It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. How to answer “Why are you the best person for this job?”
I was once asked in an interview, “Why are you the best person for this job?” I can prepare for some questions, but this was unexpected. Logical me says, how am I supposed to know whether I’m the best person if I don’t know who else is applying? What’s the best response to this?
This is a terribly phrased interview question, since of course you can’t know whether you’re the best candidate for the job or what the rest of their applicant pool looks like. But they’re not really asking that; they’re asking why you’d be great at the job. So mentally rephrase it to that in your head, and talk about why you think you’d excel at it.
2. We don’t get per diem when we travel on business to our home office, although we get it on other trips
I work remotely on a team that is made up of about 30% remote workers. Twice a year, our entire team gets together for a week long on-site meeting to regroup, plan, etc.
Normally, we travel about a week a month and have a per diem of $40 for food. However, when we travel to the home office, we are only allowed to use the per diem on the two travel days (Monday and Friday), and the other days we are supposed to pay for meals out of pocket.
One of my coworkers asked our department head why this was the case and was told that no one was paying for his meals (the department head’s) during the on-site, so why should we be different? The coworker replied that we should as we aren’t going home to a refrigerator full of food every night. The coworker was told to drop it. Does this seem unreasonable to you? If so, can you think of another way to approach this?
Yes, it’s unreasonable. If you’re traveling away from home, it doesn’t matter that you’re traveling to another office of your company. It’s travel. The fact that there are employees who live there doesn’t change the fact that you don’t, and that you’re on travel that whole week, with the accompanying expenses.
If you want to pursue it, I’d approach HR, not your department head, since he’s shown that he’s not open to thinking about it. In approaching HR, I’d say, “Given that we’re incurring the same expenses that we’d be occurring on any other business trip that kept us away from home, would you consider allowing us the same per diem that we’d receive if we were traveling to, say, a client’s site? We’re still without a refrigerator of food to go home to at night.”
3. I was fired because of a false customer complaint
I was terminated today from my position as a store manager at a storage facility. Here’s why: While off the clock and visiting my father in the hospital, I received a call from a rep at the company’s 24-hour customer service hotline. The rep asked me to resolve a customer issue. The customer wasn’t able to access the gate. His PIN code wasn’t working. In speaking with the customer, I realized he was routed to me in error. He should have been routed to the manager of a close-by sister site. He wasn’t my customer so there was little I could do to assist him. I hung up with the customer and informed the appropriate store manager of his need and asked her to follow up and assist him.
Today I learned the customer complained about my inability to help him and lied, saying I advised him to climb the fence to get in, something I would never ever do! I was fired for violating the company safety policy. I was told that my suggestion risked the safety of the customer and the facility. I was given no opportunity to give my side of the story. I was told specifics aren’t important and the decision had been made.
Can an employer terminate me for an incident that happened while I was off the clock and not being paid? And should I have been given the opportunity to explain and prove the customer’s accusations were false? My employer took the customer’s word and based my termination on it.
Yes, you can be fired for work-related incidents that happen while you’re off the clock. (However, if you’re non-exempt, they need to pay you for any work you do, even if it’s outside of your hours. As a manager, you’re probably exempt, but it’s worth mentioning.)
They absolutely should have given you an opportunity to explain what happened, and it’s ridiculous that they didn’t. Legally, they’re not obligated to, so you don’t have much recourse here, although you could certainly try reaching out to your manager and explaining the situation, even if only to negotiate the reference that you get in the future. Sorry this happened to you; it’s BS.
4. Can I put being the executor of a will on my resume?
My father passed away earlier this year, and he named me executor. He left behind a house, multiple accounts, cars, etc. and I (with the help of my wife) have been cleaning out the house, paying his bills, closing/transferring his accounts as necessary, and selling the contents of the house. This estate is still ongoing and I will need to pay taxes on it before the end of the year. I’ve already had to fire one lawyer and retain a second one to help out with this part at least. Is this something that’s worth putting on my resume?
Nope. It’s certainly a lot of work, and you could even argue there might be transferable skills involved, but it doesn’t belong on your resume. In general, attending to family personal matters is inappropriate to include on a resume, regardless of the work involved. (To use another example, if you’d coordinated a massive and complicated trip as part of your job, that might be a highlight worth mentioning, but if you did it for your family reunion, it’s not.)
Part of the reason for this is simply convention, part of it is that you’re not really accountable to anyone (clients, employer, etc.) in doing this type of thing and so theoretically could have done a mediocre job at it and prospective employers have no way to know, and part of it is that it’s the type of thing that so many people will do in the course of their family life that it’s not quite considered resume-worthy.
I’m sorry about your dad.
5. Letting a company I interviewed with know that I’ve accepted another position
You’ve had several posts regarding the reality of how rarely applicants hear back from an employer when they are not offered a position. My question concerns the flip side – the applicant’s responsibility or courteousness to let a potential employer know she is moving on and is no longer interested in the position she applied for. Obviously it doesn’t make sense to follow up like this for every application, but what about those for which you’ve interviewed?
My particular situation is that I received an offer for a position which was my first choice, but the paperwork/offer letter/contract was still in the works. During that interim, I interviewed for another position, which was my second choice. At the end of the interview, we discussed their timeline and when I might expect to hear from them. I followed up with a thank-you email and received a personal and typical response from them. It has now been more than seven weeks since they expected to make a decision and I haven’t heard anything more, yet through my network I have heard they are just “slow to fill the position.” I would potentially like to work with this employer in three to five years from now. The paperwork has gone through for my first choice and I will be taking that position. It seems courteous to close the hiring process with the other employer by taking myself out of consideration, but I would like to do that in a way which keeps the bridge open for the future and without sounding snooty. Any suggestions on appropriate wording?
“Thanks so much for talking with me about the ___ position in August. I wanted to let you know that I’ve accepted another position so need to withdraw from your process. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with you and think the work you’re doing is (fascinating/exciting/something I’d love to be a part of down the road). Best of luck in filling the role, and I hope our paths might cross again in the future!”
That said, since they’ve let seven weeks go by without being in contact, you’re really not obligated to do this. That’s enough time that it would be reasonable to assume that they’d moved on without other candidates without bothering to tell you (and if you hadn’t heard otherwise through your network, it would be a decent bet, given how common it is for employers to do that), and in that case you wouldn’t owe them an update. But particularly since this is a company that you might be interested in working with in the future, a quick email like this could be a nice closing of the loop.
fired because of a false complaint, how to answer “Why are you the best person for this job?” was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.