interviewer sent me the name of the other 7 candidates in the running for the job

A reader writes:

I have been interviewing for an junior level position at a nonprofit for the last two weeks. I was excited when I saw a third interview invitation this week, only to discover that the interviewer had sent a scheduling tool that showed all the interview slots available and what other candidates were already booked. Not only could I see that there are seven other candidates also getting a third interview, but I was able to see their full names and times they selected as well.

The letter-writer sent me a screenshot of the scheduling form that looked like this. I’ve changed the names for anonymity.

Originally I was going to write an email stating how uncomfortable this situation has made me, especially since I would be missing work for the third time for a job I probably won’t get. However, I did manage to get my first time request (after work hours) so I decided to hold back on my email since I don’t wish to hurt my chances.

Is this highly unusual for a company or organization to do? I want to ask my prospective employee if it is traditional for them to disclose names to job candidates, because if it is, I am not sure if I want to work for this organization if that is common hiring practice. I have a small gut feeling that the guy who sent this (a young fresh out of college grad) had no idea that this was a bad idea, and just thought it would make things easier for him. (He’s not the manager I’d report to if hired, but someone I would work very closely with day to day.)

Should I let his boss know when I interview with her this week that it made me uncomfortable? Or should I let it go in case it hurts my chances? Also, eight candidates for a third interview?

Ick.

It’s definitely not typical to share candidates’ names with other candidates. It’s supposed to be understood that there’s a certain confidentiality in hiring; you don’t go sending the names of the other candidates all over the place. What if you’d known one of the people on the list? What if you were unethical and used the information to somehow hurt their chances or out their job search to their current employer?

I think it’s likely that this isn’t an organization-wide practice, but rather just this one guy, who thinks that he’s found a way to add efficiency to the process, without realizing that there’s a reason employers don’t do this. If he doesn’t have much work experience yet, he could easily just not fully realize the wider implications for this kind of thing (and there’s a good chance he’d be mortified once it was pointed out).

As for whether to say something to his boss when you interview with her … I wouldn’t at this stage. It’s done and can’t be undone at this point, and having an uncomfortable conversation about it carries the potential of hurting your candidacy (even if only unconsciously on your interviewer’s side). But certainly if you get an offer, it would be reasonable to ask about it. You could say something like: “Could I ask you a question about something in the hiring process? I noticed that when scheduling the third interview round, Jarvis sent each candidate a scheduling sheet that contained the names of seven other candidates who were also interviewing. I felt a little uneasy having that shared outside your organization, since I’m being discreet about interviewing and imagine others are too.”

You want to say this nicely, and with some understanding that it was likely just a rookie mistake. But the response might give you a better feel for how the organization operates, and how they handle having mistakes pointed out. (And if nothing else, it will alert them that this isn’t great to do.)

As for having eight candidates for a third-round interview: It’s absolutely a lot for a late stage. By a third in-person interview, they should have narrowed down their pool of finalists. That said, I don’t know that you can conclude for sure that there are eight candidates left at this stage. Those other names you saw could be interviewing for other positions. Hell, they could be other meetings that he’s scheduling that aren’t interviews at all. It’s hard to say, but I’d be hesitant to draw conclusions from it.

{ 144 comments… read them below }

  1. Elena

    This is particularly bad because the website used (doodlepoll) allows you to choose an option to not let people responding see each other’s names.

    1. maggie

      That’s what I was going to say. This kid actually just missed ONE CHECKBOX. And the tool is so simple that it’s kind of funny how easily he missed it out of the four options. I think his leader probably told him to use the tool but didn’t even bother to tell him how to use the tool — something that happened to me as well. I, however, was totally scared to use it and mess up so I was incredibly careful to make a PRACTICE poll to see what it looked like as a candidate so I didn’t do this exact idiot mistake.

      OP, do NOT judge this place by this one particular poll. And I would tell the person that you can see the other candidates as I am sure they would like to hear that all info is visible. And I am surprised nobody else has said anything, likely because they are worried to out him. Don’t be.

    2. Melissa

      I was just about to say this, lol. And Doodle is so simple to set up – it’s one of the very few options they ask you about.

    3. Tessie

      I agree, the person who sent this must not have had a clue. I’ve used Doodlepoll, and it’s a great tool, but not for something like this!

      I, myself, would wonder why they haven’t narrowed down the contenders by the third round — maybe they’re too picky and trying to find perfect? Hmmm. . . I’d re-think this.

  2. HigherEd Admin

    Yikes. This looks like it’s a Doodle poll, which is a GREAT tool… but which also has the option for a confidential poll where only the poll-creator can see the results. It looks like this guy forgot that step.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I think so, yes. I like BRR’s suggestion below of emailing back something like, “I didn’t know if you realized that I can see everyone else’s names and wanted to give you a heads-up in case that wasn’t intended.”

          1. Anonsie

            Yeah. I bet he thought the setting was in place to keep the names hidden and thought he was just sending a confirmation of each person’s individual slot or something to that effect.

            1. KimmieSue

              Also, perhaps the candidates are interviewing for more than one position? If it’s a small company, its likely that they have the same interviewers for multiple jobs and need a group scheduling device.

    1. Journalist Wife

      Ditto, I was going to say the same, that he forgot to click the Doodle Poll box for anonymity.

    2. blackcat

      Though in my experience of using this, the participants can still see how many people have filled out the poll. So it would come up as Participant 1, Participant 2…. and so on. That would keep it anonymous, but there would still be the issue of the last person to fill it out and thinking “7 candidates?!”

  3. Stephanie

    I was excited to see a graphic!

    But yeah, that’s weird. And having concrete proof that there are seven other candidates would psych me out.

    1. Cath in Canada

      Me too! But now I’m wondering why Oberyn and Margaery are so over-scheduled. I mean it makes sense that the others have lots of conflicting appointments, what with kingdoms / conquered cities / Khalasars / wars to run, but Oberyn and Margaery have such pampered lives of luxury that you’d think they’d be more flexible. They can’t be spending *that* much time plotting the downfall of the Lannisters, surely.

      1. Sophia in the DMV

        Margarey’s pretty busy with charity work and getting the people of the city to love her. Oberyn was busy getting to love all non-Lannisters:)

  4. Kai

    Bleh, yeah. That wasn’t cool of the guy, but he probably didn’t realize it.

    A few years ago we were hiring for a new position. We had a temp at the time who applied for it, and the hiring manager for the new job simultaneously put her in charge of getting in touch with the other applicants and setting up interview times for them. He knew she had also applied and did not understand at first why what he was doing was so inappropriate.

    1. Megan

      In my last office I had a cubicle & so did most other people. My cube-neighbor applied for an internal opening. My manager emailed me with CONFIDENTIAL DO NOT DISCLOSE in the subject line and about 900 warnings to be confidential, and then asked me to call the candidates (10 of them!) to schedule phone interviews, including one with my cube-neighbor. I finally had to use my coworker’s office when she went to a meeting.

      Then my cube-neighbor found out from someone from another company that she hadn’t gotten the job when the other person complained that we were stealing the candidate from their company. Sigh.

      1. Dan

        I hate this notion that an employee in at will employment state without a contact can be “stolen.” People leave on their own free will. If you want to retain them, treat them well, pay them competitively, give them challenging work, and growth opportunities if they do desire. And/or put them on a contract.

        People aren’t property to be stolen.

        1. Kai

          Yep, and the dating analogy works in those instances too: “stealing” someone’s boyfriend isn’t really a thing.

      2. Observer

        Do these people realize that trying to prevent others from hiring your staff is illegal. Even the “big boys” wind up in court of that kind of stupidity.

    2. maggie

      I had to do the same thing for my current job! I had to point out how inappropriate it was that I could review everybody’s hiring documents and skew it to my advantage before they went ‘oh….’.

      I got the job anyway. ;)

    3. Midge

      My boss put me in charge of setting up other candidate’s interviews for my current job. They had already offered me the job and were only interviewing outside candidates because our organization requires it, so at least I didn’t have any real ability to mess with the process. Still, I thought it was wildly inappropriate.

      The worst part (for me) was that two candidates dropped out due to other job offers, so I had to keep contacting new people. Each time this happened, it delayed my start date. I had already been waiting a while to start this job, so it felt like one last terrible obstacle to finally getting this job.

    4. Observer

      Now that really takes the cake. What happened to the OP is one thing – it’s an easy mistake to make. But having someone organize the interviews for her competition? Wow!

  5. INTP

    Another possibility: the guy has just started using Doodle and doesn’t even know what it looks like on the recipient end or that you can see each other’s names. I’ve used Doodle and it doesn’t show you what recipients see by default, so he may be clueless or may have forgotten to press the confidential button. I’d proceed with a polite heads up that all the names are showing and only be bugged if he gets defensive about that.

  6. BRR

    Could you maybe respond and treat it like a mistake? Like “I don’t’ know if you meant to do this but I can see everybody’s names. ”

    Knowing other candidate’s can also surface when you have an internal candidate (happened to me when I was an intern) so there should also be something to protect against that. The HR person would send out a meeting maker attaching the person’s cover letter and resume. I could have easily gone into everybody’s calendar and changed my competitors’ resumes.

  7. some1

    Kind of a Catch 22 here. On the one hand, I can see not saying anything now to not hurt your chances for getting the job. On the other hand, if you don’t get the job reporting this at that point might look like sour grapes

  8. Amie

    It was a Doodle poll (I’m the reader) and at the top of the poll it said “(job title I am interviewing for) 3rd Interview Times”, so unfortunately it really is eight candidates for this one position. The CEO has been out of the country during the first two rounds, so it makes me feel like perhaps she doesn’t trust her other employees enough to have them make a decision for a smaller candidate pool.

    I did meet the doodle creator in person last week, and his interview style was slightly unprofessional. He sat from behind a laptop and read off a list of questions and took notes for roughly an hour. I thought I bombed it. My first interview was great, I felt confident and that I really connected to the manager. The interview was more of a conversation than a series of questions. I’m hoping for the latter today when I interview with the CEO.

    1. la munieca

      It looks like you’ve got a couple red flag on this process so far:
      -a coworker who has committed some faux pas
      -an organization that calls you in for three in-person interviews and doesn’t seem to be narrowing the pool

      As someone who has done scripted interviews where I had to take notes on a laptop, it sucks. But he could have at least acknowledge the awkwardness and let you know that he just want to ensure you’re recording their responses thoroughly, which was going to cut down on his ability to interact or make eye contact. In his defense, he may have been asked to conduct an unreasonable amount of those interviews, given what we know about their hiring process. Still, I’m not that worried about him. He seems a bit thoughtless, but I don’t know that I’d start throwing around the word “unprofessional”.

      My bigger red flag is the second issue. Sounds like this organization is not set up to empower people to make decisions. It seems like doodle creator was collecting data more than playing the role of an interviewer (if that’s what they want, send an email and ask candidates to record their own answers) and that way too many candidates are getting pushed through to this third round. In that final interview, I would ask questions more around this concern of efficiency of operation, the value of collaboration (especially when it conflicts with efficiency), how decisions are made, clear division of labor on the team, empowering employees to drive their work forward, etc.

      1. maggie

        “My bigger red flag is the second issue. Sounds like this organization is not set up to empower people to make decisions. ” And thank god for that because clearly this guy is not ready to make a decision on behalf of the CEO. Which the CEO probably knows about.

        But why even have interviews if the company isn’t ready for them? For the kid’s practice? What a waste of everyone’s time. Thank you for your thorough response!

        1. la munieca

          Agree with you, maggie, that Doodle Creator should probably not hold any important decisions. :)

          I wonder about the manager, though, who left the OP with a positive impression after the first interview. Why not have Doodle Creator screen candidates first, then have the manager narrow it to 2-3 and roll those finalists to the CEO? The sequencing seems off and it sounds like Doodle Creator’s interview was kind of bs, which may explain why he came off an inattentive.

          It’s so tough to know what’s behind all this, but I would be cooking up some theories about the underlying problems and asking some probing questions to get more info. during in my interview with the CEO

  9. Kat

    Why are people so quick to assume the worst and “get uncomfortable” about every little hitch in a process? It’s really common to see people qualify everything they say here, and to say that the littlest things make them uncomfortable. It is odd.

    I would chalk it up to a mistake and move forward. I wouldn’t contemplate sending an email stating how uncomfortable it made you feel.

    1. Helka

      I think Alison addressed why it is not a good thing to have interviewees’ names made public, even just to other interviewees.

      It’s supposed to be understood that there’s a certain confidentiality in hiring; you don’t go sending the names of the other candidates all over the place. What if you’d known one of the people on the list? What if you were unethical and used the information to somehow hurt their chances or out their job search to their current employer?

      1. BRR

        There was the letter where somebody let the candidate’s boss know they were interviewing. This mistake can put people’s current job’s at risk.

        1. AdAgencyChick

          Yup. I’d be bloody pissed if this happened to me. Gossip is rampant in my industry, and a list like OP’s (with EIGHT names on it! eight!) would practically guarantee my boss would know I was looking before the day was out.

      2. grasshopper

        I do think that the names of other candidates should be kept confidential. And if I was a candidate for this position, I’m sure that I would have immediately done some linkedin stalking to checkout who the other candidates are. Knowing who the other candidates and their qualifications would then certainly bias my answers in the interview.

        1. Elysian

          I totally agree – imagine if the interview asks the (bad but common) question “Why do you think you are the best person for the job?” and one of the finalists is able to say “Well I looked at Peggy Olsen’s LinkedIn and saw she only has 5 years of industry experience, so my 10 makes me a better candidate than her. In addition, I saw that Don Draper left his last job under mysterious circumstances. I wouldn’t bring any of that baggage with me.” This is not something I would do or suggest doing, but knowing that another candidate might be doing it about me makes me, yes, uncomfortable.

              1. Christian Troy

                Creepy online stalked? If you don’t want people having access to this information, don’t have an online profile. There is nothing creepy about googling people you’re interviewing against for a position for the same reason there is nothing creepy about googling people who have a job you want to see how they got there. There seems to be a huge amount of overreaction and hyperbole around this topic, especially when you personally have control over what information you put online.

                I agree that a job search should be confidential as to jeopardize peoples’ current employment, but this is 2015. Facebook, instragram, Twitter, all this stuff is fair game, sorry.

                1. Elysian

                  I appreciate that having an employer looking at my personal social media is pretty common place, but I would argue that a job candidate comparing themselves against me is different. Further, you don’t have control over ALL the information about you online – or even offline. I would be just as irked if I found out that a fellow job candidate had been calling people in our mutual professional circles trying to find out information about me that they could use to give themselves a leg up. If a potential employer starts calling mutual acquaintances, well, I invited that by applying. Plus, a fellow candidate for a competitive job is more likely to go “overboard” and potentially cross inappropriate social boundaries, and the potential for that is troubling.

                  I can understand that this might not bother you, but I don’t think its unreasonable for a more private person to feel bothered by it. You invite a certain amount of attention to yourself when you apply for job; if the employer releases your name to other candidates you could get “researched” a lot more than you expected or wanted. People have different comfort levels with that sort of thing. Outside of totally going “off the grid,” there’s not much a person can do because try not to invite too much attention, and this employer behavior goes against the grain of that in a pretty abrupt way.

                2. Elysian

                  After I wrote my long comment I thought of a much more concise analogy: If I know that someone is spending an inordinate amount of time looking me up online, I feel kind of the same way that I do if I know someone on a public bus won’t stop staring at me. Yes, I suppose I could be a recluse if I don’t want people to ever look at me, but there are boundaries for normal social interaction that continually staring at a stranger just crosses. I think that a job seeking looking me up on line would cross similar boundaries of online-social convention, at least for me. Maybe others don’t mind being stared at as much.

                3. Kelly L.

                  Good analogy, Elysian. I agree that there’s such a thing as too much prying into the life of a stranger, even if they’re in public or e-public. We shouldn’t have to avoid ever going out in public in order to stop people from being rude.

                4. Christian Troy

                  Yeah, I’m sorry, I don’t really follow your analogy at all. My field is very competitive and I don’t think reading someone’s LinkedIn profile who was successful in getting a fellowship is creepy because it gives me an idea of areas of improvement for myself. I’m not staring at someone on a bus, I’m looking for people who are successful at what I want to be doing or what kind of skills/experiences my fellow interviewees have that make them good applicants to see if there are other experiences I should be focusing on or seeking out. No one is talking about calling up mutual friends or someone’s job to find out information of them and I’m not going to google some recent grad working an entry level job just to waste my own time.

        2. Burlington

          But how? Even if you LinkedIn creeped them (which, remember, they can probably see that you did), how is that practically going to guide your answers? You can’t remember 10 peoples’ worth of qualifications, and you don’t really know which skills your prospective employers values over others. Plus, most of the questions are going to be about your specific experiences and skills. It’s just very hard to imagine this having any practical impact on the interview.

          (Totally agree that it shouldn’t have happened, and names should be kept confidential to protect other peoples’ jobs, but there’s really no practical way that any candidate could use this info to their advantage.)

        1. la munieca

          Kat, perhaps clarifying your comment would help others respond in a way that’s more aligned with your expectations. It seems the four people who commented above interpreted your comment in the same way.

          Here’s the piece from your post that I found most confusing, if it’s helpful: “It’s really common to see people qualify everything they say here, and to say that the littlest things make them uncomfortable. It is odd.”

    2. Sunflower

      Yeah I get the feeling this is a mistake from a guy who is new to the working world. I don’t think this was done on purpose.

    3. Christian Troy

      I agree with you. I also think some of these comments are exaggerating the significance of the information that can be gleaned from viewing another interviewee’s LinkedIn profile. I agree the process should be confidential, but if you start bringing up other candidate’s during your interview, you’re only going to make yourself look bad and if you think lying about having a qualification or skill you think someone else doesn’t have because it isn’t on their LinkedIn profile, you’re once again, only going to make yourself look bad.

    4. C Average

      This is actually one of the reasons I find this blog and its commentariat so very valuable.

      In face-to-face interactions with actual colleagues, we tend to only get negative feedback about the really egregious stuff. A lot of the kludgy, uncomfortable little interactions don’t get brought up, but they do very much get judged and tallied against us. I like being able to come here, read other people’s opinions, and realize, “That thing I’m doing that I didn’t even realize WAS a thing is probably driving my colleagues nuts and affecting their opinion of me and my work.”

      It’s the feedback I both wish I got from my colleagues and management (because then I’d know which behaviors I need to fix) and thank God I don’t get from my colleagues and management (because it would be excruciating to hear about all my petty shortcomings on a daily basis from the people who sit in the same room as me).

  10. Christian Troy

    I might be in the minority here, but I’ve found this to be not uncommon. I had at least five interviews where I knew the other people interviewing because their email addresses were also on the mass email, their correspondence was forwarded accidentally or from a Doodle poll like what happened above. And these weren’t fresh out of college people either, some of them were sloppy or just didn’t care if people knew who else was interviewing.

      1. Nashira

        Consider the number of folks (like my dear boss) who don’t computer. We’re talking they need regular reminders of how to paste or resize windows. Then add in BCC being invisible by default in Outlook… they probably don’t even know BCC exists.

        It is depressing though. Like you’ve used a computer daily for ten years and still can’t remember to click the lower right corner or hit ctrl-v to paste? Thank heaven I discovered ctrl-insert works too.

      2. Blue_eyes

        Seriously. BCC is there for a reason. My husband once got an email from HR that was sent to all employees who had domestic partners on their insurance and it was not BCCed! It wasn’t a big deal for him as he was engaged at the time and most of his coworkers knew that we lived together, but for some people it could have a been a huge invasion of privacy to have their coworkers know that they have a live-in partner. You’d think someone in HR would have the sense to use BCC in that case.

      3. fposte

        Oh, God. Have I mentioned the endless invitations to a high school reunion I don’t want to attend for a class of close to a thousand–all of whom are in the To: field? Not making this thing more enticing, people.

    1. GigglyPuff

      I’d totally forgotten until you said that, during one job application, there were some time delays even getting to the interview stage, so they mass emailed everyone who had applied, letting them know something had come up, but if you were still interested to email them back, and yeah I could totally see everybody else’s email address.

  11. It Might Be

    It is possible that it was one of those mistakes that a lot of us ( maybe all of us realistically) make and then become very vigilant about once we are aware of the error. At an appropriate time raising the concern focussing on the wider potential problem ( not your personal discomfort) done quietly as a learning opportunity for the inexperienced employee is a good thing to do. But not in a third round interview. Separately, quietly, kindly. We all make cringe worthy mistakes. When I think about my ‘learning’ opportunities I am forever respectful of passing on the kindness shown to me that helped me grow and learn and succeed.

    1. Sascha

      I started thinking about how those people would do in interviews, and what positions I would hire them for.

              1. Blue_eyes

                Tyrion’s last name is spelled “Lannister” not “Lancaster”. I can’t believe I was the first one to note that. Where are all the other GoT fans today?

            1. HeyNonnyNonny

              I dunno…people coming back from the dead, a fight between a monotheistic and polytheistic society, mysterious invaders that hadn’t been seen for decades…I think Adama would feel at home.

        1. Sascha

          He doesn’t commit to interview times. He just shows up with his khalasar and stares at you menacingly until you offer him the job. It’s what grandfathers call “gumption,” I believe.

          1. Nashira

            It’s what grandfathers call “gumption,” I believe.

            I am so glad I’m on my lunch break, because that line made me cackle outloud.

  12. Adam

    I can see two options.

    1.) The person setting up these meetings is still figuring out how to use this tool properly and made an honest goof.

    2.) He thinks he’s found a way to make his job easier by letting the candidates figure out their interview schedules rather than him coordinating it. Efficiency is great, but not if it passes the buck in such a way.

  13. Cassy

    This just happened to my husband who is a finalist for a West Point military band audition. They send the email and CC’d all the candidates. It was kind of nice for my husband as now he knows how many he is up against and can see that he had gotten further some of the candidates in other auditions. So it helped relieve some anxiety.

    But in general this doesn’t seem uncommon, but that still makes it a kind of bad practice for those who are hiring.

  14. grasshopper

    I’m also curious about whether the seven other candidates might have seen the same list and if they mention this whoopsie to HR/the CEO or someone else. If you are worried about whether mentioning the lack of confidentiality impacting your chances of getting hired perhaps you could find a way to anonymously pass along the feedback.

    Also, eight candidates is really high for third round interviews for only one position. That would worry me just as much as the personal information being shared.

  15. EmilyG

    The other thing that’s dumb here is that the purpose of Doodle (AFAIK) is to find a time when all the people are *mutually* available. Was the sender trying to interview all 8 at the same time?? It’s not even a good choice of tool for convenience.

      1. Kelly L.

        Yes! I’m not familiar with Doodle, but it looks like it’s being used to prevent accidentally double-booking anybody.

    1. Ama

      There’s actually an option where you can limit the number of people who can choose a given timeslot, so you totally could run a first come, first serve appointment schedule this way.

      1. Blue_eyes

        Yep. One of my friends used it this way to schedule people to bring her meals/hang out after she had surgery.

    2. Chriama

      You can actually get doodle polls where only 1 person can pick a slot, so this is a designed use of doodle. It looks like he didn’t pick the right format, but I’m chalking that up to general inexperience. I would cut him some slack.

    3. hayling

      There are a couple ways to do a Doodle poll. One is trying to find time for a group to meet. The other is for scheduling time slots as was done here.

      1. Merry and Bright

        I sometimes use it for making menu choices for large client dinners when the venue wants selections beforehand.

    4. maggie

      I’ve used this in all recruitment scheduling rounds for the last year and it’s amazing. (when used probably, ahem)

    5. RG

      Yeah, you can use a Doodle poll for scheduling meetings to avoid double booking, but it doesn’t work as well since it’s the opposite of the intended purpose.

  16. Zach

    This happened to me once when I interviewed for a position at a university. It was an accident. The interviewer (a VP in the unit I was interviewing) gave me a packet of printouts about the position and the unit and in that stack, she accidentally gave me a spreadsheet listing all the candidates along with our rankings based on criteria like “Years Experience,” “Adobe CS Skills,” “Journalism Background?” etc.

    I was aghast when I realized what I had.

    I called up the VP and explained the situation and FedEx’d the documents to her. I did look up all my fellow candidates, though. Who wouldn’t?

    I didn’t get the job, but the person who did deserved it based on the experience she had.

    1. Elysian

      I stumbled upon a similar set of information on a shared computer after I was hired at one place. I was already hired, so I guess it could have been worse, but I was also pretty low-ranked. I have no idea what I did to overcome that, but hey, whatever works I guess?

  17. Nobody

    I once got a rejection e-mail that was sent to me and 63 other candidates (all in the “To” field). I wasn’t working at the time, so it didn’t even cross my mind that it could reveal a job search of somebody who wanted that to be confidential. I was just discouraged by how many applicants there were!

    1. Kerry (Like The County in Ireland)

      I got a similar email once too–I hadn’t even finished the online application because I’d realized I didn’t want to work there!

  18. CAinUK

    I understand your hesitations OP, but IMO it’s a big leap from saying “this was weird and unprofessional, but probably a mistake” (which is totally reasonable) to “should I tell this guy’s boss/ask if this is indicative of an entire office culture” which would be pretty adversarial – especially when you aren’t working there yet.

    It sounds like you already know this was a rookie mistake since you mentioned he is a fresh college grad and less professional, so I’d worry pointing it out, especially to his manager, will just come off as trying to “out” this guy for sharing this info (at worst) or a bit naïve for wondering if an obvious mistake symbolises the general office practice (at best).

  19. DrPepper Addict

    Just this year I interviewed for a job and got it, showed up the first day and there were 6 other people who were hired to do the exact same thing I had been hired to do. I had no idea there was more than 1 job opening, so perhaps this is the case here and they’re just looking to eliminate 1-2 of the 7. Just a thought.

  20. LouG

    If it were me I would be googling the heck out of those names, even though I’m sure that would only add to my stress level before the interview. Good luck OP!

  21. Celeste

    I would just treat the interview as if I didn’t have this information. If they have so many candidates for the final round, it says to me they don’t know a lot about hiring. For all you know, any of those people will take themselves out of the running either because they found something else, or they don’t want to bother with a 3rd when they see 8 candidates! Show up, be your best, and let the chips fall.

  22. Oryx

    Oooh, I had this happen. I had made it to the second on-site interview for an academic position and after finding out I didn’t get it, I was still sent the rejection notice that got sent out to all applicants. Only the person sending it CC:ed instead of BCC:ed so I saw the emails of all 100+ people who applied for the position.

  23. SerfinUSA

    I would assume it’s an oops.
    We have a few people where I work who don’t seem to know that their Outlook calendars are viewable by anyone in our system. Many people rummage through their meetings and appointments to glean information about upcoming changes or topics for gossip.

    I’m betting the scheduler for the interviews doesn’t have some privacy setting ticked on the calendar app. Probably better not to mention it, unless you are hired, and don’t want to see everything on his schedule.

  24. Student

    To all the people who use and love these tools:

    Please don’t incorporate last names. This stuff is, largely, publicly available. Just because you don’t know how to search for other people’s meetings doesn’t mean it can’t be done by a savvy tech at your business competitor.

    I’m one of those people cursed with a unique name. My first + last name will tell you exactly who I am, where I am, and what I’ve done – there are no others on the planet. Heck, just my last name narrows it down immensely. I know that many, many people don’t have that kind of problem – it’s much more common to be in the same boat as John Smith, Liu Wang, and Maria Lopez. However, we exist, and we are incredibly easy to track compared to people with more common names.

    Every time you use one of these tools and list a person with a unique name (or highly uncommon name), you are making it easy to figure out who, specifically, everyone else at your meeting is. You make it easier to guess where the meeting is, and what its purpose is. That may not be a big deal for your cousin’s birthday party – totally fair. It may be damaging to a business, though, if it’s a high-profile meeting with a new client, or some other business-sensitive event.

    1. Blue_eyes

      Good point. I hadn’t thought of it this way. It affects me too because I have a unique first + last combo. There was another person with the same name but she got married and changed her name (being the only person in the world with my name was actually one of the reasons I kept my name). Most of the time I enjoy having a unique name combination, like that fact that I can always get firstnamelastname as my username for everything.

      1. I'm a Little Teapot

        That’s my situation too! Oddly, I used to know someone who went to high school with the one other person sharing my name. There was a second person with a name one letter off from mine, too, but she died.

      2. Meg Murry

        Yes, I changed my last name when I got married, but I still use first initial + maiden name for creating accounts, because it’s always available – until my cousin was born I was the only person in the US (and possibly the world) with that first initial + last name combo. A google search of my maiden name reveals only people I am closely related to (first cousins or closer) until around page 10 when a few Eastern European show up.

    2. Cath in Canada

      Doodle polls let each participant enter their own name though, right? There may be a setting that allows the poll’s creator to specify the names, but every time I’ve used it I’ve been able to type my own name in.

      1. Sunflower

        True- but in this setting the person filling out the doodle has no clue this info is going to be used externally so they probably wouldn’t think twice about filling in their whole name or any other identifiers for that matter

        1. Kyrielle

          And probably wouldn’t dare not enter their whole name – what if they entered “Jane” and there were two Janes?

  25. Spiky Plant

    As a sidenote, I’m always surprised by people who think they have new information when they know how many other people they’re up against. Or when people ask during a phone screen how many other candidates are screening (which I’ve had candidates ask me). It changes nothing for you. It’s information that you think is useful, but it doesn’t change your “odds” of getting the job, because hiring is not an odds game. You don’t have an equal shot with everyone else in the pool of getting the job; but you also don’t know your or anyone else’s odds. You have no idea how many of those are “courtesy interviews” because they’re a referral. You have no idea how many of them had a horrible cover letter and thus a lot more ground to cover. You don’t know if one has it in the bag but the interviewer has been told to bring in at least X people.

    Don’t ask about how many people are being interviewed, and if you happen to find that info out, don’t give in to the temptation to think this is useful information! Put it out of your mind. It doesn’t matter even a tiny little bit. There are too many unknowns and variables.

    1. Judy

      I generally do ask that question. Twice in my career, I was contacted by someone in an organization about an opening. I asked the question, and both times, the interviewer said “one”. I think that’s a pretty useful piece of information. (I got both job offers.)

      1. Spiky Plant

        But what did it really change? You think it’s useful because it’s more information. But what would you have done differently if it were 2 or 3 or 5 instead of 1? Do you interview harder if you have more competition?

        1. Spiky Plant

          (FWIW, I wouldn’t DQ a candidate because they asked, but I do knock points off; to me, the candidate is trying to get a leg up on the other candidates through something unrelated to their own skills or experience (bad), and also because they think it’s important enough to ask in an interview, where you have a very finite amount of time to learn what you can about the job, the organization, or the manager. If a candidate thinks that internal application games are the way they want to spend that time, I generally think a tiny bit less of them.)

          1. Judy

            To be honest, I’ve only asked that question when I’ve been recruited for a position. (And not recruited by a recruiting company, but by a hiring manager.) I’m curious if this is part of a hiring cycle or if they just created a job. In one case, I was contacted through my network to see if I was interested in sending my resume in. In the other case, someone who knew I was searching for a new job forwarded the resume he had to them, and they contacted me about a job.

        2. la munieca

          In my last job search, this was my mother’s favorite question: do you know how many candidates are left? I told her over and over it didn’t matter, was impossible to ask appropriately, and only served to promote fruitless over-analysis in an already stressful situation. But she would insist, “it’s just nice to know.” After. Every. Interview. Bless her heart. She is no longer notified of exact dates or times for job interviews or doctor appointments, but gets periodic, vague briefings after the fact.

        3. Anonsie

          There’s also just base curiosity, you know. Information doesn’t have to change something or be actionable to be “useful” just for your own frame of mind. Acceptance figures for universities won’t change your application, but people still like to know them when applying.

        4. Cheesecake

          Well, it might be about how fast they can make a decision. I basically asked about recruitment process because once i was far with another employer when an interesting job popped up. They obviously started their explanation with how many people they are interviewing. I had a couple of employers asking me about how many positions i had applied to btw. So out-of-curiosity question about other candidates is not so horrible, it is just a little pointless.

      2. LBK

        I can see how it might give you some peace of mind (ie that you know you only have 1 person you’re still being compared to instead of 20) but I can’t see how it changes anything about how you proceed throughout the hiring process.

    2. BRR

      I said something similar to a coworker/friend recently. She’s a temp applying for an internal position and knows somebody else here is applying. She kept stacking herself up against the other person. I told her that her candidacy is independent of anybody else’s.

      1. Elizabeth West

        That’s never a good thing. You lose focus on your own skills and qualifications. I’ve given this advice to skaters before–once we had two girls who were competing at the same level, against each other, and they came to me separately and expressed discomfort with the other’s perceived superiority. Each girl performed the same elements, but stylistically, they could not have been more different.

        I told them each that every skater skates independently, and judges aren’t comparing you to her but comparing each one of you to the RULES. In short, don’t worry about what Hortense is doing; concentrate on what YOU are doing.

  26. Merry and Bright

    It doesn’t say much for a company that puts someone so untrained in charge of interview admin. The guy’s interview style does not sound very professional. But interviewers like that seem to be two a penny. It kind of goes with his slapdash approach to fixing interview times.

  27. QualityControlFreak

    I once interviewed for a position (same company, different department and location) where the VP conducting the interview closed it by saying, “I thought you might like to see who your competition is.” He showed me a printout with one name and added “She’s on my staff.” I didn’t recognize the name; my take was that he was trying to tell me he was planning to promote his staff member. Which was reinforced by his next comment: “Do me a favor – the next time I post a job, apply for it.” His staff member got the job, but I have always thought that was a creative way of letting me know he was hiring from within but thought I was a strong candidate.

    1. Blue_eyes

      Why the need for creativity here though? Couldn’t he have told you straight out that you were an excellent candidate, but they decided to go with an internal candidate.

      1. QualityControlFreak

        I’m not sure (and this was many years ago); my thought was that he was following policy and had to interview X number of candidates (huge corporation, federal contract, massive bureaucracy) before a final “decision” was made. Probably even showing me the name was not strictly kosher, in fact it surprised me at the time.

  28. RVA Cat

    I just wanted to say the name changes are genius – looks like the final ‘interview’ will be 3 dragons versus Galatica – who will win?

  29. illini02

    I don’t know, I find the tool to be an “oops” more than anything. I use a similar tool, but it doesn’t say what the appointment is, just that there is one. He probably didn’t realize he had that setting. As for the interview, that also doesn’t seem particularly unprofessional. Some people are instructed to read from a computer and take notes on the answers. I don’t like that method, but if thats what he has to do, that doesn’t make him unprofessional.

    Which leads to a further point. The word “professional” at this point means very little. Gone are the days when every business job was a button down, suit and tie thing. Different companies have different cultures. Different people have different styles of doing things. Just because something isn’t how YOU would do it, doesn’t make it unprofessional. There are curse words flying all around my office, but everyone gets their stuff done. Our company is steadily growing, and our customers love us (mostly). So, are we unprofessional because we don’t operate the way that IBM (example, I have no idea really) worked in the 80s? If the guy was respectful of you, I think he was plenty professional. I know some people think wearing jeans, chewing gum, things like that make your professional value less, but I disagree with all of that. Even different industries have different definitions of the word. I say this while wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and gym shoes and listening to music while working.

  30. mina

    Huh. Let’s think about this for a moment… does anyone REALLY want to go head to head with Khal Drogo? I say let him have the job. After all, he’s never lost before. :)

  31. Iro

    What’s William Adama doing in there? Those two shows are lightyears apart.

    *See what I did there. : – D

  32. Anonymous Ninja

    I feel like an old coot, but I am the only one that doesn’t care for Doodle polls? I don’t get the appeal.

  33. Merry and Bright

    7 is a lot by the third round but I suppose it depends how many they interviewed to start with. I went to an interview where they interviewed 35 in the first round. I suppose the HR staff just liked interviewing!

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