Unreasonable employer demands happen regularly in the workplace, and many employers get away with this practice. Liz Ryan, HR expert and CEO of Human Workplace, provides several examples of this behavior and believes there are three reasons why you should just say no to unreasonable demands.
Examples of Unreasonable Employer Demands
One example of an unreasonable employer demand is an employer who asks for your references before meeting you. This employer might simply want to know how someone else perceives you, but you're not obligated to provide that information so soon. An employer should make an attempt to get to know you during an interview before asking for references.
Asking for salary details from your past jobs is another unreasonable request. Salary negotiations generally don't start until after you receive an offer following your interview. If anything, the employer should provide a salary range within the job description.
Some employers demand to see proof that you can handle certain types of work. They might want you to fill out reports, perform statistical analyses or complete work using a specific computer program. Say no to such requests, as you're not obligated to complete work for free.
Why You Should Never Give In
Agreeing to anything an employer demands means you give up your leverage during negotiations. For example, if you don't stand up for yourself, the company may assume that you would accept any salary offer and might intentionally low-ball your salary. Giving in to unreasonable demands also sends the message that it's okay for an employer to walk all over you. If you just say no from the beginning, you set appropriate boundaries, and the employer won't be so eager to take advantage of you.
Handling Unreasonable Requests
Offer an alternative to any unreasonable employer demands. For example, you can offer examples of your work in a portfolio instead of completing tasks for the employer. Or, instead of performing any in-depth tasks, you can give a brief explanation of how you would start a particular process. You could also tell the hiring manager that it would be irresponsible of you to perform any research without knowing all of the facts.
If you do this, the employer might get mad, in which case you will see through the charade and might realize that you don't want to work for the company. Another reaction is one of embarrassment when the recruiter realizes he crossed a line. Either way, your dignity will remain intact, and the employer will know he won't be able to take advantage of you.
Accepting unreasonable employer demands can lower your value to employers. If you feel a company treats you unfairly, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and get the respect you deserve.
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