am I scaring off job candidates with early morning interview slots, pressure to chip in more money for a gift to our boss, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Am I scaring off job candidates with these interview time slots?

I have been reading through many of the postings at Ask a Manager, and I cam across an old post dealing with an interview time of 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

I am a physician in private practice, and when I need to hire a new employee I have always scheduled interviews around my clinic time. This means that sometimes I will interview a candidate at 7:00 a.m., sometimes during my lunch break at 12:00 p.m., and sometimes after I have finished seeing patients at 4:30 p.m. I have always done this because seeing patients is the only way in which income is generated for my practice, and I am not going to inconvenience patients by rescheduling their visits, in order to do interviews during regular business times.

Is this unreasonable? Am I scaring off potential employees (nurses/medical assistants)?

You’re not going to scare anyone off with the noon or post-4:30 interview times. 7 a.m., possibly — and not just night owls, but also people with child care commitments or other reasons they might not easily be able to interview so early in the morning. At a minimum, I’d say to explain your reasoning (which makes perfect sense, but might not be obvious to people unless you explain it), but ideally you’d make it clear that you can offer a lunch or late-in-the-day slot if they can’t make the early morning one.

2. Coworker is pressuring us all to chip in more money for a gift to our boss

I work for a small company, and this time every year our office takes up a collection that goes towards a gift card or something similar for our owners. It has never been advertised, at least that I know of, how much the collection totals out to and no number has ever been requested. The general understanding is just chip in if you can or want to and it’s given at the holiday party and that’s that.

This year, one of my coworkers apparently got wind of how much had been collected so far and is up in arms about the amount. He has now sent out three different emails detailing what wonderful bosses we have and that the amount collected is a “disgrace.” Each email has been more condescending than the last, and honestly I’m fed up. I gave to the fund and I really feel like he’s crossing the line by continuing to make snarky comments and imply how ungrateful we all are for not giving more to the fund. I think this all comes from him giving more than everyone else, but I also think it’s none of his business what anyone else has done or given. The holiday party is coming up and I’m really at a loss as to what to do here.

Please, please say something. I can almost guarantee you that some of your coworkers are feeling pressured to give more money than they can afford and are feeling really uncomfortable with this guy. Ideally, you should reply-all to one of his pushy emails and say something like this: “Please stop pressuring people to contribute to this. I’m sure people gave what they could afford and were inclined to contribute, and we should not be pressuring people to give more of their personal money than they felt comfortable giving.”

And then if you really want bonus points from grateful coworkers, you could add, “For what it’s worth, etiquette experts say that employees shouldn’t ‘gift up’ to their managers at all; it’s considered in poor taste because of the power dynamic in the relationship.” And then you could link them to this and/or this.

3. Can I ethically sell a prize I won in a company fundraiser?

My company does an annual fundraiser for a large charity org. To encourage people to participate, they automatically enter people into a raffle to win prizes if they pledge by a certain date. Evidently I won a prize valued at $1,000 but really I don’t need it (it’s nice but not something I need), but I suppose we will use it.

I feel like the right thing to do is say give it to someone who would find more use for it, but I’m tempted to sell it for half price to a family member or friend and just get some cash for it (and most likely keep it myself … or maybe increase my donation pledge with a fraction of it).

Is it ethical to sell the prize and keep the money? I don’t think anyone is going to ask me next summer how I like the item or ask me to talk about it in some company news story, so I guess no one will know. I didn’t ask to be entered in the raffle, so it’s not like I was out to get the prize. It feels like one of those things where if you ask yourself if it’s ethical than it’s probably not.

I think that once you’ve won it, it’s yours to do with as you like. It would certainly be kind of you to offer it to someone who would be more excited to have it, but I don’t think you have an ethical obligation to do that. You won it, it’s yours, and you can do with it what you’d like.

4. Contact is being too pushy about a job she wants me to apply for

I was recently approached via my work email by a former colleague, Gina (not her real name) about a position open at her new employer. I was not looking to leave leave my current job, where I enjoy great benefits and good pay, but I was intrigued. Although it’s a smaller company, it would be a title and pay bump and reduce my commute by 90%. However, I’m not sure if I would be the best fit as the posting asks for two more years of experience than I have, and requires expertise in a niche field that I have absolutely no knowledge of. Regardless, I figured I would take Gina up on her offer and at least apply.

I’m now turned off from the job — mainly from Gina’s pushiness! I took almost 24 hours to reply to her initial email as I was at work and did not want to do job searching on the clock, so she texted me. I responded that morning and said I would work on the application over the holiday. It’s taking me awhile to put together a resume and cover letter since I was not actually searching for a new job, which I thought she would understand. She has since emailed my personal email address twice and my work email once more, all over the past week of Thanksgiving!

The eagerness makes me think this will continue to get in the way of the work I am currently doing especially as we enter one of our busiest times of the year. And since I’m not that interested in the job anyway, I feel like it’s going to become more of a burden instead of an opportunity. I’d like to keep a good rapport with Gina as she thinks I’m talented and has been in our industry for quite sometime and she would make an excellent reference down the road. Should I continue to apply and try dodge Gina’s constant emails? Should I respectively bow out and explain now is not a good time?

If you’re resolved on definitely not pursuing that, it’s fine to just say something like, “I really appreciate you approaching me about this. I’ve realized that I’m not ready to move on from my current job just yet, but I’ll definitely give you a heads-up if that changes in the future.” (Or if her pushiness has turned you off to the point that you don’t want to say that last part, you could just change that to “but I’m so grateful that you thought of me.”)

However, if you’d still be interested in applying if she stopped pressuring you, you could instead say this: “I’m definitely interested, but I’m in a busy period at work and don’t think I’ll have time to put together a resume and cover letter for another week or so. If that’s too late, I understand.”

5. HR manager says dog-sitting for me would be a conflict of interest

I recently discovered our HR manager is a dog-sitter. I’m a seasonal employee yearly. HR says he can’t dog-sit for me because of conflict of interest. Would this be true?

It certainly could be. Lots of people prefer not to perform outside work for coworkers (like dog-sitting, house-sitting, hair-cutting, working on their car, or whatever) because of the potential for problems. For example, if you have a dispute over your dog’s care or over payment, that’s the kind of thing that can easily impact your relationship at work — so many people prefer to forego any possibility of that kind of messiness.

Your company may even have a rule that would prevent the HR person from doing outside business with employees, for exactly these reasons. Even if the rule doesn’t apply throughout the company, it could be specific to HR and to managers.

am I scaring off job candidates with early morning interview slots, pressure to chip in more money for a gift to our boss, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.


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November 29, 2016 at 03:09PM