Help Is On the Way: How to Save a Bad Job Interview

by Evil HR Lady on November 5, 2015

If you read job hunting tips, they’ll tell you that the first impression is the most important thing in the world and that hiring managers often make the decision within the first 30 seconds.

So, if you trip while walking in or have lipstick on your teeth, forget it, right? And if you say something wrong, you can just turn around and walk out of the interview because you are finished. It’s not actually as bad as it seems. You don’t have to be perfect to land the perfect job.

Here are five ideas to save a job interview that has gone bad.


Whenever I write about the problems Millennials face at work, I get emails from people saying “stop blaming Millennials.” I’m not blaming Millennials. I’m blaming their parents for being overbearing twits. LinkedIn is sponsoring LinkedIn Bring in Your Parents Day. I’m here to tell you, don’t do it. Just say no.

Look, you had no choice when your mom showed up to your prom to make sure her baby was OK, but you do have a choice now. Here’s the deal. Your parents do not belong at your job.

See, LinkedIn believes that because two-thirds of people wish their parents would give them more career advice than they do, the solution is to bring mom and dad into the office so they can learn about your job.

To keep reading, click here: Millennials: No Matter What LinkedIn Says, Your Mom Does Not Belong at Your Office


MI6 is the British secret intelligence made famous by their “employee” James Bond. There’s pretty much nothing Bond can’t do, with a martini in one hand and a beautiful woman on his arm, except for actually work at MI6. They’d never hire him-not in a million years. Why? He lacks the emotional intelligence.

Bond, who works alone (unless you count the decidedly non-spy women), has thewrong personality for intelligence work. He’s an independent type and the intelligence field is highly team based. MI6 Agents “Kristy” and “Kamal” spoke withThe Telegraph about what MI6 really looks for in Agents.

The most important skill, it seems is the ability to build relationships. (Not those kind of relationships.) That requires people skills that Bond seems to lack. What people do they build relationships with? Well, the real spies.

To keep reading, click here: What the MI6 Looks for in New Recruits (Hint: James Bond Need Not Apply)


I got an email yesterday from a reader who wanted to know how she should explain why she’s quit three jobs in the past year. Her reason for quitting each job was the same—her boss was a bully.

Now, it’s possible that she had really, really, really bad luck and encountered three bully bosses three times in a row, but more than likely there’s something going on. If you’re encountering lots of problems regularly, the common theme is you.

Here are some signs that you’re at fault.

1. Everyone Bullies You

It would be totally awesome if everyone were super nice all the time, but that isn’t reality. If you’re always the target of the bully, there are two possibilities.

One is that you have some trait that bullies find super attractive. While this doesn’t make the bullying your fault, there is something you can do about it. Ask your friends for their suggestions and consider therapy to learn skills that will keep you from being so vulnerable.

The other possibility is that you’re way too sensitive. Bosses are supposed to tell you what to do and correct your errors. That’s not bullying, that’s managing.


6 Reasons You Don’t Want to Quit Without a New Job

by Evil HR Lady on October 28, 2015

Your boss drives you crazy. Or the hours are utterly ridiculous. Or, maybe, you have the co-worker from hell, and the boss won’t do anything about it. Whatever it is, you’ve decided that you can’t take one more minute, and you quit without a new job lined up. No problem. You’re a good saver, and you have a bit of cash stored up. Surely you can find a new job with no problem, right?

Well, unless your actual health is truly in danger (physical or mental), quitting without a new job lined up is a bad, bad, bad idea. Here are five reasons why.

1. Let’s talk references. For most background checks when you say, “Don’t contact my current employer” the recruiter will respect that. Most people don’t tell their bosses they are job hunting. So, this raises no red flags. However, if you’ve quit your last job because your boss was a nightmare, and you say, “please don’t contact,” it’s going to raise all sorts of red flags. Why not? And, there’s no law preventing the recruiter from not contacting your former employer anywhere. Do you really want the person you hate with a burning passion (and who probably doesn’t care much for you) to be your most important reference? Because your most recent job is always your most important reference.

To keep reading, click here: 6 Reasons You Don’t Want to Quit Without a New Job


Sesame Street is adding a new character-Julia, a Muppet character who has Autism. Sesame Street realizes that, for whatever reason, the percent of children with Autism has risen from what it was when Sesame Street began over 40 years ago. The thing is, children with Autism don’t stay children, they grow into adulthood and as they do, most will need jobs.

So, let’s talk about diversity. We HR types love to talk about diversity. We have “Diversity Officers” and we post all our job descriptions with “Company X is an Equal Opportunity Employer.” But, then we write articles like this one: Job Seekers: Avoid These 7 Nonverbal Mistakes In Job Interviews. Now, her ideas are good ones and you should pay attention to them, but note how they’d affect the chances of a person with autism getting the job.

To keep reading click here: What Sesame Street’s Newest Muppet Says About Workplace Diversity


Do I have to pay an employee who works through lunch?

by Evil HR Lady on October 21, 2015

I have a non-exempt employee who misses a lot of time for doctors, dentists appointments and child appointments. She said she won’t take a lunch and will just leave an hour early for her appointments. Therefore, she expects to get paid for 8 hours because she did not take a lunch. I was told by our HR person we must allow her to do this because it is for medical appointments. Is this accurate? I thought non-exempt employees only get paid for hours worked. Also, these appointments are not for a major medical issue.

She absolutely, positively, must be paid for all hours worked. So if she skips lunch and leaves an hour early she still must be paid for working through lunch. If she worked, she must be paid, and your HR manager is an idiot if she thinks an employee can work through lunch and not get paid.

Let me reiterate this. IF A NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEE IS WORKING YOU MUST PAY FOR THAT TIME. This does not change if you said, “Under no circumstances should you work during your lunch period.” You can fire her for working during lunch, but you must pay her for the work. Clear?

Okay, so now to your specific problem. You have an employee with a lot of medical appointments that are “not a major medical issue.” I’m going to take that to mean that she doesn’t qualify for FMLA or accommodations under ADA. If she does, this is the wrong answer.

What can you do?

You can tell your employee absolutely, positively, no more doctor appointments during the work day. She is scheduled to work from 8:00 to 5:00 with a lunch from 12:00 to 1:00. If she can’t get everything done around that schedule you will fire her. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Who cares if what isn’t major to you is major to her? It’s not life and death, therefore, she must work, work, work! All doctors are willing to meet with patients between 12:00 and 1:00, right? It’s totally easy to get appointments then anyway.

You can do this. It’s a horrible way to run an office. Your employees (all of them!) will grow to hate you. But, hey, you can do this.

What should you do?

Well, this is a better question, isn’t it? First of all, does your state law require lunch breaks for non-exempt employees? If it does, you will need to comply with that law. Some states, for instance, require that breaks be taken after a certain number of hours worked. If that’s the case, she can’t come in at 8:00, work straight to 4:00 and then go home. While she’s willingly doing the work, the law doesn’t care–the business is liable. You’ll have to tell her that you’re terribly sorry, but the law requires she take a break during this time window and she’ll have to either schedule her appointments during this window, or she’ll have to use PTO to cover that time.

If breaks are mandated, you can also allow her to make up the time within the same week (or same day, if your state starts counting overtime after 8 hours in one day). So, if she needs two hours for an appointment on Tuesday, she can work late on Wednesday and Thursday to make up for those two hours.

If breaks aren’t required, you need to evaluate if her less than traditional approach to the work day is a real problem. It may be. For instance, if she’s the receptionist, someone has to cover the front desk when she’s gone. That means a weird schedule can be difficult to accommodate. Additionally, if she’s not getting her work done, or she’s saying she’s “working through lunch” but what she’s really doing is eating at her desk while watching YouTube videos, you can absolutely put an end to this. But, you’re not putting an end to it for the sake of adhering to policy. You’re putting an end to it because it’s not working for the business.

There is a distinct difference here. Policy is great, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists to help the business comply with the law and to help the business be successful. If this n0n-exempt employee’s appointments really are excessive and are actually for pedicures rather than doctor’s appointments, then I’d have the following conversation with her:

You: Jane, you’ve been gone for a lot of appointments lately. Is everything okay?

Jane: Yeah. I’m just trying to get my toenails shaped properly for my winter vacation to Costa Rica.

You: It’s critical that you’re in the office during your regularly scheduled hours. We can’t accommodate all these changes to your schedule. I need you to be here, and I need you to take your break during the regular lunch hour. If you need an exception, I need to approve it.

But, what if Jane’s answer to your question “Is everything okay?” is different.

Jane: Yeah, it’s fine. Just a bunch of doctor’s appointments. Perils of getting old, I guess!

This is an indication that she doesn’t want to share what her problem is and she shouldn’t need to. There are tons of things that require regular appointments that don’t qualify for FMLA or ADA accommodations. For instance, she may be in physical therapy. She may be in cognitive therapy. She may have a regular chiropractor appointment. She might need  allergy shots. She might be trying to get pregnant using IVF. There are about a zillion other things that she miht truly need time off for, but that she doesn’t want to bring the boss in on. I mean, “My husband had an affair and we’re trying to get through this and I have an individual therapy appointment every week and couples counseling every other week and that’s why I’m gone so much,” isn’t the type of things many people want to share with their boss.

If her need is genuine (and absent other information you need to assume it is), and the business can reasonably accommodate it and her performance is good, I’d tell your HR person to stick it in her ear and let Jane work out her issues the way she has been. She’s still working 8 hours every day, and she must be paid for those 8 hours.

If you can’t accommodate her, it’s perfectly fine to say, “Jane, I totally understand where you’re coming from. However, your job requires you to be onsite for regular hours. I’m happy to work with you to figure out a solution, but I need to approve any change to your schedule in advance.”


10 Emails Smart Managers Never Send

by Evil HR Lady on October 19, 2015

I love email. It’s my preferred method of communication for many things-it builds a record, it documents the entire conversation, and it doesn’t require interruptions. I’ll send you an email when I have time, and you send one back when you have time. But, the very thing that makes email fabulous can also make it a pitfall. There are things you should probably never, ever say, but you should really never, ever, ever write them in an email.

1. That candidate is too fat/accented/gay/black/white/whatever. Remember, emails are discoverable in a lawsuit. Additionally, people have a bad habit of accidentally sending confidential emails on to the wrong person. You should never consider any of the above when hiring and writing anything down that even hints that that is a consideration can land your company in a whole lot of hot water. While weight isn’t a protected class in most places, it is in some, and regardless, the question is can the person do the job?

To keep reading, click here: 10 Emails Smart Managers Never Send


Yes, Dating is Important to Your Career

by Evil HR Lady on October 14, 2015

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech as part of the #62MillionGirls Initiative. She talked about how critical education is for women. This is absolutely true. In much of the world, girls are denied education or are limited in their education by law and culture.

She’s speaking about a worldwide problem in front of an audience that also has problems with education, but not because of their gender. In fact, in the United States, boys are less likely than girls to finish high school, go to college, and even get doctoral degrees. She warned girls not to spend too much time worrying about boys. This is sound counsel for the junior high school crowd, but terrible advice for the college age group. When you’re 12 or even 16, you can easily make your life much harder than it needs to be by focusing your efforts on the opposite sex.

But, when you’re in college, dating should be a priority if you want a successful career. I realize that seems utterly ridiculous and antithetical to the pursuit of a career. However, a Harvard study found that it’s not the kids that put women behind in their careers, it’s that they put their husband’s career first.

To keep reading, click here: Yes, Dating is Important to Your Career


Can a Free Spirit Survive in an Office Environment?

by Evil HR Lady on October 14, 2015

When you were in school, was the teacher constantly saying, “Sit down!” or “Keep your hands to yourself!” or “Go sit in the hallway until you’re ready to do your work?”

Or, were you the kid that colored the sky purple and the grass yellow and generally made drove your teacher up the wall by your inability to follow directions? You could, of course, follow directions, but you chose not to.

Some people grow out of this by the adulthood, and the lucky ones keep that free spirit. There’s no moral reason a picture needs to be colored a certain way, and it’s only convention that tells us the best way to work is to sit at a desk.

It can be difficult for someone who focuses on results to work in an office where facetime and rule following seem to be the keys to success. Here are some hints for surviving an office environment. Here are six tips for surviving and thriving in an office.

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