manager wants us constantly available on WhatsApp, leaving dates off a resume, and more

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

1. Manager wants us constantly available on WhatsApp

When our new manager started, he demanded that everyone download WhatsApp on our phone (that each employee pays for). It’s an instant messaging app, and he uses it to contact employees rather than calling or emailing. He has continued to try and contact us this way on our days off, before and after shifts, and late at night. He swears at us, berates us, and complains about us over WhatsApp. Considering this is a part-time job I use to help pay for university, I find this inappropriate.

We’ve tried not responding, but unfortunately, he does not like this. He expects all of us to be reached through WhatsApp at any time that is convenient for him. I’m not sure how to approach him and let him know that his behavior is not professional, for fear of a backlash. Any suggestions as to how I can bring this up and hopefully make it stop?

Try saying this to him: “I am fully available during the shifts that I’m scheduled for, but when I’m not working, I have other commitments, such as school. I cannot always respond outside of my scheduled hours, because I’m often away from my phone, in class, or otherwise not available. You’ve made it clear you want to be able to reach us when we’re not on the clock, but I’m not able to do that. How do you want me to handle this?”

That said, this guy is an ass — for the constant attempts to reach part-time workers, for the berating and complaining, and for the way he wants to use this app. Even if you get him to stop this particular behavior, you’ll still be working for an ass, and it will surely come out in other ways.

(And by the way, you need to be paid for any time you spend responding to him outside of your regular work hours.)

2. Manager is interviewing candidates for a job I’m already doing

I am currently temp to hire in my position. My manager informed me that I would need to apply like everyone else and have an interview. He just interviewed me, recently along with three other people (all external). Is it normal for a manager to interview other candidates, knowing I have been in this position for 5 months? I have been looking elsewhere while waiting to hear feedback since I know nothing is really guaranteed. I feel like if he was interested in me he wouldn’t need to interview others, so I have been getting mixed feelings on what might happen.

Yes, it’s normal for your employer to interview other candidates even when you’re already been doing the job. Your manager has an obligation to ensure he’s hiring the best person for the job, not just the person who already happens to be on hand. (Employers don’t always do this, but they actually should — unless the temporary person is so clearly outstanding that they can reasonably assume they’re not likely to find a more competitive candidate.) In any case, it’s not personal, and it doesn’t mean he’s not interested in you as a candidate — it just means he’s doing due diligence before making a decision.

3. A candidate for the job I was fired from wants me to tell her about the culture there

I wrote in a month ago about my boss who was obsessed with treating me like a millennial. Ironically, shortly after that post, I was fired for “not being passionate about my job.” Ultimately, it wasn’t a good fit and we both knew it. Since leaving, my stress level has decreased substantially and I’ve realized it was an unhealthy working environment and terrible management. Even if I was offered the position again, I would never return to the organization.

I received a message recently on LinkedIn from someone who I am assuming is applying for my former job: “I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your job and the organizational culture? I know it’s an odd question to ask but I am very interested to know.” During the initial interview process, I had asked the CEO a similar question. She hesitated at first but then explained that they have a “great culture, very relaxed office, flexible work environment.” All of which I eventually found to be untrue.

Should I respond? And if so, could you provide suggestions or ground rules to do it appropriately?

If you’re willing to take the relatively low risk of it getting back to your boss, I’d encourage you to talk with this person — since presumably we’d all appreciate people being candid with us in her situation. However, I’d do it over the phone — ask to give her a call rather than putting it in an email. There’s no reason to have a critical assessment of your old employer floating around out there in writing.

(For people wondering how this is different from the letter-writer last week who I advised not to meet with the person who had replaced her, that letter-writer was just recovering from job-related trauma, complete with panic attacks, and the person who had approached her was already working in the position, not wondering whether to take it.)

4. Explaining a change in job status during a job search

The wolves have been circling at my current job for a while: my job responsibilities have expanded greatly with little increase in pay, title, or (most importantly) training; there are credible rumors of impending layoffs; and I’ve received unsubtle hints from my new manager that he’s moving towards termination (asking if this job is still the right fit for me, etc.). The good news is I’ve been proactive in a job search and have had first interviews with a couple of prospects. The other good news is that I’m financially able (and emotionally prepared) to leave this job when and if the time comes.

My question relates to prospective jobs where I’m already mid-search: I’ve been presenting myself as currently employed (because I am) and responded to the “Why are you leaving CurrentJob?” question with a standard “excited for a new opportunity at JobProspect” answer; I remember your lessons about not bad-mouthing the old boss to the would-be new boss!

If, in between now and the next interview stage, I lose my current job, how do I bring that up with my prospects? Does that set off a huge red flag for hiring managers? Does the manner of my departure make a big difference here? It’s been indicated I can take a voluntary layoff and get a severance package and a decent reference out of it (…see “unsubtle hints” above), and I’m strongly considering taking it, but I’d hate to feel like I’m restarting my job search from scratch if I do.

You’re not obligated to proactively announce to employers who you’re already talking to that your job status has changed — although you are obligated not to be deceptive about it if they ask or it comes up naturally. (For instance, you can’t talk about your job in the present tense if you’re no longer there.) If it does come up, the fact that you’ll be able to explain you were laid off rather than fired is a very good thing in your favor.

5. Leaving dates off a resume

I’m helping my dad rework his resume and apply to positions after he was recently laid off — along with about 50 others — from his radiology job of 8 years. He is almost 66 years old.

His experience is so broad and all encompassing that I’ve decided to leave 4 positions on his resume. These are mostly in chronological order and within the last 15 years. However, because he’s also applying to oncology jobs, he’s left an oncology position on there that is quite old.

I’ve left all the dates off of these positions as it will be quite obvious that he is older. Instead of “2006-2014,” can I write “8 years?” I don’t want it to appear that he’s a job skipper, but I also don’t want to put dates.

Nooo, don’t do that. You really need to include dates for each job; it’s a big red flag if you don’t. It’s a neon sign screaming “trying to hide my age” — it actually draws more attention to it than if you just include the dates. (And the dates do matter. They show how recent the experience was and how long it lasted. It’s legitimately relevant.)

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