should I call out this company that jerked me around during a long-distance interview?

A reader writes:

I would love your input on a job interview process I have recently experienced.

A little backstory – my wife and I are expecting child #2 in the next few months. We have decided to try to move closer to my family (about three hours away) so they can assist with child care while we work, which will greatly alleviate the expense of paying for child care.

I applied for a job in the city where my parents live that I would be perfect for . I had a phone interview and was subsequently invited to come in for a face to face interview. The next day, I was contacted and asked to come back in for a second interview with the hiring manager’s bosses.

I made it clear in the first interview that I lived three hours away, was excited at the prospect of working for their company and being closer to family, but had to take time off at my current job to travel to their location for the interview (not to mention the expense of gas for a six-hour round trip). When I was contacted for the second face to face interview, I wrote back and asked if they would consider an interview via Skype or FaceTime and explained that I had a limited amount of vacation time I could take (I only get 10 days off per year) and was trying to save it for when my wife delivers our child. This was, after all, a marketing/technology position I had applied for, and I didn’t think using such technology would pose a problem. They replied back and said that they could not accommodate that request and I would need to come back in to meet with the big bosses in person, so I agreed and took another day off of work (the second full day) to meet with them since I very much wanted to work there.

The second face to face interview went great and I could tell they liked me, but I got the “do you have any questions for us?” question literally 15 minutes into the interview (which in my experience is the question that wraps up the interview). I asked four or five questions and the interview was over in less than 25 minutes – and looking back it could have easily been done by Skype or FaceTime.

I emailed both bosses and thanked them for taking time, and one emailed back and said they’d definitely be in touch this week. Well, I just got an email from the HR department saying that they’ve put the hiring for this position on hold because of ambiguity in the job description and the functions of the responsibility of the job. So basically, they were conducting interviews for a job for which they weren’t even sure about what the job functions were.

I could have handled not being the best candidate much more easily than them telling me they weren’t sure what the exact job description was. There was a detailed job description in the job posting, so I’m not even sure the explanation they gave me is truthful. But instead, they posted the job anyway and caused me to come in and use two days of vacation when I need every hour of it to be with my wife when our child is born. Who conducts interviews for a job when you aren’t even sure what the person will be doing?

What would you think if I wrote back and very tactfully pointed out how much trouble I went to, only to find out that the company didn’t have all their ducks in a row and essentially wasted 20% of my vacation time for the year? I know that isn’t usually done, but I am a good writer (I write part-time for our local paper) and could word it very straightforwardly and matter-of-factly. I just feel applicants get the raw end of the deal sometimes and sometimes, when the offense of a company is this egregious, they need to be called out on it. After this, I’m not interested in working for them anyway, so it doesn’t matter if I burn the proverbial bridge in this case.

Don’t write back to complain.

You’re taking this more personally than you should — doubting the explanation they gave you, assuming they were conducting interviews before they should have, and feeling that they recklessly wasted your time. But unless they intentionally brought you in to interview knowing that they had no intention of hiring you, we don’t actually know that they were cavalier with your time.

It is possible that they jerked you around and had you come in twice when they should have known better. But it’s also possible that they didn’t.

Your frustration seems to rest on this statement: “Basically, they were conducting interviews for a job for which they weren’t even sure about what the job functions were.” But we don’t really know that. They could have done everything right, but something changed that they couldn’t have predicted: There might have been internal changes since interviewing you that called parts of the job description into question. There might have been questions about the structure of the role that arose late in the game based on late-emerging factors you don’t know anything about (staffing changes, client issues, budget questions, etc.). “Ambiguity in the job description” could mean “We figured Responsibility X would be handled between Bob and the new person, but Bob just gave notice, so we need to revisit our plan.” Who knows — but there are lots of things that could reasonably cause them to pause and reconsider before moving forward with hiring … which is a lot better than hiring someone and then changing their minds about what the role should look like.

Or yes, it’s possible that they were total flakes who should have known better. We just don’t know, and you don’t want to base a complaint letter on a guess.

I do think that ideally they would have tried to accommodate you in some way when you pointed out that you’d need to take additional vacation days to come back in, and I can see why you’re annoyed that they wouldn’t use Skype or FaceTime for an interview that ended up being only 25 minutes. But it’s also not unreasonable that they don’t want to hire someone with a final decision-maker meeting finalists in person (and many people feel they get a better sense of candidates if they can talk face to face),  and just because the job you were interviewing for centered around technology, that doesn’t mean that the executives you’d be interviewing with are comfortable with that technology themselves. It’s also possible that the second interview was intended to be longer, but they realized pretty quickly that they didn’t think you were quite right for the role so they wrapped it up earlier. (I know that you said it went great, but they only talked to you for 15 minutes before moving to the candidate-question portion of the interview, which says it’s possible things didn’t go quite as great as you thought. In fact, even had you talked for hours, that would still have been possible — it’s hard to judge as a candidate how well an interview really went, no matter how friendly your interviewers are. And of course, you could be smart, talented, and personable, and still wrong for the job.)

And really, two interviews isn’t that outrageous. It’s not ideal when you’re three hours away, yes, but I’d say it’s closer to pain-in-the-ass than full-on outrage.

Speaking of things being a pain in the ass, the reality is that when you’re job-searching long-distance, there is often a pain-in-ass factor that comes along with it. When employers have plenty of qualified local candidates, they don’t have much incentive to consider long-distance candidates, and so if you want to be in the running from afar, you often have to do things that essentially erase the long-distance element for them.

In this case, I think you’re frustrated because you’re reading too much into what they told you about needing to revisit the job description (which is totally understandable; reading too much into rejections is a time-honored part of job hunting). But ultimately, this is just a job rejection — the same one that you could have received at the end of this process for any number of reasons. The best thing you can do is to treat it as that, accept that it’s always a risk when you inconvenience yourself for any interview, let go of the idea of trying to show them how wrong they were or even believing that this was especially egregious, and try to move on.

{ 313 comments… read them below }

  1. BRR*

    I agree with everything. Specifically long distance job hunting includes a pain in the ass factor and not wanting to hire a candidate without meeting in person.

    It does sound like a pita but you’re also biased and only have one side of the story. Maybe that’s their language for a rejection (although they should revisit that then) Frankly they don’t sound that bad and if want to move to that area you should keep them in mind as a possible employer. If not now, maybe in the future.

    Also what are you hoping to get out of it?

    1. BRR*

      I want to add I don’t think they were purposefully trying to string you along or use up your pto. This is really one of the milder situations for employer behavior during the hiring process.

    2. M-C*

      And they even bothered to reject you explicitly in a timely way, which is unusually polite for a prospective employer :-).

      1. BRR*

        That’s a good point. They let you know in a prompt manner and were honest. That would make me want to work for them.

        1. Mabel*

          They said that filling the position was being put on hold, so this could mean that they will still consider you when they figure out what they need to do regarding the position. It could also be that they will no longer need someone in that position, but there’s no way to know.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            For that reason alone I wouldn’t risk ticking them off, but I totally get why the Op is so pissed and I would be too.

  2. Rae*

    It’s tough that you had to use PTO, but a 2nd interview, especially for an high-impact job isn’t that unusual as Alison said. Also, stating you only have limited vacation and you should have a special exemption because of your 2nd child may have set off red flags. They met with you in person, and thats what they needed. It’s not a terrible thing overall. I drove out for 5 hours as a fresh out of college kid for interviews more than once. (10 hour trip in one day, plus an hour interview). I didn’t expect any special treatment because I wanted to live in that area. And that’s the thing, while you can ask for special treatment, it might not do you any good at all in the end.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Well yeah except they didn’t even bother to conduct an hour long interview, only 25 min

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Right, but that could be because they realized partway through that the OP wasn’t going to be the one for the job and cut it short; they may not have planned for it to only be 25 minutes from the beginning.

      2. Jerry Vandesic*

        I was once flown to London (from NJ) to interview for a US-based job for a UK company. I thought it would be a daylong affair, meeting multiple people and learning more about the organization. Instead, I spent a total of 35 minutes with the global CIO, and then it was done. It went really well, and the guy liked what he saw as I got a job offer soon after.

        At the time I was a bit surprised as they spent $10K on the travel only to have me meet with one person for a short period of time. But later I learned that my new boss often made decisions based on his well-honed instincts, and in 35 minutes he figured out what he thought of me and my skills. Over time I came to really respect his decisiveness — he was a very sharp businessman — but at the time it was a bit strange.

        1. Kate*

          I’d just be delighted to have the extra time to look around London! As I’m sure you were :)

  3. Sharon*

    While I agree with Alison that you shouldn’t write to complain, I also feel such compassion for your anger and also kind of rage on your behalf. I totally know what you mean when you say you feel they wasted 20% of your vacation time – time that you really needed for when your wife goes into delivery! That really, totally sucks!

    1. Anony*

      I agree with you. But to play devil’s advocate, it’s not their fault his employer has an ungenerous vacation policy.

      1. Just another techie*

        Agreed. Be mad at the current employers that they don’t offer paternity leave. Also, what is up with places only giving two weeks of vacation? New hires at my company start with 15 days of vacation plus 10 paid holidays plus 5 sick days (mandated by law in my state), and that’s at the absolute bottom of the range that I’d accept.

        1. Ad Astra*

          My company only gives ONE week for the first two years of employment. And you have to accrue it (no magic date where you instantly have 5 days). And you’re not allowed to go negative on your PTO. And in your second year you have to use all 5 days for an audit week. I have always wanted to ask if HR thinks this is a typical policy or if this is some kind of strategy or what.

            1. Ad Astra*

              My best guess for why this policy remains is that a lot of people start working for our company on a part-time basis in college, and by the time they graduate and get promoted into full-time positions, they’re earning a more reasonable 3 weeks per year.

              But I’m 5 years out of college and because of the timing of when I started and ended my previous jobs, I have never used 10 days of vacation in a year. I used 5 days for a cruise in 2011 and four days for my wedding in 2013, and everything else has been 3-day weekends here and there. Now I wish I’d pushed harder to take more time off.

          1. Steve G*

            Interviewed for a “real” job (paying almost $70K) that only offered 1 week PTO year one (thought not year 2 as well!) 2 weeks ago. Very, very odd. Not sure who put that together with the good salary + other benefits.

          2. Noah*

            Prior to current job, the last company I worked for didn’t give you any PTO until you had worked there a full year. Before the one year mark, you could take a vacation without pay, in one week intervals only if you were salaried. If you were sick they would pay you, once again as long as you were salaried, but it was up to your manager if it was excessive or disciplinary action would take place for missing work. Hourly employees just went without pay the first year if they needed PTO, but they had more flexibility because they could take a few hours, a day, or whatever time period they needed.

            Hey, we got free flights to anywhere though, just couldn’t even use them to go back to hometown and visit family your first year there. :)

        2. Retail Lifer*

          We get 10 days, 3 personal days, and no sick time. We don’t have ANY labor laws in my state once you hit age 18. Wherever you live, I’m moving there.

          Also, paternity leave pretty much doesn’t exist around here. I only know one local person whose job offers it.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            There’s a state with no labor laws? I need to know which one so I never move there.

              1. Biff*

                Some midwestern states and I think Idaho, have only federal regulations, no additional state laws. (Some counties are different, but that’s not a statewide thing.) That’s probably what they mean.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Interesting! I just took a look at Idaho and they do have some state labor laws — for example, they’ve got last paycheck laws — but certainly not many!

                2. Retail Lifer*

                  I should say my state (not Idaho, but in that general area) doesn’t have many of its own labor laws that are better than federal standards. My state doesn’t require any kind of break at all for people over 18, mandate any certain amount of hours between shifts, pay sick leave or holiday pay, etc. I have friends all over and it seems that most states have at least a few laws that improve on federal standards. The only law here that comes to mind is that they can’t fire you for leaving to vote, although I would imagine every state also mandates this.

              2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                For what it’s worth, most states don’t mandate any certain amount of hours between shifts or require pay sick leave or holiday pay — so that part is normal. Break laws are more common, but a lot of states don’t have them at all.

            1. Suzanne*

              Indiana has almost no labor laws. Employers do not have to give you a break if they don’t want to, not even for lunch. There are some good companies here, but overall, lousy salary, lousy benefits, minimalistic labor laws.

      2. INTP*

        Or that the OP is out of town. I’m not sure how specialized the position is, but I’m guessing it’s either not specialized or it’s a low-budget kind of industry if no one paid for the OP’s travel. This could be a case where the company would rather only consider local candidates than make concessions (like Skype interviews) for out-of-area candidates and it was the OP’s choice to take that vacation time and travel to the interview knowing that it was not a guarantee. Their alternative in that case would be to make the OP’s decision for him by cutting him out of consideration rather than giving him the choice of whether to travel in or not.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Not only that but higher up positions usually have half or sometimes whole day interviews. Maybe that’s what he was expecting?

        2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Because we had a plethora of local candidates at my last job, there was no travel reimbursement for interviews. Because I was mostly hiring college grads, I would do skype interviews, but it was at the hiring manager’s discretion.

      3. MsM*

        That is a really, really excellent point. Although if they did, I suppose the OP might not be so desperate to find something new ASAP, would he?

      4. Steve G*

        I was going to say “be mad at your current company.” It’s not playing devil’s advocate. Only 2 weeks vacation at a job you’ve presumably been in for a while, and $50 or so of gas being a meaningful expense whilst working at a tech company….the inconvenience here is that the current employer’s pay/benefits package isn’t affording you the lifestyle you want. The new company may have provided a meaningful pay bump to get out of that, I wouldn’t be mad at them for providing even a remote chance of making more $ or getting more PTO.

      5. Kate*

        Agreed, the real issue here is that the current company only gives 10 days off and doesn’t appear to have any paternity leave policy – and that, indeed, that is standard here in the US.

  4. KT*

    OP, think carefully–what do you hope to gain from the letter? An apology? A “You’re so right! Instead, here’s an offer letter!”?

    You likely won’t get either. You’ll likely just offend or annoy the hiring managers and be blacklisted with these folks.

    Companies owe you no favors when job searching long distance. As someone who has done cross country moves, interviewing hours away is YOUR decision, not there’s. Unless they’re actively recruiting someone for very specialized skills in which no one local may have what they’re looking for, it’s up to the job seeker to accommodate.

    I know it’s frustrating, but that’s the way it works when you’re job searching away from home.

    1. some1*

      This pretty much where I am. It would still be frustrating if a local company decided to put the role on hold after two interviews (which happened to me) or if they had decided to hire another candidate.

      1. INTP*

        I totally agree that it would be frustrating on an emotional level, but that doesn’t mean that the company did anything wrong. Things happen, even if the company has made an effort to not be flaky – higher ups don’t like the candidates that everyone else liked, internal shifts happened, it comes to light that two different decision makers had different ideas of what the person hired would be doing. If the company were to commit to never wasting an out-of-area candidate’s time, that would essentially mean ruling out all nonlocal candidates (which is what a lot of companies do). I still think it’s better if the candidates are allowed to make the decision for themselves of whether an interview is worth traveling for, knowing that it might not be fruitful for a variety of reasons. If that candidate can’t afford to waste any vacation days, maybe they need to put the out-of-town job search on hold for awhile.

    2. fposte*

      I think the “What do you hope to gain?” is an excellent question. I think what the OP isn’t realizing is that most people’s response to this would be “We could have saved him a ton of time by not interviewing him at all.”

      1. MsM*

        To be fair, the OP might be hoping that they’ll consider that possibility with future applicants and either be more accommodating with the Skype interviews or just not bother. But another candidate is unlikely to have those particular constraints, and they might not appreciate being ruled out preemptively.

    3. BRR*

      Also even if you don’t want to work there, what if their employees move on to another company and remember your flame mail (I don’t see a scenario where this comes off as tactfully as you think it will).

    4. Shannon*

      Good comment. It’s so helpful to think about what you hope to achieve as a result of an action, and I often forget that before opening my big mouth.

    5. Stella Maris*

      “think carefully–what do you hope to gain from the letter? ”

      I love this. I have a tendency to want to Be Acknowledged To Be Right and asking this question helps bring me back to realizing that … it won’t matter.

    6. Sleepyhead*

      Whenever an issue like this comes up with people in my life I always ask them, “What do you hope to gain by that response” and “what are you LIKELY to get in reality”? Often that’s enough for folks to realize that it might feel good to send it in the moment, but you probably won’t REALLY get what you want.

      1. Viva L*

        +1 to this line of thinking.
        In addition – you make work there or with some of their employees in the future, and you don’t want to be remembered as That Guy Who Sent The Crazy Email – no matter how tactfully you word it.

        I’m sorry -it’s super frustrating in your position, but reply and ask them to keep you in mind when their hiring hold ends and you might just have another job prospect in the future. Good luck with the rest of your search!

    7. Nobody*

      This. In general, if a question can be summarized as, “Should I call [somebody] out for [something]?” the answer is probably no. It might make you feel good, but it accomplishes nothing (and might make you look like a jerk).

      For what it’s worth, I would also be pretty annoyed about being jerked around like that, regardless of my family or vacation situation, but there’s nothing you can do about it now, so it’s best to let it go. Maybe even consider it a bullet dodged.

  5. LBK*

    The anger about using up vacation time seems a little unrealistic to me. Presumably any job you apply for is one that in all likelihood you won’t get, and most of those are probably going to want at least one in-person interview, so this process could easily cost you all of your vacation. Be mad at your current company for giving you such a limited pool rather than the other companies for having totally normal expectations like doing face-to-face interviews even for candidates they don’t end up hiring.

    I do also agree with Alison that you’re assuming too much about what happened with the role. Someone leaving is often the only chance you get to re-examine what that role does without major disruption to your team’s productivity. It makes sense that things could change up midstream once they have a chance to really consider what they want the new person to be doing (and as they examine the skills of the talent pool and realize they may want to be hiring for something different). My last position actually ended up being dissolved completely after I left; fortunately my ex-manager hadn’t started the hiring process yet, but he would’ve had to cancel any ongoing candidate search if he had.

    1. The IT Manager*

      I agree that the anger about the vacation days seems misplaced. I don’t think they wasted your time, but if even if they had no intention of hiring, it’s not their fault that the drive means each interview takes a day versus a few hours, that your current company only gives you 10 PTO days a year and doesn’t seem to offer paternity leave so you can take a few weeks off with the new baby instead of just your remaining PTO days.

      1. Tanith*

        So then…on a side note…is the OP just totally out of luck when it comes to finding a job in the new city? Seem’s like it’s completely impossible for him to go on multiple interviews in the new city AND take any days off for his child’s birth. If he keeps going on interviews, he’ll lose all his vacation days.

        So what is the OP to do? Be very selective about only interviewing for jobs where he’s a strong fit, and use a few “sick” days if needed?

        1. KT*

          Applying for jobs out of state is tricky business. You either need to be prepared to take off days/fly/drive for hours at a moment’s notice, or relocate without a job and hope for the best.

        2. Dan*

          Yeah, pretty much. any further comments from me would be categorized as “closing the barn door after the horses got out” but in the OP’s situation, he really should have planned better. Sometimes, no matter how much we will things to be different, there’s a reality that can’t be changed. The reality here is that he has a limited amount of paid time off to spread amongst competing objectives.

          The next question becomes: What happens if he runs out of PTO and has no job offer? Then what?

          One option he needs to consider is staying put and sucking up child care expenses.

          1. Ad Astra*

            It’s not clear from the letter whether the OP is definitely moving, with or without a job, or if the move would be contingent on employment. It’s not directly relevant to the question, but I’m curious. If I were definitely moving, then “wasting” PTO for a job interview would bother me a lot less than if I were planning to stay put until I had an offer.

          2. fposte*

            Right, it can be looked at as an economic decision–you’re basically bidding on out of town jobs and deciding which of them deserve your days off as bids.

          3. Anna*

            Yeah. The way he worded his letter there was a feeling that all his eggs were in this basket. That’s not feasible for his goals and it’s not going to work with the limited time off he has. This may be a situation where he has to wait a year to be able to use that time for job searching instead of baby-having.

        3. Ad Astra*

          My first two jobs after college were both in cities I had never been to, and I never interviewed in person for either position. But that was in the newspaper industry, where it’s extremely common to relocate for a new job (most markets only have one daily newspaper) and there’s no budget to bring candidates in, except maybe for very senior positions.

          In both cases, the job was a 10-12 hour drive to an area not served by a major airport, so an in-person interview would have been impossible for me. It was also pretty clear that I was willing to relocate but I didn’t have any plans to move to a specific city, so it was 100 percent dependent on the job. I don’t think either company even asked me to travel. YMMV, of course, but it’s possible.

          1. Joline*

            My job I’m in now my interview was a phone interview while I was in Hungary. They prefer to do in-person interviews but we would’ve already done a phone interview anyway as I was in a different province (and my employer wouldn’t foot the bill and wouldn’t expect me to) so it didn’t make a difference to them that we did it while I was on vacation. It’s admittedly also a union position so there’s a bit less flexibility in hiring on gut feel – they have to mark based off of the verbal answers given.

        4. Meg Murry*

          If the OP is in the US and at a company that is eligible, he can use FMLA for the paternity leave – that’s one of the things it is for. Now that might require taking unpaid days, which may be tight on his family budget, but that is an option that exists if he is in an FMLA eligible job.

          And actually, as a tangent, if OP is in an FMLA eligible job, he should go ahead and talk to HR about the paperwork necessary to file for FMLA – because if something happens (like a preemie needing to spend time in the NICU, or his wife going on bedrest), its best to have the paperwork 90% ready to go, rather than starting from step 1 mid-crisis. Even if he doesn’t wind up using FMLA, or only uses a couple of days, it is worth getting his ducks in a line on this one. At my past companies, we could leave all the paperwork filled out except the birth date, and then phone that in and HR would fill it in.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        I think he placed the anger at them because they seemingly didn’t even acknowledge his inconvenience after he laid it out for them, but I could be wrong. And maybe the person setting up the second didn’t even bother asking the higher ups and just gave her best guess answer.

    2. INTP*

      I do agree with this. Most job interviews are not fruitful for a variety of reasons. I would understand being mad if you never had a shot at the job in the first place, but the job not panning out is just a very likely risk that you take. If you can’t afford to waste any vacation hours, this might not be the right time for a job search.

  6. The IT Manager*

    Plus I know you said that they are a technology company so Skype or FaceTime should be doable, but it may not be a technology that they use. Maybe they use MS Lync (without video) or a teleconference line exclusively like my agency. Or they may just want a face to face interview.

    I sympathies with you and your lost vacation days, but there is nothing in your letter that makes it sound like they jerked you around unreasonably.

  7. LVL*

    Would it be reasonable for someone who travelled 3 hours for an interview to ask for (and receive) mileage reimbursement?

    1. F.*

      No, it would not, unless you were specifically recruited by this company and they sought YOU out. If you applied on your own initiative, you are just another candidate to them. You are not entitled to special treatment because you happen to live farther away.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      In my opinion, that would only be reasonable if the company were hiring someone they would pay to relocate. In this case, the OP wants to be in that city, so he has to be willing to make certain sacrifices to interview there, including traveling on his own dime.

      For example: I relocated last year because my boyfriend was pursuing a PhD. I had a few phone/Skype interviews with companies in my new city, and if they had asked for an in-person interview, the travel would have been on my own dime. On the flipside, if a company recruits me, knowing I live in another state, and asks me to fly in, they should pay for my travel.

      1. De Minimis*

        When I was being recruited in college the firms paid mileage reimbursement, and even provided a hotel room the night before. But…they had deep pockets, and it was also a numbers game to get people to sign up with them.

        I *believe* the tax deduction is one of those deductions that most people don’t qualify for because it doesn’t exceed 2% of their adjusted gross income.

    3. College Career Counselor*

      I’ve been compensated for mileage when driving to interviews. Granted, these were generally finalist interviews (and the distances were significant–300-400 miles one way). It’s not automatic, however.

    4. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      When I have been compensated for interview travel, it has always been offered by the company first. Or they have actually handled the travel logistics (airfare, hotel).

    5. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      It’s not their problem that you life far away. This is yet another reason why employers often pass over out-of-town candidates. You may be more invested because you made a long trip, but it’s likely they aren’t any more invest in you than they are in other candidates. In fact, they might be less invested because your out-of-town residence makes it more of a risk that you won’t actually take the job if it’s offered (or you will ask for a delayed start date, or will have trouble finding a place to live, etc.). If you apply for out-of-town jobs, you just have to accept that it won’t be as convenient for you to go through the interview process.

    6. INTP*

      It’s okay to ask before the interview if travel is compensated. Agreeing to the interview with no discussion of compensation and then requesting that they repay you later would be quite ridiculous imo.

      1. INTP*

        (I feel I should specify, when I say “ask if travel is compensated,” I really mean just ask in an offhand way and expect the answer to be no, and accept the “no” graciously. There is no harm in politely asking unless your HR contact is just really weird about it. I don’t mean “Request for the travel to be compensated” or “Ask in a tone that implies you think it should be.” The company is within their rights to choose whether it is worth paying expenses for out of town candidates for this position, and you are within your rights to choose not to take interviews with no compensation.)

    7. Carrie in Scotland*

      I would look at the company website. When I was long distance job hunting recently, I was reinbursed for travel twice (2 hrs 50 mins each way) although the job I ended up getting stated that “only successful candidates would receive travel expenses”.

  8. edj3*

    It’s very possible that as a result of interviewing you and others that they hadn’t actually nailed down what they need in that role.

    That happened to me when I interviewed for an instructional designer position once—that’s the job that was posted but as I interviewed with the two people who’d be managing me, I could tell they didn’t agree between themselves about what they needed. A day later, the recruiting company called me to say that the company retooled the job description because after talking with me they realized they needed a technical writer, not an instructional designer.

    At the end of the day, it’s probably cold comfort to you but wouldn’t you have hated for the job to have been wildly different than the job you applied for?

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I have been on a hiring committee that got into interviews and thanks to the questions being asked/answers being given, realized that we needed someone with significant management experience.

      Not only did they have to go back and rewrite the description, but the hiring manager had to work with HR and our CFO to adjust the salary range.

    2. INTP*

      This was my thought too – specifically that the higher up involved had a different idea of the level or responsibilities of the position than the people below them who were probably the ones involved in the writing of the job description and the initial interviewing. Which is very frustrating to deal with as a candidate, but at the same time, those higher ups have other jobs that generally take priority over hiring and don’t have time to participate in every conversation about it.

    3. Person of Interest*

      Yes to this. I have been in hiring processes where after a few interviews we realize we aren’t getting candidates who match what we thought the role should be, and ended up going back to square 1 with the job description. And sometimes this happens after interviewing someone multiple times because they seem like a great candidate and you really want it to work!

  9. Bend & Snap*

    I’m not seeing where OP was jerked around.

    However, if you really want to get it out of your system, you can post an anonymous review on Glassdoor. I did that for a company that interviewed me 4 times, told me I was in the final round, kept rescheduling the interview (7 times), went dark, didn’t respond to a couple of check ins and then called me TWICE to tell me I didn’t get the job, just in case I didn’t understand the first time. No regrets.

    1. Kyrielle*

      In this case, however, the OP should remember that a Glassdoor review will probably also uniquely identify them if they go into details – and maybe if they don’t. How many out-of-town candidates with a long drive was the company considering?

      It may have the same negative effects as sending a letter to the company directly would. If the OP thinks that’s worth it, so be it, but it’s something to factor into consideration.

  10. some1*

    “But it’s also not unreasonable that they don’t want to hire someone with a final decision-maker meeting finalists in person (and many people feel they get a better sense of candidates if they can talk face to face”

    And it’s also a good idea to physically see the office and get a sense of the vibe of the place — that kind of thing is tough to do over skype.

    1. BRR*

      Ooh this is a good point. I would feel very uneasy taking a job without going to the office. Although in this case the op went there once.

    2. Laurel Gray*

      I never had a Skype interview nor would I want to do one for the reason you mentioned. Also, mannerisms, tone etc can still be hard to figure out. I do like the traditional interview of coming in. I treat everyone I interact with as potential future colleagues so it is good to get an idea of the office culture: are people stuffy? friendly? cold? chatty? etc. I usually get some type of idea about this in the interview(s) stage.

    3. OP/Letter Writer*

      The point here is that I had already seen the office, got the vibe, and could have met the big bosses that same day if a face to face meeting was so important. I drove a 6 hour round trip for them to ask me what I like to do for fun, which could have easily been done via Skype.

      1. Dan*

        We understand that you got jerked around, and it sucks, but the chip on your shoulder isn’t going to do you any favors. Sometimes letting go and moving on is the best thing to do. Not every “wrong” has a resolution, especially in job hunting land.

      2. Ad Astra*

        I do think it would have been more considerate for the company to either consolidate both interviews into one day or do the second interview via Skype. I just don’t think you have anything to gain by telling them so.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s possible that the bosses weren’t there that day or had full schedules (the latter is very likely in fact), or that they needed to review all the candidates they were interviewing at that stage before deciding who to bring back as finalists.

        The reality is, long distance job searching is often inconvenient, and often sucks. It’s the price of a long distance job search. The fact that candidates get frustrated by this stuff is part of the reason why some employers won’t both considering long distance candidates at all.

        1. OP/Letter Writer*

          But if a meeting with the big bosses was so necessary, couldn’t they have scheduled the original interview at a time when they were both available to meet? Doesn’t seem like a hard thing to plan.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Scheduling might not have worked out that way — the person doing the first interview might have had a schedule that conflicted with the big bosses’ schedules. Or they needed complete all first round interviews by X date, and the big boss was out of town/unavailable until later on. Or they didn’t want to take up room in her schedule with candidates who hadn’t cleared finalist status yet.

            Also, they may be used to dealing with local candidates where this isn’t as big of a deal. And companies that aren’t specifically seeking you out and recruiting you may not be inclined to make major changes to their process for an out-of-town candidate. When you’re the one seeking to move to an area (as opposed to being recruited to move there), sometimes the only way to make it happen is to be really flexible on this stuff.

            1. JP*

              Even if he were local, I’d be pretty annoyed if I had to take valuable PTO for something like that. But on the other hand, that’s the price of job hunting. My husband is trying to relocate ~500 miles away and even the phone screens are getting hard to fit in his schedule.

          2. badger_doc*

            I don’t think you truly understand the schedules of “big bosses”. I get brushed off by our company VP so many times due to a customer showing up at the last second, to our president being in town, to his golfing schedule. Their schedules are so fluid that sometimes meetings need to be prioritized and interviews often fall to the bottom of the list, even if they are carefully planned. I’ve been called in to pinch hit for interviews so many times I’ve lost count, just because of last minute travel, problems arising, personal/family issues… This isn’t something to get all bent out of shape about.

          3. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            It’s very possible you had to pass through the “gate” of the other people before they wanted to schedule you with the “big bosses”. I often meet with candidates only for the second in-person interview after other people have done a phone screen and an initial interview. Eliminating people at those early states is relatively easy, and it’s not a good use of my time to be involved until we get down to the last few candidates.

          4. Viva L*

            How do they know you need to meet with the big bosses until you meet with the other managers first and pass their screening? It’s not efficient to use a Big Boss’ time to interview every candidate, or even every good candidate – so it’s not likely you’ll be interviewed by the final decision makers at the first round in a case like this. That’s just part of the process

            It’s the same principle at play here – efficient use of time. Unfortunately, what is efficient for you is not efficient for them, and in this case, it’s them that gets the consideration, not you.

            Also you asked for Skype (completely reasonable and a great idea), they said no. You have to accept that graciously, because that’s how it works. You’re annoyed that they didn’t do exactly what you wanted/what was most efficient for you, in the end. That attitude isn’t going to get you very far in job hunting, unfortunately.

          5. LawBee*

            Honestly, good luck getting a meeting with two of my bosses at the same time, much less all five. You don’t know their schedules, so you honestly have no idea whether it’s hard to schedule that or not.

      4. fposte*

        If they’d offered you the job with the same amount of contact, would you still be mad? If they’d said “We’d like to see you for a second interview and there’s approximately a 25% chance of your getting the job,” would that have been enough for you to go? Would you rather that they excluded you from consideration entirely because you’re an out of town candidate?

        Basically, I think you’re acting as if they had foresight of what you now know in hindsight, and I don’t think that’s accurate. Like you, they said this is worth taking a chance on. I don’t think it makes sense to retroactively say it wasn’t worth it, because it was only by doing the process that you both found that out.

        1. BRR*

          “acting as if they had foresight of what you now know in hindsight, and I don’t think that’s accurate”

          I think this is spot on.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          OP, I think people here are providing you with food for thought so that this job opportunity is not totally lost for you.

          I do agree that the behavior is annoying. But at some point you have to decide which is more important, fixing the annoying behavior or getting a job there. I will admit, I would have to look more closely at the company. It could be that the company is not a nice company. I would want to know more, based on what you have said here.
          While I understand the points that people are presenting here, I have to wonder if the company is chaotic, unorganized or indecisive.

          As you are reading down through, keep in mind that everyone is responding to the part where you said you really like the company and you want to work there. So they are showing you how to reframe it in your mind’s eye, so that at some point you CAN work there.

          As far as your PTO, I have had years where my PTO got eaten up for me. I spent it nursing home shopping, etc. So I understand where you are at. I am wondering if you could help your wife move home and you stay to work a while longer. My father did that. He worked in a city about 7-8 hours away from where my mother and I were. But my mother was close to her family. He came home on weekends. We lived this way for the first few years of my life until my father was able to transition to a company closer to us. This was 50 plus years ago, and transitions were much harder then, heck some of the highways we have now were not in existence then. He had a very long drive.

          My point is to think about what you are trying to accomplish and ask yourself, “Is there a different order that I can do things here? Will changing the order make things go smoother?” Maybe you could use your PTO for job hunting and take family leave when the baby is born. Just kick around some different scenarios and see what you come up with.

    4. INTP*

      Yup. I’m very comfortable with Skype – I work remotely and it’s my primary tool for staying in touch with my home office – but that doesn’t mean I can pick up on all the cues I want to pick up on when selecting a job or hiring an employee. I don’t think it’s a viable replacement for an in-person interview when the interviewer and interviewee would need to work well together and have chemistry.

      1. fposte*

        Totally agreeing. My in-person interviews correlate much better with performance and with the person I actually get.

  11. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I’ve called out two employers, and both times it got me the same thing: silence.  While it was ultimately satisfying to initially call them out, I never got the comeuppance I wanted to see.  

    Life only works out that way on screen.

    If you’re interested…

    1) Employer sent out announcement saying they’d hired someone with X, Y, and Z experience and A degree.  I responded by saying that I have extensive X, Y, and Z experience and A degree, but I never got an interview.  I thanked them for their “careful consideration” of my application though.

    2) I’d applied to a charity and gotten zero response from them even though I met all the requirements.  One of their fundraisers approached me on the street for a donation.  I informed her of my efforts to get hired, including the time I spent putting together the requested materials.  She apologized and used that anecdote to press me for a donation.  I told her I was put off by her organization and this conversation.  She paused and said, “I guess this is pretty awkward, huh.”  I said, “Well awkward for you not for me.”  

    Both of these incidents gave me immediate gratification but not the one thing I wanted: a job or acknowledgement.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ooooooh, no, no — there was nothing to call out with #1. There are lots of reasons why you could have the same experience as the person they hired and still not be interviewed — like that there were lots of people with that same experience, or there were other weaknesses about your application, or the your experience is actually weaker than the successful candidate and you don’t have enough information about them to know that, or lots of other things. That’s not a reason to be angry and definitely not to complain to them!

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Oh I see that now and totally agree with you.  This was 10+ years ago when I’d never been on the other end of the hiring process.  

        That experience did teach me one thing: when sending out rejection letters, never give specifics like that because you’ll inevitably get a handful of rejected applicants who met those requirements!  Plus it strongly implies that those were the -only- details that matter in the decision process when they’re not.

      2. Diddly*

        You can’t really put a check on your emotions – at least it’s very hard – and in theory there’s nothing to be angry about, but Snarkus Aurelius can’t help feeling that way. And unfortunately when looking for a job it can feel very personal, because it’s about your livelihood and future. But I think Snarkus Aurelius was using these as illustrations of how pointless it is (although in the moment satisfying.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I know there’s the whole thing about how you can’t control your emotions, but I actually think it’s pretty useful to understand when an emotion isn’t logically warranted by the situation. You can still have it if you want, but you should know when it’s disconnected from how an objective person would see the situation; sometimes realizing that will temper the emotion significantly or help you think about why you’re having such a strong reaction.

    2. Diddly*

      Think the second incident was a little unfair, considering the person on the street would have nothing to do with your application, and unlike email marketing where people sometimes use rejected candidates to request funds, this person had nothing to do with your application whatsoever.

      I’ve think I’ve written one truly horrendous complaint letter, when I was really down about being rejected from the same position I don’t know how many times in succession with no feedback and their complaints that there had been thousands of applicants. They didn’t respond but they did change their entire process. (Although I can’t directly say that was due to me.) It does make me worry I have been blacklisted from that organization. But sometimes you do have to call things out.

    3. Not me*

      Wait, was the fund raiser in #2 related to hiring somehow? Or was it a random employee of the charity? Continuing to press you for a donation was a bad move, but I’m not seeing why you called that person out specifically before that.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I pressed her a bit about her role and duties at the charity, before I brought up my grievance, and she was super vague and pushed for money.  She never answered my question so that’s when I brought it up.  

        Me: Do you see this from my point of view though?  I go to the trouble of applying to your organization, ensuring I include the lengthy list of required documents, which took me more than two hours to do, your organization doesn’t respond at all, and now you want money from me?

        Her: You applied because you’re a fan of the cause though, right?  So that’s why you should donate.  If you couldn’t get a job with us, this is the next best thing!

        (Seriously, the online application alone took nearly an hour to fill out!)

        1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

          Part of being a fundraiser is that sometimes you ask people for money, and it turns out it’s someone that’s pissed at you for a reason you couldn’t possibly have known. Honestly, all this will accomplish is to make the fundraiser think that you are angry and take you off their list of people to ask. No charity can be 100% of the good side of every member of the public. It’s much less likely that she took this to heart, and much more likely that she thought, “well, you just run into that sometimes”.

        2. Suzanne*

          I think this brings out the point that when an employer treats applicants (& employees) poorly, each of those applicants talks to friends & family and word does get around. I’ve stopped donating to charity that someone I know worked for because of the horrible workplace stories she told. I’ve convinced people not to donate money to a school I once worked at because it was so poorly managed. Small impact, perhaps, but you don’t know who is spreading your story. Do want it to be a positive story or negative?

      2. Anony-moose*

        Yeah, those people have no power and probably rarely even set foot in the office of the nonprofits building. My best friend spent a year canvassing and managing a group of other canvassers. I know how little connection she had to the org and how little she was trained.

        An aside but I really despise canvassing. I always dodge them on the streets (they’re everywhere in Downtown Chicago) but the one time I politely stopped and said “Actually I’ve already made my charitable donations for the month” the guy kept badgering me. Then I said “I don’t make donations without really researching the organization.” And he went on and on. I had to basically just walk away while he kept talking. Argh.

          1. Snarkus Aurelius*

            And she continued to do so after I walked away from her. The whole thing made me feel better for not getting hired there.

            (This was a children’s charity, but not Operation Smile. ;))

        1. Kai*

          Yeah, it’s bad. I feel for the canvassers because I know they’re just doing their jobs, but it’s seriously so irritating. Lately they’ve been taking over the neighborhood I walk through to get home and I will go way out of my way down the side streets just to avoid them.

          1. Anony-moose*

            I’m a full-time fundraiser, and I feel like when I say that people think i’m a canvasser. So many emotions about canvassing, very few of them positive.

        2. Bostonian*

          Ugh, I despise canvassing, too. I dodge them when I can, but they’ve recently set up shop near both of the subway stations on my commute. I’ve taken to just telling them no or responding to what they say while walking by and not slowing down, making it clear I have no intention of stopping to talk to them. “Not today, I’m in a hurry” seems to work ok, even if it’s a non sequitur in the context of whatever hook they’re opening with. I know they aren’t given much training and are left on their own to come up with sales tactics, but some of them end up feeling kind of skeevy, like telling me I look like a friendly person or trying to shake my hand or saying that they want to talk to everyone wearing . I know they do it to men, too, but it sometimes feels as icky as being catcalled – a stranger on the street is paying too much attention to me and making unwelcome comments. It really doesn’t make me feel better about the organizations that choose it as a fundraising tactic.

        3. sam*

          “There’s no way in hell I would ever give my information to a random stranger on the street just because they managed to buy a clipboard and a vest off the internet. F—- off.”

          Alternative, or if they still insist – “no thanks, I hate [children/animals/whales/etc.] and hope they all die”.

          That last one usually stuns them into silence for long enough for me to run away.

          (note – I don’t actually hate [children/animals/whales/etc.]. I just hate the clipboard brigades and do my absolute best to dodge them on the mean streets of NYC).

          1. Anna*

            A friend of mine got in to a weird interaction on the street with a canvasser that ended with him walking away, the canvasser asking didn’t he like trees, and my friend turning around and shouting, “I HATE TREES!” He isn’t too proud of that moment, but I still laugh about it.

            1. sam*

              At least here, the canvassers are so aggressive that you need real tactics (and giant headphones) to dodge them. They will literally block your path, and follow you down the street. It can be hyper agressive and disturbing at times, particularly if you are a solo woman just trying to walk down the street to get somewhere.

              And as someone who apparently has the opposite of “resting bitch face” and who people seem to think is super-approachable (I get asked for directions multiple times/day), it can get exhausting on a nice weekend day when they’re out in force. For the ones who just try once and then leave you alone, I don’t turn into a meanie, but for the aggros, I reserve my stock of planned, horrible shock answers.

        4. Merry and Bright*

          In the UK when the canvassers are rude or aggressive we call them “chuggers” (that’s charity + muggers).

          When they knock on your door they are “churglars” (follow the pattern).

          The nice ones accept a smile and “no thank you” if you don’t want to participate.

          1. Knit Pixie*

            My word! That is hilarious! I think I will adopt that here, even though we are (thankfully) short on both.

        5. MsM*

          Speaking as an in-house fundraiser, I hate canvassing, too. It’s often outsourced through a third-party organization, and the working conditions for canvassers can be incredibly exploitative. Complaining to one of them about why you didn’t get hired is basically like complaining to the tech service rep in India: they don’t know anything beyond what’s on the script, and if they don’t stick to it, they might get fired themselves.

        6. Amanda*

          Also in downtown Chicago, and I always just keep walking and say, “I’m late to meet a friend, but good luck with everything!” Never stop to talk to them! Also try to avoid eye contact. :)

    4. BRR*

      Really both situations seem uncalled for just because it’s the nature of hiring. Having the qualifications listed doesn’t mean you’ll get an interview. It’s very similar to the lw in that putting effort into applying for a job doesn’t mean it will pay off.

      The person in the 2nd situation should have used some emotional intelligence and left you alone though.

    5. MK*

      In the first case, your complaint was what exactly? That you didn’t get an interview, though you had the same qualifications as the one hired? That pretty much fits most of the unsuccessfull candidates of all hiring process ever.

      And I really don’t understand what you were hoping to gain by being a boorish jerk to some random employee of the organization that rejected you.

    6. LQ*

      Life doesn’t have a narrative arc and you might be the lead in your story, but every single person around you is the lead in theirs.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      And yet, I frequently read articles that caution companies- both NPOs and for-profits: “Be careful about how you treat your job applicants!”
      The old idea that if people have a complaint they will tell 10 people. If they have a positive experience they will tell 3 people. Negative news spreads faster.

      From what I read here this is not an idea that is catching on.

  12. F.*

    There could be many reasons why the hiring was put on hold. They have provided an explanation, and that is all you are owed. Yes, you got your hopes up, but disappointments happen in life, and adults figure out how to take their lumps without burning bridges. Even though you no long want to work for this company, you never know who knows whom in the industry. Throwing a little temper tantrum and writing a nasty-gram to the company, no matter how well written, will accomplish nothing and may get you blacklisted beyond that company. Swallow your wounded pride and move on. In this case, both parties may have dodged a bullet.

  13. Mike C.*

    Well, I just got an email from the HR department saying that they’ve put the hiring for this position on hold because of ambiguity in the job description and the functions of the responsibility of the job. So basically, they were conducting interviews for a job for which they weren’t even sure about what the job functions were.

    Maybe there was an emergency change of some kind, but it still comes off as incredibly unprofessional to me. I don’t think writing a complaint about it is a good idea, but it certainly tells me all I need to know about this place of business.

    1. NickelandDime*

      Agreed. I think I might have called a candidate to have a conversation like this, but you’re right – it doesn’t sound like they have their stuff together. I bet the OP can relate a couple of other things that happened during the interviews that raised red flags.

      And I don’t think complaining helps – these companies don’t care. I don’t think I’d apply there again, however.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Agreed. Another sign they didn’t have it together is it appeared the higher ups on the second interview were not prepared and/or had no clue he had travelled that far.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Although I see now Alison said they simply may have made their decision by then.

    2. Mike B.*

      If we’re talking about a huge company in which employees are cogs in a machine, sure. A smaller company might be aware that it has needs for additional staffing, but genuinely unsure of what kind of hire would best fit those needs–say, another person in the OP’s role, or a project manager or admin assistant for everyone in that department. And the interview process is part of how these things are decided; maybe they were hoping that somebody applying for the OP’s role would blow them away and fill an obvious need, but didn’t find anyone who would add as much value as another member of support staff.

      That said, it’s not particularly kind to insist on an in-person interview for someone who has a long distance to travel–they could and should reserve that demand for a candidate they’re really excited about.

      1. Mike C.*

        I think what bothers me is that if a business needs help figuring out what they really need, they shouldn’t be using a bunch of unpaid people looking for jobs to figure it out. Hire a consultant or something instead.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        It’s possible they were excited about the OP, but then something within the organization changed and they had to put him on the back burner for now.

        Do NOT write a letter, OP; just let it go. If the position is redefined and they actually liked you and think you could be a fit, they may reach out later and you do not want to kill that horse.

    3. Merry and Bright*

      Agree too. At the very least, the reason they gave the OP for freezing the hiring process makes the organization look highly disorganized. Unsure of the job description and job functions – right, but they have created an unprofessional image.

      I wouldn’t hit back but I would file it under red flags.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Why? Things change (budgets, staffing, projects, accounts, strategy), and sometimes they change while a hiring process is ongoing. It’s so much better to figure that out before hiring than after, and candidates usually say they want transparency (rather than a bland and information-less rejection).

      1. Mike C.*

        Because all of us have seen this happen from the inside. Sure, there’s maybe one or two cases where there was a genuine emergency – someone important was injured, there was a fire, force majure, whatever. In those exceedingly rare cases, it’s easy to see how the unforeseen would affect the need for a particular job.

        For the rest of the cases, it’s really an issue of something avoidable – someone is playing politics, someone didn’t think about their budget, someone didn’t bother to do any long term planning, someone found yet another business book to read and is now changing everything again and so on. I mean sure, give them points for being honest about the issue, but I’m not going to risk wasting someone’s time unless I’m sure I have my ducks in a row.

        You talk a lot of the limited information employers and candidates have about each other, and the need to make judgement calls based on limited information. As unfair as this may be, being told “we’re not sure what we’re actually looking for” would be a huge red flag for me, and would call into question their ability to run different aspects of their business. I certainly wouldn’t complain about it, but I would be looking elsewhere.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s fair, but I think you’re discounting that while sometimes it’s avoidable, often it’s not avoidable/predictable (someone leaves, there’s a change in client needs, etc.). Those things happen too; the OP doesn’t really know which category this one fell in.

        2. LawBee*

          I think you’re making a lot out of anecdotes and stories. Things change, and I don’t know how you can quantify anything as “exceedingly rare” or “avoidable”. People quit, clients quit, clients get brought on with different needs, things happen in department Q that ripple out to department B in ways that were unanticipated, etc.

    5. LQ*

      I don’t know, I think it is better for a business to go, yeah we’ve interviewed a dozen people and none of them were what we wanted, maybe we need to rethink this before we hire the wrong person, they quit their job, potentially move for it, and then they don’t work out because it wasn’t what we needed.

      I think it’s way more professional to figure that out up front than after they’ve hired someone and suddenly go hey you can’t do L-M-N so you’re fired. And now you’re in a new city with no job.

      1. JP*

        I got hired for an “entry level” job and then was asked to resign 6 weeks later because I had no experience and they didn’t want to train me. I could have stayed at my previous employer; instead they wasted both my time and theirs.

    6. LawBee*

      Disagree – we’ve had to put positions on hold before for exactly those reasons. Someone quit, there was a reallocation of work that would have impacted the new hire, and thus the job description that we’d advertised didn’t match what the job actually would be. I think it’s MORE professional to inform candidates of the change instead of radio silence.

  14. W.*

    Seems the general AAM stance on complaints about the job interview/application process is DON’T.
    When are you allowed to complain? (Also I think it would read a bit nicer if you simply said – I’m sorry that happened to you OP rather than blankly just saying DON’T and why are you taking this so personally, they’re taking it personally because it happened to them, that’s probably not how the employer intended it, but there’s a much nicer way to phrase that.)

    I do think in this case they were disorganized, inconsiderate and the OP should consider that they dodged a bullet and that there is little a complaint would do.

    But I also wonder (in general) how anything ever changes if no one ever complains?

    1. SystemsLady*

      Snarkus Aurelius explains this better than I could above. It sucks, but things like this are a part of the employer/applicant dynamic. Applicants can put employers in a bad position, too.

      I mean, you have a point when talking about abusive or unprofessional interviewers, but in this case, complaining isn’t going to change the mind of whoever at the company said “hey, wait a minute”. OP has no way of knowing why that happened, so that compounds the problem.

      1. SystemsLady*

        (Oof, to be honest I only really read #2 and their #1 is kind of off base. But it’s still a good point, and you may be complaining to somebody who has nothing to do with the decision or agrees with you!)

    2. esra*

      The thing is, change isn’t going to happen from job applicants complaining (unless they’re complaining about something truly egregious/illegal).

      The opinion of strangers applying to your company is less important to most companies than: clients, management, existing employees. If you want to complain as a job applicant, your best bet is probably to do it to friends and family, acknowledging that you’ve learned something valuable about the company (you don’t want to work there, because they suck).

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        I generally agree, however I wonder if it’s a bit different if the company works with a reputable recruiting firm? I could possibly see the well-trusted rep saying something like “the last several candidates were all put off by such and such maybe you should consider doing x instead”.

    3. Kyrielle*

      Generally, when someone *internal* to the system, or newly internal to the system, provides feedback. When a rejected candidate provides feedback, it might get considered, but most of the time it will either come off as sour grapes or entitlement. “Hey, we dodged a bullet” is about the nicest response most hiring managers are likely to have to that sort of thing. It’s more likely that you’ll burn bridges with those people…and it’s possible that some of the people you burn bridges with may later be employed at a company you want to join. It depends in part on how small the industry is, how small the town/area is, and how bad your luck is, of course.

      (The exception is when they’ve done something legally problematic, if you think it’s worth pursuing a formal complaint/suit, but most cases of ‘rude hiring practices’ aren’t going to rise to anything near that level. This one certainly doesn’t.)

      In general, I think it is _very_ worth complaining about things like this…to your friends, to your SO, to your diary, to your bedroom wall. But not so much to the company, because the odds are far more likely that you’ll burn a bridge than that you’ll get them to change practices.

      And, even if they change practices, they are very unlikely to immediately hire you as a result (in fact, they’re probably unlikely to even tell you they’re re-evaluating their practices!), so you still haven’t gotten anything *for yourself*…you may have made life easier for other candidates. Is that really worth the risk that you’ll cost yourself future opportunities, not only there but at other companies?

    4. LBK*

      I wouldn’t say the stance here is that you should never complain, it’s that in most cases a) what appears egregious to the candidate doesn’t seem that bad from an outsider perspective, ergo there’s no real reason to complain and b) there’s rarely anything to be gained from complaining. The company is unlikely to change their ways based on the complaint of a random outsider and they’re certainly not going to change their minds about hiring you. What’s the point?

      In this case I also don’t think there’s anything worth complaining about. Being mildly disorganized, maybe, but going through a hiring process forces you to re-examine the role you’re hiring for. I don’t think it’s odd that you might realize you want that person to be doing something different from what the old person did. Isn’t that better than hiring you into the role and then changing your job description a week later?

      1. BRR*

        Well put. I certainly think many employers are ungodly rude during the hiring process but honestly this doesn’t seem that bad. I think there are a lot of possible explanations such as after interviewing they realized they needed something else, they weren’t feeling the candidate and ended it early, or other internal matters.

        There aren’t many situations where you should complain to the company because it’s not going to result in anything and will do more harm than good. They’re not going to say sorry order offer you a job. They might blacklist you and if those employees move elsewhere might remember you as the candidate who argued with their decision.

      2. W.*

        I wasn’t being specific to the role above, I agree it wouldn’t be worth complaining, but I also dislike the way Alison handled it with a blanket don’t without saying straight away that it was crappy and disorganized of the organization, but there was nothing to be gained from complaining and for all he knows he’s still in the running (but now may not want to be.)

        It just seems like whenever any of these things come up, Alison says don’t complain, walk away, move along. What do you do if they really were egregious? When is it OK to complain? And why shouldn’t you complain -most of us won’t be applying to a place that treated us badly again so why not complain? I understand why we shouldn’t. I guess I’m just annoyed with the general inequality of power and how once you’re working there you’re similarly beholden to the company with little ability to complain.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yes, but Alison’s trying to give advice on how to navigate the business world and get what you want. And honestly, I’m not even sure it was terribly crappy in this circumstance. I can think of a lot of things that could have happened that might lead to this response *even though* they may have been earnest and had a clear description and expectation at the beginning.

          1) None of the candidates were a perfect match, telling them they had a lucky fit with the last person; they have to decide what area(s) they are best positioned to train/cover in.

          2) Same as #1, but two or more candidates brought additional strengths they hadn’t considered that make them realize they might need to shuffle some things *off* an existing employee to the new hire, so the existing employee can take on other duties the new hire can’t.

          Either of those means they have to evaluate current staff and staffing levels, and workloads, and figure out how to rejuggle.

          3) Someone quit, and they need to consider whether they should rebalance what they’re looking for. (For example, the position wasn’t worried about covering Z, only X and Y, because the previous person did all three but they still had Lucinda, who was great at Z. Only Lucinda gave her notice during the last part of the interviews for the position, and now they have to reevaluate whether Z should be in the job description / how they want to hire it.)

          4) If this is the type of organization that is subject to contracting out to clients and/or to grant funding, the contracts or grants changed in an unexpected way.

          5) This is less likely, but the company has bought another company/been sold to another company or one of those things is about to happen. The hiring manager typically wouldn’t know until it was going down unless they were very senior, and would have to hold hiring to figure out the new balance of skills.

          6) One of their people came to them with information about a technological shift or an idea that is too awesome, business-wise, not to pursue – but that requires an additional skill the team doesn’t have, and this opening is their only chance to add it in (unless Lucinda quits, but in that case they have another set of problems).

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            I’ve actually heard of number 5 happening and so they had to freeze all hiring til the dust settles but they didn’t want to tell people that because it wasn’t officially public yet

            1. Kyrielle*

              Lived through it, except we’d just filled positions and had to let people go. It put a complete and silent seal on our office move, though, leaving us all wondering what was going on since our lease was going to be up soon.

        2. Colette*

          We don’t know that it was crappy or disorganized of the company. It’s entirely possible that the company was operating in good faith based in the information that they had, but that something internal changed before they made a hire. It’s frustrating for the OP, but that’s not necessarily because the company is trying to make the process frustrating.

          I really can only think of one situation where I’d complain, and that’s where I had an internal contact and the interviewer was unprofessional (I.e. racist or sexist remarks, being demanding and abrasive, or not being available at the scheduled interview time). In that case, I’d mention to my contact why I wouldn’t be proceeding with the process.

          But really, even if their process is terrible, it’s not the applicant’s job to fix it.

        3. LBK*

          I guess I’m just annoyed with the general inequality of power

          This is where I think your perspective is really going astray – you’re trying to utilize complaining as a way to correct the company/candidate imbalance, but complaining doesn’t give you any more power. A complaint only holds weight when you already have power to begin with, otherwise no one is really going to care what you have to say. It’s an illusion; you think you’ve made a difference by voicing your opinion, but the odds that anything will actually change as a result are really low. You just don’t have the capital as an interviewee to get heard.

          That being said, I get where you’re coming from. Sometimes when you’re faced with what you feel is unfair treatment and complaining at least makes you feel like you did *something* rather than sitting back and taking it. But I think the working world is one place where the concept of “living well is the best revenge” really holds true – if a company screws you over, the best thing you can do is find a great company to work for that makes you happy and pride yourself on knowing that the other company missed out on a great employee. It’s certainly not as satisfying in the short term as telling someone off but it’s definitely better for you as a person in the long run.

          Realistically, employment is such an obligatory aspect of life that the power will always be unbalanced. There will always be people who have to take whatever job they can get to keep a roof over their head and as long as that’s the case, there will be employers who can get away with treating them poorly. I think it’s better for your quality of life to accept that fact rather than living with the perpetual frustration of trying to fight in a situation where you have no weapons and the opponent is invulnerable. The David and Goliath narrative is appealing but they left out all the times before when the little dude got eaten.

          I think one of the best things reading AAM has done for me is help me realign my expectations and show me where I’ve wasted energy on things I can’t change. In some ways it’s empowering to take your time, effort and happiness back from those things – not to give up, but to deliberately choose not to let those things occupy space in your life anymore. It’s freeing to not worry anymore about how to make my boss stop being a jerk or how to make that hiring manager like me more or how to get my coworker to JUST ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION WITH A YES OR A NO NOT A 20 MINUTE SOLILOQUY (okay, maybe I haven’t let that one go just yet).

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I like this, well said. And that is what Alison does, she deals in reality. And the bottom line of reality is,” We all have to eat. So here’s the nuts and bolts of how to keep food on your table.”

    5. Colette*

      In my first post-university job, I had business cards printed. By the time I changed jobs, the only information that was accurate was my name and phone number. Everything else (title, address, fax, email) had changed. A lot of businesses go through a lot of changes in the course of a year. Departments get reorganized, technology changes, people leave or get promoted. Employees have to adapt, which might doing a job they haven’t chosen, getting laid off in favour of someone with different skills, working out if a new location, or changing the hours they work.

      If, in the other hand, the change happens during the hiring process, it makes sense to stop the process until you know what you’re looking for. You’ll end up with people who can do the new job and who want to do the new job.

    6. Shannon*

      Honestly, I would never complain about a crappy interview experience (unless the interviewer did something illegal or immoral). Maybe the OP doesn’t want a job with them now, but, may reapply with them in the future, and his concerns about the company may change in the future.

      Things change when they realize that doing the same thing over and over again gets the same results, and they don’t like those results.

    7. MK*

      As others said, a complaint from a person unconnected to a company won’t change anything, or at least not in the way the complainer would like. Do you know what I would change, if I got the OP’s letter and assuming I agreed that they had been treated inconsiderately? I would think twice before calling non-local candidates for an interview in the future. After all, I couldn’t guarantee their time wouldn’t be “wasted”.

    8. De Minimis*

      I’ve posted negative reviews about my interview experience with companies on Glassdoor before. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I think those can be actually useful depending on what you say and what the issue is. My complaint was not that I didn’t get the job [from their employee reviews it looked like I’d dodged a bullet] just the lack of honesty as far as letting me know where I was in the process–basically telling me they were still looking at people when they’d in fact already hired someone, and never giving me any final rejection.

    9. Turanga Leela*

      “Complain” is probably the wrong word, but I’d send a letter alerting the company if I felt that the interviewer was discriminatory, sexually inappropriate, or weirdly hostile. Basically, I’d do it if I thought there was a real problem in the hiring process or with the person doing the hiring, and it would be less for my benefit than so that the higher-ups knew what the interviewer was doing and could address it.

      1. fposte*

        That’s what I was thinking–alerting somebody higher up that things had gone demonstrably wrong somewhere is legit, though you have to be honest with yourself about your judgment. But just that they were disorganized and the search stalled, or that I was annoyed at the time? Not going to get anything worth the effort.

    10. Ad Astra*

      If you are going to complain about rude or inconvenient hiring practices, the best time to do it is after that company has hired you. My company has asked me for feedback because they value my opinion and want to stay competitive in the hiring process (a large number of our employees work in a high-turnover; it’s one of those jobs where some people get promoted and turn it into a career and other people do it for extra money in college and then leave). Of course, I have to present my feedback much more diplomatically than a rejected candidate would, but at least they’re listening.

    11. Felicia*

      When are you allowed to complain? When whining to your friends. Or to your journal. Or to random strangers on the internet. That’s what they are there for. Go nuts!

      Complaining to the company gets you nothing and makes you look bad. If that’s what you want, go right ahead. Alison’s trying to give advice that helps people, not hurts them.

    12. Rat Racer*

      Our HR team is very open to feedback and does ask all new hires for feedback on their interview/hiring experience (although this only reaches successful candidates, many of them actually have horrible experiences and similar problems with travel, logistics, etc.). We also see many candidates reach out over social media via a hiring specific Twitter/FB account to complain just like how customers complain to airlines and other corporations via social media. While all feedback is addressed and can lead to positive outcome and change, this is a very know-your-audience situation and can be hard to ascertain from the outside if a company’s HR department operates this way. If they do have hiring-specific accounts on social media you could follow to get a sense of their general attitude and responsiveness.

  15. SystemsLady*

    I know you claim you don’t want to work there now, but it’s worth saying – sending a letter like that is a good way to ruin your chances if they’re still considering you, OP. And they may well be – who knows what the problem is and what will happen once things are figured out.

    Not that I’d be getting my hopes up and stopping my job search while I wait, of course.

    Are you eligible for FMLA leave? Not getting paid is not ideal, I know, but as Alison stated, it’s going to be tough interviewing out of town and you might want to be ready to use it if you have to.

    1. Dana*

      That’s what I was coming here to say — it doesn’t even sound like they rejected OP! They just aren’t moving forward with hiring anyone right now. I wouldn’t burn a bridge over this and I know you’re supposed to mentally have moved on already, but I wouldn’t be sending any angry letters to someone that I still might have a shot at a job with.

  16. Amy R*

    I totally get the impulse, but Alison is right. It won’t accomplish anything. Write the email to get it out of your system and send it to a friend!

  17. ro*

    OP- I totally get what you’re feeling.

    But maybe it would help you to just reframe what you experienced. It was definitely annoying and unfortunately, probably par for the course… BUT your end goal is to move closer to family, for all of the benefits you mentioned. The annoyances you are experiencing now will be temporary, once you finally find a job in your new location. It might help to resign yourself to the fact that you may very well eat up *all* of your vacation you set aside for the birth of your child/you’ll need to take unpaid leave when the time comes. And that really, really sucks. But at the end of the day you will not only be closer to your family but you’ll be giving a real gift to your unborn child- they’ll get to grow up close to an extended, loving family. I’m pretty sure you can’t put a price on that. Just keep telling yourself that (while a real pain) these are (temporary) sacrifices you are making for you child. I’m pretty sure you’d take a bullet for your child if you had to. And compared to the bullet analogy, this is probably is bearable. Best of luck!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This. Any time I have made a major change in my life I have had to forego some things that were important to me, in order to hit my goal. OP, you actually have a LOT going on in your life right now. Which things are the ones that absolutely cannot go to the back burner? The answer to that will help you map out a successful plan.

  18. Seal*

    OP – while I feel your pain, I agree with Alison: don’t write a letter of complaint. Last summer I had an out-of-town interview for a managerial job I thought was a perfect fit for me. Not only was it a 2-day interview, I had to give a 45 minute presentation a topic they supplied; I also had to cut short a different out-of-town trip to visit my mother who was recovering from surgery to accommodate the interview schedule. Yet when I got there, while everyone was very nice it was immediately obvious that the organization had not thought this position through. Despite the fact that this would have been an upper-level managerial position supervising several diverse departments, I was asked nothing but softball questions; during the 2 days I was there no one asked me anything specific to the job itself or how anything in my career to date prepared me to do the job for which I was interviewing. My questions about duties, challenges, long-term goals and expectations, etc, were often met with surprise, as if the people I would be working for hadn’t ever considered such things. I was irritated but not surprised when the HR person called me a few weeks later to tell me that they had ultimately decided not to hire anyone because they felt the position was too much for one person. Given that they clearly didn’t know what the position was in the first place I could have argued the point, but to what end? All I could do was chalk it up as an opportunity to practice my interview skills. If another position ever opened up there I doubt that I would apply again; after all, interviewing is a 2-way street and they really didn’t make a very good impression on me.

    1. Jennifer*

      Sounds like an experience my friend had applying for a job recently. They actually were angry at her for asking questions like “Do I have a budget,” refused to give her details about anything and then critiqued the lack of details, etc. I said, “I don’t think they’re hiring you, but I don’t think you want to work there either.”

      I think it’s so bizarre that people hire for jobs and have NO IDEA what the job entails, what the person doing it would do, any of it.

  19. Not Karen*

    “…they posted the job anyway and caused me to come in and use two days of vacation when I need every hour of it to be with my wife when our child is born.”

    They didn’t “cause” you to do anything. You made the choice to use your vacation for an interview.

      1. Colette*

        I actually think that reframing this to recognize that it’s a choice might help the OP. This isn’t something that happened to him; it’s a choice he made – and a good choice, based on the information he had at the time.

          1. Mike B.*

            As I said, I agree with the conclusion that the OP made a deliberate choice (and a wise, informed one) that did not entitle him to a better outcome.

            But owing to factors that were not *entirely* under his control, he now has an even smaller bank of days that he must use both for long-distance job hunting and for attending to his family’s urgent needs. Not Karen’s tone was unnecessarily harsh; it’s quite understandable that OP isn’t responding with absolute rationality.

            The comments of AAM tend to be a clear-eyed, realistic place, but we don’t need to essentially tell someone who’s in a tough spot to just suck it up.

            1. Colette*

              I don’t read Not Karen’s tone as harsh, just as reframing what the OP said. I agree we shouldn’t lose sympathy for the people behind the letters and I understand that the OP is frustrated, I just don’t see the harshness you’re seeing in that comment.

              1. Mike B.*

                I suppose it’s subjective. As I see it, this is not a good time for blunt honesty–the OP has a worrisome problem that he has limited control over, exacerbated by a decision that he wasn’t foolish/selfish/in any way wrong to make. A little gentleness is called for.

        1. I'm a Little Teapot*

          Reframing things like this as a choice has never been helpful to ke, because to me that says “this is your fault, your feelings are invalid, so STFU” and pisses me off more. Maybe other people find it helpful, but I find it rather insulting.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            A lot of people find that it helps give them back a feeling of control, and that’s helpful. For example, you could feel frustrated and angry about your awful boss all the time, or you could recognize that you’re choosing to stay there because you love the pay and the short commute. The second option is usually much better for your state of mind.

            1. I'm a Little Teapot*

              I’ve often been in situations where anger was the only power I felt I had. I’d say a kid that “they can make me do X, but they can’t make me like it,” and as an adult, in my old bad jobs with awful bosses, I would think about how despicable they were and imagine awful things happening to them while they berated me, didn’t pay me, etc. Not being angry at them and seeing it as my choice to be there, as I see it, would have meant surrendering, giving up my only means of defiance, and unjustly blaming myself for what someone else did.

              Maybe I just have a strange way of looking at the world.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Hmmm. So this is perhaps really overstepping, but … are you happy that way? That sounds really drained and misery-inducing to me! Different things work for different people, but I think more often than not, understanding that you’re choosing X (say, a bad boss) because you prefer it to Y (job searching or a longer commute or unemployment) actually makes people feel happier and more peaceful.

                If your way is bringing you peace and happiness, carry on with it! But what you describe sounds like a tough way to look at things.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  I don’t think the goal is peace and happiness. I think the goal is to survive today and pray that some day will be better.

                  Anger is a mighty powerful survival tool. As a life habit, it’s a bad plan, of course. But people can go through very angry periods in their lives and that anger is what pushes them forward and eventually gets them out of the pit they have fallen into.

                  I have been in too many jobs where there was lots of anger floating about. Anger is for people who still care. Apathy is for people who have given up entirely. You can help the former group, you can’t help the latter group as they have checked out.

                  Consider it this way: You are thrown into a tank of sharks. You are not going to get out of it by trying to guess every possible thing that could happen. You get out of it by acting quickly and decisively. Some people use anger to get to that high level of energy necessary to cope, to think fast/smart and eventually get out. We are talking about huge amounts of energy. A person at a decent job does not need energy levels like this.

                2. GH in SoCAl*

                  A wise friend once brought me a phrase he’d gleaned from one of those empowerment seminars. The phrase is “I’d rather.” And I, at least, do find it very empowering. So instead of, “I have to go to work today, ugh,” I turn it into, “I’d rather go to work today than have to explain my absence/double tomorrow’s workload/harm my reputation.” “I can’t eat pizza! Waah!” becomes “I’d rather skip the pizza than start taking lifelong blood pressure medication.” Absent an actual gun to our heads, there’s very little we *have* to do. I find that after recognizing the less-desired alternative — getting fired, disappointing my mother, getting tooth decay — then I genuinely *would* rather do my job, hassle with travel, and brush my teeth.

              2. LBK*

                So this is what I don’t understand – how does being angry equate to being defiant? How does that give you power? It’s not doing anything – the type of manager that’s going to make you mad usually doesn’t give a shit whether you’re mad at them or not. I can’t understand how silently stewing in your cube is an act of defiance.

                If anything, anger signifies a lack of power because you’re succumbing to the impact your environment has on you. You’re not choosing to do anything in that scenario – you’re just letting your natural reaction play out. Your power comes from saying “I’m not going to let you ruin my life by doing shitty things to me”.

          2. Colette*

            I’m not intending to say it’s his fault, just to point out that he could choose differently if what he’s doing isn’t getting him what he wants. He could, for example, choose only to interview via Skype and decline all in-person interviews. He could schedule a trip to the new city and try to book multiple interviews. He could ask for interviews on weekends. He could devote his vacation time to the job search and take unpaid time when the baby is born.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I was mentioning a similar idea, above. I agree. It’s time to rethink the strategy to this plan. Approach from a different angle and see if that changes anything.

  20. Mike B.*

    I think it’s enough that you expressed your concern, were rebuffed, and then the fit wasn’t right anyway–they must realize they jerked you around a bit, if unintentionally. Unless they’re monsters (which they may well be), they’re probably thinking about how they might be more accommodating to future candidates.

    Be nothing but gracious in your reply. You don’t want to be the guy whose resume goes in the trash two years from now because somebody remembers how antagonistic you were in a previous encounter.

  21. Ad Astra*

    I can totally understand the OP’s frustration, but the company didn’t do anything that was out of line. It would be reasonable to decide this isn’t a place you want to work, but it’s not reasonable to respond with an unsolicited critique of their hiring process, even if you think it’s tactfully written.

  22. Bostonian*

    I’ve seen this from the other side, a bit: you put together a job description for a marketing and technology job, and you get some candidates with great marketing backgrounds but weaker tech skills, and some who can rock the tech side but their marketing experience isn’t there. You interview the best candidates but realize you aren’t going to get exactly what you want all in one person – it turns out the person who just left the job had a unique background and blend of skills. So then you have to take some time to think through what you really need, which pieces of the work can be rearranged given the skills of the existing staff, what the department’s priorities are likely to be over the next couple of years, whether you’re better off hiring a part-time employee and a contractor instead of a full-time position, etc.

    The language this company used makes me think that you weren’t what they were looking for, but none of the other candidates were, either, and they couldn’t tell that in advance just from your resumes. It sucks that they didn’t realize it before the second round of interviews, though.

  23. Ann O'Nemity*

    I don’t blame the LW for being pissed. He blew 2 of his measly 10 vacation days (20% of annual total!) to travel for unnecessary interviews for a job that turned out to be non-existent.

    Still, it’s one of those things that you gripe about with your loved ones, but not an occasion for a formal complaint. There’s little to be gained, and plenty that could be lost. The LW may find themselves applying for a job with this company, this hiring manager, or one of their colleagues in the future. (And if that happens, let’s hope they have their stuff together before advertising the job and bringing in out-0f-town candidates.)

  24. Jesse*

    Yeah, I get being mad, but agree that letting them know that is not worth your while.

    When I was relocating one time, more than once I showed up for the interview to have them tell me they were considering me for a lower-level job than the one I had applied for. I wouldn’t have taken the four-hour bus ride for that job! Super annoying.

    One thing I did do was multi-task on the trips — I tried to have multiple interviews and/or look at apartments each time I was there.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I had the old switcher-roo a lot when I was first working. I assumed they thought they could do that because I was “young and stupid”. Looking back on it, I think in reality they were not the most ethical companies around.

  25. Art Vandelay*

    To be honest, I’m hearing a lot of entitlement and perhaps a bit of naiveté at how the whole process works.

    As someone who has no kids, I’m also totally over people thinking the world owes them concessions for having them.

    1. Christian Troy*

      I’ve done the long distance job search long enough that I’ve encountered people who didn’t think flying out on my own dime was a big deal or driving on short notice to an interview hours away was unreasonable. I don’t think it’s entitlement as much as it’s confusing for both sides: the interviewers assume because you’re applying for a job out of state you’re willing to drop everything and travel and the interviewee assumes that because they are applying from out of state and being invited to interview out of state, the company sees them as a serious, competitive candidate and is willing to work with them through the interview process.

    2. Turanga Leela*

      In place of “I need every hour of [leave] to be with my wife when our child is born,” substitute “I need every hour of leave to be with my wife when she has abdominal surgery.” This isn’t about flexible schedules or other accommodations for being a parent, this is about being with a family member (actually, two family members) during a major medical event. The OP’s wife will likely be hospitalized for 2 days, and she won’t be able to hold or otherwise care for their older child. If there are complications, the wife may be in the hospital longer, or the baby may need to be in the NICU, and in either case the OP will want to be with them.

      1. Not me*


        I am also irritated with parents’ entitlement sometimes, Art Vandelay, but I don’t think OP’s an example of that. The way he’s feeling here is really understandable (the only problem is that writing to the company about it isn’t going to get him what he wants).

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I don’t see entitlement, he is trying to work with in the confines of what his employer is offering. His time is at a premium and he feels the interviewing company missed that point entirely, after he was careful to say, “hey, my time is at a premium. I will come if you really think I stand a solid chance.” Well, he stood no chance because the job became vapor.

      1. Colette*

        Agreed. If the OP wanted to use vacation for a trip/hobby/home improvement project, losing those vacation days would also be irritating.

      2. Art Vandelay*

        Okay, I see everyone’s points. But personally for me, bringing family health issues into the discussion is not how I would open the dialogue with a perspective interviewer.

      3. Ad Astra*

        Agreed. I have a problem with the sense of entitlement some working parents exhibit, but I’m just not seeing it here. If I spent 20% of my PTO auditioning for American Idol and it didn’t work out, I’d be upset. And if I knew I’d need to save as much PTO as possible for a square dancing convention at the end of the year, I’d be double upset. It doesn’t really matter what event is so important to the OP*, it just matters that he feels like he wasted that PTO.

        *I get that a job interview and the birth of a child would be more important and less optional/frivolous than an American Idol audition and a square dancing convention, but for the sake of example, let’s assume this person lives for American Idol and square dancing and has no family to take care of.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Yeah I agree but I think he’s just under a very stressful situation overall.

    3. Some2*

      I agree. Privilege, privilege, privilege, all over this letter. OP insists that he’s a “good writer” (because he writes part-time for a newspaper? that does not a good writer make…), and he insists that he would be able to write his complaint straightforwardly and matter-of-factly, but his letter to Alison is brimming with entitlement and there’s nothing straightforward or matter-of-fact about it. He sounds like a guy that thinks the world owes him something – this company owes him a Skype or Facetime interview whether they want to hire that way or not, and they owe him an explanation for not hiring him because blah blah blah. This is the way things work, dude. Sorry you got a bum deal, but I’m not reading a lot to be sympathetic about.

      1. Not me*

        He sounds like he wrote this while he was pretty upset. That tends to come through more strongly than you expect.

        I’d hate for my writing skills or professionalism to be judged on a meltdown letter to Alison (and yes, I’ve sent one, no, it wasn’t published, thank God).

        (I don’t want to get too into defending OP here, which I’m not super invested in, but I feel like the comments are getting kind of harsh.)

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Yes. And at least he had the good sense to write in here instead of blasting them. This was just a sanity check.

      2. amaranth16*

        I think this is unnecessarily hostile. It bothers me to see the comments here get so uncivil.

      3. Katie the Fed*

        That’s pretty harsh. It reads to me like someone who is under a ridiculous amount of stress (new baby! Moving! finding a new job!) and had to schedule around this potential job and is really frustrated and disappointed. We’ve all been there. Well, maybe you haven’t but I definitely have been and I know when have so many big changes in your life – things that would normally seem like regular disappoints start to feel like monumental injustices.

      4. BRR*

        Wow. Even if you have certain feelings about the LW, your language could have been more civil in expressing your thoughts.

    4. BRR*

      I didn’t get that at all, and I am also over people thinking the world needs to bend over backwards for kids.

      Take out the background info and you have someone who had to use up 20% of their PTO. I get where the anger is coming from but I also know it’s just part of the hiring process.

    5. Andrea*

      Yeah, I see some of that, too. I still feel bad for the OP because if I had gotten an email like that, I would also feel a little taken aback by it—but then again, I get the sense that OP thought he would be able to bank all of those meager vacation days for the birth of his child AND find a job in New City all via Skype and without having to go there in person. I think that is not realistic. And I get the impression that maybe the second interview didn’t go all that well, because it was so brief, though as Alison pointed out, that’s not always an indication. OP, you might just have to plan as if all or most of that vacation time is going to get used up with the job search, and you might have to take a day or two off unpaid for the birth of your child. Perhaps a family member can come and stay and help you and your wife when she has the baby.

      Also, OP, my husband and I were in a similar situation a few years ago when we were looking to move to a city two hours away, and he was looking for a job (I work remotely and can work from anywhere). He had a few weeks banked, but he didn’t want to have to use all of his vacation time for interviewing if possible; he wanted to save it for the move and getting settled in our new place (we did our house hunting on weekends). He was able to schedule interviews first thing in the morning, get up extra early and drive to the interview, have the interview, and then turn around and come back and go to work, missing only half a day, or sometimes staying later to make up a few hours. Maybe that would be an option for you next time? Yeah, it kind of sucked, and it made for a long day, but it did accomplish the goal—and he only had to do it a couple of times before he found a great job. And I know that job searching remotely can be a pain in the ass for sure, but since you are just a few hours away, you might have more flexibility than you realize: It’s not as if you are across the country, having to pay for flights and hotels and travel very long distances. Next time, you might even be able to schedule an early morning interview and go down the night before and stay with family, then go straight to your current job after the interview in New City.

  26. Christian Troy*

    Earlier this year I spent $$ and time flying to an out of state interview after a phone interview/screen. In retrospect, I wish I would have pushed a lot harder for a Skype interview before making this decision but I did so because I was desperate for a job and it seemed close enough to the type of role I wanted, or so I thought. I also thought that because the interviewer/hiring manager knew I was coming from out of state and spending money to go, it would signal how serious I felt about the position. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t treated so great by the hiring manager and felt angry at myself, at her, the entire situation.

    It really sucks to spend the time, energy and money on some non-existent job offer. But as others have pointed out, if you apply to jobs long distance you will have to more than likely make some uncomfortable decisions when it comes to time and money to travel places. For me, I try to ask to Skype before making a trip out, but I also know realistically people have the freedom to decline or not alter their interview protocol on account of me so I try to be somewhat flexible. There’s always a risk with these things, either you’ll be passed on because of asking for “special treatment” or drive three hours and end up with no offer.

  27. JuniorMinion*

    It sounds like this is just a bad situation all around, but not one in which anyone is at fault. If I were the OP I would mentally prepare myself to use all my vacation if I am doing a long distance job search, especially if its a field where there would be lots of skilled local candidates. I have to imagine your employer would give you the leeway to be at the actual birth of your child. I’ve worked with guys who attended their child’s birth and then were back in ofc. 24 hours later. I don’t think it was awesome, but sometimes things don’t jive the way you would ideally want them to.

  28. Nanc*

    Maybe I’m a crab-ass, but this bugged me: “so they can assist with child care while we work, which will greatly alleviate the expense of paying for child care.”

    OP, please budget to pay your family for child care. I’m guessing you’re talking about retired parents or stay-at-home folks, but really, while I’m sure they would love to do you a huge favor, you’re impacting their time and lifestyle. Figure out how to give them at the very least, a few hundred dollars a month, and treat them as professionals, meaning being on-time for drop offs, pick ups, etc.

    In the mean time, good luck with the job hunt and getting ready for the expanded family.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      I don’t think you’re being a crab-ass, but this would be foreign to many families. In most families I know who have done this, the grandparents provide free childcare, and the way they protect their lifestyle is to limit the time and duties for which they are available—they only watch the kids three days a week, they’re off evenings and weekends, they don’t do other household chores, and so on.

      It’s different if the grandparents aren’t financially stable, but my parents would laugh in my face if I offered to pay them to watch their grandkids. They’re not always available, but money has nothing to do with it.

      Totally agree about respecting caregivers’ time and schedules by not being late or making last-minute schedule changes.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I thought OP was lucky to have family to help out. Our parents would have said, “Your problem, not mine.” I think it is wise of OP to want his kids connect to the grandparents and other family and if they are willing to pitch in, OP is a very, very fortunate person.

    2. LisaLisa*

      I think this is venturing a little too far into OP’s personal matters. Some family would want to be compensated and some would think that was unbelievably strange. I don’t think we know enough about OP to be giving a directive on this matter.

  29. Katie the Fed*

    Aw, OP – I TOTALLY get your frustration. Plus you’re probably super stressed with the move and the baby on the way and wanting to find a new job, so this is all that much more frustrating.

    But yeah, I think if you take a step back and think about this objectively (and you might not be in a place to do that right now) you’ll realize this is how some interviews go. Job postings get pulled, interviews don’t work out, and sometimes you just don’t get the job. That sucks and I’m sorry you’re so frustrated.

    There’s really nothing to gain from telling them off, but you could always swing by the Friday Open Thread and kvetch with the rest of us :)

    1. Kyrielle*

      Yes, absolutely! It bites, and being unhappy about it and complaining to friends (or internet acquaintances) is totally reasonable. Just because complaining to the company is unlikely to work doesn’t mean it’s not worth complaining about in a different environment. :)

  30. OP/Letter Writer*

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    As for the “what do you hope to gain” question – I want to spare a future applicant going through the same thing I did. I don’t think it’s right that companies can just post jobs, interview people, get their hopes up only to realize they didn’t have their ducks in a row as to knowing what the job would entail. Even if an employee left unexpectedly and that caused them to reevaluate the role, how long could that take? If it happened to me, with the people I manage, I could have thought through it in an hour or less, come up with a solution and continued the search. I wouldn’t have abandoned it all together.

    My biggest problem was the 2nd interview for a few reasons. 1. It was SO unnecessary. They didn’t ask me any hard hitting questions about the job. It was just “tell us about yourself” and “what do you like to do for fun?” It was almost like they were just seeing what my personality is like, to see if I’d fit in with the team. It was basically just a chat session with two other guys who asked me about my sports interests and such. 2. Even if they used their iphones, it could have easily been done via FaceTime (they both had them as they set them on the conference room table). There was no reason for me to be there again. If the company was considerate, they would have realized how far away I was and could have had me meet with them when I was there the first time if an in-person meeting was so important. I would have stayed longer to do so, especially with how short and non-important the second interview turned out to be.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      “I don’t think it’s right that companies can just post jobs, interview people, get their hopes up only to realize they didn’t have their ducks in a row as to knowing what the job would entail. ”

      Well, here’s the thing – interviews and hiring are expensive and time-consuming from the company’s end, so they’re probably not just doing it for the hell of it. They also might be going through restructuring of budget woes that have them re-evaluating the need for this position.

      1. Christian Troy*

        I don’t think that’s entirely true, maybe some fields/companies are less likely to do that but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from a hiring manager that they will only fill the position if the right person comes along. They’re also very happy with taking months to fill a position and keep it open as long as it takes.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          yes but that doesn’t mean they’re doing interviews just for the sake of it – they’re trying to find the right candidate. They’re doing it in good faith – whereas OP is implying that the company in this case wasn’t operating in good faith.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Agreeing with Katie here — that doesn’t mean they’re doing interviews for the hell of it; they’re able to wait for the right person to come along, which isn’t unreasonable or jerking people around.

      2. Dan*

        I have to figure that the OP created this situation himself a bit. He starts out in the original describing the job that he would be “perfect” for, and how everything is just going to work out perfectly if he gets this job. And then he doesn’t get the job, and his world comes crashing down.

        I mean, I got laid off right after sequestration two years ago. Prior to that, the company was forcing us to burn PTO to make the $ stretch. Was it fair that they made me burn it and then laid me off right after that? No, but there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

        1. BRR*

          Yeah the word perfect always makes me wince now (if that’s an appropriate add on to your comment).

    2. Colette*

      Getting your hopes up (or nots) is on you, not them. I understand it’s disappointing, but I think you’re taking this more personally that it’s meant.

      Reorganizing job duties sounds easy, but you have to consider who else is available, what they want to do, and what else you can hire for. It could be that someone else, but it could also be going from 20 people down to 17. There may be times when it’s fast, but a lot of times it’s a complex process, particularly when it involved multiple levels of decision makers.

      Would you be happier if they’d done an hour long assessment and decided you didn’t have the right skills?

      It sounds like the second interview was about fit, not technical skill and, while it would have been easier to you to do that right after the first interview, they may not have known at that point whether you’d be getting a second interview.

      It seems to me that the interview to have done via Skype would have been the first one, making it clear that you’d be happy to travel for another interview if they thought you epwere a strong candidate.

    3. Laurel Gray*

      “It was almost like they were just seeing what my personality is like, to see if I’d fit in with the team.”

      Even though I read this in its full context with the mention of being asked about sports and other interests, I think it is VERY important for a hiring manager to learn in the interview process. Fit is just as important as skills for the most part.

      1. LizNYC*

        It’s important to ensure a culture fit on both sides, since you’ll be spending most of your waking hours with them. It would have been worse for them to hire you, realize it’s not a good fit for them, and then let you go because of it (it happens!) after you’ve moved to the area.

        If you didn’t have a baby on the way, would your attitude toward the two on-site interviews be different? It’s really not the hiring company’s that your current company has crappy benefits and you have your vacation earmarked for something else. You initially contacted them, (in theory) with the understanding that you would be interested in pursuing this opportunity long distance should they show interest.

        As for the job description thing, it’s possible while the original description mentioned X, Y and Z, other candidates they interviewed also had A, B, and C, and now the hiring manager is considering how those skills would fit in the existing department.

    4. Dan*

      I’ve found companies who are used to hiring long distance are better at “compacting” the interviews into one day. Companies who typically hire local are less concerned about that. I had a local interview once where they called me in for an unexpected second interview a day or two later just to reject me on the spot. I was a bit like WTF? And had I had travel expenses associated with that, I would have been irritated.

      But as AAM points out earlier, there’s just no practical way for a candidate to provide meaningful feedback to an employer about their hiring process. They’re not out to waste your time or theirs for no reason, but sometimes it happens. When it does, they probably realize it, and don’t need you to point it out to them. I mean, local candidates likely have jobs too, and they still have to deal with time off, although not as much. But they’re not thinking about how badly they *really* want you to come in a second time unless they are footing your expenses.

    5. some1*

      It also could be that the two people who did your second interview just weren’t available for the first interview. There’s lots of things that can take priority over interviews, even when it would have been more conveneinet for you to meet everyone the first day.

      1. BRR*

        And they sound more senior which where I have worked, you don’t schedule with somebody super high up until the final round.

    6. Ad Astra*

      I’m with you about the second interview feeling like a poor use of your time, and I agree that FaceTime and Skype are extremely accessible technologies that shouldn’t pose a problem. But there are so many variables in this situation — including many internal details we aren’t privy to — and I’m not at all confident this situation would happen to another candidate. Even if it did, not everyone shares your priorities, so I wouldn’t expect every candidate to be as upset about the situation as you are. Your frustration is justified, but that doesn’t mean the company’s actions were egregious.

      And even though you say you don’t mind burning this bridge, I think you should avoid it just the same. You could change your mind about this company. Or you might find yourself applying to a different company down the road, only to discover the hiring manager used to work at the inconsiderate company and was not impressed with your complaint.

    7. BRR*

      This is incredibly frustrating. I totally get your position. You had to take time when in the end they decided to not hire anybody.

      This isn’t going to spare future candidates though. They might even know it sucks for you. You mention you would be able to restructure in an hour but that’s not the case for every employer. I think a lot of scenarios have been given that are both plausible and reasonable. Does it suck for you, absolutely. But it’s the nature of hiring.

      The interview issue is ridiculous. I agree.

    8. MsM*

      “It was almost like they were just seeing what my personality is like, to see if I’d fit in with the team.”

      In their defense, I think that is something that’s a lot easier to gauge in person than via Skype. Granted, I also think it should take more than 25 minutes to figure that out unless it’s clear this is a bad fit, and I agree they should’ve made more of an effort to have you meet everyone in person once rather than bringing you back twice. But not everyone would have the same reservations about doing that you would (or the same vacation constraints), and you can’t really presume to speak on their behalf.

    9. fposte*

      When you say “spare a future applicant going through the same thing I did,” what specifically do you mean? That they won’t interview out of town candidates anymore? That they will go through the motions of a tougher interview even if they’ve decided midway that they’re not seeing the fit they’d hoped?

      Those are the likely things that they’d change, and I don’t think they’re what you want. What you do want, I think, is for employers to know 100% what they want all through a job search, and for higher-ups in companies to prioritize hiring over making money when they plan their time commitments. And I don’t think you’re ever going to get either of those.

    10. Meg Murry*

      OP, can I make a suggestion? Go ahead and write that letter/email. Just do it in notepad or Microsoft Word or with a paper and pen, not your email client, and DO.NOT.SEND.IT. Just file it away, or better yet, delete it.

      Maybe writing out how frustrated you are with this company, in addition to this letter to Alison will help you get that out of your system. And then move on. Does the situation suck? Yes. Is your letter going to change anything? No, except possibly burning a few bridges in the town you are trying to move to, and to take you off of the company’s “maybe we’ll hire this guy for a different role” list into the NOPE.NOPE.NOPE. list. Or sour this company to ever interviewing out of town candidates again.

      Good luck to you on your job search, and try to put this one bad experience behind you.

      1. Knit Pixie*

        I like your suggestion Meg Murray. I done that several times, wrote a nasty letter to a company and deleted them… however beware. Just like posting on this site: once it’s written it can be VERY hard not to send/post.

        (I am proud of myself. There was 28 more lines of pointlessness following this that I just deleted because they weren’t adding to the proceedings! Progress. One step at a time…)

    11. Mostly Lurker*

      It was almost like they were just seeing what my personality is like, to see if I’d fit in with the team.

      Yes, that’s actually a very valid reason to interview someone in person, particularly when they may be having difficulty choosing between a couple of highly qualified (on paper) candidates. I think it’s actually a good sign, that they care about team dynamics.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      I really get the point about there was no reason for you to be there. As a non-sports person, I would have found this interview wildly unfair. It’s for a job, not to play baseball/whatever. I would be ticked. Especially, if I had to drive 3 hours to talk about sports which I know very little about.

      I am wondering if there were other more subtle things that are perking in the background here, that you saw but are not thinking about at this moment. This very good company, doesn’t seem like it is very good in your mind. Maybe that is the real issue, it’s just not a company for you, even though you want to think it is. If our words do not console you, or bring you down off the ceiling, perhaps your real answer is this company is not for you.

      I have had that, where I really thought that working at X would be so great and it would solve so many problems. Then I had a strong negative reaction to something I saw on the interview. I felt that my reaction was greater than called for. It took me a while, but I learned that meant the company was not for me. And that was unsettling because on the surface it would have helped me in so many ways. How can this be? I don’t know, but there it is anyway.

  31. Becca*

    I still don’t get my head around of only having 10 holidays. I live in the UK and receive 34 days including bank holidays, and I just started with the company a few months ago. I always played with the thought of moving to the states or another country far away, but that and the insurance situation makes me hesitant and definitely stay in the EU.

    1. Retail Lifer*

      Don’t. I can’t even fathom 34 days off duting the year, and I keep having to bow out of consideration when I find out how much insurance is. I make too much to get subsidies, so I HAVE to get it through an employer, and that employer has to be large enough to get volume discounts.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I need to program the site to have an automatic response when this comes up: It varies widely by field and seniority. Lots of people in the U.S. have generous vacation leave; lots don’t. Hesitance is reasonable, since there aren’t guarantees here; just be aware that there’s tons of variation, rather than it being all paltry sums.

      1. Becca*

        Yes, I can understand that you are getting annoyed of this, but it´s just such an obscene idea to most Europeans that not everyone has access to the same basics (no matter if minimum wage worker or upper management and so on), such as federally mandated paid vacation time, national insurance on the cheap (I pay for example roughly $130/month) or paid maternity leave for up to a year or more. I know that the States are much bigger than Europe, but it´s still one country and those things just make people more productive, as well as it makes employees very satisfied with their workplace in general.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, I know it is obscene to Europeans. But I don’t know that it needs to be gone over every single time a mention of vacation days comes up here.

        2. Stranger than fiction*

          Yeah but don’t you guys pay like 60% taxes in order to get all those niceties?

          1. Persnicket*

            No. No we don’t. I currently pay 20% income tax here in the UK and get all of those things. And it is TOTALLY worth it.

            1. Musereader*

              and 12% NI as well which is basically tax under another name, but that is still only 32% overall

                1. Cath in Canada*

                  that’s a sales tax, not an income tax, and isn’t applied to every item. e.g. most non-processed (and some processed) food is exempt, as are children’s clothes, safety gear etc.

    3. Kyrielle*

      And the company I’m working at used to give 24 days PTO, plus 10 days holiday, so very much like your setup. Now, we have “unlimited” PTO at manager’s discretion, but about 24-ish days seems to be “the norm” since that’s what it was before.

      The company I was in before started you out at 10 days vacation + 6 days sick + 10 holidays, and by ten years you’d be up to 20 days vacation (sick and holidays didn’t change). The company that bought them actually gave full-timers a few more days in a single PTO bank, I think it maxed out at 30 for 10+ years’ tenure.

      It’s totally possible to get a job here with _no_ paid vacation, but all that means is that if you decide to move, you should investigate what the holiday, vacation, and sick time policies are, as well as the insurance – and be picky about what you’ll move for. :)

    4. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      I get more than that in the US – 22 days vacation, 12 days sick, and 11 paid holidays, and 2 floating holidays. That’s 47. Granted, I don’t need to use all the sick time, but at least I don’t end up losing my vacation when I’m sick.

      1. Becca*

        Is there a difference between vacation and paid holidays? I have 34 paid holidays (in general is it UK law that if you work 5 days a week you are entitled to min. 28 days paid holiday) and at least 20 sick days per year (law) or even more, but that´s up to my managers discretion.

        1. Ad Astra*

          I think it’s just a difference in dialect.

          In the U.S., we really only use “holiday” to refer to a federal, state, or religious holiday like Christmas or Labor Day. Companies might give somewhere between 7 and 11 paid holidays, which typically means you get paid for those days when the office is closed. (This gets a little more complicated if you work at a place that stays open on holidays, like a newspaper or a police station.)

          Vacation, on the other hand, is the term we use to describe normal working days that we choose to take off while the rest of the company is running as normal. Some companies lump sick days in with vacation days, while others have a third “pot” of time off specifically for illness and injury.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, in the U.S. it’s usually stated as X vacation days that you can use however you want, X holidays that come on specific federal holidays (Christmas, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc. — there are usually about 10-11 of them), and X sick days. Some companies combine sick and vacation into one PTO pot (Paid Time Off), but the paid holidays are still separate from that.

        3. Merry and Bright*

          The 28 days can include the statutory bank holidays though. Outside that there is no legal obligation to pay you for statutory for statutory days such as Christmas day. There is no statutory right to paid sick days either so your employer doesn’t have to pay any unless they are written into an employment contract. You can apply for SSP instead if you meet the conditions. It is all on the employment pages of gov dot co dot UK.

          This isn’t a mini rant but I think it’s important to be realistic.

    5. LBK*

      Well, one thing that might be skewing perception is that in the US we don’t usually include holidays where the office is closed in counting vacation time, which it sounds like you’re including in your 34 days? Not sure if that’s the standard way of counting it in the UK but here your vacation time/PTO usually refers just to your elective paid time off. If I include required holidays, I have the same amount of time as you and I only started with 5 days less when I was hired (started with 29 total and got an extra week in my third year).

      1. Becca*

        In the UK most businesses are only closed on 25.-26.12. plus the 1.1., so you can take the bank holidays off but you don´t have to if the office isn´t closed. And mine is only closed on those three days, which would be my chosen off days anyway.

        1. Soharaz*

          Yes but we get the bank holidays off (and included in our 28 day allowance) where public holidays in the States (like MLK Day…maybe? I haven’t been home in a while) aren’t included in the holiday allowance (as far as I am aware)

      2. Tau*

        Job-searching in the UK I’m pretty sure I saw both varieties in adverts, which was really confusing when trying to figure out benefits. In my job now, bank holidays (of which there are 8 total per year, I believe) are added into my general holiday pool – the office isn’t closed on any holiday, but I can request them off like any other day, and thankfully coverage isn’t an issue so me taking Christmas off isn’t a problem.

        …unless my company succeeds in forcing me to use holiday for surgery and recovery time. Just in case any European was patting themselves on the back about how great we have it… it isn’t all roses over here either.

        1. LBK*

          So…I’m confused, if the office is open on bank holidays do you have to use up vacation time to take those days off? Or is it just like, this is a bank holiday, come in if you feel like it or don’t and it doesn’t impact you either way? Or do you get 8 days added to your general vacation time pool that it’s assume you’ll use to take off bank holidays, but you don’t have to?

          In the US, if you want to take a day off that the office isn’t already closed, you have to spend vacation time, period (with the possible exception of floating holidays, which means there will usually be a few holidays selected throughout the year and you choose one of them to take off for free, but those aren’t as common).

          1. Tau*

            Or do you get 8 days added to your general vacation time pool that it’s assume you’ll use to take off bank holidays, but you don’t have to?

            This one! Although I don’t think it’s assumed we’ll take off bank holidays, apparently for the non-major bank holidays (aka, not Christmas or New Year) a lot of people come into work and use the days for something else instead. It basically amounts to eight extra vacation days and the office open always.

  32. MLT*

    While you may think a complaint letter will make people feel bad about your being put out by their process, in actual fact it may make them think, “Whew, we dodged a bullet. If this guy is willing to complain this early in the game just because we have to shift directions, then he is not the right hire for us.” On the other hand, a positive note from you saying that you understand (or even that you are disappointed because it sounded like a job that you could excel at and you were really excited about working with them), and you hope you will be considered when they finalize the job description might make them think, “Wow. Team player. Let’s look at him again.”

    1. Retail Lifer*

      Even though it will be painful and you’ll hate every minute of writing it, this is a great idea.

  33. Katie the Fed*

    Oh also, if you do write back, you might be burning that bridge. There’s always the possibility they figure out the job and decide “oh, remember that guy who drove here twice for interviews? we really liked him!”

    But if you write back with an email complaining about how rude they were, you’re burning that bridge.

    1. Brooke*

      Yep. If I was on the fence about bringing a candidate back in, this type of email would put a candidate firmly in the “no” pile because I’d fear that that person would write similar emails to clients/customers/peers if disappointed by them.

      Also, FWIW, I’ve benefited during job searches by reminding myself that people involved in hiring are often involved with the process ON TOP OF their regular day-to-day duties and that timelines shift as a result. And I agree, 2 interviews is by no means excessive.

    2. Persephone Mulberry*

      Yeah. The OP says that they don’t want to work there anymore anyway based on this, but if push comes to shove and it comes down to having a job in Hometown vs not, and they liked everything about the company and experience up to this point, they might feel differently.

  34. Retail Lifer*

    OP, I get it. I wasted most of my time off on interviews all this year and nothing has worked out. So now it’s August and I only have two more paid days off for the rest of the year, and since I don’t get sick time I have to save them. No more interviews for me this year unless they can agree to doing them off hours.

  35. Recruit-O-Rama*

    I certainly feel for you, this is a very stressful time for you and your wife, also great, but stressful too! :) I know it’s really hard to not take it personally, but it really doesn’t sound like they did anything egregious or even out of the norm. As much as I have tried to get my HMs onboard with skype or facetime for long distance candidates, many of them just don’t like the format and prefer to press flesh when it comes to hiring decisions. You already have a disadvantage being a long distance candidate, don’t make it harder on yourself by making the the kind of hill you die on.

    Also, it’s really disheartening to see so many people comment on the common impression that companies “don’t care” Maybe some of them don’t, but most of them do care about their reputation. I know I certainly care about how candidates look at our hiring process, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the beginning of the onboarding process which is step one in a retention plan. But it is an imperfect process with a lot of unpredictable variances and really every single candidate who isn’t hired has the high potential to feel mistreated, even if they were not mistreated, simply because they were not chosen.

    From the “other side” many, many candidates are rude, unprofessional and entitled throughout the process too. I know that I get treated like crap by people looking for a job from my company on a daily basis. I try to take it in stride and focus on the good people we bring onboard.

    Good luck with your job search and with your new baby!

  36. voluptuousfire*

    I don’t blame the OP. There’s nothing worse than going to a job interview and feeling like your time has been wasted.

    OP, why not write that response in a word document and then just delete it? This way you get rid of any residual frustration and you technically said what you wanted to say, just not directly to them.

  37. Laurel Gray*

    OP, I have seen what happens on somewhat of a flip side of this. Two years ago a manager at my company created a job. The job description was so ambiguous. A person was hired and was doing ABC functions starting out. Soon it turned into DEF then GHI. No one really knew what she did exactly. Was she just goofing off or busy? It was hard to tell since it wasn’t exactly a butt in seat job nor were there any real metrics to judge her performance. Fast forward 18 months later when the company wants to cut some of the staffing budget and her job is the first to go. It was so unfortunate because many of us do work here that would have been better for her so that we could focus on other projects. I felt bad seeing her leave as she had a 65-70 mile commute each way and couldn’t find any other position in the company. Here it is 2015 and another manager has come up with a similar position only it isn’t ambiguous, has a set description with duties, metrics, and goals and we recently hired an internal transfer.

  38. Guera*

    Ok, I think your anger is misdirected. I think you are (or really should be) angry at the lack of time off with your current company. The policy stinks. Having said that, the only time you can really provide this type of feedback is after you are hired. At Former Job the hiring manager was open to this type of feedback from new hires and realized their hiring practices were too long and involved for the types of positions available. They lost a great candidate as a result. Had a candidate actually complained though they would have gotten nowhere. Also, if this situation is indicative of their interviewing and hiring practices it will come to light on its own without your help and you need to protect your number one asset (YOU) by keeping things professional and keeping your mouth shut (in this case). Your current family and vacation time policy is NONE of your potential future employers’ concerns. Take up the shi))y vacation policy with your current employer.

  39. Brooke*

    “I applied for a job in the city where my parents live that I would be perfect for”

    It’s not really up to you to determine whether you’re perfect for a job. Don’t risk sounding entitled; let the hiring managers select. It’s *their* job.

  40. Anonymous Educator*

    I think people are being unnecessarily harsh on the OP. Yes, the hiring company owes the OP nothing. Yes, they probably weren’t intentionally jerking the OP around. At the same time, if you are seriously considering a long-distance hire, it doesn’t hurt you that much to make the hiring process a little easier for the candidate (presumably, if you do offer the candidate the job, you want to up the chances that the candidate will actually take your offer).

    I do think the OP was a bit late in bringing in When I was contacted for the second face to face interview, I wrote back and asked if they would consider an interview via Skype or FaceTime and explained that I had a limited amount of vacation time I could take. After the phone interview, perhaps the first interview could be Skype/FaceTime, but the second one would most likely be in person.

    That said, I’ve done a lot of long-distance job searching (three cross-country moves), and I’ve never seen a potential employer so callous about the distance travelled. Of course, I’ve mainly been working with independent schools, so I don’t know if it’s industry-dependent.

    When I’ve been on the hiring end, I’ve generally done, for long-distance candidates, a phone screen, and then asked when the candidate may be in town, even trying to coordinate with other schools in the area who may be interviewing that candidate so that the candidate won’t have to travel long distances more than once. And then we usually set up an entire day for the candidate (meet with people in half-hour or 45-minute chunks all day). Only if it’s a tough call down to one or two candidates might we re-invite someone back from far away.

    So I’m not saying the hiring company did anything wrong necessarily, but it doesn’t really kill you to be mindful of taking 6-hour chunks out of a candidate’s time (for a fifteen-minute interview?!). Why not be a little considerate?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      All that said, I agree with folks saying you gain nothing from “calling out” the company or following up with some kind of scolding email. What’s done is done, and it’s a loss, unfortunately.

      1. Recruit-O-Rama*

        I can see this, but look at it from an employer’s perspective as well. It is HARD to nail down appointments for busy people to interview multiple candidates. MANY final interviews are a “check in” with the hiring manager’s direct supervisor and not a full interview. The hiring manager gets to make the final decision, but the “big bosses” want a chance to look the candidate in the eye before they sign off. The employer is interviewing multiple people for multiple positions sometimes and they cannot just interview “whenever”

        Of COURSE the OP feels bad, it is totally understandable, but that doesn’t mean the employer did anything wrong. He made the decision to apply for a position that is very far away from where he lives. That doesn’t mean the company should rearrange the way the conduct interviews.

        Lastly, it sounds like he tried to get them to change the format (in person to skype or facetime) BEFORE the in person interview. He is clearly now very irritated that it didn’t happen that way and it is likely he was irritated during the interview as well. His original letter seems angry, which is understandable since he’s in the heat of the moment. However, his follow up replies are doubling down on that “angry” and I am starting to wonder if that didn’t come through in his interview. That would be a huge turn off to the big bosses.

        Maybe the post interview wrap up between the HM and the big bosses went something like this; “Well, Bob seems to have the qualifications, but he came off as irritated to even be here, let’s keep looking and reassess the job description while we’re at it to see if we can find a better fit”

        As I said above, the hiring process is complicated and changing the description, changing direction and coming up with a new plan takes time in my experience. The OP said he cold have done it “in an hour or less” but he doesn’t have enough information to know if that is the case at all.

        Treating people well should always be our goal as human beings, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will always be happy with the result. Perspective is important in the hiring process, no matter which side of the interview table you are sitting on.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          You didn’t contradict anything I said. I also agree that trying to change the format before the second interview was too late. The first interview would have been the time to try. I know it can be difficult to nail down appointments for busy people, but you may have missed that I’ve actually done hiring and set up visit days for out-of-town candidates.

          The employer “did nothing wrong” and doesn’t owe the candidate anything, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things the employer could have done better, and that’s all I’m pointing out.

          Does the OP sound a bit entitled and unnecessarily presumptuous? Sure. I’m just pointing out that there are some things the hiring company could have done to make things better for the candidate without having to compromise their hiring process or integrity.

          And, honestly, if you can’t be a little considerate of out-of-town candidates, don’t even bother phone interviewing them or bringing them in at all.

          1. fposte*

            But most out of town candidates would rather have the chance and the choice of making the drive than be excluded from the get-go.

            1. Anonymous Educator*

              Sure. I get that. I can see both sides of this. Of course, it’s totally the OP’s choice to take the vacation days and make the drive, because the job may pan out. I’m just seeing kind of a pile-on here, and I wanted to just say “Yes, the employer did nothing wrong and didn’t owe the OP anything, but there are ways you can do the hiring process and be considerate of out-of-town candidates.”

              1. Anonymous Educator*

                And, I personally, as a hiring manager, would rather not consider out-of-town candidates than have them take two vacation days off to interview, especially if one of the interviews is going to be only fifteen minutes long. That’s just my own thing. That’s not a requirement of hiring companies or hiring managers.

                1. Recruit-O-Rama*

                  Flexibility is a two way street in the hiring process. I feel for the OP as well, and have said as much several times and certainly I don;t think I was piling on in my response. Job hunting is frustrating. Hiring is ALSO frustrating. I would hate to become so cynical in my practices as to exclude out of town candidates if they seem to be the best suited for the position out of the pool I am looking at. All I am trying to do is give the OP a different perspective. I schedule interviews every single day so I have my own list of frustrations with candidates AND with hiring managers.

        2. LizNYC*

          To piggy-back on the anger showing through, it’s possible the company felt the OP showed more enthusiasm for the location versus the actual job/company. It’s one thing to mention, “oh, I’m from here and have always been interested in returning, but only for the right company. This job seems like the perfect opportunity…” and another to be like “We’re expecting our second, my parents will provide free childcare, and I just need an income to do it.”

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Yes, it’s very possible that the second interview wasn’t intended to be 15 minutes long, but that the interviewers deliberately cut it short, because they didn’t like the vibe the OP was giving off.

        3. OP/Letter Writer*

          I asked for the Skype/Facetime interview, after the first in-person interview when we were scheduling the 2nd in-person interview.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            I think if they were going to consider any post–phone interview to be Skype/Facetime-able, it would have been the first one instead of the second.

  41. Dasha*

    OP I kind of feel your anger, I think you’re overreacting a bit but yeah it kind of sucks. I once went to three interviews with one company and each time I had to take a half day off work, I thought surely they’re going to offer me the job after THREE interviews but they didn’t… I think the message here should be hiring managers should try to be flexible and considerate when scheduling interview times (if they can), maybe do a phone interview first to make sure everyone is on the same page, be open to Skype or after hours interview times, etc. because at the end of the day sometimes it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

    But on the other hand, I think having to burn your vacation days or PTO is just part of the job search… and OP, maybe you could possibly take some time off between jobs when you do land a new job to make up for your lost vacation time? Not sure if that’s possible or not but something to consider.

  42. T*

    Is it just me or is the answer to any question that starts with “should I call out this person/company…” almost always an automatic “no”? Actions taken purely for your own satisfaction are rarely ever worth it in the long run.

  43. Today's anon*

    At least you didn’t get the news you did not get the job by seeing congratulations to the person who got the job on a professional listserv, as I just did 5 minutes ago.

  44. Sunny*

    Maybe they sensed your anger and entitlement and wisely stayed away?

    Interviewing is a gamble. You lost this one. It’s not necessarily the fault of those in control.

  45. LawBee*

    OP – I think there’s a lot of things going on here that are coloring your view, which is completely understandable. You’ve got this deadline of a baby coming, you’ve got limited vacation, and you’re applying long distance.

    The thing is, none of those things are the InterviewingCompany’s concern, or even anything that they would likely be aware of or take into consideration when deciding whether to hire someone. And while you are comfortable with Skype, not every one is. I would HATE to do a Skype interview, because I look like crap on those cameras and I know it, and it would impact my whole interview.

    So, what I see as the biggest trigger for your frustration is that you’re trying to get a new job in a very brief amount of time. Even if you just found out about the pregnancy, say two weeks in, nine months isn’t that long for a local job hunt these days, much less a long distance one. Since your move is voluntary, as opposed to you needing a job because your wife’s job is relocating (example), you need to step back and examine your other options.

    a. Move your family first, then follow later when you have a job. Bonus: maybe you can schedule interviews for a Monday or Friday, to coincide with a weekend visit.

    b. Postpone the move until after the baby is born. Use “sick” time (if you have it) or wait until your vacation resets for interviews, and do the best you can with childcare expenses.

    c. Take FMLA leave. It’s unpaid, but it would give you more flexibility, and I think you could do it as paternity leave (assuming you are a man).

    d. other options that I can’t think of because I don’t know your situation.

    Breathe deep, write this off as “a job I didn’t get, which will likely be one of many that I don’t get until I find the right match”, be pleasantly surprised when their hiring freeze is over and they call you, and accept that your angry letter won’t change their hiring process at all because they’ve done nothing wrong.

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