77 Comments

Ask the HR Expert

CEO, Evolution Consulting Services, LLC

Allison Jones is an expert in career and human resource matters, from resumes and image styling to interviews and career development, Allison is the expert’s expert.  Specializing in federal employment and HR personnel issues, she is noted for professional solutions for employees, employers and business owners.  Known for her bold and intuitive professional style, Allison gets to the heart of the matter in a truthful and direct manner.  If you want real answers and real solutions, count on Allison Jones to give you The HR Truth!

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Which is Which?

 Which type of resume do you need?  Which type of resume do you have? Chronological is the most used resume which lists your jobs from most recent to least.  A functional resume focuses on what you’ve done instead of where you’ve done it and is best used by new college graduates with limited experience or possibly a person who has held lots of positions, the “jack of all trades, master of none” types.  It is also ideal for people who specialize in a certain field and may have gaps in employment time. A functional resume is a great way to show off on your expertise in a specialized field or for those who would like to demonstrate that expertise for promotion or salary increase.  Remember. A resume should not exceed 3 pages to include your cover letter.  Join us for additional HRT Tips of the Day!

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The Job Seeker Must Have’s

When writing your resume use power words. Be confident. Brag a little about your contributions and how you’ve added value to your employer.  I use a technique called CQTR or Cost, Quality, Time and Result. Have you streamlined a process? Did you save your employer money? Did you increase productivity or profit/ Maybe you created a new filing system or developed a standard operations manual.  These things add value to an employer and demonstrates your willingness to go the extra mile in the organizations’ success.  But don’t be too detailed, leave something for the interview.  Always spell check your resume. Keep your fonts consistent (use standard font Times New Roman, size 12). Keep your grammatical tense consistent as well, don’t change past to present haphazardly.  It’s confusing. Update your voicemail with a clear and businesslike greeting. Don’t use musical backgrounds.  And finally make sure your email address is appropriate and impersonal and if you have a difficult name to pronounce or spell, use initials.  That’s your HRT Tip of the Day! Stay tuned!

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One Size does NOT fit all! 

Resumes are not one size fits all and it is a living document meaning it needs to be adjusted to the position for which you are applying.  Why is this important? Because many companies use computer generated key word search systems and your resume may be reviewed by a computer to ascertain if you meet the minimum requirements.  If that’s the case your resume needs to have key words that make grammatical sense to get through both the computer and human eyes.  If the requirements list a bachelors degree, don’t wait until page 2 to mention it because if your resume has errors in it chances are, the computer might not catch it but the HR professional probably will. So, whatever the main requirements of the position are instead of using an objective statement, use a summary of qualifications and list all the requirements you meet up front.  One resume submitted to dozens of employers don’t typically work well, so tweak it to increase your chances of being seen and considered.

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Dress for a more successful you!

You can still be you in an interview.  It’s important to have your own style, but less is always more.  Too much of anything is distracting. Don’t spray lots of fragrances prior to an interview. Keep your nails neatly trimmed and Ladies stay away from lengthy nails and gaudy nail colors.

Bright colored suits should be kept to a minimum.  If you want to make a statement or leave a unique impression add a colorful broach or a silk scarf tied similar to a men’s ascot.  Gentlemen please keep suit colors basic in black, grey and brown and for a stellar impression nothing says I’m ready like a well cut suit, polished shoes, a crisp white shirt and a red tie (sans embellishment). Red is a great power tie color and the color alone says enough, so no weird stuff.  You want to be remembered for how well you interview, not the crazy clothes or the loud cologne.

Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression!  This is your HRT Tip of the Day. Stay tuned!

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77 comments on “Ask the HR Expert

  1. Hi. I just started a new job and been there for only 1 month now. The training was very limited and I do enjoy working there.(other new associated feel the same way) There is a schedule point person everyday there to assist with any questions. I was told to only go to this point person to ask any questions. I was pulled into the office twice already by the supervisor. She had mentioned to me that I am asking too many questions and to look over my notes. She is also giving me small task to do in between calls when it is not too busy.(paper work). I do not see any others doing this in between calls. I have always been encouraged to ask questions. I learn and try to excel by asking question This is how I learn by asking questions hands on!
    Do I to work not asking anymore question or talk to the supervisor that pulled me into the office and talk to her. If I talk to the supervisor I need some advice please.
    Thank you

    • Hello Stacey,
      I’m sorry for the delayed response but here goes. First of all, don’t be too hard on yourself, if we were all born knowing everything we needed to know, we wouldn’t need any help. When people feel frustrated, hurried or pressured they typically push those feelings onto someone else and I’m sure as the supervisor or point person they too feel overwhelmed. Next, are you certain you are taking solid, copious notes and understand what you are being asked to do? If you have questions, those questions should be clarified when they task is assigned, not after everyone has nodded their head that they get it. Ask those questions in front of the team as the duties are assigned because you’d be surprised other people may have similiar questions. Secondly, if there are any communication barriers, you are an adult and you need to tell your point person that you aren’t feeling entirely clear on your assignments and you want to excel for them (always make it about the job, never personal) and ask them if it’s okay could they explain in greater detail or maybe assign you a peer who can help you understand those expectations for a few days. That way you aren’t overwhelming them and you show you are a team player. If you are being assigned other work, just grin and bear it for now, it’s called the “additional duties as assigned” clause that pretty much any supervisor can get away with (most times). If things don’t improve, do NOT go and speak with the supervisor alone, since she has spoken with you several times already. Bring in the point person and maybe even another objective observer to make certain you are not misquoted or your issue is miscommuicated. I hope this helps.
      Allison

  2. Thank You very much Allison!

    Best Regards,

    Stacey

  3. I have a scenario I’d like to briefly describe and ask you what the legal obligations might be:

    “Employer Bob” decides to buy a Golf Club Membership for the few at his company that play Golf. He then buys a Sports Club membership for the remaining employees (non-golfers) to enjoy. Since this time, “Employer Bob” has obtained/hired a few new employees.

    The question is: Is “Employer Bob” required by law to offer the new employees the same benefit/perk? Or is this solely his discretion as to whether he continues the invitation?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. (My gut instinct tells me he must offer to all, what he offers to one.)

    • Hi Patti,
      Thank you for checking us out. Actually “Employer Bob” is under no obligation either way to offer health club nor golf club membership to any employee. It can be construed as discriminatory only if someone has asked to join and was denied based upon not meeting any “over the top” specifications built in by corporate bylaws or contractual agreement. The Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) is this, unless he has been discriminatory in denying access to golf membership without valid “reasonable cause” e.g. person cannot afford fees associated with joining (golf is a very expensive sport), person has scheduled to play in a foursome and doesn’t show, or some other clause, it is a PERK.
      Before anyone screams discrimination or unfair practices, there would have to be verifiable proof of such and the penalty for not having the proof with a willing party that has attempted to join and has been denied going on the record, the only infraction may be loss of all the PERKS for everyone. So, although this is your hunch, you need to prove it or leave it alone. It’s a great game, so join and decide if it is worth all the hassle! I play and it’s worth the 4-6 hours it takes to finish 18 holes. Hope this helps! FORE!

  4. Hello Allison. I work in a banking environment where I am a member of a team that is comprised of mostly South American Hispanics. I am a white male American. There is a cultural divide and I feel like an outsider in social circles at my office. Worse yet, I feel as though I am being disparaged by those who I work with as I am a straight laced professional with a strong work ethic and a penchant for compliance. This practice has not been met with in a friendly manner and I believe that others in our department view me as disruptive to their established work principles. There are a number of other items from which I am deriving a hostile work environment and it has driven me to write a five page document detailing these issues. My manager has acted unprofessionally in dealing with me at times, but I am worried that if I submit the document detailing my grievances to her, I might be cutting off my nose to spite my face. I need this job. At the same time I know I have rights. I’d like to submit the document to you offline and have you review it, and advise me on whether to pursue this or not. Can you assist? My e-mail is JGL1435@aol.com. Thank you.

    • Hello JGL,
      I’m not certain I can shed light on how best to proceed in this matter, except to say that in any attempt to prove a hostile work environment, you should remember that there are always 3 sides to every story, yours, the accused party(s) and the corporation’s view of the situation. All are subject to perception and therefore unless there is concrete evidence in the form of corporate infractions stipulated by some sort of corporate compliance manual, the matter may be viewed as such, simple opinion or perception. I would first ask you to consider a few questions?
      1. Have you observed or are you aware of any other White male or female employees that may have experienced hostile or discriminatory acts?
      2. Is there an EEO or other discrimination office you can discuss this matter with? If not, who is your HR contact and have you spoken with him/her?
      3. Have you completely removed all emotional upset from your document, stating only actions that may have aided in your conclusion of a harassing or hostile environment?
      4. Has anyone observed acts or behavior that can be construed as hostile towards you and have you attempted to ask for their assistance?

      Finally, I just want you to know that I get it! I have been the only African American women in an all White male corporate environment and adjusting to the boys club was very challenging. But, I have learned that it is easier to gain allies with honey than vinegar. Meaning, simply because you are different, outnumbered in a culture and “straight laced” should not be a reason to distance yourself from others because those factors alone do the job for you.
      Perception is important and if people are distant from you it may very well be because you have created that distance. You are painstakingly aware that you are in the minority and clearly uncomfortable and that discomfort has lent to the hostility, whether you admit it or not. I can almost guarantee you that if almost everyone’s perception of you is rigid, burgeois and superior (you described yourself as “straight laced, penchant for compliance”) but those qualities may be perceived
      by others as uppity or haughty and you could find yourself on the outs literally.
      I understand your professional polish is more about your integrity and work ethic, but clearly your organization has created and tolerated the status quo and if you want to change things, you can only change them from the inside, slowly, steathly and steadily. One man can change things, just not overnight.

      I wish you the best.

  5. I have not been able to find a full time job since I graduated from university in 2009 with a BA degree in communications. I was able to get five years of professional experience in my career field as a student and volunteer but none of those companies sought to hire me after completion. There are no jobs in my field in my area and I have no money to move. Since 2009 I have tried to get jobs but I rarely get calls for interviews. When I got an interview with a temp agency they told me “we don’t have any clerical positions at this time”. No call back. I have NO criminal background. My credit isn’t good primarily because I haven’t really been able to pay any thing on my students loans. Why can’t I get anything else? I am not looking for a critique on my past decisions, I just want to hear reasoning from a different perspective.

    • Hello Jason,
      I apologize for the delay in response. First, one of the things I do is provide mentorship and advice to college students at many universities regarding their career path. One of the first things I always advise is to find a mentor. Younger people (GenM) are finding that their career path can be easily developed by having someone in their field help them to pave the way towards accomplishing goals in their industry. Secondly, many college grads think (unfortunately) that once they acquire the degree, employers will be clamoring to scoop them up. This is not merely a fallacy, but its also very unrealistic. Jobs nowadays are typically granted based on networking, not applying online. Networking is the primary way to gain employment now and one key way to network is to join groups affiliated with your industry. Joining affiliated groups on LinkedIn and other networking sites have tremendous value. As for the resume, the main reason many job seekers don’t hear from employers quite frankly is that they have horrible resumes, but on the flip side, many employers are negligent to capture talent effectively, whether they need the talent now or later. Many resumes are cut and pasted, generically “googled” mockups and typically if 100 people apply, 97 of them look exactly alike, so try a functional format to make your resume stand out. Also, leveraging your volunteer experience is vital in your resume and if your only employment experience is volunteer, a functional resume that reads specifically in terms of the experience you actually have takes the emphasis off your lack of actual paid employment. Quite frankly, you didn’t pick a “hot trend” degree and the pickings are slim in your industry, but take an honest look at your resume, your path and your motivation behind being in this field and how you can truly maximize your skills. On a separate note, do whatever you can to correct your credit because it’s a growing reason why employers aren’t interested in candidates because the thought is if they can’t handle their finances, they can’t trusted with their resources. I hope this helps.

  6. I’m looking less for advice and more for information on literally where my rights are, legally.

    It seems that most companies avoid restrictions on certain hairstyles because they are potentially racial discrimination. I have a few questions.

    1) In the UK, it is arguable that hairstyles fall under the right to freedom of expression and that can also be combined to be that no one can be discriminated for expressing themselves freely.
    Based on our constitution, it would seem like we would be covered for things like that in terms of hairstyles, body modifications, and tattoos here. Are we? And if so, why not?

    2) If one has an identity disorder and feels that creating their own identity by manufacturing it via body modification or hairstyle or color, does it fall under disability discrimination to ask that person to change it? What if it causes them an unnatural amount of stress or even dysphoria?

    3) If we are not protected under the first amendment for body modification and hairstyles, why not? Regardless of whether or not it affects a company’s perceived image, judging someone by how they look is discrimination, be it in an interview or by your client.

    Thanks in advance.
    Katherine

    • Hello Katherine,
      Typically if you were hired and any or all of these body modifications existed and you are being mistreated in some way, then you have a legitimate case which would start with your HR dept. If however, the employer has a conservative client base that requires certain attire or a particular professional appearance and you are not hired regardless of your qualifications that too may be discriminatory but harder to prove. If you are talking about a larger issue of emotional or mental defect as a result of wrongful treatment at the workplace, that too starts with HR. However, if this was a preexisting condition that is prompted further by your own body conscious issues an employer is not responsible for nor can be held accountable for those issues by law. Most human resources laws are still quite antiquated in comparison to our society so although you are protected to some extent by discrimination, the employer is ultimately responsible for the total workforce, not one person and just as you have the individual right to do what you want with your body, others at the workplace have equal protection under the law to not work under conditions that limit their ability to work without distraction or hindrance, regardless of whether you agree that one’s style should not be a factor. For instance, a case involving a man who due to religion did not wear deodorant and his body odor drove people to distraction. The employer has a responsible to provide reasonable accommodations for the employee, but also equally responsible for the reasonable accommodation of the staff to provide a workplace that does not hamper others ability to work because of one person’s right. It’s sticky, but again each HR dept. is required by law to address these issues because the Constitution is broadly and generally written and HR law can address these things that the Constitution cannot. Good luck.

    • Ah Freedom….it could be argued that employees have the right to do whatever they want to themselves as private citizens as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others and to some extent, that is an absolute certainty and truth. However, just as you have individual rights, employers also have rights. They do not have the right to discriminate against a qualified candidate based on any of these factors, yet people forget that the general public is still not as advanced in understanding about body identity disorders associated with self identity. With that being said, I’ll keep it simple. An employer does have the right to present their image, their local and global identity in any way they see fit based on one main principle. Profit. It’s not personal, it rarely if ever is personal when it comes to revenue and that revenue generation is what pays salaries, benefits, lifestyles and affords people the choice, the option if you will to self identify however they choose as long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s rights, especially the employers ability to hire, retain and capture talent. BLUF (Bottom line up front), you have protection under the law to do what you want as an individual to you, but to say your employer may be “judging someone by how they look is discrimination” although true to some extent from a perceived point that may or may not be proven, is no different than what we ALL do daily as we walk the streets and live our lives. The difference is as an employer your BLUF is to maintain the image necessary to remain profitable and in business, not to acclimate to the personal needs and desires of those you employ. If you start that, you have set a precedent and everyone who believes that they should be able as individuals to do or be whatever they choose in the workplace will never be quelled, rather it will be impossible to satisfy or contain. Since you didn’t ask for advice, as you mentioned, I would simply say that just as you have individual preferences, so does everyone else and not everyone has to bend to the other, especially when the corporate leadership make the rules on corporate image. That is their call. Your calling may be elsewhere. Best, Allison

  7. Hi, I’m afraid I’m going to be fired. I believe a co-worker thought I lied about a project I completed, and I took a week off for mental health reasons that I don’t think is being looked at favorably by the company. Basically, I think they are looking for a way to get rid of me. Should I approach my manager, perhaps “off the record”, and ask him if this is the case? Will he even be able to tell me if so? Or do you have any other suggestions?

    • Hi Martin,
      It’s always best to be proactive than reactive in a situation like this. If you have proof of your task completion, start gathering the information that demonstrates step by step that you completed the job. I don’t recommend that you bring it up if it hasn’t been brought to your attention. I’m not sure what or where the paranoia is coming from, but typically there must be some sort of written counseling if you have an infraction in performance. I HIGHLY recommend that you go to see your HR point of contact and discuss some of these issues and follow up in written format because it is against the law to terminate an employee due to mental disease or defect. Stress from the job could be considered mental defect, particularly if you have been under a great amount of stress over a prolonged period of time. But the best thing to do is to start looking into how you can improve your performance or talk to your immediate supervisor and ask directly how you are doing on the job and how you can improve. Don’t wait until the problem comes to you, go towards the issue and try to resolve it before your options are limited. I believe that confrontation is a positive thing because it helps to uncover the issue so that it can be resolved in a positive manner. Of course this is only based on the positive nature each party brings to the table. So you be the bigger person and be a positive and proactive confronter. I hope this helps.

  8. Hi there, I am a 21 year old who is wanting to pursue a career in Human Resources and even after all the hours of researching which degree is best suited for this particular career, I can not seem to find a legit answer. I start university in the Fall and don’t want to get my Bachelors in a degree that won’t help me pursue my career. Any help would be great, I am kind of lost with what I should do in order to get my foot in the door.

  9. Hello Allison! I have inherited an employee with a past performance issue at my new job. Every direct request I have given her, very simple things (i.e., please send me your old SOW, please pull this report for me), is met with an excuse as to why she can’t and then no execution. I also learned in my first week she wanted the job I was hired to do, but was turned down by the company. I am documenting all of these instances of insubordination and also figuring out how there is any possible way to build trust with her wall of resentment and her legacy problem behavior, in order to coach. The others in the company are protective of her; on the one hand, they say she’s an issue, but on the other, they don’t want to see me take the next step. This leaves me, as a new director, in a seemingly impotent position and ignorant as to how to get her to perform. I feel I am in a loss as to how to proceed with her: should I have 1:1 meetings to build the trust or have meetings with my manager present so I have a witness in the room? Do I get rid of someone who has obviously been detrimental in terms of cost to company, bad decision making and so on at the risk of others disliking me so early into this job? With such a big job ahead of me, she is a clear obstacle to my success there.

    • Hi Marcy, let’s see how I can help. First of all, YOU have been hired for this position and YOU must take a stand or you won’t risk being perceived as “seemingly impotent”, you WILL be impotent! Sorry for the caps, but I need you to absorb that. I am an advocate and strong believer of “nipping it in the bud.” So first things first. You need to put a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) in place. Merely documenting the insubordination, (and believe me IT IS insubordination), isn’t enough, but it’s a good start. In the PIP you can place improvement points/timelines. I’d recommend every 30 days. Make certain you sit with her and describe the items you wish to see improvements on and open the floor to her to ask questions or clarify instructions. Provide a verbal and written counseling on each 30 day mark. But I digress, first off, you would need to start with a verbal and written counseling to explain the areas in which she is deficient and be very specific. Give instances of how her inability to grasp or complete these tasks impact other members of the team. Have her sign the counseling form, acknowledging her understanding or if she declines (and that’s fine) the PIP is still in play. I would also recommend some buy in. I would pair her for each 30 day period of performance with a team member and explain to them she is being retrained/cross trained. Once the albatross is around the neck of others, you’ll see how quick people will tire of defending her when their work performance is tied to hers. And finally, don’t let your performance lag nor your leadership because of one bad apple. How you handle this will dictate if you become a doormat for future poor performers. Strike fairly, quickly and execute as the person who has been entrusted in your position. Your loyalty lies with yourself and your employer, not being held hostage by a problem employee. Best, Allison

  10. Hi Brianna. I apologize for the delayed response. Here goes. Relax. You are entering a wonderful career. The questions you need to ask are specific and internal. Are you a people person? Do you enjoy creating financials? Do you like to work with others or solo? Are you creative? What sort of work/life balance would you like? In HR you can do so many things and that’s what’s so great about the industry. My recommendation is pursue a bachelors degree in business with concentration in HR. Your core classes should include policy (international), HRIS, global recruiting, and of course law (local, state, government). You’re going to change your mind about so many things along the way so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to figure it all out. I’ve worked in every aspect of HR and it took me over a decade to find my niche and I fell in love with HR. I’m certain you will find your calling and fall head over heels in love with HR. Best, Allison

  11. Dear HR Expert,
    I am 21 years old. I have had multiple jobs in one field , with each job change I gained more salary and responsibilities. I now am a supervisor for a security company and am on job number 6. I am looking to go back to college and become a law enforcement officer, since it is relevant in my career field of public safety. I was wandering does having so many jobs and young look bad even though I went up in salary and responsibilities ?

    • Hello RJones,
      Thank you for writing. Congratulations on being a young, ambitious and quite motivated person. It’s never a bad thing to grow and demonstrate that you are fully capable of taking on additional responsibilities. Now on to the question. A chronological resume may not be the best fit for someone clearly on the rise. A functional resume would be a much better fit. A functional resume demonstrates what you do well, not where you’ve performed the duties. Make certain you sort your skills into similar groupings e.g. Security or enforcement, personnel vetting or screening, security systems you’ve used, etc. Insert all the things you’ve done in each category from each position and list the employers and dates at the very end of the resume. Check with a professional resume writer such as PARW (Professional Association of Resume Writers) if you need a professional to writer to assist you. I can vouch that these are some of the best resume writers in the business. Good luck and congratulations on your career in advance.
      Best,
      Allison

  12. I was wondering.. as a full time worker, who has had the same schedule for 2 years.. what rights I have if they want to change my schedule all of a sudden to fit the needs of another employee? As in take away my weekends off and give them to someone else?

    • Hi Just curious,
      Thanks for writing. If you have obligations that cannot be changed due to inconvenience, cost, or health, you need to inform your employer of those things. To assume that they are considering these changes solely for the needs of another employee, is wrong on your part. An employer is just that, your employer, not your friend and they are not obligated to give you or anyone else what they want. They are obligated to pay their creditors and meet their payroll, with or without you. Your obligation is to inform them of how those changes may negatively impact you. If you have been a good employee that they want to keep, they will modify what they must to keep you. Now, if you have a set schedule in writing (i.e. offer letter, contract or onboarding/employee initial counseling, email), you may need to remind them of that and they need to provide sufficient notice before the change takes effect. I think it’s best to verbalize the issue first and take the emotion out of it, keep it tight, factual and highlight your contributions, value and how much you enjoy being a part of the organization. I’d love to hear how things work out.
      Best,
      Allison

  13. Good Morning,

    I left my old job because our Dept. Of Energy funding wasn’t coming through, at that point we were only going to be open until the beginning of 2015. I had just had a baby so leaving for a new job seem the most logical option. Now it seems that they gave money to stay open until at least 2016.

    I’ve been at my new job since March as a receptionist. I’ve loved the job and people so far, downside would be a lot of down time. Just recently I was asked if I would be willing to take on a new duty which would require training, I readily agreed. Myself and my big boss would be trained on the new software and the new way of completing forecasting of construction jobs we have in the office. Our office was behind and my boss told them it was because of me and that I was on a learning curve, NOT the truth, it was because he’s having a hard time understanding the new changes.

    I have recently spoken to one of my old co-workers and he seems to be under the impression that my replacement at my old job might be leaving soon. I’m completely jumping the gun and she may absolutely not be leaving. If she does I would like to re-interview for that job. Right now the co. I’m at is paying me $2.00 more than I was making at my old place. IF I do have an opportunity to re-interview do I have the right to ask for more $ and how should I go about asking for that? Honestly if they said no, but offered me the job anyway, I would probably take it. It’s a large Univ. so getting back in would be great and the benefits completely blow away my benefits now.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

    • Hello Alisa,
      First congratulations on your new baby. And speaking of the new tiny family member, you have to consider the best compensation package available to ensure she or he is taken care of, no matter what. As far as the current position, if your boss is a liar that is a big problem and should be addressed, but to address it could cause a bigger problem, not to mention, you’re still considered a “new” employee. So my advice is simply this…if you enjoyed your previous position and departed with your reputation and work relationships intact, I would go back. It would appear your compensation package and ability to grow there is a win-win. Sometimes a few dollars does not amount to peace of mind and there is nothing better than peace of mind, there is no amount of money to replace it. When you re-interview stick to the things you did while there that benefitted the company and things you’ve done since departing, (like the training you just received..wink, wink). Add the things you believe you bring to the table that would amount to an increased salary, but don’t forget to mention your intent to grow and develop within the company. I’m sure you already know what to do and just needed an expert opinion, so go with your gut. It will serve you well in business and as a new mommy. Good luck and congratulations in advance.
      Best,
      Allison

  14. Hi Alisa… I am on the final phase of a job interview. On my next interview they said I will need to take an assessment. I am not familiar with what they are saying I will do. Can you explain it. They have informed me that I will take a Microsoft Office Suite based assessment involving a Ratings report. I really want this position and have time to review and do the best I can on this assessment if I understand it. Can you help?

    Thanks
    Beth

    • Hi Beth,
      Congratulations in advance! Interview assessments are typically vocationally geared. Expect to put either into writing or words, how your particular set of skills match up against the actual position. There are others types of assessments, such as personality and behavioral, but since they didn’t specify, I will assume that it is vocational in nature. The Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) is just be yourself and tell the story truthfully. No matter which type lies ahead, you are talking about yourself, so you can be true to who you are and confidently explain how your capabilities suit the organization. If you haven’t taken a personality assessment e.g. Myers Briggs or similar personality tests, I suggest you do so. It not only reveals your personality/persona, it can be quite informative in providing how you can target and apply your personality to work based scenarios. Again congratulations, and thanks for writing.
      Best,
      Allison

  15. Needing some assistance. Unfortunately I have made a few bad choices in the past year and began an affair with a co-worker. He broke up with his girl friend. She recently found out we were speaking again and broke into his icloud. She than proceeded to send explicit images to my HR Manager. I am pursuing legal action against his ex girlfriend but HR will not release what she sent to me. She is saying she can not release anything unless it is subpoenaed. Why can she not provide a copy to me?

    • Hello Wonder Woman,
      First off, who hasn’t, so let yourself off the hook. Okay, you weren’t specific in telling me if this iCloud account is associated with his work account. If it is associated with work, thank your lucky stars you haven’t been dismissed because federal law prohibits sexual electonic communication at the workplace and of course telephonic sex (sexting) is typically a federal offense ( if pictures are attached). Hopefully, you are pursuing defamation if a personal matter has become professional fodder. Unfortunately, HR is right in this instance. This is information submitted by a 3rd party and does not have to be shared with you, even if you are the party the information is about. One primary reason for this is that information that she shared that you’d like to see places your organization at risk of becoming the 3rd party in litigation (as in Wonder Woman v. Scorned Woman and ABC Company). They cannot use this against you if this personal, unless it demonstrates that illicit activities took place on the company’s premises. So, my advice, fight the battle you can possibly win against the ex-girlfriend. I will also offer this, until this matter is closed, I would cease and desist communication with the lover until the smoke has cleared because again, if there has been illict activity on the premises or the company’s resources were used, both you and he are subject to termination. You are at work to work, not hook up on the employer’s time. Best of luck and brush yourself off and keep it moving! Allison

  16. Am I at risk of getting fired?

    I screamed at another colleague of company property i just simply snapped. If this was reported to hr can i be terminated for this.

    • Hi Kids,
      Maybe. Maybe not. But if you want to reduce the chances of being fired (or at a minimum adversely counseled), be the bigger person and go to HR and tell them you want to admit to your wrongdoing and apologize to the injured party with HR present. I don’t recommend you simply apologize to your co-worker because of the embarrassment and hurt you just caused, which could lead to adverse conditions for the employer and before they suffer, you might suffer instead. But a larger issue looms. What is going on with you that you thought that was appropriate at the workplace? If you are typically abrasive like this, then it’s possible you are going to be terminated at some point. I advise you go in and ask your HR point of contact if there is an Employee Assistance Program available for employees to use for workplace stress and please, please, please, if it is available take advantage of it. Everyone is going through something in their lives and they don’t come to work to be screamed at, so be proactive not just for your coworkers, be proactive because it appears you need to get some things off your chest in a safe, non-judgmental environment. You may have created the beginning of a hostile work environment and if this and other negative behavior is recorded it can follow you throughout your career, so get it under control soon.
      Best,
      Allison Jones, “The HR Expert”

  17. HI Allison,
    I am debating about switching careers. I currently work at Ford Motor Company in Claycomo, MO(outside of Kansas City). It is an assembly line position. I submitted an application for a position with the Kansas City Police Department for a civilian position in the I.T. Department several months ago, and I was offered the position. I majored in Information Systems while in College, but I have not been able to secure a position in the field since I graduated from College. . By the way, I graduated 15 years ago! The position with the KCPD is a low paying job, however, I am trying to look at the experience I would be getting versus the pay. The hourly wage at Ford is not much more, but the benefits are good.

    My dilemma is I work overnight with Ford(530p-400a), and the KCPD position for right now is 7a-3pm. Ford pays weekly and KCPD is biweekly. In comparison of benefits, Ford has free medical, but dental and vision will come after 36 months of completion at the job. Ford also offers profit sharing and some bonuses. KCPD does not offer profit sharing or bonuses, but the job stable and has good benefits as well. The issue I have with Ford, I am not able to move in to another position until next year because of an infraction I had. During my 90 day probation period, I took my mom to the emergency room on a day that was a mandatory overtime day. Initially I was told it would be excused, and despite me explaining the situation to my Union Representative, the Ford labor relations department wanted to fire me. My union rep was able to negotiate with them to keep my job, but I was told to stay home for two weeks without pay. That goes on to employee record when a person wants to submit for another job.

    Again, the Ford position pays a couple dollars more in pay, and has good benefits, however the wear and tear on you physically can takes its toll, depending on the position your in. I also have a Mom that has Dementia and its becoming increasingly tough to be away at night, but I am abler to take car of her needs during the day before work. The day position at KCPD would allow me to be at home at night, but it keeps me from doing things in the day for her. We are working on extra help, but for the meantime, myself and my brother are scrambling around. The job at KCPD sounds enticing, but I have a couple of reservations. I am 38years old, starting in to this field, I not sure what direction to go.

    Please advise

    Thank you

    • Hello JBR,
      You’ve stuffed a lot of components into your question and with the life issues (that I truly understand and am highly sympathetic to) being included, I will refrain from typical advice. The only pieces of advice I can offer is to eliminate all the “buts”, “ands” & “ifs.” I know you must consider your Mom’s condition, the length of time with Ford and the schedule you have become accustomed to, but I will say it quite frankly, you have to consider YOUR happiness for a change. Both positions have good possibilities, but honestly, I don’t understand why you took on the lengthy and painstaking effort of obtaining a degree that you haven’t used. It seems that time and timing are at the forefront of your mind. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what your dilemma is because you have several very good options either way. You’re 38, not 68, so you have plenty of wiggle room to make all sorts of choices, good, better, best, so I would say, stop limiting your options and get out of your own way. You’ve crowded your options with the clutter of “trying to figure it out.” I cannot tell you which way to go, but I can say this, you are wasting valuable time (a commodity that you cannot get back which you know up close and personal) and it sounds like you are waiting for someone’s permission to get down to the business of living a quality life. Regret is a horrible life choice and it’s my belief that you are setting yourself up to replace the “if, and, but” with “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” Staying at Ford with a “possibility” position (with a lingering infraction over your head) versus KCPD with an “actual” position that may have growth and ROI for the degree you’ve worked for and a new beginning, well…the choice is yours, but I would say, do what’s best for YOU. Life has a way of making a way for us when we step up and step into our life. Step into your life. You don’t need expert advice, you simply need to decide what’s truly in your heart and everything else will fall into place.
      Best wishes,
      Allison

  18. Hello. I am sending a question in hopes you would be able to assist me in my dilemma. I moved to a big city, took on a new job and unfortunately it didn’t work out. I was let go after about 6 weeks in training. I was offered the option to apply for another position in another department but I totally left the company. Should I include this position on my resume and job applications? There have been conflicting information on the Internet regarding this problem. Thank you in advance for your reply and assistance while I continue to search for a new employer.

    • Hello Vonda,
      First off, be careful about too many answers, it will confuse you further. The bottom line is this. You were terminated after six weeks and although the employer can confirm termination, they should not relay cause. Since you didn’t include why you were terminated, the larger issue is, when a future employer inquires, either you or the employer will have to answer the question and if you want some control over the answer you should absolutely include it. However, in my opinion, unless there was a large break in employment between the six weeks and your last position, I would advise you to omit the information. If asked how and why you came to NY, you can always be forthright and let the employer know that you came for a position that was not the right fit and after six weeks, you and the company parted ways to make room for something that better fits your skills, education and career path.
      Best wishes,
      Allison

  19. Hi,
    I am working in an organisation as an Intern. Two days back I got a mail from HR which says that in coming week we have a meeting regarding internship duration. I am bit tensed as they may extend my internship duration for some 6 months or so. My question is how should i ask my HR- manager that since I am hired directly from campus, so as per college policies I should get converted to a Full Time Employee after the period specified in the internship letter gets over. Or is it appropriate to ask such a question?? Also if i wont ask this question before the meeting they will say you could have raised your doubt before the meeting. Please help me out in framing the mail to HR on this in such a way that it should not portray my question as a negaive one. I need your expert help on this.

  20. Hi there,

    My question is in regards to my husbands place of work.
    He has been working with the company since April as a sous chef.The first 3 months his salary was £29000 pa ,in agreement on the interview that after his probationary period(3 months) to increase to £30000 .So far everything good.In January 2015 ( when the company annual performance review takes place he received a letter from the company stating that because he is been with the company for less then a year his review will take place in April when he reaches his first year. In April-May he got transferred to another branch of the company and his performance review never happened.In June after doing extremely long hours( 75-80 hrs per week) he decided that it was enough so he gave his 3 months period notice. The executive chef didn’t wanted him to leave so he offered him more money which my husband refused at the beginning as he was exausted and could even think straight.The executive chef said he needed an answer immediately without giving him time to think about it. After a few days off when he was more calm he called the executive chef and said that he is ok to take up the offer if it was still valid.The executive chef from that moment started playing games telling him he needs time to speak to the director and blah blah blah,finding excuses to buy time.My husbands notice was until the end of August.So not receiving a proper answer he started applying for jobs and he was due to have his last interview with a company that he liked ,this was due on the last week of August,
    Two days before his last interview the executive chef comes to him and tells him he will be transferred to another location closer to work(the one he was in was 4 hrs by train return) and he was going to be promoted to head chef with an increased salary of £4000 extra,so he will be on £34000 pa .
    so September he gets transferred to the new branch and he was left with only 2 staff to work(they were short staffed) and he didn’t have anyone to cover him for a day off,so of course he was working 6 days per week (Sunday was closed) from 10 am to midnight every day.On top of this every Saturday after closing he needed to do the stock count and stay at work until 3 am.When he first transferred to the new branch he took over from the previous chef (who quit) so the stock count wasn’t done in his presence and with no witness.So when doing the stock for the next 3 weeks there were loses to which the executive chef now blames my husband.end of September comes so he expects his salary to be on £34000 but it is still the same as before £30000.He contacts the executive chef and he says he will look into this as there might be a mistake.2 weeks pass and no sign of any explanation what so ever.on Saturday the executive chef goes to see him at work and informed him that now he will be transferred to another branch.my husband asks what position will he be and what happens to the pay rise he promised.The EC tells him to meet him on Thursday and he will tell him exactly what will happen.
    So he meets today with the EC and he tills my husband that he wont be getting any pay rise and he is still a sous chef not a head chef.The excuse was that the stock was down by £2000 so that’s why they have taken that decision.y husband explained that the stock was left that way by the previous head chef but the EC said he will look at it again but there’s nothing else he can do.

    It is very upsetting as my husband had e great possibility to start working somewhere else and it looks like the company he actually works is taking advantage of him and the fact that if he wants to leave now he needs to give another 3 months notice.

    Can you please advise on what to do?
    Can he leave without giving the notice? Or is it best to right to HR ?

    Kind regrads,

    K

    • Hello K,
      Well that’s a lot of information to absorb. I truly feel that you already know what I’m going to say, so I’ll be brief. Your spouse’s employer has already demonstrated on more than one occasion where they stand and how much they value his contributions to the company. That’s the thing with verbal agreements, they don’t always hold up, especially

      • when there is no written proof of the promise or obligation on the part of either party. Your husband simply needs to move on because he wasn’t used, technically, rather he remained employed as long as they needed him to be. In the future, he should either go with his gut feelings or get it in writing. Bottom line, it’s time to move on.

  21. Hello,

    I just resigned from my position at a financial institution. I felt I had no other option. I had to go on FMLA due to stress and depression mainly due to my position. I came back from my honey moon and my entire staff had said they hate working for me. HR did not conduct interviews nor did they ask me what happened. My question is:

    1. I was not given an exit interview, why would this be? Every other employee has been granted one.

    • Hi Zup,
      You are entitled to the exit interview and it should be used to your advantage to perhaps understand what went wrong while you were in their employ. I work from the angle on what people don’t say as well as what they do. If your ENTIRE staff said they hated working for you, you already knew that. Let’s not ignore the obvious. Work relationships are like any other relationship, we know, but we choose to see what we want to see. It’s like in divorce when people say, “I didn’t see it coming.” We always do, we just choose to acknowledge what we want. If you were on FMLA due to stress and depression, I’m fairly certain that you were just as unhappy as the people you worked with. The secondary issue you mentioned is the “ENTIRE staff said they hated working for you” and yet you stated that no interviews were conducted, so how do you know what was stated and by whom? If your bottom line is about the exit interview, unless there was a reason you decided you didn’t want one, e.g. you resigned so quickly you didn’t care, that’s not the fault of the employer. If they just blatantly ignored the step, you have the right to ask for feedback about your performance and/or a reference from your previous employer, as long as there were no adverse personnel actions against you (written or verbal). Maybe, the best thing for you is to take the time to relax, continue with counseling (if you haven’t pursued counseling I strongly advise that you do so), to ensure that this issue doesn’t follow you to your next employer. Sometimes when we are unhappy at work or in life, it’s a good thing to have the opportunity to step back and take a look at how we want our work and private lives to move forward and how WE can best ensure that it moves forward in a way that we can be happy, productive and true to ourselves. Take this as that moment, to reassess what’s important to you, what moves you want to make in your career and how to balance your health, your home and your life. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

  22. Hi Alison

    Thanks for the great post!

    I’ve been working for a family run business (retail) for about 3 years while I was completing my degree. Prior to me finishing my degree I was a contract worker at one of the big banks, but left due to not getting along with one of the team leaders.

    I have finally finished my finance degree and am now doing my postgraduate in finance and looking to get back into the corporate space. I went for an interview the other day, but left the interview feeling really down. The ladies were very nice in the beginning and even complemented me on my CV, but once they found out that my current job was in a family run business they became uninterested. I am now afraid that this will keep happening when I go for interviews as what ever experience I’ve gained does not seem legitimate in their eyes. I also realize that my current skills and experience are not aligned to the career I’m looking to pursue as the family run business is in the retail sector.

    This brings me to my questions. How do I convince my prospective employers/HR that they should give me a chance even though I’ve been out the banking sector for a while? How do I convince that my skill set acquired in the last 3 months can be aligned to a prospective job? Should I even mention that it’s a family run business? And lastly what do I do if they ask for a reference from my previous employer.

    Thanks so much
    Aminah

    • Hello Aminah,
      Thanks for writing. Your experience in any business or endeavor counts. What you failed to share and what is very important are your contributions and application of your current skill sets. Capitalize on the fact that you have experience that is “up close and personal” and that you were probably a part of, or exposed to, the nuts and bolts of business operations, family owned or not. In other words stop with the “family owned business” spin and concentrate on your skills. When you mention the “family owned” portion of the conversation, take emphasis off them and refer more to the story of you. Just like your resume or CV, the details of where you performed your duties are of less impact than what you’ve done and how well. Three (3) years of experience is very important, especially if it correlates with your finance background and if there was a need for it and you answered the call, it needs to be incorporated into the conversation.
      As far as a reference feel free to ask the interviewer who within the business they feel is best suited to verify your employment and work background, who knows, once they hear how great you are, they may not want it. Take two (2) professional business references and assure them you will get the family reference to them by close of business (feel free to write it yourself so it’s ready and share the details with the family reference). Another option would be to ask a vendor or business associate you regularly conducted business with to vouch for your work background. People who rely on and trust your work are closely connected to your performance. Make sure it’s long-term working relationship that can be explained in specific terms. I really wish you all the best in your future. It sounds promising. Best, Allison

  23. Hi Allison,

    Thank you for taking the time to advise others of their HR type questions! You are a big help for those who cannot find anyone else to help them answer their questions.

    My situation is a little complex and I am unsure of how to proceed. I recently moved to a new city with my wife for her new job in August 2015. I was anxious for work and due to lack of opportunities and the need for funds, I took the first job that was offered to me. The job was one that I had no prior experience in and the employer was aware of that when I was applied and was eventually offered the job. I was told they would train me and bring me along at a slow pace so I would grasp as much information as possible. Without going into too much detail, my training was horrendous. My department was myself, my manager, and a co-worker. The manager and co-worker were way too busy and barely had time to train me. Furthermore, they had no job aids or manual for the the job I was performing. My questions typically went unanswered and when I was given projects/assignments, they usually left out critical information which made me look bad and of course led to errors. A few weeks ago I was approached by my manager who was unhappy with my progress and thought it best we part ways since they were not going to have enough time to properly train me. They categorized it as a “mutual separation” but it sure felt like I was fired. I was not even allowed to put in my 2 weeks notice, they asked for my badge and that was it.

    Prior to this position, I worked for another company for less than 1 year, because we had again moved for my wife’s job. Prior to that, I worked 3 years at the same company and 2 years for a different company. I am 30 years old with 7 years of professional experience. I am worried because now I have worked for 2 consecutive companies for less than 1 year.Granted, the first was not by choice rather due to my wife’s job relocation.

    My question is: Should I include the job where I barely worked for 5 months and was “mutually separated” from on my resume? Or do I leave it off completely and tell employers I have been trying to find employment since I moved out to this new city? If I should keep it my resume, do you have any suggestions on how to frame my “separation” so it does not come off as a termination? Also if I keep it, should I be concerned that future employers will not hire me since I was not with my prior 2 employers for more than 1 year?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    • Hello Dave,
      Thank you for visiting our site. I hope I can provide some useful information for you. First of all let me commend you for taking a chance at something new in the hopes of being an asset to an organization that is clearly oblivious to their strategic goals and their own needs regarding their staff. Second, always go with your gut, in EVERYTHING! It’s there for a reason and will never steer you wrong. Third, I hope while you are looking, you are collecting unemployment because it’s owed to you, especially since the employer didn’t meet their verbal commitment to train you and their obligation to develop you as an employee. Since they are calling it a “mutual separation”, I hope you can request a reference should you need it. It’s the least they could do.
      Okay, Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF), I recommend you leave this misfit employer off. Since they demonstrated lack of integrity as well as concern for your work, your career or future development, they have clearly demonstrated they can’t be taken at their word and in my opinion, you shouldn’t get to mess around with something as important as a person’s livelihood and ability to provide for their family twice. I’m fairly certain if they are contacted they probably won’t give you a glowing recommendation. If they are already blaming you for THEIR failures, don’t give them a chance to tell a prospective employer you were the problem. However, should you decide to use them, I would ask for a recommendation from the HR department that aligns with their decision to terminate employment based on things that speak to your work ethic and willingness to take risks, ask questions, initiative, etc. They could say something vague for example, “Dave is a bright person with a willingness to collaborate with others and take initiative to complete his assignments independently.” However, I would bet they will not want to place themselves in that position because it could backfire if you decide to pursue any recourse in the event of negative information that contradicts a positive outlook. So, BLUF, leave it off. As an employer, I would rather have you explain a single position you held for less than a year, rather than establishing a pattern that opens the door to doubt. Besides, you never want to have an employer dig deeper if it’s unnecessary and nothing hurts your chances more in an interview than taking too much time to speak about negative work experiences. That would stand out far more than the skills you bring to the table. I hope this helps. Good luck, listen to your gut and congratulations in advance. Best, Allison

  24. Hi Allison,

    I have an unusual question…hope you can help. I worked for an entertainment company almost 20 years ago (first job out of college). I was terminated (20 years ago) because of a disagreement with a co-worker. I went on to have a very successful career after that position & termination. A recruiter recently contacted me about a job with this same company. (I have the company listed on my resume–I’ve never denied working there.) The recruiter and hiring manager know that I worked for this company 20 years ago, but they have not asked why I left and I certainly didn’t volunteer the info. I’m moving along in the interview process and now the company wants to do a background check on me. The form is asking whether or not I worked for this company before and I checked yes. The form also asks “what was your reason for leaving.” I know lying about this will haunt me in the end, but I’m not sure how to handle it. It’s been 20 years and this is a totally different company (they’ve merged with a larger company, bought other companies, had massive layoffs, new leadership, etc.). Any suggestion on how to handle this?

    Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie,
      You made this too easy. Congratulations on your new job! I can actually say you already know the answer. Yes Lady, you have answered your own question. Always be honest! It is a question of your character and integrity and it seems to me you have lots of both. Bottom line, they want you! Despite your earlier departure, you’ve grown, you’ve changed, you’re accomplished and yes…if you want it, you’re hired! Congratulations!

  25. Hi Allison,

    I have an unusual question…hope you can help. I worked for an entertainment company almost 20 years ago (first job out of college). I was terminated because of a disagreement with a co-worker. I went on to have a very successful career after that position & termination. A recruiter recently contacted me about a job with this same company. (I have the company listed on my resume–I’ve never denied working there.) The recruiter and hiring manager know that I worked for this company 20 years ago, but they have not asked why I left and I certainly didn’t volunteer the info. I’m moving along in the interview process and now the company wants to do a background check on me. The form is asking whether or not I worked for this company before and I checked yes. The form also asks “what was your reason for leaving.” I know lying about this will haunt me in the end, but I’m not sure how to handle it. It’s been 20 years and this is a totally different company (they’ve merged with a larger company, bought other companies, had massive layoffs, new leadership, etc.). Any suggestion on how to handle this?

    Stephanie

  26. Hello and thanks for your time.

    I recently sent an email to my boss expressing some concerns about comment he had made in a meeting we had. He became angered, called. manages meeting and handed out copies of the email to every manager in attendance. Has he violated any of my privacy rights by doing so?

    Thanks again

    • Hello Jacob,
      Wow! Your manager is in dire need of professional ethics training. If the email in question was used as a training tool, it is fair game as long as you were not specifically targeted, harassed, embarrassed or placed in a questionable situation with your peers, colleagues, subordinates or superiors. However, if it was used solely to discredit or embarrass you that is the very definition of a hostile work environment and needs to be directed to your HR department for query and action immediately. I would recommend that this is done sooner than later because this person has demonstrated lack of decorum and a definitive mean streak. The yelling must be addressed and the behavior along with it. Whatever your concerns are is strictly a matter of opinion, and typically I tell people if you can’t keep your opinion to yourself, don’t put it in writing. The BLUF here is the lack of professionalism, workplace stress and hostile working conditions. Moreover, I would recommend you address this with HR before he strikes again (with or without ammunition) and you find yourself trying to explain something away, defending yourself or collecting a pink slip. Good luck.

  27. Hi Allison,

    I’m in a tough situation at work. I recently switched positions and unfortunately under difficult circumstances. Luckily I’ve been able to stay with the same company and this change brought me back to our home office. I’ve had a very strong career with this company and have advanced throughout several roles. The person who is taking over my former role has been spreading rumors about me to others in our department. He has said on multiple occasions that I had an affair with my former manager. This is completely false and a horrible allegation. I know enough to understand this is definitely defamation of character. However, I’m worried about bringing attention to my director or HR because of the difficult circumstances of my recent position change. I don’t want to be deemed the problem. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this aside from leaving the company? Overall it’s a great company and I don’t want this to deter my career with them.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Hello Shelly,
      Congratulations on your accomplishments. Key word..”YOUR” accomplishments. Nothing and no one can diminish what you’ve done in your career and you must remember that. Now, the thing about water cooler talk is this, you’re just as guilty of listening as the next person because I highly doubt that this person who took over your previous assignment told you about this supposed affair to your face. So, I have two pieces of advice before you take it up a notch. Defamation of character must be proven so consider who is providing you with this scandalous information (and for what purpose other than making you do something you probably shouldn’t) and second, consider the source. If this person or others are not willing to provide affidavit statements to corroborate your suspicions, it is just gossip and is purely he said, she said, which is a dead issue. Now, if there are people willing to provide statements told directly to them by this gossip monger/hater, I advise you ask them to do so before pursuing an HR action. However, if there is any truth to the rumor, don’t open the door unless you have sound footing and no reason to hesitate. Of course, this pulls your old boss into the fray. Success always breeds contempt, that’s how you know you’re killing it. If it becomes too uncomfortable and creates a hostile work environment address it with HR, so they can make it clear to everyone that this is unacceptable work behavior OR start looking for a new start elsewhere. So bottom line, if those factors are of no value to consider, let your success continue to tell your story, while others make things up as they go along. Karma can be a thing of beauty and sometimes the Universe lets you sit back and enjoy the show. Good luck.

  28. Hi Allison,

    I have a question regarding a rather sensitive topic. Let me try and paint the picture.

    A colleague of mine (let’s just refer to her as Liz) suffers from chronic pain in her ankles, a disability both our manager and HR are aware of. Liz travels to work in a car with her husband who also works at the company. This is a car they are both able to drive without any complications.

    Our management has recently implemented a new shift pattern, (either starting at 8am or 9am, both working for 8 hrs).

    Liz had some private discussions with our manager, which resulted in her not working to this shift pattern and instead starting at 9.30. Note that Liz had previously been working from 9.30am before the new shift patterns due to arrangements setup by our previous manager. However despite this, Liz has been significantly late (20-30mins) every morning since to an extent that she has yet turned up to work at the agreed time in 2016.

    I am no more senior then my colleagues, however due to my experience, members of the team have asked a couple of questions (I’m assuming they would like to get my opinion before actually talking to our manager):
    1. Why should the time someone works be adjusted for someone who drives to and from work? The time of the journey has no real impact on Liz’s experience
    2. Is fair to ask both Liz AND her husband to work from 9.00am? Or do you take the fact that they travel together completely out of the equation?
    3. Due to Liz being constantly late, can CONTINUING these adjustments be seen as ineffective and just a reason to work at a later time?
    4. Can Liz’s lateness be excused because of her disability?

    Should I encourage my co workers to focus primarily on the fact Liz is repeatedly late, or do they actually have valid points (mainly 1 and 3) that means Liz should not have been given this arrangement in the first place.

    I would massively appreciate any light you could shine on the issue.

    The Kindest of Regards,

    Lewis

    • Hello Lewis,

      What you are describing in essence is reasonable accommodation which is permitted by ADA guidelines that employers are required to provide changes to the workplace or job allowing employees to do their job despite their disability (within reason). Liz is allowed this permission because she fits the section of the ADA guideline which is beneficial to those employees who may require “restructuring jobs” e.g. allowing a ten-hour/four-day workweek so that a worker can receive weekly medical treatments or providing
      a reasonable amount of additional unpaid leave for medical treatment. Her husband brings her to work, so when the company decided to modify the shift, they are required to include the entire staff subject to this change. However, if Liz was given another special permission to arrive at 930 (outside of the guidelines), hopefully the justification for the decision is on the record that aligns with ADA guidelines, although I highly doubt it. Since she was already permitted the 930 start time, it may be viewed as not being problematic because it was already in place and she is protected by the ADA. But, let’s get to the heart of this issue.
      Liz IS always late! That is not protected under the ADA. That is a work performance issue which is punishable, period. Her lateness impacts others and their ability to complete assigned tasks and that my friend is abuse. Often organizations don’t want to rock the disability boat because it can be costly and leave a stain, but so does allowing this abuse to go on and impact other people. Basically, the organization is setting itself up to a cluster of HR negligence and employee wrath for the sake of not wanting to cause a stir, that eventually will come to a head anyway. Her lateness needs to be documented and she needs to be formally counseled, period.
      I do not know if you are in HR or in her direct chain of responsibility, but if no one brings this up, then just live with it until HR does something about it or Liz does something even more egregious. Whiners and complainers get exactly what they should get, nothing. Someone needs to call this out instead of being afraid of hurting Liz’s feelings. Really? Is Liz 12 years old? Are you and the staff under 18? If you are not HR, you have no business talking to her manager, but you do have the right to talk to HR about your concerns and letting them handle this issue lawfully and appropriately and guess what? It becomes more than a conversation behind Liz’s back, it becomes a matter on the record, which is what her lateness should be… on the record. You must be careful about speaking with management about an issue that by law you have no right to investigate or really breach because bringing up a protected act that also has some HIPAA properties, (basically you and the staff know too much about her medical problems and personal life and sounds to me like there’s an awful lot of hushed tones and whisperings about Liz that’s quite personal, tsk, tsk, tsk) and is clearly office gossip that could backfire on the company for not protecting personal information.

      So here are my answers.
      1. If management sees no issue with her report time of 930 it’s none of your business. However, if management has no problem with her unacceptable lateness, that’s a big problem that needs to be addressed because ADA and reasonable accommodation has no clause that protects lateness or dereliction of duty. It’s abuse of the system plain and simple.
      2. Again her husband is her transportation and if her disability impacts his work schedule and it has been approved by his department, it’s none of your business. I’ll give you an example. Here in Washington DC our traffic is horrible and its common to commute by car over 2 hours for a 20 mile distance. Some people with limb, intestinal and autoimmune disorders cannot sit in traffic for long periods of time during peak commuting 6-9am and most organizations need employees to be present by 7 or 8am. So what do you do? Some “reasonable accommodation” must be made for these situations, but no one will stand for consistent lateness, which is why telework and alternate shifts are the norm here.
      3. Your management has done a poor job of making Liz accountable and I’m certain by settling into this pattern with her, they have rendered themselves somewhat impotent because they have allowed it for far too long. HR needs to take corrective written action immediately. Period.
      4. Liz’s lateness is grounds for termination. Period. Or at a minimum she must be counseled.

      You should speak to HR or forever hold your peace. You keep speaking as if you are the poor persecuted middle man. If you’re upset. Be upset. If you want this to be about what’s right say it. If you’re in management stop being like Liz by not being accountable. If this is affecting morale, attitudes and distracting others, the employees don’t need your encouragement, they want a solution. Solutions anyone?
      If you’re going to get involved, be involved. If this is placing burdens on others or people are saying it’s just not fair, someone needs to put on their grown up gear and get HR to do their job. Period. Good luck.

  29. Hi Allison! How are you?

    Mabuhay! I am Paul from Philippines. I have this employer that I admire because of their good service to their employees, its a call center industry and until such time that I tried my luck to apply there, luckily I was hired and with the span of 3 months working there, an incident happened and that made me decide to go AWOL direct because need to travel to a different place. I wasnt able to explain on my part because I was too far and spending to that place for a quite long time. It always comes to my mind that one day I wanna go back and reapply there but due to my name tagged as one of the employee who went AWOL. this was happened long time ago though since Feb2014. I am writing you this because I wanna make clarifications from a Human Resource law. Is there any way by any chance that I can reapply to that company? Its been 2 years that I left that company.

    Looking forward to your quick response Allison. Have a great day and Mabuhay!

    • Hi Paul,
      Sorry for the delay. Been traveling a lot lately, but here goes. You already know the saying about burning bridges, so I’ll try to stay away from lecturing you too much. By all means, reapply! What’s the worst that can happen? If their HR files are in order and they decide to decline, well now you know better. But if they decide to give you another shot, you’d better have a very strong reason for going AWOL from your position. The bottom line is you’ve demonstrated that you are not reliable and that’s a black eye period, whether it’s this employer or the next. If it doesn’t come up, don’t bring it up. If it’s a really personal matter, stay away from specifics, e.g. things that make them wonder even more about your character or judgment. By law, they cannot ask you very personal things, but just be prepared to honestly speak about your lack of judgement at that moment and how if given another chance, you will be more forthcoming, aware and exercise better judgment that doesn’t place your employer in this kind of position (or imposition in this case). Good luck and Mabuhay!

  30. Hi Allison!

    I have a question regarding PTO and offer letters. When interviewing with my company, they asked me my salary range and I gave them a range, to which they offered me a job at the bottom number. My initial offer letter read verbatim in regards to compensation and benefits:

    “Your initial rate of compensation will be xxx per pay period, paid every other Friday. You will be provided with Paid Time Off on an accrual basis equivalent to 15 days/year. The Company offers the following benefit programs, subject to employee eligibility:….” It lists holidays, 401k, and group insurance.

    After research and review of my paystub, I noticed that my gross pay includes what is taken out for taxes (expected), however I also noticed it calculates what my accrued PTO is for each pay period and includes that as well.

    My question is two-fold:

    1) Is it typical for companies to include PTO in the salary in the offer letter? I understand that it is taxed as a wage but at other companies I’ve worked for, it’s treated as a benefit.

    2) I feel somewhat taken advantage of because when I was asked for my salary range, I mentioned the range ‘excluding’ the benefits package. Is there different terminology I should have used? I didn’t expect PTO to be calculated into my salary and in this case, I would have increased my range to accommodate .

    Thanks!

    • Hello Alexandra,
      Many companies inform employees in the offer what the standard PTO accural method is so that you are aware of what you are entitled to according to company policy, so the answer to question number 1 is YES it is typical to see that langauage in an offer. According to your first question and the “verbatim” content you included, I believe you are mixing apples and oranges. The verbatim text mentioned above is information about their accrual method regarding PTO, it does not state in the content that you should include PTO as a salary based issue. That portion is strictly informational. The Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) is PTO is not a calculable item within pay, rather it is based on hours worked (earned), not dollars.
      The answer to your second question is that I believe you are erroneous in both messaging and understanding. If you buckled under the weight of the offer without continuous negotiation of the salary to your best advantage, that’s all on you. PTO is not included in your salary and I’d bet apples to oranges that you are reading that incorrectly as well. I’ll give you an example, I am a military veteran and during my employment terms I knew I didn’t need the employers compensation package (health benefits and certain perks), so I negotiated my salary higher and declined the comp package, opting instead for the higher end of the salary in lieu of things I don’t want or need. Negotiation is an artform and requires intestinal fortitude and the willingness to walk away if the salary doesn’t meet your needs. Typically women are underpaid because they fail to do the homework on how much their male counterparts make and how they should be paid based on experience, education and ability. The Department of Labor has a calculated scale by state and region that shows your salary range based on national averages, industry and additional data. Or you can check salary.com for a better idea of where you stand.
      So the BLUF on this is the communication in both instances was misunderstood or poorly communicated on both sides. Consider this a lesson learned and focus on being an all-star so that when your annual appraisal or review is performed, you can go back into HR feeling confident about asking for a substantial increase. Good luck in your career. Allison

  31. Hello Allison,

    I am responsible for HR for a Tennessee not-for-profit corporation. We have an employee who is frequently absent from work for health issues which are treatable through mainstream medicine. However, the employee refuses to seek treatment because of a distrust of doctors and prescribed medication. Do I have any recourse as an employer? Thank you.

    • Hello Chuck,
      Thank you for writing. This is considered absenteeism which is intentional or habitual absence from work. This causes undo stress on the organization and the employees who come to work to contribute and should not have to be inundated with others duties. The cost of lost productivity is in the billions and there may be someone better prepared and qualified to do this job that this employee has clearly taken for granted.
      Yes, you have recourse, but first I want to mention that I don’t quite understand how you know of her illness and her non-treatment without documentation. If she refuses treatment and doesn’t trust doctors, where is your proof of illness? I hope you aren’t using a personal approach in your HR technique. Excessive absences and unwillingness to be treated (refusal of treatment) should be documented. Everything MUST be documented! I cannot stress that enough. A new or updated performance plan with expectations of performance could be created and signed if her illness has limits, which I am assuming does, if she’s too ill to come to work. You can’t know how to proceed without knowing the parameters. However, since she is refusing treatment and you need proof this illness exists, (as an employer HIPAA permits work schedule changes as specified by the doctor), you must begin the task of documenting each step. If termination is the action you decide to take, you want to make certain you have covered your bases for yourself and the employer. I recommend a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to outline the duties and expectations to include time and attendance as well as performance timelines and how she will make certain her work is complete. Maybe a modified schedule (telework perhaps) would be a better choice. By inputting options, this may help you to stay several steps ahead of absences. I recommend speaking with her (with an objective witness) and allow her to come up with a strategy for ensuring that her workload is complete that you agree with and can put in writing. That way in describing those expectations, you can also describe consequences. Give it a strict window over the 90 days and also inform her both verbally and in writing that failure to adhere could result in termination. Finally, speak with the organization director and make sure you are on the same page. The most impacted people are not only the employee and their family, but the work family. Failure to do something soon could result in not just productivity losses, but morale issues, lawsuits and possibly your dismissal for failure to protect the organization, its employees and clients. Good luck.

  32. Here is the story, I applied for a position that seems to be a, up to this point, perfect match of my education and experience plus in a dream location for me. A HR personal called my home phone and left a message Monday July 11th (I was at work and only have a work provided cell phone and my wife was outside mowing the lawn). They left a message and said to call and noted that she would be out of the office until the afternoon the next day. I was unable to call before the person left, but called and was not able to get a hold of her. I called the next day and her voice mail message had not changed from the day before, so I left a message and gave my well phone number. Thursday July 14th came and no call, so I called back and her voice mail message had changed, and said that she was back in the office and would be calling those who left messages. I left a message and stated that I had Friday off (July 15th) and that I am free all day. She did not return my call the next week, so I called Friday July 22nd and still did not get a hold of her. I did not leave a message, assuming that she would call back as that is what I would do. Now we are at July 25th and still no call. I am confused and not sure where to go from here, why would she call me and then go almost two weeks without returning my call.

    • Hi Brian,
      Thanks for writing. I won’t bother with a long drawn out explanation, so here goes. Like many HR people she didn’t bother to follow up because she either found another qualified candidate or she is just ignoring you. When an HR person hangs up with one candidate, they go to the next and quite often if they get the other candidate and the telephone interview goes well, it’s a done deal. I would recommend in the future that you call a general line with the company and ask who else you might speak with because you and “what’s her face” can’t seem to link up. I would also recommend that you ask for her email address and maybe a general mailbox you can query to ascertain if the position is still open and if you are still a potential hire. That way you aren’t really ratting on her, but making her accountable. This is purely lack of professional courtesy. Sorry you didn’t hear back, but do you really want to work for a company whose employees are so rude? Don’t worry there is a better opportunity waiting for you. Good luck with your future career endeavors. Allison

  33. Hi Allison,

    I have just received a job offer from a company and we are at negotiation stage.Before I interview I was asked what my current salary is and what my expectations were and I said at least 15-20% increase.Now that a verbal offer is on the table they are now saying that they only budgeted X amount for the role,but with benefits it equals the salary I would want.The only problem I have is that my take home salary is gonna be far less.Am I allowed to ask for an increase on my take home salary versus my gross salary?and what is a reasonable percentage to ask for?and is it normal for them to ask to see my payslip?

    Thanks

    • Hello and thanks for writing. Salary verification is not uncommon for an employer to ask about and you can have your always use your current employer’s offer letter to verify that you’ve been compensated at the amount you’ve mentioned. On to the next question, how much can you ask for in addition to their offer. I don’t know if you had a second interview prior to the offer, but that would have been a spot on moment to discuss salary and what they are willing to offer the position and the duties prior to an offer being extended. There is always a range in salary from the bottom of what they can offer to the top. I’m not sure if they gave you their top offer, but go to salary.com, payscale.com or the Department of Labor (DOL) website for occupation and compensation information to see what your role and duties salary range should be according to national averages. This can help you ascertain if you are going too high in salary or if their offer is far below what you should expect. The BLUF is, if they want you they will try to find a way to get you on board. Finally, I would recommend shopping around for another benefits package. If they are offering health insurance and other perks, see if the you can stay with your current health provider if the cost is lower than what the new employer currently has and see what other part of the benefits you may or may not need and forego them if they are not necessary, opting instead to use those perks for actual ka-ching$. If there is room to grow (promotion) and this a company you really want to work for, there are always ways to negotiate not only the money, but time (tele-work, transportation incentives, etc.) that would minimize your expenses and keep ad much of your well earned take home pay in your pocket. Congratulations and good luck.

  34. Hi Alison

    Thanks for getting back to me,I set them an email on Monday with my payslip as per they request and I also motivated as to why I should get an increase.I have now settled on a 10% increase after doing my research.It is now Wednesday and I am yet to hear from them.Should I call them or no?and if I were to call them would I look desperate and would they then stick to “amount” they feel is within their budget or do I also go silent until I wait to hear from them?I ask this as I would require a 3 week notice at my current work place.

    Thanks

    • Hello,
      Good going! Give them until Friday. They need time to do their research and figure out if they can afford to increase the offer. They have to check with all parties (HR and other higher ups) to get approval. Not to mention if they decide to pay you at a higher rate, they have set a precedent for others who may follow and they may have to “rob Peter to pay Paul” to accommodate your request, so they have some serious considerations. If you haven’t heard back by Friday which gives them a 3 business day timeframe, I would reach out to my point of contact in an email and ask if I am still their candidate. You need not mention giving appropriate notice in your transmission, you just want to confirm interest. And, since you need 3 weeks for notice, I recommend that you try to catch up sooner in your current duties because they are considering your concessions and you don’t want to make them wait too long after working to meet your needs. There is always the possibility that they are also trying to find another candidate or inside talent (internal movement), if they can’t afford your counter. They are an employer and their primary concern is getting the right talent and their larger picture of meeting product/service demand. Don’t worry. You’ll hear from them one way or another and if they extend a better offer, let them know upon acceptance the time frame you can report. Good luck.

  35. Hello There.

    Recently I checked my online application status, and it said ‘Under Review’, then two days later I checked again and it stated ‘In Progress’ can you tell me if this is a good or bad thing. Thanks

    Bill

    • Hi Bill,
      It certainly isn’t a bad thing. It’s likely a background check thing. Many employers vet their candidates as thoroughly as possible before proceeding. Anything outside of “you are not qualified” or “thank you but…” is typically fine. Good luck and congratulations in advance.
      Best,
      Allison

  36. Thank you Allison. What a wonderful service you provide!

  37. Hi there! I love your advice and was hoping that you would be able to help me out or at least steer me in the right direction.

    I started a job almost 2 years ago and they really pulled the bait and switch on me. The position was newly created and I was told that I would do paralegal work (I am a paralegal) and support the portfolio management team. A few months after I started, I realized that this wasn’t possible due to the volume of work. After I bought it to my managers attention the company decided to hire another person. The new hire was to take on the portfolio management support role and I would be doing paralegal work and serve as the new hires back up. After I trained the new hire, she decided that the position wasn’t for her and left the company. When she left, 85% of her workload came back to me, which left me no time to do paralegal work.

    It has taken my job a year to identify another candidate. When I expressed how dissatisfied I was losing a year of professional growth in this support position my company offered me a $5k bonus payable in April. At the time I thought that acceptable. Recently, I learned that my job has identified a new candidate. Through an HR mistake, I learned that she is currently making $15k more than I am at her current company. She has a Masters degree in an unrelated field but less of the work experience than I do. I know that my company has to offer her something competitive to her current salary in order for her to be interested in the position. My complaint is that I have been doing the work for almost 2 years, I am expected to train this new employee and serve as her back up therefore I do not feel as if the salary differential is fair nor acceptable. I bought this issue up to my manager and I was brushed off. Unfortunately, I cannot leave the company right now but I would like to know what my next step should be. Should I let it go and suck it up or broach the subject with HR?

    • Hello and thank you Ashley,
      Ah, the classic bait and switch. Well let me address a couple of items. First, if there is an annual review of some sort, (appraisal, employee evaluation, performance rating, etc.), I really hope the year you spent doing additional duties outside of your primary responsibilities was recorded and compensated. Otherwise, you were provided nothing more than extra work and I recommend that you NOT do it again. You know the whole “fool me once” thing. For your career path, you need your performance listed and validated, so when you move on (or not), there is a paper trail.
      Secondly, you should have right of refusal. You were not hired as a trainer (unless that was stated in your employment contract). Some organizations use the loose term “additional duties as assigned” or similar verbiage to assign other duties associated with (did you catch that…”associated with”) your work performance. But, that loose term should not be mistaken for giving you an entirely new (and extra) role for a full year without a change in your performance standards (job description) or compensation (and $5k ain’t cutting it when they are willing to pay someone else $15k more than you for a job you do better).
      So, I’ll put it plain. You’re being used. That’s it in a nutshell. You didn’t merely lose out on the opportunity to do what you were hired to do, you were used to do what HR didn’t do right, hire the best talent for the position. And in my humble opinion, that would be you! It’s an insult to basically state without saying, “you are fully capable, but not worthy” and that’s what’s happening.
      I think you feel some kind of way about that. And from your dialogue here, you’re a very nice, very generous person and they are banking on that to cover their unwillingness to give you the position. So why won’t they?
      What would I recommend for someone doing the work without the pay? I say put it in writing! Armed with a list of ALL the things you’ve done outside the scope of your duties versus your actual duties, march into HR and either 1. Strongly ask for the position officially or 2. Rebuff the $5k and ask for differential pay for the training AND taking on another role prior to training your replacement. Next, have them change your position description adding you as back up to the position, as well as the trainer for the duties. That puts HR on the hook should it come to a head or escalate. Otherwise, its just your hurt feelings and your word against theirs.
      This is the very reason we have labor laws. To expressly document and dictate how employers treat their staff. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot trust you to perform the duties, train and support the position and look at you like you have 3 heads when they are challenged. You should also bring a 3rd party to HR who can vouch for the stress and the success you have had while filling the gap.
      If the level of education is the reason for their decision, you can counter with “what does that have to do with it, I’ve performed quite well in the capacity and I did it for a year. I performed so well in fact you’d like me to train it AGAIN!” Look, you’ve clearly demonstrated your loyalty to the employer and getting the job done, but they haven’t shown any loyalty or gratitude for your team spirit and that’s not right.
      So the bottom line up front (bluf), you need to decide, do you want to be liked or do you want to paid and respected for what you bring to the table. You ARE an asset! I have a feeling if you challenge them, you’ll know exactly how they view you and that my kind one, will speak volumes. Make sure you’re willing to hear it and ready to move on.
      Good luck and let me know what happens.

      Best,
      Allison

  38. Hi Allison. My employer requires that I use paid leave for federal holidays. Is this legal? Thanks!!

    • Hi Emily,
      That’s a little odd, but not entirely unusual. For federal employees the answer is absolutely not, while private sector…well that can be a bit sketchy. Non-exempt employees aren’t paid for time they don’t work, per labor standards, while exempt employees should be paid. Labor laws clearly state exempt employees cannot be uncompensated for absences enforced by the employer or by the operating requirements of the business. Typically when an employee is hired, they are given an employee handbook which details vacation (leave) policies, (accrual methods or approved leave policy) and is usually mentioned in an offer letter. I would revert back to either of those items if they are available. If not, I would ask HR to provide me with a written policy to further explain or guide me on their leave policies. I am certain some employers in fact do not pay annual holiday leave on behalf of its employees. But its difficult to say without knowing the details of its holiday policy. I would question the policy further if the business is closed for the holidays. If this is the case, although unusual it’s not necessarily unlawful to instate a leave policy that in essence mandates an employee use their earned leave during a forced closure. Please let me know if they have a written leave policy. It will help me to know if you are being improperly advised, on my end or theirs. Happy holidays. Allison

  39. Hi Allison,

    I will try to give you a condensed version of my background and would welcome your insight. I have a BS in Communication and am about halfway through a master program for Management with an HR concentration. I currently work in higher education as an Admissions Advisor meaning that I enroll adults seeking to complete their college degree online. Prior to that, my husband and I owned and operated two successful restaurants. One also included a banquet call, martini bar and dance club so it was a big undertaking. Being self-employed, we did everything ourselves such as interviewing, hiring, firing, training, etc. We were the HR as well as the cook, cleaner, orderer, marketing staff, you get my point. I have an excellent track record, am a hard-worker and certainly willing to take on any challenge. My fear is that even after completing my MSM, my resume will reflect no “real” HR title to speak of. How can I get employers to give me a chance at these types of interviews? What would you suggest I apply for: HR manager, generalist, corporate recruiter, any advice?

    • Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for writing. Congratulations on your HR career choice. My recommendation based on what you’ve shared is to apply as an HR generalist initially. Although you’ve done quite a bit of HR work, if I understand correctly, you’ve primarily worked in HR within your very own company. Trust me, you’ll need much more experience as an HR manager and/or HR director. You will need to demonstrate exceptional acumen in HR policy, programs and processes. Also, dependent upon which HRIS you are acquainted with, your ability to detail data processes, could weigh against you. To be the best asset to an organization, I would consider certifications as well (GPHR, SHPR, PHR) to strengthen your degree and HR credibility (and they are difficult). Oftentimes, information in course curriculum is not entirely up to date, but will provide solid foundational instruction you’ll need. Understand that HR is a moving skill. It is not static and changes dependent upon the issue (e.g. pay equity, gender issues, privacy, etc.) You want to be competitive, marketable, and credible because HR has an immediate and lasting impact. You’ll encounter sticky situations that are not cut and dry and requires substantial deductive and strategic knowledge because HR is quite legalistic. And the situations you encountered with your company is not as vast compared to what happens in a corporate setting. There are policies that will need further development, capture and modification and if you are unfamiliar with how best to identify and resolve issues based on current structure, policy, local, state and federal guidelines (all necessary as an HR director, manager or supervisor), it can be overwhelming. Your experience as a business owner will bode well in the decision process, but may not translate in the actual management of HR projects.
      HR is a sound career that can last a lifetime without ever being bored, so use ALL your relevant experience including the restaurant, but detail it at a distance, even in interviews. Keep the information about a family owned business at bay, because nepotistic relationships will not come across as necessarily valid. The main question becomes who can verify, appraise and truly validate your experience? A family member? Not a good idea. Spell out your duties in true HR fashion, using HR language. Go to salary.com to gauge your salary based on experience and region to see how competitive you truly are. Degrees are great, experience is great, but realistically, your experience is somewhat limited. However, you never know. Finally, consider what areas in HR you may be most interested in because HR has dozens of categories and you want to follow your passion, because the burn out rate can be high with complacency, career stagnation and heavy competition.
      I commend you on your great career choice. Let me know how things work out.
      Best,
      Allison

  40. Hi Allison,

    I’ve been on 2 different interviews yesterday and earlier. Yesterday’s interview lasted for 15 minutes. It was shorter than expected, but very straightforward. The things we’ve discussed was my exam explanation, work experience and the things i have done on my experience. We have also discussed on the expected salary and the HR said that they will notify me before April 11 on what will be the next step on my application. The interview earlier was different, it lasted for about 45 minutes. Longer than I expected. We have discussed almost everything about the job, technicalities and my skills. I have explained my works and experience as well. One thing that bothers me is that the HR asked on what would I do if the CEO decided to release a website 2 days from now. I answered that I will be doing an overtime work to compensate on the deadline without giving up the quality of the website or plead for extension for about 4~5 days. But he answered that he is not really into overtime working people which is very unusual for interviewers. In the middle of our interview, the CEO barged in and he introduced me to him and asked if i’m the one applying for the position of ui/ux designer and I said yes. At the end of the interview, we then shaked hands and he said that there will be tons of applicants as well and he would be in touch with me. Before leaving the office, he then opened the door for me and whispered “I will get in touch with you okay?” Are my interviews a good sign or still… failed? Thank you Allison!

    Regards,
    JV Caunin

    • Hi JV,
      Congrats on a second interview which is typically indicative of interest. Based on your comments, it sounds like you encountered what is called a stress interview. Sometimes, this happens to ascertain your flexibility, your composure under pressure and your behavior in unpredictable environments. Some of the details you provided doesn’t allow me to go into detail any further. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to consider this environment and if in fact, its a good fit for you. I hope so. Congratulations in advance.

      Best,
      Allison

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