Are Candidates Entitled to a Salary After a Working Interview?

Are Candidates Entitled to a Salary After a Working Interview?

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I still vaguely recall my first working interview; the scorching heat in the well-lit room – an endurance-based evaluation. I under-performed, deliberating that the company’s culture and my management style did not go hand-in-hand. Long story short, they sent me on my way with nothing but a glass of hot water!

Employees are entitled to a minimum wage after a working interview. This is according to Federal and State laws – although you should not expect a pile of cash forth-sitting on your desk afterward. This salary is much less than what you would get paid if hired.

In the rest of this article, I will explore scenarios related to this question. Including if one gets paid everywhere after a working interview, the legal, moral, and monetary obligations and compensations after a working interview, and what to do if you did not get paid after a working interview.

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When Does One Get Paid Everywhere After a Working Interview?

Imagine a regular day at a job interview in some state. You’re being assessed for abilities you have studied and worked half your life for. It is only human for you to wonder if you would get paid in these challenging conditions.

You should get paid for a working interview if your services are used by the company, no matter where you are. However, different states in the US have different wages set for employment/working interviews. As such, the amount you eventually end up with might be underwhelming.

Even though these wages vary, your employer is, in fact, legally obligated to pay for your services. At minimum, the employer in question must pay you the higher amount of either federal or state minimum wage. 

Currently, federal minimum wage is $7.25. If you have a working interview in a state with no state minimum wage, that’s what the employer is obligated to pay you. However, in states such as Alaska and California, the potential employer must pay you a higher amount to comply with the higher state minimum wage.

The Legal Obligations After a Working Interview

Addressing the lawful and constitutional bindings of working interviews, certain legal and moral obligations must be on the employer’s checklist before out-sourcing work to employees, or in this case, potential employees.

The US Department of Labor states that someone permitted to work is considered an employee. As such, a potential candidate is assessed as a legal employee and you are obligated to pay them.

The federal and state regulations require an employer to pay anyone working/rendering services for their company/business. This includes the acts performed for the company’s benefit, which form the basis of the subject of this discussion: a working interview.

Suppose the individual has been hired as a temporary employee, volunteer, or intern. In that case, that does not waiver the employers’ responsibilities and obligations to provide the minimum standards set by the regulatory authorities. Misleading, labeling, or falsifying a candidate, as mentioned above, while performing a working interview can have serious consequences. 

What Are the Monetary Obligations After a Working Interview?

Coming to the real question, how much is a business or an employer required to pay a candidate for a working interview. While the wage may differ according to states and regions, the federal and state laws have set the policy straight.

The US Department of Labor has set the minimum wage to 7.25$/hour for workers. This falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Since a candidate undergoing a working interview is constitutionally allotted the right to be paid, none of the services provided can go without monetary compensation.

Although the candidates qualify for monetary compensation, they are not obligated to receive the same hourly rate as a full-time employee. Employers are only bound to pay the minimum wage rate set by the law for each hour worked on the interview. However, candidates who work more than eight hours are also paid overtime.

However, it is vital to mention that if the candidate is subject to the minimum wage set by state and federal law, the employee is entitled to receive the higher wages.

What To Do If You Didn’t Get Paid After a Working Interview

Imagine a job interview where you’ve been asked to perform activities and tasks as a regular employee. You spend the entire day working to the best of your abilities, only to be sent home with nothing but a gloomy face and a work bag strapped to your shoulder.

If you didn’t get paid after a working interview, consult a lawyer. Regrettably, things like this happen quite often. The fix, however, is to be aware of your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

There are a few steps you can take to bring it up with your potential employer. These include:

Contacting the Employer

A candidate called up for a working interview can politely ask the employer or the hiring manager how or when they’ll be paid after the interview. This avoids an unnecessary confrontation between the two parties and also respectfully cautions the employer that the candidate is familiarized with their rights.

In case the inquiries mentioned above cannot be made, you must contact the employer (preferably in writing) and ask about the payments owed before resorting to legal methods and disputes.

Being Aware of Your Rights

An employer attempting to withhold working interview payments is subject to several wrong-doings, including potential Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations, misclassification penalties, and employee regulatory violations. All these claims can be filed in court.

According to Kristin Dvorsky Taurus, an employment attorney practicing in the McKenna Law Firm, if an employer does not fulfill the legal obligations as set forth by state and federal Laws, an employee can consult a lawyer.

In this case, it is pertinent to mention that: 

  • The candidate for the working interview has the same civil rights as a permanent employee and can file for misconduct/discrimination during the proceedings of the interview.
  • The applicant has the right to file for unemployment in the case that they are not hired after the initial work interview; this may force the employer to pay from an unemployment account.

Contacting Officials

One of the most effective methods of resolving your payment issue is to contact official departments set up for this exact purpose.

The unpaid candidate for the working interview may contact the Department of Labor, which can assist in methods of collecting the unpaid wages directly, or the department may provide means of extracting the payments.

Contacting the State Labor Department might be another fruitful option as state laws are more practically applicable according to the employer’s region.

Most states have a Legal Services Organization which assists employees at no charge. Bringing forward cases of wage withholding can be followed into a Court of Law, with resultant sanctions on the employee.

Consulting an employment lawyer is probably the best of all options. An employment lawyer can point out which of the options mentioned above is the best for the candidate and the related restraints of the circumstances.

Final Thoughts

In short, all candidates called for a working interview are entitled to a minimum wage. Holding back payments owed to work interview candidates or employees can make the employer liable for lawful consequences.

In law and principle, failure to pay for work and services counts as an unauthorized deduction from wages.

So the next time you go for a job interview that requires more than just speaking, do not settle for a glass of water in exchange for the services you provide. Let the employer know that you are well aware of all your rights and don’t come back empty-handed. 

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