interviewer declined my meeting invitation for the interview that she set up

A reader writes:

I try not to read too much into people’s individual quirks but I need an objective party to assess this for me. I was invited to participate in a phone interview for a job that I am interested in. The hiring manager and I confirmed the date and time of the interview about a week before it is scheduled to happen. A few days before the phone interview, I sent her a calendar invite. She declined it. I emailed her to ask if she wanted to reschedule the phone interview for a different date and time. She replied that she does “not need an invite” and that we are all set for our interview. I find this pretty bizarre. Was she offended? How is this offensive? I couldn’t help but laugh at her response. It’s definitely turned me off a little bit from the company.

Any assessment would be greatly appreciated.

Whoa, you are reading way too much into this.

Not everyone uses electronic meeting invitations to schedule things. She turned down the electronic invite because she already has your interview scheduled on whatever calendar or list she uses to keep track of her appointments (which could be on paper, for all we know).

I ignore electronic meeting invites all the time, because I don’t use them to add things to my calendar — I add them manually, because I prefer my own systems to the ones built into my software, and if I click “accept” on an invite, it adds something to my calendar in a way that I don’t want. Instead, I accept the old-fashioned way — by telling the person yes (over the phone, in email, or however we’re talking). I figure that they’re welcome to use whatever system they want to track their appointments, but they don’t get to dictate mine.

It sounds like she’s doing the same thing.

She had already confirmed the meeting. You didn’t need to send an additional invitation (it wasn’t a grievous error, but it was a bit of overkill, especially since she’s the “host” rather than you), and you definitely shouldn’t be offended that she explained that she doesn’t need one.

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. mw

    Personally, I’d be annoyed you felt you needed to send me the invite when I contacted you to begin with. It would turn me off about you. Particularly when you then called again after questioning me.

    1. mw

      I should say it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker if you were a great candidate otherwise. And you are since you got the interview.

      1. Brittany

        I was thinking the same thing! Never in my interviews have I sent a meeting invite to the person who was interviewing me. It just seems like an odd thing to do. I would think, if anything, the interviewee would receive one vs sending one to the interviewer.

        Like others said, not a dealbreaker, but just odd.

    2. NBB

      Agreed! I would find this odd. It wouldn’t keep me from hiring you if you were otherwise a great candidate. But I would be looking for other signs of odd behavior/thoughts during the interview.

    3. JustMe

      +1

      I would find it rude and presumptuous that you thought it was ok to clutter the calendar of someone interviewing you. I’m sure she is perfectly capable of scheduling her own meetings to interview potential candidates.

      You said you couldn’t help but laugh at her response. You just lost extra points with me because of that tidbit of insight into your personality.

      1. Jessa

        Exactly, I always thought invites are the purview of the person who scheduled the meeting, to remind other people when it is. The one who made the schedule knows when it is, they chose the time, place and method of meeting. It comes over to me as saying “I know you picked this time, this place, etc. but I don’t think you’re going to remember you did that. So here’s a reminder.” And that just doesn’t feel right to me.

    4. Andrea

      The invite would annoy me. The follow up question would annoy me so much, I’d hand the interview off to somebody else to do. I don’t get along with people who try to control my calendar before they even work for me.

      Bright red flag “not a match”, how can I get out of the room, kind of behavior.

  2. The IT Manager

    Relax; I do not think you offended, but I too would think it were odd that someone sent me a meeting invite for a meeting I set up unless I asked to them. When I agreed to a meeting verbally (without an Outlook invite) or more importantly arrange to host one, I take responsibilty for putting it on my calendar myself. I would have been likely to decline such an invitation without sending a response myself, but then you probably would have been on pins and needles waiting for the response so maybe this was better.

    Nothing huge happened here, but I think your misstep was sending the invite in the first place and not the follow up after you got a declination.

    But relax, put it behind you, and prepare for your interview. And don’t be turned off by it.

    1. Bea W

      Yes I’d think it odd, but then move on. I’m not sure I would read anything into it as an interviewer, such as the person was presumptuous or trying to take over the process. Some people are just used to sending out invites or may innocently think it would be helpful if they added you.

      Many people are scheduling their own appointments, especially when they are hosting the meeting/interview, and may be using Outlook already to schedule a meeting room. She may have declined just because she already had it on her calendar and didn’t want a duplicate or adding it would have messed up her calendar.

  3. RJ

    Yeah, I hate to say this, but it seems a teensy bit presumptuous for a candidate to send a meeting invitation to the interviewer. I understand adding it to your own calendar, but if there were going to be an electronic meeting invitation, it seems it would normally go from the interviewer to the candidate, not the other way around. And how do you know that you both use the same calendaring software, let alone as Alison points out that you use it in the same way? I would find it slightly odd to receive such an invitation. I will say though that if I “declined” it, I would probably edit the declining message to indicate the interview was still on as scheduled to prevent any confusion.

    1. Jamie

      I agree – not horrible or anything but a teensy bit presumptuous is exactly how I’d feel.

      I love Outlook and use it for my scheduling – and internally it’s great…but I don’t like external invites and if one were to be issued it should be by the host of the meeting, not an attendee.

      Minor pet peeve.

    2. Pussyfooter

      +1
      I’m with RJ.
      This also weirded me out more than it seemed to affect the commenters above. You don’t send me an invite to my own party (or other social occasion). If OP was trying to re-confirm the meeting, I’d recommend a short email just saying that, instead.

      And yeah, if the interviewer is still comfortable having the meeting, then go for it. Good luck OP ;)

      1. KarenT

        You don’t send me an invite to my own party

        Thank you! I was trying to figure out why it annoyed me, and this is exactly it.
        The interviewer set up the interviewer, any calendar invitations or such should have come from her.

        1. WorkingMom

          If I were the interviewer I would have been a tad irritated as well. Sometimes I have clients who will send me calendar invites to say “send XYZ a report on ABC” for 8am on Friday morning, for example. Well what that client doesn’t know is that XYZ report can’t be run until 3pm, or whatever. Also – she doesn’t know I already have it on my calendar.

          To the OP – don’t stress out and get nervous about it though – just try to forget it happened and wow them at the interview. It will be one of those silly random things that just goes away. If you make a big deal of it, it will become a bigger deal. Just let it fade away … that’s my 2 cents!

  4. Another anon

    I agree that sending an invite to the person who has extended the interview invite seems unusual . . . I personally would be quite surprised (and not in a good way) if a candidate tried to “take charge” of the process that way. I would expect all arrangements to flow from the inviter to the invitee, not the other way around. So, OP, I wouldn’t let it put you off the company at all!

    1. Another Anon

      Honestly, it’s more likely to put the company off you (OP). Just the invite wouldn’t have been so bad, but then to send yet another email offering a reschedule and thereby forcing her to take the time to email back and explain her policies (which she shouldn’t have to do)…OP is going to have to really wow her at the interview to overcome that.

      1. Gilbey

        Not a deal breaker but as the hiring manager I would kind of wonder why I was sent the invite to start with when we had aleady made the meeting and I would wonder why she doesn’t get why I didn’t need an invite to my own meeting and why did she then assume the meeting needed to be changed.

        I just think it comes across as the OP doesn’t understand the hiring process and/or office processes.

  5. AnonHR

    I’ve never had a candidate do this, it would probably throw me off if they did. Typically the company is asking you to set time aside to meet with them. In my experience the one inviting someone else to have a meeting would be the one to send a calendar invitation as a courtesy. Also, depending on the calendar platform, like Alison said, outside invitations don’t always mesh. If I invited you to something, I will set the time aside. It’s “official” once I set up a time with you verbally.

    Maybe it’s a company culture thing, but calendar invites usually only come from inside my organization as a shared time management tool. I put outside appointments go on my calendar myself but they aren’t usually sent unless they are optional as attachments when I register for events.

    1. AnonHR

      More on point to your question though, she may not have been offended, and could have have indicated her reason for declining instead of just sending you a decline which was bound to be confusing. But, like I said, the invite seems outside the norm so I wouldn’t take her response as bizarre or funny.

    2. Ethyl

      I totally agree. My company uses a pretty unusual email system that I’ve never encountered outside of this place, so if people send me calendar items they almost never work with our system. Plus, if it’s a Google calendar invite, it asks me to login with my Google account, which is NOT my work account, and which I don’t stay logged into AT work, and so it’s extra weird.

  6. Bryan

    I think we all feel it’s not a deal breaker but it seems off putting because it comes off similar to the people who put in their cover letter “I will contact you next week to set up an interview.”

  7. JenTheNiceHRGirl

    I am very specific about my Outlook calendar. I am busy with various appointments throughout the day and so I use this color-coded system and keep things extremely organized. When I schedule a meeting with a candidate I like to put some notes in the invite about the candidate. For instance if they had specific questions they wanted to go over or if I had something specific that I wanted to ask them about and I didn’t want to forget etc… Recently, I had this exact same thing happen as with the OP. Only in my case, I was the interviewer. I had set up a phone conference with a potential candidate to talk over a position that he had an interest in. Shortly after we scheduled this, he sent me a meeting invite. I didn’t want to accept the invite and ruin my perfectly color-coded calendar system (it would have driven my crazy), but I felt that if I rejected the invite he would be offended or take it as I no longer wanted to talk… so I stewed over it a few moments and then rejected the invite with a note that said that I appreciated his initiative, but that I already had our meeting on my calendar and didn’t want to have duplicate meetings and I ended it with a line about how I was looking forward to discussing the position with him. Then I got an apology e-mail from the candidate. He felt that he offended me or annoyed me, but neither was true. I just like my calendar a certain way and I like to add appointments myself when at all possible. So I would say, don’t worry about the interviewer rejecting the invite. She probably just already had it on her calendar like she said and just didn’t want to have multiple meetings on her calendar for the same thing which could cause some confusion. Next time maybe you could ask the interviewer if they would like you to send them an invite. Maybe say something like “I use my outlook calendar quite a bit and I am going to add our appointment to my schedule right now, would you like me to include you on the invite?” Or just forget about it, add it to your own calendar and trust that your interviewer is not going to forget about you.

  8. themmases

    I also wouldn’t want someone to send me a meeting invite for a meeting I was in charge of. If I wanted there to be one, I’d send it myself, and if I didn’t it’s probably because I know the recipients use a different calendar system than me, something about the meeting is TBD, etc. It doesn’t annoy me, but when I get one I think “Oh, how nice of them… Now to go delete the reminder I made for myself that’s formatted how I want it, so I don’t appear to be double-booked.”

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to be turned off about the whole company by something like that. Even if everyone there is on the same calendar system, like Exchange, individuals have their favorite ways of formatting stuff or a preference to use or not use that function. E.g. I’ve customized the color labels in my Outlook, but many people don’t use them at all so I have to remember not to color-code a meeting invite the way I would a private appointment. It’s normal to try to figure out how your colleagues prefer to be contacted. I would much rather someone just tell me they won’t see a meeting reminder than accept it but miss our meeting because they really use some other system.

      1. Chinook

        I giggled with glee when I discovered that the newer version of Outlook had 20 colours instead of the old 6!

  9. fposte

    To be more specific about parts of the OP’s query, this isn’t an “individual quirk” or “bizarre” on the part of the hiring manager, and I’d encourage you to stop thinking of it as such. I don’t get why it would make you laugh, and it certainly shouldn’t turn you off from the company. What would make you think that it should? Is it that you think everyone should be on the same scheduling system or that you felt she should have done what the candidate wanted whether she wanted it or not?

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you. Thinking of her response as “bizarre,” means you think what you are doing is perfectly normal, and it is not.

      She most likely interviews/hires as a normal function of her job and doesn’t need external candidates sending her meeting invites.

      1. Emily

        Imagine if every candidate sent a meeting invite from their software or platform of choice, and the hiring manager had to field them or contact each candidate to explain her reasoning. It’s redundant and causes more confusion than it resolves—for all involved, OP included. The hiring manager may be having a bit of a laugh of her own about “individual quirks.”

  10. The Letter Writer

    Thank you for your perspectives.

    I’ve never worked anywhere that didn’t use meeting invitations. As result, I never thought of a meeting invitation as a power play. I sometimes get meeting invitations from customers after I’ve confirmed the meeting myself. I just always saw it as a last minute confirmation.

    I still think it’s odd to decline an invitation that you are going to but so it goes.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      But I think you’re not understanding — if she accepted it, it could create a duplicate on her calendar (if she already had it there) or otherwise mess with her systems. So why is it odd to decline when the meeting was already confirmed and accepting would be an inconvenience for her?

      1. The Letter Writer

        I understand just fine.

        I would have expected her to reply to the invite it or to our email thread that she didn’t want it instead of declining it which then led me to thinking that she wanted to reschedule.

        However, you all are telling me that it’s not odd to decline a meeting invitation because often people like to manage their own calendars.

        1. some1

          “I would have expected her to reply to the invite it or to our email thread that she didn’t want it instead of declining it which then led me to thinking that she wanted to reschedule.”

          Ideally she would have done this to eliminate any confusion, but I don’t think she anticipated you would draw this conclusion from the Decline. And maybe she didn’t even know you would get a notification about the Decline.

        2. Lily in NYC

          There is an undercurrent of condescension coming through your post and comments that probably shines through loud and clear to those that interview you. Just something to think about.

          1. Gilbey

            Lily in NYC, I agree. While the focus seems to be on the sending of the issue of calenders and personal preferances all that and I understand that, I see it more of why the OP felt a need to do it to start with. And why she is looking at the interviewer as the problem.

            The only thing the OP needed to do was wait by the phone for it to ring. If the OP wanted to confirm the date again, a quick email of ” are we still on for…” would have been better.

            I also see her laughing and questioning the inteviewer as a problem. I don’t understand why the OP thinks it is bizarre that the interview stated she did not need an invite. It was her meeting. Why was the OP inviting the interviewer to her own meeting? And why is she questioning the company?

            I have never had a person I invited to a meeting, invite me back to the same meeting. They accpeted or declined but never sent me another invite. I don’t get that.

            OP, with all due respect have you interviewed a lot? How has the process worked before? I am just curious if you have other interview experiences that has led to you to believe this was an OK way of communication.

        3. Anonymous

          I would have expected her to reply to the invite it or to our email thread that she didn’t want it instead of declining it which then led me to thinking that she wanted to reschedule.

          You’re an external candidate. While it is great to be polite to others, she is under no obligation to explain “when, where, why and how” after she already agreed to a meeting.

          Just b/c it works that way at your current company doesn’t mean she has to conform.

        4. fposte

          It’s not odd to decline a meeting invitation from anybody ever when it’s not prearranged that you’re all using this system. It’s also not odd to decline if you’re the one who’d be sending meeting invitations.

          I think your expectations are too narrowly focused on this system.

          1. Ariancita

            Interesting. I just don’t respond to the invite at all if I have it on my calendar already, rather than decline it. Because I do think that declining can cause some confusion and wasted time emailing back and forth to clear confusion. Don’t people just not respond?

          2. Ellie H.

            I agree. I wouldn’t decline something even if I already had it in my calendar, the way I wanted it. If it were someone above me on the “food chain,” or my close colleague who I know uses them to plan, and I already had it in my calendar the way I wanted it, I’d accept it so they get the response, then just delete it without sending a reply. I think declining (and sending a message) can be confusing, because it indicates you will not be at the meeting. Better not to reply at all, or to accept and then delete if that is less confusing or more polite to the person who sent it to you.

            1. fposte

              But you’re talking within your own organization, right? (Admittedly, even within ours it’s a crap shoot what you’d get; since I only end up on Outlook when something’s gone wrong, I kill off invites with whatever seems to work.)

              1. Ellie H.

                Yeah. We all use Outlook and I don’t have a clue how anything else works. If there wasn’t a way not to accept without simultaneously sending a “decline” message, and it would be a pain in the ass to get the meeting out of my calendar afterwards, I guess I’d just decline.

                1. Bea W

                  In 2010 there is a pull down menu under “Accept”, “Tentative”, and “Decline” that gives you three options, “Edit the response before sending”, “Send the response now”, and “Do not spend a response”.

        5. Beebs

          OP, I also think you may not be hearing the other part of what people are saying–that it’s strange that you sent her an invite when she was the one in charge of the meeting. There’s pretty universal agreement here that it’s probably not a great approach.

        6. anon again

          To me, your expectations (and surprise at the responses you have received) point to a lack of understanding about standard ways that professionals communicate. That would concern me way more than you sending the rogue meeting invite in the first place.

        7. Kou

          I agree, actually. Sending it was an odd thing for you to do, sure, but her declining it without just saying “I don’t want this in my calendar” is also kind of weird to me. I’ve never had someone decline an invite because they don’t use that system– they’ll just ignore it –only because they were actually saying no.

          I get duplicates all the time for this reason (I keep my calendar very neat) and I just ignore or accept and delete one. It’s not a big deal.

        8. Emily

          You can probably assume that she would have contacted you via email if she wanted to reschedule (and wouldn’t you hope that if she wanted to reschedule, she wouldn’t have waited to hear from you to do so?) Similarly, if you need to make a last minute, double-check confirmation, it would probably be best to use the same means of communication that you’ve been using (email, in this case).

        9. Flynn

          If she knew how. If it was possible. If she uses that system at all. If she even knew you would be notified. Basically you spammed her and are expecting a justification for why she deleted your spam.

          If I get sent a random invite that I don’t need, I’m just going to remove it. Declining is nine times out of ten the easiest or only way to do that. I’d assume the sender was either being presumptuous or passive aggressive and could take a hint, or had sent it out accidentally, and therefore it’s in the same category as deleting spam emails sent out by a friend’s account. Very few people would care that their friend didn’t reply to one of those!

          (And I hate this assumption that everyone uses online calendars. We’ve got a split between locations at work, where one places uses them and we don’t at all, and they just put stuff on there and expect us to see – I’ve been surprised by a multimanager meeting that way (and so was MY manager!) – or demand we enter everything in there. Often after the fact. And it’s not Outlook, it’s the local email software, so people who have their own calendars have to remember to enter it in both).

    2. Katie

      This isn’t a “power-play” on her part. It’s just not customary for the invitee to send out invitations.

      You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

      1. some1

        I *think* the LW means that she didn’t realize her sending the meeting invite for the interview could/would be seen as a power-grab on her part, not that the Hiring Manager was trying to make a power-grab by declining the invite.

    3. some1

      “I’ve never worked anywhere that didn’t use meeting invitations.”

      Right, but you don’t work there yet, and you may never. It makes perfect sense to use meeting invitations with internal co-workers or customers when that’s the established culture there.

      1. Frieda

        Was just going to chime in with this. The protocol around sending around meeting invites within your organization (where you’d assume that we’re all using the same calendar system and everyone is a set-up user, etc.) is a completely different situation to the protocol around sending invites to or receiving invites from people outside your organization. The two aren’t really comparable.

        At least in my experience, meeting invites are almost always used in my organization because (1) Outlook is how we reserve conference rooms and (2) you can see what time people have blocked off as “busy” before you select the time of the meeting, so you don’t have to have a while email chain deciding on a meeting time before you even schedule the meeting. But as an outsider you don’t have access to those tools, so it’s a different idea entirely.

      1. QualityControlFreak

        Ah, yes. Good times. I’m still firmly attached the day planner though, it’s just that now my day planner is a tablet!

      2. Anonymous

        For me, that wasn’t that long ago, maybe 12 years? I guess I’m showing my age. And you had to run and grab the conference room’s dayplanner to figure out if you could use that. Or go walking through the building checking random calendars on file cabinets right outside of meeting rooms.

    4. Ruth

      There is one perspective that seems to have been missed so far in the comments. Most people seem to be using their own reaction to the LW to say whether the hiring manager would be offended or not, but it seems to me that the hiring manager may or may not have been offended, depending on her personality/demeanour. From the comments, some people would, some people wouldn’t.

      Having said that, there are a couple of clues as to whether she was offended or not:
      1) She didn’t include and explanatory note when she declined. If she wasn’t bothered, it would be the obvious thing to do.
      2) When questioned by the LW about it, she send quite a curt message back.

      Neither of these things make us 100% certain, but they do suggest annoyance to me. Personally, I would be annoyed. The word “officious” comes to mind.

    5. Bea W

      The hiring manager isn’t like your customers, and you are not her customer. Sending a calendar invite to a person wiyh whom you scheduled a job interview is like sending a calendar invite to your doctor after you made an appointment for a check-up.

      I don’t know who your customer base is or who is in charge of those meetings, but I’ve never had a customer/client/ vendor do this unless they were handling the meeting arrangements themselves.

  11. She

    I never accept meeting invitations because then I will get all those little reminder pop-ups and they annoy me. I’m sure it’s possible to change my settings or whatever, but I can’t be bothered. I keep an accurate calendar and don’t need them.

    1. Garrett

      Just a question. How do people know that you will be attending their meeting? I only ask because if someone doesn’t respond to my email invitations, then I stress because I don’t know if they are coming and if they are crucial, it could make the meeting pointless.

      Of course, this is only for internal people and I am in a somewhat big company. I could see this being done at a smaller company where you may see the person daily.

      1. Ariancita

        If they have already indicated to you in some way they are attending (via email, in person, etc), then they don’t need to respond.

      2. Bea W

        If you are using Outlook, you can see the response status of all the attendees by opening the event, then clicking on “Tracking” (Outlook 2007/2010). This assumes you are the person who scheduled the meeting. Other people can’t see the “Tracking”.

        There is also a handy option to NOT require a response when sending out an invite. It drives me nutty getting all the responses back if I don’t actually need them. This allows people to accept without sending another email back to you saying they accepted. You can still check status by looking at “Tracking”.

  12. Editor

    There are offices that seem to depend on software for scheduling. I’ve noticed they have more internal meetings than the places where I’ve worked. I had plenty of appointments and meetings to schedule, but they were with people outside the business.

    I also discovered after using an Outlook calendar for a while that I remembered my schedule better if I had been the one to write the Outlook entry, and I remembered it even better if I wrote the meeting or appointment down on the Day Runner calendar I carried.

    I agree with others — it seems odd that you issued an invitation for an event someone else set up. It’s as though you expect everyone else to use the same systems you do, and without the kind of confirmation you use, you don’t think a meeting is confirmed.

    If I were interviewing you, I would ask a lot of questions about your flexibility and adaptability, because I’d be concerned that you think there’s only one way to properly complete tasks. Even within one piece of software there can be multiple paths to the same result. In addition, I would wonder if you could pick up on cultural differences and management preferences, particularly if you’re working in an environment where some of the people you work with prefer to chat to get up to date and others prefer email, and the new employee will be expected to communicate in various ways depending on what works best. Your first clue about scheduling came from the interviewer, who did not send a meeting invitation. Think about how you’ll watch and listen for such clues in a new work environment, because some managers don’t realize what their preferences are and may not answer a direct question accurately.

    1. camelCase

      It could also be that they use an email and messaging system that does not support e-vites of any kind.

      We have a very sophisticated anti-spam, anti-phish, and content monitoring system, and our filters would most certainly block anything like that. Not everyone uses Outlook.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Well said, Editor. And, yeah, this is a huge deal when you start at a new company. Are you able to follow their procedures and their methods of handling things?
      A while ago we had a discussion about comparing new company to old company as a new hire. The punchline this does not work- it irritates people. At a former job, I made the mistake of saying it once- and I got told “We don’t care.”
      Sure we go by what we know or our familiar with, but in new job settings caution is best.
      I hope that some how seeing my mistake is helpful to you, OP. Companies have all different ways of handling stuff. Sadly, one coworker used the methods of Old Job at New Job and she ended up getting fired. She was totally blindsided by the whole thing. The whole thing was very upsetting.

  13. Brett

    Because of the quirks of how calendaring works (especially cross-system), the person in charge of setting the time and making any changes to time or attendees should always send the invite.

  14. Lily in NYC

    I would find it pushy and very 0ff-putting if a candidate sent me a calendar invite – it’s only ok with me if it’s someone I deal with on a regular basis and we know each other’s preferences. And the fact that you think less of the person for declining it is a red flag to me.

  15. EM

    I wouldn’t be exactly “offended” per se, but I would think it was a bit odd for an interviewee to send me a calendar request for the scheduled interview.

    I don’t think you should do this in the future.

  16. HR Competent

    I wouldn’t think a big deal but I also wouldn’t except. Since I’m the person scheduling it’s already on my calendar and I’ve sent internal invites (w/ reminders, notes etc) to applicable hiring managers.

  17. LouG

    I’m not sure how meeting invitations work. If you accept an invitation, and then delete it off of your calendar, does the person who sent the invitation get a notification that it was removed?

    1. Brett

      Generally no. Because if that person sends you an update to the meeting, it just goes back on your calendar. (i.e. it is not really “deleted”)
      You have to reject the invitation to truly delete it, since that deletes it on both ends.

    2. Jen in RO

      In Outlook (at least the versions I’ve used) you get an option to notify the sender. You can always choose the other option, that lets you just delete the meeting and no one else will know.

    3. Lily in NYC

      In the version of Outlook we use, we have an option when we try to delete a meeting that someone sent – it offers you the choice to delete with or without notifying the person who sent it.

      1. LouG

        So I’m not saying the interviewer was in the wrong here at all, and I think the OP should not send Outlook requests in the future. But the interviewer could have accepted the interview so there was no confusion that it was still on in the OPs mind, and then deleted it off of her calendar to keep her preferred format? I think that’s probably what I would have done if I were the interviewer. But again, it was an odd request either way.

        1. Lily in NYC

          She definitely could have taken that route. My guess is she was a bit put-off by it and wanted to make it known.

        2. Ellie H.

          That’s probably what I would have done if I were the interviewer too, but I would have found it weird that the OP sent me a meeting request in the first place.

  18. ExceptionToTheRule

    I think some of the unease we’re feeling relates to control. The sender of a meeting invitation tends to be the person in control of the meeting and that’s almost universally going to be the interviewer.

  19. Lils

    I agree that you’re overestimating the importance of this interaction.

    Your comments make me think you’re guilty of rigid thinking. There’s more than one good way to schedule and interact with your colleagues. Each organization is different and each person within those organizations are different. Many people are less than organized and less tech-savvy than you are. As a manager, I would worry I’d get a lot of frustrated suggestions from you regarding your colleagues’ unimportant, personal preferences which, frankly, are unlikely to change. If this interaction annoyed or alarmed you this much, consider relaxing your expectations.

    You obviously are organized, contentious, and tech-savvy–so you have a lot going for you. Good luck on your interview.

    1. Jamie

      There’s more than one good way to schedule and interact with your colleagues.

      Exactly. And tbh, the fact that someone doing something differently was found, by the OP, to be “bizarre” and something she “couldn’t help but laugh” at …that’s a red flag to me. It seems like someone that black and white (there is my way and there is the wrong way) would be fairly challenging as a colleague.

      The sending of the invite is a little faux pas, no big deal, but if I were the interviewer and privvy to the attitude by which the decline was met…that would give me serious pause.

    2. NBB

      Agreed, with one minor quibble. All the tech savvy people I know would ~not~ ever send an invite to an interviewer. They know that isn’t the norm. I don’t want to be way harsh on OP, but I would conclude they are not tech savvy at all. I would guess that doing this was just a matter of inexperience with all the varieties of workplaces and work styles. OP, it’s ok. It’s not a huge deal. You can overcome this.

  20. some1

    “She replied that she does ‘not need an invite’ and that we are all set for our interview. . . . Was she offended?”

    One more point: It’s really easy to mistake a curt, succinct tone in an email for an annoyed tone. Especially for someone like me, who tends to over-analyze a lot of communications to look for hidden meanings, *especially* when it comes from someone I want to work for (or in social situations, someone I want to date) that I don’t know well yet. I really think her email was just succinct and matter-of-fact. She may have been a tad put off, but I doubt she’s full-blown offended.

  21. holly

    you could compare it to sending an invite to your doctor/dentist re: your upcoming appointment. no one would do that…

    1. Jamie

      That wouldn’t be a bad idea, since my doctor always seems to think my appointments are 45 minutes to an hour later than the time agreed upon.

      Maybe I will start Outlooking them.

  22. Lanya

    I had a negative experience in which my interviewer updated a meeting planner she sent me, but the update never came through to my email/calendar before the interview. (This was back when PC vs Macintosh compatibility in Outlook was pretty bad.) I arrived to the interview thinking I was on time. I had no idea they had rescheduled my appointment until the end of the interview, when they asked me why I was 1.5 hours late. We figured out what had happened, but it was still mortifying, and I believe it cost me the job. After that experience, I no longer rely 100% on calendar appointments for interviews.

    1. Chinook

      “(This was back when PC vs Macintosh compatibility in Outlook was pretty bad.)”

      I worked in a PC and Mac office with a dual identities earlier this year and I can say that there are still compatability issues. It helps if both OSs are the latest versions, but it won’t solve every problem.

  23. Interviewer

    My Outlook has a plug-in that coordinates with our conference room calendar, and I can book resources in addition to the time on my calendar (beverage service, AV equipment, box lunches, etc.). If you send me the appointment for our meeting, I won’t have that plug-in capability, and I’ll still need to set up my own appointment in order to capture all of that. So I would also have declined your invitation, but I would have explained why.

    Occasionally I get staff members sending me calendar appointments for their own vacation days. I always decline those, too – we have a master vacation calendar for all of those appointments and I don’t need their time off to show up on my schedule.

    OP, the fact that you laughed at her declining it, and found it bizarre enough to email AAM to inquire about this seems really odd to me. No one ever declines calendar invitations from you, for any reason at all?

    1. The Letter Writer

      Nope, I’m not used to people declining an invite unless that means that they’re not going to attend.

      1. Ethyl

        But is that for internal meetings, or have you used this technique before while job hunting? Meeting invites and appointments between colleagues work a lot differently than with outside people.

      2. Anna

        Okay, but there’s a lot of space between “not used to” something and “couldn’t help but laugh” at something, much less “turned me off.” I’m not used to people sending me meeting requests, and I’m not sure I’d know how to respond to one, but that doesn’t mean I’d laugh at you for sending one.

        In other words, I think your attitude, which comes off as very “my way or the highway,” is going to be a bigger stumbling block than your calendaring habits.

      3. camelCase

        Food for thought: as a HM, this gives me the impression you are really invested in a certain way of doing things. That’s great, employers are definitely looking for experts. However, we also value flexibility and adaptability. Now, I’d laugh off your invite, but it would still be in the back of my mind. In your interview, you should highlight your ability to work with a wide variety of styles, software, teams, etc. Good luck with your job search!

      4. Rana

        I have to admit I’d not have the faintest idea what to do if you sent me one of these things, LW. I don’t use Outlook – at all – so it would just be empty nonsense in my mailbox. I could easily imagine declining it simply to clear it out.

        And, yes, it is strange to “invite” someone to something when you are the guest, not the host. So I’d also think you were a bit confused, which would be another reason for me to decline it, under the assumption that you’d made an error in sending it, and it would be polite on my part to help you undo that mistake.

    2. alfie

      Yes, I was thinking something along this line. When a meeting is set up, only the organizer can make changes and updates, etc. So if the hiring manager has invited others who might be joining for part of the interview, setting up with coffee and water, helping with AV or room setup or simply want to have it on their calendars or whatever, she needs to be the one to get that on people’s calendars. (I’m admittedly not an Outlook wizard, but this is something that annoys me when I’m the organizer for a meeting but someone else, such as my boss’s admin person, actually sends the invite. If we change rooms or I want to know who has accepted, I have to go get her to find out the status or send the update.)

      Also, while my organization uses Outlook in this way generally, there’s a broad range of how people manage their own calendars, and lots of people use paper or don’t like to accept meeting invites for whatever reason. In my experience, a lot of the admins seem to really like Outlook (probably because it’s more efficient and makes their jobs easier) and this made me wonder if the OP was going for an administrative job? I mean, even though I think it’s a bit much to send an invite for an interview you are invited to, in one sense it could be showing how good of a meeting organizer you are…

    3. Elle D

      My office has the same set up – we “invite” the conference room to the meeting in order to book it. An external person would not be able to do that, so I would have declined the meeting request as well.

      1. amanda

        As a hiring manager, aside from finding the invite a little presumptuous (but not terribly so), I’d be worried that you consider Outlook invites to be sufficient notice of a meeting, and would use them instead of doing the work of scheduling, i.e., emailing/calling invitees to get their schedules, finding an agreeable time and then confirming with everyone. In my industry, although they’re occasionally used, an Outlook invite doesn’t replace all of that work.

        I’d also wonder about your ability to pick up cues, depending on how you addressed this with the interviewer. Like a lot of commenters, I found the tone of your question to Alison to be a bit condescending, but if you used that tone with me when you were trying to convince me to hire you? That would be a huge red flag.

  24. Ruffingit

    This is just weird. Why would you send an invite to someone for a meeting they are essentially hosting? It would be like RSVPing to someone’s party and then sending them a calendar invite. UM…they know when the party is, it’s THEIR party. Same thing here.

    1. Jamie

      I’ve already RSVPed to a friend’s wedding – but we work together and so I am fighting the urge to send her an Outlook invitation to her own weddding.

  25. Tara T.

    Sending the calendar invite might have seemed like a way of following up and confirming, however, as most of the posters mentioned, it was not a good idea, any more than calling the interviewer by phone would have been. After the interview is set up, it is better to leave things the way they are, not to rock any boats.

  26. Kat

    Hmm, I had a candidate send me an outlook invite for a scheduled interview recently and I didn’t think he was being presumptuous, just thorough.

    However, I do like to manage my own calendar so I left it.

  27. Anon

    I’ve had candidates do this to me, and while it makes me roll my eyes (just add it to your calendar! We already confirmed over email!), it’s not a big deal. I wouldn’t do it in the future, though.

  28. Nancypie

    Also, perhaps the hiring manager’s calendar is not private within her organization. She may not want others to know that she’s interviewing, or who she is interviewing. I like to keep that confidential, especially if there are internal candidates.

    1. Me too

      Excellent point. For all we know, the fact that the position is open may be a bit of a secret internally. The OP may unknowingly let the cat out of the bag.

  29. Cassie

    I once sent a staffer in an auxiliary office an email about my availability (that I’d be in the office until 2:30pm). She sent me an meeting invite from 2:30pm to 3pm. I had to then email her to ask her to move it to 2pm to 2:30pm. I found that a little aggravating.

    In principle, I don’t mind invites because then I don’t need to type in relevant details into my calendar, but since I don’t usually use Outlook, it’s an extra step to open up Outlook, and click accept. I haven’t figured out if Google Calendar will handle Outlook invites. And my boss never accepts (or declines) any invites since he doesn’t use Outlook either. Heck, he probably doesn’t even know the feature exists!

  30. Steve G

    Yet another akward moment created by modern technology.

    Like my new “millenial” coworker that doesn’t make any attempt to socialize with us and emails me questions he should be asking me in person, and only says “hi” and “bye” to me all day. It’s akward to get an email from someone, then have them walk by you 2 minutes later, have them say goodbye to you, and not stop to mention the email or just ask their question in person.

    1. Ruffingit

      That hasn’t been my experience with millenials in general. Perhaps your co-worker is simply social awkward/Aspergers/social anxiety?

    2. A Teacher

      Hey, gen y or millennial here…why are you lumping all millennials based on one person? That’s hardly fair.

    3. Flynn

      Sometimes I email one of my coworkers with random inanities, simply because they are setting right next to me and we find it amusing. The idea is to see how long it takes us to ‘break’ the immersion and turn around and say something.

      But then we are both weird and immature :D

    4. Ellie H.

      A lot of people find it more convenient to ask questions via email than in person. That way you have an answer in writing, and you don’t have to interrupt someone who might be in the middle of a high-concentration task to ask a question that doesn’t require an immediate answer. I personally don’t like being interrupted with questions and usually prefer people ask by email.

    5. Rana

      It’s also sort of annoying, though, to receive an email and then have the sender lean into your space to ask if you’ve gotten their email. I think you’re overthinking this.

    6. Wren

      I’m right in the middle of Gen X (1970) and I pretty much always prefer to ask questions via email. I have the memory of a goldfish unless I see something in writing.

  31. The Real Hello Kitty

    In general, you all focused on the OP and really ignored the interviewer’s behavior.

    Sure, one could say it’s odd to have sent that meeting invite but I also find it equally odd to decline a meeting invite for whatever reason -you don’t use them, you already had it in your calendar, etc.-without explanation. I actually think that’s pretty rude.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m going to quote Emily from above because she said it well:

      Imagine if every candidate sent a meeting invite from their software or platform of choice, and the hiring manager had to field them or contact each candidate to explain her reasoning. It’s redundant and causes more confusion than it resolves—for all involved, OP included.

  32. Looking forward

    Because the OP sent the invite several days after the interview was scheduled and just a few days before the meeting, I would suspect the candidate was insecure and wanted some sort of confirmation the interview was still on. Frankly, if you really were booking the meeting for scheduling purposes, it should have been done immediately after the call. Schedules fill up fast. But I generally agree with the others…something not to do in the future for interviews.

  33. David

    You’re a prospective employee, hoping to be hired by the person interviewing you correct? If someone I was going to interview for a job sent me a meeting invite for the interview I scheduled for them I would not be very likely to hire that person.

    I’m perfectly capable of making my own calendar appointments and I do not need or want someone micro managing my calendar for me. Sending a meeting invite to hiring manager also sends her the message that you think she is forgetful and incapable of keeping her own calendar.

    As a side note, an annoying feature of Google calendar is that when someone sends you a meeting invite and you simply delete it from your email it sends a decline notice to the sender, even though you did not decline the meeting.

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