Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Job Interview - Not a Time to Assert Your "Rights"

A lady claims she was "unfairly" denied a second interview, because she asked about salary and benefits before being offered a job.

Applying for a job is just that - an application.  You are a supplicant, coming in on bended knee, asking for permission to work in exchange for pay.  No one has an obligation to hire you, or indeed, hire anyone.  The people who create jobs often hold all the cards.

That is to say, unless there is a labor shortage in your area of expertise - where is where you want to be quite frankly.   If you have talents and skills that are in demand, well, you can take offers from a number of companies and the decide which one is the best offer.

And quite frankly, this has been the situation for me since I was 13 years old and had my paper route.  The distributor for the evening paper tried to screw me, so I went to work for the morning paper for more money.   Even the minimum-wage jobs I took in college were chosen from a number of offers.

But then again, people actually vie for employees who really want to work.   Funny, ain't it?

Anyway, this lady decides, halfway through the interview process, to ask, in a text message no less, what the pay and benefits of the job are.   And when the company says, "thanks but no thanks" she gets all wound up.   It is not as if she was comparing benefits to another job offer she had.

Job offers are just that - they make you the offer once they have decided you are worthy of hiring.   You usually don't find out how much you'll make until they make this offer.   Asking ahead of time is akin to the seller of a home asking the buyer how much he'll offer for the house during the initial viewing of the home.   You have to wait for the signed contract to see the offer.

Then, you can decide if you want the job or not.   And this is why I say it pays to use a shotgun and not a rifle when looking for a job.  If you seek out interviews serially, you have one offer at a time.  If you do them in parallel, you can compare offers with one company with that of another.

As a former employer, I have to say it is an utter turn-off when a potential candidate asks about pay early on in the process.   It becomes readily clear that the candidate is more interested in "what's in it for me?" than in working at the company to help it grow and develop.

In the story linked above, the candidate did a second faux pas, going on social media to whine about how "unfair" the company was to deny her a second interview after asking about pay.   After all, a job is a right, right?   So in addition to screwing up the interview, she decided to burn her bridges by smearing the reputation of the employer.

The employer, of course, now has to do damage control, and "apologized" and offered a second interview.  Of course, if they hire this harpy, do you think they will ever get a day's work out of her - or will she continue to blackmail the company's reputation?  After all, she now has a history of blackmail on social media.  I suspect they won't make her a job offer, however.   It is one thing to prematurely ask about compensation, it is another to smear a potential employer on social media.

And speaking of social media, this is something that potential employers check these days.   And what do you think will happen to this lady's employment prospects once people figure out what kind of person she is?  If you take this viper to your breast, you have no one but yourself to blame.  The candidate has demonstrated aptly that she has no problem with smearing the reputation of her employer or prospective employers.  I would avoid at all costs.

Did the company make a mistake in not offering a second interview?  No, the mistake they made was in articulating the reasons for declining her.   In these days of litigation and social media, employers are effectively muzzled with regard to commenting on employees or even prospective employees.   They should have just said, "Thanks but no thanks" without explanation - none is owed - and moved on to the next candidate.  They are not required to give reasons, and this lady's campaign to smear the company is a good reason why not.

Not long ago, it wasn't a bad idea for a candidate to talk to a company that turned them down and ask, frankly, what they could do to improve their interview skills.  Was there a typo in the Resume?   Did they not emphasize their experience enough?  Was there just a better qualified candidate available?  What?   Feedback is important.   And sometimes, it may get you a second look after being turned down.

And in the past, a benevolent hiring manager might have been willing to offer advice.   Today, at an attorney, I would suggest you keep your mouth shut because anything you say can and will be used against you on social media.

Being an employer sucks.  I would not recommend anyone doing it.   And I have no sympathy for folks who think a job is a "right".