Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

It was going to be a second interview.

There had already been a chat on the phone.

So the question, to Taylor Byrnes at least, seemed like a normal one.

"If I do end up filling this position, how much do you think I'll be getting paid an hour? Benefits will also be included, right? Sorry, I just thought I should ask now," she wrote in an email to the SkipTheDishes company, which offers an online meal-ordering service.

The reaction was a touch severe.

SkipTheDishes decided to skip the interview.

"Your questions reveal that your priorities are not in sync with those of SkipTheDishes. At this time, we will not be following through with our meeting on Thursday," wrote talent acquisition coordinator Victoria Karras, from the company that claims it's "seamlessly connecting people to local restaurants and food couriers, making great food more accessible."

This seamless disconnection might indicate many things.

Indeed, Byrnes told BuzzFeed that SkipTheDishes, which is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, followed up with an email that said "hard work and perseverance" were more important to the company than "focusing on compensation."

The email also stated that the company was looking for people with "intrinsic motivation." Gosh, how that sounds like "prepared to work for the odd scattered peanut."

But an employee surely needs to eat. Especially if she works for a company called SkipTheDishes, rather than SkipTheMeals.

Ah, but then Byrnes's tweet on this subject went viral.

And SkipTheDishes suddenly decided to offer Byrnes a second interview after all.

Co-founder Joshua Simair offered me this statement: "We are very disappointed in how it was handled." He added: "We do share a compensation package prior to hiring. As soon as we became aware of it on Monday, we reached out to Taylor to apologize for the email and reschedule her interview."

Could his attitude have anything to do with the idea that, now that the matter was public, SkipTheDishes' own compensation might be in jeopardy?

I wonder, though, whether his company's attitude was akin to that of many tech companies that believe some people should just work for free and prove themselves. Simair didn't immediately respond.

Then again, there are those who feel that asking about money before or during an interview suggests -- as it seemed to Karras -- that the candidate is only interested in the money. Perhaps a lot lies in the "how." Emails don't always express tonality too well.

For its part, SkipTheDishes insisted on Twitter: "We do share compensation & it's OK to ask. We are coaching internally to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Still, the hoodwink employed by so many so-called startups is that they don't have money, so employees shouldn't expect it either.

But what's this I see? A December headline from the Winnipeg Sun: "SkipTheDishes sold for $110M."

Was it only intrinsic motivation that got the company there?

Published on: Mar 14, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.