HR is giving me bad vibes, but I like the hiring manager

A reader writes:

I went on an interview for a job in a different industry (academia), I’ve always had a passion for education so even though I knew I would likely be taking a pay cut, I still applied and was willing to take the offer if it was a good fit.

My first phone screen was with the HR manager, who asked why I would want to work there if they couldn’t match my current salary and seemed doubtful of my answer that I would be okay with a pay cut from my research of what academia paid for this type of role. Then he asked why I would want to work there if I lived so far from the work location (it’s about a 45 minute drive). I said in the future, it’s very likely that I will move closer to that location since my husband also works in that area and that I don’t mind a 45 minute commute if there was occasional flexibility for work hours/telework. He said this role would absolutely not allow for flex hours or telework because of the nature of the role, I thanked him for the information and we ended the conversation shortly thereafter. I assumed we would not proceed. Later, I got an email from him saying the hiring manager was interested in speaking with me. I was surprised, but I accepted the interview just to learn more about the opportunity.

The interview with the hiring manager was drastically different from my phone screen with HR. First, the hiring manager is a remote worker and she said she was definitely okay with flex hours (starting earlier to leave a little earlier) and occasional telework, and in fact many people at the organization take advantage of those options! She also observed I was highly qualified and asked if I was comfortable making less than I would in the corporate world. When I explained my interest in switching to academia, she was a good listener and believed me. She proceeded to ask some standard questions. I then proceeded all the way to final rounds, met the team, and had a good experience with everyone. The hiring manager hinted they would be making an offer.

Well, I got a call from the same HR manager after my final interview round, and he was snarky and honestly a little hateful. He asked again if I was REALLY interested in the role, as if he couldn’t believe I would be, then he implied he didn’t think I would be a good fit because I wouldn’t understand what it’s like to work in a different industry and was almost trying to tell me I shouldn’t take the job. It wasn’t from a place of trying to be helpful, but deterring me because he didn’t like me as an interview candidate. What’s the best way to respond in this situation?

Put way more weight on your interactions with the hiring manager than HR. The hiring manager is the person who will be managing you if you take the job, and you might have little to no interaction with this HR person ever again.

The HR guy sounds like he has very set views about things that the manager doesn’t share, on everything from changing fields to the length of commutes, and he’s attempting to impose those views on the selection process … but in a well-functioning organization, it’s the manager’s assessment that will count the most, and that sounds like what’s happening here.

It’s true that bad HR sometimes can be a sign of problems with a company. But often the department you’d be working in can be great, even though HR isn’t. Sometimes HR is it own weird island, or just fairly irrelevant once you start working there. Other times not. But the hiring manager — the person whose team you’ll be working on — is far more likely to give you an accurate idea of the job, the culture, and the day-to-day realties of working there.

That said, if they do make you an offer, you can certainly ask the manager about this! As part of whatever discussion you’re having with her about the offer, you could say, “I’ve really enjoyed my conversations with you and the rest of the team, and I’m excited about the job. I wanted to ask though — the info I’ve been getting from Bob hasn’t lined up with what you and I have discussed around things like flex hours and occasional telework, and he almost seemed to be discouraging me from taking the job. I’ve put more weight on what you’ve told me since the job is on your team, but I wondered if you had any insight that would help me sort through that?”

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. Bob*

    You are accepting the job and not working for this HR person but it is worth feeling them out on this because if you need HR someday you could find this person has a price on your head.

    1. pleaset cheap rolls*

      Yes. And also depending on how strict an organization is, some managers might be lax on things like working from home in an attempt to be friends/helpful, but HR can stop it if it’s truly against policy.

      1. JSPA*

        I have a hard time believing that’s true in academe, except for very specific positions that (e.g.) need to log in only on-site, or staff the front desk at the office, or are on-call for hands-on fixing of on-site hardware issues. And the hiring manager is going to be much clearer on those limits than HR is.

        I mean, HR will sometimes tell even full-time research profs in the humanities that they can’t work from home (or from a place where they’ve gone for an academic conference or thesis defense or whatever else), but it’s unalloyed BS.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It’s also important to find out which of them is more in line with upper-level management. Job descriptions and WFH policies can change on a dime with a C-suite decision. I’ve had unfortunate experiences with both.

    3. OrigCassandra*

      Maaaaaaaaaybe. In academia it’s not wholly impossible for HR to target somebody successfully, but it’s pretty hard.

      A lot of HR-like functions (handling harassment complaints, for example) will have centralized rules and/or offices with processes that individual HR folks can’t realistically mess with to target someone. If this is a research or instructional position, HR doesn’t control your schedule or how it’s implemented — your hiring manager or department chair does, and policies on e.g. time reporting and telework can be quite a bit less strict than in industry.

      If this is a more worker-bee-ish position (it’s “university staff” where I am, but different institutions label it differently), individual HR folks may have a bit more influence, but the hiring manager will still count for a lot more than HR.

      1. else*

        Yeah, it can happen – and I’ve seen it – but it required some pretty unusual circumstances and relationships between HR management and Dean level administration. Average HR in a typical setting can make a lot of day-day things inconvenient and difficult, but unless it’s a very low level position, there a lot of people with more capital than HR that can be referred to.

    4. Cyclist*

      LOL 100% agree w Green (of course). My current job of 2+ years I had v similar experience, only maybe bigger disconnect. I applied for a job that was listed at a work location w/in my “acceptable commute zone” but found out only when talking to hiring manager it was 100% WFH (before pandemic). When I asked HR person to confirm they vehemently denied it and firmly stated job was in an office in nearby city. Hiring manager then insisted opposite, indeed saying there was no office space for us in city (very large int’l company with lots of sub-companies, always a chance some unrelated sub-company under the parent had offices, but not ours). The back-and-forth continued after offer was extended and accepted (neither option was a deal breaker for me).

      Three days before start date, I received a delivery at home of WFH equipment, and when I called HR they confirmed I was going to WFH. A matter of HR being really almost an internal sub-contractor in a larger organization, they most handle payroll and paperwork and don’t really know anything.

    5. Donna Meagle*

      HR in a university setting is not likely to be one guy doing all roles. It’s far more likely that he is in recruiting, not employee relations or other functions that will have an impact after the LW is employed there.

      it’s also not likely that he’s sitting around twirling his villain’s mustache, waiting to exact his revenge, the way you’ve painted the picture.

  2. AdAgencyChick*

    My experience with internal recruiters is that they’re given so many roles to fill at once that they don’t spend very much time learning the individual needs of hiring managers. So although I would agree with Alison that the hiring manager is more important — you should also know going in that any agreements you make about telecommuting could be good only as long as you’re working for this particular manager. If she quits, is promoted, or you change roles in the company, and it turns out HR’s take was coming from a general company policy discouraging telework, when you get a new boss they very well may ask or order you to change the arrangement.

  3. Rainy*

    It sounds like Bob is frustrated at being HR in an academic institution and making less than he thinks he deserves, and is busily working that frustration out on every candidate he comes in contact with. I would definitely go with Alison’s script here, and if you do accept the job, have a pretty frank talk with your manager about what your interview process was like, because it may help them understand why candidates suddenly went cold on them, if that’s happened in the past.

    1. datamuse*

      This occurred to me as well. I’ve only worked at one institution during my academic career, but HR has very little influence on hiring; their role is pretty much limited to running background checks and explaining benefits to candidates, as well as making sure we’re adhering to university policy in diverse recruiting efforts. Our HR is great, but one reason they’re great is they don’t assume to know what the day to day in other departments is like.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Ditto. In my experience, HR usually has little power in an academic setting. It sounds to me as though Bob just hates his job.

        1. JSPA*

          Or Bob’s had it drilled in recently (and with crappy timing) that teaching, library and IT staff have now gone from remote to non-remote, and has doubled down on this being 100% inflexible (as opposed to, “returning to status quo, which varies by position and department”).

        2. Mongrel*

          A little bit of devils advocate.
          The initial questions from Bob sound like “We’ve been burnt before…”, albeit with a side of “… that’s a lot of work that I have to do that goes nowhere & have to repeat in 6 months”

    2. pancakes*

      I don’t agree that’s likely the case, only because I’ve had numerous similar experiences with HR in law firms in the 15 years or so since I graduated. They are invariably less informed about the position than anyone else I speak with, and worse yet, often come off as rigid and regressive in the same ways the letter writer describes.

      One of my least favorite encounters of this type was with a young woman—I’m also a woman, fwiw—who was, I’m sure, a bit younger than me, and insisted that I must be less focused on law than other candidates because I’d worked for a few years between undergrad and law school. My response was to talk about the incredibly rare opportunity I had and experience I gained when my boss in that job, a sole proprietor, died suddenly and without a will. Three coworkers and I put together a business plan and successfully obtained funding to buy the business, and I ran it with them for a while before taking a buyout. I also pointed out that most of the people I knew in law school who went straight there from undergrad didn’t seem incredibly focused so much as following the wishes or footsteps of their parents or waiting out a bad economy. This young woman was quite insistent that I was nonetheless an unfocused candidate for a staff attorney job. I got the job anyhow and never had to talk to her again. I’ve met many HR people with the same persona over the years. I suspect many of them have little to no training in how to be effective gatekeepers, but fancy themselves effective gatekeepers nonetheless. It seems to be a line of work that attracts people who are very conformist, and don’t know how to talk to people who aren’t. Some of them take pride in that!

  4. Artemesia*

    IN academia HR has little to do with your day to day work — I would just assume this guy is a jerk and focus on the job, the department and the hiring manager you would report to to make your decision. The only way he might make life difficult would be around FMLA or leaves or whatever BUT one thing academic institutions are is rule bound, so his views would have little effect if your situation fell within the rules for these programs. You will literally probably never see this guy once you are working there.

    1. Justme, the OG*

      I’ve been in academia for six years and I don’t think I have interacted with HR since onboarding. Agree with your comment.

      1. Blackcat*

        Besides onboarding, my only HR interactions in academia come in the form of reminder emails for mandatory trainings.

      2. haloolah*

        Same. I’ve been at my uni for 15 years and only interact with HR when I’m actually hiring people or somebody needs FMLA. Our office of diversity is amazing, though and I talk to them often.

      3. PeanutButter*

        These comments make me soooooo grateful for my institutions HR! I’ve had my HR guy reach out because he regularly runs searches for keywords on public calendars and wanted to make sure I knew I could be reimbursed for a conference I signed up for, and kept in touch while I was relocating to make sure I got the maximum reimbursement amount, and whenever an all-employees email from HR goes out with updated policies he sends a follow-up to the new employee email list explaining it for people who aren’t as familiar with the institutional lingo yet.

      4. Rachel in NYC*

        I have because I’ve needed proof of employment letters- and you get those from Central HR. Other then that- yeah, onboarding was the last time.

        Though I guess technically when we do our annual benefits renewal it’s through central HR? yeah…they have nothing to do with my daily life.

        1. Jules*

          Yeah, I worked for a huge hospital system but for a nearly unrelated arm of that system (a very small education org) . Still, big hospital HR ran the initial and final bits of hiring, plus salary negotiation and “orientation,” despite having almost NO idea what my little org even did, some never even having visited our building! So it was a strange hiring and on boarding, but once I was in my insular org, only my manager needed to deal with HR for hirings/firings, FMLA, etc. (All big headaches, but only for her!).

          BUT there is a downfall to this structure. Like stated above, when it comes to raises, in institutions like these, often your manager can only give reviews and recommendations and then it goes to an HR person you’ve literally never met. Forget negotiating a promotion, special perks, etc. Ah, bureaucracy.

    2. Idril Celebrindal*

      On the other hand, I’m also in academia and HR has been steadily encroaching on things that shouldn’t be their business, throwing their weight around, and systematically devaluing the work of staff they think doesn’t matter. So, it has the potential of being either, and the hiring manager can probably give you a sense of which it is. Also, if it is like my HR, the hiring manager can probably give you a sense of whether she will have your back and be an advocate/buffer as needed.

      1. BethDH*

        At my org, the people who do recruitment/new hire stuff also aren’t generally the same as the ones you go to for stuff like FMLA, so he might not be characteristic of HR even when you do interact later.

        1. Idril Celebrindal*

          Fair enough, I’m at a smaller institution, so we don’t have that much differentiation. That combined with an HR director who seems determined to create his own little dictatorship, is a recipe for a lot of frustration and staff demoralization.

      2. else*

        At my academic institution, it’s Communications and Marketing that are oozing into everything. There are legit reasons for their involvement in most of the areas, but there’s an upper administrative assumption that their skills are far greater than they are in many areas that has a negative impact. C&M involvement in determining general style guide issues = good; C&M involvement in selecting content for anything education related = bad.

    3. Shhhh*

      I’ve never not worked in academia so I don’t know what it’s like in other industries, but I’ve had very few consequential interactions with our HR team. We have very nice HR reps that are assigned to the academic unit I work in and work in my building, but my experiences with them since onboarding have mostly been saying hi in the elevator and receiving emails about trainings, benefits, and how to record whether you worked on a holiday.

    4. tamarack and fireweed*

      I also wanted to point at the academia angle. I personally DO have regular interaction with HR in my (academic, right now 100% research) job, but it’s pretty non-confrontational and more importantly, if they were harboring bad opinions about me in this role, they wouldn’t be having any impact on how I am managed and evaluated, ie, my job security. (In fact, our HR is quite effective at the day-to-day stuff, and I have no complaints. They also try to nudge the more conservative parts of the institution towards accepting 21st century norms regarding non-discrimination, diversity and inclusion.)

      In academia, in my experience, there is even more independence of the functional units from each other and from HR than in the private industry. (Disclaimer: I have no experience with US government work and the big non-profit sector, so grain of salt…) Except if their role reports into the same unit that houses HR, that is, their boss (boss’s boss…) and the HR director are peers, I think she can totally disregard the hateful HR person. This could even be brought up with the hiring manager or otherwise group leader even now – once a rapport is established, they could say something like “I hope it is clear how enthusiastic I am about being part of this team now, and my experience during interviewing was mostly great. There’s just one thing that is making me wonder a little bit and that’s the attitude of X in HR. How’s our relationship with them? Because he seemed to be having quite a negative attitude about the role and me in it…” But I would only do that if for example you’re hired on a research team or something organization-wise quite far from central administration.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        You’re reading my mind here. Much of how AAM/the commentariat handles things about non-faculty roles in academia isn’t, at least in my experience, inclusive of what often goes on in functional areas that are more removed from faculty or “obvious” academic functions. Either that, or much of the commentariat who have familiarity with those roles have themselves never worked outside of academia. Or they’ve only ever reported to a provost. Or something. In any case, there’s often a lot of assumptions that simply don’t hold up for the types of roles common to central administration, which often operate much more like corporate back-office functional units than people seem to recognize.

        1. tamarack and fireweed*

          Yes – it’s probably not by chance that I’ve been both in corporate industry roles and academic roles (both staff and low-level faculty).

          Also, I don’t really appreciate the academia bashing by some of the commentators. Sure, academia can be rife with fiefdoms. But so can any large organization. When I got out of industry and into academia, I was SO GLAD to leave the kind of dysfunction you find in private industry behind. (I was wearing a little bit rose-colored glasses about the kinds of dysfunction more typical for academia, but I’d say the intensity is potentially about the same. Some places are better managed than others.)

      2. UniversityStaffer*

        I’m in academia in a staff role and we have both central HR and a within department administrative team that might come across as HR in an interview. The administrator is involved day to day, although the hiring manager would still have a much bigger impact. If this HR person is a central, or college level HR person and you’ll be in a department, I wouldn’t give it another thought. If this HR person is a departmental person on a staff of about 20-40 that serves the department you’d be researching in, the hiring manager is still probably who knows whats up but the administrator would have a bigger impact than otherwise. I think Alison’s advice is still pretty sound though.

    5. Meep meep*

      Seconded! If the institution is big enough the talent team (recruiters/talent acquisition) might even be a discrete team that don’t deal with issues like leaves and other day to day HR concerns. At my institution as soon as the contract is signed you’ll very likely never talk to that individual HR person ever again. The team of people who deal with the day to day stuff are complete separate.

    6. Junior Assistant Peon*

      It’s no accident that the wildest stories about inappropriate workplace behavior, sexual harassment, etc are from tech startups, small family businesses, and academia. The first two have no HR department, and academic HR has no power against a bigshot professor. It’s the same story again and again – we all know Professor X is a pervert who makes female students uncomfortable, but he brings in a lot of funding so we’re going to sweep the complaints under the rug.

  5. HoHumDrum*

    I work at a place where the HR truly does not understand our department at all, including with things like flexible hours. Like HR believes that everyone should be working 9-5 and would get upset whenever those of us in public programs deviated and we’re like “So when a scout troop wants to book us on a Saturday you want us to…turn down work? When a school wants to book us for an outreach and the school day starts at 8:00am you want us to decline? Are you serious right now?!” They just fundamentally don’t understand the nature of our work.

    Anyway, this is all just to say that it’s very possible this place’s HR is similarly disconnected from the actual work that happens. My boss is very chill and easy to work with, and the way it goes it I just need to clear my schedule with her, and she deals with the fallout from HR. So it honestly doesn’t impact my day to day job much at all, and I wouldn’t base my job satisfaction on HR’s weirdness at all.

    I hope the job search works out for you LW!

  6. 'nother prof*

    The HR guy may have a friend that he’s hoping will get hired into the job. Many universities move staff around the school as needed, so they can get to know one another pretty well.

    1. AnonNurse*

      I came here to say this! Having worked in academia many years ago, I saw this happen so frequently. There would almost be an attitude of someone deserving the position and then when outside candidates or people they weren’t expecting were interviewed or offered the position, the crap would hit the fan. I’ve even seen grievances with unions filed and people really try to make a stink. This HR guy may be trying to discourage the OP due to a friend who feels they want or deserve the position.

    2. Khatul Madame*

      I am not in academia, but my first reaction was “Bob wants to hire a family member into this job”.

    3. Ladycrim*

      That was my reaction, as well. “Bob wants someone else in this role.” In which case, OP should definitely tell the hiring manager that HR is trying to actively discourage candidates (possibly by lying about the job).

    4. Urban Prof*

      I’m an underpaid humanities professor, and I am willing to bet $10 that this is exactly the case.
      Bob is fervently hoping his pal gets this position.

    5. QuinleyThorne*

      That’s immediately where my mind went as soon as they mentioned the weird comment about the commute. I have never had an initial HR screen where they asked about the commute, much less cared enough to be combative about it.

  7. staceyizme*

    I have to say that even though the hiring manager seems awesome and the HR rep sounds awful- it seems like he has some interesting points for you to consider! You’d happily take less money and the commute will be less of an issue when you move, but academia definitely has weird cultural baggage and you might want to check into your own comfort level about running into Snarkyville, Politics-ville and similar cultural dysfunctions in the context of academia, because the rules there a just different. (I’d have NO clue about this except for a sibling’s experience in this area, so your mileage may vary!) It couldn’t hurt to take a second, third and even a fourth look before you make the leap, in consideration of your own future peace of mind and prosperity!

  8. Luke*

    Agree with Alisons advice -but with one caveat. If the HR representative is erratic , that could present complications down the line if the LW needs HR in some way.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      Possibly, but I have found in an academia setting that the HR hiring person would not be the same person to go to for other issues (FMLA, PTO, etc.). Unless this guy is like the head of HR or something she probably won’t have contact with them again.

  9. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    A 45-minute commute is pretty common anywhere I’ve worked, especially if you’re taking public transit and have issues like, I don’t know, weather (snow is the most recent event here). What an odd thing to say to a candidate.

    My own commute is over an hour by bus/train and I’m not complaining.

    1. Shhhh*

      The institution might be in a rural area where long commutes are less common – I work in a college town in the middle of nowhere, and I know few people who have more than a 20 min commute.

      1. Roja*

        Really? That sounds much more fun than the rural area I used to live in; if anything it was the opposite. Commutes of less than 20-30 minutes were rare, because lots of people lived in small towns and commuted to the “cities” that were relatively far away. My jobs were 45 minutes in one direction and an hour in the other… oof, glad I don’t do that anymore.

        1. Junior Assistant Peon*

          That’s because the people were already living in small towns and hunting for jobs within an hour’s drive or so. With university jobs it’s the opposite; most of the people aren’t originally from the area, and end up living in the little college-town bubble of suburbia instead of out in the surrounding rural area.

  10. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    My HR rep really didn’t want to hire me (as I was told later), but my hiring manager was terrific and was an incredible manager!

  11. haloolah*

    I work in academia, on the academic side, and HR is fairly inconsequential to the actual jobs and negotiations of work expectations. They basically push the buttons to reject or advance candidates through the system, but the search committee/hiring managers make the calls. A lot of HR folks don’t understand what specific jobs are or what offices need and get in they way of us hiring the best applicants because they want people to fit into tidy boxes. I’d also ignore the HR dude and go with your gut and what the hiring manager says and then share your feedback with her after the hire. As somebody who hires both faculty and staff, I’ve had to intervene with HR when we had a bad recruiter on a search (it hasn’t happened in a while). One issue that has come up is explaining equivalent experience from various industries or why a certain degree is required or if a range of degrees are acceptable. Folks coming from industry are valuable in higher ed, but their resumes look different from academic CVs.

    Of course, there are often important distinctions between job classifications and how flexible they are. Faculty and administrators might have a lot of flexibility and say over how they work and when (with obvious limits), while classified staff may have very little. I’d caution OP to look into that more, and not only rely on the hiring manager, as she could move or change jobs.

    Best of luck to OP! I hope you enjoy academia!

  12. pcake*

    My concern is that some day the hiring manager may move on to another company, retire or get promoted away from the department. When that happens, the new manager may not support flex hours or occasionally working from home.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      It sound’s like it WFH and flex hour policy is department-wide and wouldn’t be just for this one person, especially since the manager herself is remote. I think it would be highly unlikely that they would have another manager that would change that policy. It could probably be written into the appointment information too.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        The issue is that a new manager could easily change it, if institution-wide HR policies aren’t very explicitly permissive of WFH.

        Prior to working in academia, I worked at an org where HR had an actual WFH and flex time policy, but it include some language about “managerial discretion” and operational requirements. That made it very easy for our anti-WFH manager to block us from working from home despite it not being an issue for teams with similar roles, and there were absolutely nothing that HR could do about it.

  13. Momma Bear*

    While a long commute can sometimes be an issue, people’s professional judgement should be trusted when they say it’s fine. I also live where 45 mins is average. I’d actually rather a long commute with moving traffic or public transit than stop and go for less time.

    I am also suspicious that the HR guy has ulterior motives for discouraging you, OP. I’d follow your gut feel for the Hiring Manager.

  14. Alison*

    I work in academia, and I had a similarly odd situation with HR when I was first hired — I was flat out told that the faculty director of the place I work was “widely known to be the most difficult person on campus” among other things (which, well, he is difficult at times, but there are definitely more difficult people). She also made some…interesting comments about how I looked/my weight. I took the job anyway, because at the time I needed something and the hiring manager seemed reasonable, and I expected to stay a year or two until I figured out something better. Well, I’ve been with the same group for 13 years, steadily moving my way up, and I can honestly say I only interacted with that HR person one other time after being hired. I interact with the hiring manager all the time. I’m not the only person I know who had a similarly ick experiences with HR at this university.

    The secret I’ve learned is that HR at this university — and many other universities — is kind of awful, usually among the worst, if not the actual worst, departments on campus…and also not nearly as involved in the day-to-day operations of any specific job as they might be in the corporate world. Because of this, I recommend going with your gut and if the hiring manager/group seems decent, then you will probably be fine.

    1. Jellissimo*

      Yes, this. I also made a switch from corporate to academia and can 100% confirm it’s about the team you work with, not about HR or any other department. They all operate very differently. You may or may not be happy with the change, but rely much more on your interaction with the hiring manager and the team you will work with than with HR. I work for a State System, and there are very few HR people on our campus, most are in a centralized location. They are not much help, but they are also not very involved in my work life.

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

      Agreed. I need to interact with HR at my university maybe once a year during open enrollment but the HR rep who handles benefits enrollment is a different position than the HR rep that handles recruitment…and a different HR rep for complaints/conflicts etc. The turnover in HR is also astronomical, so almost no worries about having the same person to deal with twice.

    3. kt*

      Agreeing with the others here — I worked at three colleges/universities and only ever dealt with HR once (at the most functional university, where they actually did benefits onboarding, as opposed to the others where I actually missed open enrollment one year because no one sent any communication about it).

  15. PJ*


    That says it all right there. Bob seems to have very rigid ideas about what he perceives is his fiefdom.
    Turf wars are present in any company/job, of course, but in academia it’s next level.

  16. Beth*

    This is probably incredibly naive, but — why on earth is the HR manager doing job interviews? Is this normal?

    I’m used to HR being someone you meet for the first time when you’re being onboarded, after going through the interview and hiring process with people who are directly involved with the job. But I have never worked in a place with much of an HR department.

    1. irene adler*

      The larger biotech companies I am interviewing with all start the process with a phone screen with an HR person.
      They ask basic questions regarding the requirements of the position: salary range, education, maybe some key skills the hiring manager has asked that all candidates possess.
      The idea is to screen out those who may not have the education or key skills or ask for a salary they cannot pay.
      Those that meet the basic criteria are then handed off to the hiring manager for interview.

      1. pleaset cheap rolls*

        This is common in my organization – a nonprofit.

        A mid-level HR person does initial screens and passes along recommendations of who to move forward, plus notes on everyone. The hiring manager then take the next steps – which sometimes involved disregarding some recommendations.

    2. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

      In larger organizations (not just academia, but private sector as well) it’s not that uncommon for HR to do phone screens or somethin similar before you actually interview with the hiring manager. Beyond scheduling the actual interview, it’s usually to make sure that you’re still interested in the job and to get your salary expectations.

    3. gbca*

      Larger orgs have HR people who are solely responsible for recruiting. They schedule all the interviews and do phone screens in which they’re usually finding out a candidate’s salary expectations, work authorization status, etc. They would also formally communicate offers or rejections. I think in small orgs with tiny HR the hiring manager is more likely to handle the interview process.

    4. Threeve*

      In the nonprofit world, IME the interview process almost always starts with a call with HR–either a basic phone screen, or a more in-depth interview. It’s good to get on the same page about things like salary and flex time before anyone invests a lot of time and energy in interviewing. (When HR is actually giving accurate information, that it).

    5. tamarack and fireweed*

      TBH, as someone who works and has interviewed in US academia for staff and faculty positions – this is not what I have experienced either. During interviews my interaction with HR was via form letters informing me *sometimes* about the status of my application. Usually only when it was rejected – the news about moving to a next stage usually came from the hiring manager. I never had an interview with HR that had any actual decision input.

      This is, however, why I am wondering whether the position that the OP is applying for may be functionally close to HR. For example, if this is an institutional research role (who would evaluate the personnel data – hiring trends, enrollment trends, larger trends in the sector), or in finance. (Theoretically it could be purchasing, grants& contracts, or the library … But the OP mentions doing research in a previous job tho that doesn’t necessarily mean scientific research or scholarship.)

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      HR did the initial screen for my current role, in a relatively small company. It is a thing that happens! Of course, they were asking more general questions rather than detailed technical know-how etc at that stage.

  17. yuppers*

    Having worked in academia, I found HR to be more of a hindrance to hiring than a help. At a large institution, HR isn’t involved in the day-to-day at all, and might not understand the role and culture of a particular department or research institute. If the letter writer is comfortable, sharing what Alison suggested about the info Bob is sharing might help the hiring manager with future candidate searches.

    1. Properlike*

      Just reflecting on my college’s HR – with a supervising manager we called the Anti-Human Resource — and how they not only messed up all the paperwork on my first day by *misspelling my name* (so I couldn’t get trained) and then making several errors in the information they submitted to our state pension system… but also how they just filed the quitting paperwork completely incorrectly with the state pension system, causing a delay in that.

  18. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    University HR departments are basically the DMV of HR departments, I wouldn’t worry about this at all. Just keep a cushion in your bank account because they’ll probably make a mistake that results in some VERY late paychecks or messed up insurance enrollments.

  19. Mel_05*

    Great HR can make your life easier on occasion (ours is fab and just helped me out a bunch today), but 95% of the time they don’t matter.

  20. Language Lover*

    I join others in saying to base your decision on your interview with your hiring manager and team more than what HR thinks. It definitely sounds like he’s projecting some of his frustrations onto you. Perhaps his manager is rigid and he assumes that’s the case elsewhere at the university. Or resents that it’s not.

    Bob hires for the whole university and I wonder if he has noticed a pattern of hires that decide to switch into academia and take pay cuts but end up leaving. Individual hiring managers might not see this pattern given they aren’t involved in the hiring process as much as he is. He was still a jerk to you, though.

  21. SusanIvanova*

    I worked at a place once that also had a mismatch between the recruiting level and the actual hiring manager: the job was to design *and build* custom teapots. The team had been talent-acquired by a company that still believed in the old fashioned model where those were separate: you needed a theoretical PhD in teapot design, and someone else would turn your design into teapots.

    So our job descriptions were being modified to reflect that and all the people who showed up to interview had no building experience at all or any reason to think we wanted it. Plus designer/builders who knew we were hiring got filtered out before we ever saw them.

    tldr: talk to the hiring manager. They might not even know there’s a problem.

  22. Damn it, Hardison!*

    Completely agree with Alison, give much more weight to your calls with the hiring manager. I had a similar interaction with a HR talent recruiter this fall. Not a very good conversation with him, a great call with the hiring manager, very good interviews with several other people, and then another slightly off conversation with HR about salary and start date. A couple of hours after I talked to HR, the hiring manager called to let me know that he understood why I asked for a delayed start date and was perfectly fine with it. Turns out my salary requirements were doable as well (HR was skeptical of my ask). Good luck!

  23. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

    I’m really curious how much interaction people in different industries and in different jobs have the HR. I’m at a tiny college, and they tell us when to submit our time-sheet, and run new-employee orientation, and other than that, I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with them. All the onboarding stuff goes through my boss.

    1. FirstDayBackHurts*

      That is the same for me, and I work at a very large state institution. I dealt with HR only to submit my hire paperwork and choose my benefits. The only other time I have engaged with them was my exit interview from the last job and required training when I served as the chair of a hiring committee. I admit, however, that the few interactions I had with them were similar to the letter writer’s…snarky and weirdly opinionated about things like why I didn’t want a flexible spending account.

      1. Cj*

        They were opinionated about why you didn’t want an FSA because they didn’t have to pay the employer’s share of FICA tax on it. Doesn’t seem like much savings per employee, but multiplied by hundreds or thousands of employees it could be substantial.

    2. Uranus Wars*

      I’ve worked at small private (1500) and mid-sized public (12,000). My interactions at both were the same as yours.

    3. Sara without an H*

      I, too, work at a tiny college. The HR folks here are amiable enough, but their role in hiring is limited to logistical stuff: setting up interview schedules, making sure the candidate gets the appropriate benefits information packet, and briefing search committees on how not to do a biased search.

      We hear a lot from them during the open enrollment period for health insurance and, of course, they process payroll. But unless you have a question about something specific (FMLA, for example) we don’t see a lot of them.

    4. Librarian in the Middle of Nowhere*

      Another university librarian here. Smallish college. Whether or not folks have interacted with HR after initial onboarding regarding general policies and benefit sign-up tends to vary widely depending on needs. Because it’s a small campus, we all know each other, so everyone definitely sees the HR people (team of 3) out and about, and they oversee the “staff person of the year” and other social kinds of things, but as far as actual HR interactions, most people only interact with them on as as needed basis (e.g. add a new spouse or baby to one’s insurance, FMLA paperwork, leave of absence, whatever). They also send out yearly mandatory training materials on FERPA, mandated reporting, etc. They’ve been more visible due to Covid this year because they’ve been in charge of coordinating work from home stuff as well as authorizing certain critical people (e.g. on-call student emergency staff, IT server people) to remain on campus during the state-wide shutdowns. But yeah. Most people have few interactions with them after their initial new hire stuff is done.

    5. Library Land*

      Large public university here with a campus HR and a department HR. I’ve talked with the department HR quite a few times, depending on what’s going on and what I need them for (student issues, coworker issues, benefits questions, etc.). Some years it feels like I’ve talked with them a dozen times or more, some years it’s only once. I’ve only talked with campus HR a few times over the years. The most recent time, like 4 years back, was because I needed a letter saying my husband wasn’t on my insurance.

      Neither HR has acted like the person in the letter.

  24. gbca*

    Assuming this is a fairly large organization (several hundred+ employees), keep in mind that the HR guy you’re working with doesn’t even represent HR as a whole. He’s likely an internal recruiter, which means that you really will never deal with him again unless you’re a hiring manager and hiring your own candidate.

    I am a hiring manager, and the recruiter has little-to-no influence over my hiring processes. I mean, sure, if they gave me some insight on the candidate that I missed on my own I would listen to them and put it in the context of my overall interactions with the candidate. But for instance in your case if the recruiter said they didn’t like you because you asked about remote/flex work and you might not want a pay cut, the HM would probably say, “ok?” since she is clearly fine with those things.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      Yes, this. Not in academia but in a large government agency, and the HR person you deal with in the interview process is an internal recruiter. In my case I’ve dealt with that same person again through two promotions/internal hiring processes for myself, and as the rep for hiring some people where I was on the interview panel, but that’s it. (And then only because this same rep handles hiring for most of the departments I work with frequently.) They’d have no say at all on something like FMLA or training or filing a harassment complaint or other HR type functions.

      I’d possibly ask the hiring manager about this HR rep, OP, but I’d take her word for it if she basically rolls her eyes and tells you not to worry about it.

  25. Colonel_Gateway*

    Keep in mind that this guy may well be isolated to a recruiting role and would not have anything to do with an HR role you’d work with in daily life. Regardless, put way more stock in what the hiring manager says, but know that this might be the only interaction you’ll ever have with this HR rep.

    1. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

      Yes, coming here to say exactly this! At my large state institution, there are HR recruiters who don’t even work for the university, they are contracted, so this guy potentially wouldn’t be someone you would encounter even within HR.

  26. Kate*

    Others have said this, but especially in academia HR will have little to nothing to do with the conditions of your job. More so than in most industries, each department is its own little fiefdom due to traditional respect for disciplinary expertise (even if that respect is no longer there.) Go with what the person who will be your boss has told you. Also, I’m living at academic HR trying to scare off someone more qualified. The great thing about academia is that you can have brilliant people accepting lower salaries than industry for the other perks, like mission and work life balance.

  27. Professor Ronny*

    I’ve been in academia for almost 30 years both as a professor and nine years as a department chair (manager). I’m currently at a university with almost 40k students but I’ve been at three others. For all four universities I have been at, HR just did not matter. They are not involved in hiring professors or academic managers at all (other than the hiring paperwork) and only have a little input into staff positions. They mainly handle benefits, open enrollment, payroll mistakes, and the like. At my university, even benefits, open enrollment, and standard payroll stuff has moved online. I literally have no idea where the HR office is or anyone who works there.

  28. NewYork*

    I am not in academia, but where I work, a lot of people are concerned about losing their jobs and try to “make work” to show how valuable they are, and do not realize they are just getting in the way

  29. Sparkles McFadden*

    Go with the hiring manager. It’s likely you’ll never see HR again.

    To be fair to the HR person, I know of a few reps who have had bad experiences with candidates agreeing to lower salaries and then demanding increases later on in the process, or even after a short time at the new job.

    This doesn’t sound like that. In any case, you should talk to the hiring manager about the experience with HR. Your potential boss will be able to handle it, and would want to know about it, I’m sure.

    While interviewing for the very first position with my main employer (I worked there 29 years), the HR rep told me that it was a waste of his time to interview such an unqualified candidate (I met the job’s posted requirements), and that he’d recommend that I not be hired no matter what the hiring manager said. The hiring manager really liked me and discussed start dates. He sent me back up to HR to pick up additional paperwork regarding benefits and such. The HR rep would not give me the documents, and repeated that he would not allow me to be hired. (He literally threw my paperwork in the trash. It was very dramatic.) I went back to the hiring manager to thank him for his time, but that HR said I wouldn’t be hired. The hiring manager said “HR has no say in this. Don’t worry about it. I will handle HR. You don’t have to speak to them again.”

    After I was with the company for a couple of years, that HR rep was fired due to a large number of complaints about steering women and people of color away from the company. Apparently he also took money from some job candidates for job placements. Don’t let that HR person stop you from pursuing the job if it sounds like a good fit.

  30. Wonky Scientist*

    I once had an interview with HR that was so bad I almost walked out. TheBEST question he came up with was, “If you were a dessert, which one would you be and why?” I thought I was on Candid Camera. But the hiring manager & team were wonderful & it was a great fit. HR had nothing further to do with the job.

      1. Wonky Scientist*

        I said I’d be a hot fudge sundae. The perfect balance between hot & cold, black & white, yin & yang. :)

        1. pancakes*

          You also could’ve gone with a chocolate fountain, always working smoothly. I am rolling my eyes at myself for this!

    1. pancakes*

      People like this are worse than useless. I’d like to know what they truly expect to get out of asking candidates questions like this besides passing time.

  31. Pidgeot*

    From the Hiring Manager’s side – if I was the Hiring Manager and HR was saying this to one of my candidates, I would want to know. Definitely ask about this. At the very least you’ll get some insight on how the HM runs their team.

  32. Krabby*

    I was just honestly confused at the idea of 45 minutes being a long commute? Like, I know that it’s long and not ideal, but that’s actually the average at my workplace.

    1. Spicy Tuna*

      I’ve been WFH for 5 years, but the office is 6 miles from my house. It can take over an hour sometimes!

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

      Some regions that would be crazy-long and in some that’s a super nice commute. I’m in the Los Angeles region; many years ago I used to commute 45 miles into the downtown area and it took 2-3 hours one way due to traffic, so 45 minutes would have been awesome. Without knowing where the OP is located, it’s impossible to say. I’ve been asked the same question though because they know the freeway system, and if there is a chance that my ability to get in on time will be extremely variable and unreliable, all else being equal, they could find candidates closer to the location.

    3. allathian*

      My commute is 45 minutes door-to-door and I don’t think it’s particularly long, even if I’m very happy to be WFH now so I can avoid it.

    4. londonedit*

      Yup, 45 minutes to an hour is totally standard for London. Many people live outside the city and commute in by rail, and then it can easily be over an hour. I live 9 miles from the office and it’s just under an hour door-to-door, including walking and getting the Tube (back in the Before Times when I was actually commuting in, I allowed just over an hour in case of delays).

    5. Clisby*

      It’s way more than the average commute in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2017). Of course, there will be metro areas where the average is higher, but even NY City was below 45 minutes, on average in the census survey.

  33. Lavender Menace*

    This could vary a lot depending on the role, but as a hiring manager, I’d want to know that our HR contact was having these kinds of conversations with people. I’ve had the opportunity to correct some misconceptions our recruiter(s) have, on occasion, transmitted to candidates; and if one were being this bad, I’d want to talk to our HR contact about working with someone else. This person could be potentially running off our good candidates with his rigidity and, quite frankly, his ignorance.

    1. Lils*

      I came here to say this too. As a hiring manager in academia, I would be furious if I found out this was happening. A candidate reporting it to me might be the only way I’d find out. Say something, OP!

      A red flag to be on the lookout for: if the hiring manager suddenly changes her mind about WFH or your fitness for the position, based on the HR person’s opinion. THAT would be toxic. If she holds steady about the requirements and perks of the job, I wouldn’t worry.

  34. HatBeing*

    I work in HR and am active on professional forums and groups, and many people in my profession are terrible! They want people to follow their ‘rules,’ which are not just FLSA or OSHA US laws but their own weird ideas of what is ‘professional.’ So long as you pay attention during open enrollment HR will probably like you or at least forget about your existence; ignore this dingbat and focus on your relationship with the hiring manager. Good luck!

    1. pancakes*

      It’s heartening to see someone in the profession say this. I really do believe so many workplaces would be so much better off if HR people had no role in hiring other than processing paperwork.

  35. learnedthehardway*

    Keep in mind that while HR may be negative, they’re also sharing their overall experience with you. They know what the rates of attrition are with employees who have to commute a long ways, or who take pay cuts, etc. etc. It’s quite likely that this HR person has processed the resignations of a number of people who left the company over similar reasons.

    That’s not to say that this role is the wrong one for you, but do make very sure that you are truly okay with the commute and the pay cut, and that you have very solid reasons for making the move. Because one day, you WILL question yourself about it (say on a snowy day when your commute takes you 2.5 hours), and those reasons have to stand up to your own self-doubts.

    1. Hi there*

      I am glad you said this. In an administrative role I’ve hired for I want people to understand the salary range, the functions of the role and its position in the hierarchy, and the fact that it is not a faculty/teaching role. Unfulfilled expectations along those three lines could trip people up and lead to them being dissatisfied. I once had HR do an initial screen and mentioned in advance that those were places we needed to be clear. Of course, it sounds like LW’s person was beyond clear!

  36. Not So Happy It's Monday*

    OP, please make sure to have a positive follow up with the hiring manager ASAP. Like an email saying how interested you are in the role.
    This is in case Bob from HR tells them you aren’t interested & puts his words in your mouth.
    This has happened to me in the past where I waited to hear back after interviewing and then found out that my own “Bob the recruiter” told the hiring manager that *I* said they could not meet my salary requirements. Up until this point not one word had been spoken by either party about salary! No idea where that came from. It did clear up eventually but could have cost me the opportunity. This also put me in the habit of following up by email many of the communications with recruiters.

  37. RJ*

    I was once in a professional organization with HR personnel/heads and Finance personnel/heads where we dealt with issues like this one at every meeting. It got to the point where I considered wearing a suit of armor as the fights grew very, very heated. Sadly in my industry, I would advise the candidate to pursue another job opportunity. I’m glad for most of the posters I’ve read, that it is different in academia.

  38. Spicy Tuna*

    I accepted a job that required an extensive FBI background check. Prior to accepting the offer, I had not interacted with HR at all. I knew a few people that worked in the organization, and they forwarded my resume to the hiring manager. Everything was great during the interview process with the hiring manager, his boss, and the people I would be working with. I was super excited to get started, but the hiring manager warned me not to give notice at my current job until the background check was completed.

    My first interaction with HR was after I had accepted the offer and was preparing my information for the background check. I was NOT impressed. The entire HR department seemed completely uninterested and almost like I was bothering them. After I had prepared my information for the background check, I was to turn it into HR, who would work with a 3rd party agency to complete the screening. After a few weeks, I got the terrible news that I had not passed the background check and HR wouldn’t even engage with me! The HR person I had been working with actually said, “We don’t hire liars and hung up on me”.

    I was so devastated! I hated my current job and every attempt to find a new one ended in some kind of disaster. I had gotten into a car accident on my way to one interview (other person ran a red light); I had an interview at an office across the street from an airport on 9/11 (that one was cancelled), and now this!! I couldn’t believe it.

    I contacted the hiring manager and he found out that HR mixed up my file and sent incorrect information to the 3rd party company, which was why nothing came back verified. He was able to clear things up quickly and I FINALLY gave my notice!

    Anyway, the point is that after I was hired, I never, ever had to interact with HR for any reason. They were even in a completely different building. If the OP likes the job and the people he or she will be working with, there shouldn’t be a whole lot of concern about accepting an offer.

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      I think that the most important point in your post is that you contacted the hiring manager. Far too many people would stop at the point of HR pushback.

  39. nonprofit writer*

    I worked at a nonprofit for almost a decade, in several different roles that have since helped me launch myself as a consultant, and my two bosses from my first role are now good friends and mentors of mine. Coming in, I was a very strong candidate as I had the exact background they were looking for with subject matter expertise in the organization’s particular area of work, and had great interviews with both of the bosses. They told me a few years later that when they went to HR to tell her they wanted to hire me, she tried to discourage them because, according to her, I had only nodded and smiled and said things like “oh” and “uh-huh” when she was explaining the benefits to me. In her mind, that response was unacceptable. Luckily, they prevailed. :)

  40. Natalie*

    Consider the job, but be careful. I almost accept a job like this and then the hiring manager quit a week after I would have joined. You definitely need to get a view of who’s behavior is more representative of the company.

  41. I'm just here for the cats*

    Can I just say this: WHAT IS WRONG WITH HR IN ACCADEMIA???
    I’ve been going around and around with my HR (state university) since September about an issue with my PTO allotment and it still isn’t fixed! And my director is so mad. She’s afraid their going to loose me because of this. (FYI even if they took away the PTO that I was told I would get, I still wouldn’t leave. This is literally the best job I’ve ever had.)

  42. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    45 minutes “so far” as a commute? Is that standard? Here that’s a fairly standard commute and shorter than what I so most days which I wouldn’t characterise as “so far”!

  43. Gertrude Thompson*

    My guess is that HR had a candidate in mind for the job and is (not so subtly) trying to deter you for that reason.

  44. Always Late to the Party*

    Many folks have suggested Bob has someone he wants to hire for the role, but I wonder if Bob may have hired someone with OP’s profile (coming from industry, long commute) for this role and had the person not work out so he thinks OP will inevitably leave and he’ll have to go through the pain of hiring again. Just my guess based on my experience in academia.

    1. Alice*

      And so what? People leave jobs. Is Bob hassling women he’s recruiting because they might get pregnant and leave? Is he hassling older people because they might retire? Bob is a jerk.
      Also – turnover can be disruptive for the hiring manager, but I don’t see how it’s disruptive for the HR recruiting guy. It’s not like he has other, non-recruiting projects he’d rather be working on.

    2. pancakes*

      That’s part of his job. Surely other tasks are as well, such that he doesn’t get to go home for the day or spend his time watching TV when not working on hiring. I’m not very sympathetic to the idea he’s terribly inconvenienced or put out by having to do work at work.

    3. Nanani*

      “I hired an X-group member before and it didn’t work out, therefore I’ll never hire an X-group member again” is discrimination. It might not be illegal if the X factor is something really random and not a protected characteristic, but it’s still discrimination and not ok, because it’s not related to their ability to do the actual job.

      So.. what’s your point, if not “Maybe HR bob is a bigot, actually” as if that was an excuse?

  45. Dagny*

    In addition to the other theories, there could be some sexism or racism, especially if the OP is being hired into a traditionally male-dominated field.

    Regardless, the hiring manager should know that Bob is imposing his own views in a way that is deterring strong candidates.

  46. For goodness sake, wash your hands!*

    I used to work for a small size university and the impact of my HR person was much less than any of my other (nonprofit and corporate) jobs. My two cents.

  47. Cathie from Canada*

    During a panel interview for a government job, I got into an almost-argument with the HR woman about something trivial. When the interview was over, I thought that job was toast.
    Well, I got the job.
    When I asked my new boss later about the interview, it turned out everyone else on the panel disliked the HR person, so they thought I was ok for pushing back at her.
    So I guess you never know.

  48. Esmeralda*

    Academia. Sigh.

    HR is fairly irrelevant to your day-to-day work in academia. As long as the hiring dept is complying with legal requirements and college/university policy, HR will have no sway over any decisions your dept makes.

    Now, sometimes a higher up (a dean or director — your potential boss’s boss or grand boss or great grand boss) is out of step re WFH, flexing, etc. But that doesn’t sound like a problem at this place since people are already flexing etc. Despite the fact that MANY functions at higher ed institutions could easily be flexed, remote, shared, etc., college/university administrators are often inflexible on these things… I dunno, maybe it’s because tenured profs don’t have to follow such rules, or they think that anyone who’s NOT a tenured prof is not deserving of the flexibility afforded profs.

    Ignore snitty HR dude.

  49. Mr. Jingles*

    I wonder if that HR person tried to get someone into that position and is now angry that didn’t work out.

  50. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

    Once you are through this process, whether you take the job or not, you might want to mention this experience to the hiring manager.

    The recruiter’s role is to support the business and the hiring manager, and it’s very uncool to have a recruiter behave this way – not just for you as a candidate, but also for the hiring manager who has obviously found a great candidate (you!) and would be very concerned to hear that the recruiter is trying to put you off.

  51. SherBear*

    My current role was an internal department switch and after going thru the internal HR hiring screening and rounds of interviews with the hiring manager and his boss my final interview was with the HR rep for the new department. It was honestly the dumbest interview out of them all and she was asking me super basic questions (even more basic the initial screening call). I got the role and later found out that she had insisted on being part of the interview process and also didn’t recommend me but the hiring manager and director really didn’t care about her opinion at all. I then proceeded to kill her with kindness when I met her in person, just to rub it in. But yea, pay no mind to HR people during interviews.

  52. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    I had this happen once too. The HR rep told me I would need to move to a much more expensive area of the country for the job, even though I understood the company was entirely remote and that only a handful of people, none with a job like mine, worked in an office. Everyone worked from home. Then he asked me what I would require of salary, and I gave him an answer based on me moving to the expensive area, and he basically told me I was crazy and it was a ridiculous amount to ask and the other employee with my job did not make that. I responded that the other employee with that job, who was a good friend of mine, worked remotely from a much less expensive part of the country, and that if I could work remotely from my current location, the salary expectations would be greatly reduced, especially without a commute. He basically told me I was ridiculous and immature and I needed to change my expectations if I ever wanted a job period (I actually had a job).

    After that, I was surprised I got an interview. When I talked to the hiring manager, who would be my manager, and to her manager, they both made it clear that it was a teleworking job, that I could remain where I was, that it made no sense for me to move since the whole company was remote, and that they felt my salary expectations were reasonable for me to remain where I was. In the end, I got the job with a great manager and a great team, worked exclusively from home my entire time with the company, and never spoke to that HR rep again!

  53. Bopper*

    Also perhaps the HR person has had more experience with people leaving after taking jobs with long commutes (BUT 45 min isn’t that long) and for lower salaries. They should make sure you understand what you are getting into but to a point.

  54. CoveredInBees*

    I’ve had this happen and the HR rep was not at all indicative of how things went at work. He was speaking generally and I think sometimes pulling stuff out of thin air. Luckily, I spoke to him maybe once a year and even that was brief.

  55. Hank Stevens*

    Not sure if this is completely accurate, but I was trained that questions regarding commuting can be illegal in some situations, so I stay away from them. It’s up to the interviewee to decide if they can get to work on time. It’s not part of any factor I would consider.

Comments are closed.