Job Interviews: "I'll File a Grievance!"

Bonnie Lowe

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I recently went to a retirement party with my husband for one of his co-workers. I worked at this same place six years ago (that's where I met my husband, but that's another story), so I knew most of the people at the party.

One person I didn't know (I'll call her Jill but that's not her real name) was talking about how bored she is in her current job. She's been with the agency for about three months and is doing administrative work.

"I'm way overqualified for this position, " she said. “I used to be an Office Manager. I only took this job because I heard this agency was a good place to work. I know I can get something better. "

Jill told me she planned to apply for a new opening at the same agency - a slightly better-paying administrative position. That position became vacant recently when that secretary retired. It's been filled by a temp for about three weeks.

"I know I'm way more qualified than that temp!" Jill said. “If she gets hired instead of me, I'm going to file a grievance!"

If she hadn't quickly disappeared, I would've given her some advice. If you've ever had the same attitude as Jill, maybe you can use this advice.

First, an employer is not under any obligation to hire the most qualified candidate. They can hire the least qualified candidate, as long as that candidate meets the minimum qualifications stated in the position announcement.

Second, employers are people, and people hire those they like and want to work with. As long as there is no discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, marital status, age, gender, *** orientation or physical/mental disability, employers can legally hire whomever they want.

The fact of the matter is, a candidate is never hired based solely on her qualifications. A candidate is hired because she convinces the hiring manager that she can do the job and be a positive, enthusiastic, pleasant-to-work-with member of the team.

Someone who is blabbing to co-workers (and strangers!) that she'll file a grievance if she doesn't get hired is unlikely to fit that bill.

If you're thinking of applying for a promotion within your current company, please realize that more than your experience, skills and qualifications will be judged.

What's your reputation? If you're a dedicated team player, great!

But if you're a complainer whom your current boss and co-workers would not miss, you've got some reputation repair work to do first!

Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular Job Interview Success System and free information-packed ezine, “Career-Life Times. " Find those and other powerful career-building resources and tips at her website:


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