Ask The Work Buzz!

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We have a feature here at The Work Buzz called “Ask The Work Buzz!”  where we answer your questions on careers, job searches and workplace issues.

Today’s question comes to us from Ethan in Illinois. Ethan writes:

I was recently on the job market; in many interviews, they would have me start with the HR director, interview with a few other people, and then go back to the HR person’s office afterward.  

In several interviews, the HR director would ask something to the effect of “so, how did it go?” I don’t feel like I gave an especially satisfactory answer. What are they really asking and what’s the best way to answer it?”

Ethan, thanks for your question!

My initial response is to assume the simplest explanation is the correct one: the HR director may have just been expressing general interest and concern.

If there was another layer to that question, it’s likely that the HR director was trying to find out if you had any additional questions about the company, the position or the hiring process. It’s far more efficient for them to identify any questions a candidate might have at the time of the interview, instead of fielding a half dozen phone calls or e-mails later on.

One other possibility is that the HR director is performing “quality assurance” and is making sure that the hiring manager is performing his or her role well. If the interviewer is not explaining the job well, or isn’t engaging the candidate in ways that we would normally expect in an interview, the HR director will want to know that.

If you have a question you’d like us to tackle, please post your question in the comments section. Comments are screened for privacy.

  1. Rachel,

    I just read your article 20 big-salary jobs, no degree required. I was wondering how you find these jobs, specifically web surfer. Being a stay at home mom who’d like to either work from home or in an office and not have to go get another degree, this is rather interesting to me.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. My latest boss will not give me a good reference. Should I use a co-worker instead? There is no professional reason why she shouldn’t give a good reference. My other references are dated. I get interviews, but not jobs. Is it ever ok to tell employers not to contact a previous boss? I do ask for feedback regarding my performance on an interview, and it’s always positive, just someone else was felt to be more qualified is the usual reason I’m given. Thanks!

  3. I resigned my position because of hostility in the workplace, but am hesitant in informing potential employers that this was my reason for leaving. Is it proper to just state that I left due to personal reasons and leave it at that or should I be up front and let them know the real reason I left my position when asked. I have always been an honest person, but I am having a difficult time in how to explain this without seeming that I am a victim or that I can’t take the pressure.

  4. I have been employed at an entry level position for 2 wks in national collections for a on-line small loan co. This is may first job since Oct 2008, I was downsized after a company buy-out from a Sales/Customer Service middle-management position for 12 yrs. I’m 50 yrs old and have had 3 jobs in the past 20 yrs and feel I have a lot to offer this position but I don’t seem to be catching on as fast as my 20 something trainers want me to, who are very rude and short tempered, is this the new work etiquette or am I making the wrong career choice move?This was the first job offer in my area and I really need this job as unemployment has just hit 10.8% in my area in TN.

  5. My previous employment was as co-owner, with whom I am divorcing. I relocated & haven’t worked in a year. I also have children (10 & 9). How do I explain WHY I left previous employment AND do I try to hide my single parent status?

  6. Well Laura in the leaving the job always put it into a positive spin…such as I had achieved what i wanted to at that position and decided to move and give myself a chance to expand myself into a new challenge…you should at the first interview never bring up divorce or kids..sometimes being too honest tend to set the example of “her personal life will interfere with work” and as for both that and the single parent …they can not ask and should not thing to start is don’t bring it up and then, you get further into the hiring process you can see how you feel the company would look at it and make it a positive trait not a negative to your contribution to the company…I speak from experience was a single parent for 17 years and it is hard road in the business world

  7. Hello. I have a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, MS Office and internet skills and 8 years of customer service experience. I need a change…more of a challenge if you will. I’m short on direction right now- any thoughts?


  8. I was let go in April due to an abundance of absences taken due to an unusual emergency medical situation which has now been rectified. When employers ask if I have ever been terminated due to absences I don’t want to lie so I will say yes, however this is holding me back. I never receive a call back and have been on only 1 job interview in the past 4 months. Should I lie on the application and then explain the situation once I am interviewed? I am in desperate need of a job, am fully qualified and able, even during my medical crisis my performance was still tops in my company. I was let go due to policy guidelines only. Help please.

  9. Hello,
    I’m a CPRW and the author of six career books, including Top Secret Executive Resumes.

    I’ve written an article on expert resume writing, where/how should I submit this for use on The Work Buzz or


    Steven Provenzano, CPRW/CEIP
    President: ECS & DTP, Inc.
    Free Resume Analysis.

  10. I was employed with a company beginning in 2000. In 2001 I waqs involved in a work-related car accident. The case didn’t go through workers’ comp because our WC insurance had lapsed 11 days prior to my accident. The case finally settled in 2005. The owner took out a second mortgage to pay the claims. How do I handle this when asked WHY I left that position and what date do I use as having left my position? Do I use the date that my doctor put me on medical leave, or the date that the case settled? The case settled in April 2005, but I never tendered my resignation until July 2005. I never went back to work for that company and I was never fired. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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