it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news, with more accounts of success even in this weird time.

1. I recently received a really good result using your advice and wanted to share it with you and other readers. I’ve been looking for a new position for quite some time and recently had a panel interview with another office. The lead interviewer on the panel was “Abby,” someone I am acquainted with professionally but don’t know very well.

After I received a form email that I was not selected for the position, I followed your advice to ask for feedback. I emailed Abby that I appreciated the opportunity to interview and while disappointed I was not selected, I hoped it worked out well with their new hire. I then asked if she would be willing to offer any feedback on skills or experience that stood out as lacking to make me more competitive for future opportunities or if there was something in my interviewing style that could be improved. (Several readers have offered their draft emails for these situations, and I used a mix of their language.) Abby quickly agreed to set up a phone call with me.

This call was one of the greatest calls I’ve had in a long time! She gave some solid pointers on one aspect of interviewing I could improve for the future and otherwise assured me that they went with an internal candidate who had more specific experience in the exact department hiring. She gave me a heads up that some other positions I may be well qualified will be open soon and offered to speak with me in more detail about those positions when they open (she will not be on the interviewing panels for those). She also gave me quite a self-confidence boost telling me that I would be great as a manager and that my professional reputation is excellent. While my current supervisor gives positive feedback, it was really affirming to hear that people think well of me outside the bubble of my office. I encourage all job seekers to respectfully ask for feedback when it makes sense. The worst someone can do is never respond and this really turned out best case for me.

Thanks for the great advice!

2. I haven’t been looking hard for a new opportunity, but I have been keeping an eye out for a position that will be a better fit in culture and experience–I’m doing work I love at my current job but am in way over my head on tasks. I’m happy to face the challenge, but there isn’t anyone above me that has any more experience with the work than I do. I’m early in my career, just two years out of college, and am concerned I’m going to teach myself something incorrectly or have other issues in a few years when I want to move into a more senior position. Also the culture at my work is pretty toxic in a lot of different ways (including working under a first time manager), but is overall bearable. So I wasn’t in any hurry to leave, and was hoping for a pretty generous salary increase at the and as close to a perfect fit in a new position as possible.

A couple weeks ago I put in an application with an organization that I was really excited about–the role was basically the same as what I am doing now, only supervised by someone who had been at the company for over a decade, and another decade of experience elsewhere doing the kind of work I am trying to make a career out of. However, the role wanted 5 years of experience ( I have almost three years of relevant experience).

Regardless, I followed your advice — had an accomplishment-focused resume, a conversational cover letter, and sent personalized follow-up emails to each of the people who interviewed me. I was asked some pretty technical questions in the interview that I did not do well on. I was sure I wouldn’t get the offer and that they wouldn’t be willing to train someone without the base level of knowledge they were looking for.

I am happy to report that just two hours after getting my follow up emails, I got an offer. They offered me my asking salary (that I thought for sure was a reach-for-the-stars stretch) of $80K, which is over a 25% increase from my current pay. I was also able to negotiate for over a week more in PTO–I’ve never negotiated before and was shocked at how simple it was when following your advice–“Any way you can do x?”

I start in a couple weeks and am VERY excited about how this all turned out for me and I absolutely credit it to your blog.

Read an update to this letter here.

3. I’m sharing some good news in the midst of all of the awful things going on. My sister works in an industry that involves a lot of physical labor. She has been dealing with a long term injury and although she’s getting better, her doctor determined she needs some long term accommodations. When she first told HR, they didn’t mention ADA rights and pretty much brushed it off.

I am in HR, so my sister asked me for some help. We worked on getting her ADA paperwork and thanks to some of the scripts from your site, I helped her word an email to her HR that politely but firmly pointed out their legal obligation to respond in a timely manner to her request for a reasonable accommodation.

Great news-they approved it quickly without further push back! And even better, she’s now been helping her coworkers advocate for their own legal rights thanks to her experience with ADA.

{ 25 comments… read them below }

  1. nep*

    These are so great. Thanks, all, for sharing. And thanks, Alison, for this weekly feature. It really is a lift.
    (Bought the ‘How to Get a Job’ e-book yesterday–What a great resource.)

  2. Business Catto*

    #2 is really nice to see- I’m in a similar situation, so it’s good to know there’s hope for me!

  3. The Grey Lady*

    So happy to read Number 3! I hate it when companies just bank on employees not knowing their rights.

    1. beanie gee*

      YES! Hopefully this means in the future (eventually?) someone goes to their HR and doesn’t have to advocate for themselves for accommodations, their HR will provide them options.

    2. OP #3*

      Yeah, I suspect that unfortunately, that is pretty much their strategy for dealing with employees.

  4. L in DC*

    These are wonderful and certainly a lift. Thank you to everyone who made the time to share!

  5. Mimmy*

    #3 – I’m surprised HR has to be told their legal obligations under the ADA. I would think that’d be one of the first things HR professionals are taught! I’m glad OP3 was able to get a quick resolution!

    1. sub rosa for this*

      I had a bad experience with an HR department (at a horribly toxic job) that always needed to be “reminded” of their obligations under ADA. Every time it was met with a sheepish, “Whoops, I guess you’re right,” which I never would have gotten without firm but polite pushback.

      Absolutely these places are the exception, not the rule, but occasionally you run into one that just “can’t seem to recall” what the laws and regulations are until they are pointed out firmly, with evidence.

      (One big red flag is if they are constantly churning through new HR staff, and they can never find your file, and somehow there’s no record of your previous discussions. Or they refuse to discuss anything over email, and will ONLY deal with you via telephone, even though they know you work in an open office with no privacy.)

      Anyway. Sorry for the slight derail! Super happy that OP3 was able to help someone get past one of these roadblocks.

    2. Koala dreams*

      A lot of companies don’t hire HR employees with a relevant degree or certification, sadly. Sometimes they hire payroll specialists (or have a combined bookkeeper/payroll role) or people with unrelated degrees or no degree. I agree with you, they should be taught about disability laws, and the employer could definitely send them on a short training course even if they can’t afford to pay for a degree or a certification, but if the employer doesn’t care, well…

    3. OP #3*

      Yeah, it is really sad. Being in HR myself, it’s disheartening to see others in my profession fail to do their basic job. The HR person in this situation is inexperienced, the solo HR person, and reports to a company owner who doesn’t like to follow her legal obligations.

    4. Helena1*

      I’m sure they were taught! But it’s convenient for them to “forget” when it suits them.

      I don’t know, I didn’t really find this a very positive story; more “my sister’s HR dept sucks and happily breaks the law when they think they can get away with it, but on this occasion we held them to account”. I guess it’s good in a “yay workers’ rights!” way, but it’s frustrating that you have to do that.

      I work in the NHS, and it is drummed into us that you have to go over your payslips with a fine tooth comb every single month (and your pensions statement every year), because monolithic NHS HR and payroll services manage to mess up your file/pay in new and imaginative ways all the time.

      I was brought up by a bolshy northern trade unionist mother and have never yet lost a fight with my employer, but the fact that I have had to waste so much of my time and energy on just getting paid correctly is definitely a negative, not a positive.

  6. Koala dreams*

    3. I’m so happy that you are helping your sister, and your sister is helping her co-workers know their rights. Knowledge is power.

  7. Time_TravelR*

    That is so great… all of these posts!
    OP3 – I hope the company doesn’t try to use it to bite her in the ass, is all. Not that they should but if they tried to brush her off initially, I hope they don’t then hold it against her is all I’m saying. Good sister for helping her out!!

    More good news… My daughter has been trying to make a change and, I’m sure due to her spectacular cover letter and resume, and great follow up, was just offered a very interesting position in her field that will allow her more autonomy and better pay and benefits. A good week!

    1. OP #3*

      Yeah, my sister and I went back and forth a little about whether this could cause her harm at work, but so far, fingers crossed, no issues. It sucks that she has to worry about it!

  8. Quinalla*

    OP1 – that’s great, I’ve had good success asking for interview feedback as well. I don’t always get a response, but when I do it has always been so valuable!

    1. snoopythedog*

      On some interview panels I’ve been on, I *wish* some of the candidates we didn’t select had asked for interview advice. There were a few candidates who I knew were underselling themselves or who would have made our top tier of picks with a few changes in the way their presented themselves or answered interview questions. We did our best to ask follow up questions to try and elicit info, but I wish I’d been able to give them a little feedback afterwards.

      1. Caroline Bowman*

        Of course this is all in the past now, but if you’re ever in an interviewing position again, would it be possible to say to candidates as they leave / in their follow up letters that you would welcome the opportunity to give a short feedback if they would be interested, so that they can then, if they want to, ask. Rejection is hard, no one likes it, so they may ignore you, but at least the offer is clearly made.

        I do realise that you probably are busy and cannot get into hours-long post mortems on Why Didn’t You Pick Me, but that might prompt a few of them to just reach out.

  9. Bookworm*

    Thanks to all the LWs for sharing the good news. I’ve had another long week and it was nice to end it with some nice updates.

  10. The Ginger Ginger*

    #2 is both encouraging and discouraging. I’m in a severely underpaid director position that is basically exactly what this LW was worried about. I’ve been promoted beyond my technical knowledge/experience because I was the only one doing what I do when my company was bought out. I’m making about 60% of what I should be, but I don’t know how to job hunt when I’m likely lacking technical skills because most of what I’m doing is self taught or familiarity with our products. I’m so happy LW found a successful fit for them, but man, knowing they make more than me now really drives home how underpaid I am.

    1. allathian*

      I came here to say the same! It’s my favorite post of the week, and I’m glad there’s enough good news to go around so that Alison can post it every week.

  11. MicroManagered*

    OP1 I would be watching the job postings for this company/Abby’s org very closely. I have many colleagues who weren’t quite right for job A, but were great for job B that’s just-about-to-post. :)

  12. Caroline Bowman*

    At a time when it’s all rather stressful and scary, this is one of the best bits of Ask a Manager. I love hearing success stories and examples such as the 1st letter, where asking for feedback actually makes a huge difference (and will quite likely get the OP the exact job they want in the near future).

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