should you penalize job candidates who apply at the last minute?

A reader writes:

How do you feel about job applicants who wait until the very last day/minute to apply for a position? I’m hiring and have had a posting up for just over three weeks and received plenty of applications, but received a mountain on the very last day, and I find this happens often.

I have a hard time not regarding these applicants as procrastinators who may just as easily turn in their assignments at the very last minute. Granted, a couple might have just discovered the posting, but I somehow doubt that’s the case for all of them (and sadly I won’t know who’s who). If I decide to interview one of these applicants (and I often do), I do work in questions in some way or another about their prioritizing skills. But with so many applicants who appear to be somewhat qualified (and inevitably I’ll need to weed some out in some way), is it wrong to count this as a strike against them?

You can read my answer to this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and often updating/expanding my answers to them).

{ 178 comments… read them below }

  1. Kelly L.*

    First instinct: Nope nope nope nope nope! You don’t know when the candidate first heard about the position. For all you know, the person who applied on March 31 for the April 1 deadline didn’t start a job search till March 30.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      Exactly this. Last minute is still within the deadline. Besides, this could be the person you end up wanting to hire!

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Happened to me. Years ago, I was the last person to submit an application (or so the search firm strongly hinted), and I did get asked (by the firm, NOT the university) why I had applied so late.

        I thought that I’d sent it in ahead of time. Turns out, I had mis-typed the email, so it never arrived and instead it took a week for that email to bounce back as undeliverable. When I got the bounce-back, I re-submitted probably slightly after the official deadline. The search firm seemed satisfied with that explanation. And, I wound up getting the job.

    2. Jimbo*

      I can totally understand if OP decides she will not accept any applications after a certain date and sticks to it. I’m sure it’s not completely cut and dry exactly when a posting comes down, especially since they often get picked up by other job boards. But do it because a) you already have enough applicants and b) you hit your internal deadline. If you establish a deadline of 2:00 PM Friday, then an application arriving at 2:01 or later should be dropped. But doing it because someone applied on what they didn’t even know was the last day is just silly.

      If you want to penalize people who apply late, at least post the deadline in the ad so they even know it is the last day. But even then, if I just saw the posting, I would be thrilled I still had a day left and apply as I normally would. I would be absolutely shocked to find out my application was dropped because it arrived on the last day of application acceptance window.

    3. Adam*

      Bingo. This isn’t school, and it’s kinda hard to stick to a deadline when you’ve only just heard what it is, let alone what the assignment was.

      Plus, while waiting until the last minute is generally never a good idea a due date means it’s due by this time. It’s only late if you submit it after the deadline has passed.

    4. Texas HR Pro*

      Exactly! If I were searching for jobs and the website told me the dates that postings will close, I sure would use that as a sorting mechanism and apply for the jobs that are closing the soonest.

    5. Green*

      Or they’re not involved at all in an active job search and are just applying to a few selected jobs as they see them. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be great at Job X if it was my job; it just means I’m happy at Job Y, am focused on doing well at Job Y, took you at your word on the deadline, and am only applying if I see the right fit.

      If you’re using secret arbitrary “tests” (like putting a deadline but penalizing people for not applying earlier), then I would be happy to be screened out from that gig because it’s not going to be a mutual fit. Since I like to work for reasonable people.

    6. jaxon*

      You can also organize your search process so the deadline is publicized as February 16 but you don’t expect yourself to finish reviewing all of them by the 17th; build some extra time in.

      This is completely within the hiring manager’s control.

  2. Tamsin*

    Wow, all I can say is that virtually every lawyer in the country would be getting a side eye from the OP for filing important court briefs and argument on deadline (and usually at the very last hour of the day of the deadline).

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Ha, probably every designer, too. If you’re not working right up until the deadline, you’re missing a chance to improve something!

      1. Cat*

        Plus giving the other side more time to formulate their reply. We routinely hold things for that reason. Well, ok, mostly we’re just not finished but still.

    2. Sadsack*

      Yeah, some people like to take the time to carefully constructed a resume and cover letter that makes clear their interest in and fit for a position. What a weird way to think about job candidates.

    3. Oryx*

      My attorney father would take FOREVER to do my taxes. I’d get the information to him as soon as I got my documents in early Feb, he’d wait until April 14th to start.

      Main reason why I started doing them on my own once I hit 30.

  3. INTP*

    It’s not fair to penalize them for applying within the specified period imo. Maybe they are procrastinators, or maybe they wanted to spend more time crafting a quality application, or meticulously laid out their schedule three weeks ago and this was the best time to work on it, or they just found out about the job in the past few days. To me, deadline means “This is when we start reviewing applications, anything before this time is totally fine.” That said, I work in an industry where deadlines are constant and trying to be days early on every deadline would be futile and counterproductive.

    I think you have more of an argument for penalizing people who apply hours or days after the deadline, but even then, they might have just become aware of the position so I don’t know that it would rule out a great candidate.

    1. Bookworm*

      I’m also a little confused at the suggestion that this means they’re bad at prioritizing.

      On the contrary, a lot of prioritization is figuring out what needs to be done immediately and what can be put off. It makes sense that the applicants are taking the deadline at face value and prioritizing accordingly. It’s just as possible that this reflects well on their ability to juggle multiple deadlines; there’s really no way to know from the outside.

      1. JMegan*


        I have a full-time office job, and I’m also solo-parenting two small children about 80% of the time. If I were to add a job search into the mix, you can be darn sure I’d be prioritizing, and getting most of my applications in at or near the deadline!

      2. Koko*


        It’s misleading to say there’s one deadline, but then penalize people for not being early enough. The deadline is the deadline.

        1. Windchime*

          Exactly. If Date X is the deadline, don’t penalize people for applying on Date X! Make the deadline Date W if you feel X is too late.

          1. Kelly L.*


            But then some employers would probably decide you were late if you didn’t have it in by Date V! LOL!

            Anyway, no hidden secret deadlines, please! I know it’s annoying when a bunch of stuff comes in all at once, but still.

        2. OhNo*

          I wonder if it would be worth it to the OP to start adding language in their job postings about a priority application review date. Something like… “Applications due Date X. Priority will be given to applications received before Date W.”

          I’ve seen the “priority will be given…” language used instead of a deadline before, but it sounds like the OP might benefit from having both in there.

          1. Kristine*

            But doing that effectively moves the due date up to Date W. Sure, they’ll take applications until Date X, but anyone who sees the words “priority will be given” are going to want that priority, so they’re all going to apply by Date W. OP will still get flooded with applications on Date W and internally groan about how she didn’t receive them all by Date T. It’s her approach to hiring that needs to change, not her verbiage.

          2. Murphy*

            That would turn me off of a company, actually. It would come across as game-playing to me and I’d wonder what other ways they’ll privilege people for things that are unfair (does Sally get privilege because she never calls in sick, but I don’t because I did when I got a stomach bug?)

        3. Kelly O*

          Exactly. It’s either a deadline or it isn’t.

          If you say by 5:00 PM on Friday, but immediately sort out everyone who applied on Friday because clearly they’re procrastinating, then you may be missing a fabulous candidate who got downsized on Thursday and just started searching.

          If you want something Wednesday at noon, then say that. But don’t blame people for not having ESP, or for not seeing something until the last minute. (Although if someone were to penalize me for that, I guess for me it would be dodging a bullet. If you’re going to do that for applications, then how will you deal with an employee who assumes your “noon on Wednesday” deadline means that, and not Tuesday?)

      3. fposte*

        My suspicion is that the OP is mostly seeing this through her own lens and thinking of a classroom model–she’s been looking at candidates for weeks already, and they managed to get stuff in earlier; why couldn’t these last-day people? But, of course, this isn’t a situation where everybody’s in a room together and some people take a day and some people take two weeks. (And even in a classroom situation you don’t grade people higher for handing the work in early.)

        1. LotusEclair1984*

          This. OP reminds me of a professor of mine who consistently started class early, and was upset when students arrived on time.

          1. Murphy*

            Or colleagues I used to work with (many years ago) who were pissed that I showed up at 9:40 for my 9:45 start time (the bank I worked at opened at 10 so the 15 minutes was to get ready). They all liked to come at 9:15 so they could chat and have coffee and I did not. They would complain endlessly to my boss that I came in one time and not early.

            I do not miss that place.

      4. ReanaZ*

        This. Evaluating competing prioritises and making sure everything is submitted by the deadline IS good prioritising. Turning in something 3 weeks early generally is not.

    2. Anonsie*

      I mean… to be honest, I do procrastinate on job applications. I hate writing them, and they fill me with pretty strong existential anxiety. So I put them off, even when I theoretically could knock them out two weeks before they’re due.

      The thing is, though, that’s had very little bearing on how I actually perform at my job. (A job I hit “send” on the application for about two hours before it was due.) I enjoy doing my job, it’s very collaborative in nature (unlike resume writing) and the thought of doing it doesn’t fill me with dread, so I don’t procrastinate at work.

      Even procrastinating in certain situations isn’t always an indicator that one will procrastinate or miss deadlines on the job.

  4. Lily in NYC*

    How odd! There’s a very good chance a candidate didn’t even see the posting until right before it closed. Great answer from Alison, as usual. It kind of reminds me of how our entry-level admin positions don’t require a college degree, but we rarely even interview people if they don’t have one. It just seems unfair, especially in an admin role – the best admin I’ve ever worked with doesn’t have a degree.

    1. MommaTRex*

      It sounds almost as if someone who wants to an awesome admin and trained to be an awesome admin is . . . AN AWESOME ADMIN. And someone who was studying to be something else is less than awesome in the role the don’t really want . . .

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Well, I can’t agree with that because I am an admin who went to college and even though it’s not exactly my dream career, I do a good job because of my work ethic.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I’ve found that to be true. Some of the greatest admins are people who like being admins. Period. They’re great and usually know all the details of their company, such as POs, orders and thousands of other daily life things.

  5. overeducated and underemployed*

    COME ON (to the question, not Alison’s answer!). Say you are job searching, and you find 10 positions you want to apply for, but because you already have a job or other commitments, you only have time to apply for one a day. It totally makes sense that closing dates would be part of how you prioritize getting those applications done, along with other factors like how excited you are about each given prospect. All other things being equal, if you’re deciding whether to apply for a position with a deadline tomorrow versus a week away, you’re going to apply for the one due tomorrow first, and that’s going to put you closer to the deadline for the other one. As a hiring manager, you can’t hold that against people, unless you really only want to hire people with nothing to do but sit in front of their computer all day and all night applying for jobs…which is obviously going to limit your pool.

    1. INFJ*

      Good point. The later timing of the sent application may actually be an indicator of a higher quality candidate. (Those who are “deperate” or mass applying without regard to qualifications or fit will apply right away.) The same logic behind the phenomenon of the best interview candidates showing up closer to the end of the process.

  6. Carrie in Scotland*

    There is also the issue of timestamps. E.g this website is US based so all the times are not the same as mine (it’s just gone here). And even within the same area the timing’s could be different.

    1. Joline*

      Because both Canada and the US have multiple time zones I do often see clarification of which time zone they’re thinking – a current ad at my work has a closing date of “Feb 22, 2016, 11:59:00 PM (MST)”.

      But it can be a bit more tricky if they don’t actively define it. I often assume then that it’s the timezone of their office – whether or not it’s my current area.

    2. Anxa*

      PSA to any HR workers: please watch your daylight savings time stamps. Sometimes they will ask for eastern standard time but really the deadline is in dst

  7. Guinness*

    I wouldn’t. To me, the people that apply at the last minute are better than the ones who apply as soon as it’s posted. I want people to carefully consider whether or not they are suited to/want the job, and who take the time to carefully prepare their application materials. Sure, some of them might be procrastinating as well, but I wouldn’t automatically penalize someone because they got their materials in at the last minute.

    1. Weekday Warrior*

      Yes, in most of the competitions I’ve managed, the better applicants come in later, even at the last minute. We do use the deadline as a serious cut off though, and will only consider late applicants if the pool is very weak and/or the latecomer has addressed the reason in their application. If we want to leave things more open, we will say something like “position open until filled” in the posting.

    2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Yes, Yes, Yes! When I have applied, I’ve taken to time to really think about the job, why I’m interested, what I would bring, etc.

      Then I spend a few days gathering my thoughts, writing a cover letter, and editing my resume.

      I’d hate to be penalized by a hiring manager because I took the time and due diligence to apply with serious interest.

      1. fposte*

        Though that makes it sound like people who apply earlier don’t do the same thing. It’s not that people who apply later are inherently more thoughtful, after all.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          You’re right, and I didn’t mean to insinuate that.

          A person who applies early can do the same due diligence, just earlier than me.

          I’d argue against making a blanket rule about when an app is received, to clarify. I’d focus instead on the quality of app regardless of when in the posting timeline I received it.

    3. anonanonanon*

      I don’t think it’s fair to penalize or become suspicious of people who apply as soon as a job is posted. There have been times where I’ve stumbled across a job opening I’m interested in and qualified for the day it’s posted. Applying the day it’s posted or the day after doesn’t mean I didn’t consider the posting carefully or take time to prepare my application materials.

      It’s the same situation as applying the day of the deadline, and neither one makes a candidate better or worse. Candidates should be viewed based on their application materials, not the time and day they sent in their application.

    4. Chalupa Batman*

      I agree. I can only speak for me, but when I was looking but not desperate, it was usually 2-3 days minimum from when I saw it before I actually applied. In that time, I researched the company and department (I work in a field where departmental information is usually readily available online), scanned my network for people who may have insight or be able to put in a good word, and tailored my application materials based on what I found. If I saw the ad on the last day and was interested, I’d still apply, but if it listed a closing date a few days out, I’d definitely take that time to research the job and tweak my materials to best show why I was a fit.

  8. HRish Dude*

    To add from Alison’s answer, you have no idea when the applicant even found out about the job. If it’s open, it’s open.

    If you’re going to penalize people by some arbitrary, illogical set of rules, you’re never going to find the right person.

  9. JMegan*

    Also, I’d be curious to know exactly what the problem is with people turning in their assignments at the very last minute. If the deadline is Thursday at 2:00, and the assignment arrives at 1:30, why is that bad? If the answer is because you need time to review it before the presentation at 2:00, then the deadline isn’t really 2:00 – it’s 10:00, or end of day Wednesday, or whatever amount of time you need to review and make changes before the presentation.

    You can’t expect people to read your mind. If you need lead time before a final deadline, then tell them that. If you don’t need the lead time, or don’t tell them about it, then don’t penalize them for doing exactly what you asked them to do.

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      You can’t expect people to read your mind. If you need lead time before a final deadline, then tell them that. If you don’t need the lead time, or don’t tell them about it, then don’t penalize them for doing exactly what you asked them to do.

      This. I have been trying to work with my boss on more effective backwards planning, because this comes up all the time. “I need X by EOD Tuesday” really means, I actually need X by Noon on the Friday before, so I have time to look it over, ask you questions, make notes/edits, and then submit it for the meeting packet/presentation by EOD Tuesday.

    2. OhNo*

      That is an excellent point that I completely missed. If more review time is needed, it should definitely be built into the process, instead of taking it out on the candidates.

    3. pomme de terre*

      God, totally agree. I worked with an editor who did this all the time. If you tell me something’s due on Friday, I will give it to you Friday. I can’t read your mind and determine that Friday is the absolutely last chance to cram a piece into the publication in a storm of chaos that inconveniences many people, and Wednesday is when it would work best in the overall editorial flow. Just tell me to turn it in on Wednesday!

    4. Ad Astra*

      Yeah, that comment gave me pause. Procrastination isn’t inherently bad — it’s the missed deadlines or shoddy work that often accompany procrastination that you have to look out for. And, of course, we don’t know if people who apply at the last minute are procrastinating or if they’re effectively using all of their available time. I would think in most lines of work turning something in too early would be a sign you haven’t done everything you can do.

    5. Hornswoggler*

      Most tenders I apply for these days have an actual time as well as a date – 12 noon on Friday, for example. This presumably builds in review time for Friday afternoon, send off the interview invitations and hoorah for the weekend.

      Mind you, I do hate it when you send your email say at 10am, and you get no acknowledgement that it has arrived. I always put a delivery receipt and a read receipt and add ‘Please let me know when you receive this application’ in the email, but often still end up ringing to ask if it has got there, and finding that the person it’s addressed to isn’t actually in the office till Monday! These tenders are a lot of work and run to many pages, and having them go astray is a continual anxiety. (You can tell this happened recently, can’t you?)

  10. KBW*

    Yikes! I understand where this mindset comes from, but it’s geared toward recalcitrant students, I think, not adults who are presumed capable of managing their own lives.

    I have deadlines, and I have a lot of clients. Looking at one job at a time, one might think “It’s due next Thursday, she has a week to complete that, why doesn’t she start right away?” The answer is, every day between now and Thursday also has a deadline attached, for different clients.

    If I start working on something the day before it’s due (or the day of!) it is because that is how much time I need to get it done. If the application deadline is Thursday, then I will do it Thursday. I’m not procrastinating, I’m doing things in the order they are needed, in the amount of time I need to complete them. If I have a major project due Thursday, I might do the job application Monday, who knows. It’s a good thing if your applicants aren’t structuring their lives around your job posting. It means they have other things going on.

    1. TootsNYC*

      but even recalcitrant students don’t get dinged on their grade if they turn their paper in on Friday, when it’s due, instead of Thursday, a day early.

      Sure, if you’re teaching them, part of what you want to teach them is to leave enough room to do a good job. But you address whether the job is good or not (i.e., you grade their paper on the merit of the paper, and if they didn’t do a good job, their grade should reflect that)–or you have interim deadlines that they have to meet so you can teach them as you go.

      1. JustALurker*

        Agreed! If the deadline is Friday at 3:00 and “Recalcitrant Student” turns assignment in at 2:55 he met the deadline! What’s the problem? Even if 12 students turn in the assignment at 2:55 they all met the deadline, if teacher didn’t want to spend the weekend grading assignments the deadline should have been earlier.

  11. Cupcake Girl*

    There are many reasons why a resume may come at the last minute and I think it’s unfair to generalize and say the person is disorganized or a procrastinator.

    -the candidate only found out about the posting 2 days before the deadline and is now scrambling to apply
    -the job was posted somewhere the candidate never even thought to look at, so is now applying at the last minute
    -the candidate wasn’t sure about his level of interest, felt unsure about it, needed some time to psych himself up to apply and is now applying at the crunch time
    -person experienced technical difficulties applying on the company’s website or Taleo system

      1. Lily in NYC*

        We finally got rid of Taleo here! The one we use is almost as annoying, but less glitchy. Taleo is a nightmare (and my coworker and I always jokingly fought about the correct pronunciation – I say Ta-lay-o and she says Tallyo).

        1. Windchime*

          I just found out that we will be implementing it here at my workplace. I’ve never had to use it, but I’m prepared for it to be a nightmare based on what people here have been saying.

          1. Liza*

            And I always thought it was TAIL-ee-oh. We’ve got four different pronunciations! (I’ve never used it, but I keep hearing people mention it here.)

      2. A Definite Beta Guy*

        I have been looking at some jobs. Found a couple Taleos.

        Slammed the cursor on that damn “X” before the webpage finished loading. Nightmare!

    1. Rachel*

      Another reason: there are other things required to be sent with the application (writing samples, design portfolios, etc.) and the candidate needed to make sure he or she provided the strongest, most appropriate ones.

    2. Mockingjay*

      When I see a job post that interests me, I don’t apply right away. I spend a couple of days checking out the company’s web page reading all of the tabs. There’s a lot of info to be mined.

      Case in point: last summer when looking at a proposal writing position, I combed through the website and realized the company had had quite a downturn – most of the experience and “satisfied customers” listed were years old. Their current work contracts were quite reduced in scope. Which explained why they wanted a proposal writer, but also indicated that financially they may not have been as solid as their competitor.

      So yeah, I tend to submit a week or so after I see an ad. I am going to take time to vet your organization first. [As well as tailor my resume to the job requirements and all the other things Alison would have us do.]

  12. Koko*

    #4: “Sense of humor is critical” throws up major red flags to me that there’s a lot of patently offensive behavior, possibly sexual harassment or racial prejudice, and management is so OK with this that they’re trying to screen out anyone who cares. Either that or it’s one of those workplaces we read about where people are pranking each other all the time??

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh gosh, I don’t think so! I mean, it’s certainly possible, but I have a client right now who mentions sense of humor in their job ads, and they are very much not an environment like that! They’re just nice people who want to be around other nice people and are trying to convey that it’s a warm atmosphere.

      1. Koko*

        Do they use those words, though? Mentioning a sense of humor wouldn’t alarm me, it was the use of the word “critical” that raised my spidey-senses. It makes me think they’re anticipating having huge issues, rather than just not the best fit, with someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor. “It’s just a joke!” is so often used as an excuse for bad behavior that I can easily see that being something they think will avoid hiring someone litigious.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          They say “cutting edge sense of humor is required,” which they intend to be funny. I think you’re reading too much into it! Believe me, the people who write job ads do not parse the language out as much as the people who read them :)

          1. Kate M*

            “Cutting edge sense of humor” would land an employer in the same group as those who advertise for “rockstars” and “coding ninjas” or something. To me it would seem like they’re trying to be too hip and see themselves as an Apple or Google or something when they aren’t. I’m sure your client is great, but I agree it would be off-putting for me. Probably not enough to make me not apply, but I just don’t see the need to include that in a job ad when it’s hard to get that to come across in a resume/cover letter. You can easily screen for people who are warm and friendly in the interview.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think my point is that y’all may be over-reading/over-thinking job ads. The place I’m thinking of has a culture and management of pretty much exactly the sort people here tend to yearn for when job hunting. So that’s at least one data point saying that the assumptions y’all are making aren’t on point.

              I tend to agree that they should take it out, since I know from reading comments here that some people may react that way, but I’m saying it probably makes sense to adjust your interpretation of it.

              1. Kate M*

                Oh I definitely agree that plenty of amazing workplaces probably include this in their job ads without thinking about it. But I think, to me, the point is that of course job applicants are going to read into and overthink job ads. Which makes it even more important for job ads to present themselves in the best way possible. It can come from both sides – jobs probably read a lot into resumes and cover letters, since they’re looking for ways to narrow the pool. It just makes sense that each side should realize how they’re going to come across to the other, and try to be as precise as possible with their language, and not include anything that could come across as a red flag, even if it would be unfounded.

          2. A Definite Beta Guy*

            cutting edge sense of humor is required

            Special Qualifications:
            Can properly use the toe pick

    2. Gandalf the Nude*

      Personal experience is probably coloring my reaction, but I had a similar first thought. I’m sure the majority are just trying to indicate that they have a casual, friendly environment, but I would absolutely be paying attention for any clues that “sense of humor” is code for “can’t you take a joke??”.

      1. Merry and Bright*

        It depends on the environment. I’ve known teams where it means you need skin like rhino hide, but others where it does just mean the team is friendly and welcoming.

        A word in a job ad that does raise red flags for me is “banter”. Banter in the office world often has its own secondary meaning.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Random aside, but I have always used banter as light conversation, but recently heard one of my British friends use it to mean more like teasing. She said it was a “bit of banter,” referring to her teasing one of her friends.

          1. Sarahnova*

            Yes, in UK slang ‘banter’ is lighthearted mocking between friends. Intended to be give and tale and fun for all concerned.

            See also: ‘taking the piss’.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      There are so many non-nefarious reasons this can be in a job posting. First, it could just be boilerplate language used by a recruiter. Or they had a really grumpy/moody person in the role before and want someone who doesn’t bring down morale. Or it’s a collegial environment and they want someone who will fit in. I think it’s a major stretch to jump to conclusions like racial prejudice and sexual harassment. But I do think it’s kind of a useless thing to add to a job posting because who is going to see it and think – Oh, I’m a humorless curmudgeon so I better not apply to this one!

      1. OhNo*

        I agree about it being kind of useless. I’ve never met anyone who legitimately thought of themselves as completely humorless. They might think have an uncommon sense of humor, or a dry sense of humor, or something like that, but I seriously doubt anyone reads “Must have a sense of humor” and thinks, “Well drat, I fit every other qualification perfectly, but I don’t have a sense of humor so I guess I’d better skip this one.”

    4. calonkat*

      +1000, I wish I’d refreshed before posting my reply on down below. This is exactly what occurred to me as well!

    5. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah my niece is in her twenties and when interviewing for her current job they asked her about sense of humor. It’s a construction company where she’s the only female. She said so far it’s been ok they tease her about this and that and shes gotten a couple slightly inappropriate comments but she also has excellent boundaries and can give it right back so to speak.

    6. Kate M*

      To me, it doesn’t necessarily throw up red flags, but it just seems like something that shouldn’t be added because it’s too basic and doesn’t really give any information. It’s like the equivalent (to me) of adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” to a resume. Like it’s so basic it should be standard, but everyone claims to have it, whether they actually do or not.

      Not many people see themselves as a killjoy and hard to work with. Everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor (or at least are collegial and warm). So it’s not going to weed out the ones who don’t have a “sense of humor,” whatever that might mean to you. And I can’t really imagine an employer not wanting to hire someone with a “sense of humor” or who is warm and friendly or whatever they mean by that. I don’t think I’ve every seen an ad for “only serious, non-humorous applicants.” And similarly, employers probably aren’t going to be able to judge themselves clearly on this either. I worked at a place that advertised for someone with a sense of humor that was the most stressful and humorless office I’ve ever worked in.

      So at best, I don’t think it adds anything or gives any information to a job ad, and at worst, it could throw up red flags for people who think what other commenters do, that it means a place full of pranks or people who “want you to be able to take a joke,” whether that perception is true or not.

      1. F.*

        Requiring a sense of humor would make me wonder if that is because the office is so dysfunctional that the only way to survive is to laugh everything off. If they want “warm and friendly”, then they should say “warm and friendly”. One person’s idea of a sense of humor could be another’s idea of totally inappropriate workplace behavior. I have a very dry, somewhat sarcastic sense of humor and very much appreciate puns and wordplay. However, I absolutely do not find practical jokes and general silliness to be humorous at all. YMMV.

        1. Kate M*

          But even including “warm and friendly” to me is useless. Most people think they are (only highly perceptive people might know if they’re not), and plenty of people are friendly in some instances and not so much in others. And does anyone really want someone who ISN’T warm and friendly working? It’s not like there’s an opposite end of the spectrum that someone is hiring for (only surly and cold applicants need apply). So it isn’t really something most people are going to self-select out on.

    7. I'm a Little Teapot*

      Yeah, I thought something similar – or that it means “you’ll have to deal with jerk customers all day” or “our office is such a chaotic mess or bureaucratic morass you’ll have to laugh or you’ll cry.”

      1. Chalupa Batman*

        That’s usually my concern when I see that language-is humor used for coping there? Usually when I see it, the context of the rest of the ad suggests it’s just a laid back atmosphere, but if it’s a very traditional ad and they throw “sense of humor” in there, I get nervous. Plus I’d say I have a weird sense of humor, so I wonder about fit in the ads where it seems like they may be a “fun” workplace. I am not humorless, but I’m definitely not “fun.”

    8. HR Dave*

      In reading the responses to the “Sense of Humor” question, one thought keeps repeating itself in my head: If you read that and it gives you pause, throws up red flags, or makes you unsure about whether to address your sense of humor in a cover letter, you’ve just self-selected out. You don’t make the cut, and it’s probably not the right job/environment for you. See? It IS a useful piece of information in the job description if you use it right.

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        I don’t think that’s really true, though. Just because it gives me pause doesn’t mean I won’t investigate further. You’re allowed to have misgivings and still proceed as normal just with the mental note to find out more about the thing that worries you.

      2. Kate M*

        But plenty of places just use it as boilerplate language and don’t really think about it. They might be a totally normal workplace, but that line just slipped in there because they’ve seen it used before/they’ve always used it/they think it’s equivalent to including “salary commensurate with experience.” It might not mean anything, so if you self-select out of anything that includes that line, you might be missing some great jobs. Some places don’t mean anything by it (another reason why it shouldn’t be included), it’s just that you can’t know at that point.

      3. Koko*

        Self-selection is only good when it’s based on correct understanding. If I self-select out on the basis of thinking the workplace has a high chance of being toxic and dysfunctional, but it’s actually highly functional and pleasant, then not only did I miss out on what could have been a good job, the company missed out on me. You don’t want your job ads to be scaring potential worth-their-weight-in-gold employees away because they misrepresent your company.

    9. Ad Astra*

      I generally take it as a sign that this company sees itself as sort of fun and loose — which could mean it’s a great environment where nobody is too serious, or it could mean the company’s so obsessed with “fun” that nothing ever gets done in a 40-hour workweek. You just don’t know.

      But I will say it’s not a very useful requirement to add, since everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor and many people really don’t.

    10. Laurel Gray*

      Reading the comments in this sub-thread…I had no idea people equated a sense of humor with so much negativity. Bro culture? Coping mechanism? Sexual harassment and racism? Maybe there are companies that realize you will spend at least a third of your life at work and don’t want it to be a place where you can never crack a smile or tell a joke.

      1. A Definite Beta Guy*

        Oh I’ve had it both ways, in the same office! When we had an office of 20 something young guys, the “sense of humor” meant something akin to…well…I’d say in a fraternity, but I was in a fraternity, and this office was worse.

        If those guys wrote “sense of humor”? Yeah, I’d high-tail it the other way.

        My current office is now Midwestern-Nice. They also like people with a “sense of humor,” but it means something totally different.

        It’s why “sense of humor” is just boiler-plate.

      2. Koko*

        To clarify, I don’t equate a sense of humor with negativity. Rather, I’m concerned that “sense of humor critical” in a job posting is a dog whistle meant to suggest something different than a sense of humor.

        I do work in a job with a very fun and light-hearted atmosphere where everyone gets along and we have regular social events and there’s a lot of department jokes we laugh about. But we don’t put anything in the job description about a sense of humor. We do put stuff in there about how we are a very collaborative and inclusive office and it’s important to be able to work well with peers and maintain positive informal relationships with staff in other departments, so people know that they’re not likely to ever be left to toil away in solitude for hours on end, and they’re going to find it difficult to succeed if they can’t get other people to collaborate with them.

    11. Jaydee*

      It may also be a place where the work is pretty stressful and a good sense of humor helps employees build camaraderie, decompress, and avoid burnout.

    12. So Very Anonymous*

      Totally my own bias, but when I see “sense of humor” I read “this workplace is so toxic that if you can’t laugh it off, you’ll be running through the streets screaming.”

    13. Elliot*

      I work in adult care. I used to have a gentleman come into my office several times a week clutching the front of his pants yelling, “I’m peeing in my pants and I can’t make it stop!” There was a woman who used to come in multiple times a day, let out a really raunchy fart, say “excuse me,” then leave. Almost once an hour. People refuse to put clothes on and walk outside naked. I stepped in human feces more than once.

      You NEED a sense of humor to enjoy this kind of work. People who can’t laugh about farts or wrinkly old penises aren’t going to last long, because our residents live here and even if you have an admin or executive position, you will have residents doing bizarre things in your office on a regular basis.

  13. HR Pro*

    I was a job seeker (i.e., unemployed) for 5 months recently, which means I was looking at job ads almost daily, and there were many times when I didn’t see a job posting until it had already been posted for a while. Sometimes job search engines don’t work all that well, sometimes you overlook something by accident and then find it again later, sometimes the automated search emails that you’ve set up don’t show you every relevant job, and sometimes a job title is not quite what you were looking for, so it doesn’t come up in a search but rather you find out about it by word of mouth or whatever. Or other reasons.

    And that was someone who was unemployed and actively job searching. There are also people who are employed, busy, and don’t search the job boards every day. (And some would argue that you’d rather hire a person who;s currently employed, which is a person who is much less likely to find your ad on the first day it was posted, but I know from my own experience that unemployed people can be just as good — or bad — as employed people.)

  14. Leah*

    This questions confuses me. The LW wants to penalize people for… applying within the given deadline. I’d understand if she disregarded late applications, but this just feels like another one of those arbitrary hoops applicants are increasingly having to jump through.

    1. Sans*

      Agreed. I keep thinking of a school assignment. If the teacher gives two weeks to do a report and it’s due today, should a student get penalized because they handed it in … today? No, they met the deadline.

      1. 2horseygirls*

        Am I the only one who never turned in an assignment early, even if it was done? When you’re given a deadline, it’s a *deadline* (def: the latest time or date by which something should be completed).

        I’m totally imagining that were I a teacher, I would be expecting to get 30 papers from my American History – 20th century class on Monday 2/15, and have a folder they will all go in together so they are not misplaced or mixed in with other assignments.

        Having a random, secret, earlier deadline hidden away in your head is just bizarre, and insanely unfair to applicants. I’d be glad you eliminated my application; I was recently let go from a job like that with all sorts of secret rules and expectations, and I would never want to back to that. Being gaslighted every day was not fun.

    1. TootsNYC*

      That happened to me all the time!

      I’d neglect to send something to the printer, because, well, it wasn’t REALLY the deadline, and I could do it in the morning. Then I wouldn’t do it first thing, and right when I sat down to do it, the art dept would call and say, “I think we’ll have to revise that.”

      i called it “getting rewarded for bad behavior.”

      Also–if you put anything off long enough, it WILL become unnecessary. (Of course, the patient may have bled to death by then, but hey–now you don’t need to stanch the bleeding! It’s all in the price you’re willing to pay.)

  15. Rusty Shackelford*

    If I decide to interview one of these applicants (and I often do),

    Wow. You mean a lot of the time you decide not to interview them? Just because they turned in an application before your official deadline, but not before your Double Secret Deadline? That’s really disheartening.

    1. KH*

      No kidding. Honestly it makes me think poorly of the company and the poster. And it makes me wonder how many jobs I’ve lost out on from people who think the same way she does and totally ignored me because I researched the company and took time and effort to put together a customized application and cover letter.


  16. calonkat*

    Can we address the other letters in the column here? On letter #4, I was confused by the idea a job listing would include “sense of humor” as a requirement. To me that would read “you’ll be working with people who will make inappropriate/sexist/racist jokes and we need you to laugh them off”. I’d expect no support from management in having a pleasant workplace with a requirement like that.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      That’s possible. It’s also possible that it’s just an office full of people who try not to take themselves too seriously, and they’ve dealt with people who don’t really fit their office culture and it didn’t work out well. I’d definitely use the interview to attempt to find out which one it is.

    2. Kristine*

      My company’s job posts mention needing a ‘sense or humor’ or something similar because we’re the kind of place that will decorate your desk while you’re gone and leave cardboard cutouts of Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air around blind corners. The people who work here think that’s fun and enjoy it, but I’m sure there are tons of people who would not.

      1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        One of our supervisors was obsessed with Twilight, so her team put a standing cutout of Edward in her office.

        Often when I was working late by myself, I would see it out of the corner of my eye, think someone had snuck into the building (or there was a ghost) and scream.

        1. Al Lo*

          My Trekkie grandma had a cutout of Jean-Luc Picard in her living room in the mid-90s, and I would totally do the same thing — catch it out of the corner of my eye and startle myself.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I would be alert to the idea that “the boss is a weirdo or incredibly demanding, and the only way to handle the stress is to be able to laugh at them.”

      So I wouldn’t make any hard-and-fast assumptions, but I’d be alert to what it meant. It would be a big red flag.

      1. Elliot*

        I don’t think it’s a red flag at all. We don’t use it in our postings, but as a home for mentally ill adults, it’s definitely something we keep an eye out for in interviews. All employees have continuous interactions with the residents who live here. There are two types of employees we get: Those who enjoy the bizarre display of inappropriate behaviors from our residents and can laugh about it later, and those who get truly offended by it and waste everyone’s time complaining about how a wrinkly little old penis touched their desk when a resident forgot he wasn’t wearing pants. A thick skin and a dark sense of humor are absolutely crucial for enjoying a position in this kind of facility, and for loving our residents and living our mission.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Even if it doesn’t happen to indicate anything applicants should try to avoid, it sure seems to feel like a red flag to a lot of people. If you have to try to convince people it doesn’t mean anything bad, maybe it just shouldn’t be used.

      2. Engineer Girl*

        It’s because of the dysfunctional workplace. Anyone that has been in one is twitchy about things that would be non-issues anywhere else. It is a small form of PTSD – becoming hypersensitive to anything that seems even a little bit off from “normal”.

  17. K.*

    I do think that asking questions around prioritization might actually be important, for sort of a different reason. It’s pretty clear the LW is an early starter, early planner type who would balk or be stressed if working with someone who–even if they always make the deadline–is more “pressure-prompted” (MBTI speak, but I think it’s a valid description!). In the course my company took, the trainer said that those two types often have the hardest time working together because they both believe their perspective is valid, since no one is “technically” in the wrong/it’s a matter of style, so it can lead to tension and frustration. Whether or not there’s any data behind that, I think it’s probably anecdotally true!

    So it’s more of a “know thyself as a manager” bit of advice (that you probably wouldn’t like working with someone who left tasks to the last minute) than any inherent ‘wrongness’ to applying at the deadline.

  18. Jessen*

    Goodness I was the student who submitted papers at the last minute, even if I had them done earlier. No sense giving up time to review and improve your work if you don’t need to.

  19. Elizabeth*

    Having also been in a position in the past where a ton of applicants apply on the last day, I feel like the easiest thing to do is a) make your application window shorter, and b) anticipate that however many resumes you have up until the last day, that total will double after the mountain of applications come in on the last day.

    I don’t think it should count against you to apply late, but I feel like it’s worth saying that if your HR systems for reviewing resumes has you read them in the order that they came in, the person in charge of short listing might get resume fatigue by the time they get to those that were submitted last. I think that’s one reason to apply early in the process so that you get the screener when they’re fresh and haven’t seen dozens and dozens of resumes already.

    1. Brightwanderer*

      At my company standard hiring procedure is actually that the hiring manager isn’t allowed to do anything with any application until after the closing date. I don’t know if they even get to see them before then, as they’re stored in an HR system.

      1. Elizabeth*

        We usually didn’t look at them until the posting had closed either (no time!) but they always got sorted into the system chronologically and that was the easiest way to look at them. So when you’re looking at 200 resumes, the people who applied last whose resumes are at the end of the bunch don’t benefit from that initial freshness/enthusiasm of the screener that the early birds do.

  20. Recruit-o-rama*

    OP#5- In my industry, relocation is quite common. I invite the spouse of married relocation candidates to come along with them for the trip and normally build in a day of time they can spend investigating the area. As a company, we pay for the spouse’s airfare as well. I would side eye a potential employer that did not think getting the spouse’s buy in on a major relocation is important. I would invite you to dinner too, if this were my candidate. I assume he won’t be moving without you and your son.

    A positive Onboarding experience starts from the moment your candidates apply and continues all the way through the interview and hiring process, people!

    1. Engineer Girl*

      This. If the spouse isn’t happy then you won’t keep the employee more than a few years. You’ve spent thousands of dollars moving them and training them only to lose them. The extra cost of including the spouse in the interview is peanuts compared to relocation and training costs.

  21. Engineer Girl*

    OP is penalizing others for her own procrastination and lack of prioritizaion. OP you KNOW you’ll be getting a stack of resumes right before deadline because this has happened numerous times. Yet you haven’t modified your own internal schedule to account for this demonstrated event. That tells me your internal schedule milestones are wrong. You need to schedule more time between the application deadline and interviews to review the resumes. If that means an earlier deadline to make more review time then so be it. But don’t penalize people because you didn’t plan properly. To quote a well known phrase: “Poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part.”

  22. Sunnie*

    The best person I ever hired (ok, the only one so far!) sent in her materials on the last day before the deadline and I’m so incredibly glad I hired her. She spent every minute available to her honing her cover letter and it was worth it! Everyone on our hiring team commented on what a standout her letter was. She’s been here over a year and is a priceless asset to our team. Don’t discount last minute applicants!

    1. F.*

      I got my current job by applying at the last minute and despite being overqualified. I had only just begun my job search when I saw the advertisement. As for being overqualified, I explained in my cover letter that I wanted out of the downtown, large corporation rat race (the job is with a small company in the suburbs). Eight-and-a-half years later, and the rest is history!

    2. Thomas W*

      This happened to me too! Actually, we didn’t even have a chance to look at many of the applicants’ materials until the closing date, because we were swamped. But our last applicant was by far the best, and she had only just come across the posting. She’s a rockstar and it would have been totally pointless to penalize her.

  23. Workfromhome*

    Well I think its fine do weed people out like this as long as you are not a person in a glass house throwing stones.

    When applications come in do you review them and respond with a rejection or interview request the same day?
    Do you follow up with EVERY applicant promptly after an interview?
    Do you follow up weekly with every applicant still in the hunt if things get delayed?
    Do you notify the non selcted candidates right away once someone has accepted the offer so they don’t wait?

    If you are perfect and do all these things then I guess its reasonable to judge others by your own standards.

    Now if the answer is no I don’t do all these things..the question is WHY? I’ll be the answer is “I don’t have time and have other priorities”.

    The deadline is the deadline. 1 week before or 1 minute before makes no difference. If you adhere to the rules you have done as requested.

  24. Rebecca*

    IMO, the candidates you choose not to interview are fortunate. If you can’t be up front about your expectations of what a real deadline is, I can’t imagine what a minefield a person would have to navigate in order to actually work at this company. Props to Rusty Shackelford above, you actually have a different deadline in mind than what you put in writing, and you penalize people for it. Yikes. Double Secret is a great description in this case.

  25. KR*

    Couldn’t agree more with number 1. I used to hate teachers who would give you until a certain date to do a project, and then either ask for it earlier or add a lot of work on later because “if you haven’t done it by now, you weren’t going to do it!”. You don’t know the speed I work or how I have to prioritize my time outside of class!

  26. Mike C.*

    I really, really get sick and tired of seeing people use arbitrary and secret morality tests as a way to make important judgements int he workplace. You’re not being clever, you’re not being smart, gumption isn’t a real thing and and it’s going to hurt you in the end.

  27. Mando Diao*

    I wonder if the OP is getting a manageable amount of applications in the days leading up to the deadline, and then is getting a whole bunch (too many to read through in time for interviews) at the 11th hour. This is an annoyance that is inherent to hiring and interviewing; if OP wants to keep doing this job, she needs to deal with it instead of inventing excuses to opt out of reading every single application. She should either limit her applicant pool by upping the required qualifications or fit an extra day or two in between the application deadline and the start of interviews.

  28. Carin S*

    For #3, I highly recommend the book Presence by Amy Cuddy. She has a whole chapter on imposter syndrome, which could be part of the problem, but also she talks a lot about body language, and about what might be giving off a message of non-confidence, and some techniques (such as power posing) that help improve the impression of confidence. Good luck!

  29. Observer*

    On #1 Allison says “After all, if you assign an employee a piece of work with a deadline of Friday, are you secretly penalizing him or her if it’s not turned in by Wednesday? I hope not.”

    I also hope not. But I suspect that this is EXACTLY what’s happening. And, besides being unfair, it’s a terrible way to manage. So, you really want to rethink that.

  30. Jill*

    #1 – OP should also consider if they’re requiring something unusual in their application process that may be resulting in the “mountain” she receives on the last day. I work in government where we require transcripts from your college/university. Most private sector jobs don’t so, as an example, this might throw an applicant for a loop if they have to contact their school for records.

    #2 – Don’t say anything! Nothing is final until it’s Final. Your higher-ups could change their mind at the last minute and you’ll not only show that you can’t be trusted with sensitive information, but you’ll send your boss into a panic for nothing.

  31. Bend & Snap*

    I’m giving this letter all the nopes. It says nothing about applicants if they apply close to the deadline.

    Job searching is tedious and time consuming. Unless people are missing the deadline, they’re not procrastinating or mismanaging their time.

  32. WhyIHateHiringManagers*

    Seriously? Considering them to be procrastinators because they didn’t JUMP on your job listing RIGHT AWAY? What other hoops do you want them to jump through? Any hoops of fire?
    Yes, do everyone a favor and not consider them – But, be sure to let everyone know your thoughts and your organization; so we, who are good at our jobs, know not to waste our time applying for or working for an organization that has such poor, very poor, management.

  33. Engineer Girl*

    #3 – This is actually good advice from the boss. People will take hints from you about your work. If you are insecure about it they will doubt it too. You could be doing stellar work but others will perceive it as “less than” simply because you don’t believe in it. That means your work will be graded as average when it is excellent. Higher ups won’t promote you because they thing you are average, your boss has a hard time advocating for you, etc.
    One thing you really need to do – ask your boss how your lack of confidence manifests itself! Are you adding “I think” to all of your statements? Do you look scared when presenting? You need specifics. You also need to ask your boss how to check/verify your work so you have confidence in it.
    Sad to say, but perception can become reality, especially with people that are farther away from the work that is done.

  34. Heather*

    I also really hate employers that take the posting down BEFORE the deadline. Or employers that don’t put up a deadline.

  35. Joe Jobseeker*

    Thank you Alison. Right on as usual. I was told yesterday, that even though the job has been posted about 2 weeks and is still clearly open, that they were “too deep into the process” to consider my resume. This is not hard. Pick a cutoff date, advertise it well, honor it. Start reviewing resumes after it. There will be no confusion and should be no need to guess candidates’ motives.

  36. VX34*

    RE: Deadlines, if any item – be it filing my taxes, or applying for a job, gives me a submission period from 12:01 AM Day 1 to 11:59 PM Day 15, then I expect to have every second of that period to be given full consideration, because those were the parameters set by the organization. If a candidate is qualified to at least begin the recruitment process, it should matter not one whit whether they apply at 12:02 AM Day 1 or 11:58 PM Day 15. Period.

    Otherwise, don’t bother giving people a tangible time frame to stick to.

  37. Need cheering up*

    No, dont jump to conclusions. I am super organized at work and finish most projects before the deadline etc., but often apply for positions towards the end of the deadline because I take my time to consider the opportunity and whether I would really want it and also work on my CV, leave for a day or two, and look at it again for example.

  38. Susan*

    In logic, there’s a logical fallacy called a false dichotomy. It’s basically when you choose to insinuate there are ONLY two options, when the reality is there could be a million options. The false dichotomy in this case is “either candidates are organized and will submit their application early, or candidates are procrastinators and they will submit it right before the deadline. A lot of the candidates have pointed out an obvious alternative (maybe the applicant just found the job posting that day). But the fact of the matter is there are a lot of other options. Some people are legitimately busy and maybe mapped out two hours on Friday just to dedicate to this application. That shows organization. Some people send their resume and cover letter to a friend for a proofread and let them know, “I need this back by Thursday night.” Some people prioritize higher priority deadlines for their current job or applications with earlier due dates first. I think all of my examples show organization. A good example of if a person is actually a procrastinator is if their application materials are wrought with typos and mistakes.

  39. Callie*

    This is not the same as a school assignment. With a school assignment, you either tell them in class, put it in your syllabus, and/or post it to your course management system (blackboard, Canvas, whatever). This information is given by you directly to the student. However, with a job posting, unless you hand it to them on a paper or in an individual email, they aren’t getting the information directly from you. It’s going through job boards, websites, word of mouth, or whatever before it gets to them. You have NO idea when they actually saw it. It’s stupid to look at it as if it was a school assignment and they’re just slackers who are wasting time.

  40. Willis*

    Even if someone did procrastinate completing their application, why penalize them for it as long as they made it by the deadline? You’re asking for applications by a certain time, not dictating applicant’s schedules up until that time. If the window is not truly open until the date you set, change the wording in the job ad. From a time/project management perspective, it makes much less sense to set a deadline AFTER you really want something than it does to turn it in on time!

  41. So Very Anonymous*

    I usually apply close to the deadline because I’m busy and I’m prioritizing. Also, I almost always have irons in the fire that are likely to be things I’ll want to mention in my cover letter or c.v., so I tend to wait so that my materials are as current/relevant as they’re going to get. Don’t really want to work someplace where there are punishments for not meeting hidden deadlines.

  42. Hot Pink Squirrel*

    New ad on the page sucks bad.

    Keeps reloading the page and the hops make it hard to even comment. Video ads are the worst.

    1. Ditto*

      Ditto what you said about the ads – forget about commenting – just trying to scroll through and read the posts, let alone the comments, is nearly impossible. My browser keeps locking up.

      So, I don’t read AAM as often as I used to. I guess as long as I clicked on the page (whether I can read anything or not) AAM still gets credit for the ad.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you can tell me what ad is playing when the page jumps, I’ll be able to get it removed. I’d really appreciate it!

      I’m actually in the midst of changing some of the ad shapes so that there are fewer boxes that can play video at all, and hopefully that should really cut down on the problem (some of the ad boxes in the sidebar have been replaced with those tall skinny ads, where it’s not possible for advertisers to send through video at all).

      However, if you still have problems, the suggestions in this post have solved them for others:

  43. NutellaNutterson*

    If there’s a long application window, you will also end up with great early candidates who have already interviewed and been hired at other companies. So people who are applying at the end are presumably available to be employed by your company. You could just as easily have a misguided process and decide that you’ll be wasting your time focusing solely on resumes from the start of the application window!

    People apply. You review. If you’ll be biased by the application date, have it stripped from the materials you see.

  44. RobM*

    I’ve got no problems with refusing to accept applications that go past the deadline. Those exist for a reason.

    But viewing people who apply close to the deadline as “procrastinators” and wondering about their ability to prioritise is more than wrong, it’s also breathtakingly arrogant.

    It assumes that applying for that particular post is the only thing that matters in their life and that simply isn’t true for a variety of reasons. For a start, it assumes that the OPs vacancy is the only one the applicant is interested in, and that’s unlikely to be true… just as the OP (and all of us) like to interview several candidates and pick the best one, so are job applicants likely to apply for several suitable posts and, if they get more than one offer, choose the one that they think is best.

  45. Snazzy Hat*

    I’m so glad I read this post. I considered a job listing because it was out of my field yet within my comfort zone — I have experience being great at everything in the description. It was in the employment paper from a week & a half ago, but not the most recent edition of the paper, and there is no deadline in the ad. I feel a lot better about applying for it “this late” (cover letter & resume are going out tomorrow morning, hopefully without needing extra postage) because who knows, maybe it isn’t late, and maybe I’m the kind of person the hiring manager is looking for.

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