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Monday, January 31, 2011

8 Simple Ways to Customize Your Resume

This is the first in a 3 part series on resumes for this week.

If you have resisted customizing your resume because it's too much work, try these 8 Simple Ways to Customize Your Resume.

Gah, that sounds like spam. And then you've won the British Lottery! Just send me your name, email adress, password and social security number and I'll send you your winnings!!!!

Seriously, just read the post on resumes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Honestly, I'm Willing to Work for Less Money

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was laid off in August and my last salary as a legal secretary was $68k. I am willing to work for less ($45+) as the job market has changed. I think I am still looking because employers would prefer to hire someone who’s current/last salary is/was below their range or closer. How do I convince an employer that I’m not a “flight risk” or exactly how should this situation be handled?


Honestly, I'm Willing to Work for Less Money

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

9 to 5

I thought maybe in your expertise you could answer a question that has bugged me for years. I hear the phrase “nine to five job” or “working nine to five” all the time. I see it on the internet and hear it in movies and on TV. Dolly Pardon even wrote a song about it. But I have never in my life known anyone to work those hours. Everyone with a standard Monday through Friday job works eight to five, not nine to five. (Or sometimes, for those with a half-hour lunch, it’s 8:30 to 5:00 or 8:00 to 4:30.) Salaried or non-salaried, government or private, I honestly have never met a soul that worked a 35-hour week doing 9:00 to 5:00. So, how come I’m hearing about it all the time? Is the phrase a hold-over from some time in the past? (Maybe we used to work fewer hours decades ago?) Is it a regional thing? (I’ve only ever lived in Oklahoma and Oregon—perhaps all the east coasters are slacking off?) I have tried to search the internet for an answer, but to no avail. In fact, usually an internet search of the meaning of the phrase talks about it being the “standard” or “typical” or “traditional” shift in the US. Um, really? How can that be typical or standard if no one works those hours? Further muddying the issue is that many sources (even Wikipedia) call this shift the usual “40 hour week”. So, are these elusive nine-to-fivers skipping lunch? I’m so confused!



I know this isn’t quite along the lines of your normal topic, but it is does seem like an HR question and I thought that since I found it interesting maybe other readers would also.


All my expertise in this area centers around the fact that I did, once, have a 9 to 5 job. It was a 37.5 hours work week with 30 minutes for lunch. Yeah! Then corporate decided this was bad and bumped all the sites up to 40 hours a week (with no raise for the exempt employees), but (get this) kept the corporate offices at 37.5 hours a week.

I think this is largely a NYC metro thing, but I could be wrong. My readers, collectively, know everything, so I throw it out to you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Job Interview or Bake-off?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’m in the creative field, and recently been asked as part of a job interview to produce layouts for the prospective client. The work is not paid, and several applicants are competing with each other; a bake-off type of situation. Since this usually means anywhere from 2-4 days of work (researching the story, production, fonts, photographs, online components, assembling all of the elements and compiling into a coherent design) I feel its is a lot to expect and quite frankly, insulting that a work history, recommendations, and past portfolio of work is not enough to base the selection on. I am tempted to refuse, even if it means I will not be considered. It feels like they think I’ve exaggerated what my role was on my portfolio.

One thing has become painfully obvious after this type of encounter, is that despite the best intentions of the applicant to stay upbeat, the bridge is effectively burned: you will never hear from the hiring manager again. I suspect the guilt they feel from asking for free work and then declining precludes them from ever contacting the applicant again. The sense of truly wasting your time is palpable. What’s your opinion?


Job Interview or Bake-off?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Caution: Bad Career Advice Ahead

Have you ever heard some bad career advice? Followed it and found out that that wasn't such a good idea in the first place? These people were served up some terrible advice. They didn't listen, and now you've been warned. Prepare yourself for some bad advice.

Caution: Bad Career Advice Ahead

(A note to my wonderful readers: These are all taken from my bad advice dress contest. So, nothing new and exciting, although some have additional information, so I encourage you to read it. And, I wanted to include a lot more of you but didn't for 2 reasons. 1. I had no way to contact most of you and 2. limited space.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Do I Have to Interview For an Internal Promotion?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have been with my company for several years, and I am now up for a promotion. The job description is a perfect fit for my career path, and came from discussions with my supervisor about my career goals and the needs of the company.

Then in a twist I wasn’t expecting, the position was posted as a new position. Instead of being promoted directly to it, I was encouraged to apply for it like everyone else. Outside candidates will also be considered, but company policy gives “preference” to internal candidates when all other things are equal.

My question is two-fold:

1. Is this a normal way of doing things? This job description was tailor-made for me, and it seems odd that the company would go through a full recruitment process with outside candidates and all.

2. Since I am going to be interviewing for this new position, how much of typical interview advice still applies? The hiring manager is my current manager, who already knows all my strengths and shortcomings. He already knows what skills I have and what skills I will be able to learn. He already knows how I fit in with the company culture, how I get along with my co-workers, and how well I understand our business. What advice do you have for a situation like this?


Why Do I Have to Interview For an Internal Promotion?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Snow Storms: Should You Make Your Employees Come to Work?

It's a snowy mess outside and you're the boss. Should you require everyone to come into the office? Here are 5 things to help you make that decisions.

Winter Snow Storms: Should You Make Your Employees Come to Work?

How to Deal with Salary History Questions

Here’s a question that should be illegal and is definitely unethical. “What is your salary history?” I think companies have a lot of. . . nerve to ask what you have been paid in the past. Isn’t this confidential information between an employee and previous employers? I’d like to hear what other people on this board think about this subject or better yet, a story on BNET about this practice. I won’t be providing this answer in the future and I will be letting the company know that it is none of their business.

How to Deal with Salary History Questions

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unstable Employees at Work

I've been reading about the Arizona shootings and was especially interested with the emails from one of the shooter's classmates--about how he was sure the guy was dangerous. And I thought, what could a company do in a situation where an employee was showing signs of instability? I didn't know, so I asked my favorite labor and employment lawer, Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer's Law Blog.

Jon answered my question regarding here: Unstable Employees at Work

I added some additional thoughts and more information about this at What Can a Company do with a Dangerous Employee?

Managers: Are You Spying On Your Employees?

Have you ever called in sick when you were perfectly healthy? Of course not. You would never do that. You love going to work and would never lie. It’s those darn employees of yours who are claiming illness while mountain climbing.

Companies, according to Business Week, are hiring private detectives to track down people who are lying about why they aren’t at work. Good, let’s get those weasely employees back on task, right?

Which brings me to a question: What kind of organization are you running that people feel the only way to get a day off is to lie about it?

read more at Managers: Are You Spying On Your Employees?

Friday, January 07, 2011

American Bar Association: Think Twice About Law School

The American Bar Association has posted a warning about getting a law degree on their website.
Far too many law students expect that earning a law degree will solve their financial problems for life. In reality, however, attending law school can become a financial burden for law students who fail to consider carefully the financial implications of their decision.

Read more about why graduate school may not be the best choice.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Employment Background Checks: What They’re Really Looking For

No one cares what Web sites you've visited, but a prospective employer does care about your judgment, public image and felonies.

Employment Background Checks: What They’re Really Looking For

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Resolutions For Your Career

It's the perfect time to make changes in your career. These 10 little things will help you have a successful 2011.

New Year's Resolutions For Your Career

My Former Manager Broke His Promise

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was recently laid off from my job at a major corporation. My manager made many promises to HR and me about helping me find a new job, providing a good recommendation, a list of contacts, etc. But I have never heard from him again, even after many polite attempts to contact him for help. I think this is the cruelest thing anyone has ever done to me.

After being let go, I have received many recommendations from co-workers praising my hard work and positive attitude. Even my ex-manger would readily agree that I worked very hard and always with a positive attitude. But although my ex-manager is the only one I have specifically asked for help, he is the only one who has never responded to my requests.

As I work through the rejection of being laid off and look for a new job, I want to put this issue behind me, but I struggle to think how anyone can be so heartless. Is it worthwhile to report this issue to the HR department of my old company, or should I just try to learn from this experience and move on?’


Read the answer at My Former Manager Broke His Promise