It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Committing to a start date before the background check is done
I’m well aware it’s common practice for employers to want a start date nailed down before the background has cleared, but why?! I know you’ll say this is a red flag, but it’s so common. I’ve done it before with previous job changes but I’m just not comfortable this time around, even though my background will run squeeky clean.
I’ve recently been offered a new position I am super excited about with a great company. When working with the recruiter to accept my offer and make some negotiations, etc., she was taken back a little that I was insistent that I needed to wait for background to clear before I put in my 2 weeks. It sounds like people don’t request that often from her.
What’s the deal? Why do employers keep doing this? And why do new hires just keep letting them? I realize it delays filling the position which isn’t great for them, but in the big picture it’s our livelihood. In the end the recruiter is allowing this, but I can’t help that I’m annoying them with such a request.
They do it because they see the background check as a rubber stamp and assume that it will come back fine, and — particularly annoyingly — that the only people who need to worry about it are the people with reason to fear that they won’t pass the background check. But of course, sometimes people don’t pass, and sometimes it’s for good reason and other times it’s not. Regardless, though, it’s not at all unreasonable to decline to quit your job until they remove the background contingency from their offer. When they’re ready to commit to you, you’ll commit to them. Good for you for holding firm on that.
2. Can I forward praise of me to my boss?
I’ve been at my job for 8 months now, and it’s been a steep learning curve, learning completely different processes than what I’ve been used to. I’ve had admin assistant jobs for the last 10 years, but this job is basically acting as a PA for about 20 or so consultants. I’ve encountered some hiccups since I started; some were my fault and some were things out of my hands. I’ve put my hands up and admitted they were my fault when they happened and worked on improving the processes to stop them from happening again.
Luckily, I have an extremely supportive boss who has helped me learn, and also helped me with this small issues and is happy with my progress, and I haven’t had any issues in a couple of months and have really settled into my work now. Recently I’ve received a couple of really nice praise emails thanking me from the consultants I support. Is it okay to forward these on to my boss to make her aware of the good things I’ve done, rather than her just seeing the negative?
I am not seeking out a pat on the back from her, but these things I’ve helped on have been big, complex, last-minute trips and she was unlikely to have these consultants loop her in on positive feedback as they’re so busy. I don’t want to come across as insecure in my abilities, but I’d like her to also see that I’ve done a lot of positive things too.
Yep, absolutely. Don’t forward minor praise (like a quick “thanks for your help”), but when people go out of their way to praise your work in a more substantive way, it’s perfectly appropriate to share that with your boss. I’d just forward it on with a note like “Just FYI, thought you’d want to see this” or “here’s a nice note from Jane!”
3. Should I reach out to a hiring manager before applying for a job?
I am currently freelancing, but I am considering looking to join a company to have a bit more stability and benefits over the next few years. I am not actively searching for a new role, but a company I really admire and like to work for is hiring for a position that sounds perfect for me. In researching the company, I found that one of the cofounders (who would also be the head of the department I am applying for) and I share a few interests that we both blog about. I am considering trying to connect with him on LinkedIn sending a personal message about our shared interests and my desire to work at the company. In addition to this, the job description is fairly vague and I was considering contacting someone from the company to get a better idea of what the role would entail and what goals they are trying to achieve with the position (it is a new position). However, I don’t want to come off as pushy or overbearing. So my question to you is, do I:
a) Send a LinkedIn connection to the manager at the company with a personal message about our shared interests, while also expressing my interest in applying for the position at the company. Once (if) he accepts, consider asking for an informational interview.
b) Ask directly for an informational interview by emailing the hiring team.
c) Do nothing and just send in the best application I can.
I think it’s also worth noting that the company is very big on candidates being a good fit with the company culture, which was why I was so excited about our shared interests.
Just apply the normal way. If you weren’t applying for a job right now, it would be fine to reach out to him with a message about your shared interests, but when you’re also applying for a job, it’s going to look like you’re just trying to circumvent their normal application process, and most people get annoyed by that.
Don’t ask for an informational interview (same reason as above). And don’t contact anyone there with questions about the role and its goals before you apply; that usually comes off as wasting their time on questions that are better discussed in the interview, if they decide to offer you one.
Just apply and see what happens. (And if it ends up not going anywhere, you can always reach out to the cofounder afterwards and network with him, and that might set up in a stronger position the next time they have an opening. But you can’t do that until this process is over, or it’ll look insincere.)
4. Should I ask for an on-the-spot interview at a store event?
I shop at Sephora a lot, and I’ve ended up become well-acquainted with one of the sales associates. (I’d say friends, but I don’t want to be too forward, since generally we all have to be extra nice in customer service positions.) I asked her about openings and she seemed really excited to tell me they were hiring currently. She talked to her supervisor, who said I should apply online that night (which I did) and had me put her name down in the employee referral spot on the app.
There’s a special event before the rest of the mall opens this Sunday and that sales associate and the main manager will both be there. She said that she would introduce me to the manager, and I was hoping I could ask for an interview. Would that be too forward? I don’t want to just ask for them to pull my application because I haven’t had a job for over a year, I quit it without notice, and it was just Subway.
I really, really want this job. It’s the only job I’m applying to, even if I don’t get it. I don’t necessarily need work, and I’m currently in school. Since I take a lot of online courses, my schedule is pretty open and I’d like something to fill the time. I know this job would be a great fit for me. I’m applying as a cashier, which is one thing I felt I really excelled at while I worked at Subway, I love the employees at this particular Sephora, and I’m really passionate about makeup and sharing products that I love with people.
How can I make a good impression on this manager? Would it be wise to come prepared for an impromptu interview if they happen to offer or accept my request on the spot? Is that common? Would it be a weird to bring a folder with a copy of my resume, references, and maybe a cover letter? I planned to dress similarly to their uniform, full face of makeup, a dress, leggings, and stylish flats, to maybe look like I would “fit the part,” but not be out of place and -too- dressy if nothing came of it.
I wouldn’t ask for an interview on the spot, but I would say this: “Jane told me that you’re currently hiring and I’d love to talk with you about that at some point. I’ve submitted an application online and would love to work here!”
I would then be prepared to be interviewed on the spot in case she offers it, but don’t go in expecting it. But prepared means that yes, coming with a copy of your resume would be great to do. A cover letter isn’t necessary in this context but would probably make a great impression if it’s a good one, and the same goes for a reference list. Good luck.
5. A shower guest asked where her thank-you is
I am insulted that I have been asked by a guest if I sent out a thank-you note from my wedding shower. Is it wrong to feel this way? I feel it to be rude, as I have been sending them out as time goes on. It’s been three months since the shower. I have 150 handwritten thank-you’s to write. Do you find it rude that a person should be asking why she hasn’t received it yet? Is that really the reason why someone should give a gift so she receives a thank you?
This isn’t a workplace question, but it’s Saturday so what the hell, I’ll answer it.
Etiquette experts seem to agree that you should send thank-yous for wedding showers within two to three weeks. So yeah, you’re late.
If your guest asked where her note was, that’s not terribly polite either. Any chance that she’s feeling unappreciated for other reasons? It sounds like the kind of remark someone might make if they thought they saw a pattern of apparent ingratitude or self-centeredness. I have no idea if that’s the case here and I’m not accusing you of that, but it’s worth considering whether there could be something like that going on. Either way, I’d get her note in the mail immediately.
And no, it’s not about giving a gift in order to receive a note, but rather that people want to feel that you cared about them and their gift and it wasn’t just one in a pile that you simply accepted as your due. This person is telling you that she currently feels unappreciated.
forwarding praise to my boss, late thank-you note complaints, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.