Lee’s boss yelled at him, changed project specs constantly, did not give him a raise in 3 years of outstanding service, was occasionally late with paychecks, and was basically the boss from …. you know where.
I found out about the 3 years of no raises in our first interview. When I asked why, Lee said, “The company never did take off financially, so they couldn’t give me a raise.” Then he refused to talk about it more. No gossip. No backbiting. Nothing. Lee was loyal to him.
I liked Lee. He had great skills and had just finished an MS in his field. I wanted to find him a new job. I needed to call his references. He wouldn’t let me talk to his boss, but I did talk with his coworkers. Stellar references came in.
I got a job offer contingent on a reference from his boss. Reluctantly Lee told me about the skeletons in his boss’s closet. The boss would give a horrible reference. Lee gave notice to his company and I called his boss. It was a massacre. The boss was totally unreasonable. Lee only gave 3 weeks notice so Lee was a traitor. I listened to a 15 minute tirade. Then I asked, “But how was Lee’s performance?” I got another tirade that I interrupted with, “Fine, but you kept him 3 years. Was he any good at his job?” The boss slowly let me pull a very positive reference out of him. Lee was a great worker. His boss was terrible.
Lee was loyal. His boss was not. Because of Lee’s loyalty I never knew how bad his boss was until I absolutely had to know. Lee got that new job. And just for the record, he got a 50% pay raise at his new job.
It is easy to be loyal to great people. Learn to be loyal even to rotten bosses you were associated with. Don’t dump every bad thing there is to know about him and the company. Give the necessary information and stop. Long explanations come across as gossip.
Loyalty is an important trait you can show by NOT telling everything.
Something to do today
Write down one sentence replies to questions you don’t want to delve into during an interview. Go over the list an hour or two before the interview. Right before the interview read the list of things you want to emphasize. You need to be thinking positively when you go into your interview.
Later: Interview like an Eagle – 4
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