Q: I was recently told that I had received a “do not rehire” rating from a company where I worked as a contractor. The employment agency shared this information after I requested another assignment there. I was with that business for a year, so this news felt like a punch in the gut.
Now I’m frustrated and angry because I don’t know what I did wrong. During my assignment, I was never reprimanded or counseled by human resources. I made many friends and voluntarily participated in several community service projects. How can I find out what the problem was?
A: Being summarily dismissed without explanation would be maddening, so your feelings are quite understandable. Your desire for more information is also justified, since determining the cause might prevent future problems. Just remember that your goal is not to ferret out the complainers, but to examine your own work history.
Start by talking with an appropriate manager at your employment agency. Unless a confidentiality agreement prohibits such disclosures, they should be able to describe the company’s concerns. Given the length of your assignment with this business, you might also reasonably request some feedback from their HR manager.
But if specific details are hard to come by, then it’s time for some rigorous self-examination. Refusals to rehire are typically based on issues with either tasks or relationships. You’ve mentioned making friends and participating in community activities, but neither of those factors is directly work-related. So here are a few questions to consider.
Did anyone ever talk with you about errors, missed deadlines or quality lapses? Were there interpersonal difficulties with any co-workers? Did you have disagreements with your supervisor or other managers? Do you have potentially bothersome habits, like talking too much, hygiene issues, being tardy or excessive socializing?
Perhaps these answers will shed some light. But if neither inquiry nor introspection provides any clues, then the reason for this rejection may remain a frustrating mystery.
Q: Three months ago, I was promised a bonus for doing extra work. I still haven’t received any money. After my manager resigned, her boss asked me to oversee two major projects until a replacement could be hired. Although he said I would be getting a bonus, the amount was never discussed and it hasn’t been mentioned again. Should I ask him about this?
A: Since you were specifically told that this reward would be forthcoming, following up seems perfectly reasonable. Just find an appropriate time and then remind the manager of your previous conversation.
For example: “When Mary left, you mentioned that I would receive a bonus for assuming some of her duties. We never discussed an amount, so I wondered if you had made a decision about that.”
Odds are that this was simply an oversight, so your gentle inquiry should stimulate some action. But if he puts you off by saying he needs time to consider the amount, politely ask when you should check with him again.
Every manager should remember that people never forget any mention of money. What managers may consider a possibility, employees usually view as a promise.