Q: A job interviewer asked me if I would work unpaid overtime. How should I have answered?
At a recent second interview for a database analyst position, the interviewer stated, “This is a contract position – no benefits,” then asked “How do you feel about doing unpaid overtime?” with a clear verbal intonation suggesting the “right” answer. The interviewer was unable/unwilling to state how many overtime hours or how often overtime is required. Is there a way to answer this without being immediately dismissed from consideration? Can one negotiate how many “standard” vs. “overtime” hours one is willing to work? Is this even legal to ask?
A: If it’s an exempt position, they’re not required to pay overtime, and thus there’s nothing illegal about asking, essentially, “are you willing to work long hours?” On the other hand, if the position is non-exempt (and there are non-exempt tech positions; I don’t know if this was one of them or not), asking someone to work unpaid overtime is announcing you plan to break the law.
I’d respond by asking, “Can you give me a sense of how many hours people in this position work in an average week?” If the person refused to answer — which I think is what you’re saying happened here — I’d take that as a massive red flag. It’s basically an announcement that they’re going to wildly overwork you and not even do you the courtesy of having an honest conversation with you about what your work life would be like there.
You asked how to answer without being dismissed from consideration, but there’s no reason to want to stay in the running at that point. Remember you’re supposed to be interviewing them right back and deciding if you even want the job, not just waiting to be chosen.
Q: I never got the raise I was promised. Should I say something?
I worked as a pharmacist assistant in high school (part-time during school and full-time in the summer) for about a year and a half, then had to move to another city for university. Then, after first year, I came back to the same place for the summer, and my manager told me that he would adjust my rate. But I got my first pay check today and the rate is the same as what I had in high school. How should I approach my manager?
A: “Hey Fergus, you had mentioned that you were increasing my pay rate this summer. I just got my first check and don’t see the increase on there. Is there something we need to do to make it go through?”
Assume it was an oversight and go from there.
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