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Two weeks ago, I submitted my resume via email to a company for their open payroll manager position.

Last week (Wednesday) I received a call from Megan at the company. During our conversation, she asked me "What are your salary expectations?" I told her "In the 60s." She said "What does that mean?" I said "My base is currently $60,000 and bonuses generally run $5,000 a year on top of that."

She said okay and scheduled an interview with me for today at 3:00pm.

I arrived early and Megan came out to get me at 2:50pm. She said "I need to finish up this project so I'm going to have you talk to our Director of HR first." Okay, so I went to meet with Bert.

I was back in my car, suit jacket neatly hung on its hanger, portfolio, briefcase and purse neatly stowed at 3:01pm.

During my time with Bert, he reviewed my resume and asked a few slightly-relevant employment & experience related questions. Then he asked "What are your salary expectations?" I said "In the 60s" as I had previously to Megan. Once again, I explained the base and bonus, stipulating that I fully understood that a standard payroll management position generally doesn't come with an incentive plan.

At this point, I pulled out my portfolio and tried to engage Bert in some of the additional items I brought to the table - HR things like benefit administration, 4400 reporting, vendor invoice reconciliation, GL entries, etc.

He said, as he was walking me out the door, that:

[list][*]I really only wanted to pay in the mid-50s.[*]Really toward the low 50s.[*]You're certainly worth $60k but we're a small company, only 100 employees.[*]Let me think about it some more.[*]There might be a chance to incorporate the stock administration into the position.[*]We already have someone else in mind. [*]Call me in about a week or so to see where things stand.[/list:u]

I work in a company where jeans are the norm (all the way up to the Regional VP). I arranged time away from work. I arrived early. I was freshly showered, wearing a suit, understated jewelry and makeup - things I don't normally do. (Except the shower - I do that daily!) I drove 25 minutes to this company and had mentally prepared for the interview. I carefully reviewed the job listing. I visited their website to gather more information about their industry.

The bottom line is that I'm furious! It's not like I pulled a rabbit out of the hat when I got in to see Bert. My salary expectations hadn't changed one iota. These people absolutely wasted my time.

I can think of nothing I want to say to Bert or Megan other than to tell them that I think they're a bunch of unprofessional jerks and there's not enough money in the world to make me want to work with these nitwits who are such rude, inconsiderate time-wasters!

So ... my husband says I should call them back and let them know exactly how I feel. (It's not like I [i]would[/i] work for them even if they offered me a job at a great salary.)

I'm leaning more toward "no news is good news" and just not even acknowledging their presence on the planet. No thank you note (especially since there's not a chance in hades I'd want to work there and I have no idea how to email these morons with anything less than the complete rudeness they foisted on me today).

Your thoughts? (And if you tell me to send a thank-you note anyway, I'll need you to provide the verbiage because I can think of nothing civilized I want to say to these people.)

stewartlogan's picture

I haven't fully thought this through (with verbiage), but I would send a thank-you, just in case you are working with them on a future project or as a vendor/client. No need to kill a relationship when you have no idea when it will come up again.

That said, I would also let them know it might not be the right opportunity for you in some way.

tomw's picture

Yes, it sounds like they did waste your time and Megan probably should have told you what they had in mind to pay before you came in. Still, I would not let on to them that I'm upset.

I'm with Stewart: send a thank you note following the MT format (from the March 26th, 2007 podcast).

I would not call them to tell them what you think and certainly not call them anything insulting. It's not worth burning the bridge just in case you ever end up working with/for someone from that company in the future. As the saying goes, "Smile to people on the way up because you will see them again on the way back down."

I disagree with your answer to the salary question. It's a little different from the "What's your current salary" question. They wanted to know what pay you were looking for, which could have been simply "Mid-60's". I think the bonus information was more than they needed and confuses the answer. I'm curious to see what M&M have to say about it.

arun's picture

Hi there,

Take a few deep breaths, calm down and treat this as a learning experience. There is no point stooping to their level because it can affect your chances of getting your dream job elsewhere. It is a small world afterall.

If you do want to write a thank you note(suggestions are that you should), show your professionalism and write one which makes them think that they missed out not you (I also have no verbiage at the moment).

I have been through something similar recently where I applied for a job knowing that it would be a career step down for me. I was desperate to get out from where I currently am. This company rejected me because I do not have the specific industry experience they wanted. My resume clearly shows that I don't but they still wasted my time in a similar manner.

Now the twist to this is that during this time I got headhunted by the company I am now joining (refer other threads) who have offered me a career step up in every respect that I was looking for. I would have had to miss out on this opportunity if the other guys had employed me.

So in a nutshell, there is something better out there for you and as Mark would say "Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive" :)

jael's picture

The world is small. Write the thank-you note. You never know where you might meet up with these people (or friends or relatives of theirs) again.

Jael

ccleveland's picture

Ashdenver, I can certainly see how and why you are very frustrated!

Since Megan scheduled the interview knowing your salary expecations, she either a.) was trying to bump up the salary limit on the position by providing such a great candidate or b.) didn't really know what the salary limit was.

In either case, it seems to be Megan's mistake. It sounds like Bern may have tried to help by keeping the discussion short once it was clear there was a gap.

I urge caution in how you proceed. It's easy to translate the mistake of one person onto the entire organization. You've got a better perspective because you were in the interview, but I would recommend you give it a day and try to look at from a different point of view.

CC

ashdenver's picture

[quote="tomwaltz"]I disagree with your answer to the salary question. It's a little different from the "What's your current salary" question. They wanted to know what pay you were looking for, which could have been simply "Mid-60's". I think the bonus information was more than they needed and confuses the answer. I'm curious to see what M&M have to say about it.[/quote]
I'm not sure what the specific question was: whether it was "How much are you currently earning" or "What are your salary expectations." Either way, the answer is the same: mid-60s. The base rate is static but the bonus is available and can impact the bottom line.

Some companies are willing to pay mid-60s while others are smaller (as this one was) and are less inclined to do so which means that I'm then able to elaborate by stipulating that part of the mid-60s includes the bonus program which is hit-or-miss and isn't necessarily an expectation for a new employer to match.

If I were to say "I'm currently earning $60k" with or without mention of an incentive package, the company would put me in the "She earns $60k" box and if they offered me $60k, it would in essence be a pay cut for me to take the job. By advising potential employers up-front that while my base is one thing, my actual earnings are in the $62-67k range depending on how the quarters go productivity-wise, I'm being more than truthful.

For the right company (atmosphere, duties, environment, location, etc.) I would honestly give up the bonus potential and accept a position at $60k flat. But most companies lack at least one, if not more than one, item from my Ideal Job & Employer list so I would likely only consider accepting the job if it were equivalent to or higher paying than my current one.

As for the thank-you note, I most likely won't stoop to their level of unprofessionalism and rudeness by calling them on their obvious fumble of my resume. I'm not entirely convinced I'll write a thank you note.

I cannot, in all good conscience, tell these people that it was a pleasure to meet them, that I learned a lot about the company or the position, that the people seemed fantastic, that the company seemed like a wonderful place to work, that the opportunity was exciting, that I look forward to further employment discussions with them. It's wholly untrue and I can't bring myself to send a note filled with lies, even if it would help me on the way back down.

So yeah, unless someone can give me three or four sentences to put into an email to Megan, I likely won't bother thanking them for wasting my time since I doubt they've given me or my qualifications a second thought ten seconds after I stepped onto the elevator.

I've never yet downloaded a podcast (it seems there is some special software required to effectively listen to these things and my work computer prohibits the download of anything like that) so I have no idea what's in the Thank You Note Podcast. I'm sorry.

KCSmith's picture

First off, I can say that I can relate to your situation on a different level. I had a similar experience where what I thought was one of my dream companies flew me from Pennsylvania to Florida for a full day of interviews for multiple positions. While the company did not give me the immediate brush-off, as in your case, they proceeded not to acknowledge me after I had completed the interviews. Rude? Yes.

While a thank you note would be professional, I don't think I would have an effect later in any future relationship with any of the players. Due to the brief nature of your interaction, I probably wouldn't worry too much about it. Trust me, they aren't. (I couldn't think of anything to write that wouldn't be load of crap, anyway.) The fact is that you found out that you don't want to work there. Better to find out now and not after you accept a position with them. Be thankful! Move on...

With that said, on to my big question. WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING ANSWERING THE SALARY QUESTION??? Aren't we all told that the one who answers this question first loses? If One-On-Ones, Coaching and Feedback are the Management Trinity, this is surely one of the Seven Sins of Interviewing. I'd suggest you mine the forums for how to handle this question better in the future. If you can't download the podcasts (although iTunes is free & MT podcasts are free and you can still burn the podcasts to a disc for free so you can listen to them in your car).

Just my $0.02.

mpolino's picture

ashdenver,

Write the thank you note. It is a small world and you are a professional. They may have friends looking to fill a similar role in a larger company. They may bump into someone at an association event who needs you. They may wake up tomorrow and realize that they acted like jerks. It happens.

Plus, you got free practice at interviewing and an incredible lesson of how not to act when you are hiring. So relax, you've seen how bad it's probably going to be. This decision is easy. It's the borderline ones that are hard. More money, for a worse culture. Great working environment for less money. This one sounds like a worse environment for less money. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and walk away. Thank God that you didn't close them and actually get an offer!

Mark Polino

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Ash

I am sorry you had to experience this and truly empathize with you. I have also been through some interviews from hell with people who don't do things the Manager Tools way (ie, very unprofessional).

You have received some good feedback from the previous posters. If I may, I would like you to consider a couple of other things:

0. If you can't get the podcast ASAP, you can google the phrase "how to write a thank you note" and put it in quotations. It will lead you to a number of sources that will give you a format for writing the note. It might not be the Manager Tools way; however, it will be better than probably 90% of what people do.

1. go to this link and learn about podcasting - http://www.manager-tools.com/new-to-podcasting

2. Either ask your IT dept to allow you to download these jewels, do it on your home computer or ask a friend to do it for you.

3. Make sure you become a registered user (it is free) of Manager Tools so that you get the registered user podcasts.

As much as your pride is hurt, please just write the thank you note and walk away from this situation with your head held high. It sounds like you did all the right things. Unfortunately, they didn't.

*RNTT

bflynn's picture

Send the thank you note. Be cheerful. What they did was not polite, but its your choice to get upset about it.

It doesn't feel that way to me, but its possible they were starting an offer for a salary negotiation. I've also run across companies that offer salaries way below market rates. Regardless of their reasons, if you recieve the offer, make a firm counter offer and see where it goes. Every day someone refuses an offer because it isn't a match. It happens.

Good luck.

Brian

pneuhardt's picture

You don't have to say things that are false in your thank you note. But the poster above was right: Be nice to people on the way up because you will meet them again on the way down.

Take the high road. Just because these people were wrong doesn't mean you should do the wrong thing in return.

I listen to my podcasts using iTunes from Apple. It's free software can work on either a Macintosh or a Windows computer. You said that you couldn't download software on to your work computer. If you have one at home, I recommend it. If you have one at home you can also listen to the podcasts directly off the website in your web browser.

Here is a quick sample thank you note. I need to re-listen to the podcast on thank you notes so I might not be creating the perfect Manager Tools note, but it's something to work with. It never says anything about their gaffe and it does not (despite first appearance) say you wish to work there after what happened. It simply thanks them for their time, reminds them that you exist and signs off graciously.

[i]Dear Bert,

Thank you for taking the time to sit with me and discuss your company and the position of _________. The time I spent there was very informative for me.

Please keep me in mind should things change with the other person you are considering. Putting my skills to use in a dynamic and growing company holds a great deal of appeal for me. Working in such a company to help it grow and succeed is a professional goal of mine.

I wish you good luck in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,
___________________[/i]

Hey, it just says you would like to be kept in mind. It doesn't say you would like to work there. Let's face it, wouldn't you just love to have them call you so you could tell them you have decided to pursue other opportunities? :wink:

pneuhardt's picture

Oh, one more thing. I'm sure your husband is a wonderful man, but in this case he is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Did I mention that he's wrong?

Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever unless you never ever ever in your life wish to be a manager call the company and "let them know how you feel."

That is not only burning a bridge, it's setting the thing ablaze while you are still standing on it.

MattJBeckwith's picture

Ashdenver, kudos to you for opening up and posting your question. I've enjoyed all of your posts here and was shocked to hear that you've not heard a single 'cast... oh what joy you're missing.

Peter, I loved your suggested verbiage!

tomw's picture

[quote="KCSmith"]With that said, on to my big question. WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING ANSWERING THE SALARY QUESTION??? Aren't we all told that the one who answers this question first loses? If One-On-Ones, Coaching and Feedback are the Management Trinity, this is surely one of the Seven Sins of Interviewing. [/quote]

I disagree. Direct questions from an interviewer get direct answers. If someone asks what you are making, it's because they expect an answer. You can choose to dance around it, but it may not bode well for you.

To me, dancing around a question in an interview tells the interviewer that you may not answer questions about other uncomfortable issues once you work for the company, like why a project went over budget or why someone's performance issues were not picked up sooner.

tomw's picture

[quote="ashdenver"]I've never yet downloaded a podcast (it seems there is some special software required to effectively listen to these things and my work computer prohibits the download of anything like that) so I have no idea what's in the Thank You Note Podcast. I'm sorry.[/quote]

They are a lot easier to deal with if you use iTunes, but you can download the MP3 files right off the manager-tools.com website. They should play in Windows Media Player, QuickTime, or whatever other audio software is built into your computer.

bflynn's picture

[quote="tomwaltz"][quote="KCSmith"]With that said, on to my big question. WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING ANSWERING THE SALARY QUESTION??? Aren't we all told that the one who answers this question first loses? If One-On-Ones, Coaching and Feedback are the Management Trinity, this is surely one of the Seven Sins of Interviewing. [/quote]

I disagree. Direct questions from an interviewer get direct answers. If someone asks what you are making, it's because they expect an answer. You can choose to dance around it, but it may not bode well for you.[/quote]

Although it may seem contrary to previous posts I've made, Tom is right. You must give an answer. Anything that starts out other than "I'm currently making..." is walking a tightrope. If you do it and fall, you have no one to blame but yourself. If there is a valid reason not to provide the information, then give it strongly and positively. Delivery is everything.

Brian

KCSmith's picture

Brian/Tom

While I agree that a response in necessary, it need not be a figure. Mark covers this very clearly in the Kellogg videos.

I would also recommend the following thread
http//www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=835&start=0&postdays=0&post...

Mark states here "Never ever discuss salary, bonus, benefits, etc. until after you have the offer. Asking before reduces your chances of getting an offer, and without the offer, it doesn't matter, does it?

Say nothing about it. If they ask, say it's not a top priority. When they offer, decide if it's enough."

At this point, I'll retract my statement about mentioning salary first. After re-reading this post, Mark corrects a poster and states that the quote is "based on salary negotiation strategy, which is generally NOT applicable in salary discussions."

I stand corrected.

Nonetheless, the Kellogg videos reign.

Thoughts and prayers to all of those touched by the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

KC

Mark's picture

Ashdenver-

I recommend you not send a note. You feel insulted, it seems, and feel that they treated you poorly. Under the circumstances, a note of thanks would be inappropriate, as would anything in writing that was in any way derogatory or pejorative.

What you describe doesn't seem as terrible to me as it does to you - salary is a completely reasonable factor for companies to discriminate upon, as it is for you. It seems as if there was not a fit. It does appear that they could have been less clumsy, but clumsiness so often goes with the territory - PARTICULARLY at small companies - that one is best off not taking offense.

Clearly, though, I wasn't there. And, I'd recommend a more laissez-faire mentality when evaluating hiring firms' talent sourcing and selection processes. When the firm is right for you, you'll know, I suspect. This one wasn't it...good to know!

Mark

ashdenver's picture

Mark,

You're absolutely correct. It's not the salary factor that bothers me. I [i]completely [/i]respect their wish to pay much less than I'm willing to accept.

I do know that smaller companies are much less structured and formally organized than large companies. I suppose it's been a while (well over 8 yrs, at least) since I've met with an organization of less than 250 ee's so maybe it was just a culture shock.

In general, I tend to loathe time-wasting morons. Maybe it's a character flaw. Maybe it's just my high-D coming out in spades.

[img]http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/e/ef/175px-Dilbert_t...

I admit I was a bit leery to open this thread because I feared you were going to tell me "send them a thank you note anyway!"

I did have a friend who suggested I go out and find the nicest (a la wedding thank you note) Thank You card I could and simply type my name inside. (She also suggested including a clump of hair simply to win the gross-out factor but that alone was enough to break my I-can't-believe-how-rude-they-were-to-waste-my-time-like-that concentration!)

Mark's picture

Ashdenver-

Please just send them nothing.

And let's stop calling them morons. They did a thing that was clumsy, that's all.

Glad I didn't do what you thought! :wink:

Mark