How Far Should You Expect an Employer to Bend When Hiring?

bend over backwards

A conversation recently came up amongst several people in my book group. One of the members has been looking for a job for about six months with little success. A couple of weeks ago, she was offered a job at a company that she was excited about. During the negotiations, she mentioned that, since she’d been out of work for quite a while, she had gone ahead and planned a week-long vacation for May. The employer told her that she would need to cancel/reschedule that vacation or else they could not offer her the job. She argued that the vacation was planned and paid for, but the employer stated that it was non-negotiable. Even though the time would have been taken unpaid, their stance was


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7 Responses to How Far Should You Expect an Employer to Bend When Hiring?

  1. baselle says:

    “My acquaintance chose not to take the job, despite the fact that she could have rescheduled the trip without losing any money.”

    Sounds like the couple might have purchased trip insurance … so its confusing to me because it looks they thought of that very possibility. Unless she really, really didn’t need the cash and it was a good way to rationalize the decision.

    IMO, a job is more valuable than just the paycheck. Even if its a crappy job, sitting tight in it for a few months allows you UE to reset, which re-inflates your economic lifeboat. It also makes your resume a little fresher because you can show a willingness to be an employee. And you know that in a small field/small city employers talk to each other. Quietly, but they do. Wouldn’t affect a lower to mid level employee, but if she is reaching upper management her decision might have broader effects with other employers.

    I’m reading that both sides dodged a bullet, I guess.

  2. Nika says:

    “Take it or leave it, but vacations during the probationary period are not allowed. We have a lot of qualified applicants should you decide we’re not the right fit for you.”

    If that is how they came off, she was right to decline the job.

    It translates as “We have a manual and we don’t really care about employees to look at things on a case by case basis, our employees are expendable, and we feel they should be grateful to have a job”.

    If they are quoting a regulation instead of an actual need, it is a red flag. Especially if this is a vacancy that is new, or the one that has been empty for a while and there is no pressing need to start immediately. On the other hand, if they have a crazy crunch and they just really need someone to be at work at that time, that is a valid reason.

    “We have a lot of qualified applicants should you decide we’re not the right fit for you.” I would feel that to take an offer after this was said to my face at the recruitment process would be humiliating, and unless my child would go hungry otherwise I would not do it.

  3. Asmom says:

    As a hiring manager, I can tell you that an employee who walked in the door telling me about her vacation needs (especially after having been off for so long) would have been a red flag for me. She sounds like she has a sense of entitlement and lacks priorities. I’m all in favor of work life balance but walking in the door saying I need a day off? No, you are not hired.

  4. OfeliaTConejo says:

    You are absolutely right. The woman sounds like a spoiled brat who really did not want the job.

  5. Julie says:

    I agree also. I have H/R responsibilities and this would have been a warning sign to me too.

  6. ceejay74 says:

    I’ve had several new jobs where I’d already purchased nonrefundable tickets for a vacation, and they’ve never given me any trouble about taking it soon into my job. This seems a bit unreasonable of the new employer.

    That said, I’d kill for 8 weeks of PTO! If I was able to reschedule the vacation without losing money, I’d have done it for a package that generous. To me, that balances out the strictness of no travel during the probationary period.

  7. Gail says:

    Why does someone who has been off work for 6 months NEED a vacation or does she not need a job? I would have taken the job in a heartbeat and forget the vacation. Sounds like this was a great job opportunity and I too would have been leary of someone coming in wanting to go on vacation within two weeks of arriving. I’ve seen things similar to this and it leaves other employees in a very grumpy mood especially if they have been having to hold off taking a vacation until the opening is filled and the person trained.

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