are really fast interview invitations off-putting?

A reader writes:

I’m job hunting, and a few times now I have received a request to come in for an interview within a day or, in today’s case, within hours of applying. Is this a red flag?

The last company that I interviewed with who did this turned out to pay hourly minimum wage in an industry that pays way better than that, which is why they had a high enough turnover that they were interviewing anyone who sent in a resume. But today I received an email and a phone call from a company I applied to within hours of sending in my resume, and they want me to come in tomorrow for an interview! Part of me says this is a red flag, but I wonder if this might just be bad hiring practices on their part and not an indication that it’s a bad company to work for. Should I tell them that this quick response is a little off putting? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m not sure if you’re asking about a quick response to your resume, or a request that you interview that same day or the next. So I’ll answer both.

A quick response to your resume:  This shouldn’t be a red flag. Some employers are efficient. I often respond to a strong applicant within a day or two of receiving their materials, because I’m reviewing applications as they come in, and if I see someone I know I’d like to talk with, it seems silly to sit on it for a week.

(That said, I will wait longer to reject people — generally a week — even if I know immediately that I’m going to reject them, simply because it feels rude to me otherwise — like saying “you’re such a deficient candidate that I didn’t even need to think about it.”)

Now, what about requests that you come in to interview the same day they contact you or the next? A request to interview in-person that same day would be off-putting to me — as if they didn’t understand that people have schedules and commitments.

Even a request to interview in person the next day would feel a little strange to me — unless it was accompanied by an acknowledgement that it was short notice. Acknowledging that something is unusual can go a long way toward canceling out its weirdness — it says “this isn’t standard practice for us and we know it might be an imposition,” as opposed to “we always fly by the seat of our pants and see nothing odd about that.”

A request for a same-day phone interview wouldn’t bother me, though, because that’s easier to accommodate … again, as long as it was clear they realized it might be too short notice and they were offering other times as well. (For instance: “Do you by chance have time for a 20-minute phone call later this afternoon? If not, here are two other times that would work later this week.”)

But in response to your last question, no, don’t tell them last-minute requests are off-putting. However, you can hold firm about needing more notice, and you can take it as a signal to watch for other signs of chaos.

{ 82 comments… read them below }

  1. Doug

    I had an employer call me 30 minutes after I submitted my resume. While to me, that sounded kind of desperate, I gave it a shot. Turns out, once I got to the interview, they gave me enough red flags that I declined an invitation for a second one.

    Don’t assume it’s a red flag right away, but go to the interview with a little more caution.

    1. jmkenrick

      I agree with Doug – there’s a number of legitimate reasons that they might be scheduling so soon, so it’s not necessarily a red flag. But keep it in mind, and if they balk at you not being able to meet right away, or wanting to take your time considering the offer…that’s a bad sign.

    2. Another Emily

      I agree as well. It could be that they’re seriously understaffed and ready to hire anyone with a pulse. If they offer you the job at the end of the interview that could be a big red flag.

      Hopefully they’re very efficient and you’re a terrific fit for them, and that’s why they offered you an interview so quickly.

      1. anon-2

        I dunno – depends on the position. If the right person is interviewing, you can cut to the chase and get the search over with.

        Isn’t hiring often a crapshoot, anyway?

        1. Doug

          It wasn’t in this case. This was advertised as a marketing management position (with training provided!) through my alma mater’s career center, but when I got there it turned out to be glorified door-to-door sales, with the “possibility” to move on to the actual listed position in about two years. And when I got there, the receptionist area was flooded with applicants waiting for their interviews, which made me believe that they pretty much invited whoever submitted a resume.

          As bad as that was, waiting for my interview was worse as the receptionist was blasting incredibly crappy Top 40 music from her computer and was bleating out some of the lyrics. Keeping my poker face was during that was very hard, especially when one of the female applicants squealed in the most stereotypical Valley Girl voice, “OMG, I love your playlist!” As far as I can remember, this is the only interview I have had where I had to go to a bar afterward for a shot.

      2. anon-HR

        I offered a candidate a job at the conclusion of the interview. He was the last of several individuals whom I had interviewed to replace an employee that failed to return from maternity leave. He was by far the most impressive candidate from the lot. The organization had already paid in full for the previous employee to attend a very expensive conference the following week, so I needed to sub-out her name for a replacement asap.

  2. bemo12

    I would only really be put off if they didn’t also give you the chance to interview at a later time. I don’t think it’s bad to say, “Can you come in tomorrow for an interview?” as long as, if you say no that it’s too soon, they follow with “Which days work best for you?”

    Sometimes interviews need to be done fast, like a job I was recently in the running for. They only have four training sessions a year and one starts in two weeks and they have to find the right candidate, get them to accept, and then book travel arrangements. So in that case, they had no choice but to move quickly.

    As an aside, the aforementioned job set me up for a second interview with a top level person (phone because they are in Nebraska and I am in NYC) and the person NEVER CALLED. I called after a half hour to see if I made a mistake with the time or what was going on and I only got a voice mail. I left a polite voice mail and they still never called. I don’t have their email, but I found that to be incredibly rude. And this is a large national organization.

  3. Blinx

    A few days before Christmas, I received an email, facebook message, and portfolio site message from a colleague I hadn’t worked with in 15 years. They had an opening I might be interested in. I emailed them my resume, had a phone interview that day, and in-person interview the next day. I put down their urgency to enthusiasm. The person they were replacing was leaving at the end of the year, and wouldn’t it be great if I could work (freelance) Christmas week and they could train me…

    You guessed it, I never heard from them again. Not even a rejection. Nothing from the former colleague. (I had followed up with thank you emails, of course.) Months later, I found out through LinkedIn that they hired someone with about 3 years experience (to my 20). If my experience level and salary requests were out of line, that should have been screened out in the phone interview. I’m guessing I just wasn’t the right “fit”.

    If it happens again, I’ll respond the same way, since interview requests are few and far between. But since that time, I’ve done a whole lot of reading on this blog, and won’t let their urgency to hire get my hopes up too high.

  4. VintageLydia

    A lot of those door-to-door sales scams work like this. Every time I got a call within hours of submission for an interview that day or the next, it was one of these scams. Google the company and if possible the name of the person you’re supposed to interview with (if you have it) and see what comes up. Usually they’re advertised as marketing positions and will talk about training you for management.

    1. Work It

      I, and just about everyone I know, have fallen for one of these “marketing” jobs before. Another good rule is to avoid listings with lots of capital letters and punctuation.

      1. K.

        Co-sign. There was a mass exodus at the group interview I attended for one such “marketing” job. Every single person (in a group of maybe a dozen) walked out. It was kind of awesome, actually. I mean, frustrating to think you might actually be in the running for a legit job, but empowering for all of us to be like “You know what? F*** this, we know it’s a scam. Buh-bye.”

    2. nyxalinth

      This wasn’t door-to-door, it was phone sales, which is a “OMG nothing else is hiring and I need money now” go-to for me. Said they had base pay, etc. they wanted me that very day for an interview, or forget it, because they were having people start the next day. I couldn’t, so I had to pass.

      A few weeks later, they were hiring again, so I went in, despite that red flag. Second red flag was that the ad was very misleading about the base pay.

      There was no base pay.

      It was all commission, and they had put base pay in the ad because “If you make X sales, we pay you the X pay an hour.” I told them that was still commission, they argued with me, and I walked. I’m pretty forgiving, but you do NOT lie about how my pay works. Instant deal breaker.

      Now, unless it’s a very reputable company that I know well, I don’t go for the “come in today or forget it” thing.

  5. COT

    My current employer moved through the hiring process really quickly–it was probably two weeks from application to start date. I don’t think that speed alone is much of an indicator about good vs. bad employer. In my case, it’s just that my organization is small and nimble enough to make quick decisions. I actually appreciate that because the lack of bureaucracy makes my job here much easier.

    In my case, they had also hired someone who quit after a week, and I applied when they reopened the job. By then they had a pretty good idea of what they wanted this time around, and I assume that the flow of quality applications was lower since they had already posted the job once just a month or two before.

    And I took it as a compliment that the process moved so quickly–it showed me that they really wanted me and believed that I’d be a good fit. (And yes, they were probably a little desperate, but not enough to make a bad hire.)

    Then again, could a fast process also be indicative of a bad employer? Sure. Just don’t make assumptions yet and keep your eyes open.

  6. Work It

    Funnily enough, my husband applied, interviewed, and got his current job all on the same day.

  7. Megan

    I find it really odd that a recruiter responding quickly is viewed as a negative thing. Wouldn’t you want to proceed with the interview process quickly to get a job quickly? Or to find out it’s not for you and move on?
    The majority of my position is recruitment and I constantly check our application system. I may respond to an applicant within minutes of receiving their application! And I very frequently get a response back with how impressed they were with my quick reponse. I always give the applicant the choice for when they’d like to come in, and more often than not, they request within the next day or two.

  8. kasey

    First time caller; really appreciate the knowledge shared here. Yeah, I just had this happen recently, with a bit of a spin.

    The employer called probably within 20 minutes of me sending off my resume: I was qualified, the company and the position seemed interesting, mid-level account/project management position. It was a Wednesday afternoon. I had a previously scheduled interview for Thursday and happened to be out of town (way out of town) Fri-Sun. The woman I spoke with asked to schedule the interview for Thursday (I didn’t want to double book, as the locations were about 45 apart and natch the originally set interview time made that too tricky to try to pull off. That and, you know, I might want to actually prepare?

    I told her I unfortunately had a conflict, but was available anytime next week, my tone was gracious and accommodating. Queue the attitude. Her: Do you realize that this job would be filled today? Do you have any idea how many people are applying for this job? It went on.. Yikes.

    Needless to say when I got back into town the job was reposted. Needless to say that I didn’t go anywhere that drama.
    (my favorite animal is the slowloris too, ha)

    1. Wilton Businessman

      Oh gee, I didn’t realize this position was going to be filled tomorrow. Good, because I couldn’t possibly start until next FOREVER anyway.

    2. Kelly O

      I had a call from someone who had seen my resume on CareerBuilder and wanted to schedule an interview that afternoon. He called me at 10:00, and I couldn’t answer the phone, didn’t recognize the number, so I let it slide to voice mail.

      Ten minutes after the phone call, I got a typo-ridden email “following up” on the voice mail and wanting to know if I could come in that afternoon.

      I checked my gmail during lunch on the phone that day, and got the voice mail. I called back and said that unfortunately I couldn’t make that afternoon, but could we schedule a later time.

      I got the whole “well you must not want to work that badly because I can fill this in three hours with someone who wants to work with my highly prestigious client.”

      I wished him the best with that and hung up.

      Two weeks later I got another call from the SAME freakin’ number, and the same guy emailing me. I replied and asked him to please remove my information from his database. He snarked back that I clearly am not aware of how important he and his company are, and I should be grateful he called.

      Yeah, blocked that number. And email address. Weirdo.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.

        Jeez, you missed a great opportunity. Obviously the best way to know whether or not someone is important is when they TELL you they are, and are big jerks about it. All the important people are jerks, right?

  9. Anonymous

    I think it would raise some flags with me.

    I say this b/c I recently went through a process where they were moving very quickly, which was fine initially, until the offer came and they were pushy about accepting right away and were irritated I was taking time to review the offer and ask questions.

    It turns out they were being so pushy because the position was to cover a planned mat leave that was starting like….now. Which is fine, however you knew this was coming. It wasn’t a surprise..so don’t push people through the process because you didn’t plan properly or leave enough time to fill the position.

    1. KellyK

      Just repeat to yourself, “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” (If you took the job, you’ll probably need to keep doing that for as long as you work there.)

      1. Anonymous

        Oh I did.

        I was just so angry that they were acting like it is my fault! And unfortunately they hold so much more power in the situation than you ever will! grr…

        1. Blinx

          To be fair, though, no matter how much planning potential moms do, sometimes the baby just wants to arrive a month or two earlier than everyone expected! Not saying that this is the case, but it happens. Of course, they shouldn’t have made you feel like you were at fault for not having a clear schedule.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.

      See, this is something I’m wondering about. Obviously job-seekers and employers should never be rude to other another about anything… it’s unwarranted and unprofessional.

      However, in a case like this, I think it’s a fine line between being irritated at you and blaming you for taking time to consider the offer and being like “We need this position filled, and we need you to either say yes or no by tomorrow.” Sometimes, you just NEED to fill a position, and it’s better to have your 2nd or 3rd choice candidate who can start on Monday than to have a 1st choice that takes a week to mull it over.

      Ideally, it’s rare. But if it’s necessary, then it’s necessary, and it’s only fair for them to tell you that.

      I’m not saying any of the above applies to your specific situation, Anonymous 2:43. I’m just saying that there are reasons to rush candidates through the process sometimes, and if you can’t accommodate that timeline, they can’t hire you. Shrug.

      1. Kelly O

        I would think you might feel differently about being rushed if someone said “our current Chocolate Teapot Administrator had to leave earlier than expected on maternity leave, so I’m sure you understand our rush to fill this role.”

        I guess I’m Pollyanna about some of these things, but I do think a great number of questions to AAM (mine included) could probably be resolved by just communicating with the other person/company/whatever. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Elephant faithful 100% and all that.

  10. SWA

    Actually, I do this frequently when the applicant is particularly well qualified. I also review resumes as they come in, and if I see one that screams “I’m perfect for this position” I’ll try to call the same day. And calendars around here tend to fill up fast, so if there is a hole in the schedule, I will offer it first. To Allison’s point, I do also appologize for the short notice and offer other days/times.
    I wouldn’t look at this particular things as a red flag. It might even be a good sign.
    Good luck either way!

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.

      I agree! If I think someone is my guy, I want to lock that down. I’m still new to hiring, and I’m astounded by how many candidates I lose because they accepted another offer elsewhere. The good ones go fast.

  11. Anonymous

    I had a legitimate organization ask me for a next-day interview, but they presented it like this (I went back to check my email, even though I knew Alison’s instincts would be right): “I know this is very last-minute, but is there any chance you would be able to come to [our building] for an interview tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, say at 2:00 pm until 4:30 or so? Alternately, we could also meet with you on [the following] Tuesday at 2:00 pm. ”

    I ended up getting an offer from them 10 days later–& they explained why they needed to move quickly during the interview–but I would’ve been taken aback if they hadn’t acknowledged the unusually fast timeline in their correspondence.

  12. Joey

    Red Flag, huge red flag I think most of the time at least the interview part.

    It’s usually desperation which could mean lack of planning, lack of qualified candidates or someone quit without notice.

    At minimum I’d be suspicious and casually mention how quickly they called to see if they offer up a reasonable sounding response.

    I think if it’s a small company it’s not a big deal for them to respond quickly. If its a large company it’s definitely weirder.

    1. Kelly

      I don’t know, I don’t think it’s fair to ding companies for the “someone quit without notice” expedited timeline — I mentioned downthread that I was doing a quick hiring for basically that reason. If this happened all the time at our org, yeah, it would be a huge red flag. But this was a pretty unique occurrence, and didn’t leave us any less screwed.

      That said, if a candidate asked me why I was calling back so quickly, I would have said “this position became vacant unexpectedly, I’m trying to minimize the amount of time it’s left uncovered.” Hopefully that would communicate to the candidate that this is the kind of place where if someone unexpectedly departs, you’re not going to get stuck doing your co-worker’s work while your boss takes two months to hire their replacement.

      1. Joey

        Most of the time it should be a red flag if someone quits without notice leaving you up the creek.

        That usually means a bad employee/manager relationship and/or you didnt have a contingency plan. Most employers tend to settle when they rush through the hiring process.

        1. Kelly

          I think you’re over-estimating the extent to which small and/or non-corporate companies are able to have contingency plans for non-managerial staff turnover, but YMMV.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.

            I agree. I love my job, and most people I work with like working there too. But last year, we went through a period where like 3 or 4 people quit or were fired, no notice, within a couple weeks of each other.

            It was a very difficult time, but looking back, I don’t think it was evidence of any kind of systemic problem. Mostly, the people who quit had ended up being bad “fits” in one way or another, and the way that often plays out is people walking out.

            And sometimes, employees just do shitty things. It’s not always the organization’s fault.

            1. Joey

              3-4 bad fits in a year all within a couple of weeks? Unless you’re doing mass hiring that sounds like potential problem with the interview process.

          2. Joey

            It’s a choice no matter the size of the company. All I’m saying is these things happen from time to time and if you don’t have a plan to hold down the fort while there’s a vacancy you’re going to keep running into this problem.

        2. Kelly O

          Joey, I’d think that was making a fairly significant assumption. When this happens to you, you can’t know if it’s the first time in ten years, or if it happens every time they turn around.

          Some companies, especially smaller ones, can’t always be prepared for every contingency. And some larger ones are so focused on FTE count, you can’t realistically prepare for every possible thing.

          And sometimes people have to leave quickly for reasons that are beyond their control. Spouses have jobs that can change, parents and kids get sick, life happens.

          While I agree that it might be wise to approach with caution (although honestly these days I’m approaching everything with caution) it doesn’t necessarily raise the flaming red flag of doom.

  13. Candice

    Am I the only one who thinks it could be because they have to fill the position — fast? Maybe they only have one or two people who are in that department and only two weeks to fill and train the position?

  14. Katie

    From the employee side, I think a fast interview turnaround can signal a lot of suspicious things: instability, less than desirable work, a poor understanding of the job description, marketing scam companies that others have mentioned, etc. While it certainly can be flattering to be called/hired so soon, I’m not so vain as to think that there might not be some ulterior motive. For example, I was recently offered a job on the spot, immediately after a technical interview, for a job in which I did not have the typical credentials required. I was also contacted by no less than 4 people who worked at the organization after I mentioned I would like to hear some employee perspectives. It stank of insecurity and desperation – I felt like someone asked me to go ring shopping on our third date.

    All this said, I don’t think hiring managers should play games with people. If you are sincerely interested in a candidate and you think they would be a great fit, don’t delay in reaching out to them and saying so. Good companies with lots to offer good employees won’t appear suspect.

  15. Kimmie Sue

    I review new applicants for all my open positions at least three times a week (and often daily). I have responded to a new applicant that was really good in the same day. My take is that if they are actively looking and they are qualified, I need to get to them before another employer. I’ve scheduled phone interviews in the same day. I ALWAYS give a candidate a few options for scheduling. Face-to-face interviews are usually scheduled at least 24 or 48 hours in advance. Again, with several options for the candidate. Unfortunately, too many employers do not see the interview process as a two-way street. We’re interviewing the candidate and they are interviewing us as a potential employer. This ends up being a poor candidate experience and terrible for the company brand. As far as offer decisions, I usually request a decision within 4-5 business days. Like AMA, I usually reject a few days after an interview (just seems nicer). Treat others as you’d be treated, right?

  16. Kelly

    The more time the hiring manager is spending covering the job duties of the vacant position they’re currently hiring, the faster they will want you to come in for an interview, in my experience it’s one of the few factors that can actual sync up the passage of candidate time v. hiring manager time. I was recently hiring for a position where the departure was extremely sudden and two days of trying to cover that position had me calling candidates with promising resumes to see if they could come in ASAP, as in the next day. I would never hold it against a candidate if they weren’t able to come in on such short notice, though.

  17. AnotherAlison

    Alison & now Kimmie Sue (maybe others) have mentioned that it’s their practice to reject several days to a week after an interview, even if it is decided immediately.

    I have always been in a situation when we, as a dept./committee/whatever, decided on a candidate immediately after the interview, but HR would do the dirty work to follow up. I have no idea what their timeline for calls was.

    Personally, knowing it’s often decided immediately, I prefer to be rejected as soon as it’s decided. We should move on mentally, but we all know we don’t. My feelings would be spared by not getting my hopes up for a week. (I realize sometimes it’s a quick no or a longer wait for other interviewees to get to a yes.)

    1. Joey

      This is the beauty of Automated application systems. Most can screen against qualifications and generate reject emails instantaneously. If you’re screening then waiting to reject until a few days pass that’s really hard to do in a high volume environment.
      As for in folks who get interviews I usually reject those who don’t have a chance on the following day.

    2. Marie

      For me it depends on the type of rejection… if it’s a definite no, then I’ll wait a day or two… for those I’m not sure about I wait a bit longer.

  18. cf

    No red flag for me. I once faxed my resume and cover letter to the recruiter (back in the dark ages) and he called me 20 minutes later. I had the in-person interview the next week and a written offer in three days. I worked there for 8 years. Would have stayed longer but I got laid off.

  19. shawn

    It’s funny how some people on here (and other career/management related websites) complain about employers taking forever to give updates, if they do at all. Now it’s a potentially bad thing to give an update too quickly? I know the contact time frame isn’t the only thing the OP asked about, but it’s funny that it was mentioned at all.

  20. Anon

    Interesting; I recently did screening interviews on-campus at a law school. I think I did the interviews on Tuesday and called back my two top candidates (to come in for more extensive interviews later) on Thursday. So not immediately, but I thought it’d be better to keep momentum going if they were legitimately excited about us.

    1. Emily

      Law student hiring is different. Firms are competing for the top candidates, and need to make their decisions quickly to be competitive. If firms don’t move quickly enough, candidates will get and take other offers. The whole hiring season only lasts a month.

      1. Anon

        It’s a little different for us because we’re a public interest-side firm, so we’re more trying to suss out who’s genuinely interested in what we do than we are competing with similarly situated firms, but it probably still applies. The people we’re interviewing will all have other options, and everyone is aware of this fact.

        1. Emily

          Sure, that makes sense. I think the timeline issue still applies though – someone may be interested in your firm but may also need to decide about an offer within the next few weeks. Plus, it just doesn’t seem too weird to move that quickly since every other firm is doing it. No red flag.

  21. Wilton Businessman

    I review resumes as they come in. If I am interested in you, I am very interested in you. There is a good possibility that I will be calling you today to schedule a phone interview. If that goes well, there is a good chance I will schedule an in-person interview at the end of our phone conversation. If our in-person interview goes well, you will have an offer by the time you get home.

    I think my record is resume to offer in 3 days.

    1. Tater B.

      I am very much in favor of this approach, even if it results in a rejection. I realize not every company/HR has the means to do this…so when it happens, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

  22. sam.i.am

    I’ve actually recently been on the flip side of this situation. I’d applied to my current company twice before this last time, and both times, I declined an interview because I’d already accepted another position.

    This last time, they remembered me from the times before, and apparently were like, “SHE’S LOOKING! JUMP ON THIS! THIS IS OUR CHANCE!” and moved very quickly through the process. After my initial interview, my now-boss pulled her boss out of a conference call to interview me that day instead of waiting and prolonging the process. And when they made me the offer, they apologized profusely for calling on Tuesday instead of Monday, as promised.

    And in the end, it was good they moved quickly, because about 45 minutes after accepting, another company called me for an interview.

  23. Anonymous

    This post is very timely for me! I applied for a job over a month ago and heard nothing until yesterday, when they sent me a pre-screening form to fill out within 24 hours. Skip to this afternoon when I received an email requesting an in-person interview tomorrow am! I’m currently employed (and training someone new), which they know, and I can’t arrange to leave the office with that short of notice. As much as I’m interested in working for this company, I do see this as a red flag.

    My current job emailed within minutes of sending in my application to set up a phone interview for about an hour later. (She said she loved my cover letter the moment she read it and had to get in touch right away – thank you Alison!) The rest of the application process moved along in a more normal time frame, but the initial contact is definitely representative of the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants culture around here!

  24. Sydney

    That alone isn’t necessary a red flag, but it can signal something is up with the company.

    We’re are hiring for two new positions at my company right now and our process is fairly quick, but we are very small and don’t need a lot of time to make decisions. You meet the big boss if you pass the interview and then you’ll get a call one way or the other within a week.

    From application to offer or rejection, you’re looking at a week or week and a half. If you think this is too fast, you probably won’t be a good fit for this small company who likes to move quickly.

  25. kristinyc

    The job I started this week (YAY!) moved really fast. I applied on a Thursday night, got an email on Monday, had a phone interview on Tuesday and an in-person interview (and verbal offer) on Friday. Monday was the written offer, and salary negotiations/offer accepted by Tuesday! I still gave 2 weeks’ notice and took a few days off in between the jobs, but sometimes a fast moving company just means they really want you and have their act together.

    I like Alison’s approach – quick response for people you want to interview, slower response for those you’re going to reject. That would make me feel awesome if I’m qualified and it’s a good fit, but not terrible if I’m not.

  26. OP

    Thanks for the feedback, but it ended up being a moot point.

    I ended up talking to the woman there, she called me around 2 the day she wanted me to come in for the interview and I let her know that I would not be able to interview today and then she asked if I could come in tomorrow. I let her know that, unfortunately I am in the middle of a busy week (I’m still working and this is clear on my resume) . Before I had a chance to ask if next week would be alright she got upset (never rude though) and said she needed someone right away. I did mention to her that there was no starting date posted so I didn’t realize they needed someone ASAP.

    And that was apparently it. I never got a chance to say anything else.

  27. Steve G

    I am suprised by all of the negative experiences specific to short-notice interviews and quick call backs. I haven’t much short-notice interviews, but have had companies call me back within an hour of sending in a resume. Never considered it a sign of something bad.

    1. Kelly O

      I think, because it usually takes days or weeks, sometimes longer, to even get a call, the proverbial “we” get a little anxious when something truly does move right along.

      I say “usually” – that’s been what I’ve observed in others, and what I’ve experienced myself. Granted, lots of rejection, but that’s just how it goes.

  28. mirror

    I had a short notice interview. They wanted me to come in 2 days after I submitted a resume. I was very sick at the time and told them so and asked if I could come in a few days later.they said no! I needed a job so I showed up.they also made me take 5th grade math and grammar tests..while I was drugged up and my head stuffed up, that was quite an experience in concentration.

  29. Cara

    I think it depends on the company size and culture. Sitting on a good candidate doesn’t make sense. If they look good on paper chances are others will think so too, so why wait. In a small company, such as the one I work in, I can act on something in the manner I wish because I have been given that responsibility and management trusts my judgement. That being said, I like to be proactive and not reactive. I feel a quick follow up can be a great thing because it shows we make things happen and if you like that quick paced, go-go-go, culture then you fit right in! Most times I schedule interviews the next day or even the same day if the candidate and other participants are available. I suppose it could send a red flag of desperation but it could also simply be an indication of the company culture and it’s growth. As for the quick rejection, I am quick to reject. I do not see this as rude but why wait to send out a rejection and leave candidates waiting and wondering. Candidates complain about never hearing back from employers so if an employer responds quickly (whether it be positive or negative) why is this all the sudden seen as a bad thing? We have all been job seekers at some point and it can be nerve wracking waiting any type of feedback. I am the type who would rather get rejection so I can move on, verses slow/no response at all. We can’t have it both ways.

    1. Steve G

      I like your comment. Its like dating – if you like someone, why do you have to go through the motions of waiting 3 days to respond to their emails/calls?

      1. Cara

        Yes some might call me blunt. I would like to think of it as honest. If I do talk to the candidate and they feel like they aren’t a good fit I would rather them tell me upfront. I don’t do games, no time for that in my professional or personal life. And yes you shouldn’t wait around if you like someone, if they are awesome they probably have options.

  30. Sarah G

    Like Alison mentioned, I think it’s an important distinction as to whether or not they acknowledged that it’s last-minute and out of the ordinary. It would feel different if someone said, “I know this is really last-minute but we’re trying to schedule interviews relatively quickly because of ________. Is there any chance you can make it in for an interview tomorrow at 1? If not, we can schedule it early next week.

  31. Blinx

    Getting a call soon after submitting a resume isn’t really the issue. It’s the potential employer insisting on an interview that day or the next. Some of the above replies make it seem as if the employer is in a panic mode. This is the red flag for me, that they probably haven’t taken the time to really consider the position or the types of candidates they are looking for. They just need a body with similar qualifications to the last one. Now!

    1. Jamie

      I would be very wary as well, but I have to be honest – I’d also be intrigued.

      A hiring manager in panic mode could be a chance to practice my awesome (in theory) and crappy (in practice) negotiation skills.

      If you need an IT that fast there’s a story there…I’d be curious.

    2. Dan

      Yup.

      My wife is apply for many entry level medical office positions. She doesn’t have a background that stands out on the “must contact” list. She’s had a couple of placements through temp agencies for long term assignments that consisted of “can you interview ASAP and start tomorrow?” They have all sucked.

      The last one calls her on a Friday morning when we had plans to go out of town. This was a few days after she applied. She misses the call and gets a voicemail: “Yeah, we want you to come in for an interview this afternoon. We’d like to fill the position by the end of the week.”

      I told my wife to not get too excited, job hunting is a two way street. There really needs to be a fit on both ends, and if a company has to rush you through their process without giving you time to evaluate things on your end, then it’s likely a turnover shop and you’ll hate it.

      I also told her that if they need to fill the position by Friday (on Friday!) then all of their good candidates are dropping out. They’ve had your resume for a few days, and you didn’t warrant an immediate call.

      She finally gets a call back from the recruiter: “Sorry, the position has been filled.” (Duh.)

      1. Jamie

        Temp assignments are different, though. The whole process moves much faster because they have a roster full of people who are known commodities to send.

        Also, the stakes aren’t nearly as high for the employer even for long term assignments, because if things don’t work out they just tell your agency to tell you not to come back. They don’t have any exit paperwork, UI, etc.

  32. Dan

    At my current job, I met an analyst at a conference and got her to turn in a resume for me. I got a call from the HR rep within 24 hours. “Do you have a few minutes?” First reaction: “Dude, I’m at a conference, and haven’t had time to prep. Can we do this tomorrow?” “Sure… it will be quick.” The guy asked me five questions and hung up. Didn’t bother to ask me if I had any for him. Within a week, they wanted to fly me in for an in-person interview without even bothering to do a phone screen with the manager. That struck me as stranger, but granted, I was a good fit and did meet a company contact in person.

    I took the job and couldn’t be happier, even if the hiring process was a bit weird. At some point, I asked my boss why he didn’t bother to phone screen me, because I did find that odd. He said that with my background, I’d have to be a pretty big idiot to screw up the phone interview, and he didn’t want to waste each other’s time. Fair enough.

  33. Emily

    What’s the “grace period” so to speak for out of town candidates? A job that I didn’t get has nagged me for years now because I worry that I hurt my chances by not chartering a private jet and camping out on a street corner to make a far-off interview on two days’ notice. On a Wednesday, the organization asked if I could come in that Friday morning because one of the hiring managers would be on vacation the following week, and the other hiring manager would be away at a conference the week after that. They did acknowledge that it was short notice, and I did acknowledge and appreciate that they were giving me a chance at all, as an out-of-town candidate, but the logistics (travel arrangements, existing work obligations, etc.) were just not possible. I suggested a Skype interview and wound up having a phone interview with both hiring managers that Friday instead, and flew out to interview in person with the one available hiring manager and a “surrogate” the following week, but ultimately didn’t get an offer.

    Of everyone, the “surrogate” interviewer seemed to like me best, and told me in a “between you and me” sort of way that the hiring managers interpreted my inability to come on that Friday as “lukewarm” interest in the position. I still wonder what would have happened if I’d found a way to get there . . .

    Now that I’m typing all this out, I realize that there are a million more rational reasons why I didn’t get the job, but also that they were probably being a little ridiculous—after all, when were they interviewing other candidates, even the local ones, and making a thoughtful hire, if key decision makers were out of the office for two consecutive weeks? I should stop worrying about this, right?

  34. cavalier

    I had a company e-mail me for a phone interview the day after I started the online application. Mind you, I hadn’t finished applying yet. Was going to enter the bulk of the information the next day. I took that as a red flag. The more I learned of the company the more I felt uncomfortable.

    It was probably the easiest interview I’ve ever had, since I doubted I wanted to work there. They were going to have to convince me.

  35. Anonymous

    Sometimes there is just a rush to fill the opening so we try to get in you in as soon as we can.

    For example, when I resigned from my last job we posted the position IMMEDIATELY and started screening as they came in and called people we wanted to speak with further immediately to come in for interviews. This was an entry-level, post-bach role, so we had plently of applicants from recent grads– so all we were looking for was an intelligent, hard-worker with internship experience. By the end of the first week we had hired someone, giving me a week to train them before I relocated 500 miles away!

    So, I think it is largely on a case-by-case basis whether a quick response is a red flag or not. It certainly can be— but other times, they may just be trying to fill the role ASAP, nearing the end of their hiring process but you sound GREAT, etc. etc.

  36. Anonymous

    This HR person from a company called me one morning and said he found my resume on monster and said they were looking for an admin and was impressed with my resume. He wanted to see if I had time to meet with the EA that day. I told him a time I could be available (it was like 2-3 hours later so I could read the job desc., ck out the company, etc).
    I talked to the EA which she seemed to me unexperienced. She told me she was only working at the company for about 6 mos and before that was an elementary school teacher. I looked her up on Linkedin, young, pretty and supported the SVP of the company. How she got that job with no experience boggles me.
    Anyway, she said she wanted me to meet the two VPs that this job would be supporting. She scheduled it while I wa on the phone for the next day at 2 pm.
    I prepared for the interview, got my clothes ready etc. When I got there, the EA came out to meet me and had me wait in the conf rm. She really didnt even talk to me.
    The VP came in, didnt introduce himself or say have a seat. He said, so&so didnt give me your resume, do you have one. I gave him a copy he glanced at it, asked me one question and then said, do you have any questions. I was a little shocked. I asked him a question, he answered and then stood up and said, I really dont have time to talke to you know, I have to be in a meeting, plus we’re looking for someone with a lot of experience. (dah, I have 10+ working for high tech companies) I didnt say that but was thinking that. Then he said, Do you know where the door is?
    I went to my car and cried. Guess I wasnt young and blonde enough for him. I am fillipina, over 50, and have a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis which does leave me with a few ugly small tumor bumps on my face.
    This probably doesnt relate to what the subject was, but it was the only time someone called me for an intervew the next day.

  37. Librarygirl

    I stumbled onto this post just as I am going through a similiar experience; I put in a job application yesterday, and first thing this morning the organisation called me. They wanted to interview me (face to face) today, but they also offered me a time tomorrow (which I took). I didn’t think it was unusual as their ad stated “Immediate Commencement” in bold. So hearing from them so soon made me think, oh well they did say they wanted someone to commence ASAP.

    I have noticed that when the application process is just a “resume and covering letter” deal the process is much quicker than when employers have to wade through selection criteria (obviously).

  38. Allstar

    That happened to me today, TWICE! Maybe it’s because I’m applying to very menial jobs that require no education/experience, but I had emails from 2 employers I applied to on Craigslist YESTERDAY ask if I was available for an interview TODAY.

    I politely emailed them back asking if we could do this tomorrow or any other date in the future, but neither of them bothered to reply to me.

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