fast answer Friday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Did I wrap up this phone interview rudely?

I had a phone interview recently, and I thought it went great except for the end. The interview was scheduled for 30 minutes, but after both she and I had exchanged questions and answers, I had noticed that we had gone about 10 minutes over. In an effort to be conscientious of the interviewer’s time, I mentioned that I had enjoyed speaking with her, that I wanted to respect her time and that we had gone over. She then very quickly explained next steps in the process and thanked me for my time then we departed. Was this bad etiquette?

Well, I wouldn’t say it was poor etiquette exactly, but it was unnecessary and might have come across as you cutting the conversation a bit short. The interviewer would have wrapped up if she needed to; you didn’t need to worry that you were being rude by keeping her on the phone. In general, assume that interviewers will signal if they need to close the conversation, and that interviews often do go a bit over the scheduled time. They’ll tell you if that’s a problem.

2. Rude email from a coworker

I am a temp worker for an Accounts Payable dept. of a company and have been working there for two months while someone is on maternity leave. I have the least work to do, but am also getting paid the least. I am on top of my job and frequently have less work than my coworker who sits next to me. I have frequently helped out this coworker (when she asks me). However, today I got this email (also cc’d to my supervisor): “If you ever find yourself with nothing to do, I have tons of invoices for you to vendorize and statements to go through. Also, the file clerk always needs help matching checks. I encourage you to help out more in the office. Your emails will not change once read. Also, I found what I think is one of your hair’s on my desk I’m not grossed out but I do find it unsanitary that you habitually play with your hair.”

I was shocked and speechless. In my opinion, this woman does not work as productively as me or as she could. Additionally, there is another coworker (that she is related to) who finishes her work and does homework for a class she is taking instead of helping her, but I doubt she got the same email as me. I responded to the email saying that I felt I have been working effectively and finishing all my work and that I’d definitely help out more and was sorry she felt that way, but I want her to know that what she said was rude and deserves consequences. However, I want to remain in good standing with my supervisor. What are your thoughts?

Her email was rude, and if your manager has any sense, she read it as rude too. You don’t need to respond further. It’s not your job to give her “consequences.”

3. Negotiating salary for a promotion

On my first day of my new position, I was informed that plans had changed and that they wanted to transition me into a higher position within a month. They had indicated that there would be a salary increase, but they have been quite vague about it in terms of a specific figure. Aside from asking my direct supervisor, can you recommend any way for me to learn this information prior to the promotion such that I do not lowball myself in negotiation?

Just ask: “What is the salary range for the new position?” Then decide if you’re willing to do it for that amount or whether you want to try to negotiate. It would be pretty odd for them to refuse to tell you in this context (unlike when you’re applying from the outside.)

4. Does this mean I didn’t get the job?

I had an interview with 3 people. When I left, the director walked me to the door and said, “Thank you for coming out to meet with us.” Does that mean I didn’t get the job? I talked to the person i would be working with very closely today because my thank-you note didn’t go through and he said that I interviewed well and they had one more interview today.

I know interviewing is stressful and it’s normal to look for signals about how well you’re doing, but I will never understand why people read things like this into statements like this. It means “thank you for coming to meet with us,” no more and no less.

5. Employer doesn’t know that I live overseas

I recently applied for a virtual position within my industry. I got called for two interviews and they both went great. I hope to receive an offer in the next week or two. There’s just one little piece of information I wasn’t so forthcoming with during the interview process. I live outside the U.S. for most of the year, and the employer is under the impression I’m based in the U.S. While my physical location in no way impacts the work I’ll be doing (a shift well within waking hours where I live, all done online and communication is via IM and email), I can’t help but think I should mention this at least in some capacity (that I split my time or travel often, maybe not say I pretty much live overseas for the moment).

My fear would be to have them find out after several months if they request a phone call and see that my phone number is always from out of the country and feel like I misled them. If asked, I could say that I’m traveling, but if I always seem like I’m traveling, I don’t know what issues this would raise, if any. My instinct was to let them know I split my time overseas, but a friend told me that it’s best to not bring this up at all since it in no way impacts my work – that if they knew about my travels and had an identical candidate in say, Pennsylvania, they’d hire that person because it’s cut and dry. For the record, I’m American, have a permanent U.S. address and bank account. I have not lied at all during the interview process, but I also didn’t provide any additional details. Right now I’m just waiting on the next steps, but what would you do if you were me?

What?! No, of course you need to tell them (and they they absolutely will find out later). It’s relevant because they may need to you to come to their headquarters or other physical location without much notice (and yes, this happens even with remote jobs), may need to send you packages, may one day want you to take care of something in the physical location they think you live in, and who knows what else — and because, fairly or unfairly, it’s the kind of thing employers want to know. If you’re convinced it won’t impact anything, then explain that and why. But it’s not your call to make for them. And you will absolutely come across as having tried to pull the wool over their eyes if you don’t disclose this (and I think you know that, since you’re contemplating lying about it in the future). Ignore your friend!

6. Asking about being considered for a second position

I had a phone interview last Thursday with a hiring manager. During the conversation, I realized I was being interviewed for a newly posted position that they have and not the one I originally applied for. I didn’t get the job and I want to email him asking what happened to that other open position that I thought I was going for (it is still posted on their job site).

Just say: “Thanks for letting me know. I’d still love to be considered for the XYZ position if it’s still open.”

7. Typo in cover letter

I just realized that I have a typo in the first sentence of my cover letter, and I’ve used variations of this cover letter for the past 5-6 jobs that I’ve applied for. Here’s the kicker: I’m applying for writing and editing jobs! Yeah, oops. Instead of saying how excited I am by the (fill in the blank) job opportunity, my letter says that I’m exited. Exited is not even close to excited.

Have I just shot myself in the foot to all these employers? As soon as I saw the typo (today) I corrected it for cover letters moving forward, but I’m afraid I’ve just been laughed out of consideration for any position I’ve applied for up through now. Your thoughts?

It’ll vary. Some employers will discard you because of the error and because it’s an editing job, some won’t notice, and others will take note of it but not reject you instantly over it. You could certainly send a short follow-up noting the correction, though again responses to that will vary. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over it though — you’re human and mistakes happen.

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