As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough, there’s the added pressure of having to pretend that you don’t care about the financial compensation at all. Sure, your values may be totally in line with the company’s, and you may really admire their work — but let’s be real, if you didn’t need the money from said job, you probably wouldn’t be interviewing there, right? I mean, we all need to get paid. It’s not a damn crime.
Which is why it’s kind of baffling that a company would cast aspersions against somebody for daring to ask about a position’s salary before they were officially offered said position.
Taylor Byrnes, a young woman in Winnipeg, was in the process of interviewing for a menu development job at the food delivery service SkipTheDishes. After an initial phone interview, Byrnes was scheduled for a second interview. However, before the second interview, Byrnes sent an email to the HR person she was in contact with, asking about wages and benefits for the position.
It was at that point that the HR person told her that there would be no second interview, as her salary-related questions proved that her “priorities” were not “in sync with those of SkipTheDishes.”
In a followup email, the company had the nerve to say that, “As a startup company … it is paramount that staff display intrinsic motivation and are proven self-starters,” and that “questions about compensation and benefits at such an early stage is a concern related to organizational fit.”
Which is an elaborate way of saying “How DARE you imply that your reasons for wanting this job are financially-motivated!”
Taylor shared the exchange on Twitter, and found that many people were just as baffled and upset by the interaction. After all — she was interviewing for a job, i.e., a task done in exchange for compensation. How is it out of line to ask questions about said compensation?
Is it really so absurd to want a job that allows you to maintain your standard of living? Regardless of whether or not they’re a “startup”??
The company caught wind of the internet’s response to Taylor’s situation, and immediately rescheduled Byrnes’ interview, stating that the email response was not indicative of their company’s outlook.
“The email sent to Taylor was wrong and does not represent our team’s approach or values,” co-founder Joshua Simair said in a statement, according to BuzzFeed Canada. “We are very disappointed in how it was handled. We do share a compensation package prior to hiring. As soon as we became aware of it on Monday, we reached out to Taylor to apologize for the email and reschedule her interview.”
That said, I find it unlikely that Taylor will want to join a corporate culture where somebody actually shamed her for asking about compensation, as that will probably make for an incredibly awkward work environment — but who knows?
But, let this be inspiration to anyone who’s nervous about asserting themselves when it comes to financial compensation for a new job: although companies typically only give out benefits information when officially offering someone the position, it’s a dick move for them to discriminate against you for asking about it up front.