Make us your home page
Career Q&A | By Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

Don't assume age was reason for losing interview

Q: I believe I have been discriminated against because of a plane ticket. After three phone interviews with an out-of-state company, I was invited to corporate headquarters to meet with the hiring manager. The human resources employee who made my flight arrangements asked for my date of birth, saying the airline needed it for security reasons.

The flight confirmation, which included my birth date, was sent to both me and the hiring manager. Shortly thereafter, I received an email saying the manager needed to cancel our interview. When I called to reschedule, I was told they were considering another candidate and would let me know if they still needed to talk with me.

Now I'm concerned that my age was the real reason for this rejection. Although I am in excellent health and have a very youthful appearance, that doesn't help unless I get an interview. Should I just forget about jobs that require a plane flight?

A: Before restricting yourself to ground transportation, take a moment to reconsider your assumptions. Although age could have been a factor in your interview cancellation, it is equally possible that management discovered a more qualified applicant or found a local candidate who would not incur relocation costs.

Nevertheless, if revealing your age troubles you, try asking if you can make future flight reservations yourself. Some companies will allow you to do so within their travel guidelines, though others will prefer to maintain control of the process. In that case, you have little choice but to share your birth date if the airline must have it for security reporting.

Given your youthful demeanor, you might also consider using a webcam to turn phone screenings into video interviews. That would enable you to make a positive visual impression at the beginning of the process. Again, some companies may not allow this, but there's no harm in asking.

As a general rule, however, try to avoid obsessing about the age issue. Since applicants receive so little feedback, they continually speculate about the reasons for lost opportunities. This is simply a waste of emotional energy, because you will never know what really happened.

Don't give difficult co-worker the power

Q: Ever since I came to work here a year ago, I have gotten nothing but attitude from the woman in the next cubicle. I keep trying to be nice to "Mandy," but she refuses to develop any kind of relationship with me. Sometimes she doesn't speak to me at all.

Mandy seems to resent the fact that I have a more responsible job than she does. After my position was upgraded, she didn't talk to me for several days. Whenever I tell her that she has made a mistake, she completely ignores me. I am constantly cleaning up her errors, which takes time away from my own work.

Our supervisor told us that we needed to work on our communication problem, but that didn't help at all. I believe he's getting tired of Mandy's behavior, although he doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. I have considered transferring to another department, but I don't see why I should be the one to leave.

This situation has me ready to explode, but I know that getting angry will only make me look bad. What should I do?

A: Since this unpleasant woman obviously doesn't want a relationship with you, I think you should just go about your work and leave her alone to sulk in silence. When you allow yourself to get bent out of shape over Mandy's frosty demeanor, you are giving her way too much power to affect your life.

Unless monitoring Mandy is part of your job, you should also stop pointing out her mistakes. By acting like her supervisor, you are overstepping your boundaries and increasing her resentment. More importantly, if you continue to fix her errors, management will never learn about her shortcomings.

While your boss may indeed be growing tired of Mandy's moodiness, you would be wise to note that he has attributed this "communication problem" to both of you. If you are unable to get a grip on your emotional reactions, he may soon tire of your attitude as well.

Don't assume age was reason for losing interview 04/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 21, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]