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TURNING EMPLOYER WRONGS INTO EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

*At this time, we are only conducting phone consultations, please no walk-ins.

Today we go off the track of “what’s the law on that” and talk a bit more about employment interviews and what you can expect to be asked in your next job interview…

These tips are taken from a recent Wall Street Journal article on the subject of inept hiring managers and interviewers. Some of the criticisms they’ve heard are interrupting interviews to answer phone calls, failing to take notes, talking down about their own companies, asking “gotcha” questions and otherwise
asking illegal questions.

It is perfectly ok to be asked if you are interviewing at other companies and if the company you are interviewing at, extended an interview, if you would accept it. Some of the more noteworthy interview questions are as follows. There’s a right way and a wrong way to ask you.

For example, you parents out there can not (legally) be asked if you have children. But, it is ok to inquire if you have the time available to do the job, or would you be able to work the hours the job requires. As we warn our clients in deposition, you are only required to say yes or no, but it might be nice if you researched the job first, perhaps talked to someone already in it or a very similar job, and asked them how much time it took. Does the job involve travel? Would you be able to take care of your children, say, by placing them
with relatives? Just be ready for the inquiry.

Rather than asking you about your current position, be ready for the interviewer to ask you to tell them about a recent day on the job. What did you do? “Walk me through a typical day at your present
position.” Think about job duties you do regularly that are the same as at the new company.

The old-school was to ask about the types of people you have trouble working with. No more. Today, you are more likely to be asked about a recent, specific conflict and how you handled it. There is no “right”
answer, except to remind you that most employers don’t like to see blame-shifting;they do like to see cooperation, an attempt to work out difficulties, and escalation to higher management only if the problem
can’t be sorted out between you and your co worker. If the conflict was in fact your fault, perhaps you can tell the interviewer what you learned and how you’ve changed.

Finally, its not uncommon to want to know what your career objectives are so that the company knows whether they can offer you the career ladder you seek. Instead of (old school) asking where you see yourself in five years, be prepared for your employer to ask you how the position fits into your long range career objectives. Hopefully, you’ll recall that most employers are not looking for short-term
employees, especially considering the cost of advertising, filling, training and managing new employees until they “get” the corporate culture.

At the end of the day, YOU are interviewing your potential employer as well. How interested in YOU does the company appear to be? You should have done about 75% of the talking and they should be learning about you. Hopefully, you came to the interview (which, in our representation of thousands of California employees, we ask them to research their potential new company carefully) prepared to mention
how you solved a similar problem at your old company, suggested ways to redo the job description to more accurately describe the position, thus avoiding “wrong candidate” interviews.

You might ask why is a California employment law firm bothering with after-termination coaching. The answer is simple: We hope that our clients are re-hired in their chosen profession; that their wage
losses are limited, and that they can quickly overcome the speed bump the wrongful termination or discrimination put in their career path. One question that is usually not asked is whether you are or have ever sued an employer. This is rarely asked, but if it comes up (say via a public records search), the best way we’ve found to respond is truthfully and to put words in your attorney’s mouth that “I was told
it was unfair competition against other businesses to falsely promise pay raises and then not give them”,. or whatever the issue is. I’d also make it really clear to the interviewer that you followed chain
of command (say in a whistle blower case) to try and resolve the dispute.  Coming from Sad Valley, not Angry Valley, is usually the best approach, and to communicate that to the interviewer.

What industry are you applying to work in? Aerospace, Health Care, Finance, Transportation, Retail, Communications? Each field has its own professional publication and you should be familiar with one or
two in your field. Read (on line is fine) the most recent industry gossip and developments and be prepared to comment on something relevant to your potential new employer’s role in the field. “I saw that the Windows 8 app for the legal application in our field was Beta Tested last week. It looks like a product that will fit in well with your needs to develop (a specific plan).” Unlike Hollywood gossip, name dropping is not encouraged and can be a definite turn off, unless of course your Uncle really is Mr. Big Shot in the industry.

Now get out there and Ace that interview!