interviewing with blue or pink hair, building staff damaged my bookcase, and more — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

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

1. Interviewing with blue or pink hair

In the last few years, I have started coloring my hair bright colors (blue, pink, green, etc.). I have always felt self-conscious about my hair, and the colors now make me feel much better about it. Also, I just love bright colors and I enjoy presenting myself to the world this way. I get a lot of compliments on my hair, including from people at work. Given that I work in quite a formal environment in a corporate accounting firm, I have been surprised and pleased to find that the colorful hair has not been a problem and my bosses just go with it. I attend plenty of meetings with clients, and no one externally or internally has suggested I’m putting people off. That said, I hadn’t yet found my way to colorful hair when I first started, and so I’m not sure how they would have reacted if I showed up this way in my interview.

Which leads me to my question. When I eventually move firms, do I change my hair back for the interview process? I don’t really like this idea, because it feels fraudulent (given that I will be planning to bring back the colorful hair in due course). I also feel like I am more likely to find an office that is the right fit for me if I present myself honestly. Then again, while I don’t mind putting off a few interviewers, I do want to get at least some job offers, so if the hair will likely put everyone off, then it will have to go I suppose. So in this day and age, is it an absolute no-no to show up to an interview with wacky hair colors? Or will interviewers take this in stride as an inoffensive personal quirk, if I am otherwise dressed in neat corporate attire and act like a normal person?

No, green, pink, or blue hair is not an absolute no-go in an interview the way it used to be for many jobs. It’s become much more accepted and much more commonplace. You will still find some people who think it’s too out there (or who believe it will be too out there for their clients) and won’t want to hire you because of it, but plenty of people won’t care and will even like it. The math does change in more conservative fields, but that’s evolving too. (And frustratingly, there are places that are fine with colorful hair once they know and like you because you’ve worked there a while, but would still judge someone for showing up to an interview with it. Those places are also becoming less common though.)

As for what to do, it’s a question of both risk management and screening. On the screening side, if you want to be sure you end up somewhere that will be fine with colorful hair after you start, having it in the interview is a really good way to screen for that. On the other hand, on the risk management side, are you willing to risk getting fewer offers because of it? Some people’s answer to that would be a resounding “yes” and others would answer “no.” I tend to think that if you’re reasonably confident that you’re an appealing candidate with options, you should show up as who you are and see what happens.

2. Building staff damaged my bookcase

My organization recently leased an office for me in an office building of a group tangentially related to ours. I wasn’t given much of a budget for furniture, so I brought in a few of my own items. One of them was a barrister bookcase that was my great-grandfather’s, over 100 years old.

I asked the building’s maintenance staff to hang some artwork for me, which they did, but they used the top of the bookcase as a workspace and carelessly scratched it with nails and screws. The damage is minimal but certainly noticeable.

Part of me realizes that this is the risk of bringing old furniture into an office, but I’m very upset. This was an unforced error, and something that could’ve been avoided if the staff had spent a few seconds putting a cloth down or using a different surface. Am I out of line in asking for some recompense — a simple repair or the like?

Yeah, I wouldn’t. If you have a good relationship with the maintenance staff, you could mention what happened and ask if they have advice on repairing it and maybe they’ll offer to take care of it themselves … but I wouldn’t ask or expect them to do it themselves, since it really is the risk you take when bringing in your own furniture.

In general, I’d say not to store anything at work that’s really valuable to you unless you’re wiling to risk something happening to it.

3. New chair sends non-urgent texts in my off hours

I am a teacher and have a new department chair this year. She is young and very eager. She repeatedly texts me about non-urgent issues on weekends and on school breaks. The content of these messages are never urgent. For example: “I emailed you the completed performance objectives” or “I just finished creating our first unit test and emailed it to you.” These are small items that don’t need to be communicated urgently outside of work hours, but it almost feels as if she wants to remind me that she is working on a Sunday or during vacation since she is a good employee. This feels intrusive in a time that should be away from work. Am I being sensitive? How do I respond to this without sounding like a jerk?

You’re not being overly sensitive. She shouldn’t be texting you outside of work hours unless it’s truly urgent and time-sensitive. Texting you to tell you she emailed something that can easily wait until you’re back at work is ridiculous.

Say this to her: “I try to disconnect from work during our off-hours, so can I ask you to email rather than text unless something is truly urgent? Emailing it is great and I’ll see it when I’m back in work mode.” Consider encouraging your colleagues to say something similar.

4. Do you need to have a documented accommodation in order to sue?

Someone on my team was fired recently (let’s call her Cassandra), and apparently it took a long time to do because HR was worried she would sue. Cassandra had been on a PIP and didn’t meet expectations, but she has a chronic condition and was missing a lot of work because of it. My understanding is that she wasn’t using her PTO to call out, which would have been fine — she just wasn’t showing up or working full days. But HR thought that because Cassandra missing work was linked to this chronic condition, she could sue for discrimination if that was given as a reason they gave for firing her. I don’t know if Cassandra had documented this condition as a disability or if it was just common knowledge, or if she asked for any accommodations. But if she never asked for accommodations of any kind, would a lawsuit actually hold up?

Potentially, yes. If an employer knows an employee has a disability and knows or should know that the employee is experiencing workplace problems because of the disability, the employee is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It sounds like your employer knew Cassandra was missing work at least in part because of her medical condition, so yes, the ADA would have been in play. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t still hold her to reasonable standards like “you need to alert us if you’re not coming in or you’re leaving early.” But it does mean your company wasn’t wrong to want to navigate it carefully. They might have navigated it too carefully — which isn’t uncommon when there’s a disability in play — but that’s hard to say without knowing more.

5. An employer that ghosted me wants me to interview again

About a year and a half ago, I interviewed with a company that I was eager to work for at the time. After the first two interviews went well, they reached out asking to schedule a third interview. I responded immediately to schedule the next round, but the company completely ghosted me. I sent professional follow-up emails to both the recruiter and the director I had previously interviewed with but got no response from either. I moved on, frustrated, but luckily found a new role on a different team at the same company where I was already working.

Cut to yesterday when I received an email from the same company I interviewed with previously. It was even from the same recruiter! She is looking to fill some new roles. I did see they have a new director as of about eight months ago. I’m not actively looking for a new job, but would consider something if it was the right fit and compensation. Should I tell the recruiter that their previous ghosting experience makes me hesitant to interview with them again? Or should I let sleeping dogs lie and move on?

I would love to say yes because employers need to hear that there are consequences for how they treat people … but realistically, ghosting is so, so common in hiring that they’re likely to think you’re being overly sensitive or a prima donna. To be clear, you’re not; that behavior is rude. But it’s standard practice for so many employers that it’s tough to raise without risking them just finding you annoying.

It’s easier if you’re definitely not interested in interviewing with them ever again. In that case you could say, “We were in talks about 18 months ago and we were supposed to schedule a third interview but I never heard back and no one responded to my attempts to reach you. It didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth, so I’m going to pass this time.” I suppose if you are open to interviewing again, you could replace that last sentence with, “Can I ask what happened before we restart the process?” But honestly, even if they apologize and say it was an oversight, that still might not affect whether it happens again.

can I tell a recruiter how rude it was to ghost me after my interview?

Source link

Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. Don’t miss out – start your journey to success today!

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

Skip to content