Losing a Job Oppurtunity based on Association

The other day I went to interview for an after school job in the mall at a shoe store. I came 15 minutes early, wearing a grey suit, I had a new haircut, etc anyway the interview was going really well, for a while atleast.
I was up front told the manager that I was in school and he said it was no problem because he preferred hiring High School and College students and that the scheduling was really flexible and that it was a part time job.
Then the manager looks at my application and says “Oh I see you go to Learnmore High School, do you know Amy?”
I say “well I know her but we don’t hang out with the same friends but she seems nice”
The manager goes on about what a great employee she is…then he asks do you know “Bryan” and I say “Oh yeh he is one of my best friends, we hang out alot together…he is the one that told me about the job.”
The manager then starts telling me how bad “Bryan” was as an employee, that he always was 5- 10 minutes late and he left early, never completed his work and was rude and basically that his job was on life support.
I had know idea I am like well “maybe when I work here he will do better.”
Long story short this great flexible part time job turns into “well we really need full time workers right now but I will keep your application on file”
What happened? I think I was being judged on account of who was and was not my friend and it’s totally unfair.
I don’t even think that this is legal but screw it if that is their attitude then I don’t want to work there anyway.

What would be illegal about it? The guy could ignore your application for being of the wrong political affiliation. Having friends who are lousy employees isn’t protected from discrimation.

My best guess is that perhaps the manager has a very low tolerance for flaky people. I’m not accusing you of being flaky, START, I’m just saying this manager may be the type that isn’t going to even risk hiring an iffy employee even if it is something as mundane as who the employee was associated with.

I say this because I work under a manager who is extremely picky about who she hires. Bottom line, she doesn’t want to hire someone she will eventually have to fire over disciplinary issues. So when she interviews new hires, she looks for red flags, even stuff like the inflection of the person’s voice, to decide whether or not the person will be a good choice. I honestly did not know this when she hired me- frankly my game face was pretty much the same as yours.

“What happened? I think I was being judged on account of who was and was not my friend and it’s totally unfair.
I don’t even think that this is legal but screw it if that is their attitude then I don’t want to work there anyway.”

“Look out kid, you’re gonna get hit
Don’t know what you did but you’re doin’ it again”

The above is courtesy of Bob Dylan, from several decades ago.

Anyway, legalities don’t come into play here. He can hire or not hire depending on his personal preferences, as long as it can’t be shown that race, religion, and so forth were a factor.

Sincere best wishes for better luck next time.

For a view from the other side, this week I interviewed seven applicants for a very good position. Five were well qualified and seemed to be well suited for the work. I only had one job opening, so I hired the person I think is the best applicant.
Two who didn’t get selected have already contacted me asking: “What did I do wrong?”
The answer is you did nothing wrong. It’s just that one of the others did slightly better.

When you are offering a career making job, have five great applicants and only one position available, it sucks being on the other side of the interview table too.

I’ve worked for people like this, too.

Unfortunately, many such people are nowhere near as good at reading people as they think they are. They get stuck in their own little idiosyncratic ways, and often end up hiring a bunch of jerks and passing over good candidates.

My response: What does this have to do with the interview?


I have a list of references, if you are interested.

or something to that effect.
It is alright to call bullshit and end a line of questioning in an interview as a lot of interviewers (my XP) don’t really know what they are doing anyway.

And you learned an important lesson. Your life outside work is none of their business and you need to learn to politely deflect such questions.

[nitpick]The song is Subterranean Homesick Blues. The lyrics are:
“Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again”

You are quite correct, of course. So tell me, is your memory that much better than mine or did you research it?

I guess I can say I posted the spirit of the message, if not the exact letter of it. But that’s clearly not good enough when:
“the pump won’t work
'cause the vandals took the handles”

Did I at least nail that line, or did I mess it up too? :slight_smile:

Maybe the new applicant would be put on shifts with Bryan, and the manager thought it would encourage him to goof off even more? Or he thought there might be trouble if he hired you, then fired Bryan - for instance, maybe he thought that you would quit in solidarity? Or he reassessed his initial evaluation of you based on your best friend? I’ve never had to hire people, but I find that if someone is close friends with a person I don’t like, I usually think “eh? What have I missed about this person that they’d be friends with such a duckbag?” Lots of people are judged by who their friends are - unfortunately, you were judged by someone in a position to hire. Better luck with your next interview!

Bad associations spoil useful habits.

Obviously Bryan made such a negative impression that his boss is wary of hiring anyone who has enough in common with him to be his friend. At least you’ve learned to be more cagey when answering the questions of a potential employer. Perhaps when he made negative comments about Bryan’s work history, you could have commented that despite being very different you get along well. It is a fact of life that people will judge you by the company you keep, whether it’s fair or not.

Sorry you missed out this time and good luck for next time.

I agree with Kayeby. Why did you even tell him you were such close friends with the slacker?

Isn’t there a saying something along the lines of “If you want to be successful then hang out with successful people”? It is hard to tell one loser from another and if you are buddies with someone this guy thinks is a loser then he has no reason to believe you are any different. At least not enough to take a chance on hiring you. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to skirt the issue as you don’t know if your friend has talked with the boss about you being interviewed, so you can hardly say you don’t know him. In otherwords, be truthful and honest, but don’t underestimate your experience or job skills as some people tend to do. Don’t brag, either.

Other things not to say or do during a job interview:
I was hiring a local Yemeni for a position in our company. I asked him why he had left his previous employment. His answer, “My boss and I didn’t get along. He is from Lebanon and you know how those people are”… :eek: We employ about 20 different nationalities at the site I work at. “Nice meeting you. NEXT!”

I had recommended a friend for a position which I knew he would be perfect for. The interview was a formality as far as I was concerned. My friend was nervous due to having 4 people doing the interview, as I knew he would be. Plus the interview is done on a video conference link through a couple of satellite links. Just perfect conditions. Part way through the interview they ask him what is his the worst part of his current job. He gaps and says, “Having to shoot people”. :smack: Instead of saying something like, “Laying someone off”, “letting a person go”, or any of the other options, he tried to be funny and use the slang term used in his office after someone was fired. No salvaging that even after an explanation. He lost out on a six figure salary to a guy that 3 current employes explicitly stated they would not give a recommendation for after having worked with him in previous companies.

So don’t feel bad if you did your best.

I think it’s pretty rotten of the potential employer to tell you that your friend is a poor worker and in danger of losing his job. Not because he’s your friend, but because I don’t think an employer should ever mention anyone by name to an outside person and give information about how well they do or do not perform (outside of a reference situation). Not sure it’s illegal, but it does seem pretty tacky.

If he’s concerned that people in your group tend to be lazy and unmotivated, there are better ways to figure out whether you share that tendency than mentioning your friend eg. ask for examples of your work ethic, check references, etc.

Well, as many said, next time don’t tell the guy who you hang out with.

But I have seen a variant of this before many years ago, when I overheard the boss saying she wouldn’t have hired “Joe” if she had known that he was friends with “Bob”, a former employee that I think she eventually dismissed and obviously did not like. I don’t recall “Joe” being around too long after that, although I wasn’t privy to what happened.

What kind of job is that? Hiring only students raises a red flag for me.

While it probably wasn’t illegal not to hire you, nor illegal to talk smack about your friend (and this manager’s employee), it was highly unprofessional for him to basically give a stranger his personal evaluation of said employee’s job performance. I don’t think I’d want to work for someone who was prone to gossiping about his employees at the drop of a hat with people he’s never met before.

I disagree. The lesson to be learned is you are judged by the company you keep. Fair or not, it’s a fact of adult life. If you have a slacker for a friend, at very least don’t expose how close your relationship is with them.

I read that as he had no idea that this guy WAS such a slacker. In that case how should he know not to mention that his friend recommended the job to him?

To put it bluntly, sounds like the guy’s a bit of an asswipe, and you’re probably better off working somewhere else.