I was told to ask more questions, recommending high-priced products at work, and more

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

1. I was told to ask more questions while I’m being trained

I just started a new job two weeks ago. I received feedback that they want to see me ask more questions so they can see externally that I’m “getting it.” I tend to not have questions until I start actually doing things myself. I take notes and I’m paying attention, but currently everything seems very self-explanatory. How do I respond to this? Should I make up questions to ask?

I’ve had this feedback before from previous employers, and I’m concerned I’m giving off the impression I’m not interested or am worrying them somehow. I’m a hands-on learner, so watching people do things and taking notes doesn’t really help me until I can put it in practice.

If you’ve had this feedback from multiple employers, I’m betting that it’s not necessarily that you need to ask more questions, but that you’re not sending enough signals that you’re paying attention and processing things. Questions are one way to do it, but they’re not the only way.

Things you can do:
* After someone shows you how to do something, repeat back your understanding of the key takeaways. For example: “Okay, so after logging in, I’d go to A and do B, and if C happens, I should check D?”
* Nod and give verbal cues that you’re following along: “Okay, got it” … “That makes sense” … “Ah, I see what you’re doing!” … etc.
* Be explicit about what you said here about how you operate: “I think I’ve got it! I usually don’t have questions until I start doing things myself, but I’ve taken notes and this makes sense so far.”

The idea is to more actively engage in the training conversation, to show you’re taking it seriously and not tuning out (because some people do that). The more you’re not just silently absorbing information and instead are actively participating, the less likely people are to worry that you’re not getting things.

2. Is it tacky to recommend exorbitantly priced products at work?

With all staff members now working from home, my company has been holding weekly lunch Zoom meetings, where we’re invited to socialize and talk about anything outside of work. While the conversations have been around things like cooking, gardening, and other hobbies, we recently had a conversation around skin care. Several people, including our CEO, recommended a couple of products they liked. However, I was flabbergasted at the cost of some of the products our CEO mentioned: $800 eye serums, $200 face creams and $500 tools for “helping products settle into the skin better.”

I believe everyone has the right to spend their money how they want to and shouldn’t have to explain themselves. I also like my CEO and I’m sure she had the best intentions. But recommending these products to staff members during a time when many of us have had family members lose their jobs due to COVID rubs me the wrong way.

Furthermore, as someone who grew up seeing a dermatologist, I was often recommended products under $20. The acne medicine I use now costs $10 with insurance. The prices of the items she recommended are truly exorbitant for the general public.

Would you consider this behavior tacky and/or tone-deaf? Is the situation amplified due to COVID?

Yeah, it’s tone-deaf. She presumably has some idea of what salaries you’re all earning. Assuming those salaries aren’t high enough to make those prices de minimus to you, those recommendations come across as insensitive to her audience — and particularly ill-advised because they reveal what looks like a significant income disparity between her and the rest of you. That would be true at any time, but it’s especially insensitive at a time when she should know lots of people are struggling to pay for food and housing.

3. Interviewers who ask about salary history when it’s illegal

I live in a state where it’s been illegal for hiring managers to inquire about your current salary for a while, but I’m sorry to say that hasn’t stopped it from happening in literally every interview I’ve had since that law went into effect in 2017. What I’m struggling with is how to handle this. In the moment, I have tried to pivot — I’ll say, “Can I ask about the salary range you’re planning for this position?” or something like that. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped interviewers from pushing further. One particularly tough interviewer refused to proceed with the interview until I provided an answer!

Because of wanting to present well, it’s hard to say anything that could come across as contentious. I’m uncomfortable saying, “I’m not going to answer that because it’s illegal for you to ask” because that’s obviously not a good way to make a strong impression. But there’s definitely a chance I’m leaving money on the table by being honest when I shouldn’t have to be. How can I best navigate this situation the next time it happens?

Say this: “Oh, there’s actually a new law in (state) that says we can’t talk about salary history in interviews. But if you can give me a sense of what range you expect to pay, I can tell you if we’re in the same ballpark.” Say it cheerfully, as if you don’t think you’re saying anything controversial — even like you’re offering helpful info.

(And to be clear, the law doesn’t really say “we” can’t talk about salary history. As the candidate, you can offer it up on your own if you want to; they just can’t ask. But you’re saying “we” because it’ll sound less adversarial.)

4. Giving feedback to a job-hopper

I was hoping to get some help with how to respond to an applicant asking for feedback on their resume and why they were not considered. This person has a long history of job hopping, with their longest stay around 1.5-2 years out of all 12 jobs listed from 2003 to the present.

How do I tell this person that they weren’t considered due to their job hopping, in the most respectful and professional way without getting any backlash to myself or the company?

Well, you don’t have to give feedback if you don’t want to. You’re not obligated to explain why you didn’t invite someone to interview; you can just explain you had a lot of highly qualified applicants and focused on the ones most strongly matched with the role.

But if you want to provide the feedback, I’d say, “For this role, we’re seeking stability and are focusing on candidates with a track record of longer stays at most of their jobs.”

5. I’m paid a day earlier than everyone else

I get paid a day earlier than the rest of my colleagues and have no idea if I should bring it up to payroll. Do I need to? Will it look bad if it’s discovered and has been happening for years (five, to be exact) without me saying anything? Can I just continue to get paid a day earlier and feel ethically okay not saying anything? It’s not like the 24 hours makes a huge difference in my life, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a nice convenience.

More info: We’re paid every other Friday, but I always receive my direct deposit around noon on Thursdays. It took me a few years to realize this was abnormal! About two years in, I mentioned it to a colleague who said they were paid Fridays, but she didn’t seem to find my early payday strange, and suggested it was just something with my bank or that perhaps there was a variation in pay schedules.

I didn’t give it much more thought until I was out for lunch with several trusted coworkers who were joking that they “can’t wait til payday tomorrow!” and I felt … weird. I asked a few others afterwards and confirmed that yes, every person I’ve talked to is paid Fridays. Except me. I get paid on Thursdays. What the heck? How has no one ever noticed this? Do I come clean?

I doubt your company is running two separate payrolls, one for you and one for everyone else, so the most likely explanation is that it’s something to do with your bank — like if you bank at the same bank your company uses, it’s possible the money shows up in your account earlier.

But if you’re curious, there’s no harm in asking! I’m sure your payroll people will be glad to explain whatever might be happening, and you’re not going to look bad for not speaking up earlier. (You’re not cheating or anything! It just shows up earlier for you. You’re not doing anything wrong, and it wasn’t something you needed to flag for them.)

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I was told to ask more questions, recommending high-priced products at work, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Original Source: askamanager.org

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