Barstool Sports CEO says she vets potential new hires by randomly texting them on weekends to see if they respond, but recruiters say it’s “a bit much.”
Failing to be on-call on weekends could cost you this job.
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini says if a potential employee she’s interviewing doesn’t answer a text message within three hours on a weekend, it could be a deal breaker. “If you’re in the process of interviewing with us, I’ll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you’ll respond,” she told The New York Times.
Nardini, who oversees the sports entertainment website geared towards male millennials, says the non-traditional hiring tactic is meant to test how quickly someone will answer outside the office.
“It’s not that I’m going to bug you all weekend if you work for me, but I want you to be responsive. I think about work all the time. Other people don’t have to be working all the time, but I want people who are also always thinking,” she explained.
But some career experts say the texting tactic could scare away a perfectly good employee — and that employees themselves may want to pause before accepting a job in which someone does this.
“Texting candidates on weekends could raise a red flag for anyone seeking balance in their lives,” says Kim Jarvis, Director of Career Coaching at SoFi, a personal finance company.
A Gallup Business Journal study published in March found that 53% of employees think work-life balance is critical, and they could be applying for a new job because of being overworked at an old one.
Still, “it’s important for candidates to prove that they want to work for you and that they’re reliable and easy to get a hold of, but respecting the candidates as future employees is key, and there are certainly ways you can test their desire for the role and communication skills with tactics that respect their weekend a bit more,” says Claire Farrell, a recruiter for Impact Radius, a digital marketing company who won’t ever text a potential new hire on the weekend.
So instead, she’ll monitor how long it takes someone to email her back during the work day. “A response within the day is make or break,” says Farrell.
During the interview process, she’ll send a calendar invite specifically asking them to call her directly for interviews to see how well someone can follow simple directions. “When people expect me to call, it tips me off that attention to detail may not be a strong suit,” she adds.
You can also test someone’s responsiveness by giving them a timed test or task, suggests Premier managing director Amanda Stevens.
But if you’re interviewing for a job you really want, you need to answer a message regardless of what the calendar says — just know that it could set the expectation that you might be expected to work on weekends.
It’s hard to know what a company’s work life balance is before you actually start working there. You could always ask your interviewer, but there’s no way to guarantee they’re being 100% honest. Instead, you could ask about a typical week — or even weekend — an employee can expect. Ask broad questions about what the organization’s culture is like, and if you have to work late, ask if there is any compensation available like free dinner or a cab ride home, says Jarvis.
Some employers might have the courtesy to ask you up front if you’re available to speak on weekends before cold calling (or in this case, texting).
“It would be good form to ask in advance, ‘Is it okay to contact you on weekends?’” David Silverstein, owner of New York-based recruiting company Search Firm HR suggests, though he admits: “It’s a little much. I wouldn’t use it at strict vetting criteria.”
But the reality is Nardini would probably get a response well before her three-hour limit is up.
More than half of employed adults said they check work messages at least once a day over the weekend (53%), according to a survey by Harris Interactive that polled 1,084 adults age 18 and older.
So, just know what you’re getting yourself into before you accept an offer.
“For me, I know that it is an expectation that I work on the weekends,” says Stevens. “But I love what I do. It goes back to the company culture and knowing if being on call is the right fit for you.”
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