Can you keep a secret? You might not be able to, but your employer can (most of the time). You might think you know everything there is to know about the world of work. However, there are probably a few job secrets you’re not aware of. There are certain things employers aren’t eager for you to discover.
Let’s take a closer look at 15 job secrets employers don’t want you to know.
1. You could be blacklisted
If you’re not careful, you could annoy your interviewer so much that you get banned from applying to any jobs at the company. It could be from getting overly aggressive with follow-ups or applying for jobs you’re clearly not qualified for. You could also be blacklisted for telling a lie. Roughly 43% of recruiters in a Bullhorn survey said they would consider blacklisting a candidate who applied for a job where there were obviously no skills match.
Career expert Karen Huller said in her LinkedIn blog being placed on a recruiter’s blacklist will make it harder for you to find a job. “Being blacklisted means recruiters will not work with you and will ensure your resume won’t end up in front of a hiring manager. In short, finding the next job or career opportunity becomes that much more difficult,” Huller said.
Next: Your complaints may fall on deaf ears.
2. Sometimes there’s nothing they can do about your bad boss
Do you have a truly horrible boss? Depending on how your supervisor got the gig, your complaints might fall on deaf ears. If your boss got the job because he or she is the son of the CEO or a relative of a senior manager, for example, tough luck. More than likely, upper management and human resources will side with your boss. So if you’re clashing with a boss who is incompetent yet well-connected, you’ll probably have to look for employment elsewhere.
Next: Your boss might care about where you live, and that’s perfectly legal.
3. Where you live matters
Some managers make hiring decisions based on where an applicant lives. If you’re wondering whether this is legal, the answer is yes, according to employment law attorney Donna Ballman. If an employer feels you live too far away, for example, they could tell you to move closer or risk losing your job. “Many employers won’t hire you if they think the commute is too far. Many government employers require employees to live within the city or county boundaries,” Ballman wrote.
Next: Except in Montana, you can be fired for just about any reason.
4. You could be fired for just about any reason
Ballman also warned employees shouldn’t get too comfy at their jobs. No matter how good you think you are, remember no one is indispensable. “In every state but Montana, you’re an at-will employee who can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, except for illegal reasons like whistle blower retaliation or discrimination,” Ballman wrote.
5. Your bonuses and 401(k) matches aren’t really extra money
Whenever you get a bonus or a 401(k) match, you’re likely thrilled. You can’t believe how generous your employer is being and how lucky you are to work for such a great company. That might all be true, but you should know this extra cash was really yours to begin with. What you might not be aware of is bonuses and retirement plan matches are already part of your total compensation package. Sorry if we just killed that warm, fuzzy feeling you were having about your employer.
6. You’re always being watched
Don’t treat your office like your home. Remember you’re always being watched, so be careful about what you say and do during work hours. That means you need to steer clear of careless Google searching at work. Yes, we’re talking about you. Roughly 43% of employers said they monitor their employees’ emails, according to an American Management Association survey. Furthermore, 16% said they record phone calls.
7. Your name matters
Is your name Sally, Jane, or Tom? You’ll have an easier time putting food on the table. Research has shown if your name isn’t simple to read and pronounce, you could have a hard time securing employment. Certain names could cause a recruiter to think twice about calling you in for an interview. For example, a recent BBC experiment found job seekers who had English-sounding names received three times more interviews than an applicant with a Muslim name.
8. Your personality matters
If you’re not very charming, now is the time to work on that. Managers are more likely to hire someone they’re comfortable with. If you two don’t click, it could mean the end of the road for your job search with that company. So work on your soft skills, and do your best to master the art of small talk. Roughly 49% of career advisers in a Workopolis survey said a poor connection was enough reason to dismiss a job candidate.
9. Mass layoffs can be found through WARN notices
Depending on the type of employer you work for, you could find out in advance whether a big layoff or closing is headed your way. Some employers are required under federal law to provide advance notice of a major layoff. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act, requires certain employers to give a 60-day written notice before a plant closing or plans to lay off more than 50 employees during a 30-day period.
10. The company’s interests always come first
You might feel like you’re part of a big, happy corporate family, but don’t be fooled. At the end of the day, your employer is looking out for its own interest. If your company ever perceives you to be a liability, you can count yourself as good as fired. So don’t get too comfortable at work, and start telling your co-workers all your secrets.
11. Don’t immediately say what salary you want
Wait for the hiring manager to talk about salary. Once the subject comes up, it’s best to start off by asking what the employer has budgeted for the position. If the hiring manager is vague, you could then give a desired salary range. If you immediately share your number, you could end up getting a lot less than what the employer could comfortably give you.
Certified career coach Cheryl Palmer had this to say in an interview with Career Builder: “If you immediately volunteer a dollar amount, the salary discussion will be based on that amount. The converse is also true. If the company representative states a dollar amount first, the salary negotiation process will start from there. Thus, it is your best interest to avoid mentioning a dollar amount first if at all possible.”
12. A bad attitude could cost you a job
Always maintain a positive attitude. Don’t badmouth your co-workers or talk negatively about your boss. If you think your attitude doesn’t matter, think again. Roughly 72% of employers said they look for employees who have a positive attitude when it’s time to make an employment decision, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Even after you get the job, maintaining a good attitude is a must.
13. How you look matters
Your image matters in your personal life and at work. You’re mistaken if you think you can just rest on your accomplishments, and everything will be OK. Coming to work or to an interview dressed sloppily demonstrates a lack of concern and professionalism. So do yourself a favor, and put in some effort when it comes to your work wardrobe. Also, pay attention to the colors you wear. Certain shades could cause a hiring manager to pass you over for a position.
14. Read your separation agreement carefully
Unless you change jobs frequently or you’re the relative of influential people at your job, you’ll eventually get laid off or fired at some point in your career. And when you do get let go, you’ll likely be asked to sign separation paperwork, such as a nondisclosure agreement or nondisparagement agreement. If you get fired or laid off, take time to read those agreements carefully. In some cases, you could be sued for breaking the agreement.
15. Nothing you say is a secret
Your co-workers might feel like close relatives, but they aren’t. Don’t get so cozy at work that you forget to keep certain things private. If you want to keep something a secret, your best bet is to just keep it to yourself. Anything you say could get back to the very person or people you don’t want to know. If you find yourself starting a sentence with, “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but …” stop yourself immediately, and keep the thought to yourself.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.