if you dislike the policy of a recruiting company, go find another one.

      2. Leela*

        My point isn’t that you shouldn’t talk to a recruiter about it, just that 1) it won’t do any good because the company cares about feedback directly from people they’re losing money off of and not a disgruntled recruiter and 2) you’re not being angry at the right place. It’s like being angry at a cashier who can’t return something for you. They might have “free will” and could just give you the return but if they know they’re risking their livelihood to do it it’s not something they can just up and decide.

      3. Leela*

        @Arctic one more thing I should mention. Just because you talked to a recruiter, and the resume went over changed, does NOT mean that recruiter changed it. Sometimes it gets passed to a manager and changed without that recruiter’s knowledge as well. What I’m asking for is that people do due diligence to find out what happened instead of just assuming the recruiter did something shady and screwed them over.

    2. Colette*

      That’s not a reasonable way to rephrase things – the candidate doesn’t know why the recruiter is doing the annoying thing, just that they’re doing it.

      1. Leela*

        They could know by asking instead of acting like the recruiter just did something bad without bothering to find out what was at play.

    3. Buttons*

      I am not giving you grief, but just a suggestion. Instead of changing their resume by removing the header, why not put a white or black box over the whole header area, and then saving it as a PDF. Then it is obvious to the hiring manager that you have done that, and it prevents the entire formatting from being messed with. Also, you could ask the candidate for a resume without a header, and explain that helps diversity & inclusion and prevents a company from going directly to the candidate instead of through you. I have no problem providing a resume without my header, and I think if more candidates are told why that is needed, most would happily provide it. If you found me I do not want to screw you out of your commission.

      1. Leela*

        I don’t know why you’d be giving the recruiter a suggestion, like any employee anywhere they’re going to have rules set in place by management that they are expected to follow, that they have pushed back again as hard as they feel like they can if they don’t agree with them, and have likely brought up any suggestion you’re going to give here.

    4. Robin Sparkles*

      I understand your point but that does not make it OK or reasonable to expect candidates to avoid saying something because it “rubs salt on the wound” – if your company is doing things to mess a candidates’ livelihood -that is a big deal and it is something that recruiters as employees should address with the company -not make it a candidate’s problem.

      1. Leela*

        I’m not asking them to avoid saying something. I’m asking them to understand what the problem actually is before they start acting on it, rather than just being upset at the person they have spent the most face time with and therefore assume is the cause.

        Recruiters DO address these things with companies. Some listen, some don’t. Just like every other company where employees push back on things they’re told they need to do.

    5. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Does your company also require you not to tell the candidate who complains “I’m sorry. I know most candidates don’t like having their resumes changed, but it’s recruiting agency policy. My boss might listen if you complained, but they don’t care about my opinion”?

      That would at least tell me where to complain, and that if I get a call from Fergus, who works for the same agency, he’ll also change my resume.

      1. Leela*

        I don’t currently work at the company in question any more, but that would have been a huge problem. My basic point here is that employees are often forced to do things by management — everyone knows not to yell at a waiter because the restaurant is closing earlier than you’d like, or a cashier because they can’t break change for you (even though people still do that), but people really, REALLY seem to forget that that can apply to recruiters as well and holy hell, do we get blamed for everything like we’re just evil, it’s ridiculous. That’s why I’m a former recruiter, I got sick of constantly getting shot as the messenger.

        1. John Thurman*

          Yeah some industries really put blame on the individual!
          I work in real estate & I’m no more responsible for families being evicted than a guy selling sneakers & iphones is responsible for child labor. Dang double standards!

        2. escapee from a staffing agency*

          Yeah wow YIKES don’t complain about the specific individual who changed the resume – the analogy about yelling about a waiter is dead-on. I had the resume reformatting job as an admin assistant to a team of recruiters. It was an entry-level role where I had literally no power over the situation; the biggest thing at my discretion was “do I see a grammatical error that needs to be fixed?” If you must complain, complain about the policy.

          1. escapee from a staffing agency*

            And I just realized my phrasing was weird – I was agreeing with Leela, the YIKES was @ some people higher up the comment chain.

  44. LGC*

    LW1, I get where you’re coming from, but it’s not a good sign when your letter is reminiscent of multiple Dear Prudence letters. (Specifically, the one from yesterday or Monday where the LW wanted to give her SIL a nickname because they both had the same name and the one from last week where the LW wanted to demand her ex husband and his new wife rename their dog because she had a similar name to her daughter.)

    To be fair, you’re definitely closer to that first letter in terms of how “bad” this is – I can definitely see how you’d feel put out by this! But aside from what was noted, she really could be your peer! (Even if she’s a former au pair.)

    1. Lucette Kensack*

      … in what way is this letter similar to the Dear Prudence letters? Because both are about the names of things? That’s a stretch.

      1. LGC*

        Actually, yeah, that’s kind of how I was thinking about it. And I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch in kind (although the degree is definitely different – the dog letter writer came off as furious, and I would say that LW1 here is nowhere near that).

        In this case, it seems like LW1 has serious concerns about sharing their “identity” (in this case, their job title). And while I’m not going to say wholesale that their title is unimportant…it did read like they thought the new hire didn’t deserve it because she didn’t “pay her dues.”

        1. Allypopx*

          It’s different. “Katie” doesn’t denote a status. “Senior manager” does.

          There’s lots of good discussion on other threads about how titles can be overblown and not super important, but it’s still something she earned, not something that was bestowed upon her for existing. It’s understandable that she’d prickle at someone else not having to earn it the same way.

          1. Allypopx*

            Note, I also am not a big fan of “pay your dues” and think the OP is taking it a bit personally but the frustration isn’t completely irrational.

  45. Rexish*

    #4 It wasn’t a recruiter but I sent my CV for a service to take a look. They changed the names of my employers. Imagine I wrote”University of Western Teapotland, Cupville” and they decided to put it as “Cupville University” cause it flows better. They had some good suggestions and fixups but they really made me sound a bit too fantastic (it was funny to watch my bf squirm for politely trying to tell me it was a bt over the top) :D

  46. What's with Today, today?*

    I can see both sides of #1.

    I’ve been in radio for 17 years now, but when I started, fresh out of school, I was hired to do an afternoon air shift. Within three months they switched the longtime morning show host and I, and my boss was very clear it was because I was the “better talent.” Yep, the morning show host was told that too. They didn’t reduce his pay or anything, but his hours significantly changed. He went from working 5a-2p to working 10a-6p. He ended up quitting over it a few weeks later. At the time, I thought he was being petty(I was 22, go easy on me), but now that I am in his position, I would quit too.

    1. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

      Yeah me too. As someone who more recently entered the working world, I’ve been passed up for jobs I’m qualified for because there were always candidates worth 2-3 years more experience. So if I finally got that experience only to see a 23-year old land in the same position as me, I would be kind of salty too. (Not at the actual person, but just at the circumstances.)

      The thing is, I know this happens all the time, and I think to some extent bias/discrimination is involved. Experience matters SO MUCH until it doesn’t.

      1. Close Bracket*

        Sometimes there are 23 year olds who are “better talent,” though. There’s no use being salty about that.

  47. Jennifer*

    LW1 The tone of your letter is quite catty and I agree that you are taking this all a bit too personally. Was it really necessary to mention that she used to be an au pair? What does that matter? Did you interrogate her about her past experience or go digging for it? She has three years of relevant experience. How much experience does the job require? If it’s closer to three years than your 15, maybe it’s time to consider moving up.

  48. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Ah the salary discussion when you’re taking a paycut due to cost of living.

    Born and raised in the backwoods (town population a very spreadout 3k). I worked in the actual “city” though. Around 75 miles round trip. My job actually ended up paying me a whole lot more than others would have because I took over running the place after awhile. It made moving on within the area sticky. So it’s not just the 20 township you’re going to face it in, 150k is even a super struggle.

    It’s pretty open and less competitive in smaller areas so I would agree with being up front with them about that.

    I hate it but I’ll also say there’s a bias against outsiders. Especially from “big ol cities” in smaller rural areas. And I’m sad to say that can also be why you’re getting the bad reception as well. You may need to network hard and find a someone who knows the local someone important enough.

    1. Asenath*

      I wouldn’t say it’s bias so much as a lot of experience getting a highly-qualified urbanite in place, have them leave (sometimes, if it’s a contract position, even before the contract ends), get another one, rinse and repeat. And their reasons for leaving are often that they really didn’t like rural living, once they tried it out. Whereas if they can find a local who has gotten the necessary training and experience in the big city, and wants to return, they tend to stay.

      Mind you, a lot of the locals who went away for their education and careers like urban life and have formed new social circles there during their training, and won’t return. So you’re back to spreading your net more widely, and wondering which of the life-long urbanite applicants know what they’re getting into, and which will be looking to move on in months.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        That’s sure part of it. For reasonable folks

        But I’ve literally heard “they need to go back to f’ing California.” Since I was a child.

        I have people get sassy knowing that I left the state for bigger fuller pastures and cuss at my out of state license plates. “Oh. You really did it. You’re not one of us anymore. Look at that driver over there, frigging Washingtonians can’t drive. You really wanna be like that?!”

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Also speaking of knowing people who have been “Ran out” of small towns for being an “outsider”, a lot of people choose to leave because they cannot find much acceptance. So they choose to leave instead of living in seclusion =(

        I’ve seen it plenty over the years, some closer than I’d like to. My parents are hermit hippies, so they love being left alone. But we were not accepted, my mother was a room mother when we lived previously in a larger area during my primary years. Then we moved to this podunk village and she tried to keep that up, the other mothers pushed her out because she “wasn’t from here”, riiiiiiight, she was from 20 miles away…but it was the “city!” [it wasn’t the city, at that time it had about 35k, I still knew everyone in my grade-school ffs].

        1. Asenath*

          I was speaking more from the hiring point of view. Social issues – sure, there are a range of them that can make moving somewhere hard, and not all small towns are the same, any more than all cities are. But sometimes, moving from one extreme to the other is more difficult than the job applicant may realize – but the locals have seen it all before.

          I grew up in an isolated small town; lived and worked in a couple more as well as a large metropolitan area before I finally settled in a small city set in a largely rural area. I like it here. With any luck, I’ll never live in a rural area or small town again. But cities aren’t always more accepting than small towns. One thing I often see is that people have an excessively rosy image of small town life, and then discover that people there are just human – but you don’t have a lot of other humans around so it’s harder to pick another group and pretend the first doesn’t exist, like you can in a city. That’s another reason some of the get disillusioned with their country life and quit. If I were looking for a job in a small town, I could play up my happy days in a similar environment. If I had never lived outside a major city – I’ve got a lot less that I can use to convince my would-be employers that I love small town life, and they won’t be hiring again in 6 months when I get fed up with the alien culture and quit.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            The issue is that hiring issues often go hand in hand with social issues.

            These woman were “business owners” and very well plugged into the community. They didn’t hire outsiders either.

            And yeah, I’ve heard of the “Seattle Freeze”, which is pretty much a myth. Everyone just minds their own their own business, they aren’t actively freezing you out of jobs though.

            The small mindedness goes deep. My family has always been from small towns, my dad has the exact same stories and was raised to “hate” outsiders, including never hiring them [which he laughed about because that’s not who he is, he doesn’t judge others but yeah…his well known, well respected extended family wasn’t laughing…they weren’t hiring none-of-them-outsiders [I say outsiders because the words they used are gross and I won’t repeat them, that’s the nicest word for it].

            1. Filosofickle*

              Interestingly, I heard of the Seattle thing for the first time recently — a friend’s sister is a new mom who relo’d there for her husband’s work, and she feels totally frozen out by neighborhood women. Socially, that is, I don’t know about work. She’s mainly lived in the South, which could affect her expectations. She says the men seem normal.

    2. Lynn Whitehat*

      Yup. We moved around a lot for my dad’s job. I went to high school in South Carolina. People there were very pleased to tell me that not only would I not be accepted as one of them as long as I lived, neither would my future children. “If a cat has kittens in the oven, that don’t make ’em biscuits, do it?” Obviously I left. The state was really scratching their heads about the “brain drain” they were experiencing, in which high-performing students left the state and never came back. Tis a puzzlement.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yeah…anyone who “left” never came back. I sure won’t be going back, I’ll move my parents first even if they’re going to try to fight me.

        It reminds me of the song “Nobody gets off in this town.”

        The bus stops. People get one. But nobody gets off in this town.

      2. Asenath*

        It reminds me a bit of a town I lived in – one of my co-workers came from a similar place in the same province and married a local. When I knew her, she’d been living there long enough to have teenaged children – but was often referred to as “Mary from Othertown”. People are friendly, but for real connections you have to be born there. But that sort of thing didn’t bother me at all, or her – I guess we took it for granted that she was from Othertown! And when I got questions about where I was from (my surname was a dead giveaway that at least half my family wasn’t originally local) I gave my little one-line answer (“I’m from Hometown”; optional addition if I felt like it “but my father was from Othercountry.”) And for a while, no, I’m not related to the only person in the province with the same surname who wasn’t a blood relative. I think that person got tired of living here and moved on pretty quickly, because I stopped getting questioned about him.

        But none of this stuff, or the various insults lobbed both ways, had anything much to do with our brain drain. Some were like me – there’s a big world out there, and I want to see some of it. Some wanted a specialized education offered only in major centres. The vast majority who left – and I’m talking about most members of a lot of families during the bad times – left to find work during really bad downturns in the economy. They didn’t leave because they didn’t like the culture they grew up it; they left because they had to. Some of them are regretful or even bitter a generation later, but most just assimilated into their new homes.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Super true—I’ve never worked in a rural place that didn’t have a bias against outsiders. And oftentimes it was somewhat justified because folks would make careless comments comparing their current location to more populous or denser areas.

      Living in a rural place, spending time with folks, building relationships, “showing up,” engaging in local cultural life, etc., all helps to secure employment in the long term. But none of it will really overcome the “outsider” label. For example, I have a friend whose mom is from rural, agricultural SoCal and has lived in the rural, agricultural San Joaquin Valley for 30+ years, and she’s still an “outsider.” Which makes sense, because being in a rural and agricultural region is not interchangeable—their are still cultural differences and norms.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’ve always told people who want to talk about “the dangers of the city” that I’m more fearful of breaking down in a small town I don’t know, than anywhere else.

        I feel fine anywhere in the town that I grew up in because I know who’s dirt-farm not to even look at out of the corner of my eye. I’ve seen people approach unknown vehicles with guns. Don’t turn around in someone’s driveway because that will lead to your wheels getting shot at, etc.

        Thankfully it’s not a forever-thing in all places like that but it sure can be. I know nobody in my dad’s original small-town [population 27] will forget you didn’t come from there and since their mama didn’t know your mama’s mama, there’s no way you’re going to be accepted. You may be lucky enough to be taken in as that “wayward city mouse that was found running the fields of this here country” but that’s a long shot.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Oh man, I’ve been that lost city person who tried to turn around in the street. I wasn’t in someone’s driveway, but they thought I might enter it, so they stood up from their seat on their porch and leveled their .30-06 at me (they were probably aiming at my tires, but I didn’t know that, so I thought they were aiming at me). The only time I’ve experienced that level of visceral fear was when I was a kid and had heard a drive-by shooting.

  49. Elbe*

    If LW1’s company bills for consultants based on their level, it could be that she got a sr. title because the company wants to get more money for her work.

    But this is frustrating. If the new hire is doing work that the LW would expect from someone with three years of experience (she’s okay, but she’s not AMAZING and she’s not doing the type of job a senior person would do) it could be an indication that the company has changed the job title structure. Maybe the LW is now qualified for a promotion. Or, maybe the company doesn’t value experience as much as the LW would hope and it’s time to try to find a position elsewhere.

  50. fhqwhgads*

    OP1, you mentioned you have 15 years experience and the new hire only has 3, but what I’m wondering is: how long did it take you in your field to get bumped up to that “senior” title? In my work I’ve often started as a Thing and it usually only took me 2-3 years to get bumped up to Senior Thing, and that’s within the same company. If you’d mentioned the new person was brand new to the field I’d agree it’s very odd to hire them out of the gate into a Senior role, but someone with three years experience (in many fields) has had plenty of time to become excellent and earn that title. If in your field it’s very rare for someone with less than, say 7 years experience to be a Senior Thing then I can see how you might balk, but even so it’s still possible this person is just great. If you find otherwise, as Alison said, bring it up then, but it doesn’t make sense to judge out of the gate, and it’s also not a reflection on you that someone else got to the same level in less time.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      Yeah, I became a Senior Thing in one of my former fields (insurance) after two years in the industry – I was that good. I outperformed people who had the next title up, X Specialist.

  51. Hmmm*

    #1, I’d spend less time feeling insulted and more time figuring out what to do if the new hire reflects a deliberate strategy on your company’s part to save money by hiring less-experienced people.

    Just because someone is less experienced doesn’t mean she doesn’t have enough skills to do the job well. She may be just as good at it as you are because she’s acquired skills very quickly, or she might be less good but not in a way that the clients would notice or care about, and therefore would be attractive to your company because they can pay her less.

    1. Goldfinch*

      …figuring out what to do if the new hire reflects a deliberate strategy on your company’s part to save money by hiring less-experienced people.

      This is where I land, too. Commenters are obsessing over LW’s word choice, when it seems like the real issue is that the company is trying to pull the age-old “hire cheaper/younger and get rid of everyone experienced” trick.

      My last company hired an assistant for me, had me train her as my back-up, then downsized me and expected her to do my job. On paper, my position required a bachelor’s degree plus 5 years experience, but they wanted to slide a 19-year-old into the job (with no raise, of course) and toss me in the trash. Of course I was furious, and me referencing her lack of degree wasn’t about snobbery–it was about the company gaming the system and taking advantage of both of us.

  52. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

    #1: I wouldn’t take it personally. That is how my company does things, and it’s weird. Basically we have “Analysts” and “Senior Analysts”. Senior Analysts can be anywhere from a recent college grad who got promoted from the Analyst role to someone with a PhD. So I, for example, share my title with someone with a PhD, but no way so I have the same level of experience or knowledge as my colleague. Makes no sense whatsoever.

    1. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

      Also, a lot of consulting firms (if that is where you work) don’t need a ton of skills beyond a certain point. Maybe you’re getting bored/stagnant in your role? You can start looking out for other opportunities to advance outside the company.

  53. G*

    I’m the asker of question #2 about the thank you note/follow up note. Thanks for the kind response. I feel that I am in the right but this organization is, being a think tank, probably far too inundated with candidates to think to apologize for something like this which I am just going to live with it. Made the call not to send the note in the end as I don’t think it’s really worth it and I am still feeling a little burned. But will do so in the future whenever the next successful interview rolls around…

  54. Me*

    1# I get it. My position after a certain amount of satisfactorily performance you get upgraded to the next level. My 2.5 (out of 5) performing, has to have weekly meetings with the boss to manage performance, coworker just got the upgrade. He’s the same title as my 5 out of 5 high level performing self. On paper we’re the same.

    In reality though, we’re not the same title. No one likes working with the dude and no one thinks highly of him or his work. I do much higher level, difficult projects and they have and will serve me in the long run.

    Then there’s the fact that my title in general doesn’t reflect what I really do compared to other employers. Sake of being smaller means I wear more hats even though the title is the same (and my salary is lower). Occasionally frustrating. But there’s reasons I work where I do, least of which is the ability to learn and do so much more than a lot of people in my industry that will also serve me in the long run.

    The comparison game will eat you alive if you let it.

    Refocus on yourself and the work you do. If you think there’s more opportunity for you out there, then maybe its time to move on. If you are otherwise happy with where you are, then you need to realize you aren’t in competition with your peers.

  55. austriak*

    #1 – I know the consulting world and the problem is not that they gave someone junior to you the same title. Most consultants are senior consultants after two to three years of work. You have been a senior consultant for too long. After 15 years, you should at least be a consulting manager, if not a senior consulting manager. Don’t take it out on the new person that you have not progressed further in your career.

  56. Close Bracket*

    I’ve been the new hire in #1. I’ve been hired into senior positions (I have no idea of everybody’s respective job title bc I don’t bother to ask) as a strategic hire with no specific duties and no specific work, sometimes for months. In fact, that’s more or less my current position. I had nothing to do with the hiring decision or my job title or my assignments (or lack thereof). I kind of feel for the new hire here. You may be frustrated, but don’t express it by disparaging her background. Focus on your own accomplishments and contributions. Believe me, everybody knows that you are the senior person.

    The only thing I would add is that if you find that the new hire’s contributions are getting attention that you feel is rightfully yours, focus on the quality of your own contributions. If you can only keep your seniority by diminishing someone else, then you aren’t as deserving of it as you think.

  57. Oh So Anon*

    LW#1: So, I’ll give some perspective on this as someone who’s the most “junior” senior wonk on my team which serves internal clients. We range from about just under a decade in our industry to close-to-two, and we all more or less have similar levels of education (graduate-level in the same handful of fields). We’re also in a situation where senior wonks have the same broad job description that allows for different combinations of strengths and weaknesses, yet most people seem to aim for being skilled generalists.

    Senior wonk is basically the top of the individual contributor/non-people management track where I work (we’re two levels below the C-suite), so it’s a long-term position for a lot of people and provides a lot of room for growth in skills and competencies (and compensation). The vast majority of senior consultants on my team – regardless of tenure – take on new challenges and such, but there are people with that title who have stagnated for one reason or another.

    They’re not bad at their jobs, and they have a significant amount of organizational knowledge, but they markedly don’t bring the same kind of value-add that other senior consultants with the same amount of industry experience and who are the same age. It’s typically a matter of very narrow skill sets – both soft and hard – that haven’t necessarily been enriched by many years of experience.

    Our organization has gradually started hiring more external folks into senior wonk positions, including deep mid-career folks with experience elsewhere as well as people like me, who have industry experience but are, to be frank, early 30-somethings. These newer people, as well as the long-service senior wonks who are just more…open-minded and well-rounded are, in a lot of ways, more effective and agile. No one’s going to lose their job over these differences, but it’s legitimately difficult for all these people to function as equals. The hidebound people are seldom overloaded outside of the niche things that they handle, but it can be challenging to bring them into other projects both because of their agility issues as well as not entirely respecting what newer employees bring to the table.

    LW#1, I don’t know which type of senior consultant you are. I get the feeling you’re like the first type of senior I described, in which case I sympathize with you a lot. If you’re that “mostly brings organizational knowledge” type, you may need to re-evaluate how you’re thinking about your position. If you have no job description that’s a really difficult place to start from, but that’s where your manager needs to fill in the gaps.

  58. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    #1 Be prepared to push back on some types of training unless it comes with a bump in pay and ideally title. It’s a fine line to walk between helping a new coworker acclimate to the way your employer does things, like how to login to the system or track client changes, vs. teaching an inexperienced person all the knowledge you’ve gained through experience. The first one is totally normal to expect. The second, to me, is the “proprietary knowledge” that I sell in exchange for my compensation — my salary pays me to DO not TEACH. Teaching is a higher pay bracket as far as I’m concerned, because not only do I need to be compensated for my skill and knowledge, but also for the potential loss of future work. While your new coworker might have the most up-to-date technical skills — maybe they know new technology better — they won’t have your hard-to-quantify skills that are acquired ONLY with experience (like knowing that technically you CAN do XYZ, the software/technology will let you do it, but it’s a bad idea because of ABC). The boss won’t really care who did what as long as the customer is happy — all in the name of teamwork.

    1. Oh So Anon*

      Absolutely. As a “junior” senior, I really value and would be totally lost without the “proprietary knowledge” that most of my “senior” senior colleagues have taught me. I did my best to use their time and energy efficiently because I knew they weren’t getting a promotion for it.

      OTOH, depending on what’s really going on here, it may be a situation where the experienced consultant’s skill set or scope of responsibility has atrophied enough that may not really be in a position to teach. For example, we have senior people who don’t have a strong sense of the limitations and applications of technology, old or new. Their expertise is in understanding things systematically and theoretically on paper, but they have little experience actually putting that into action with even long-time-industry-standard technology. They’re often limited to solving problems in the limited ways they think are doable, which limits a lot of what their experience can bring to the table.

      Some of this is a function of an org structure that once necessitated hiring (a) people with graduate degrees whose role was to design research methodology and (b) other people who know how to work with data but don’t have the research background themselves. This led to a lot of “lost in translation” issues where our methodologists weren’t necessarily able or willing to leverage what our technical specialists could provide. We’ve started to hire more well-rounded folk who are basically social scientists who can code and work with ERPs – lots of similar organizations have done this for years so it’s not a generational difference.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Depending on your job description, training and teaching others may be expected. So I’d make sure about that before you start pushing back.

      It’s also dicey in this situation since OP seems to say there’s no need for a new person and that she can handle everything just fine herself. So pushing back at training, even if it’s done rightfully so, may end up in being released for being not a team player. Seen it, hate it, literally burned the company t-shirt of the place that tried that nonsense but it’s a thing that is to keep in mind when dealing with small places that are doing things you are pushing back against. There’s less job protection built in when it’s a small setup.

    3. Scion*

      Wow. This is a terrible attitude.

      Unless you’re a contractor, part of being employed is working as a team for the benefit of the organization. One part of that is helping your coworkers. I literally can’t imagine someone being asked to train a new hire in their area of expertise and them refusing.

      If you’re worried about, maybe focus more on making yourself more valuable, rather than undermining others. Ironically, one of the key benefits that senior staff bring is that they *can* mentor/train newer staff.

  59. JamieS*

    #1 I understand being frustrated but I’m curious what you’re end goal would be if you pursue this? For your company to fire the new employee? Demote her? Give you a new title?

    1. Oh So Anon*

      Giving the OP a different title that identifies them as a specialist of some sort could help with that sense of differentiation. Something like “Senior Llama Wrangler, Special Grooming Projects” instead of just “Senior Llama Wrangler”.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This is a good point.

        Yet I’m going to be really real right now. I roll my eyes at “specialist” titles and ones that get too wordy. They’re given out to so many people who are clearly not experts in their field [I will not name names…I will not name names…] that it’s just a real grinding point on all my gears and I know others are pretty heavy to roll eyes as well.

        So if it makes the OP feel better, all for it. But just my rusty 2 cents.

  60. Phony Genius*

    For #4, how much trouble can you get into if the change made by the recruiter is about your jobs, and ends up as an outright misrepresentation?

  61. SweetFancyPancakes*

    LW #3- A few months ago I was in a very similar situation, applying for a job in a very rural area about 4 hours away from my big(ish) city. My city salary wasn’t ever approached explicitly, but the interviewers knew they’d never be able to come close to it- in fact, the most they could offer was less than half of what I was making. So I used a paragraph in my cover letter to describe how much I like the area, touching on my family connections there (which explained why I was familiar with it. It really is very rural and out of the way), and that through lots of visits throughout the years I knew I really wanted to be a part of the community. I reiterated that in the interview, and acknowledged that it would be a big pay cut, but that I felt like the trade-offs were worth it. So my advice would be to use that cover letter to talk a little bit about why you moved there in the first place and why you would be willing to trade a higher salary for that.

  62. Hiring Manager 5080*

    LW#4: I interview and select dozens of contractors every year. Most of the resumes that we receive from recruiting agencies (~75%) are modified by the agencies. Examples of how resumes are modified:
    * removing all formatting
    * changing the document type (.pdf .doc .docx)
    * removing the candidate’s phone number and email address
    * adding a “summary” to the top of the resume
    * redacting previous employers’ names

    If you are working with an agency, ALWAYS BRING HARD COPIES OF YOUR RESUME TO THE INTERVIEW.

    As a hiring manager, I look at the substance of the resume and review the candidate’s LinkedIn profile to glean the information that I need.

  63. Enna -B*

    LW1- Allison’s point about possibly having an inaccurate sense of how well you interviewed us spot-on. I had a lengthy interview at a company where I had to do a data analysis exercise as part of it. I thought I completely bombed it. It was incredibly awkward and I left that interview thinking I didn’t even want to bother writing thank you notes. (I met with 8 people, so it took some time.) I wrote them all anyway in the interest of professional courtesy. I got the job. Found out later that the other people they interviewed did a much worse job than I did and I was their first choice by far. You really never know!

  64. escapee from a staffing agency*

    For LW4 – I used to work as an admin assistant to a team of recruiters at an international staffing agency with a huge presence in every US metro area. You’ve heard of them – this staffing agency is highly recommended on here in AAM in the comments all the time. (This boggles my mind because they’re a shit show, but that’s beside the point.) Anyway, one of the biggest parts of my job was – guess what – reformatting people’s resumes according to the recruiter’s specifications. I added the company letterhead and fixed typos, removed the candidate’s contact info, and reformatted them so they all looked the same. If someone sent us a PDF, that just meant that I had the pleasure of painstakingly copy-and-pasting each line of the PDF into a Word document. :) I made minimal changes to the content – I had the freedom to polish the writing a little bit (remove repetitive phrases, etc) but that was it.

    If a job candidate had told me they didn’t want it reformatted, I would have had to tell the recruiter and the recruiter would have bailed on the candidate. Every branch of the company did this, not just mine.

    Allison is correct, that it’s to control the communication so it all goes through the recruiter. However, there’s another reason. They also want to make all of the candidate resumes look consistent. It looks neater and more professional if the recruiter shows up to visit a hiring manager with an identically formatted stack of resumes, instead of a wonky pile of resumes in a bunch of different styles. It’s easier for the hiring manager to skim them quickly. I think a lot of the recruiters had bad taste in their preferred style of resume formatting, but that wasn’t up to me lol.

    So yeah, this is a common practice. Some of it is logical, some of it is dumb, but this is the way it is. You can either choose to risk having some poor admin assistant copy-and-paste your PDF into a shitty standardized format, or avoid working with recruiters and temp agencies.

  65. Rika*

    #2 Ugh. I once had a similar experience. How the job was listed: a shop clerk. What they were actually looking for: a drone mechanic! As embarrassing as it is in the moment, it’s important to remember that they’re the ones who messed up, not you.

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