Dear J.T. & Dale: At the moment, I am on unemployment, and it’s a cause of anxiety. Yes, I am grateful to have some money coming in, but I feel like I should be doing something. JT mentioned in one of her online videos that looking for a temporary job while we are looking for a full-time opportunity is an option worth exploring. This evening, I heard back from one of the temporary jobs I applied to. It wouldn’t be anything I would get rich off of, but I would at least feel like I am making progress getting back into the workforce.
My concern is that since it is a locally owned business that I support, I want to figure out a way to be transparent with them that I will still be looking for a full-time position while working for them without disqualifying myself from consideration. While I certainly wouldn’t close the door on the idea of a part-time side hustle to earn some extra money, once I find another full-time job, I don’t want the interviewer to think that I would be looking to stay with this position full-time. Any tips? — Hannah
J.T.: I think they will understand this isn’t your full-time, long-term career goal. Just tell them that you are looking for another role but would love to stay on part-time with them once that happens.
DALE: It does you credit to want to be candid with a potential employer. That’s good. Even so, in most cases, we would argue against doing anything that would lessen your chances of getting a job offer, arguing that the days of such anticipatory loyalty have passed us by. In this case, though, I’d make an exception. When they see your resume, they’ll know that this would be a step down, and they will either attach the dreaded “overqualified” label to your candidacy or be suspicious as to why your career has faltered. So, by being honest, they won’t hit the “Reject” button. And, if they indeed have an ongoing need for part-timers, then hiring and training you will not seem like a wasted effort. Indeed, I’d urge you to simply apply for part-time work: You want to devote several hours a day to your job search and be available not just for job interviews, but networking visits with lunches or coffees.
J.T.: Agreed. A temporary job is a good idea when the income will keep you from a panicky job search or when the anxiety of the search will overwhelm you. In your case, you might want the combination of flexibility and purpose that comes with part-time work with a company you support.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m interviewing with a nonprofit next week for an executive position. I currently interact with the leadership on committees. I asked who would be on the interview panel and was advised they would prefer to introduce the panel at the start of the interview. I find this concerning that they won’t tell me who the panel is. Am I off base? — Roman
J.T.: While it’s odd they don’t want to tell you and let you prepare, they must have their reasons. I wouldn’t worry about it.
DALE: Yes, while I tend to be suspicious whenever encountering odd employment processes, this doesn’t strike me as worrisome. Rather, I’m guessing it has more to do with being unorganized — they probably aren’t sure who is available or who wants to be included. You can take that as its own concern or as good news that they need a new executive to lend more order to the place.
J.T.: You can still prepare for the interview based on who might be included in the panel. I’d take time to try to find those that work for the organization on LinkedIn and at least review some profiles of people who you’d work with or who would work for you. That way, if one or more of them is in the panel, you can say, “I came across your profile while I was preparing for this interview.” They’ll be impressed.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.