tiny answer Tuesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions.  Here we go…

1. How do I make employees stop playing online when they’re supposed to be working

How do I politely tell my employees to stop being on I.M. and Facebook all day? They lose focus. I’ve told them to stop, but they continue to be on Facebook and iChat all day. They say they use iChat to talk with other business associates, but they are lying.

You’re their manager, right? You need to lay out clear rules and consequences, and then stick to them. If you’ve clearly told people to stop playing online during the day, and it’s continuing, then you need to get more serious (such as telling them that you’re giving them a final warning, and then they risk losing their jobs — which might seem severe, but if they’re ignoring warnings and lying, that’s a big deal). Based just on the way you’ve framed your question here, I suspect they can tell that you’re not going to do the tough parts of managing — like holding people accountable, disciplining, and firing — and so they have no incentive to comply. Stop requesting, and start requiring. (And take a crash course in your responsibilities as a manager too — start here.)

(Also, because I know someone is going to say that you shouldn’t care what they do online as long as they’re getting their work done, I’m assuming for the sake of this question that you are seeing a difference in their work, per your comment about losing focus.)

2. Why are salaries so low?

In my job search since March, it seems that all professional level jobs (outside of the IT industry) are offering extremely low salaries across the board. They are asking for five years of experience in associate level positions yet only offering entry level salaries, that were entry-level ten years ago! How can a major corporation get away with offering $40,000 for an experienced Supply Chain Planner position (usually goes for between $56 -$70k, according to all the salary websites) or $32,000 for a crackerjack Customer Service Team Lead (goes from $45 – $54,000 in my personal experience)? Are they really using the economy as an excuse? It’s too great a disparity. And how can a professional who needs a job to keep a roof over their head accept such a poor salary and expect to keep their career on track?

Supply and demand. If they can find good candidates willing to do the job for less, that becomes the market rate for the work.

By the way, be wary of the information on salary websites. They’re notoriously inaccurate, partly since they generally don’t account for the fact that job titles frequently represent wildly different scopes of responsibility.

3. Responding to a job rejection by phone

I recently was contacted by phone by an organization to let me know that I wasn’t getting hired. While I appreciated the personal touch, the immediacy of a phone call meant that I couldn’t just *not* respond, and so I stammered through an awkward “thank you for letting me know.” It’s hard to thank someone for rejecting you, though, and I worry that I sounded insincere. What would you recommend as a response if this happens again?

Yeah, this is why I think all rejections should come by email, not phone. But if you get one by phone, what you said is perfect: “Thank you for letting me know, and good luck with the position,” or anything along those lines. Of course, while you have them, you could take the opportunity to ask for feedback — but you’ll be catching them off-guard (ironically) so you might not get anything especially useful.

4. I want a promotion … after three months on the job

I’ve been working for a new company for about three months now. While I am enjoying the company and my current role, I feel that I could be qualified for other positions that require a BS degree and come with a higher pay grade. Since I am so new, when is it acceptable to apply for an internal job? Can I make my case to HR that I feel somewhat overqualified for my current position? Should I just leave it alone and keep making a name for myself with my performance?

In a year. No. Yes.

You agreed to the job when you took it. If you thought you were overqualified for it, the time to decide that was before you accepted it. Asking to move on now — after you committed to do this job just three months ago — will make you look naive and unreliable. Stick it out for at least a year and prove yourself before you start making noises about a promotion.

5. Offered a position I didn’t interview for

Two weeks ago, I interviewed for one type of position out of two entry-level positions the company was looking to fill. Last Friday, I received an offer — for the position I did not apply for. I admit the two positions are closely linked, and that the hiring managers were interviewing for both positions on the day I interviewed. I’m wondering if the hiring managers thought I was a better fit for the second position. If so, is this normal? Did the company make a mistake, or just did they just decide that they wanted me for the second position over the first position and my preference was negligible? Is this a red flag?

It’s not unusual to interview for one position but be offered a different one if the employer thinks it would be a better fit. But why not just ask them? Say something like, “I’m very interested, but since I interviewed for the X position, can you tell me more about this one and why you think it might be a better fit?”

6. Company is ignoring my emails

I had a phone interview with a company about a month ago, at the end of which my interviewer said if I had any questions I should feel free to contact her. I sent a thank-you email a few hours after the interview, and about three days later, I sent an inquiry regarding some of the responsibilities of the position that weren’t addressed during the interview. I waited over a week, and didn’t receive a response to my question. A week later, I sent another email, reiterating my interest in the position, and asking if my interviewer could provide me with any kind of time table regarding the hiring process, to which I again received no response. It’s been about two weeks since I sent that message, and I still haven’t heard anything back. Should I send another email, asking if I’m still under consideration for the position, or continue to wait?

Nope, move on. You’ve reached out twice with questions and been ignored. They’re either busy with other things or moving forward with other candidates. Either way, it does you no good to continue to follow up — and potentially hurts you if you continue to email without response. (And yes, it’s rude of them, but you can’t force an answer.)

7. What does OP stand for?

I’m a new reader (about six weeks), enjoy your site and find it useful. Obviously you have many long-term readers who use many acronyms/abbreviations, which is great. Many are self-evident, but many, not so much. For example, I see “OP” often but have no idea what it means (possibly Other Person?). Do you have a page that explains what these shortcuts mean? And could you please tell me what OP means (it’s driving me nuts)?

OP = Original Poster. It’s a blogosphere term that refers to the person who wrote the original letter that the post is answering. If there are others you’re wondering about, let us know in the comments! (Also, with nearly all of these Internet acronyms, you can usually google “what does X stand for?” and get the right answer.)

This entry was posted in HR, Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.