Job Interview Questions To Ask Since Nobody Wants To Work These Days

As an iconic 21st century entrepreneur/philosopher once said, “It seems like nobody wants to work these days”—wise words that echo through abandoned office halls as people simultaneously leave toxic jobs in excess and pursue new opportunities (or simply give up work altogether). 

After the last two years, perhaps it’s time to ditch those yawn-inducing LinkedIn suggestions for standing out during an interview, and really go all-in by asking bold and honest questions that will make the interviewer say, “Oh, wow. Let me get back to you on that.”

If you’re going to “get your fucking ass up and work” and pursue improved working conditions, it’s only fair you know what you’re getting into, right? Ditch the “what’s the last thing your team celebrated” and start asking the hard-hitting questions.

What does a typical day look like? 

What do you find most challenging about this position? And existing in a capitalist society in general? 

How soon am I likely to cry? 

Is the pay commensurate with my experience and the absolute toll and chaos of the last two years? 

Are pants required? 

If an email tries to find me well and I am not, what kind of health insurance do you offer?

Am I allowed to utilize an out-of-office message any time a major, minor, or personal historical event takes place? 

How many people are on the team? How many of those people are one task away from a full-blown breakdown?

How do you feel about a candidate’s social media presence? Which one of my tweets was your favorite? Which one was most concerning?

Did the previous person in the role leave because this job sucks? Or because having a job sucks? 

What characteristics do your top-performing employees possess? And what drugs are they on? 

Is there room for growth? Can that room be in my own home? 

When I physically show up to work, where can I lie down? 

What is the perception of new hires who use a vacation day within week one? 

Am I expected to turn my camera on in meetings, even if my only anticipated contribution is commenting on a coworker’s dog? 

Cathartically screaming every couple of hours—encouraged or frowned upon?

I would never shit-talk the company to other employees, but just in case, how closely does I.T. monitor messages? 

Will my successes be rewarded in money or pizza parties? 

Due to the pandemic, I need to have a 3 o’clock cocktail. Not a question, more of an FYI.

I thrive in a collaborative environment. Can you share some high-level team gossip from the last quarter?

If I need to give two weeks notice, is day-of fine?

Is there anyone in the department with work crush potential? How else will I be motivated to look and act put-together? 

Does the team have happy hours or are they mostly sad? 

If my manager doesn’t use an exclamation mark when replying “ok,” am I guaranteed a sick day to process their hatred for me? 

Do you expect the responsibilities of this role to change as asteroids barrel closer and closer to earth?

How’s the work-life balance? Will it be easy to balance my work anxieties with my life anxieties? 

If my coworker says, “Happy Monday!”, am I allowed to explain why it’s probably not?  

If my coworkers aren’t prepared to discuss a TV show I’m obsessed with, can I report them to HR?  

Does posting a meme about job frustrations count as “good communication skills”? 

What do you hope the person who lands this role doesn’t realize about the company until it’s too late? 

Are there other qualified candidates in the running? How many of them also seem driven by the delusion that a new job might solve most of their problems?

Hypothetically, what is the most amount of money you can offer me for doing the least amount of work? Hypothetically!

Will I ever be penalized for leaving early if the vibes are off?

I can’t imagine why, but do you have any reservations about hiring me?

Images: Javier Díez /Stocksy.com

Gentle Reminder About Appropriate Company Internet Usage Even Though We Know None Of You Read These Emails

From: [email protected]

To: [email protected]

Subject: Gentle Reminder About Appropriate Company Internet Usage, Which Does Not Include Creating an Audition Reel for the Bachelor

Hi all,

As you know, we discussed the upcoming internet audit at last month’s all-staff meeting. Last quarter, The People Company failed to meet a single benchmark goal for the 12th quarter in a row. As a team, our fearless leaders compiled a list of actionable steps to ensure this upcoming quarter is a great one—or at the very least, removes us from some highly undesirable Business Insider lists. The first step was our recent internet audit, which, once again, you were all informed about in the mandatory company-wide Internet Use Check-in meeting. It took place both in-person and over Zoom, and we ordered in from that ramen place that you all seemed to enjoy during the cohesiveness seminar. 

For the sake of transparency, management explained that the audit’s goal was two-fold. Firstly, they wanted to drill down and evaluate internet usage concerning productivity — perhaps even trimming the fat on projects that take up unnecessary time and resources. The secondary goal was to give you, our outstanding, all-star staff members, a chance to reevaluate how you’re spending time during the workday. Once again, this audit should have been very much on your radar this past month. 

As we dive into the audit’s findings, we will simultaneously review The People Company’s best practices for internet use. These guidelines are meant to ensure productive and safe internet use during working hours — they’re intended to help you be your best self, creating synergy in an environment that thrives off of teamwork. That being said, we will not be disclosing personal details about specific employees. Instead, we will discuss particular findings concerning our best practices — the same best practices that are printed on your mouse pads, which the team leaders so kindly had custom-made for last year’s holiday gift. 

Spending company time on non-business activities is not an acceptable use of the internet. We’re all human, and we all have lives outside of work. The People Company understands and gives its employees generous leeway to check in on the occasional non-work-related activity using the company network. However, this does not include hosting virtual speed dating events for fans of Veronica Mars during business hours. Nor does it involve watching 17 hours of YouTube videos detailing the life and death of Princess Diana over two weeks. 

The internet may not be used for personal profit during working hours. The People Company prides itself on paying better than more than 37% of its industry competitors. There is simply no reason to seek out additional means of income using the company’s network. To clarify, this means that actively managing an online store called “The Vaped Crusader” during business hours is unacceptable. Additionally, actively applying for new jobs while at work will not be tolerated moving forward — and to whom it may concern when using the phrase “please free me from this hellscape,” the word “hellscape” is not two separate words.

Network users are not permitted to make purchases unrelated to work. It is not acceptable to purchase things for personal use during working hours, including jacuzzis. Websites such as “ReadyJetGo.org” or “TheG-Spa.net” are not to be used on company time and have now been blocked. 

Representing The People Company online without explicit permission to do so is not allowed. Filming an entire audition reel for The Bachelor while wearing your company shirt, for example, does not align with our core values. On a very related note, “Hottest Ass in Finance” never has been, nor will it ever be, an actual title within The People Company — we’ll touch more on this during our sexual harassment seminar next week. Additionally, promising free products to women on Twitter in exchange for photographs of their feet is also very much against company policy.

*Key Takeaway*: The internet guidelines are meant to help each staff member be a team player, using their time at work for work-related activities. I’m honestly so freaking exhausted at this point, though I know none of you even read these emails. Do you even understand how depressing it is to know that everyone in the office rolls their eyes when I hit send? That most of my day is spent actively making you dislike me? It sucks. I like Veronica Mars too, but did any of you even bother to ask? No. You only worry about yourselves. At this rate, we’ll be bankrupt in the next two years anyway, so I hope you all have a backup plan. Figure it out on company time. Who cares. 

Sincerely,

Whatever

Image: Liliya Rodnikova /Stocksy.com

Congressional Staffers Keep Our Government Running. Our Jobs Make It Hard To Function Ourselves.

In the past few months, an Instagram account coined “Dear White Staffers” has posted a stunning quantity of anonymous (and unvetted) anecdotes about working in the halls of Congress. The conditions described range from toxic workplaces and sexual harassment to tyrannical bosses and unaddressed substance abuse issues, with the account posting screenshot DMs from former and current staffers detailing what the day-to-day looked like in their respective offices. Overwhelmingly, contributors say they are overworked and underpaid in jobs that promised to fulfill their sense of purpose but have fallen short even by that standard.

I was one of them, and this is a first-hand account and my own account of what it is like to work in our government. 

“Fuck I hope you die.” Really bright and happy quote to start of the morning. This is a fraction of what it’s like to work for a member of Congress. 

“We don’t get into this to make money.” We say it out of reflex. We also say it as a justification. I was hired in a low-level staff position after multiple unpaid internships and didn’t earn enough to rent in the same place I worked.  I worked two jobs to make ends meet. Again, I was thankful. I reminded myself that I was not in this to make money. I was receiving a student loan payment. It was an enormous help. I am very thankful for that. 

But I’m also frustrated. My time working for a member of Congress gave me scars. I was diagnosed with a serious anxiety disorder two years in. I began seeing a therapist weekly and much of the conversation was driven around my work. I began medication and tried to rationalize why I was doing this. I spent repeated nights crying about work, stressed about tomorrow. Crippling anxiety woke me up in the night. My partner and family began to notice. 

I also began drinking more to numb the anxiety and feelings of stress—a very common coping mechanism for those working for members of Congress that’s been detailed in many @Dear_White_Staffers accounts. During my time in D.C., I saw it firsthand. I always described it as a “work hard, play hard” environment. But now, I see the ugly underbelly of addiction, depression, and hopelessness that runs through the foundation of our nation’s government.

Staffers are the backbone of Capitol Hill. And yet, congressional offices are woefully understaffed. By the time I left, a huge chunk of the work I was doing was not even on my job description. I hear what you’re thinking: a lot of people are overworked. First of all, we shouldn’t be—and the quiet uprising among the ranks on Capitol Hill comes as employees from a range of industries are demanding better treatment. But secondly, stretching staffers isn’t just bad for their morale, but bad for the people we’re hired to serve. Hiring more staff members and paying them fairly would help us to do better work for you.

While some current or former Republican staffers have shared their accounts, discussions around @Dear_White_Staffers have focused on the progressives whose public statements run contrary to their staff’s own experiences. That is an enormous problem. We cannot let this narrative drive the conversation. This truly is an issue that affects both sides of the aisle. Focusing only on the progressives who don’t always live up to their standards lets the conservatives have none off the hook. This is unacceptable.

The experiences detailed to @Dear_White_Staffers speak to a fundamental breakdown in our society. Like those in other low-paying but essential government positions, staffers do this work because they want to make a difference. Many of us believe in our work and in our boss’s ultimate goals for the country. We want to make people’s lives better, but at what cost to ourselves? In many ways, it is a “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” moment. We are turning the wheels and keeping the machine moving. 

We stay in these jobs because our loans get paid, we get health care and dental care. Raising the pay for Congress is integral, just as it’s important for everyone to have access to health care and student loan assistance.

The moral of this story is that without adequate pay and time off our government will continue to crumble.

We Need Everyone Back In The Office Immediately, Even Though You’ve Been Working Remotely Just Fine For The Past Year And A Half

From: [email protected]

To: [email protected]

Subject: URGENT! PLEASE READ – BACK TO OFFICE DETAILS

Hi all,

We know you have eagerly been awaiting news of our return to the office—whether because you’ve been slowly losing your grip on reality and your house plant moonlights as your therapist, or because you’ve been waiting for direction on when to buy your return flight back from Florida. Either way, after months of vague holding patterns, we finally have updates to share (and you’re probably not going to like them)!

Unfortunately for the introverts and those of you who live in outer boroughs because we don’t pay you enough to afford to live in Manhattan, we do in fact need you back in the office as soon as humanly possible—even though we fully recognize that the company has not suffered in any way as a result of everyone working from home for the past year and a half. In fact, business is better than ever! Turns out, without the din of different departments yelling at each other from across the office, the lingering smell of microwaved fish, and the incessant clacking of fingers on keyboards, distractions are down, and concentration and productivity are way up!

Still, we need you back. Mostly because we already paid for a 12-year lease. Those Herman Miller ergonomic chairs aren’t going to pay for themselves! (Except we already paid for them using all the money we saved from the mass layoffs—so, in a sense, they did pay for themselves.)

Our first day back will be the Friday before Labor Day! We, of course, want to be reasonable with our expectations, which is why you will only be expected to be present 4.5 days per week from here on out.

We know this is a big adjustment, but don’t worry, to ease you into the transition, we will be providing lunch for your first day! We will be ordering salads from We Only Do Salads, Nothing Else*. Please inform Community Manager Nicole, on copy, of your order by no later than tomorrow, 12pm ET.

*$10 maximum value. 2 toppings** allowed—including protein.

**dressing counts as a topping.

In more exciting news, we are thrilled to announce that, thanks to the additional funds freed up in the budget, we are proud to offer snacks! FREE plain Lay’s potato chips*** will be available Monday-Friday****

***the unruffled kind.

****while supplies last.

We know you’re probably wondering if masks are required, and to be completely candid: we’re still wondering that, too. We will be closely monitoring the mayor’s office, the department of health, the CDC, and Dr. Fauci’s facial expressions in press conferences for more information. But plan on wearing a mask indoors at all times, even at your desk. Safety first!

As a reminder, our office dress code is professional-business-chic. Bottoms are required. Our official company policy is to not have an official company policy on whether or not bras are required, but if you have to ask, they’re probably required for you.

We can’t wait to see everyone back in the office!

Warmly,

Person You Will Not See Step Foot Into A Physical Office Until 2022

Image: Ani Dimi / Stocksy.com

A Thank You Letter To My Boss For Giving Me Those 2 Minutes Back

Dear Boss,

Acts of kindness in this world come too few and far between, which is why I was pleasantly taken aback by your immense generosity this afternoon. As our Zoom meeting came to a close, with the agenda points covered and attendees not knowing what else to do but fill the remaining time with side tangents, you ended the meeting two minutes early, announcing you were giving us all our time back.

First, let me just say how much I value those extra two minutes. There’s so much I could do with this newfound time, I’m almost overwhelmed at the options. It’s like I have a new lease on life! I could listen to about half a song. I could go pee—I probably need to go pee, my bladder has felt like it’s been pressing into my abdomen for the last hour of this meeting. I could briefly disappear into the abyss of my own thoughts. I could watch exactly two full-length TikToks. In fact, I may spend so much time trying to decide what to do with these newly discovered minutes that I end up getting nothing accomplished at all! Ah, the freedom of it.

Although, if I may just offer a bit of constructive criticism—a little role reversal, if you will. Where was this energy when setting up a touch-base for a touch-base? One for which I received no less than six different invites within a 10-minute span, the timing of the meeting shifting in 5-minute increments before I could begrudgingly hit “yes”? I probably spent a good one out of my two now-refunded minutes wrapping my head around, wait, what is the purpose of this meeting? and then digging through my inbox to locate the most up-to-date calendar invitation.

I won’t bother stating the obvious that this touch-base could have been an email chain, but will point out some areas in which I would have really enjoyed my time back more: the 10 minutes in the beginning of the meeting that was dedicated to small-talk (yes, I hope everyone’s doing well, I would love to hear about the trash can your dog got into some other time, preferably with alcohol involved); the 5 minutes Jennifer spent derailing the meeting to discuss her own work stress (please see a therapist); the 7.3 minutes after we all thought the meeting had successfully wrapped up, which Jennifer then spent throwing out her own ideas for the very iniatives we had just finalized (Jennifer, were you even listening?? We are past that!).

I’d be remiss to not consider the fact that your remark was simply a joke. If that’s the case, let me just say that it was the absolute funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, and your sense of humor is unparalleled. Have you ever thought of trying out for SNL? Yes, I seriously mean that! On a totally unrelated note, I’d like to chat about a raise…

But in all seriousness, two minutes are two minutes, and time is the one resource (aside from oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy) that we cannot get back once it’s been spent. So I simply have no choice but to say, from the bottom of my heart and my to-do list: thank you.

Now, I’m off to my next meeting. Crap, I really should have peed.

Warmly,

Forever Grateful Employee.

What Not To Do With Your Money If You’re Broke AF Right Now

One year ago, perennial personal finance expert Suze Orman was doling out her tough-love financial advice, including haggling with creditors for lower interest rates and delayed payments. 

But now? She’s changing her tune.

“We’re out of options. You can’t call your creditors. They’re done … So you have to generate less expenses and somehow find more money. That’s the goal here,” says Orman.

Um?

Finding more money is a tall order, to say the least. Amid the runaway pandemic, the government has gone bust with a record-breaking $572 billion debt and an economy in free fall with nearly 11 million and counting unemployed. 

It’s grim and apocalyptic AF. The Pantone 2021 color is a red called That Bitch 2020 Isn’t Over Yet (just kidding, but it literally is gray). And on kitchen tables across America, the bills are piling up — that is, for those lucky enough to still have a kitchen table. 

“The eviction moratorium is over,” Orman says. “Very shortly, unless it’s extended, the student loan payment moratorium is over, the mortgage payment moratorium is over, and now you have got to pay your car payments and your car insurance and your life insurance. All of those moratoriums where you had months where you did not have to pay any of those bills, now you do.”

It’s seriously daunting. So, what’s a broke-ass betch to do?

“You have to live below your means but within your needs,” Orman advises. “If you are finding yourself in a situation where you have no money coming in, you’re living off unemployment, and you can’t wait until the stimulus check gets there, then you’re going to have to make some very, very hard decisions in your life.”

No kidding…

Don’t Use Your Stimulus Check For Back Rent

Orman says fans have been sending her pictures of their empty fridges. 

“If you are waiting for that stimulus check and you don’t have another penny to your name, I would go and buy canned food with it. I’m not joking. At least if you bought canned chicken, canned salmon, you can feed yourself and your kids. At least project two months’ worth of food for yourself and your family and take care of that and take that one concern off the table.” 

If you do owe back rent, Orman says do not use your stimulus to pay it.  With no end to the pandemic in sight, you’ll need as much cash reserves as possible. If you can, she suggests moving back in with Mom or Dad, a sibling or a friend until you can get back on your feet. 

“If you do not have a job, and you don’t know what you’re going to do, sorry everybody, you have to move out.” 

If you’re fortunate enough to be on the other end of the financial spectrum, and your finances are in order, Orman says, be selfless. “If you have a paycheck coming in, you’re relatively secure, you have an apartment, you have food, and you have your next-door neighbor or a friend or a relative, and they’re about to be evicted, they can’t keep their electricity on because it’s been shut off in the middle of winter — help them.” That might be a tall order coming from a country of people who won’t even put a piece of cloth over their face to save lives, but hey, we can dream.

Don’t Take A 401K Loan

Thinking about tapping your 401K for a hardship loan in 2021? Orman says, “Never.” The CARES Act that allowed Americans to withdraw up to $100,000 penalty-free and take up to three years to repay the income tax has expired, so you’ll have to pay your withdrawal back pronto. Plus, in case sh*t really hits the fan, your 401k is protected from bankruptcy.

“If it’s between taking money out of your 401k to get you by, and all you have is enough for one month at most, and you don’t have any prospects on the horizon, I would much rather see you claim bankruptcy now for your credit card debt, and all your debts — except student loan debt, obviously — and be able to keep your 401k money intact and not have any debt. Which is why you want a Roth IRA, because if you had a Roth IRA now and you needed money, you could withdraw it penalty and tax-free.”

Don’t Forget About Saving

Pre-pandemic, Orman said an 8- to 12-month emergency savings is crucial. Today, she says a three-year stash is necessary. It’s a lofty goal for those living hand-to-mouth, but starting somewhere, with any leftover money, is still a start. Orman says she’s partnered with Alliant Credit Union to incentivize people to save $100 in a high yield savings account every month. At the end of 12 months, the credit union will reward brand-new account holders who have a $1,200 balance with a $100 bonus.

Don’t Bank On Student Loan Forgiveness

It remains to be seen if President Biden will succeed in his plan to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for every borrower. “You have to get that this is not a done deal,” she says. “You should continue to do exactly what you can do and act as if is not going to happen. If you’re out of work, just pay as you go, or do an income-based repayment program. Just don’t go into default.” 

There’s also an IRS loophole to be aware of. “Don’t be afraid that the amount accruing gets added to the back end of the loan. If nothing changes in 20, 25 years, if you owe more on the student loan than what you’re technically worth, you’re insolvent, and the IRS will most likely forgive it.” Adds Orman, “If you’re making money, you want to be on the standard repayment method.”

Do Consider A Career Change

These tough times are as much about survival in the present as they are about making smart pivots to safeguard yourself financially in the future. Orman says that the pandemic wiping away jobs shouldn’t be your only worry. In case we didn’t have enough to be anxious over, there’s also the threat of artificial intelligence replacing human workers, further destabilizing the gig economy. 

“You have to take this time to reimagine yourself, to recreate yourself. And what can you do? Who can you become, where you cannot be replaced by artificial intelligence or a robot? What can you do to create yourself so that you never find yourself in this position again? Because you’re going to have to make the decision. Do you do a temporary fix and just get anything that brings in money? Maybe. But at the same time, what can you do to make this be a permanent fix so that this couldn’t happen to you? Not because of the pandemic, but because of the onslaught of the technological revolution that will absolutely do away with jobs in the future.”

When in doubt, Orman says saving is the name of the game. So, chill with the online shopping. (No, you don’t need the new SKIMS collection.) Paying your bills on time will keep your credit report happy. And stash your cash, in a high yield savings account, preferably. Bottom line, even if you haven’t worn pants in months, you’d better tighten your belt.

Images: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

How Much Should Employers Care About Applicants’ Social Media?

It’s 2019, and almost everyone you know is on social media, from my mom who just made an Instagram to my boss whose Facebook friend request has been sitting untouched for the past three years. Even whole companies have large social media presences (hi), and many have made a name for themselves by being the opposite of what’s seen as “professional”, i.e. being snarky to consumers, using explicit language, etc. Lookin’ at you, Wendy’s! So it came as a shock when Emily Clow got publicly shamed by a company she applied to work at for committing the crime of… showing some underboob in a months-old swimsuit picture on her personal Instagram. She found out on that company’s actual Instagram Story, where they’d posted a screenshot of her offending bathing suit pic and admonished, “do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it.” For the full story, and an interview with Clow, read here.

To be clear, Kickass Masterminds was 100% completely in the wrong, not necessarily for disqualifying an applicant based on their social media photos, but for publicly shaming her using the company’s social media platform. It’s pretty much the height of irony for them to use the company Instagram to target one applicant for “being unprofessional.” It’s the pot calling the kettle unprofessional. Still, this whole story got me thinking about the role of social media in job applications and what’s still seen as unprofessional online.

This girl applied for an internship at a company, and they put up this screenshot of her in a bikini on their company Instagram, publicly telling everybody they wouldn’t hire her because of this photo. pic.twitter.com/aRQF7CqfSF

— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) October 1, 2019

When I first applied for jobs way back in 2013, I had been hit over the head with the same messaging: don’t post photos of you drinking, doing drugs, or showing cleavage. Put your profile on super-duper private so employers can’t find something that will reflect poorly on you. (That’s actually how I started the Sara F Carter moniker in the first place—I wanted something so dissimilar from my real name that employers would never think to search it. And the rest is history!) It’s not 2013 anymore, though. You can be colloquial on Twitter. You can make a whole career out of posting sexy photos on Instagram. So should we hold the same overcautious standards that we did when social media was in its infancy?

On the one hand, it certainly can’t hurt. Beth Benatti Kennedy, leadership coach, speaker, and author of Career ReCharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout, still feels it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before posting, she advises there are a few questions to consider: “Does the post or picture represent the brand or reputation you want to have personally and professionally? Why are you posting? Would you be comfortable with a child or teenager viewing it?”

On the other hand, the rules are changing, and not every company expects prospective employees to be totally buttoned-up in their personal life. Lauren Berger, the CEO/Founder of InternQueen.com and CareerQueen.com and author of GET IT TOGETHER, has helped companies hire interns and full-time employees, and she says, “there’s no overarching rule here. Know the company, the company’s culture, and the demands of a specific role.” The best way to do that, she says, is to check out the company’s social media. And, even better, “if you know people who work at the company, chat with them about company culture, dress code, and perspective—and check out their profiles as well.” But if you don’t have a woman on the inside, it’s not a big deal. Berger has a pretty balanced perspective: “If you feel that you should censor your social media a bit, do it. But if there are certain photos that are ‘authentically you’ and display a part of your personality, leave it.” 

For the sake of transparency, I’ve had pretty nontraditional jobs, so my opinion on what should or shouldn’t be posted is probably a little more lax than most. I did have one run-in when I applied for a TV internship via Skype interview, and they gently told me afterwards that while they didn’t care, it would be a good idea for me to change my default Skype photo from one where I was smiling and holding up two flasks. Which is pretty chill, considering that, as a 20-year-old, what I was doing was straight-up illegal. If I’d gotten turned down because of that, I would have understood—it was boneheaded and unprofessional (not to mention, against the law). But there’s a big difference between doing something illegal and showing your body on your feed. Without getting too far into the gendered double standards at play, should those things disqualify a candidate equally? Should the latter disqualify you at all?

 

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A swing and a miss (twitter: _Danny_Boy1)

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Becky Bush, who runs the popular website The Typical Twenty Something, which offers career tips and resources, was bewildered by Clow’s story. “Although it’s wild to believe, the reality is that companies are using social media to screen potential employees,” she says. Overall, she urges applicants exercise caution. “Even though you and I think it’s totally acceptable to put party or bikini pictures up on social media, I would be careful when applying to jobs. My main concern during any application process is that I have no idea who is on the other end of the ‘submit’ button.” Such was the case with Clow, who applied to what she thought was a forward-thinking female-run marketing company. Surprise!

But with companies searching out applicants’ social media handles, and sometimes even outright asking for them in the job application (I’ve had this happen numerous times), the line between being forthcoming and shooting yourself in the foot can get blurred. Bush says that there can be situations in which it’s beneficial to share your social handles with a potential employer. “If for some reason Instagram is part of a job or a side hustle you currently have (i.e. you are a blogger, influencer),” she says, “keep it public—you should bring your whole self to work. If the company isn’t into that, they’re not for you!”

Berger echoes, “If the position DOES have to do with social media/marketing, think of your profile as your personal website or an opportunity to show off what creativity you bring to the table and use your own platform to test out different ideas.” But, at the end of the day, “If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your handle, don’t share it. Ideally, you are proud of what you post and put out there to the world (and confident in what you bring to the table—personally and professionally) so in most cases—you’d probably just send it to them.”

That’s because ultimately, you can’t know what an employer is looking or screening for in a social media sweep. According to Berger, there could be a variety of motivations: “they might be looking for a theme or visual story that you’re telling on your own feed. They may assume that if your social is ‘on point,’ you could help them take their platforms to the next level.” Then again, they may be looking to flag “inappropriate photos,” but the problem with that is, “you can’t control other people’s definitions of inappropriate. And sometimes your photos and the executives mindset won’t sync and that’s okay.” (And sometimes, they’ll publicly shame you and you’ll get revenge on them by making them go viral for all the wrong reasons.)

It’s weird how jobs don’t wanna see pictures of you partying on social media. If anything they should be like “wow she blacked out on Sunday and is still at work? Hire her, she’s clearly dedicated”

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) October 4, 2019

Finally, there may not even be a shady reason behind wanting to stalk you on IG. “They also could be genuinely looking at your social to learn more about you, to look at your hobbies and what you enjoy outside of the office. Some executives LOVE seeing personality come through on social.” Finding a candidate who fits in with the company culture can be just as important as finding someone who is qualified.

The difficulty with searching applicants’ social media profiles to glean clues about how they will behave professionally probably seems obvious to millennials. As Bush puts it, “so much of social media is not someone’s ‘whole self’ and really doesn’t give an accurate depiction.” While Bush emphasizes, “I personally don’t think anyone should ever judge you for your socials (or anything you do in your spare time really, that doesn’t affect your work),” that’s just not the world we live in. From an employer’s perspective, they want to get to know a candidate as much as possible for extending an offer. So while employers are probably not going to stop creeping on applicants sometime in the future, you can choose to limit your audience. Or you can just say f*ck it and live your life. Berger says, “Some companies are very conservative, not only regarding social media, but in the office as well. Perhaps, if you are outspoken—visually and otherwise—on social media, that’s not the right company for you to work.” At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a one-way street: you should be evaluating the company just as they are evaluating you. Who knows, you could, as in Clow’s case, dodge a huge bullet.

Images: sheratesdogs, betchesluvthis / Twitter; whenshappyhr / Instagram

QUIZ: Is She Flirting With You, Or Is She Your Coworker Asking For Feedback On A Presentation?

Ginny Hogan has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and McSweeney’s. Her first book, Toxic Femininity in the Workplace, is available September 10th. Pre-order here.

Having women at your office is tough. Nobody asked you if you wanted them there, which feels unfair. One particularly challenging aspect is figuring out who is trying to sleep with you (smart) and who just has bad taste (un-smart). If a woman seems to be interested in talking to you, you might not know if she’s flirting or trying to “collaborate.” To figure it out, take our quiz!

Did she schedule a meeting with you via:
a. Your phone number, which she asked for twice (some women are assertive, what can you do?)
b. The office scheduling tool

Did she send an email saying she wanted your thoughts on:
a. Her eye makeup—she’s open to doing darker if you’re into it
b. If she should swap slides 16 and 18

When she writes your names on the presentation, does she:
a. Put hearts around yours
b. Choose to live heart-free

When you run into her in the hallway, does she say:
a. “Hey handsome”
b. “Hey, have you had a chance to look over the deck I sent last night?

On a Monday morning, does she ask you about:
a. Your love life—did you #pound this weekend? If not, are you looking to next weekend?
b. The email she sent two hours ago

Does she end her emails with:
a. Thanks, babe
b. “Regards”

During the presentation, does she sit:
a. In your lap
b. Not at all, because she’s standing (she’s the one delivering the presentation)

Does she regularly compliment:
a. Your abs
b. Your choice in font size, because she can’t think of anything else to compliment but she knows men need constant encouragement

When she said “great job”, did you notice her wink and bat her eyes?
a. Yes
b. No, but what even is “batting your eyes”?
c. Yes, but she did stay up all night drinking coffee to prepare this presentation, which you didn’t actually help her with, so the eye-batting could be very much be an exhaustion-related twitch.

Have you swiped right on her on every single dating app and still not matched?
a. No
b. Yes
c. That’s a very personal question

Has she explicitly told you already she’s not flirting with you and not interested in you?
a. Not yet
b. Yes

Should you stop?
a. Why?
b. What is “stop”?

If Mostly As: She’s sooo into you. She probably took the job because of how badly she wanted you—it’s unlikely that she just wanted to work. In fact, you’d be an irresponsible coworker to her if you didn’t continue hitting on her until she sleeps with you. Part of working with women is giving them what they want.

If Mostly Bs: She wants feedback on a presentation, after which she will be into you. The thing about women is sometimes they need help with things, but that doesn’t have to detract from how badly they want you. After all, you are a brain and a body, so why wouldn’t she want both?

If neither: She hasn’t indicated any desire for feedback, which means you should give it to her unsolicited (it’s what women want). And even though all signs point towards her not being into you, she definitely is, because she’s a woman at your office. Key word being “woman.” Other key word being “at.” She’s there—she wants you.

If both: She needs you and she wants you. Actually, this is true regardless.

Ginny Hogan has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and McSweeney’s. Her first book, Toxic Femininity in the Workplace, is available September 10th. Pre-order here.