It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Who has the final say in hiring?
I had a two-part interview this past Monday at a company for a role that is my dream job. Although I rocked the portion of the interview where I got to meet the executive VP and VP of the department, my meeting with the HR manager did not go as well. (There was a question she asked that I did not expect, so I wasn’t thrilled with my less-than-stellar answer.)
Who has the final say in hiring? Human Resources or the executive Vice President of the department to whom the role would report? (The executive VP and VP gave me a writing assignment and they did say it would really depend on the pitch I turn in.)
HR should never have the final word on hiring (except for HR jobs, obviously). The person who should be making the final decision is either the manager who the role will report to, or — in some cases, if that manager is very junior — a manager directly above her (for instance, the VP of marketing might make the final hiring decision for the assistant marketing manager job, even if that role reports to the marketing manager rather than the VP).
HR’s job is hiring is to facilitate the process, ensure that laws are being followed, do some initial screening (sometimes), and — in some companies — help train managers on how to interview well. They might provide input from their interactions with a candidate, but they shouldn’t be deciding who is hired in any department other than their own.
2. My employer pays some people for sick days but doesn’t pay others
My question is about sick day favoritism. I work at a very small company. Our vacation policy is that we get 10 days per year, which start from exactly one year after your start date. For example, I started on June 13, 2011, which means on June 13, 2012, I got 10 vacation days to use until June 13, 2013, when I got 10 more. Vacation days do not roll over into the next year, so it’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy and everyone gets 10 days/year no matter how long they have worked here.
We do not have a policy for sick days. The first time I called in sick, I was unsure if I would get paid or not or if I would have to use a vacation day. When I did get paid for it, I thanked my boss (who is the owner). She said, “Oh, no problem, I pay sick days within reason as long as someone doesn’t abuse it.”
I have worked here for over 2.5 years. In that time, I have called in sick twice. The first time was in June 2013 and the second time was in the last few weeks. I did not get paid for the second time. I really don’t think two days in 2.5 years is unreasonable or abusing it. My only thought for her justifying this is that in January I needed 1.5 days for my grandfather’s wake and funeral. When I told her I needed the time off, I provided her with the obituary that named me as a granddaughter and provided info about the services. She did pay me for that time, and I did not use vacation time. I don’t know what the laws are for bereavement and if she is required to pay me for that or not.
My issue is that I know for a fact that certain other people and definite “favorites” of hers have taken and been paid well over their 10 vacation days and have been paid on many, many, many sick days. One person has taken over 10 vacation days and received pay for them, and has also taken 4 sick days and has been paid for them. Am I making a big deal out of this? Is it worth saying something? Or should I just suck it up and forget it? We don’t have an HR person I can go to, and there are no policies on this which makes it really uncomfortable.
Only a few places in the U.S. require paid sick leave (Connecticut, San Francisco, and a few jurisdictions), and most of these laws only apply to employers over a certain size, so I’m going to assume they don’t apply here. No law requires employers to provide bereavement leave; that’s up to the employer.
So ultimately this is up to your employer and she can change the policy for different people if she wants to … unless she’s doing it in a way that discriminates based on race, religion, sex, or another protected class. In other words, if everyone who gets extra vacation happens to be race X, that could be a legal issue (as long as there isn’t another obvious explanation, like they’re all in a different job category from the people who don’t get the extra vacation, or otherwise different situated than them).
That said, it might be worth advocating for one clear policy, so that people aren’t left guessing about whether or not they’ll be paid for sick time and only finding out after the fact.
3. Should I be reimbursed for spending huge amounts of time on new hire paperwork requirements?
I recently left a company where I had a high level position. A few weeks after my departure, they offered me a position as a temporary remote consultant, fulfilling many of the same duties I previously had, until a replacement is hired. I was happy to help them out in this way for a few months.
The problem is that the administrative process of being rehired has been horrible. It’s a large, slow-moving organization and both HR and my supervisor have been little help in the new hire process. For example, when I was hired the company required that I have my I-9 form notarized since I now live too far away to come in to HR personally to have my documents verified. Unbeknowest to me, apparently this is something notaries are not supposed to do and I had a very difficult time finding one willing to do it. All told, I spent a total of about 5 hours searching, calling around, and driving around to eventually get the I-9 notarized as they required (I alerted HR to the issue but they were unhelpful). Not to mention the gas money spent driving around to various notaries and the $25 I had to spend to overnight the form to the company as they required. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time working with IT by phone to get my email back online (which took over 2 weeks!). Now, after 3 weeks of work, I’m trying to work with payroll to actually get paid, since I’m hourly but unable to get access to log my hours in a timecard due to HR’s mistake in filing my new hire paperwork. No one follows up or calls back, so I’m spending a lot of time on my (personal) cell phone calling around to various company divisions to try to resolve the problem.
Since I’m hourly, should I be charging the company for the time I’m spending on all of this? One of my mentors said no, because it’s not included in my job duties, but I say it’s my valuable time spent doing this in service of my work with this company. I’m trying not to let my frustration cloud my judgment, but I have to admit I’m feeling pretty fed up with the company at the moment.
Those sure sound like work expenses to me. Generally speaking, if your company requires you to engage in specific activities in the course of your work for them, those are work expenses (with some obvious exceptions, like obtaining work-appropriate clothing). Obviously, you apply some common sense to this; you’re probably not going to charge them for the stamp it takes to mail new hire forms back. And frankly, I’d probably eat the $25 overnighting fee in normal circumstances, but five hours locating a notary because most notaries don’t do the work they wanted? No way — that’s an expense that should be reimbursed.
So I would just write up these expenses and submit them with receipts like you would any other business expense. However, if you’re unsure, just ask your manager beforehand. (Make sure to explain it took five hours, so that you don’t sound like you’re nickel-and-diming them, which she might assume if she figures it took 20 minutes.)
4. Can my employer make me stand up all day?
Can my employer expect me to stand for a full day? The bank at which I work has recently refurbished and has introduced a policy of no seating. I am expected to stand all day talking to customers as an advisor. In a seven hour shift, I am allowed 30 mins downtime. Is this allowed?
I can’t think of any law that it violates, although if you had a disability qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act and which made this difficult for you, they’d need to provide you with reasonable accommodation.
5. Online applications that require a current job when you’re not currently employed
As part of the job search process, I am finding that many employers ask you to create a profile on their web site as part of the application process. Usually “current employer” and “current title” are among the required inputs. How should a stay-at-home mom answer those questions?
I have been a stay-at-home mom (voluntarily) for the last 3 years after 10 very successful years at work. I don’t want to be screened out of the process for jobs I am extremely qualified for just because I’m not currently working. I have kept current with professional training and updates to my industry, but any consulting projects I’ve done in the last 3 years were small, informal and unpaid. I am definitely networking, but I haven’t found a personal connection yet for some of the companies in which I’m interested and I think I have to go through their system.
Yeah, online application systems are not set up to deal well with any deviations from the norm (and sometimes they don’t even deal with the norm well). Can you lump that consulting experience into a “current” freelance role for yourself, just to get around this? It’s unlikely you’d be called out on it in an interview, and if you are, you can explain.