And The Winner Is…Hiring Like Miss America

by Evil HR Lady on September 17, 2014

Going on a job interview is a lot like participating in a beauty pageant, but it absolutely should not be that way.

Last night Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, won the 2015 Miss America Pageant, and joins a small but beautiful group of women to wear the crown. As a child, my sisters and I counted down the days and then hours until the pageant, and my mom even let us stay up late to watch it. We had deep discussions about how Miss America was preferable to the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants because, by golly, Miss America didn’t just have to look pretty, she had to have a talent.

As an adult, I still like the fancy dresses, but the whole process makes me cringe. Not because I’m opposed to beauty pageants–if that’s your thing, go for it–but because it reminds me far too much of job interviews. The Pageant format may be the best way to find a beauty queen who can give smart sounding sound bites, but it’s not the best way to hire. Here are the mistakes you may be making.

To continue reading: And the Winner Is…Hiring Like Miss America


Employee surveys are awesome. You can find out what your employees are thinking. But today’s Bad Boss of the Week? He shouldn’t have asked. Here is what happened:

I, and everyone in my department is salaried exempt. We all have at least 20 years experience and advance degrees. Every year the company does a “company morale survey.”

The survey is supposed to be anonymous, but I’m guessing everyone in my group gave bad comments, because since the results were released, the boss has been an absolute jerk to everyone.

So, yesterday he sent out an email requiring everyone to be at work in the office from 8-5:30 every day. My offer letter (from four years ago) states 8:30-5:00. I had breakfast meetings with clients starting at 7:00 a.m. but my boss still appeared at my door at 5:25 “checking to make sure I didn’t go home early.”

I have a client dinner, which will last until late, but I’m sure if I’m not in the office at 8:00, he’ll be angry. It’s very demoralizing to be treated like a high school kid when I (and my co-workers) all have 20 or more years of experience and manage literally millions of dollars in our jobs.

Read more:


If there’s food at a meeting, you’ll get higher turnout. OK, I just made that up, but I think a government grant is in order for me to study that very principle, and I suspect that when the results come back indicating that my thesis is correct, everyone will say, “Duh.”

People love free food. And free food has long been a perk of the startup world. But the IRS has started to take note that food that is free to the employee actually costs money. And furthermore, employees need to eat anyway, so if employees are eating at the office, they are saving money by not having to procure their own food, therefore they should be (drum roll, please) taxed on it.

I really wish I were joking. I also hope that The Washington Post is making up this part: “For example, Dyson [a tax attorney working on these food cases] said she’s had the IRS tell her that a bagel is more like a meal than a snack.”

As someone on a perpetual diet, I can see the IRS’s point. A chocolate chip bagel with honey walnut cream cheese from Bruegger’s Bagels comes in at 480 calories. As someone with a clue, I think the IRS is nuts. Just try handing out bagels to your staff members and then forbidding them to eat lunch “because they’ve already eaten!” It will not go over well. (Of course, at least it would be better than what our kids get in public school.)

To keep reading, click here: Free food makes employees happy, so naturally the IRS wants to tax it


Finding the Perfect Fit

by Evil HR Lady on September 15, 2014

About 70 percent of my team are introverts, and all of them were here when I came on board as a manager. They won’t come together to solve problems. We have weekly staff meetings and give everyone an opportunity to speak so we can coordinate and work together, but I get the sense that they don’t have time to involve someone else. In fact, one of my employees told me, “I like to figure things out on my own.” It’s like each one of them lives on an island, and it’s too hard to take their boat over to collaborate. Any advice?

To read the answer, click here: Finding the Perfect Fit


Why Good Leaders Fire People

by Evil HR Lady on September 15, 2014

Can we please just fire people?

Every week I get two or three emails like this one: “I was just told, I must resign by October 1st, due to a policy change. Can they actually do that even if I haven’t seen the new policy hand book? Will I be able to file for unemployment? They’ve even written up a resignation letter for me to sign.”

Why do I get any of these emails? Because this is sleazy, slimy behavior, and it is things like this that give managers and HR their well earned reputation for being untrustworthy, underhanded and mean. I am sure there is more to the story than this. A policy change such as, “all employees must be available for all shifts” (dumb, but I don’t put that past stores) could require someone who is in school part time to leave because she won’t be available 24 hours a day, every day. But, instead of explaining, they say, “New handbook coming you, you need to resign!”

To keep reading, click here: Why Good Leaders Fire People


These internships lead to actual jobs

by Evil HR Lady on September 10, 2014

When you finish school, you want to have a job. The best way to get a job is to have an internship. But, not all internships are created equal. Not all industries are created equal, either. You’re more likely to find a job, period, internship or not, if you’ve trained in certain areas.

So, if you’re a college or high school student (or the parent of one), take into consideration some new research done by LinkedIn that can help show you where to land a job after your internship. Internships are extremely helpful in landing a job. For instance 61 percent of students who had internships have job offers by the end of their senior year, compared with 28 percent of students who skipped the internship.

To keep reading, click here: These internships lead to actual jobs

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What if you’re being pressured to resign?

by Evil HR Lady on September 9, 2014

Sometimes a boss wants to fire an employees, but for some reason he’s not straight-out honest. Instead of saying, “I’m terminating your employment. Today is your last day. Here’s your paperwork, and you will receive your last paycheck in one week,” the boss says, “You have to sign this letter of resignation.”

Take, Stephanie (who didn’t want her full name used). Her boss never hinted that she wasn’t doing a good job, so she was shocked when she was called into his office and told she was being terminated. She writes:

To keep reading, click here: What if you’re being pressured to resign?


Why ‘Wage Theft’ Should Scare You

by Evil HR Lady on September 8, 2014

“Wage theft” has a really scary sound to it. It sounds like some sleazy scheme concocted in smokey back rooms, or perhaps, street thugs hanging out in dark alleys, and stealing paychecks at gun point. What it really is, is underpaying people. For instance, not payingovertime when it’s legally owed.

As a business owner, you should cringe when you hear the term wage theft and you should fight against it. Why? Because, while some people are honestly stealing money from employees by falsifying time cards and such, most people who commit “wage theft” do so accidentally.

How do you accidentally steal wages from your employees? Extremely easily. The law that governs how employees are paid is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It divides people into two classes: exempt employees who are paid the same amount each week, regardless of how many hours they work, and non-exempt employees who are paid for each hour and must be paid overtime when they hit 40 hours in a single week. When that law was written, 76 years ago, it was really, really obvious who was a “worker” and who was a “manager.”

To keep reading, click here: Why ‘Wage Theft’ Should Scare You


Brace Yourself For Gen Z

by Evil HR Lady on September 5, 2014

Right now they are teenagers, and probably buying some of your stuff (if you’re an App maker), but soon they’ll be knocking on your door for internships and jobs. Are you prepared?

Randstad Corporation, in conjunction with Millennial Branding, released a new study today on the differences between Generation Y (ages 21 to 32) and Generation Z (ages 16 to 20). While their responses are interesting, take them with a grain of salt. Gen Z respondents can only guess at their true preferences, as they haven’t been tested in the real workplace. (Outside of the occasional summer job, and the odd genius who has founded her own startup, Gen Z doesn’t have real-life experience.)

Here’s what Randstad says you can look forward to:

To keep reading, click here: Brace Yourself for Gen Z


One of the reasons entrepreneurs start their own businesses is that they are tired of being told what to do. The flip side though, is that once you hire your first employer, you become responsible for your employees. There are a lot of things you can do that you should not do. For instance, you should not have an affair with any of your employees. When you’re the big boss, you need to find romance outside of the office. What happens when a boss breaks this rule? A reader writes:

I have worked for two years in a California company and was an excellent employee. I had no problems with anyone until recently. The boss, who is married, started an affair with a co-worker. What they do off the clock is their business, when it affects the office that’s what got to me. There was complete lack of trying to hide the relationship. She would click in late everyday and go straight to his office and close the door for an hour. She would post on social media when they had outings and brag about him taking her shopping. Other employees were written up for being late 5 minutes (not me) and she could make her own schedule and come and go as she pleased. He made a contest for the office and I won. He stated that she won! When I asked how he said to stop having attitude. I wasn’t. He cursed at me and said I was a problem. He then fired me.

To keep reading, click here: Being the Boss Means You Can Do What You Want