when job applicants don’t respond to interview invitations, the best time to start calls, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. When job applicants don’t respond to interview invitations

As a small business owner, I am going through the process of hiring. I sent four emails out to potential applicants requesting an interview and a confirmation on date/time. I have heard back from one of the four. Should I still go to the time slots of the other three, or just consider them not accepted since I got no response?

Do I really want to hire an applicant who cannot even respond to my email in the first place?

Any chance that your emails are going to people’s spam folders? Or that something about the emails is coming across as less than professional for some reason? Three people not responding to an interview invitation is unusual, so the first thing I’d check is whether something’s off on your side. For example, send the same email to your own gmail account (set one up for this purpose if you don’t have one). If it’s going to spam, there’s your answer.

But in general if you don’t hear back from a candidate about an interview invitation, I think it’s smart to try one additional time — because you just never know if the email didn’t arrive for some reason or they were dealing with a family emergency or something like that. If someone was strong enough for you want to spend time interviewing them, it’s worth spending the additional few seconds to make sure your email reached them. And if you feel like a sucker following up (like you shouldn’t have to remind people about something this important), you can even just say, “Since I haven’t heard back from you, I’m assuming you’re no longer interested in the position, but let me know I’m mistaken. Otherwise, best of luck!” That way, someone who legitimately didn’t receive the email knows to get back in touch, and someone who did but slacked on answering it knows some kind of explanation is required.

2. My manager hasn’t clearly told another team that I can’t help them as much as they want

My manager and I were asked to give a small presentation to a collaborating team (but external to our company) on our use of a certain application and how it benefits us. The general consensus was that the collaborators would have their own technical team to do setup and management, and my manager and I would be available for general one-off help.

A few weeks later, an unrelated manager (let’s call her Patty) at our company went to my manager because this same group of collaborators had a small technical question – the type my manager and I made ourselves available to help with. Patty did not know we had worked with them already. After a few back and forth group emails helping them, the collaborators then asked if I would be available to give 20% of my time to help. They are willing and eager to set up a contract for work with us.

My manager came to me in person and said to very strongly push back on that request, but she never responded (from what I see) to the original email. Now Patty keeps coming to me, as I’m the technical expert, to try to get an answer. I tell her that I am not in a position to say whether or not we set up a contract with their group and that has to go through my manager and other leaders of the department. (I cc my manager on these replies to CMA, but she always stays quiet.)

Am I handling this correctly? Should I have assumed my own manager would reply “no” to the first email if she didn’t want me to work on the project? I feel like it’s wishy-washy to say to Patty that ‘I’m just following orders’, but I’m also not going to de-prioritize 20% of my current workload without explicit approval.

Your manager needs to tell Patty and the outside team what the limits are on your availability. It’s weird that she’s staying quiet. I’d go back to your manager and say, “I’m getting the sense that Patty and (outside team) might think that I’m able to grant their request about devoting 20% of my time to helping them. Is it okay with you if I explain to them that I’m not able to do that?” Get a straight yes or no from her. Assuming it’s a yes, then go back and explain that to Patty and the outside team.

What you don’t want to do here is to continue to let this drag out with no one imparting clear information about what you can and can’t do.

3. Should I call slightly early, slightly late, or exactly on time?

When I have a call scheduled with someone that just involves calling their direct number, should I call at the exact time, a few minutes before the exact time, or a minute or two after? I usually call at the scheduled time right on the dot, and end up in voicemail or feel like I’m interrupting something. Is it better to give the recipient of the call a few minutes to prepare?

Call at the exact time.

It’s not usually a big deal if you call a minute or two late, but you definitely shouldn’t call a minute or two early! Early can be rude — the person may be finishing up another call, not at their desk, or otherwise not ready for you.

If you call at the scheduled time and get voicemail, hang up and try again in a few minutes. If you get voicemail at that point, leave a message. I usually say, “I’m calling for our 2:00 call. If you get this within the next few minutes, give me a call back — otherwise we can reschedule.” That way, if the person has forgotten about the call, is out sick, or whatever, I free myself up from waiting after a few minutes and am not tethered to my phone for the next 30 minutes waiting for a call that might never come.

4. Multiple suits for multiple job interviews?

My husband has one nice suit and a few different shirts and ties he wears for interviews. If he makes it to a third interview with a company, would it be best for him to have a second suit rather than just a different shirt and tie? He was recently laid off so I’d prefer not to spend the money for a new suit right now when his other is in good condition, well tailored and dry cleaned between interviews. The job attire is casual but I understand that he should dress for success for interviewing. Would the expense be worth it?

If he’s switching up the shirt and tie (and assuming it’s not a highly distinctive suit, like … ruffled or something), there’s no need for him to buy an additional suit. Men’s clothes are easy that way.

5. Should I mention that I recently turned down a similar role at another company?

When applying for a position, is it appropriate or helpful to mention at any stage that I was recently offered a similar position at a different company, which I turned down because the fit wasn’t quite right? Since one company thought I was the right candidate for a similar role, would another company see this as evidence that I’m qualified? And if so, would I need to name the company that made me the offer?

I wouldn’t, not unless it comes up organically in conversation (which is fairly unlikely to happen). Most employers want to make their own determinations not only about whether you’re qualified, but about whether you’re the best qualified for the role they’re hiring for.

{ 302 comments… read them below }

  1. the bureaucrat fell from the sky

    In re the matter of #1: if – for whatever reason – you don’t hear back from a candidate, you’re perfectly justified in assuming that they aren’t interested / aren’t going to show up for the interview slot.

    (You might want to check your SPAM folder, though, too. Just in case).

    1. A Bug

      Something else to consider is whether your email server’s IP (or one of them) is on a blacklist somewhere. In such a case the email won’t even reach the recipient’s spam folder and you won’t get a failure notice.

      1. Elder Dog

        If your IP is on an anti-spam list, you should get a failure notice, sometimes from the server you’re sending to, but usually from your own. If you don’t, change providers. Not letting you know your mail isn’t going through is unacceptable.

        1. A Bug

          Your provider doesn’t know the mail isn’t getting through if it’s blacklisted by the recipient’s provider.

      2. jmkenrick

        Also worth considering is that if you’re e-mailing candidates through an email created via a posting (like the ones you get from Craigslist or Indeed.com) there may well be a time lag. I’ve experienced this several times with Indeed.com – the e-mail would be sent in the AM, but it wouldn’t be received till 12 or 24 hours later.

        Perhaps someone with IT experience can shed more light on why this happens.

    2. NJ anon

      I am currently hiring as well. I always reach out by phone first to make sure contact has been made. Subsequent communications are by email. This process has served me well so far.

      1. Elysian

        This is what made sense to me. Maybe something isn’t working with email, it can be funky that way. Try a phone call.

      2. Jazzy Red

        I was surprised that Alison didn’t specifically say to OP #1 to phone these people. My thinking is always that if email doesn’t work, try a phone call.

      3. Margali

        Our policy is to start out with an email, then follow up with a phone call if there’s no response. No response to the phone call, then we drop the candidate.

      4. Stranger than fiction

        Yes this! Always call if you don’t hear back in a day or two, I think it’s the polite way and covers your bases. I would never rely on email alone

    3. Name-O

      PLEASE Double-check the spelling of their email before you give up on them. My last name is commonly misspelled because people don’t take the time to see it’s missing a letter from a more common last name. I can’t tell you how many of my own coworkers (after 4 years) STILL misspell my last name, and then tell me I’m not in the Global email. I am paranoid that I don’t get responses from hiring directors because they all use email instead of phone, and it’s not like I can use my “fun” email and look serious to hiring managers. So I just accept that there are some jobs I just won’t get because people are too lazy to read my last name properly.

      1. Buggy Crispino

        Is it possible to set up an additional email or an alias that is the common misspelling of your name? That way even if they don’t type it correctly you’ll still receive the important stuff you fear you’re not getting.

      2. The P is Silent

        Me too! I had such a deep paranoia about it that I bought my own domain and created email addresses for all the common misspellings of my name. Any emails they receive automatically get forwarded to one central inbox so I don’t have to worry. Picking a domain name that doesn’t sound like you’re already employed and isn’t just a repetition of the name they are misspelling is hard but I settled on something that relates to my industry. If they try to google it, they will get a static web page with my resume.

        1. Treena Kravm

          My husband used to have this set-up (for different reasons) and he could see which emails were sent to each address. Are you able to, and if so, how many times does email get sent to the incorrect spellings?

        2. The Cosmic Avenger

          For personal email I use [FIRSTNAME]@[LASTNAME].com, and I own [LASTNAME].com…let’s call it Avenger.com. For a while I had blind forwarding set up, so I could just make up Amazon@Avenger.com or AAM@Avenger.om and use account-specific addresses for every new account. I got so many messages for people with the last name Avenger, or Avengir, or whatever. Some of it important mail, and I had no idea what the recipient’s actual email was, so I couldn’t forward it. I did set up a few forwarding addresses for people who were nice about it, once I had an email conversation with them. But most of the time I replied to only the most critical emails and said “Sorry, there’s no user “Toxic” here, it’s just me, I own and operate Avenger.com just for my personal use. Please call or send a letter by post to Toxic Avenger and ask them for their correct email address. Sincerely, Cosmic Avenger.”

      3. Not Today Satan

        Yeah, TONS of people misspell my name/email. When I got into grad school they sent the admission letter to the wrong email, when I was planning a wedding vendors sent contracts to the wrong email, etc. I shudder to think about interview offers going to the wrong email. :\

        1. Paul

          My name is commonly misspelled but this is the first time it’s occurred to me that this could be happening! Luckily the address I use for job applications and such is deliberately short (just my initials – abc@gmail.com)

      4. Jubilance

        Ditto – my first name is unique and a lot of people have the tendency to spell it with 2 S’s instead of 2 E’s. I’ve had plenty of folks tell me they kept trying to email me and the email kept bouncing…because they spelled my name wrong!

      5. Nashira

        Nthing this. Names like “Schaefer” can have seven or so alternate spellings. Making sure you’ve got the right one can be fun.

      6. Sunflower

        I have a tough to spell name but I always thought most people did a ctrl+c to get emails from resumes since 1. Most people don’t print resumes anymore so you’d have to keep going between documents to get the spelling and 2. It’s just so much faster. Can you switch your email to your initials with a couple numbers to follow? It might be easier for hiring managers.

        1. jennie

          Yes! As a recruiter and just in general I never type out email addresses. I either copy/paste or just reply through the applicant tracking system. Emails are generally clickable in documents as well. I’d never take the chance of mis-typing an email address when it’s so easy just to copy/paste.

          1. jag

            Not typing proper names and email addresses is really the way to go in general – far more accurate.

      7. Shell

        Amen. I actually elected to have my personal email as firstinitial.middlename at domain rather than firstname.middleinitial at domain. My first name is an English name that’s commonly misspelled; my middlename is a romanized ethnic name that’s impossible to spell or pronounce. I figure giving people a name that’s hard to spell right off the bat will force them to pay attention; if I left it to my English-but-easily misspelled first name they’ll probably just type the other spelling and then I’d never get my emails.

        It’s slightly confusing because I do go by my first name and not my middle name, but it’s better than never getting my emails. Also, cuts down on spam drastically.

      8. Buffay the Vampire Layer

        Yes! My maiden name is not at all complex, yet for some inexplicable reason people put an L in the middle of it. Which doesn’t give you a common name either, I have no idea why everyone does this.

        A different misspelling issue almost cost me a job. After law school I was clerking in a government office which required a background check. About a month before the bar I get a call from them asking me if I’m no longer interested in taking the position. Uhh no, I definitely still want the job, why are you calling me? Turns out, they had set up their entire system with a ridiculously bad misspelling of my first name, and so the email to start the background check went to misspelled.lastname@gmail.com instead of firstname.lastname@gmail.com. It was a synonym for grandpa too, like turning Grace to Gramps. Not any kind of reasonable mistake.

        So please just copy-paste the address rather than retyping, because your brain will make some crazy mistakes and we won’t get your emails!

    4. Eliz

      This actually happened to me very recently as an applicant. The emails went into a spam filter of my email, which I didn’t regularly check. Thankfully, the hiring manager had a similar problem when applying to the same organization, and picked up the phone. I was thrilled to get the call (the company was also located in another country), and scheduled an interview right away. Happy to say less than two weeks later I was offered the position. If my manager hadn’t followed up we both may have missed out on a great fit!

    5. Sadsack

      How come you wouldn’t make a phone call to follow up? That way it is immediately clear if there is some funky technical stuff going on that is causing the emails to not be delivered (assuming that the person answers their phone/voicemail).

      1. Big Tom

        That was my thought as well – why wouldn’t you just call? If you email once and call once that doesn’t seem excessive and it’s a good way to avoid possible email problems.

        My second thought was, “Oh lord, some college career center is telling students to ignore the first invitation for an interview.” You know, as a power play. “Make them pursue you!”

        1. OhNo

          Oh, jeez, I hope not. I can’t imagine how devastated those poor applicants would be when it doesn’t work!

    6. Cajun2Core

      I have to agree with everyone here who suggest calling the person. I have to wonder why the OP isn’t making a phone call. I work on a college campus and trust me, students these days think email is slow and clunky and don’t check theirs often (if ever). I am a professional and I don’t check my home email daily mainly because I don’t get that many emails and very few are that important.

    7. Treena Kravm

      It’s not that they’re always not interested, sometimes there really is a technology glitch.

      This reminds me about 3 years ago, I was applying to a ton of Americorps positions and the one I thought for sure I would land an interview never contacted me. So about 6 weeks after my initial application, I was writing emails to all 15 positions asking what the status of my application was (this is normal for Americorps) in order to cross off the ones I had no shot of, and focus on the ones I did. My never-contacted-me top choice immediately (less than one hour) emailed me back saying she’s been trying for weeks to get in contact with me and they were about to give up. Apparently, they’d emailed twice (yep, in my spam folder) and called and left a voicemail. I confirmed the number she called, and told her I never got that message (or a missed call from an out of state number). So whether she dialed wrong, or my cell carrier ate the call/message, I don’t know. But we always say that if they want to interview you, they won’t forget and they’ll get in touch eventually. So I for one would like to keep that true, because 2 emails and a phone call wasn’t enough to get through to me, so it’s very likely that this happens more than we’d like to think.

  2. Sherm

    #3: I agree about not calling early. I remember trying to unlock a door one-handed while carrying a laptop, at which point my ringing phone announced my interviewer decided to call early.

    1. Oh anon

      My interviewer called an hour early last week, even after specifying a time & time zone…. I wasn’t a happy camper.

      1. T

        I once had an interviewer call 25 hours early. I had made my time zone very clear in my emails to him, but in his initial email he scheduled the interview for “Tuesday, March 11” when March 11 was in fact a Wednesday. I wrote back to clarify and he acknowledged the mistake and confirmed for Wednesday…guess he didn’t write that down. Needless to say, I did not get that job, and I’m very okay with that.

        1. K

          I also had an interviewer call on the wrong day. Politely telling an interviewer they were wrong is one of the most awkward things ever…

          On a funnier note, I once thought an interviewer didn’t call at the right time, but it turns out they were in the timezone one hour before me. Silly me, I didn’t even think about timezones. One hour later, right on time (their time), they called.

      2. AnonAnalyst

        This happened to me once when I interviewed the Monday after the Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time adjustment. The interviewer called me an hour early. And this was a local company, so it wasn’t a time zone issue.

        I’m still unclear how she hadn’t by that point realized she needed to adjust her clock…it was at like 3:00 Monday afternoon, so you’d think that even if she had somehow missed it on Sunday, by the time the workday rolled around it would become clear her clock was off. But since I hadn’t expected to have the call for another hour I was in the middle of doing something else and started the call off flustered and somewhat scattered. Luckily, the job ended up being something I wasn’t particularly interested in once I learned more about it.

        1. Big10Professor

          It could be that Outlook or whatever scheduling program she was using didn’t update correctly.

          1. OhNo

            Yeah, I’ve had that problem with iCal, especially when I go across time zone borders. Suddenly everything on my calendar re-adjusts to the new time zone – even though all my appointments were at the correct time for that time zone already!

            All the conveniences of modern technology can mess you up in weird ways.

      3. Lunar

        I had an interviewer call me several hours early (9AM when our call was scheduled for 11AM I think). She sent me an Outlook invitation and everything. The interview went terribly because I wasn’t expecting the call and I should have said something about her being early but I was so flustered that I didn’t. I didn’t mind that it went badly though, because I definitely would not want to work for someone so disorganized.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      That’s why I already followed Alison’s advice to call a few minutes afterwards if there’s no answer at the exact chosen time. Meeting and phonecalls run late all the time, so the person may be running behind schedule, and if the meeting or phonecall is with a client, you can’t just say “Sorry, time’s up!”

      This is also where having multiple modes of communication comes in very handy. If I’m stuck like that, I’ll IM or email the person for whom I’ll be late.

    3. Big10Professor

      I’m the OP on this one…it’s happening so often lately that I get voicemail, that I think I’m just going to start setting up call-in numbers and letting people “meet” me there when they are ready.

      1. Meg Murry

        I’ve worked at places that did this, so you could dial in and then sit at your desk and keep working until the other person showed up.

        Related though, from your username – when you call out, does the caller ID show your number, or just a general line from Big10University. If I was waiting for a call from Big10Prof, and an unknown number came up on my caller ID, I might let it go to voicemail since I am waiting on your call. If your call comes from anything other than your standard number, you may want to include “caller ID will say 123-456-7890, not my direct number” when setting up the phone call.

  3. Jessa

    Before you write the candidate off, OP1, make sure your email is clear that you are responding directly to their application. When I was job hunting I got a lot of spam emails because when you’re on unemployment you have to register with your state agency and that’s kind of like a local Monster dot com place. You get a metric tonne of spam (that doesn’t always go IN your spam folder) but are obvious scam jobs or marketing jobs and things.

    So on the presumption that it didn’t go to a spam folder, are you sure your email (the subject line especially, because not everyone sets their reader to automatically open mail) indicates it’s a response to an actual genuine application?

    1. Cara

      Yes, I’ve definitely deleted emails titled “Great opportunity!” or “Interview for your dream job!” without reading them, so if a legitimate employer used a similar subject line I would probably not realize it.

      1. Jessa

        Yeh, I tend to open more spammish type emails if I’ve applied to somewhere (my Firewall/AntiVirus is pretty good.) But definitely include words like “your application to company x” and “interview request.”

    2. Bunny

      Gods, this.

      I’m actually signed up with half a dozen different websites that post collated job ads, because it’s a really easy way to quickly browse all of the local vacancies. But there is so much spam to sift through, and it’s spam that often specifically targets your searches.

      Which is why it took me three weeks to realise the email from “Admin Seraphim”, which had no subject line and landed in my spam folder, was actually the very first personal email I’d ever had in reply from that particular agency. The email content was, in its entirety:

      “Hi Bunny, are you still interested in looking for temp opportunities in [Location]? Call me; Fran.”.

      On the one hand, that is possibly the least professional and least useful contact I’ve received from a job agency, so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t notice the email until it was too late. On the other hand, this same agency also somehow seems to get about a tenth of all the office and admin temp contracts in my area, so I hope they didn’t write me off for failing to respond to that email.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      The last interview I had (which resulted in a great job offer that I accepted!) was offered via an email titled simply “Are you interested?” I had sent my application in mid-2013, and was not expecting contact from them. It’s a good thing I don’t get much traffic at that email address (although I check it regularly), or it could have easily been overlooked as spam. It seemed really unprofessional. I start in about a month, and I may mention that to someone in HR once I’m settled.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger

      Not quite the same thing, but I love the story about how Daniel Radcliffe wore the exact same outfit out of the theater every night for five months when he was in Equus. The paparazzi stopped bothering him because the photos were unsaleable – if all you could get were photos that looked exactly like the previous night’s (or month’s) photos, no one would buy them.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian

      My boss has been wearing the same outfit ever since I’ve known him: very dark-rinse Levi’s, a black ( or very dark-colored) shirt, a black suit-jacket, and black dress shoes. No tie, *ever*. As in, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts for his discipline (he’s a designer) and he didn’t even change his outfit or wear a tie for that.

      Before that event, some of the women at the office would try to get me (as his assistant) to ask him to dress up more for certain company events. Once they found out that he wouldn’t alter his dress, even for an event representing the peak of his career to date, they didn’t bother me about that any more.

      tl;dr: One suit is fine

    3. LizB

      I remember a story going around a few months ago where a male Australian news anchor had worn the exact same suit on-air every day for a full year to see if anyone would notice. Nobody did! I think OP4’s husband will be fine. (In the story, the news anchor’s female co-anchor continued to get frequent critical comments about her outfits, so I wouldn’t recommend that strategy for a female applicant…)

      1. Mpls

        Same suit, different shirt is just as valid for women as men. Why should women pay a fashion tax on getting a job?

        1. kozinskey

          Unfortunately, women do pay a fashion tax. I don’t see guys spending lots of money on makeup and hair care products every month. Just because it’s wrong doesn’t mean it’s not also necessary to get by.

      2. Blue Anne

        Yeah, I remember that. He went for the cheapest, cruddiest suit he could, after some of his female colleagues had gotten flak for not dressing well. Hre got zero comments. Sad.

        1. L Veen

          One of my (male) coworkers claimed that the Australian news anchor’s experience was proof of sexism against MEN because “it’s so much harder for men to get attention because of their clothes, nobody notices what men wear because nobody cares about men” and it was just so ludicrous…

      3. Nashira

        Well, shoot, I guess that answers my question before I even ask, on whether one suit could work for a woman. I really wish I could just dress like a man all the time and get away with no criticism! It’s so much easier – look appropriate and nice and no one cares too much if you look nearly identical most of the time.

        1. Burlington

          I think one suit *could* work for a woman, but it would depend on which one. I think you’d also be expected to do more to mix it up; different patterns and textures of blouse, different accessories. But I think a person could, theoretically, pull it off.

          1. VintageLydia USA

            Yeah the only way I can see that working for a woman is if she has a ton of blouses and accessories. She’d probably still get comments, though.

        2. the gold digger

          I wear pretty much the same thing every day – a black skirt and a gray, purple, or orange sweater – or an orange skirt with a white sweater. I buy about two mascaras and eye shadows a year. My chapstick is free from my dentist.

          I refuse to be a slave to the Fashion Industrial Complex.

          1. Judy

            For work, I pretty much wear black pants with different colored sweaters or long sleeved knit tops, almost all solid colors. I have some “dressy” black pants and some twill black pants. I have a pair of black flats and a pair of black loafers. On Fridays or days I know I’m going to get dirty, I usually wear jeans with the same tops, usually with hiking boots. I have some scarves that match several of my tops, that I use for some occasions, but rarely at work.

            No makeup. Chapstick only.

            1. Stranger than fiction

              Wow you ladies are brave I could never go out of the house without my face on

        3. sunshine

          I think it depends on the field. I’ve worked most of my career in higher ed, with a few early years in retail, and a lot of the women I’ve worked with, especially the administrators and managers, clearly had a “uniform” – they didn’t wear the exact same clothes, but they wore the same sort of thing every day and no body ever cared, as far as I know. One of my favorite directors always wore a black pantsuit and I honestly don’t think anyone would have recognized her if she wore something else.

          I’m starting a job search and I’m really hoping that I can get away with my limited selection of interview separates. I don’t have a suit, but I have two suit coats (one black, one gray), a selection of pants and skirts (black and black with pin stripes), and hopefully enough different tops and accessories that no one will notice if I wear the same blazer to the first and third interviews.

        4. Lalaith

          I (a woman) asked almost the exact question the OP did when I was interviewing for my current job, and Alison advised me that the same suit with a different shirt was probably fine. Clearly it wasn’t a big red flag, since I got the job. I’m in the tech industry, though – ymmv.

          1. Blue Anne

            I work in big finance (for a firm renowned as particularly conservative, even) and I think for us it’d be fine too. I wore a black sheath dress with matching jacket for my first interview and navy skirt suit with white blouse for my second, but you know, I think if I’d worn the same suit both times no one would have cared at all. Three times might have been pushing it if I was meeting with the same people, but… three interviews with the exact same people…?

    4. BananaPants

      It’s definitely a thing – like capsule wardrobes/minimalist wardrobes for women. Most don’t wear the exact same thing every day, but the idea is to have a relatively small number of separates (10-12 pieces) in classic styles and colors that can combine with accessories to make a LOT of different outfits.

      1. Blue Anne

        I do this. My business wardrobe is one skirt, one pair of trousers, five dresses, two cardigans, three blouses, and a skirt-suit (which I more often use the skirt from), all in black, grey or navy. I have one pair of basic work heels.

        Non-work wardrobe is three dresses, two pairs of jeans, half a dozen t-shirts, two pairs of leggings, a sweater and two hoodies. All in black, grey and dark red. Shoes are one pair of combat boots and one pair of heeled booties.

        I have a black wool coat, a tan trench coat, and a leather jacket.

        That’s pretty much it. I put a couple of nostalgic t-shirts in a box and gave the rest to charity.

        It’s not exciting but it has made my life so much better, honestly. (For one thing, I spend a lot less money on impulse clothing purchases just because I know that if I buy that awesome green dress I’ll have nothing to wear it with.)

  4. Chuchundra

    You know what they say, OP1. Once is chance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

    If three out of your four candidates didn’t respond to your interview e-mails, you have to figure something is up. Whether it’s technology issues or the way you wrote the e-mail or something else, it probably behooves you to contact each of them directly and try to suss out what actually happened.

      1. Marzipan

        See, now I’m wondering what the interview process would be like to be a Bond villains henchperson…

          1. Liane

            It’s already been e-published. Search for “evil overlord list.” It’s hilarious & includes bonus sections on advice for (villains’) Valued Lieutenants & even Heroes!

    1. Remy

      Aside from the tech issue, I was wondering if there were a glaring error in the email — not necessarily in spelling, which can be caught, but in grammar, or in the use of a word that either doesn’t mean what the OP thinks it does or sounds like but isn’t the one the OP intends to use. Sometimes a mistake like that can make an email appear to be spam even when it isn’t (so it seems all roads lead back to the question of whether the email is mistaken for spam, one way or another).

      1. Jazzy Red

        Yes. Misspellings and poor grammar usually make me think that this is another email from that poor Nigerian prince who can’t get his money out the country and needs me to help him.

        1. Sunflower

          Or if I get emails in ALL CAPS. Funny how now emails subjects used to be in all caps to get your attention but now it’s like a sign that I should ignore it.

      2. Ama

        I’ve been having an issue with my spam filter catching legitimate emails lately and it seems to be largely triggered by very vague language. The subject line will be “my presentation” or “interest in future programs” or something like that — and the body text is often just one line (“Here are my slides, Thanks!”)

        It’s been catching even replies to emails I sent and people in my address book, so I have to be super vigilant about checking my junk folder.

    2. Ife

      Yes, my first thought was that the OP’s request to confirm the interview was buried underneath a wall of text at the end of the email. I have missed important instructions a couple times because they were at the end of a very long-winded email. By the time I’m at the end, I’m just skimming, especially when the rest has been fluff.

      If you need a response you should be putting that information at the beginning of the email, maybe even in the subject line.

  5. the bureaucrat fell from the sky

    In re the matter of #2: Wow, yeah, your manager is acting in a most peculiar way. The cynic in me wonders if she’s hoping that by staying out of it, you’ll do 100% of your work and an additional 20% for this other team.

    Which leads me to wonder: if you went to your manager and told her “I’ve been thinking about it, and I’d really like to help these people out with 20% of my time” – that might force her hand into taking action? And – while I don’t know any specifics of your job – would it make you look good if you did indeed help these people out? (Either with an explicit 20% of your time, or just informally as you can?) I know your manager told you to push back on these people, so you’d want to respect that. On the other hand, sometimes people can build a really good reputation by providing a crucial assist. A tough call that only you can make. I won’t go into details but I’ll note that I once made such a move – assisting some people who were outside of my job scope – and I found myself being offered a much, much better job that had a significant positive effect on my career. As much as I’d like to say it was all skill – it wasn’t, I was lucky, too.

    1. Elder Dog

      If one of my employees felt she could devote 20% of her time to something other than the job she’s supposed to be doing for me, I’d reduce her to part time. That’s a whole day a week that’s coming out of my budget without furthering my projects. Nope.

      1. Matt

        It was mentioned that there would be a contract signed. This indicates to me that they are actually forgoing revenue. Not a sound business decision unless other revenue-streams are threatened.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          To me, a contract indicates that there might actually be budget money from the other department. My experience in the matter is only two-workplaces broad, but when I’ve seen department heads put such agreements in writing, one of the departments has devoted a budgeted amount to help finance the benefit their department receives from the arrangement. Not sure if that applies to the OP’s situation, but it could be a win/win/win all around if OP is willing to do the work and her boss is willing to let her.

          1. fposte

            Though I was under the impression that the team isn’t actually in the same organization–that’s how I was interpreting “external to our company.” I don’t think that rules out a contract, though, and I’m not sure where Matt’s going with the notion that a contract means forgoing revenue; we have plenty of contracts that involve receiving rather than forgoing money.

            I’m also thinking a little differently from Alison, in that I’m not clear why the OP hasn’t been able to state “I’m sorry, but we’re not able to do the 20% plan. As discussed, we’ll be available for occasional one-off help.” There may be reasons why, of course, but just because the OP has a manager doesn’t mean the OP can’t be the person communicating this, since the manager’s view has been clear to the OP.

              1. Hiring Mgr

                I think Matt was saying that by NOT working with the external company, they would be forgoing revenue.

                Either way, it seems pretty simple for the OP just to clarify with the manager exactly what she should be doing

          2. the bureaucrat fell from the sky

            This. I figured they were talking about an internal agreement (a “Statement of Work” (SoW) or “Statement of Agreement” (SoA)) that officially describes how OP2 will do X, Y, and Z for another group, probably in exchange for some quantity of internal funds (we call them ‘blue dollars’).

      2. Miss Betty

        Wouldn’t that cause you to be seen a not a team player in your organization? We’re continually reminded that, even though we do have attorneys we’re assigned to, we work for the firm, not for the individual attorneys. We’ve also been told that there isn’t a hierarchy when it comes to getting our work done. If another attorney requested 20% of our time, the office manager would make a way for it to happen. Might that cause some hardship? Probably – but it’s what team players do. (I’m not, I have to admit, a fan of the “no hierarchy” and “you work for the firm, not the attorney” thing – but that’s the way it is and whether or not I like it is largely irrelevant.)

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          The team requesting it is outside their organization though (if I’m reading the letter correctly). But even internally, I think it’s pretty common for one department to tell another “no, we can’t give you that much time, at least not without someone above us both making the call that we should.”

          1. Judy

            Individual contributors usually have to have their managers back them up to make those statements. I’ve been in situations where my manager told me not to do X, to push back on the request, but he had told another department I would do X. In the end, I needed to get my manager and the person from the other department in a room, and ask my manager what he wanted me to do about X, because I was being labeled that I wasn’t willing to do X that my manager said I would.

      3. Artemesia

        I was actually involved in an office once where someone lost their full time job this way. The office got used to having him for only 60 % of the week and his job got reduced to that; he was very unhappy about it, but he had been doing that for so long (and he was so unpopular) that no one wanted to fix it.

    2. Stranger than fiction

      This can also backfire into “wow she can do all that and for the same pay”

  6. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

    #3, please please call exactly on time! There’s nothing worse than getting off the bus and having your phone start ringing as you’re walking along the street because your cleverly scheduled timeslot has started 10 minutes early!

  7. Snoskred

    Why on earth would the small business owner in #1 not CALL these people to set up interviews?

    That is the reason we have phones. Email – nice as it may be – there are just too many possible variables that can result in people not receiving the message!

    My thought is – pick up the phone and call to schedule interviews. Don’t worry, the phone will not bite you, nor will you be rendered powerless like Superman faced with kryptonite. If you suffer from call reluctance or lost your tongue to a cat, at the very least, TEXT these people. :)

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      A lot of people actually prefer email. Especially if you’re calling candidates who are currently employed, it’s often a lot easier (and from some perspectives, more considerate) to use email rather than try to reach them when they’re working. I use email to set up every interview I do; it’s way easier on me than playing phone tag, and people seem to appreciate it.

      That said, if I was concerned that my emails weren’t reaching people, I’d try calling.

      I’d never text; I think that’s actually kind of unprofessional. I never text for work and would be really annoyed if an employer or candidate reached out to me that way. (And on a purely practical level, you don’t know if the number you’re texting is even a cell phone or not.)

      1. Snoskred

        I’m in Australia, so here you definitely know if the number is a mobile. :)

        I’m sure many people prefer email for a variety of reasons but if the email I sent was important I personally would follow it up with a call or a text the following day if I did not hear back from the person I emailed. If I knew the person was presently employed, I would make sure the call or text happened in the evening after regular work hours.

        1. Elysian

          Are there no land lines in Australia? Did you guys not have phone before cell technology?

            1. Jazzy Red

              Right. I have friends who live close by me, and their area codes are from other states, so it’s really easy to tell that they are cell phones and not home landlines.

            2. Elysian

              Ahh that makes more sense – I read out the word “if” in my pre-coffee state, so I just saw “you definitely know the number is a mobile.” (implying only mobile numbers exist)

          1. Snoskred

            Landline numbers are in this format – (02) 12341234
            Mobile numbers are in this format – 0401 123 123

            When people put together their resume, it will have something like
            Home Phone :
            Mobile :

            And here, it is generally ok to use either number. I hate to tell you this, but in our country a lot of stuff is done via mobiles now, like appointment confirmations with doctors, hairdressers or employment agencies and potential employers. As in, tomorrow I have an interview with an employer, and today they texted me to confirm it – the text said reply with yes if you are able to attend.

            I know this is actually automatic and not anything they do themselves – they have computer systems which automatically email people 24 hours before an appointment for a confirmation and if that reply is not received, I will then get a phone call wanting to confirm.

            There are a lot of people here who no longer have landlines at all – I’d get rid of ours if not for the fact we need it for the internet. The only calls I ever get on the landline are telemarketers, everyone else uses my mobile.

      2. Ruth (UK)

        In the UK it would be impossible not to know of a number is a mobile or not. All landlines start with a five digit area code where the first 2 digits are usually 01. All mobiles start with 07. That said, I still wouldn’t send a text on this situation.

        If it starts with anything else, like 08 it’s usually a number that would cost to call, or a spam thing or business. Basically we can always tell from the number ringing us of its a personal number, mobile, etc or not even of we don’t recognise the number.

        1. Snoskred

          Exactly – all mobiles here start with 04.

          I would send a text only if I had already spoken with the potential employee and if I had sent them an email and not got any reply back, and my text would simply say Hi, X here, just checking that you received my email of (date) as I did not receive a reply, hope all is well.

      3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        I kinda thought most people did it this way: email to set up phone screen?

        Unless going through an agency, an interview without a phone conversation first feels interview mill to me. Forgetting the part where you are protecting your own time by being able to weed out candidates, you’re giving the interviewee a chance to find out if she wants to go to the trouble of the interview herself.

        It’s important to us to be as convenient to potential candidates as possible. Do you interview without phone conversations first?

        1. Perpetua

          I currently do. I would like to do more phone screens eventually, but right now, my current procedure is calling to set up an interview, that’s it. I figure that the mere application counts as expressing interest in an interview (and in my culture – South Eastern Europe, it usually does), and I do try to be as convenient as possible to potential candidates (asking them if they have a minute or two to talk as soon as they answer the phone, doing interviews before or after their business hours, etc.).

        2. Ask a Manager Post author

          Incredibly, there are still a lot of employers who interview without doing phone screens first. It’s actually fairly shocking, when you consider how many wrong-fits (on both sides) you screen out if you do phone interviews first; I cannot understand employers who don’t do them.

          For anyone reading this who doesn’t do phone screens, more here:
          https://www.askamanager.org/2014/02/if-you-arent-screening-job-candidates-by-phone-you-must-start-now.html

          1. the gold digger

            It’s also very annoying from the candidate perspective: you make me iron a blouse, take an afternoon to drive to your facility, and then ask me the most basic questions possible?

            The guy who did this was the one who asked me where I had gone to high school. (Huh? Who cares?)

            “The Panama Canal Zone,” I answered.

            “Oh I love Florida!” he said. “But I usually go to Tampa.”

            So. Not someone who was firing on all cylinders anyhow.

            1. nonegiven

              My son said, for the job he has now, he had a phone and Google docs interview with two interviewers at the same time, these were people on the team, not HR or hiring managers. He said when they flew him out for the in person interview he really thought they just wanted to meet him in person to see if he fit in with the rest of the team before they offered it to him.

      4. FD

        I definitely think it’d be weird to text a candidate and I would probably decline just for that, even though I text for work constantly, and it’s pretty common in my field to do so.

        I’ve always gotten calls for interviews, though–I would be a bit surprised at getting an e-mail, though it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker by any means.

        1. Snoskred

          I suspect this is a cultural thing – in Australia texts are used quite regularly as I mentioned in another reply above. In fact, it is common for people to use texts to call in sick or communicate with their workplace.

          My last workplace which was a 24/7 call centre had a system set up where if people called or texted in sick, an SMS automatically went out to all other employees offering them the opportunity to cover the shift. This was a place with 60+ employees and the amount of time management spent trying to contact staff to offer them these shifts was just in.sane. But this way management could go into a program, send one SMS, and everyone was alerted and could then call or text back if they wanted to take the shift.

      5. Mallory Janis Ian

        A text feels really casual or unprofessional in this context. I do occasionally text for work, but only after I already know the person and we’ve decided that an occasional text is mutually agreeable. Even then, I use it only in certain situations (ex. the person is out of pocket and cake has miraculously appeared in the breakroom, etc.).

        1. Artemesia

          Not everyone texts (well maybe it is only me). I have an ancient flip phone and don’t use the text function.

      6. grasshopper

        I do think in this situation that if the emails don’t work, make the phone call. Several comments have said how intrusive a phone call could be but I think if you are searching for a job you should be glad that you are being offered an interview not offended that someone called you. I think that there is a big generational gap when it comes to phone vs email. I have noticed that people under age 35ish view using the phone as a talking machine to be outdated. Many of them don’t have voice mail or don’t check it. Maybe that should be advice for job seekers: if you don’t have voice mail, get it and use it.

        1. Burlington

          I don’t think it’s that anyone is offended by being called. It’s just that if you live a life where you are rarely contacted by phone for any legitimate reason, it’s a pain in the butt, especially if it’s something that could be done via email. When 90% of the incoming phone calls one receives are spam/telemarketers/scams, the cost of answering the phone goes up and it feels much more intrusive to have to deal with it.

          I mean, absolutely, call if the email doesn’t go through, or you don’t get a response, if you want (I never have, I wouldn’t unless I strongly felt the candidate was a rockstar; I just send a second email), but phone is definitely not the best way to get ahold of me.

        2. Elsajeni

          It’s not a matter of offense — it’s just less convenient to take a phone call, especially if you’re at work at the job you’re looking to leave. I can’t just read your message and reply at my leisure if I’m having a busy day (voicemail makes this a little easier, but for some reason people rarely leave as much information in a voicemail as they would in an email — “Please call me back to schedule an interview” vs. “Here are the available interview times, please let me know which ones work for you”), plus talking on the phone is much more noticeable to the people around me than replying to an email.

          1. Colette

            And I may not remember the details of the job or where you are located, which can be relevant if you’re asking what interview times work for me.

      7. AnotherAlison

        I think texting to set up an interview would be weird, but I also hope you don’t think texting for work is unprofessional.

        I have coworkers and a couple clients that I will text for work communications, when we need immediate answers. A text will go through at times when an email or phone call won’t, and it will also be more likely to be seen off-hours, while someone can set up email on their phone to not automatically notify them of new emails.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          That’s between you and your coworkers! Whatever communication methods works best that you’ve all agreed on. Same as how you might IM with coworkers — but wouldn’t expect an employer to IM you out of the blue to set up an interview.

          (That said, I would hate to text for work, and hope I never end up working somewhere that expects it.)

        2. Snoskred

          You would not believe the amount of things we used text messaging for in my last workplace. We had two mobile phones used specifically for the purpose of alerting staff when emails arrived so they could be actioned urgently. We used text messaging to provide alarms or reminders, we had a system where you could tell it to sms X number at X time with X message. We used it for communicating with staff en masse – with over 60 staff in the workplace trying to call them all to find someone to cover a shift was a telephonic nightmare – this way, one SMS would be sent and it would go to every staff member. The employer preferred people to text in sick rather than call, as well.

          A lot of businesses in Australia are using SMS to communicate with their staff these days. And, emergency services use it here as a way to alert people to bushfires or emergencies in their area. They can send an SMS to every phone which is in the area.

          I’m so used to it that I’m a bit shocked at the response to my off hand comment – but here that is how people think – if you can’t call for whatever reasons, text is perfectly fine and nobody bats an eyelid about it.. :)

          1. Judy

            Our school system here in the middle of the US has a contact system where they record a message and type out the message. The parents go to a specific website and set up which phone numbers get calls or texts or email addresses. That’s how we get 5 am phone calls to let us know school is cancelled.

            They can send district wide communications, or by school district and can filter by population of students. We usually get messages about PTA meetings at our school or tryouts for the boys 4th 5th and 6th grade track team.

          2. Elsajeni

            We do use texting for some of that type of mass communication in the US — universities especially seem to have adopted it for notifying students of emergencies or closures, and I believe evacuation notices are sometimes sent by text as well — but I’d find it weird for texting to be the first form of contact between two individual people who don’t know each other. I wouldn’t generally text someone unless they suggested it or otherwise made it clear it was okay. I think it’s probably down to the differences other people have mentioned in how phone numbers and cell phone contracts are structured here, so that a) you can’t tell at a glance whether a number is a cell phone or landline and b) even if you know it’s a cell, you don’t know whether the person it belongs to has unlimited texts, or just a few and rations them carefully, or none at all and gets charged for every one sent or received.

      8. YandO

        What AAM said.

        I hate it when recruiters/hiring managers call me without setting up a time first. My reason is simple: I am employed and answering the phone would be a huge mistake for me.

    2. Oh anon

      I’d be a bit aggravated if a potential employer texted me for an interview. How do they know I’m not having to pay per text message received? Secondly, it just seems really unprofessional. Email is fine, especially for scheduling a telephone interview. The phone is fine as well, but is more time consuming for both parties, whereas an email can be responded to easier, more discretely, and at your convenience.

      1. Jen RO

        I think texting would be unprofessional in this situation, but the “pay per text message received” thing is American and Snoskred clarified that s/he is from Australia. I’m European and the idea of paying for texts is outrageous to me – so I could “text-bomb” you and you’d have to pay?! (I admit that the American phone system baffles me every time I read about it…)

        1. Sabrina

          Not everyone wants texting on their phone. My dad doesn’t text and doesn’t read them, so it’s pointless to pay for a monthly texting plan.

          1. Elizabeth West

            I have a friend whose phone plan charges her a lot for texts. I’m allowed to call her on it (though she prefers her landline because it’s cheaper) but not text her. We’re in the States, by the way.

            Our phone companies are just plain evil here.

            1. Sabrina

              Oh, I agree. But I know a few people who wouldn’t text even if they weren’t charged extra for it. And not necessarily my dad’s age either. I had a friend who had a baby a few years ago and texted me 15 photos. The plan I had at the time was so many text messages per month but photo texts were $.50 each. So basically I had to pay $7.50 to see her pictures. I was not happy.

          2. Jen RO

            I don’t think it’s even possible to get a mobile phone without a texting plan here… I mean, I don’t think the concept of “texting plan” exists. You get a phone, then you can text and you can call – the only thing you can choose is how much it costs :)

    3. chrl268

      I actually get really frustrated by phone calls – they mean I have to pay attention NOW rather than when I’m available. When I’m interviewing I put up with it, but I’d prefer email by a long way. Plus, if you catch me unexpected I won’t have anywhere to write stuff down.

      An example of this is when my partner was headhunted out of uni – he received a phone call basically saying do you want a job? Because my partner was not expecting this when he was telling me later he couldn’t remember who the company was, how they knew him or what he had to do next – he ended up taking the job and is very happy 2 years in.

      If you email me I have text to reread at a later time.

      1. Elysian

        In this case though the OP DID email. People didn’t respond. A call seems like the next logical step to me.

        1. fposte

          Yeah, I don’t know that I’d always call for a non-response, but I would definitely in this situation, since it really looks like there’s been a technical glitch.

    4. Tax Nerd

      I think that every job interview I’ve ever had after submitting a resume or application resulted in a call from the potential employer. Not necessarily a full phone interview, but a quick “Are you still looking?” or “Are you available for a phone interview at 8:00am next Tuesday?”. I’d hate to go back and forth and back and forth on logistics via email. A phone call would be so much easier. (But definitely not a text. At least not in the U.S. I wouldn’t like that at all.)

      OP#1 didn’t mention how long s/he’d waited for a response. Are you at least giving them a day to respond, or are you expecting a more immediate response? I once had a recruiter email my personal account about a job mid-day during regular business hours, and then an hour or so later, follow up with “I haven’t heard from you so I guess you’re not interested.” I was employed at the time, so I was focusing on the job I had, and not actively looking for a new one. I was not checking my personal email constantly, as I tried to reserve that for when I got home. I definitely wasn’t interested after I got that attitude.

      1. Remy

        One employer I worked for not only arranged all interviews with me via email but sent the offer letter via email and expected my response via email, too.

        1. Zillah

          Ditto. My last job was like that. I don’t think it’s super unusual or at all red flaggy. I’ve also definitely had interviews without a phone screen – I think it can depend on the size of the company, the nature of the job, and the pool of applicants.

        2. fposte

          Yep. We’re all email. Applicants who aren’t checking their email will probably miss out here.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.

            And it’s also at least some indication that those applicants might not be a good fit; I’m an email-all-the-time person, and I might honestly decline a job if it involved being in an organization where everyone called each other by default. It would feel so stressful!

            1. Snoskred

              I’m an email all the time (via my mobile phone) person however some jobs I have worked in where you were not allowed to have your mobile switched on while you were at work. So in those cases if an employer was trying to contact me during work hours they would not be able to reach me via email or a phone call or a text message.

              I don’t think you can judge an organisation on how they contact you in order to set up an interview. They might have a HR person who is old fashioned and not into email but everyone else there uses it all the time. There are many variables. I’d want to go along and at least chat about how they do things on a daily basis. :) not a hiring special occasion basis.

    5. BRR

      I do agree that at this point the owner should try calling.

      Overall I think it should go email and if no response after a certain amount of time try calling. Never texting. Or if you prefer call and if no response email.

      On the flip side my offer (as a phone call) for my current job didn’t go through. I was at the grocery store and went to the back of the store. My phone lost service as it always does and when it regained service it showed I had a voice mail. After I finished grocery shopping (I figured I could wait 5 minutes and not abandon a cart of food) and went out to the car I listened to it and it was my offer. I called back and my boss who made the call starts with, “I got worried when you didn’t call back yesterday.” It is very common for people to only have cell phones and calls on cells don’t always go through.

    6. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

      Oof, no, please don’t (unless you can’t get hold of me). I have a job, I like to focus on it, I don’t need to be interrupted by phone calls to schedule a meeting — especially in an open-plan office where I have to find a private area to talk. Email is much easier. If you can’t get a hold of people, then yeah, sure, call. But email is far more considerate.

      And a potential employer texting me to set up an interview would be a MASSIVE red flag IMO.

      1. Zillah

        Yep. Even if you’re calling outside of normal business hours, you still might be interrupting people at work – not everyone works a 9-5 job, and even if they do, they may be in transit. And if you call at 7pm or later, assuming everyone will be home by then, you could be interrupting dinner, story time with the kids, whatever.

        It’s not awful to call, but I do think it’s more considerate to email first.

        1. Hiring Mgr

          I wouldn’t initiate texting, but I wouldn’t mind if a candidate or employer did so…It’s just another communication method

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I think to an awful lot of people, it’s not just another communication method. It’s in a very specific category of informal/unprofessional/not something they use — more like messaging someone on Facebook or other less formal methods.

            I’d have serious pause if an employer texted me about an interview. It sounds like enough other people here would too that it’s important for people who do see texting as the same as phone or email to be aware of that!

            1. Hiring Mgr

              Yes good point, for me personally, it would be odd for the very first communication to be a text, but if I had been communicating with someone already it would be ok… Much of this may be field-dependent, I’m in tech for what it’s worth.

              I might start faxing people for interviews and see what happens…

      2. Big Tom

        I agree that texting is a bad idea, but I don’t understand the “I’m busy don’t call me” perspective. Don’t call at a work number, sure, but the person contacted you asking for a job; you shouldn’t be afraid of irritating them by audaciously calling a phone number they provided. I don’t think anyone is saying that the interviewer should call and write them off if they don’t answer on the first ring or anything.

        Call, leave a message explaining that you emailed and hadn’t heard from them, and then leave it up to them. What’s intrusive about that (other than the fact that voicemail is annoying)?

        1. Sadsack

          I agree with you, I think it is crazy to say that a potential employer should not call me. I have the ability to see who is calling my cell phone. If I don’t recognize the number, I let it go to vmail and check it later when I have privacy. When I have answered calls about jobs when I wasn’t prepared to take the call, I have said, “Can I call you back in a few minutes?” It has never been a problem for anyone. People understand that I am at work during the day and need to find a private place to talk, which I tell them when I call them back.

        2. LBK

          Depending on your office it can be tough to get away somewhere private where you can return the call, and if you have to wait until after business hours the interviewee probably won’t available – and then you end up playing phone tag trying to surrepitiously take the call in the bathroom or something.

          1. Sadsack

            Right, but isn’t better to receive that call than to never realize that you were knocked out of the candidate pool because the employer email was never delivered?

          2. Retail Lifer

            THIS. I’m job hunting now and potential employers always call between 9-5, when I’m usually at work. I don’t have an office or anywhere private I can return the call during normal business hours, but I can reply to an email. I’ve had several people leave me a voicemail but then immediately follow up with an email. Offering either option as a way to reply is really considerate.

        3. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

          I’m not saying it’s horribly audacious to call, I’m saying that 95% of the time email is going to be a much more convenient method of communication. But phone tag is a really not fun game to play, whereas I can usually respond to an email quickly and easily — and with reference to my calendar so I know whether an interview slot is a good time or not :)

        4. short'n'stout

          Another point about calling: if you call and get no reply, do go ahead and try again, BUT (this is the important bit) NOT at the same time of day.

          I recently had a run of over two weeks where I was unable to take a personal marketing call (that I did actually want to take) because every single business day, they would call me at the same time, which happened to be a time of day when there was no way for me to step away from what I was doing to take even a brief call.

      3. jag

        If you don’t want to be contacted in a certain communications medium, it seems to me you shouldn’t share the details of how to contact you on it.

        Texting to someone you haven’t met (as in a potential employer texting an applicant) is bizarre. Calling is not. Emailing is not. I happen to think email is usually better than phone to set up a time to talk – at least as first contact. But both seem to be fair game to me if the details are on your resume.

    7. Apollo Warbucks

      Phone calls seem more invasive to me and can’t always be answered easily or at an appropriate time, and texting seems to casual for using in a lot business situations.

      I’d certainly make a phone call or two if a number of emails weren’t answered to make sure they had got lost in the ether, but email seems like the best option most of the time.

    8. Sadsack

      I didn’t see your post before I wrote the same thing below. I understand that email may be the preferred method of communication, especially for job seekers. However, once the email doesn’t work, I’d rather get a phone call than just be put out of the running for a job. I am employed and job hunting, and I typically do not answer strange numbers that call my cell phone while I am at my desk. I let it go to voicemail and check it later in private.

    9. Sunflower

      I usually get a phone called followed by an email which is perfect. I think most people prefer to do things over email, especially since everything is documented and you don’t run the risk of writing down wrong information or mishearing something.

    10. Lily in NYC

      Why? Why should I not do what is my preference (email) just because some people prefer phones? There are plenty of things that could go wrong with a phone call as well, so I’m not understanding why one is so much better than the other. And personally, I would not want to receive texts in these situations; it would seem unprofessional to me.

      1. Snoskred

        I would just be super careful if the account I was emailing was a gmail account, because my experience with those is they throw all kinds of stuff in the spam bin, stuff that should never go in there, and you have to physically log into gmail and go into the spam bin to see that email is there.

        Most people – I also should clarify, I mean most people in Australia where I am – now have their email going direct to their phones. They rarely check in via the web mail interface. If they don’t know about that spam bin and your email ends up in there, they’ll *never* see it. And the sender does not get a courtesy email from Gmail to let you know your email went to spam, either.

        Now that is Gmail which I personally know about. I don’t know about yahoo or hotmail or any others, and I am sure it is possible they have their own quirks which I am not aware of either.

        All this to say, while it might be your preference to email, don’t automatically assume that the email server on the other end cares enough for your email to actually deliver it to the person you are sending it to.

        If you send several emails without a reply, but you really want to contact that person, picking up the phone might be great on two fronts – you can speak to them, and you can alert them to the fact that their email provider might be placing emails they want to receive into a spam bin which they are unaware of the existence of.

        That should also be a heads up to job seekers – free email services can be not brilliant – sometimes you get what you pay for. It might cost you that awesome job!

          1. Snoskred

            We’ve had smartphones here for a long time now, and we love them. :) I’m not sure why this is a terrifying concept – unless you mean constantly having your email arriving on your phone seems terrifying. I can and do turn it off when I want peacetime.

            I’m frankly a bit worried about the picture this thread is painting of the state of telecommunications in the USA.. :)

            My phone does everything – sms, emails from multiple email accounts, it has a camera so I can take photos.. I can read books on there, watch videos.. almost everything I would do on my laptop I can also do on my phone, so why not do all those things at the beach or at a cafe?

            We have wireless internet pretty much everywhere now, and if I can’t connect to free wifi, my phone usually has 4g. It costs me $50 a month for unlimited calls, texts, and data. Well, not unlimited data but I have never gone over the amount they allow me in the $50..

            All that, and cuddly koalas too.. :)

            1. Jen RO

              And killer spiders!

              (But it’s the same for me in the “second world” of Romania. At least our telecommunications and internet are well-developed! I pay 20 EUR a month for unlimited calls, unlimited text messages, 3GB of internet traffic and 600 international minutes. And the thought that the receiver of a call/SMS would have to also pay has always been shocking to me, people would riot if that happened here.)

          2. Marcela

            Hehe. As an opposite example, I was very annoyed when I discovered that in the US I paid for the calls I receive, coming from countries following the rule “the caller pays” (this was a very famous slogan when my country changed to this system). It was even worst later, when I discovered that without money in my pay-as-you-go plan, I could not even receive calls!

          3. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

            It’s also… really not fair or particularly accurate. To Gmail or to Australia telecommunications. I’ve never had a job-related anything end up in Gmail’s spam folder, and I check it daily (off my iOS app).

            1. Snoskred

              I’m talking about my own experiences and I clearly stated that in my reply. The app I use for gmail does not allow me to check spam easily – it is much easier to log in manually via my laptop.

              I have had a lot of job related stuff end up in spam. In fact everything that two of the most well known recruiting agencies where I lived – Hays and Kellys – sent to me went into my spam bin for several years. Some of those were emails trying to set up interviews.

              I am a fairly technically capable person. I can tell you not everyone is, and that a lot of people do not even know Gmail has a spam folder at all. In fact these days when I log in manually the spam folder does not even show up in the sidebar, you have to click on more to see it.

              I no longer use gmail for my personal job search email, simply because of all the issues I’ve had with it.. That is my personal experience. I’m happy for you that yours has been more positive. But I still stick by my original comment – both employers and employees should be careful when it comes to free email services because they simply do not know what might trigger email to go into the spam bin.

        1. Sabrina

          I can’t speak for the iOS app, but the Gmail app for Android allows you to check the spam folder.

          1. Persephone Mulberry

            This. I rarely remember to check it either on my desktop OR on my phone, unless I’m looking for something specific to see if it got misdirected, but I know I can if I need to.

  8. Elizabeth the Ginger

    Re: #3, I sometimes call just the tiniest bit after the scheduled time – like when my clock says “2:01” for a 2:00 call – just because I know that clocks are not all perfectly synched.

    Re: #4, I feel like you’d have to be a pretty amazing candidate to get a third interview after showing up in a ruffled suit for the first two! At which point you might as well wear the ruffled suit a third time, because they’ve obviously decided to overlook your fashion decisions.

    1. HeyNonnyNonny

      Re #3, I do the same thing! Within one room of my house, I have four different clocks, each with a sliiightly different time, so I try to give other people that little cushion.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        I’ve sometimes thought that there should be International Clock Setting Day where all day at the top of the hour it’s announced on TV/radio that it’s now X am/pm so that people have a chance to adjust their various clocks. Sure, if you have access to the internet you can look it up or if your device is internet enabled they can be set to whatever server clock and it will happen automatically… but that’s not always practical when you’re in your car or dealing with your clock radio. Maybe in the future all things will be hooked up to the internet (and then they will enslave us all), but until then everyone is going to have slightly different times on things.

        In Toronto when you drive down the elevated expressway, each side of the highway is full of LED billboards and they all display a different time. “I’m early! … Nope, I’m late … I’m on time?”

        1. KerryOwl

          My local AM news radio plays a tone at the top (and bottom too, I think) of each hour. You just have to be paying attention.

            1. fposte

              Yup. Classic broadcast terminology. Think of an analog clock and where the minute hand is.

          1. Marzipan

            (Not being snarky, just genuinely interested! That’s not a way I’ve ever heard it described.)

            1. Kelly L.

              I’ve heard “top of the hour,” but bottom is new to me. I had to think about it for a second–I was like “wouldn’t the bottom of the hour be the top of the next one,” and then realized they must mean the half hour, referring to where the minute hand would be.

        2. HeyNonnyNonny

          I, for one, welcome our future robot overlords if it means I never have to reset another clock.

        3. Meg Murry

          One of the biggest pet peeves I ever had was at a job where the computers were all set to sync their time to the server – but the server was at least 5 minutes off of the atomic clock, which means it didn’t match my cell phone – and it was locked down under administrative privileges, so we couldn’t change it (or it would be re-synced back to the incorrect server time if we did manually change it). Drove me crazy! This place issued company phones, so after many late meetings we all agreed that the meeting would start at “1:00 Nextel Standard time” and ignore what the computer said.
          This was also the place that didn’t apply the daylight saving time changes patch to the server when the official date on daylight saving time changed, so we just had to live with the clocks on the computer being wrong for a week out of the year and it messed up all our internal meetings scheduled via the calendaring software.

  9. FiveByFive

    #3 – Agreed that calling right on time is the best option, and that calling early is almost borderline rude if it’s done repeatedly or to prove some kind of point. I’ve never subscribed to the “being on time is late” philosophy. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that if one is truly and properly prepared for, say, an 11:00 call, it can be proven by being just as ready at 10:50. There will be no last-minute scrambling tolerated before the important calls! :(

  10. Fucshia

    #2 – I may be the only one reading it this way, but it sounds to me like the manager is giving the OP the authority to turn down the 20% request. That’s why the manager didn’t respond. They expected the letter writer to do so. And I see it as a good thing. They are setting the writer up to look like less of a peon who follows orders and more like someone involved in your own scheduling.

    1. misspiggy

      In a perfect world, yes, but I’ve had enough experience of managers with weird cowardice and/or secret agendas to want clearer confirmation that they are expecting me to turn down the other team.

      1. misspiggy

        I mean would be, if it were me. Sigh. English grammar is very demanding when you haven’t had your coffee.

      2. fposte

        But I don’t think that’s that hard to get. “Hey, looks like nobody’s told them we’re not doing the 20% thing. Can I let them know?”

    2. Kelly L.

      I think maybe it’s that “push back” seems a little vague to me, though I may not be up on my buzzwords. If someone told me to “push back,” I wouldn’t necessarily know if they were authorizing a full no, or if they wanted me to negotiate for different terms.

  11. Eric

    For #1, they are being called “potential applicants”. To clarify, are these people who applied with you for this position, or people whose resumes or contact information you found somewhere? If the latter, then this doesn’t strike me as odd. But maybe I am reading too much into the word choice.

    1. Elder Dog

      Oh, good catch. If they are, in fact, “potential applicants” who didn’t apply to this job, it wouldn’t be unexpected for the emails to be landing in spam folders.

    2. Remy

      I took it to mean “potential candidates,” which is what made me wonder if something else in either the subject line or body of the email is slightly off (in a way that wouldn’t be caught by spellcheck) and making recipients think the email is yet another fake-job scam-type thing job hunters get every day.

    3. Lulu

      I had the same reaction. If you’re cold emailing people about a job, 1 out of 4 responding is not unusual. Do they have any information about the position at that point?

    4. nona

      Good catch. I assumed these were applicants. OP, if you’re here, are we right thinking that these people have applied for jobs? Or is something else going on?

    5. Artemesia

      That makes more sense. I have used services to identify potential applicants for a difficult to fill academic position where we wanted tremendous qualifications without offering tremendous reward. The system matches you with people looking in various academic fields — and ours was oddly interdisciplinary, required business experience at a high level etc etc. They would get notice about our position and I would say about a third of those contacted responded in any way, even with a not interested. That was to be expected. If the 3 our of 4 non-responses are to cold contacts like this where the people didn’t apply directly to the OP’s company then this would be understandable.

  12. Vancouver Reader

    #4, would people even remember what a candidate wore? Unless, like Alison said, it’s highly distinctive, most people probably wouldn’t pay too much attention as long as the clothes are clean and presentable.

    1. Jen RO

      I only remember “appropriate” or “inappropriate”. I’ve never seen someone dressed inappropriately (we’re a software company, so even jeans and t-shirts don’t phase me)… so I have no clue what anyone wore to our interviews.

    2. little Cindy Lou who

      Tangentially, the “men’s clothes are easy” comment stuck out at me in Alison’s response. I can’t recall offhand if it was somewhere in the archives of this blog or on another career advice site but I’ve seen at least one question from a woman asking if she could wear the same suit to the next interview and being told no she should get a second one, so when I’m interviewing I always make sure I have at least 2 clean suits ready, but I have plenty of dress shirts that could mix and match with the same classic cut and color suit in slightly different ways if the same advice given above would apply to women.

      1. blackcat

        This very fact was a big deal when I was a new grad–a two day interview with only one suit and not having budgeted for a second suit (my first suit is really nice and classic. I have since gotten another, so now I have two. But still only two. I have lots of clothes that are fine generic office clothes–slacks & blouses, but given I seem to interview once every 5+ years, buying multiple suits is a big burden).

        I think I slinked into Macy’s with my first suit in hand. I found a helpful sales person who found another jacket (that complimented the suit skirt) and a shirt that pulled the outfit together. For WAY less than another suit would have been. I was so grateful. She said this happens to young women all the time, and that it’s so unfair men only need one suit.

      2. Hlyssande

        It’s an unfortunate fact that women are usually judged much more harshly in regards to dress compared to men, especially in corporate settings. I can see how a man could wear the same suite with different shirt/tie to multiple interviews, but the same thing would result in judgement for a woman.

      3. CoffeeLover

        I think the problem is that women’s suits are more distinctive. I have 5 suits and every suit is quite different in both colour and cut. Men’s suits are all cut the same. Well not exactly the same, but I used to sell suits and once a man found a cut that fit him well, he would by 10 suits in the same cut and different patterns/colours. The two black suits I own look completely different (the length and cut of pants is different, the length and cut of jacket, the lapels, the shoulders, etc.) I just think it’s more obvious when a woman wears the same suit. That being said, if they’ve got more than one candidate, I highly doubt they would notice if you wore the same suit twice especially if you have more than one day between interviews.

          1. CoffeeLover

            Are you saying you have a 3 piece suit (jacket, pants and skirt) and you’d like to wear jacket/pants one day and jacket/skirt another? I think it would change it up a bit more than just wearing the exact same suit with a different shirt. Again though, I don’t think anyone would pay that much attention.

            If you’re saying you have a matching suit (jacket and pants or skirt) and another skirt that goes with the jacket but isn’t part of the suit, my answer is a bit different. In my industry (finance/consulting/accounting/etc.) and I imagine many others, this would not be appropriate for an interview. You need to wear a complete suit. I have a navy pinstripe jacket that goes beautifully with a pair of navy dress pants. It looks very professional, but it’s not appropriately formal for an interview.

        1. AnonAnalyst

          I think this is all true, especially if you’re picking something fairly basic to wear. In my experience, I haven’t had any problems wearing the same basic cut black suit to multiple interviews with the same company. The suit I usually pull out for interviews is plain black without some of the stylistic details that women’s suits often have (more unusual cuts, trim, stitching, pinstripes/patterns/unusual texture, etc.) so I feel like it’s less memorable since there aren’t any obvious cues that stand out that might make it more recognizable as something they’ve seen before. I’m guessing that when I go interview the way they remember my dress is something like, “oh, she wore a black suit last time and a black suit this time,” if they remember at all.

          Obviously this isn’t the case if you’re wearing something more distinctive since that will have more details that might stand out, but in my experience (both as a candidate and as an interviewer), as long as it’s something basic and workplace appropriate you’re probably fine to wear it more than once. Especially when I’ve been on the interviewing side, I only remember the specifics of what people wore when it was really inappropriate; otherwise, it all blends together.

      4. Meg Murry

        I think a woman could wear the same suit to a second interview if it was plain and non-memorable, but I personally have given the advice to have a second suit (or at least suiting separates) available for a 2 day interview trip, simply because I am that person who will spill something on my suit on day one and don’t want to show up for day 2 in a stained jacket.
        But for interviews that allow enough time to get a suit cleaned and back between them? Same (plain, non-memorable, non-trendy) suit would be fine to me with a different shirt or blouse if it isn’t a job where suits every day are the norm. If its the kind of job where a person would be expected to wear a suit everyday, its probably better to wear a different one, but unless its memorable in a bad way I don’t think that’s even 100% necessary.

      5. Laura2

        This is such an odd idea to me. Unless it’s a brightly-colored suit or it’s not clean, I’d assume that no one notices or cares that you’re wearing the same suit. It’s a suit, not underwear.

  13. Sandy

    OP1: how much notice are you giving people in your email?

    I’ve applied for a couple of jobs where I haven’t heard anything from the potential employer for months (not even a confirmation of application) and then, oh of the blue, I get an email saying “you have 48 hours to confirm your interest in an interview for the position or your candidacy will be terminated”.

    If that’s the kind of turnaround you’re offering, don’t be surprised if people are on vacation, sick, or just otherwise not checking their email quite that often and therefore not responding.

    1. Audiophile

      I had this happen once with a college. Didn’t hear anything (they don’t do an auto confirmation) and then got an email out of the blue, that they wanted to conduct a phone interview but could only offer the following day at 2pm. I relented, but it definitely wasn’t my best, since I was smack in the middle of my work day and was not in a position where I could step out for a phone call.

      1. Not Today Satan

        It’s a huge peeve of mine when employers offer only one or two days (in the very near future) to have an interview or phone screen. Tbh, it sort of makes me think they either just want a warm body for the job or already have someone in mind and want to be inconvenienced as little as possible.

        1. Oryx

          YES. That’s so frustrating and I’ve had to decline interviews when they just will not budge on that one day during that 5 hour time frame.

          1. Audiophile

            Just had to decline one now. I understand things can be tight, but there really should be some flexibility.

            I can’t take off on two days notice, it’s just too difficult.

    2. miki

      I got a phone call from a place I applied for some 4 months prior to (and by that time completely forgotten about it, no confirmation about application received, nothing) my FIRST day on my full time job. Lady from HR asked if this was miki, I said yes and she proceeded to spiel off benefits, vacation time, sick days… and to ask when is possible to schedule an interview. I said I am declining the interview as I already have a job.

  14. Chocolate Teapot

    Scheduled phone calls have always been at the time or a little later for me.

    That said I did once arrive home from the supermarket and did the fighting-through-the-door-with-bag-of-groceries when the phone went. It was one of those chirpy recruiters, and it wasn’t apparent whether it was a quick setting up a meeting call or an initial screening interview. It’s a bit difficult to concentrate on career progression when you are worried about defrosting fishfingers and the like!

  15. Marzipan

    #5, although of course people do turn down jobs that aren’t the right fit and it’s perfectly reasonable and appropriate to do so, I don’t know that telling your interviewer about how you just turned down a job very similar to this one helps your case. It comes with a small side order of ‘And if you offer me this job, well, maybe I’ll turn that down too!’ that could inadvertently count against you.

    It also, I think, makes you sound not very confident about whether you’re qualified for and able to do the job, if you’re relying not on ‘Here are my skills and experience’ but ‘Well, Jane’s Teapots were prepared to hire me as Senior Spout Supervisor, so you should be, too…’

    1. some1

      This would be my impression of that remark as well. Unless an employer approaches you first, it’s likely that they assume that since they wanted to interview you other companies do too.

    2. Graciosa

      I agree – it sounds a bit like rather nasty bragging – “You’ll never guess who asked me out – but of course I turned him/her down!”

      Yes, rejecting job offers that are not a good fit is normal and appropriate, but I wouldn’t brag about it to other potential employers.

  16. Ben Around

    OP #1, what is the subject line of your emails? I’d make it short with the words “Job interview” right up front, so the important words don’t run off into an ellipsis in the recipient’s inbox.

    The suggestion to set up a gmail account and send an email to yourself is also good.

    And finally, I wonder if there’s something left out here. Are you waiting so long to respond that people have found other jobs or decided that you’re not serious?

    1. C Average

      I swear you could write a whole book about the importance of a good email subject line. It really is an art.

      I recently sent a successful query to a magazine editor and I spent twice as long constructing the subject line as I did the body of the email!

      For something like this, I’d use a subject line like “Interview Request (Chocolate Teapot Analyst position at Teapots, Inc.).”

      Also, make sure the sender’s email address is in a standard format with the company’s name included so that it doesn’t look spammy (e.g., “wakeen.mcwakeen@teapots.com” (Wakeen McWakeen) and that the email includes a professional-looking signature line with the company logo. Also, make sure the signature and any other elements of the email render correctly on mobile devices. You can check this by doing the send-to-yourself maneuver and retrieving the message on both desktop and mobile.

    2. Mephyle

      The suggestion to test the mail on your own gmail account won’t be helpful, unfortunately. The gmail spam filter is very good, and one of the main reasons is that it’s not one-size-fits-all. The spam filter for each account gets tweaked individually based on what that particular account’s user marks as spam and not-spam.
      So an email that gets allowed into one gmail account might be filtered from someone else’s gmail account if it contains key words and phrases that are in spam that the second person has been getting.

  17. super anon

    #3 – this question just reminded me how much i hate talking on the phone. i very rarely call anyone because i absolutely hate it! especially if i’m supposed to call someone at a scheduled time and then they don’t answer, i have a hard time bringing myself to call them again because i feel like i’m bothering them if i call more than once. i know it’s silly, but the phone is just a hotbed of anxiety and rules that i never really felt comfortable mastering. now as an adult i vastly prefer email and texting to phone calls 100% of the time.

    1. super anon

      i’m also reminded of the time i had a employer call me for a phone interview with 0 notice, and of course i was at work. i felt so incredibly awkward and he just started rapid firing questions at me without even asking if it was a good time! i felt too awkward and put upon to tell him to please call me back at a better time, so i ran quickly out of my office and stood outside for far too long of a period of time, freezing and trying to answer questions.

      come to think of, i have so many bad phone memories.. maybe that’s why i dislike them so much?

      1. Sadsack

        I had a similar experience once. I was so excited to receive the call, I didn’t want to blow it by not answering. I had my coat on and was walking out of the building, so I scurried around looking for an empty conference room to talk in, but it was awkward being caught off guard. I probably sounded like a jack ass. Since then, I have started asking callers if I can call back in a few minutes when I can talk. Never been a problem for anyone.

        1. Sadsack

          I should add that I have also asked if we could schedule time later in the day so I could find a private place to talk and have the info about the job in front of me, and that was also fine. I don’t think anyone would, or at least should, be put off by such a request.

    2. C Average

      The phone makes me anxious, too. I think it does a lot of people. Voice calls are getting rarer and rarer, and many folks are like me and only ever call their mothers!

      Recently a colleague was up for a role he really wanted and he knew he was going to get phone-screened and was nervous about it. He had me actually call him so he could practice answering and sounding professional and not startled. It felt a little ridiculous, but it seemed helpful–by the time we got done rehearsing, he sounded much calmer and friendlier on the phone. If you ever have a high-stakes phone call coming up, it might not be a horrible idea to have a friend you trust call you or take your call so you can get a little practice.

    3. Jen RO

      I am OK if I receive a phone call, even job-related, but my heart starts beating faster when I have to make a call. Even if I’m just making an appointment to get my eyebrows plucked!

      1. Margaret

        This is me, too. I have no problem talking on the phone, but I actively avoid calling people (other than my husband and my mother). I suck it up for the pediatrician (and their answering service allows me a moment to pull it together before I have to initiate the conversation with the office manager), but I love it when my dentist/waxer/massage therapist/etc. have online appointment scheduling.

  18. Audiophile

    Re: 1 – As a candidate applying for jobs, it’s great if voice mail and email are used.
    I’ve had a few occasions, where I couldn’t understand the VM left for me and so I couldn’t return the call. (Especially true if it’s a general number that appears, when you call out to the recipient. But you’re leaving a different number, as the call-back number.)

    Or in the most recent case, got a call and called back a few times, but there’s been no option to leave a message the line just rings and rings. I’m sure this person now thinks I’m not interested, but this isn’t case.

    1. Joey

      This is what I do- both email and a phone call because it’s so hard to know which one people prefer.

      1. Audiophile

        I’m glad y0u do this, Joey. Not enough people utilize it.

        I can only remember one time, that I got a follow up email. I received a VM – it was unintelligible. So I didn’t call back, received an email a few days later. While I didn’t accept the interview invitation, I was so happy they emailed and I could respond.

  19. Sadsack

    For post #1, I am curious why following up with a phone call is not offered as a solution. Is there some reason that this shouldn’t be done? I am assuming that the job applicants provided phone numbers when they applied. Why would interviewers only stick to email if they could call to get the matter settled? I could see moving on from the applicant who doesn’t respond to phone or voicemail, but to not even bother calling when you have the phone number is weird to me.

  20. Not Today Satan

    OP1: Did these people actually apply to the job? You refer to them as “potential applicants,” which makes me think they haven’t. I sometimes get unprompted interview offers and I never respond to them (unless they’re from a headhunter), because they all either seem like scams or are commission-based sales jobs I don’t want.

    1. Bunny

      Oh, I didn’t catch that.

      Yeah, honestly I’m always wary of unprompted interview offers. I’ll usually still at least look into the offer, because I have actually got a couple of decent temp gigs through employers finding my CV on LinkedIn or Monster, or CV Library. But it’s important that I be able to easily and reliably find information:

      If you email me and say you saw my CV “online” (pro-tip – specify WHERE you saw it please!) and want to offer me an interview for a vacancy, I had better see the following:

      1- A professional signature which includes your company stationary
      2- A clear and visible link to your company website, which I can browse to see if you look legit
      3- A clear and easy to find description of the vacancy – either as an attachment or as a link to your site. NEVER a bit.ly link as I can’t verify where that’s sending me before clicking, and NEVER a zipped document.
      4- Your own contact details including a telephone number that I can call

      Although honestly, I’d much rather the first contact be more general – saw my CV at [online place] and have a number of vacancies you think might be suitable, invitation for me to call you to discuss. If only because of the sheer number of times I have, for example, been cold-contacted by agencies who really want to offer me two whole days of employment when I’m in the middle of a three month full-time contract with someone else.

  21. Persephone Mulberry

    #2
    My manager came to me in person and said to very strongly push back on that request,
    I tell [the other manager] that I am not in a position to say whether or not we set up a contract with their group

    OP, it sounds to me like your manager gave you the direction to do exactly that. Your boss’s radio silence on this is weird, but at this point I would go ahead and reply to Patty and your contact(s) at the outside group with, “Based on a conversation with [Manager], I’m afraid we don’t have the manhours available to support your (implementation, project, team) at that level. We are glad to continue helping out with occasional questions as you work out the kinks in your setup, according to our original agreement.”

  22. Cupcakes

    A quedtion related to #5: What if the job offer you turn down is from your previous company that reached out to you to come back?

    1. fposte

      I don’t really think that’s different–it’s still not something that makes a difference to the people you’re applying to. If you didn’t turn it down that’s another matter, but once you’ve said no it’s not relevant to the prospective employer.

      1. Cupcakes

        I guess in my head it would work if/when they ask you if you left on good terms, but I can always just say “yes”.

        Thank you!

    2. MsM

      I think there are better ways to get across that your old employers still love you and your work that don’t take the focus off the job you’re applying for right now. Talking about the jobs you didn’t take strikes me as similar to listing the schools you got accepted to but didn’t attend on your resume – who cares what it says about your potential when you didn’t follow through?

  23. Hlyssande

    #2, this is a common frustration of mine. There are times when I don’t feel qualified to answer a question about what we can and cannot do, or that the people involved will not accept my response.

    I try to pass up to my supervisor and manager when that happens, but a lot of the times the manager just dashes off a reply to me to tell me what to say, even when I’ve specifically told him that they’re not accepting the word of a peon. I’ve usually just repeated what I had said previously with a ‘per my manager’ included. He’s always copied when it gets to that point, but sometimes I would feel best if he would step in with his authority rather than have something come from me. On the other hand, he tends to…overreact to some things or respond rashly when he doesn’t have all the info, so it’s a sticky wicket either way.

    You may need to do like Persephone Mulberry said above. “Based on a conversation with my manager…” “Per my manager…” Make sure your manager is still copied, of course.

  24. Oryx

    I had a phone interview where the interviewer called me about 20 minutes past the agreed upon time. I waited maybe 10 minutes before calling them, left a vm, then when they finally did call me they didn’t acknowledge the lateness or anything. The fact that I was using my lunch hour for it made it all the more annoying because they just took up 1/3 of it by making me wait to even start the interview and of course I spent the whole interview worried I wasn’t going to get back to work on time.

    I didn’t get the job, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

  25. Alis

    I suspect #1 is actually referring to cold-calling (or, cold emailing) applicants online, which would explain the 25% rate of reaching them!

    I forgot to remove my Indeed profile once and got several emails in a few days span. I replied with a polite “my apologies…”, but I don’t think a lot of people feel obligated to respond to cold e-emails. The jobs that emailed me were lower-wage and not worth it due to location. I wonder if the same is true for OP #1.

    1. Artemesia

      That makes more sense. I have used services to identify potential applicants for a difficult to fill academic position where we wanted tremendous qualifications without offering tremendous reward. The system matches you with people looking in various academic fields — and ours was oddly interdisciplinary, required business experience at a high level etc etc. They would get notice about our position and I would say about a third of those contacted responded in any way, even with a not interested. That was to be expected. If the 3 our of 4 non-responses are to cold contacts like this where the people didn’t apply directly to the OP’s company then this would be understandable.

  26. illini02

    #1 While I do think emailing first has become standard, I also don’t think you should end it at that point if you aren’t hearing back. I have my email going straight to my phone (personal, not work) however I have plenty of friends who don’t do that. Its not uncommon for me to send an email about something where I need a response, and not hear back for a couple of days. If someone is job hunting, you have to assume they are getting all sorts of auto reply emails, spam emails, etc along with any other personal emails they may get at that address. I would suggest emailing, waiting 2 days for a response, then calling. After the call, wait one more day, then move on. I know employers think that people looking for a job should be ready to jump at a moment’s notice, but depending on your current job situation and other daily life occurrences, thats not always possible.

  27. CAA

    For #4 — are you sure he needs to wear a suit to an interview? I know this varies by location, but around here (So Cal), it’s downright odd to wear a suit to an interview for most places, especially if the everyday dress is casual. Law and finance are big exceptions, and in those places he’d wear a suit every day anyway.

    For your husband’s situation, by the third interview, he should have seen the environment and what everyone else is wearing and adjusted his dress accordingly. One step up from his interviewer is fine — i.e. slacks and a dress shirt open at the collar. If he keeps wearing suits when his interviewers are wearing jeans that just shows he’s trying to fit in with the culture.

    1. nona

      Good advice – though I’ve gotta say, this is making me notice how conservative clothing in the south can be. I wouldn’t expect anything other than a suit at an interview.

      1. MsM

        East Coast in general, I think. Most of my jobs, I’ve never had to touch a suit after the interview, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of showing up in anything more casual.

      2. De Minimis

        The places where suits still seem to be the norm are in law, financial services, banking…anything other than that it may be a little overboard.

        I know with accounting the suit was more appropriate for Big 4 and other larger firm interviews, and even then the joke was that you would probably never need to wear the suit again after the interview. Even the partners rarely wore them. With smaller firms I was way overdressed with the suit and after a while I just stuck with dress clothing and a tie.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      98% of candidates applying for professional jobs need to wear a suit for interviewing. The 2% of exceptions are parts of California (not all of it), parts of tech and design (not all of it), and a small number of others that I’m not thinking of. But most people should be wearing a suit to an interview.

      Sometimes people think that if you don’t wear a suit while working there, you don’t need it for the interview either. But that’s wrong — most places expect you to interview in a suit even if their day to day is less formal.

      1. Joey

        Oh I disagree. Suits are fine but unless suits are worn by everyone you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a suit if you don’t have one. Most managers I know are perfectly fine as long as you come in business attire. Especially in the middle of summer. And fwiw, clothing isn’t going to sway me unless unless it’s unusually casual or sloppy.

        1. Graciosa

          I would be fairly surprised to have a candidate for a professional job not wear a suit to the interview – or not have a suit to wear. Even our interns for professional positions arrive in suits – in the summer in significant heat.

          Yes, our office is quite casual and I very rarely see a suit on an employee but this is absolutely what you wear to an interview. A candidate showing up not dressed for an interview with no (lost luggage?) explanation is absolutely going to lose points with me and everyone else on the panel.

          I say this as someone with engineers in the family who all believe that function is more important than form, and that therefore candidates should be assessed strictly on qualities other than appearance. This is not true in most professional positions.

          I expect successful candidates to understand and follow the conventions of our profession. This includes a wide range of items from rising when the judge enters the courtroom in session to wearing a suit to an interview.

          Failing to follow these conventions may be explained by either ignorance or rebellion – neither of which I’m looking for.

          I am very understanding about lost luggage.

        2. puddin

          See I am the exact opposite. You wear formal business attire. Period. For men this is a suit, for women suit/a dress or suit separates. This is an interview and, for me, the attire speaks to your seriousness about the role. I cannot say that I would rule a candidate out for not wearing formal biz clothes, but it does matter to me. The same suit – that’s perfectly ok, and as Allison mentioned, much easier to get away with for men than women. I think a woman could pull it off too if the suit was neutral enough and the shirt, accessories were varied enough. But even if they weren’t, I would not hold it against anyone.

          Perhaps I am a bit anachronistic, but I wonder, if you are not dressed for business in the interview how can I trust that you will represent the company face well when you meet with external stakeholders or internal higher-ups?

          Because an external candidate is unfamiliar with the corporate culture, he/she should err on the side of conservative interview dress. And if the candidate does not know that conventional wisdom, he/she has planted a doubt in mind about what other business conventions they are tone deaf about.

          On the social side…I am reminded of the blind dates I have had were the gentleman caller wore a concert tee and crappy jeans – this happened more than once. My first impression was that the date was not important to them. If its not important to them, why should it be important to me? Same thoughts around dressing for the interview.

          1. Joey

            See I look for seriousness in seeing what type of research you’ve done to prepare for the interview. A suit just means you can dress well no more no less.

            1. puddin

              For me it is not an either/or. Both have to be there. Maybe I hold on to the old fashioned notion of propriety a little too much :)

        3. Retail Lifer

          I agree. My user name says what I do, and in my 20+ years doing this, I have had an applicant come in wearing a suit exactly once. Not even management candidates wear suits.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            It may be that retail is an exception.

            In general on suits, you can find people like Joey who don’t really care as long as you look professional and you can find (lots of) people like puddin and to some extent me who do care. That means that job candidates should wear a suit — because they have no idea who they’re going to be interviewing with and how that person will feel. (People would probably guess that I wouldn’t care. I do.) It’s a silly thing to risk your impression over.

            1. Joey

              How is a coat a sign of a better candidate when the job never requires you to wear one at work?

              It reminds me of people who are stuck on the wrong things and won’t hire people because the way they look doesn’t fit into the tight outdated mold of what they think people should look like.

                1. Joey

                  I’m guessing besides industry, the city and/or state you live in has a lot to do with it. For example, Im guessing with so many political types in DC suits are expected. Similarly I can’t imagine suits being the norm in Arizona where 110 degrees is normal or in Houston where you’d be soaked after a short walk in the summer humidity. Don’t ask me to defend that though.

                2. Ask a Manager Post author

                  Yes! Much of it is about knowing your own field/geography. But when you don’t and you’re guessing, you should default to a suit. If you know otherwise, then that’s great and totally fine to listen to. The problem is when someone doesn’t know and asks or listens to someone not in their field or geographic area, that person tells them a suit isn’t necessary, and that advice turns out to be wrong for the field/location.

                3. the bureaucrat fell from the sky

                  I look forward to this article.

                  I find suits and especially ties to be very uncomfortable, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the entire “wearing a suit” thing is a cultural phenomenon. If you go back and look at old television shows (like Leave It To Beaver era), you’ll see men just hanging out at home on the weekend – wearing a suit and tie. I’m not sure that people actually did a whole lot of that in real life, but on television it worked as a visual short-hand for the character. Ward Cleaver in a suit was The Man Of The House, and the suit conveyed that he was a respected figure of authority.

                  Technically, “man wearing a suit”[1] is a “sign” that has several “meanings” to most people in our culture. A basic meaning is “authority”. In the case of a job interview, this makes sense: the interviewee wants to present as a person who is qualified for the job – an authority on the topic of filing TPS sheets, say.

                  It is also a way for the interviewee to signal their serious interest in the job. “Man wearing a suit” signifies “respect” and “serious intent” towards the interviewer.

                  In a formal business environment, where everyone is wearing a suit, “man wearing a suit” during an interview also signifies “I am one of you” and “a positive connotation of conformity” (ie, “I am one of you – and we’re all awesome”). Which serves the school of thought that one goal of interviewing is to simply determine if the candidate fits in with everyone else. I do not know it for a fact, but I will guess that people (such as myself) who are not good with “formal dress culture” will have a more difficult time interviewing in a “suit-rich” environment, because these are bound to be people who know a lot about suits, and who can easily tell if a candidate is comfortable wearing a suit – not to mention whether or not it’s a cheap suit from JC Penney or John Philips, London[2]. I’d expect that wearing a suit badly – or wearing the wrong kind of suit – could cause the interviewer discomfort and disqualify an interviewee. But it’s interesting to speculate that the base motivation under it all is that the candidate was incompetent at blending in with the tribe, and was thus outed and rejected as “other”.

                  Finally, I’ll mention that “man wearing a suit” can be used as a convenient means of establishing social status / superiority / dominance. Below, JoAnna mentioned her suit-wearing husband interviewing at a casual business, and being “jokingly” asked to take off the tie and loosen his jacket because he was making the interviewer nervous. I’ll bet you a dollar that yes, the interviewer really did feel uncomfortable, due to the cognitive dissonance between being the factual ‘superior’ in the situation versus the Authority of “man wearing a suit”.

                  Again, this is all just my opinion. But please note that “man wearing a suit” is a heuristic, a cognitive shortcut, that people in our culture employ when confronted with a difficult task (“how do you judge the value of a man?”). Like all heuristics, it can and does fail.

                  [1] Or “woman wearing a suit” – I apologize but I’m writing this Old School and assuming that it’s understood that anything I’m saying applies equally to a woman.
                  [2] Rumor has it Arafat buys his there.

                4. Ask a Manager Post author

                  I love the idea of a guy putting on a suit to hang around the house on a weekend.

                  Anyway, I do think you’re right that it’s about cultural fit in some contexts. But there are other contexts, like mine, where people don’t wear suits daily but still expect it interviews. And there it’s truly just a sign of understanding and respecting professional norms, nothing else.

      2. Jo

        Book publishing is another exception to the suit rule. Candidates who arrive in a suit inspire us to say to ourselves privately, “Oh, how adorable, they’re trying so hard!” It can be a mark of someone who’s young and inexperienced, or who’s new to the industry, and doesn’t quite understand the industry culture yet.

        Of course, it would never count against you, but it doesn’t earn you any points either.

        1. AdAgencyChick

          And so is advertising, or at least it is in the niche I work in. There are two types of people who come to an ad agency interview in a suit. Type 1 is, as you say, the young/inexperienced/new to the industry who have no idea that it’s perfectly normal to show up for an interview in (neat, well-taken-care-of) jeans. Type 2 is the kind for whom suits are an expression of their idiosyncratic style (and there aren’t many of them).

          A lot of “Mad Men” resonates with how I work in the ad world of today, but not the suits!

          1. jag

            Perfectly normal? So if you had an interview to be an account relationship person at, say, Young & Rubicam in New York City, you’d turn up in neat jeans? Interesting.

        2. De Minimis

          I quit wearing one to interviews [I was in California, but in an area where the culture is more aligned with the interior U.S.] after the interviewers kept telling me to take off my jacket.

          I have had one interview since moving back here, and went with the attire I wore back then, maybe I should have worn the suit after all….there’s a possibility of another interview here soon, so I might go with the suit for that if I can even find it!

        3. C Average

          Same at my company. I guess you could say we’re tech, at least the corner of the brand that I’m in.

          We would never hold wearing a suit AGAINST someone, but it’s pretty unusual here and does kind of make you stick out in a not always good way.

          If you’re a perfect match and you’re wearing a suit, the reaction is, “He’s not only a great fit, but he obviously really wants the job, because look at how he’s dressed!”

          If you’re not an ideal match and you’re wearing a suit, the reaction is, “Hmmm, he has some impressive qualifications, but he doesn’t really seem like quite the right fit. And what’s up with wearing a SUIT? I don’t think he really gets what kind of place this is.”

        4. Not Today Satan

          This is why I don’t always wear a suit to an interview. Sometimes (like if it’s a casual environment and my interviewers are dressed SUPER casually) I just feel “adorable” and silly as you put it–like a college student going to her first job fair. (In situations where I suspect that might be the case, I wear a business skirt, blouse, and sweater–I don’t dress totally casually.)

        5. literateliz

          I’ve wondered about this–I work at a book publisher in California, so I never knew if our casualness was due to the region or the industry! We have a lot of people who worked in New York before coming here and they’re always going on about how great it is to wear jeans to work, so I thought maybe it was just because we were in California.

          For the person who asked what would be the norm for publishing interviews, I’d say business casual-ish? The last time I interviewed, I wore dress pants and a blazer and felt a little overdressed (I was definitely in the “adorable/trying so hard” bucket then–thanks for putting a name on that, haha). If I were to go on an interview now I’d probably wear a nice dress and blazer or cardigan.

            1. literateliz

              Haha… in that case, we must be the most fashion-conscious employer around! (Obviously we’re not really, but I can’t think of anyone who does MORE judgment of book covers.)

              1. the bureaucrat fell from the sky

                *chuckle* it’s funny now that you mention it. When I wrote that (above) I was making a joke and didn’t think too deeply on it, but – I have a friend at my work who has published a number of books, and I swear that he and his publisher spend at least twice as much time going around and around on the book cover as they spend on the actual book content. I do not know how common or uncommon they may be, but for sure they are an author and a publisher for whom the cover is very, very, very important.

        6. Lore

          Yes! I am glad to hear someone say this–it’s been my experience, but I wasn’t sure if it was characteristic. (In fact, the most corporate publishing interview I’ve ever had, I was specifically instructed *not* to wear a suit. I went with dress pants and a linen shirt and boots.) The one interview where I was most worried about being underdressed, it was a 90+-degree August day and I wore a dress (short-sleeved but with a collar, sort of 50s-retro-cut) and sling-back wedge-heeled shoes and I agonized over whether bare legs were a terrible idea. It turned out that I couldn’t walk in the shoes with pantyhose on anyway, and for whatever reason I had my heart set on that dress, so I crossed my fingers and went with it. The interviewer was wearing pretty much the exact same outfit.

      3. K

        I was told from the get-go to ALWAYS wear a suit to an interview, regardless of what the current employees wear.

        I’ve been on a few lunches with candidates for my current company and I can tell you that I was definitely affected by whether or not the person wore a suit. I don’t think it’s just coincidence that the candidates who didn’t bother wearing a suit also weren’t very invested in the position.

        1. FiveByFive

          Yes, wear suits to interviews! Even if the company you are interviewing with has a casual dress code, you have to remember that you don’t work there yet! You are essentially working for yourself at that point in time, and in that sense you need to represent yourself in the utmost professional manner. (With rare exceptions that have already been noted).

      4. JoAnna

        When my husband interviewed with Apple, he debated whether or not to wear a suit given what he’d heard of company culture, but ultimately decided to err on the side of being overdressed as opposed to underdressed and wore his suit and tie. The interviewer asked if he could take off the suit jacket and loosen the tie almost first thing because they “made him [the interviewer] nervous”, but it was said in a joking, friendly way. And my husband did end up getting the job.

    3. CaliCali

      I have a friend interviewing with a tech company in Colorado and she was explicitly told that their business code was casual and they expected interviewees to dress accordingly. Of course, this led to her and I trying to brainstorm about what “interview-level-but-casual” would look like. I swear it’s more stressful than just the assumption that you can wear a suit. I feel like in general, the West (excepting certain industries) is more casual than the East Coast in terms of general attire and interview attire (having worked on both coasts, and living in the West my whole life)

      1. De Minimis

        Ex-job had audit teams that worked with a lot of tech companies…they ALWAYS complained that the auditors were overdressed, even with them wearing business casual [dress clothing but no ties…]

        I would think you would want some kind of clear distinction between the auditors and the employees, but who knows….

        1. Hillary

          Funny, I thought our audit team was underdressed during their last visit. Every one of them that I could spot was wearing khakis and a logo fleece. We’re a business casual environment, but sweaters are about as low key as we get in the winter.

          1. nonegiven

            My niece was told she would need to wear a suit to work every day, as assurance staff for one of the Big 4. She bought the same suit in 3 colors. She hardly ever needs to wear one, and most of her work is done remotely.

  28. #4

    #4, thanks for the advice! My husband’s suit is a classic dark gray suit that I pair with classy shirt/tie combos. And as I had it pressed in between interviews, he always came across looking fresh and ready. It was actually quite cute to see him so dressed up every few days. Plus, thanks for all the great advice from this site and the comments, he did get to a third interview with the first company. However, a second company offered him a good position before the first one could put their offer together so he had to respectfully decline it when it came as he had accepted the other one.

  29. Tiffy the Fed... Contractor

    #1 – I think it also depends on the type of job it is. When I was job hunting, I applied for what I thought was a cut-and-dry marketing position. After I applied and did a bit more research about the company and position, I realized it was a door-to-door sales position. When I was emailed about an interview, I ignored it. I should have responded, I know, but after realizing the position and the company was a bad fit, I wasn’t worried about not making a connection with this employer.

  30. Retail Lifer

    As a hiring manager who is also seeking new employment, I agree with Allison. Try one more time, but then that’s enough. I follow up with candidates who I’m really interested in but haven’t responded, and I actually often do hear back. I think sometimes the first email you send a candidate can get lost in the auto-reponse spam they get back after applying to a bunch of jobs.

    On the other hand, I had a company find my resume online and so far they have sent me three emails and left a voicemail in three days. That just screams desperation.

    1. Joey

      See how it feels when candidates follow up repeatedly. It makes you pause and think they’re desperate for ANY job. And no good manager wants to hire someone who isn’t thoughtful about it.

      1. Retail Lifer

        I had to stop myself from continuing to follow up on a job that I really, REALLY wanted. I wanted to convey that I was very interested, but I knew any more follow ups would make me look desperate.

  31. K

    #4 The only time I ever noticed someone wearing the same suit was when Lassie wore the same suit, tie, and shirt in two episodes of Psych, and only because in one of the episodes, someone pointed out that he wore the same outfit the day before.

    My team lead wears a black suit everyday. I have no idea if it’s the same one or different one(s).

  32. OP5

    Alison, thanks for the answer! It’s as I expected. I was second-guessing myself because this was the first time I’d ever been in a position to turn down an offer, and I’m still not sure how I feel/what I think about it, or how an employer would see it. But this is clarifying, so thanks.

  33. Suzanne

    As to #1, my snarky side says “Welcome to the world on the other side-the applicant side-where, on a very good day, you actually get any response from 25% of the places you’ve spent hours sending applications.”

  34. puddin

    #5 – I agree with AAM on this issue. I am also curious about why you think mentioning it would add value to the conversation. I think, maybe, you are trying to communicate something you learned about the other role that you did not like and want to make sure this current role does not contain that ‘thing’.

    If this is the case, I would just use the interview process to unveil that issue. For example, I recently turned down a job offer because I found out the company did not have performance reviews. I value those, even though they can sometimes be a PITA. So on my next interviews I just asked what the review process was. I asked some more direct questions about how they are implemented and tied into merit increases. I got the info I needed.

    In general I would not mention too much about your job search. How long you have been looking, how many declines, rejections, etc. I have been asked where I was in the interview process with other companies so that they could ‘gauge the timing’. I am very vague about that answer as well. Too much opportunity to give the wrong impression; you just never know how people will interpret your answers.

  35. Suz

    OP#4 – If the 3rd interview involves meeting people your husband had met at the prior interviews, he can probably wear business casual. When I’m hiring, I make a point of telling candidates they don’t need to dress up for 2nd & 3rd interviews. They can wear whatever they’d wear on the job.

  36. Laura

    I am looking for wording to respond via email to an applicant that I am interested in setting up
    A phone interview with.

    1. Alternative

      Here’s a good one I received recently:

      Thanks for your interest in Dunder Mifflin. I’d like to chat with you about your experience and see if there might be a fit for our Lead Paper Sales position.

      Let me know when you would be available for a call on Mon or Tues.

      Thanks,

      Jane Doe

  37. Another unnamed

    Re #4: Don’t, whatever you do, dry clean your suit between all interviews! You’ll kill the fabric. Sure, take it for cleaning if it’s dirty/smelly/whatever, but otherwise just hang it up to air and, if necessary, press the trousers *gently* to deal with creases. Advice with a decent suit tends to be:
    – if it’s your only suit, try to buy one with two pairs of trousers so you can alternate wearing them. Don’t wear the same trousers two days in a row if possible; definitely not every day for 2 weeks in a row.
    – get it cleaned around once a month if you’re wearing it every day (so after 20 days of wear) unless it’s soiled.
    – hang it on a good quality hanger, and outside the closet for an hour if possible.

  38. Purr purr purr

    OP#1, I wouldn’t discount them just because they haven’t replied. As others have suggested, perhaps it’s gone to their spam folder. My sister has accepted a job and they were sending the contract through via email. They’ve sent it twice and she hasn’t received it at all. Obviously since she’s aware of their attempts, she’s been checking her spam folder and there’s nothing there so maybe double-check the spelling of their email address. And lastly, email isn’t the only form of contact. Can’t you just phone them??? I get it, it’s a lot more bother, but it’s better to have a choice of candidates then to be stuck with the only one that replied to the email!

  39. Not telling

    I must be reading #2 differently than everyone else. OP2 said that “My manager came to me in person and said to very strongly push back on that request, ”

    I realize OP2 may be paraphrasing but nowhere in that explanation did the manager say that THEY would respond.
    In other words, the manager thinks that OP2 should be responding to Patty’s request, not waiting for her manager to do the talking for him/her. Maybe the manager is trying to get OP2 to take on more responsibility or initiative. Or maybe manager just thinks that whoever is being asked the question is the one who should answer it. Either way, it seems to me that the reason why the manager hasn’t responded is that he or she assumed that OP2 was handling it.

    I’m curious how OP2 is responding, while waiting for the manager to speak up? Are you just avoiding Patty’s calls? Or pretending to do the work? Or saying that the manager will get back to her? I think when the manager’s response is finally delivered, by whomever, Patty is probably going to be a bit peeved that OP2 knew about this all along and didn’t say anything. Clearly she thinks of OP2 as part of a team or an ally, and even if that viewpoint is unfounded, I think many people in Patty’s position would feel like OP2 had been dishonest by withholding the information.

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