Author Topic: Interview code words for long hours  (Read 2625 times)

MayDay

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Interview code words for long hours
« on: October 05, 2018, 04:12:39 PM »
My H is an engineer, looking for a job casually as he is currently employed but would like a change. He is in R&D and everything is on his computer, not lab work.

He's now had two interviews where he asked questions about schedule and work life balance, and the interviewers made half joking comments like "we work 80 hours a week. Not really", or "if you have extra time to work on side projects I'll give you more work!", or comments about staying until9 pm on a Friday.

Obviously H would rather find out ahead of time if that's how they roll. But it strikes me as odd. Maybe it is a gender thing (I'm also a R&D engineer and I've never experienced it).

Also if anyone in the twin cities works for an innovation company headquartered here, and wants to PM me, I'd love the inside scoop.

bacchi

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 08:15:06 PM »
"Work hard, play hard" always scared me. After 9+ hours at work doing useless shit, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep. Or drink. It would take me a week of vacation before I felt capable of any "play hard" activities. Of course, those words always ringed in as "bro culture," too.

If someone says "80 hours a week. Ha, just kidding," they're covering for their 50+ hour week. I suspect he'd want to hear, "We strongly believe in work-life balance here. Work hard from 8-5 and you're done."

MayDay

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 05:56:17 AM »
The other comment the supervisor made was "I like to know where my employees are all the time", when H asked about core hours. They used to have core hours of 9-3, and you could start late or leave early. Plus just.... It's a professional knowledge based job. You should be able to flex your time, and manage your own schedule.

Ugh. Another close call! H is annoyed by his current job but we are realizing the grass isn't always greener!


SquashingDebt

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2018, 06:53:54 AM »
Have you checked out the Ask A Manager blog?  There's a good amount of info on there on this topic, if you poke through the archives.  (And be sure to read the comments on each post - that's where a lot of the good info is!)

Brother Esau

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2018, 07:08:51 AM »
During an interview for a previous job, I asked how many hours a typical work week would be. The response was "If we're working more than 40 hours, we're doing something wrong". I took the job and it turned out that he was being honest which was great since I was previously averaging 50 hours per week.

Jon Bon

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2018, 12:00:15 PM »
"All hands on deck" And "Putting out fires"

Both of those are code words for you stay until we fix it. Nothing like putting an extra 3 hours in at the office when you were expecting a normal day. Depends heavily on industry IME.

MayDay

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2018, 12:49:17 PM »
"All hands on deck" And "Putting out fires"

Both of those are code words for you stay until we fix it. Nothing like putting an extra 3 hours in at the office when you were expecting a normal day. Depends heavily on industry IME.

Oooh, good ones!

Candace

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2018, 12:54:26 PM »
"Fast-paced, dynamic environment" *can* be code for "you better be prepared to work long hours to respond to our constantly changing requirements and ridiculous schedules". Not always, but sometimes.

BlueMR2

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2018, 01:50:02 PM »
"Looking for Employees with scheduling flexibility".  You'd think it would mean your hours might vary a lot.  What it really means is that you're working *all* the hours...

chasesfish

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2018, 06:45:53 PM »
I think thats information you get from talking to future peers, not the hiring manager.

In my profession, it depends on where you're at in your career.  In the first five years, you better work more because you just aren't that productive and have a foundation of skills to build.  I tell people its a physician's residency, except you're paid a little better.  If you work hard, in five years you'll be making physician money.  If you're really good, physician specialist money.

Hiding about how many hours are expected is toxic as a hiring manager.  I am all about full disclosure.  No surprises

Telecaster

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2018, 09:09:24 PM »
During an interview for a previous job, I asked how many hours a typical work week would be. The response was "If we're working more than 40 hours, we're doing something wrong". I took the job and it turned out that he was being honest which was great since I was previously averaging 50 hours per week.

The manager was smart.  Numerous studies have shown that productivity per hour declines once you get above about 40 hours per week, and in fact workers who put in 60 hour weeks are overall less productive than 40 hour a week workers. 

The key is to work efficiently, not work lots of hours.  If managers don't understand that, you don't want to work there. 

Lanthiriel

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2018, 11:15:56 AM »
I work in engineering and I ask the question like this: "I believe I am an efficient worker and work hard from 7-4 with the expectation that I get home on time most days. Would that jive with your company atmosphere?" I usually follow this up with a joke about management walking around at 6pm with an attendance list. The response to this exchange usually tells me everything I need to know.

damyst

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Re: Interview code words for long hours
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 01:07:38 AM »
This is probably industry-specific, but I was once referred to a job posting that was all about "end-to-end ownership" of an online service, and passion for reliability and scalability, and all that jazz.
LOL, hard pass. I'll sign on to your operational nightmare when I'm truly desperate for a paycheque.