does every job applicant deserve a reply, awful language at work, and more

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

1. Should employers get back to all rejected candidates, or only people who were interviewed?

I want to be a respectful hiring manger, and I totally agree that not getting back to people after an interview (whether you’re hiring or not hiring them) is extremely rude. Do you think it’s important to respond to everyone who submits a resume? Or is it standard to disregard resumes that don’t make it to a phone interview?

Reject everyone you’re not hiring, even if they never made it to the interview stage. These are people volunteering to help your company, after all, and they’re also potential clients/donors/consumers. Why pass up the opportunity to make a good impression on them, and why not do something very quick and simple that will (a) prevent them from wondering if they’re still being considered and (b) prevent some of them from calling you in a month to inquire about their status?

It’s far more outrageous not to bother getting back to people who put in the time to interview with you, yes, but it’s also so easy to set up a rejection system that will take only seconds to use at all stages of the process that there’s just no good reason not to.

2. My coworker uses the c-word at work

One of my coworkers (who outranks me within the department, though I do not work with him or report to him) has a terrible attitude and an even worse potty mouth. I consider myself fairly laid back when it comes to language in the workplace — most “traditional” curse words don’t faze me. However, I have heard from two different people that they heard the coworker in question use the “see you next Tuesday” term at work. Just to be 100% clear — I did not hear it myself and I do not have any hopes or plans to address this past offense with him or HR since I didn’t hear it. However, knowing him, I’m expecting he’ll use it again, and I want to be ready to respond in an appropriate fashion.

Just for a bit more context — our HR department is far from impressive, the coworker in question’s manager is non-confrontational to a fault, and the department/organization have a bit of a “boys club” atmosphere. I 100% do not think that language is appropriate at work (or anywhere, really), but I don’t want to naively assume that I’ll have universal support in my comments.

Address it directly with the coworker if you hear it yourself; I wouldn’t take this to HR or your manager unless (a) you ask him to stop and he doesn’t, (b) it becomes pervasive rather than just used once or twice, and (c) it disturbs you enough to escalate it. But if he uses it around you and it bugs you, by all means speak up! I’d say something like, “Bob, that word really bothers me. Would you mind not using it around me?”

3. An employer insisted on contacting my current manager, but then didn’t offer me the job

I applied for a new job and it turned out that after the interview and speaking to my references, the company needed to speak to my current manager. They requested this over the phone and told me they “wouldn’t be asking if I wasn’t their top choice” and that “it’s sometimes a red flag when an employee doesn’t disclose to their current company that they’re thinking about moving on” (in what world?!?!?). So I took the risk and said yes. I disclosed to my current manager that I was a top candidate for this other company, and that because of this they needed to speak with her. It turned out she really didn’t want me to leave, and it became an emotional conversation (I started crying). She accepted their call that afternoon; it lasted 20 minutes. I tried to pry about the questions they asked, but all she said was that they were very standard. A few weeks went by, which is fine, because this company has notoriously slow hiring processes. But then yesterday, I got an automatic email the HR department sends out to people who didn’t get the job. I can only assume this was based on what my current boss, who desperately wants to keep me on, said.

How do I approach my current boss about not getting the job? A peer told me I should lie and say I turned the new company down after weeks of negotiating. I’m concerned that my current manager sabotaged me, and I’m finding it difficult to continue working here knowing this. I did follow up with the company that didn’t hire me to ask what had changed. I know from an inside source that they did fill the position. I haven’t heard back yet.

This company was in the wrong to insist on speaking with your current employer; that can jeopardize people’s employment, and they were wrong to push you. What happened afterwards is harder to know. It’s possible that your boss gave you a great reference, but the employer just ended up hiring someone else. It’s also possible that she gave you a misleadingly crappy reference in a horrible attempt to keep you. While either is possible, the former might be more likely — since that employer has already showed that they’re willing to behave badly by you, and they also behaved badly by sending you a form rejection after all that rather than connecting with you personally. But you can’t know for sure either way.

As for what to tell your boss, I don’t think you should lie, which leaves you with telling her that it didn’t work out (although she’s not entitled to details beyond that if you don’t want to share them). You probably also need to talk with her about what this all means for your continuing tenure there, since she’s going to have that question on her mind whether you talk to her about it or not .That said, if you distrust your boss enough to think she’s capable of this, then yeah, there’s some urgency to get out as soon as you can and so that’s going to be a tricky conversation to manage. (Meanwhile, resolve never to give in on this kind of request again! It’s put you in a really bad position here.)

4. I don’t like my internship, but my boss wants to hire me on permanently

I am at an internship for the second summer in a row. Along with being an excellent worker, my boss genuinely loves me. This summer, I took the job largely because I feared being unemployed. But more and more, I realized that the corporate world is not for me! Neither of my degrees are even remotely related to the work this company does, and I recently realized that I am wasting my time and talents here since I am doing something totally unrelated to my interests, passions, and background. However, before I realized this, my boss and I spoke about her appealing to management to extend my internship to a possibly more permanent position at the end of the summer. Without following up with me recently, my boss submitted a justification through HR and I suspect that it will be honored. I really don’t want to stay here and am actively looking for more relevant and meaningful work elsewhere.

How do I speak to my boss about this? I feel bad that she has already gone through the process of getting this job extended and I am planning on flaking on her. And if/when I do speak with her, do you think it would be wise to quit this job even prior to having a job offer or should I allow the extension and stay here until I am offered something more permanent?

Talk to her ASAP. She’s expending her own political capital to get a position created for you, and so the faster you let her know that you wouldn’t accept it, the better. Tell her that you’re grateful for her confidence in you and that she went to bat for you, but that you’ve been doing some soul-searching about your future and have realized that you really want to work in ___.

Don’t quit before you have an offer elsewhere (or at least not until your internship reaches its regularly scheduled end point); you should keep the commitment that you made when you signed up for the internship, which presumably was to stay some specific number of months. And definitely don’t accept the conversion to a permanent position while planning to leave as soon as you find something better. Right now, you have a boss who loves you and will be a great reference for you in your job search; you’d put that at risk by treating her faith in you that way.

5. Including two simultaneous jobs, one official and one unofficial, on a resume

After I had been working at my current company for a little over a year, I was asked to take over a position that was being vacated while the company searched for candidates to fill the position. I was trained by the employee leaving and subsequently took over that department (which only has one employee). I submitted my resume for the position about a month and a half into the candidate search and was subsequently offered the position. I told the manager that I couldn’t accept at the salary offered (no change from my current salary, which is two-thirds of what the previous employee made). I was asked to continue in order to help train the new hire and because I had been doing so well with the clients. I was also asked if the manager and I could reevaluate the position/salary in a few weeks.

Now, six months later I am still working in that position doing all of the daily required work, but I spend three days of my week in that position and two days doing the duties of my official position. How do I put this on my resume? The duties required in these two jobs are vastly different and the unofficial position where I spend most of my time requires significantly more technical and advanced work. I don’t want to truncate the unofficial position on my resume because it displays my skills and talents more significantly but it technically isn’t my job and isn’t my official title.

I’d create a bullet point under your current job that reads something like this:

* Acting teapot manager: Manage teapot department, kept productivity at 110% during six-month teapot manager vacancy, achieved X, achieved Y

If it’s too significant to be combined into a single bullet point, then I’d list it this way:

Official Title, Company Name, Jan. 2013 – present
Acting Teapot Manager, Feb. 2014-present
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
Official Title, Jan. 2013 – present
  * accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

does every job applicant deserve a reply, awful language at work, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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