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I applied for a job to a few companies. One place I particularly like. We had an interview that seemed to go well and the interviewer said he was impressed with me. He then sent me an email asking me for my grades from university. I told him that my mother was dying when I was at university and my grades were affected, so I would prefer if he assessed my skills by looking at my portfolio, giving me a test assignment or talking to me.

He said he wanted to see my grades anyway, so I did a stupid thing and didn't reply because I'm ashamed of my grades. A couple weeks later, I got another email from him asking why I hadn't replied. Should I tell him the reason, as stupid as it looks?

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    Not sending it means not getting hired at all, what's there to loose? – Martijn Nov 24 '14 at 15:08
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    Why are you ashamed at all? Getting bad grades in that situation simply means you are a human. I would expect people to be, at least in some aspect, affected by such a loss; if they weren't I'd start thinking that either they are sociopaths or they have other heavy familiar problems... – Bakuriu Nov 24 '14 at 17:44
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    @Bakuriu: wasn't there a study that sociopaths make for great CEOs due to their unique "abilities"... – Juha Untinen Nov 25 '14 at 7:49
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    The nature of a job is your boss asks you to perform a task and you are expected to complete that task. You displayed traits no employer wants. – paparazzo Nov 25 '14 at 16:03
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    "I got another email from him" -- No need to be ashamed then! Obviously, the possible employer is really interested in you. Otherwise he would just drop you and not keep asking for the formalities. Go ahead, send the documents, apologize for the delay, maybe add that you appreciate his interest, express your positive feeling about the interview, and confirm your interest in the cool job you'd like to be doing for them, and all may turn out pretty well in the end. :) – JimmyB Nov 25 '14 at 16:33
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First of all this is behavior you should stop doing. You might be ashamed of your grades, but worst case is they turn you down. By not replying you are forcing them to turn you down. Stop caring about their decision, just send the grades when they ask. You have already explained why you grades are not as good as they might have been, and that explanation seems to have been acknowledged.

Second to answer your question, I don't think you can gain anything from offering an explanation. Simply reply with: "My grades are attached, sorry for the delay."

If you start saying that you are ashamed and that is why you didn't respond timely, they will think this is behavior that will be reflected in the job. I.e. that you will stick you head in the ground when faced with situations that you are not proud of (and there will probably be several of those), instead of handling the situation to the best of your abilities. This is not a good trait.

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    This is a great solution. And you're absolutely right, I know what I did was dumb. – Robyn Nov 24 '14 at 15:10
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    +1 for "Stop caring about their decision". I think it is really important mind set to have! – LulalaBoss Nov 24 '14 at 17:18
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    That they even asked you to send them after a few weeks seems like a pretty decent sign to me. If they weren't interested in you, I would think they wouldn't have gone through the work of asking for the grades that much later. – bhamby Nov 24 '14 at 22:23
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I would forward my grades and apologize for the delay. No need to provide a reason unless he pushes for it.

Also, unless someone questions you about your low grades you should not offer unsolicited reasons for your grades when you provide them. Offering an unprovoked explanation can signal desperation to cover something up on your part.

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    +1, but this depends on the grades and the situation. It's possible for an interviewer or hiring manager to take one look at your uni grades without con text and go "based on these, we can't accept this developer over the developer with 20% higher grade average". Providing some basic context like "bereavement" will at least allow them to correctly assess your grades. – deworde Nov 25 '14 at 12:13
  • If an employer is only considering my grades in making a hiring decision then I would question my desire to work for them since they are obviously not very good at hiring people which leads me to believe they are not very good at other managerial duties. A seasoned hiring employer, if interested in the employee, will vet out why a person's grades don't seem to reflect the quality of the person interviewing. – Muro Nov 25 '14 at 12:23
  • @Muro - they MAY want to work out why the grades don't reflect the rest of the candidate's qualities... but if they have other suitable candidates they may simply not have time or not need to. I wouldn't rely on it – Jon Story Nov 26 '14 at 11:17
  • @Jon - Apparently you missed the point of my last comment. Do not work for companies that only consider grades during interviewing. – Muro Nov 26 '14 at 12:45
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You've already told them that your grades were low, and why, so all you have to apologize for is the delay. I think this is actually the best answer you can give in terms of trying to make up any ground that you've lost due to your slow response.

You're going to have to get used to people asking for the grades, and explaining them, at least until you've been in your field long enough that the grades are irrelevant. Shame does you no good. Focus on how much you've learned/improved since then.

  • Thank you. I'm not sure if this is relevant, but the other companies I applied to seemed to think I have been working enough years that my grades from 2008 are irrelevant. This was the only company that asked for my grades. – Robyn Nov 24 '14 at 15:08
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    @Robyn I work for a company that requires quite a bit of information when you're interviewing. Drug test, background-check, 5 references, over a dozen pages of personal info to fill out. In my case, I didn't fill any of that info out until after I was hired. You have to realize that some companies have a process that has nothing to do with you, it just needs to be followed. – MiniRagnarok Nov 24 '14 at 15:55

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