Forgot to mention something important at job interview -- what now?
August 31, 2014 6:40 AM   Subscribe

I just had a job interview for a job I really want that went really well. So well that I forgot to mention something kind of important: I started a part-time retail job between applying and hearing back about the interview (it was almost a month and I've been unemployed since May, so needed something to pay the bills) that I'd have to give notice at, but I'd hopefully be able to get shifts covered. I haven't had any direct e-mail contact with the person who interviewed me, only with the administrative assistant. They would want me to start ASAP. I'll probably be going in for a second interview sometime next week. How and when do I mention this? More important, how and when do I mention this in a way that isn't going to ruin my chances of getting this job?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You don't mention it.

ASAP means in about 2 weeks. After the drug test, background check, etc.

Also, part-time is ephemeral in it's nature. You don't know if they'd cut your hours back to nil, or drop you from the schedule all together.

If and when you're offered the job, accept, and work out the details with the part-time job afterwards.

You can ask to work only weekends, or evenings or whatever. If it doesn't work out, oh well.

You simply say to the PT job, "I've been offered a full-time position and I start a week from Monday. I'll be happy to work up until then. If we can work around my FT schedule, that would be great."

Gosh, a part-time job isn't indentured servitude. It's great to try to work it out, but if they're not flexible, bounce.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:46 AM on August 31, 2014 [38 favorites]

While I'm not generally a fan of simply up and leaving a job, part-time retail jobs (unless you're working for a tiny boutique kind of place) are pretty much the highest churn of any industry except perhaps foodservice. They are probably not unused to people simply leaving, because such jobs are a living hell.

And you mention it at the second interview. "Just FYI, I'm eager to start as soon as possible, but I may need a few days' notice to give proper notice to my current job/ensure my current job is covered." Lets them know, and also lets them know that you are a responsible employee who won't leave an employer in the lurch.

Also your current coworkers will probably (absent other life circumstances) jump at the opportunity to make more money, in my experience.

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:46 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Umm as nicely as possible, while the ideal is to give two weeks notice, they can't compel you to. If Real Job wants you to start a full time salaried job Monday at 9 am, you do not not NOT say "Gee sorry I can't do that because I have to give two weeks notice at my shit part-time job with no pay and no benefits that would fire me in a heartbeat with no warning." You call the retail job and say "I'm very sorry about the short notice but I will not be returning to work as I have found a full-time job."

In other words, you do not mention this to your interviewers at all, because this is not and should not be their problem and you want to erect NO hurdles to hiring you.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:50 AM on August 31, 2014 [62 favorites]

DarlingBri and the appropriately named Ruthless Bunny are smarter than me so listen there and not to me about mentioning this to your potential new employer. I mean it's good that you'd like to give timely notice but as pointed out it's not your problem nor is it legally required, and I'm guessing this is never a job that'll appear on your resume, will need references from, or hopefully have to return to at any time. Also, retail employee churn. Unless you leaving quickly would actually severely impact the business (again, that really only obtains at a small boutique kind of place), you are in the clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:55 AM on August 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've been a retail assistant manager. They'll be thrilled if you call and tell them you're quitting, as opposed to just not showing up any more. Trust me, retail management knows it's a lousy gig, with high turnover, and lots of them go to work wondering who's going to quit today.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 7:01 AM on August 31, 2014 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't mention it unless you're offered the job.

If you do need to literally start the new job ASAP, well, tough for your current employer. By all means definitely let them know, but don't worry too much about the short notice. They wouldn't be concerned about giving you two weeks' notice if they were getting rid of you.
posted by shihchiun at 7:11 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do not mention it to the new employer at any point. Ask your PT job to work around your new schedule; if they can't, just quit. (I have done this. No one will care, it will be fine.)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:39 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Let me give you one hiring manager's perspective.

New Hire, do I prefer you to start ASAP?

Yes, I'd love to get this position filled *today* so that Department Head Huffenpuff stops calling me about the staffing crisis!!!! in her oh-so-stressful domain.

When I ask you, "Can you start Monday?" and you reply you'd love to give (hint: not have to give) proper notice at your current job, am I going to rescind the job offer?

No. I experience one flicker of silent disappointment as I imagine telling Huffenpuff that she's going to have to gut it out for another two weeks...

Then I respect you for being a responsible and considerate employee. I always appreciate it when our employees give notice, and I know that if you were leaving us, I'd want you to do the same.

That being said: just don't blurt it out in the first 30 seconds of your second interview. "Hi good to see you again thank you for your time and by the way since we last spoke I took a part time mc-job to pay the cable bill so if you hire me you won't see me til October!"

Good luck!
posted by falldownpaul at 7:52 AM on August 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Take the new job and work as much as you'd like to at the old one. For part time, it's pretty easy to find someone who wants an extra shift.

Datapoint: I gave two weeks' notice at a part-time barista job years ago when I was moving across the country, and the manager was stunned, STUNNED, that someone would actually give that much notice.
posted by mochapickle at 7:54 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also chiming in with retail experience-- people's situations change overnight. You start the full-time job whenever they ask you to. Apologize to the retail manager but make it clear that you got a full-time job with benefits. Congratulations!
posted by BibiRose at 8:11 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm with Ruthless Bunny. "Say nothing" is the best route to take because you will naturally not be starting until some more paperwork is done. That gives you at least a few days if not a week or two. Also, ASAP does not always mean 'the day I offer you the job'. It's as soon as possible. For most working people applying for a new job, that means two weeks. Did they even ask "Do you have any other commitments that you'll first need to give notice to before taking on this position?" That's a pretty standard interview question. It may even come up on its own in the second interview, where it's a more relevant question.

While others make good points here about bringing it up so that the prospective employer is aware you may need two weeks, the important thing to keep in mind is that your prospective employer is going to see this as a reflection of how you may someday depart from them. Showing that you care enough, and are loyal enough, to give two weeks notice to your current employer means that you're likely to extend the same care and loyalty ("courtesy") to them should you part ways in the future. So, if you choose to go the "telling them" route, rather than never mentioning it, remember to place the emphasis on how important it is to you that you make sure you give your former employer some buffer time to find a replacement hire. This is one area where it's good to sound like you're the type who will put the company's needs above one's own. It's all part of the interview 'game'. (Once you're on the job, maintain a healthy balance of your needs versus the company's needs, of course, but during the interview you want to sound like that team player who respects the fact that a company needs timely notice to continue to function smoothly).

But based on the retail-experienced around here, sounds like only giving a few days (or day's!) notice is expected.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:50 AM on August 31, 2014

Why do you care about this part time job? It's retail! They can EASILY get your shifts covered.

Do not mention this in the interview, deal with it quietly AFTER you get the job.

I wouldn't tell part time employer where I moved on to, but that's me.

"Hi, Part Time Employer? OP, here.

I've been offered a full time job starting on Monday. I'm sorry for the short notice, but I will no longer be able to work at Banana's R Us."

If they ask you where you are working, tell them the name of the industry (Oh, it's in software) and change the subject.

As someone above said, it's Retail. They get it. It will be very nice if you give them a phone call and quit.

Good luck !
posted by jbenben at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Generally speaking, employment in the US is "free will", meaning you can be laid off without notice, and you can leave without notice. I appreciate that you want to be a nice person, but as noted above, you won't be creating Ill will leaving a part time retail job. I suppose if it was a small shop it would feel different than it would at Walmart.

But this is a time to put yourself first.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:35 AM on August 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Assuming the new job is a job in your field, and the retail job is decidedly not (as in, you don't work in like retail real estate or in management at another store or something), just be willing to burn bridges with your retail job. I got a stopgap dayjob and then ultimately a "must start ASAP" job in my field. I just told the dayjob people what was up and did what I needed to do.

In reality, retail workers are easy to replace. It should be very easy for your supervisors to reassign your hours to other workers as soon as the next schedule happens. In my case, that was a week. So, OK, they're short staffed for a week. Boo fucking hoo. A couple people who usually get 20-30 hours a week picked up a few extra shifts. Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

This is even more obvious if you work for a major chain that deliberately puts people "on call" and only doles out the bare minimum number of hours to workers. If anything, you leaving gets your coworkers a nice little bonus, and mostly likely costs your managers half an hour of schedule-finagling.

And most importantly: do not mention any of this until you actually have the job.
posted by Sara C. at 7:19 PM on August 31, 2014

@Ruthless Bunny nailed it. Don't mention it until you absolutely have no choice.

For the nerds like me: it's the old Asimov First Foundation strategy: take no action until there's only one course of action to take.
posted by jshare at 11:44 PM on August 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

« Older Saltpeter?   |   Big Happy Music Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.