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Thread: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

  1. #1
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Ok. So in series of odd events, I recently made it to a second interview before submitting a resume / cover letter (short version, I'd started applying for another job and they want me for a job that hadn't been posted yet).

    Friday I got a call from the HR director asking me to come in for a third interview (6 people, 3 hours) this week. Also he sent me the job description and asked if I could write up a page of why I'd be good for the job. I offered to send a full cover letter / tweaked resume / reference pack, which he was grateful for.

    Monday I sent him everything. An hour later I got a weird email from him. What I soon realized was that he'd meant to forward the resume/etc with comments to the rest of the team, but instead he hit reply and it only came to me.

    What's more, while he liked the resume, he talked about how much he disliked the opening of my cover letter because of the sentence fragment it contained. He said "maybe that's just my bias for good grammar."

    Here's the kicker: it's not a sentence fragment. He misread it. It's a slightly complex but grammatically valid sentence.

    So there's three levels of awkward here:

    1. The "reply" instead of "forward."
    2. The critique of the grammar.
    3. The fact that the critique is wrong.

    Any ideas?
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  2. #2
    International Counter bellisimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    act like nothing happened.
    thats what i'd do.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Pointing out his error will wound his pride and could mean no job. What I would do is change it to something else that basically says the same thing while reading in a different way, re-send it to him, and explain that you were reading it afterwards, or that you had accidentally sent him a previous version, and hope it's not too much trouble. Do you want or need the job? Is your pride too big to allow something this minor to keep you from having it? Probably not. Life is too short to be a jerk about something this small. Besides, HR directors are really a very small circle of folks who talk to each other regularly, especially within the same industry. My wife keeps switching companies and working with the same folks she worked with at the last company. So you can't tell me it's smart to point out his error, because even if you don't need this job, someday he could prevent you from getting one you do, even if it's a different company.
    Last edited by travmil; 06-09-2010 at 07:52 AM.

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by bellisimo View Post
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    act like nothing happened.
    thats what i'd do.
    That's the easiest thing to do. Of course, if you let that HR director walk into an interview thinking you're a blubbering idiot who can't form a coherent thought and put it to paper, that's exactly how he'll treat you. My idea above shows him that you aren't that blubbering idiot, while also showing him that you care about your image and how you come across on paper, which will transfer to how you come across in the interview.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    My guess is he will figure out that he replied to you instead of forwarding on to the other 6 people. But when they don't respond, he will look into what happen and likely realize his mistake.

    Tough situation, either way you handle it will put him a tougher situation and if he isn't secure he will likely find a reason not to hire you so it doesn't look bad on him.

    If I were you I would probably play dumb and act like you didn't receive the e-mail from him.

  7. #6
    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    First, the bad news: This guy just embarrassed himself in front of a you a few times over. Consider your chances of getting hired somewhat diminished.

    Now the good news: if the job you are applying for has something to do with conflict resolution or communication of any sort, you MUST respond. the way you respond, with just the right touch of good humor and grace can turn you into a leading candidate. Make sure you have a nice chuckle about it at your next interview. Share a similar story about a moment in your life that could be similar (but inconsequential and preferably with a happy ending, like how you met your wife or something). But save that for in person.


    Now on a general note: Remember that scene in Say Anything where a bunch of guys in front of Circle K are giving Lloyd Dobler girl advice? The little kid in the group offers one of the most memorable chestnuts.

    I shall adopt it and use it here.

    Email, man. Email.

    Those stupid reply buttons can get you in a world of hurt, and with all my experience in litigation, let me tell you it is just about the worst way to communicate on the planet. People send emails to "c.y.a." when all they are really doing is exposing themselves to the worst kind of trouble. So much trouble. So impossible to correct mistakes. Nearly impossible to change your mind on an issue with set-in-stone comments out there in a digital format.

    If the man wanted to forward your letter, he should have limited his comments to this:

    "I've attached this candidate's letter for your review. Let's meet briefly to discuss top candidates after lunch."

    It wouldn't matter WHO got it, because there's nothing meaningful in there. Meaningful comments should always happen on the phone or in person, and if they do go in writing, they should be reviewed by another person - on paper - before getting sent into the world.

    All of this is just my opinion.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

    “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    lolz, I love it when the Grammar Nazis are dead wrong. Most people who are super-persnickety about grammar have never seriously studied it in their lives.

    I say go all in. Email him back and alert him of his two errors, but like LA said, do it in a humorous and compassionate way. Show that you are BOTH a good "communicator" (ugh) and that you also won't be walked over. If he's an insecure arsehole, then you lose the job instantly. But if he's self-secure, he'll be impressed with your balls/courage/etc, and you'll instantly shoot up the list of candidates.

    But either way, he's gonna figure out what he did, and going the "well gee, I didn't see anything in my inbox" route will only make you look like a weenie. (A weenie who misses some of the important items that come through his inbox, no less.) In some form, you have to respond, IMO.

    And I agree with LA re email. Horrible medium. If I ever have to send an important email, I draft it out in Word first, and when I send it I double-check it's going to the right people, etc.
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Kill his children.

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  12. #9
    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Make him watch.

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    N8R

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Make him watch.
    This part's crucial.
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Make him watch Pacers games.
    I made his punishment more arduous.
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Make him watch.
    do we really need another Keyser Soze?

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Make him watch.
    Or make him choose between saving his wife or his kids...that's always fun for the whole family.

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  19. #14
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    What's more, while he liked the resume, he talked about how much he disliked the opening of my cover letter because of the sentence fragment it contained. He said "maybe that's just my bias for good grammar."

    Here's the kicker: it's not a sentence fragment. He misread it. It's a slightly complex but grammatically valid sentence.

    So there's three levels of awkward here:

    1. The "reply" instead of "forward."
    2. The critique of the grammar.
    3. The fact that the critique is wrong.

    Any ideas?
    I'm closest to liking LA's suggestion.

    If he'd forwarded it to the people he intended AND you I'd be inclined to say ignore it. But since the intended recipients will never see it that could be detrimental to you getting the job.

    I sure wouldn't correct him for not liking your grammar. Even if you can convince him you were grammatically correct, he didn't like the way the opening sentence was structured. Even if he could be convinced it was technically correct, that likely won't make him like the sentence any better.

    So... reply letting him know he sent the email to you instead of forwarding it. Make a quip or two letting him know you aren't insulted, that it's no problem, no big deal, and have made a similar mistake in your life to your mother-in-law or something... And thank him for still considering you for the job... and joke that you'll change the opening sentence as many times as he wants if it will help you get the job.

    I suppose you could even share that you have issues with grammar frustrations when reading other people's writing yourself.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    I suppose you could even share that you have issues with grammar frustrations when reading other people's writing yourself.
    Yes. You could forward Graham's profile and explain that you were so traumatized by posting on this board that you developed disassociative identity disorder.

    Seriously, if you haven't acted yet, I think you need to reply. While I doubt he did this intentionally, once he saw his mistake he may be waiting to see how you handle it.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    Yes. You could forward Graham's profile and explain that you were so traumatized by posting on this board that you developed disassociative identity disorder.

    Seriously, if you haven't acted yet, I think you need to reply. While I doubt he did this intentionally, once he saw his mistake he may be waiting to see how you handle it.
    I agree 100,000,000%

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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan View Post
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    I agree 100,000,000%
    And while we're at it... don't send that response to a hiring manager for any job that might require math skills. They might observe that the maximum possible agreement level is 100%, not 100 million%.

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    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
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    Default Re: WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    And while we're at it... don't send that response to a hiring manager for any job that might require math skills. They might observe that the maximum possible agreement level is 100%, not 100 million%.

    If you ever saw my transcript and/or saw my math skills, you would be impressed I knew that "1" and "0" were in fact numbers


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