Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 

Stereotyping

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


Sometimes employees in our department bring in home-cooked food so we can share more about our customs and cultures. One of my co-workers brought in a dish that was filled with spices and vegetables that I cannot stand. When I would not eat it, there were a few comments about my being prejudiced. Nothing could be further from the truth. What do I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I recently hired a store manager, and I just learned that she rides a motorcycle to work. I don't think this is the right image for our company, and I am concerned about the example she may be setting for the rest of the staff. When she came to the interview, she arrived in a car, and this issue never came up. How do I approach it now?
Read Ken's Answer

I just interviewed a male applicant who wore a wedding ring, but I am certain he is not married. He has jumped around in several jobs, and perhaps he thought that wearing a ring would make him look more stable and settled. I thought it was rather deceptive, and I am wondering if I should drop him as an applicant.
Read Ken's Answer

What do you do when you interview an applicant and everything seems fine, but the pit of your stomach tells you that you should not hire him? I can't figure out what it is, but something tells me that this applicant is not giving me the full story.
Read Ken's Answer

One of the managers from another department was telling me why he fired a female whom he recently hired. He said that since the department already had two females, he never should have hired a third one since women are more likely to bicker than men. He concluded by saying that he won't make that mistake again. I was dumbfounded. This guy has an MBA. Shouldn't he know better?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager said that he fashions himself as a person who can tell if someone is lying. He says when people lie, they lose eye contact and fidget. I never thought much about his comments until he accused me of lying about starting a rumor. I had nothing to do with it. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

One of our best salespeople just returned from vacation with a small diamond pierced through her nose. It's the first thing you notice when you see her, and I cannot imagine why she did this. I am concerned about the reaction of her customers. What should I say to her?
Read Ken's Answer

We just hired a middle level manager and he showed up in a very expensive car, more expensive than any other car in the company. He did not come across as this kind of person in the interview or on his reference checks, but we are concerned about what the other employees are going to think. How should we deal with this?
Read Ken's Answer

On a recent business trip, my manager and I had to remove our shoes as part of the security check. I happened to be wearing a pair of socks that have a couple of holes, and my manager noticed them. He made a joke about it at the time and keeps mentioning it. How do I get him to stop?
Read Ken's Answer

I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position and I noticed that his shoes were very scuffed. If this is how he takes care of his appearance when trying to get a job, I figure he'll do the same thing when he tries to sell our products. Should I pass on him?
Read Ken's Answer

We are in the process of hiring several new managers. One of the people who are conducting interviews recently said at a meeting that he can tell in a minute if a person has what it takes to be a manager. Several of us told him about the problems and risks that accompany his thinking, and he agreed to keep an open mind. Is there anything else we should be doing in this situation?
Read Ken's Answer

We have been having a high degree of turnover among our younger employees, and I am wondering if this is just a common occurrence with Generation X. If so, what are some good ways to retain them?
Read Ken's Answer

Our new manager gives me the creeps. I don't know what it is about him, but as soon as I met him, I felt my skin crawl. I can't identify anything in particular that he did, but I just don't like being around him. I like my job, but the whole place has really changed for me because of him. What can you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

We have casual dress days every Friday, but I am reluctant to wear casual attire because I feel that, as a female, we tend to diminish our stature when we dress casually, while the same does not seem to apply to males. My associates tell me that I am wrong about this. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I went to lunch with an outstanding applicant, and I must say that he has terrible manners. I'm not a stickler about this, but he chews with his mouth open, talks with food in his mouth, reaches across the table for food, and so on. He's got the right experience and credentials for the job, but I'm concerned about this. Should I be?
Read Ken's Answer

I just went for my third interview at this company, and I met with the president for a few minutes. I was surprised to find that his office is tiny and a dump. There were papers scattered all over the floor, and his desk was very small and messy. My conversation with him was pleasant enough, but I'm wondering about a president who works in such an unprofessional office. Is this a reasonable concern?
Read Ken's Answer

We have a promising applicant for a Marketing/Public Relations position, and her interview was going well until she mentioned that she is a vegetarian. I am concerned that this is going to create problems when we have lunches in our department and meals with customers or vendors, and I don't want others to feel awkward. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I just terminated an employee who was performing poorly. I felt particularly sad about this because she is a single mom and is now out of work right before the holidays. During my meeting with her, I felt my eyes well up a little, but I did not cry. I met with my manager afterwards, and he saw my eyes and said he wonders if I have what it takes to be in management. Now I feel even worse. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

When I hold a meeting, I expect people to pay attention, and I am convinced that when they are sitting there and chewing gum, that does not happen. There is a reason why children are not allowed to chew gum in school, and I think it applies to the place of work. I want to insist that people refrain from chewing gum in my meetings. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

When I asked a recent applicant about the steps he has taken to further his education, he said he completed classes in pottery, acting, and art history. None of those classes has anything to do with our business, and I thought he should have been taking more business-oriented courses. Should applicants on a management track be eliminated for taking these kinds of classes?
Read Ken's Answer

When I sit at my desk, I usually tuck one leg under the other. One of the senior consultants said that a personality test on the Internet found that when a male sits like this, it is a sign of deference and weakness. He added that I should never do it in front of a client. Did you ever hear of anything like this?
Read Ken's Answer

One of the people I work with fashions herself as some sort of amateur psychologist. She is constantly applying psychological labels to everything I do. Our work forces us to have frequent contact, and this is really getting in the way. What's the best way to deal with her?
Read Ken's Answer

I have been screening applicants for a sales position, and I found one I really like. My administrative assistant met him before the interview and said she thinks he is a phony. I still think he is very qualified, but I do not want to ignore her comments. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I was at lunch with a new employee in my department, and I noticed that when his entr»e arrived, he put salt on it, but did not taste it first to see if it needed any. I heard this is a sign of a person who does not carefully analyze new situations, but just jumps in and does what he did in the past. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I was in a job interview for around 15 minutes when the interviewer got up and said he would be back in a couple of minutes. Just after he left, the phone rang. I assumed the call went onto his voicemail, but when the interviewer returned, he said this was a test. The company is looking for confident and aggressive employees, and because I let the phone ring, I did not show the traits the company needs. The interview ended shortly after that. Does this make any sense to you?
Read Ken's Answer

I work for a national footwear chain in one of their stores. I am a top salesman, a Jewish male, and my regional manager refers to me with an anti-Semitic term. He also uses racial slurs to describe an African-American woman in our corporate office. I emailed a letter to Human Resources, and they called other witnesses and spoke to the regional manager. He admitted to the slurs, but nothing was done after that. Now I have to work with this manager, and I feel like a fool. What should I do now?
Read Ken's Answer

One of our better sales reps suggested we interview an acquaintance of his for an important sales position. Several of us met with this applicant individually, and then we all went to dinner with him. In both meetings, I found him to be loud, opinionated, and hardly listening, but everyone else thought he was great. They all said this guy is a born salesman. I have real doubts. What can I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I have been responding to employment ads for several months, and I have not had one interview. I know there are many applicants in my field, but my background seems to be more than satisfactory. Do you have any special steps that might help? Some of my friends suggested I show up at some companies and ask if they are hiring. I think this idea is worthless, and I wonder if you agree.
Read Ken's Answer

I just interviewed an applicant who looked perfect on paper. His interview went well, but I have one lingering doubt. He has a very weak handshake. On several occasions, I have heard that this is a sign of weak character, and that is the last thing we need here. This applicant did not have a hand injury or anything like that. Since I have this doubt, should I look at other applicants?
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who is always eating or nibbling on something. He is not overweight, but if I meet with him in his office or if we have departmental meetings, he always has some food. Granted that it is not necessarily junk food, I have to wonder why he does this. My concern is that it is going to interfere with his work and even cause a problem with ants. What should I say to him?
Read Ken's Answer

Our company has taken many steps to deal with and prevent illegal harassment. The other day, my supervisor told an offensive religious joke but said it was okay because he was joking about his own religion. Iím not a member of his religion, but I thought the joke was offensive, and Iím sure most people of his faith would feel likewise. Is he right?
Read Ken's Answer

I am new to management, and I am going to be hiring a couple of more people over the next few months. One of the other managers advised me to avoid hiring anyone with a tattoo. He claims that tattoos are signs of immaturity, impulsiveness, and questionable judgment. What do you make of his advice?
Read Ken's Answer

We have a new manager in our department, and I get a bad feeling about him. I cannot put my finger on it, but something about him seems off. I have talked to others in my department, and a few feel the same way. How do you deal with a manager who triggers these feelings?
Read Ken's Answer

We are trying to fill a fairly specialized position, and one of the candidates is a former employee who worked here a few years ago, but quit. Iím concerned about hiring former employees. She did a very good job while working here, but if she quit once, I am afraid she will quit again. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

Earlier this week, I interviewed an applicant who was well qualified for a marketing position that we are trying to fill. The interview was in the early afternoon, and since this applicant had bloodshot eyes, I wonder if he might have a drinking problem. Another manager who also interviewed him said I am making a mistake, but I have a real concern about this.
Read Ken's Answer

We received a resume from an applicant whose background looks good for an entry level marketing position with our company. My concern is that she uses a very babyish nickname on her resume and cover letter. I think this is a sign of immaturity. Do you agree?
Read Ken's Answer

I am looking for a job, and although I am still in my 30ís, my hair has a lot of gray. I have had interviews for positions that I could definitely handle, but I have not received one offer. Some of my friends say that the problem is that I look older, and their suggestion is for me to dye my hair. Do you think this will help?
Read Ken's Answer

We are screening applicants for a sales and marketing position, and we are impressed with one particular applicant. He has the experience and skills, and he came well-recommended. Our concern is that he does not wear socks. He wears standard types of shoes, but apparently never with socks. Weíre not sure how our customers will view this. Can you help?
Read Ken's Answer

We have been having a hard time finding good applicants for an outbound sales position, and we disagree about one candidate. His work experience and training look good, and he presented himself well in the interview. The problem is that he has had seven jobs in the past five years. I say this should eliminate him from consideration, while other managers say this is not a problem. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I am looking for a summer internship, and my college referred me to a company. I am a 20-year-old female art student, and one of the interviewers said he knows he is not supposed to ask, but he wanted to know if I am 21-years-old. I begrudgingly told him my age, but I am wondering how to answer this type of question.
Read Ken's Answer