Tuesday, August 24, 2010

third interview; credit; renting in NYC

I had my third interview today, with the founder/president, and it went very well.  This was mostly to see how I would fit into the firm, as a worker, as a person, and as the first contact with the company (front desk and phones).  I now know that I'm one of five candidates (I was the second one she saw), and I was the only one of the five who sent thank-you notes.  (My feeling is that she and the two other interviewers were impressed by that -- all got e-mail thank-yous within a day of the interview.)

Yesterday, when I called to confirm the time of the interview, my second interviewer answered the phone (the incumbent office assistant is already gone).  He and I chatted for a couple of minutes, and he said, "I passed you on to (the president)."  I thanked him, of course, and even thought I'd known that my third interview would have to be on his recommendation, it almost had a tone that he particularly went to bat for me in some way.  Maybe he indicated in some way a preference for me over the others. It was clear that he was impressed with me, and it seemed like she was too, today.

I also looked at the company website after my interview, and in an article reproduced from a newspaper, she said that when hiring, she checks references and does a background check for any criminal history.  I was a little uncomfortable about the background check which can include a credit check and some other things that I don't care to have examined.  And what she said in the article referred to tutors, not office staff.  I would imagine that office staff gets pretty much the same checks, references and criminal record, which is fine by me. 

I did once have a pending job which I didn't get because of something like a background check, and was once dismissed from a temp-to-perm situation after a week; the HR person said something like "Your references didn't check out," and legally didn't have to say any more, so I have no idea what the problem was.  My best guess is that the start and end dates I gave for a particular job didn't jibe with what the former employer said.  At one point, I lost all copies of my resume, and had to reconstruct it from memory, so some start and end dates may be off by a couple of months.  I could have explained that if given the chance.  I was told to leave right away (this happened right at lunch hour), and believe it or not, she had a couple of guys stand over me while I cleared my desk and then they escorted me out of the offices!  Unless she had uncovered some criminal activity in my past (of which there is none), I cannot imagine why I had to be treated like a criminal.  It was actually pretty ridiculous.

Unfortunately, I still have credit problems that date back many years, because I was foolish about money then, and haven't been able to afford to make it right since then.  When I've been working and earning a reasonable salary, I've been making payments, but when I have an ultra-low-salary job (like the last one) or when I'm not working, I wasn't able to work on old debts, which probably stacked even more black marks against me.  My credit rating is not good, which I had always thought would not be a problem as long as I didn't apply for loans or credit cards.  But now a lot of landlords are asking for them, which seriously sucks.  The last time we were apartment-hunting, we found that even small non-stabilized apartments (like a three-family where the landlord lives in one and rents two) wanted credit reports.  All big apartment buildings certainly did.  We were amazingly lucky to get a stabilized apartment in a small building without having to give a credit history. 

For you non-NYCers:  Apartment buildings with more than four units are rent-stabilized.  This means that the landlord must offer a one- or two-year lease, and is only permitted to raise the rent a certain percentage (the amount is determined by the city every year).  In addition, the landlord is only allowed to raise the rent a certain percent if an old tenant moves out.  A non-stabilized building has less than four units, and if the landlord lives on premises, the landlord can pretty much do whatever s/he wants; the apartment is considered a part of the landlord's apartment, as if the tenant was renting a room from her.  So in a non-stabilized apartment of this sort, the landlord doesn't have to offer a lease, only a month to month amount, which can be raised any amount at any time, and the tenant can be thrown out if the landlord wants to move a relative in.  I'm not sure about four unit apartments where the landlord doesn't live on premises, but it's not as good as stabilized, that's for sure.  The jackpot is if you have a rent-controlled apartment.  Rent Control was a predecessor of Rent Stabilization, and much more generous to the tenant.  (I don't know the details, but it's much better than anything else.)  You don't have rent-control unless you've been in the same apartment for around 45 years (I think 1965 was the cutoff).  Rent-control people pay tiny rents. My aunt has an RC apartment in Greenwich Village, a one-bedroom in a good location for which market price is probably something like $4000.  She probably pays around $400.  (Of course, there are very strict laws about passing an apartment on to anyone else, or even subletting.)  Oh well.

I have some important relaxing to do now.

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