40

In my recent interview everything went well. They were very positive and I could see in their eyes that they are very positive/impressed with me. Finally they asked me "do you have any questions for us?", I said yes I do have. I asked about team, technologies, environments etc... everything went well.

Finally, I asked them "do you guys work on weekends?" they replied yes we do, do you have any problem with it? I said I don't have any problem but it would not be possible for me to come 3-4 weekends in a month as I have family and I have to take care of other things at home. Then total interview mood got changed and I could see they are watching each other.

Finally, I left interview venue. After few hours they told to hiring agency that he is not suitable for the team we are looking a new candidates. I was really shocked as I told them if you do correct estimation then I will make sure that I am completing it in working days and I don't need to come on weekends. But I don't know why they didn't understand me?

Please share your thoughts and how to deal with these kind of questions in the interviews?

Note they are start-up, in fact they told me that in the interview.

  • 17
    I am actually impressed that the company didn't lie to you when you asked the question which has happened to me before. I found this out my first day when they started scheduling meetings on Saturday morning. – maple_shaft Aug 18 '12 at 14:34
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    Don't consent to working weekends, even for a startup. Stand up for your right to a reasonable work/life balance. Companies should be grateful to you should you choose to work weekends occasionally (or more than occasionally). They should not be demanding that people work 7 days a week as a condition of employment. – aroth Aug 20 '12 at 6:18
  • @aroth - Because it is better to starve than to work weekends? I do not work weekends often but sometimes there are things (like releases to mission critical processes) that can not be done during the work week. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 20 '12 at 13:25
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    @Chad - No, because if you don't stand up for yourself and demonstrate that you value your time, there's no reason for your employer to do so either. Besides, it's seldom the case that there is no option in between "starve to death" and "work 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year". – aroth Aug 20 '12 at 13:37
69

You have dealt with it in the correct way.

Assuming that the interview did indeed go along as well as you believe it did, only to change on that particular issue, then my conclusion is:

  • The company expects people to work weekends. This appears to be non-negotiable and part of their culture. (sounds like a startup - perhaps you can confirm)
  • You can't commit to that as a family man.

If neither of you can budge on this, then it is not a good fit.

The fact is that you are both better off finding out now, before an offer has been extended and accepted. How would you feel if you found out that you have to come in every weekend? How would they have reacted when you refused?

The best way to deal with such questions is to be honest. Being honest ensures that you find something that is right for you.

  • 11
    Far better not to get this job. – HLGEM Aug 17 '12 at 21:10
  • Thanks Oded. Yes they are Start-up, in fact they told me that in the interview. – Pahari Chora Aug 17 '12 at 21:24
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    @Paharichora - That explains much. Some startups expect 110% from people. Overtime. Weekend. No vacations. Family people are not right for them... Perhaps you need to read up a bit about startup culture. – Oded Aug 17 '12 at 21:32
  • @Oded sure sir, thanks for your comments. Appreciate your time. – Pahari Chora Aug 17 '12 at 21:47
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    +1 for "The fact is that you are both better off finding out now" - It is far more painful to accept a position get excited about it only to find out that it is not really a good fit. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 20 '12 at 13:27
25

If they were offering you equity in a startup, expecting you to routinely work weekends might be on the table. If it's just a salaried job, they're looking for slave labor and you're better off without them. If it's an hourly job, ask them about overtime compensation and if the answer is "no" then they're criminals (and you're better off without them).

Of course, under unusual (or even predicable periodic) circumstances, weekends or long hours might be expected, but it has to be compensated in kind or in cash.

  • Whether they are criminals or not would depend on where you are, and the circumstances of your employment. In the U.S. there are "exempt" positions, which are exempt from overtime rules. In my state, at least, as long as your pay rate stays at or above minimum wage (and they aren't violating other laws), they can demand unpaid overtime. – GreenMatt Nov 26 '12 at 2:28
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    I wrote "if it's an hourly job" abuse of the "salaried worker" classification is a different question. A lot of "assistant managers" are washing dishes. – ddyer Oct 1 '14 at 0:12

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