My son is a certified special-education teacher who wants to find employment with a nonprofit agency that runs a school support program. He has been on many interviews and, although he knows there are myriad reasons why other people were offered the jobs, he is perplexed because his interviewers have often come from the same public-school teaching background as he. Would it be helpful for him to call someone who’s interviewed him to ask for suggestions about what might help him achieve his goal?

First, a big shout out to your son for his chosen profession and desire to help others. It’s not common practice for applicants to ask for interview feedback, or ask what they can do to achieve more success, but it is a great strategy and it’s worth making the effort to ask.

Be prepared for an unsatisfying response from most employers, though. The fear of litigation is very high and for good reason, particularly around workplace and hiring matters. You may find that many employers will be reluctant to give any response, or only provide the customary, “We found someone whose experience was better suited for the job.”

The most effective way to get advice is by networking with people in the field. Without the angst around hiring and fear of saying the wrong thing and getting sued, networking provides a safe environment for getting perspective and tips from working professionals.

My boss wants to reduce my hours and schedule down to four days per week. I don’t want to make less money. If I refuse, can I collect unemployment?

A material change in the terms and conditions of your employment such as this would almost certainly qualify for unemployment. But how does quitting and collecting unemployment make any sense?

You’ll be making even less money and have a harder time finding a new job, since a job search is more difficult when you are unemployed rather than when you still have a job.

Looking for longer hours is a better way to explain why you want leave your job rather than having to explain that you quit and chose to receive unemployment instead.

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