job candidate called me four times in one day, coworker might be deliberately undermining my work, and more

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

1. Job candidate called me four times in one day

I am in the process of scheduling interviews for a new opening in our department. I called a batch of candidates this morning and left messages for a few of them. I then had a meeting with my boss and he gave me a task to prioritize over everything else. I even told him I would be ignoring emails/phone calls and would be on Do Not Disturb for most of the day. He agreed because this project is huge and it has to be done by the end of the week.

So morning passes and I get four phone calls from one candidate, who apparently was quite nervous when I didn’t pick up and immediately respond to the voicemail she left with her first call. To be fair, I don’t like ignoring people when I’ve initiated the conversation, but today is just one of those days where I didn’t have time to pause and didn’t want to break my focus on this project. So I figured, it sucks that I can’t answer her right now but I’ll call back first thing tomorrow morning once I have the bulk of my project finished.

Fast forward to this afternoon. She is apparently a current employee for our workplace in a different department, so she tracked me down via our instant messaging system rather than choosing to email me and sent me a message about how she’d called several times and thought this was the best method since “for some reason, nobody was returning my calls. : )” Yes, that is verbatim, including the smiley face.

Am I crazy for being irritated with this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not up in arms but considering the magnitude of the project I’ve been working on and my stress levels when she messaged me, it definitely rubbed me the wrong way. I think it’s pretty common to not answer a phone call within a day if you’ve got a lot going on, and it seems to me like she’s not really understanding professional norms. I’d love to get your take on this.

Yeah, that absolutely should rub you the wrong way. Called you four times in a single day? That’s three calls too many. And then followed that up with an IM where she implied she was being ignored?

You should pass this along to whoever will be making decisions about candidates. This is the kind of thing that should make that person reconsider whether to interview her at all, or at least be on the watch for additional evidence of inappropriateness. (I think that person is not you and that you’re just doing the scheduling, but if I’m wrong and it is you, seriously consider whether the new information you now have about this candidate changes your assessment of her strength.)

Nerves are one thing, but she flew right past nerves into presumption and rudeness.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

2. My coworker might be deliberately undermining my work

At my office, we are ranked on our amount of customer contact, measured by the number of meetings logged. A colleague at work, who is tasked with logging meetings, has been leaving me out of these logs, while always adding my boss/other colleagues (even when they did not attend the meeting). It has happened frequently.

I’m trying not to take this personally, but it feels quite deliberate and unprofessional because it happened several times and the error is always the same: leaving me out of the logs (instead of other attendees). It doesn’t feel like regular, garden-variety sloppiness (which isn’t good either!).

While this colleague and I are not close friends, I have tried my best to be cordial and professional. There’s no serious bad blood, but there have been several moments of awkwardness. He took constructive feedback quite personally and made it clear it was unwelcome, and since then I’ve tried to reduce contact with him to the bare minimum professional levels, and refrained from giving him any feedback.

Objectively, this isn’t just about me feeling slighted, but also impacts how my bosses perceive my work performance (that it’s under-reported). I just want my activity to be accurately logged without drama. I know I cannot second-guess his intentions. The straightforward situation would be to bring it up to him directly. If this is deliberate, I’m not sure how effective this would be though. I have a great relationship with his boss and could discuss it with his boss, but I feel this approach would be even more unwelcome.

Start by assuming it’s not deliberate — since the solution will be the same either way — and just ask him to correct it: “Hey Fergus, on multiple occasions, my customer meetings haven’t been getting logged. It’s important that they do — do you need me to do anything differently to ensure that they end up in your logs?”

If it keeps happening after that, then yes, you definitely do need to loop in his boss. If Fergus has an issue with that, you should mention that to his boss too — because his boss needs to know if Fergus is messing up his work in a way that impacts others and then bristling when people try to resolve it.

Don’t let his prickliness keep you from dealing with this, and dealing with it ASAP. It’s something that sounds like it could unfairly affect your professional standing, and so you have to speak up.

3. My recruiting messages on LinkedIn aren’t getting any responses

I have recently joined the corporate world and am working as a recruiter with one of the biggest IT providers in the U.S. My biggest struggle is to work through LinkedIn to utilize the talent in I.T. My In-Mails are not getting any response.

An example of what I send: “I came across your profile on linkedin while searching for Java j2ee talent and I found your experience to be very interesting. I would like to know little bit more about yourself by setting up a call or in person meeting to understand your goals and interest.”

Can you advise on this and help me get better?

Yeah, people aren’t responding to that email because you’ve given them absolutely no reason to spend time answering your questions. You haven’t mentioned a job or given any details about where the call might lead; there’s no incentive for them to respond to something so open-ended.

Instead, open with a clear description of the job that you’re hiring for and why they might be the right fit for it, and then ask if they’d be interested in learning more. Bonus points if you include things that should be additional draws, such as the salary and other incentives.

4. My new coworker takes loud calls on speaker phone with his door open

For many years, I have worked in a generally reasonably quiet office where, in the past, people who have needed to take phone calls either use a headset or handset or close their doors. My new office neighbor does neither, taking long and short calls on speaker phone with his door open. I sometimes get up and close my door, which is annoying, both because it signals to others that I’m on a call/unavailable (which isn’t true) or that I’m stand-offish, and because you know, I have to get off my duff and do it, interrupting my work. He’s at exactly my level, so it’s not a management issue, just a workplace etiquette one – is there a polite way for me to ask him to stop?

Absolutely, and if he’s polite in return, it should work. Say this: “Bob, would you mind closing your door if you’re going to take a call on speaker phone? Or use a handset if you prefer to leave the door open? It can be pretty loud and makes it hard to focus. Thank you!”

A reasonable coworker will be happy to respect this request. That’s especially true if Bob is new to your office, which it sounds like he is; he should be particularly interested in not causing disruptions in his new workplace. (Actually, you could play directly to that and say something like, “Our walls are pretty thin here, so we all close our doors if we’re using speaker phone.” In other words, This Is How We Do it Here, Bob.)

5. My company says I’m not eligible for FMLA leave because our 100 employees are spread over three states

I work at a company that has just over 100 employees spread across three offices (and three states). No single location has more than 40 employees. I recently told my boss that I’m pregnant. I’m the first pregnant employee my company has ever had, so the official policy is pretty vague. I sat down with my boss and HR to ask a lot of questions and try to put together a plan. During this meeting, I was told that since there aren’t 50 employees at any single office, FMLA doesn’t apply. This strikes me as an incorrect interpretation of that law, but I’m having trouble actually justifying that. Is this really how it works?

How far away are the other locations? To be covered by FMLA, you have to work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location. (Or if you worked remotely, you’d only be covered if the office you report to and which makes assignments to you has 50 or more employees working within 75 miles of its location. In other words, the law hasn’t kept up with technology and the increase in remote workers.)

{ 400 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous Educator*

    For #3, in addition to mentioning a job, I think the idea that you came across the profile sounds rather haphazard. It might be worth mentioning why you think that particular candidate’s skillset or experience would be appropriate for the very real and specific positions you are hiring for. What you’ve written seems very copy-and-paste generic.

    1. BuildMeUp*

      I agree! Something tailored more to the individual person might help – “We are currently looking for a Teapot Engraver, and I see you have X years of engraving experience. I’m including the job description below – please let me know if you’re interested in learning more about the position.” Or something similar.

      1. Nighthawk*

        I’m a software developer. If you want me to even consider responding to your message, it needs to be worth my while. The more detailed you can get, the more likely I’ll respond. That includes the name of the employer, work location, salary, and noteworthy benefits. I personally can’t stand cagey recruiters that act like they’re doing ME a favor with their sales pitch. If I’m going to be considering a major disruption to my life, you better give me a good reason to listen.

        1. rock'n'roll circus*

          This is what I was going to say. I am a Japanese-English bilingual in the mid-west which is very niche field, however the massive amount of Japanese companies here due to the automotive industry. I get calls /emails from something like 4-5 recruiters a week. If they don’t give me at least an idea of the company, a salary range, and a location, I wont reply/get back to them.

          1. Artemesia*

            Yeah the OP’s email sounds like ‘I am building a stable of possibles for my firm; I don’t have anything for you but I want to put you in my string ‘ — who wants to do that?

          2. KH*

            Wow, I’m J-E bilingual too. I live in Seattle but there are very few jobs here requiring Japanese/English bilingual literacy, which is ironic because it’s the closest major city to Japan. Maybe I should move to the midwest!

    2. Kittens McGhee*

      Yeah, one of the few types of Inmail messages from recruiters that I actually respond to are those that ask me about items specific to what I have on my profile. If it’s generic, I will likely ignore it. If it seems like the person took the time to skim through my experience and skills, then I’ll take the time to respond because it feels like genuine interest.

      1. designbot*

        I wanted to mention this too. When I get these they usually say something like “When I came across your profile, I thought that your background and experience (especially during your time at Teapots Incorporated) could be a good fit.” or, “I saw your work on the Black Kettle project and am interested in talking to you about some kettles we’re working on.” The latter only works because my work is publicly visible to anyone who knows what/who to look for, but what either of these really communicates to me is, “I have very specific reasons why I am interested in you, I’m not just carpet bombing the area.” Their specific reasons tell me whether I should reciprocate interest or save everyone the trouble.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Carpet bombing the area. Yeah that’s what a lot of the cheesy type recruiters do these days so Op might be getting lost in the shuffle. Also, not everyone spends time on Linked in regularly. If after changing the message she still doesn’t get response, for those who are particularly stellar, also give them a call and leave a voicemail.

      2. LQ*

        I was going to say I’ve never responded to a recruiter, but that’s not true. I responded to one who specifically addressed the points in my profile, gave details on a job, and it was absolutely relevant. It was so clear and specific that I added them to my list and if I’m looking for something in the future will be one of the places I look. (And I pointed him to someone else who was looking for a job and hasn’t updated LinkedIn in a thousand years.) Genuine interest!

        1. KTM*

          Same here. I am in a fairly niche field and I get so many generic requests that I for the large part just ignore them. On the rare occasion I get a personalized message from a recruiter that’s relevant and well thought out, I’ll actually accept a connect request and keep them in mind for the future. The one that comes to mind for me is someone who gave a very specific job description and how it looked like it matched my skill set as well as included LinkedIn profile links of the team members and managers I would work with and a link to a YouTube video giving an overview of their company.

    3. Uyulala*

      Agreed. The current version actually sounds like a spam thing where you are going to try to sell them something and you were just looking for anyone with certain keywords in their profile.

      1. Chaordic One*

        The labor market is contracting a bit for more highly qualified candidates, and while your contact would have probably worked great a few years ago, Alison is right (and so is Anonymous Ed). The more info you can provide to prospects, the better you’ll tempt them to consider what you’re offering.

        1. SpaceySteph*

          Agreed. This reads exactly like spam. Using the word “interesting” in particular would make me doubt whether it was legit, because I see that all the time in spam comments. It’s a word that says basically nothing and does not engage with the content in a meaningful way. What you mean is “good fit for this position I am trying to fill.”

      2. Boop*

        Oh, definitely. I would ignore that message without question – the bit about getting to know you and your goals/interests immediately reads as suspicious. “Oh, you’re interested in teapot design? Let me tell you about this great product we sell…”

        Also, the lack of mention of a position makes it sound like fishing. Most job searchers want concrete leads, not nebulous conversations about possible openings that may occur in the future, which is what this sounds like to me.

        Sorry OP, I think you need to make the message less vague.

      3. kitty_mommy*

        Oooh, spammer is the perfect word for how this may come across (especially to me). It just comes across as a mass email that was possibly computer generated. Those will likely never get a response.

    4. Charisma*

      Yeah, whenever I get these emails I assume they are spam/mass mailings and that the sender DOESN’T actually care about me beyond a few matching key words in my profile. If you can’t take the time to learn about me (or give me a sign that you actually looked at my profile), tell me what the job is, tell me who the company is, give me an idea of what the pay and benefits would be… I’m not going to waste my time. You obviously didn’t waste your time on me either. I have a great job at the moment that fits my lifestyle. I didn’t seek you out, you found me. My thinking is why are you making me do all the work and take a chance on you when I’m not even sure I want a new job? Are you going to make me wait until the interview stages to find out if your job/company even competes with my current pay/benefits? I’ve made this mistake once, and I will never let it happen again.

      P.S. I’ve gotten at least one of these vague recruiter emails a week for the past ~5 years. I respond with a gentle “I’m not looking right now” ONLY to the recruiters who bother to read my profile.

      1. Dan*

        It’s funny. This is the reverse of “Why do you want *this* job?” Hell, I’ll take any job, this one included! Now a recruiter has to explain why they are interested in you specifically? They’re not used to that.

        BTW, how bad was that mistake you won’t make twice?

        1. mskyle*

          Well, they need to get used to it if they’re sending InMail to employed software developers! I get these emails several times a week. “A web developer job in the Boston area” is not interesting to me… I already have one of those. A specific job in a specific location might be interesting, and is much more likely to get a response.

          1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Yes! My husband is in software and also gets recruiting emails all the time. Even if he were looking for a new job, the recruiters sending him specific jobs would be more likely to get his responses than people who just make vague overtures. OP, you’re marketing to people who have options – there’s more of s burden on you because of that.

          2. Connie-Lynne*

            Seriously. “We’re hiring system engineers / DevOps / SREs. We offer a competitive salary and great benefits.”

            Well yeah, who isn’t?

        2. Charisma*

          A few years back at my old job when I was feeling disgruntled under my brand new manager (who was awful) those mass recruiter messages started looking good to me and I didn’t even think about how vague they were. So I started to respond to them. Soon I realized that most of them weren’t attached to any job at all, they were just recruiters trying to bolster their rosters for clients (complete waste of time). But then I finally got one that was a “real” job. Turns out the job interview I was sent on was not for the same job title that I was told it was for… and I didn’t figure it out until about halfway through the interview. I spent most of the time wondering why my interviewer was SO off track in his questioning my skill set until finally it hit me “This is not the job you’re looking for.” Also, the pay turned out to be 30% below what they promised me and it would have increased my commute from 8 miles to 46 daily. Then the interviewer even had the nerve to gauge my commitment to corporate culture by hinting that the other person in the office with the same job title had NO ISSUES volunteering to give up his nights and weekends to make sure the work got done.

          Basically, there just seems to be too much deceit when it comes to these types of recruitment emails and in-mails. If this recruiter wants to be taken seriously, they need to take the time to set themselves apart and show some quality and care in their work.

      2. MillersSpring*

        Another tip is to approach ppl on LinkedIn for whom the position would be a stretch opportunity. I get a lot of spammy InMails from recruiters who look at me because one of the job titles in my past, like 5-10 years ago, matches their target position. If I’m now a director of teapot design, I have zero interest in your position for spout designer or lid manager even though I’ve done those roles in the past.

        1. Liza*

          Yes! Last week I got an email from a recruiter about a position that would be a couple of steps back for me (and I’m trying to move up) and paying less than 50% of what I make now. I boggled. Then I replied politely to say what I *am* looking for, in case that recruiter comes across any openings that would be a better fit. I wouldn’t have replied at all if I weren’t currently looking for a new job.

          To tie MillersSpring’s advice in with several commenters above, you’ll get better results if you:
          * give details about the specific job you’re trying to fill
          * include salary information
          * include location

          And to greatly improve your chance of a response:
          * personalize your email, to show that you really read their profile
          * approach people for whom it would be a stretch position (for example, when you have a Senior Teapot Handle Maker role to fill, approach current Teapot Handle Makers–not just ones that are already Seniors–and also approach Teapot Lid Makers whose experience looks like it would transfer well to handle making)

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I was also immediately turned off by the way the OP phrased the request: “I would like to know little bit more about yourself by setting up a call or in person meeting to understand your goals and interest.”

      This is not a dating service; understanding my goals and interest [sic] is something that is a little personal for anything before an actual job interview. Since they don’t even mention having the recipient in mind for an opening, it actually sounds a bit like mining for identity theft information.

    6. 42*

      OP – I get several of those recruiting LinkedIn messages a month. The ones that irritate me the most are the ones that already assume I’m interested. I had this one guy tell me to send him my availability for a call. Never asked (even in a perfunctory way) if I was even open to a new position. Just “I came across your profile, send me some times when you’re available”. That plus no information at all on the position other than a job title. Those are the ones I ignore.

      The ones I will respond to are those that don’t have the tone of “I’m doing YOU a favor by contacting you”. I don’t think I’m explaining this adequately…its just an overall tone that comes off as very jerky.

      1. Clewgarnet*

        The ones that annoy me the most are the ones that are trying to recruit me for the exact job I was promoted from a year ago. The job that’s right there on my profile. The job that’s even with my current employer.

        Oh, and the one that’s constantly spamming me about a network security position (I’m network operations/network design. There is nothing about security in my profile.) at the opposite end of the country.

        Also, if I’ve been with the same employer for a decade, I’m not likely to be interested in a 6-month contract that pays significantly less than my current salary.

        OP, you need to understand that people are CONSTANTLY getting bombarded with this sort of email. You need to show that you’ve read their profile, that you’ve compared it to the requirements for a specific position, and that there is a specific position available that is likely to offer them something they don’t already have.

        1. Clewgarnet*

          Hang on, I’ve just hit a new ‘most annoying’. A description of a role that assumes the person in question is male.

          “He will have experience of such-and-such. He will be configuring such-and-such routers.”

          1. AW*

            OMG, that’s SO BAD!

            3rd person “they” when you don’t know the person’s gender. It’s not hard folks!

            1. Kittens Mcghee*

              It’s also not good grammar because of how English works, but I certainly agree that the usage of ‘he’ as a generic pronoun, while legitimate in it’s intent, is too archaic for a job description.

              Used properly, it’s not meant to convey that the desired applicant is to be male.

    7. the gold digger*

      Read the person’s profile.

      Really. Don’t just search on the keywords “French” and “SAP” and send your note. You will get someone who mentions each word exactly once in her profile and the word “French” is preceded by “Basic,” which means I can order a Nutella crepe from a street vendor in Paris. It does not mean I can do an entire systems conversion in the language. I can’t even do a systems conversion in English.

      GROM’s Client is moving a group of acquisitions onto their SAP platform from Quebec, and is looking for an SAP resource who is fluent in French to join them on a 4 month project. Part of the role will be to ensure that forms and text descriptions in tables (written in french) will work with their existing landscape. Other responsibilities include anticipating all the language impacts on the workability of the system. Looking for 8+ years of expertise with experience with language translation projects (English to French). Let me know if you’re interested in the role and we can discuss it in further detail.

        1. Nighthawk*

          I’d expect that sort of position to pay VERY well. Bi-lingual English/French developers with SAP conversion experience is not exactly a large pool.

    8. Sadsack*

      There is recruiter who has sent me an invitation on linked in with no message about why he wants to connect. He has since resent the request about a dozen times, still no actual contact stating why he is interested in connecting. I keep ignoring it. I don’t really want to be seen linked to a job recruiter by someone at my current employment and I don’t want to be connected to someone I don’t actually know or have never even spoken to. Am I doing this wrong?

      1. AnotherHRPro*

        I don’t think there is anything wrong n accepting a connection with a recruiter. I typically accept almost all requests to connect as those connections can come in handy. Not just for you but for your network. I am happy to have those recruiter connections when I have a friend or colleague who is looking for an opportunity as I can then help them.

      2. Liza*

        Sadsack, I wondered the same thing–so earlier this week I asked a recruiter (a good one, recommended to me by a coworker) if there’s any benefit to accepting random recruiter invitations on LinkedIn. He told me there isn’t really any reason to connect with a recruiter you don’t already have a relationship with. The recruiter gets the benefit of having access to your network, but you don’t really get much (if any) benefit in return.

      3. Rowan*

        If you go to the LinkedIn page itself (can’t do this from the notification email — why?) you can mark the request as spam, which in my opinion it is. They will then be blocked from requesting again.

    9. Just Another Techie*

      Agreed. I can’t count the number of times I replied hopefully to one of those messages only for it to turn out, after wasting a great deal of my time, that the position was something I was neither qualified for nor interested in. There’s so much completely thoughtless recruiting, where the sender doesn’t bother to even read your profile or think even a little if you’re a good match, all they’re looking at is who pops up on a simple keyword search.

      1. BioPharma*

        Agreed! It’s annoying when they write “I came across your LinkedIn profile and thought you’d be a great fit…” And as AAM suggests, includes details about a position. Unfortunately, most of them say “requires 10 years of experience” which I have a tiny fraction of, so it’s like “um, no, you clearly DIDNT really look at my profile!”

    10. Murphy*

      Yeah, to be blunt, the email message sounded like a spam email. I get those in LinkedIn and yeah, they just get deleted.

    11. JuniorDev*

      On LinkedIn I assume all “recruiters” are spamming me until they prove otherwise. So yeah, prove you’ve read *their* profile beyond a keyword search.

    12. Xelle*

      Considering that I’ve gotten quite a few “hey we’d like to offer you a job” emails that were obviously some kind of scam (job title and description is ridiculously vague, no company name or I come up with nothing when Googling it); and considering that I’ve had several recruiters through LinkedIn that were offering jobs in, say, insurance sales, when I have no experience in either insurance or sales, and the recruiter seemed surprised to hear that…

      As others have said, you need to offer some specifics so that people know that (a) you’ve actually read their resume, and not just seen the word “analyst” and assumed they have a background in finance, and (b) you’re not offering a job that’s 200 miles from where they live and requires a degree they don’t have. It sounds ridiculous, but this has actually happened to me and made me very wary of anyone contacting me first.

  2. BuildMeUp*

    #1 – Wow. Not only 4 phone calls, but also the message complete with a passive-aggressive smiley face? If this is what they’re doing now, I don’t even want to think about what working with this person would be like.

    I’m not sure if talking to them directly about the excessive contacts would be worth it, or just opening a door to more boundary crossing.

    1. designbot*

      I bet they’ll have to level with the candidate at some point, otherwise it’s only going to continue.

    2. neverjaunty*

      They’re not going to magically figure out boundary-crossing on their own. OP should definitely cancel whatever interviews may have been available to this candidate, and talk to her manager so that she can get some feedback on why this was a problem. And it is a huge problem – how could it not have occurred to her that maybe people have jobs and may not call back right away because they are busy?

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        Right? Especially since she works at the same company as the OP and saw the Do Not Disturb setting on the messenger service.

      2. Boop*

        This makes me crazy. I didn’t call four times when I couldn’t reach you – give me 24 hours to respond to your message! You never know if the person is in a meeting or got sick and went home, or just stepped away for a moment. Call back, leave a message, and then give it a day.

        Four phone calls and an IM in one day is definitely a warning sign. 1) Isn’t this person also at work? Shouldn’t she be…working? 2) Seriously ignoring work norms is a possible sign that she ignores all kinds of other norms. This blog is full of people who ignore basic workplace and social norms, which should give you a clue about how other employees may feel. To be fair, she may be perfectly lovely, but this behavior would give me pause.

        1. OP #1*

          You make an excellent point about her also being at work. I wonder if anyone’s ever called her multiple times when she’s in the middle of something…

            1. OP #1*

              It took me a while lol but I did. IM is such an awkward forum for this because if I had called or emailed, it would have been pretty obvious that I was ignoring her, which wasn’t the case at all.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I think it’s totally fine in that case to reply to the IM with a terse “I’ll be back in touch as soon as I’m able; probably won’t be today.”

                1. OP #1*

                  Oh, I really like that! I’ll keep that verbiage in my back pocket in case something like this ever happens again (although I sincerely hope it never does).

          1. Ama*

            Honestly, I’ve had plenty of coworkers who don’t seem to make the connection between their behavior and how they want others to behave towards them. My favorite was one at an old workplace who once sent me an email (with a question that required some research on my part) Saturday night at 11 pm, sent a follow up Monday at 6:30 am, and then was at my desk at 9:10 am wanting to know why I wasn’t responding to her messages.

            The kicker was that she missed a good portion of messages sent to her because, as I found out shortly before she left, she didn’t check her work email for two years. (She sent me emails from her personal account — her position was temporary so that wasn’t unusual, but it was expected that if you did that you’d have your work email forwarded to your personal account.)

            1. OP #1*

              For two years? I’m trying not to faint at the thought of all the things I’d miss if I didn’t check it even for a week! Wow.

              1. Ama*

                Yeah, we all thought she was just flaky because she never seemed to know about anything that was going on (we used department wide emails for a lot of communications and because of the way our mass email system was set up we could only send those to work emails). And then in passing one day, as I was having a conversation with her about the end of her contract, I mentioned something about info that had been sent via one of those emails and she said “oh I stopped checking my work email two years ago.”

                Like many things with that particular coworker, I could not decide whether to laugh or bang my head on my desk.

                1. AW*

                  This needs to be on a list of most outlandish co-worker behavior because I have no words.

        2. Schick Chick*

          “Four phone calls and an IM in one day is definitely a warning sign. 1) Isn’t this person also at work? Shouldn’t she be…working? 2) Seriously ignoring work norms is a possible sign that she ignores all kinds of other norms. This blog is full of people who ignore basic workplace and social norms, which should give you a clue about how other employees may feel.”

          I always find it strange when I visit this site and see a complete 180 of what was endorsed as a workplace norm in absolutely every workplace I have ever worked.

          In my field of work, business needs could and would change minute to minute; at my last job it was absolutely imperative that all calls received before 9 am were either answered or returned by 11 am (time differences from our international locations), and anything after that, by close of business.

          Depending on who phoned, not returning the call ASAP was grounds for a write up and could very quickly land you on a PIP. So it is always feels bizarre when I come on this site and see people absolutely indignant that someone phoned them, sometimes at all.

          I am not saying that all employers are this way, obviously it is not the case, but I will tell you my stomach was in knot when I read that the candidate was internal. The fourth time I failed to notice or return that call (unless they happened in quick succession), there is not a doubt in my mind I would have found myself in the boss’s office in the next 30 minutes, faster if the person had left a message clearly stating what they wanted.

          And truly it would not have mattered what they wanted (it really could have been something stupid), because the expectation that all calls during business hours where to be returned was made crystal. There also would not have been any waving off of this person if they showed up at my desk (or worse out in the field), just a prayer that they were satisfied and not unhappy enough to tell the boss they had to walk over.

          On the other hand because we were expected to be out of the office and in the field and a good part of the day, e-mail reply expectations was a little more lax, as in, it could wait until 9 am the next day since many of our sites were abroad, and most of our correspondence came in overnight. A message on the voicemail that implied “calls will not be returned, please email” (that I saw some poster say was on her recording a few months ago) would have been unacceptable, and if she was a contractor of ours, she would have eventually lost our business.

          This of course does not address the situation of this OP, who seems to work in an office where getting several calls from the same person is not okay.

          I just wanted to make my point that many people here seem to assume that “after the first call, two is too many” is a workplace norm across the board when it is not.

          1. teclatrans*

            This…this is not the expectation of a healthy workplace. What you are seeing as flip-flopping and conflicting norms is more accurate understood as the difference between toxic and non-toxic expectations. Or maybe there is something really specific in the needs of your role or your company’s structure (I can imagine customer response might need quick turnaround, or IT support internally), but then it is important not to generalize that to a broader necessity and expectation.

          2. LBK*

            I think we can safely assume that it’s out of the ordinary for the OP’s workplace, though, because it feels that way to her. I think you probably also recognize that what’s expected of you is abnormal, and that you wouldn’t therefore do the same thing to someone else – I assume (or at least hope) you don’t expect everyone you call outside of your company to get back to you within such extremely stringent timing.

            The “workplace norm” isn’t meant to imply that every business in the world does it the same way, just that it’s the majority or average way of doing things.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I also wouldn’t interview this person, but given that she’s already in my company, I would probably explain why, directly to her.

        I don’t think I’d involve her current manager, unless the current manager was already aware of our interest (internal candidates sometimes need their manager’s sign-off before they apply).
        For one thing, if the candidate hasn’t notified her manager, I don’t want to mess that up for her. For another, the candidate is a grownup; she’s responsible for her own job-hunting skills, and her manager is not.

        Now, if this had been multiple calls for some work issue, I’d loop in her manager.

        But when people are totally clueless like this, and a short, kind word can set them straight for the future, I like to provide that kind of feedback. Especially if I’m at all in a position to them where I have some right to give them feedback.

        1. neverjaunty*

          She is, but I wouldn’t expect that it was my place to give her developmental feedback – that’s her manager’s job.

          1. LD*

            Actually, if you are able to do so tactfully, I believe it is everyone’s job to provide feedback about career-limiting behaviors, particularly if their behavior could reflect badly on your team, your manager, your company, etc.

      4. Stranger than fiction*

        not only is this rude in professional setting, but social settings too. It’s stalkery. Does she also call her boyfriend over and over til he picks up or if he doesn’t, call his family and work to track him down? Oh wait, she probably doesn’t have one.

        1. JuniorDev*

          Do we really need to speculate on the annoying applicant’s relationship status here? I agree this behavior would be inappropriate in a social context as well, but saying “oh wait, she probably doesn’t have” a boyfriend seems unecessarily mean and snarky towards someone we know very little about.

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Sorry! I was just trying to say if you behave that way, you’re probably not going to get a partner. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being single.

    3. OP #1*

      Unfortunately, it’s not really in my jurisdiction to have this kind of talk with the candidate. The best I can do is let my boss know about it. Even then, I’m not sure anything will be done about it but at least I’ll know I did my part to warn everyone about the candidate’s behavior.

      1. harryv*

        Stop making it personal. The candidate made a mistake but you also are the one that initiate the conversation. The candidate wouldn’t have known you couldn’t take calls that day and suddenly picked up an important projects. I don’t know why recruiters have to feel they need to ruin a person’s opportunity from one mistake. If you feel so strong about it, then reject them. No need to go overboard.

        1. OP #1*

          A couple of things:
          1. It’s not personal. None of my evaluation is an attack on their character.
          2. I didn’t expect the candidate to know what I had going on but calling four times in as many hours and then IMing is way out of the realm of professional norms.
          3. I’m not a recruiter and I’m not rejecting anyone.
          4. Letting the hiring manager know about a candidate’s behavior isn’t going overboard.

    4. HRChick*

      We had an applicant that applied to almost all of our jobs – even the ones that were wildly inappropriate for her skill set.

      One day she called me and asked me to transfer her to the hiring manager for job #1. We don’t do that unless specifically given permission by the hiring manager and then their contact info is in the job posting. So, I explained that to her and told her I’d put a note in her application that she’d applied. She argued with me! Actually told me that she didn’t think it was true. I was polite as possible and got off the phone with her, and then I hear my manager’s phone ringing. It’s her and she’s asking the same questions and getting the same answers and arguing again. THEN she called the Payroll Director and had the same conversation.

      Now this is where it gets really nutty. She called ME back and asked me to transfer her to the hiring manager for job #2. I said “Didn’t we have the same conversation five minutes ago?” and she hung up on me, called my manager and payroll director again – same conversation. Then she called ME again! I finally told her to stop calling, that we weren’t going to give her a different answer, and that we’d call her if we needed anything. My manager was cracking up. But, the applicant did stop calling. And she wasn’t hired :-P

      1. SophieChotek*

        Wow. I guess she heard that “persistence pays off” and took it too much to heart.

      2. ZSD*

        I like that you specified that she wasn’t hired. It would have been great, though, if the ending had instead been, “But the applicant did stop calling. She’s now been here five years and is one of our most valued employees.”

          1. HRChick*

            It wasn’t just because she called a lot – it was her mannerisms and the fact that she tried to bypass me and go to other people to get what she wanted and argued with me when she didn’t. It was disrespectful of my time, really.

            But, anyways, as mentioned, she was very unqualified for a lot of jobs she applied for and minimally qualified for others. We had better, more qualified candidate to select from.

            When I put a note in her application, all I put was “called to speak to hiring manager” and nothing else. I figured she wasn’t going to her hired anyways, so I wasn’t going expound on the fact that she was annoying and argumentative.

            I give people a lot of leeway, especially if they’re out of work and calling because they’re desperate and nervous. I try to put them at ease, encourage them to apply for any jobs posted they think we’re qualified for, etc. But, there’s a line between desperate and nervous and desperate and lashing out. And it really shows a lack of self control and some red flags on how they will interact with people during stressful times.

    5. Artemesia*

      I am trying to put myself in the shoes of the employee. I think she is thinking ‘they called me and so it is critical that I take responsibility for getting back to them. I’ll keep calling till I catch her in.’ subtext: if I don’t get back to her, she will drop me and I will miss my chance.

      Yes it is instead coming across as annoying and is a red flag but it might be a bit of inexperience coupled with anxiety about missing the call. I’d probably do a little information gathering about her (since she is in the organization) before assuming she would always be a pain. And it would be a kindness to clue her in on the behavior and how it comes off.

      1. teclatrans*

        I think this is a good point and worth considering. If it had just been the phone calls I would be a softy and give her a pass. And maybe if her direct message had been something more direct which reflected that (maybe, “I got your message about scheduling, sorry I wasn’t able to take your call, I hope you haven’t moved on, I am totally still interested and available”?), I would mark it with an orangish flag but still proceed. It’s the message she did send that puts my back up — it implies fault and then softens with the smiley face, and ends up coming across as passive-aggressive. And it was boundary-crossing to boot. Those would be

      2. harryv*

        Exactly. OP went as far as ‘warning everyone about this candidate’. Also, candidate didn’t leave 4 v/m, they simply called 4 times.

        1. OP #1*

          Not sure where you got this impression. I’m going to mention it to the hiring manager but this isn’t something that involves “warning everyone about this candidate.” Very different connotations there.

  3. TFTF*

    #3 – In addition to lacking compelling content, the email is poorly written and grammatically incorrect. If I received it, I’d draw an unfavorable conclusion about the professionalism of the company (I’d even suspect it was spam), and I’d be unlikely to respond. When you’re essentially cold-calling someone, it pays to be extra-careful about this kind of thing in order to create a good first impression.

    1. D*

      Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. Not sure if the typo is on Alison’s end or if that’s what the LW actually sent out but it’s missing an “a.” And comes across more like a convo to network. Maybe add more about who you are, LW, and scratch the word “interesting.” Does seem spammy. Good luck!

              1. valc2323*

                By using it at all. I’m constantly removing it and replacing with “use” when doing plain language technical editing.

                Never use a three-syllable word when one syllable is enough.
                Never utilize a polysyllabic word when one will suffice.

          1. Elle*

            Mine too. I feel like screaming every time I hear, “If you need anything further, please let myself of John Smith know.” Glad I am not alone!

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          YES. I might ignore your message based on that alone. Not because I’m a grammar pedant, but because the more errors there are in a message from a stranger, the more likely it is to be spam.

        2. Tommy*

          Wait, so you’re saying that “myself” and “yourself” AREN’T just the fancy, formal versions of “me” and “you”?! :-)

        3. Noah*

          The dictionary says you can use yourself (or another reflexive pronoun) after a preposition, but normal usage (and good taste) says you use a personal pronoun.

          Maybe my opinion on this subject say something about me (or myself)…

        4. Mephyle*

          “You” instead of “yourself”. I’ve been scrolling down, waiting to see if someone else flagged that so I could second it, or if I would have to point it out myself!

      1. MillersSpring*

        “…an in-person meeting…” Hyphenate it when you’re using the two words together as one adjective.

    2. LiveAndLetDie*

      This is why I wouldn’t respond to this letter. It’s sloppily written and gives me no good information. I would see that message and suspect it was spam or mass-mail, and not actually aimed at me specifically. Just quickly scanning it, I think using “yourself” when “you” is appropriate and not capitalizing LinkedIn properly is already enough to make me hit the trash button.

      1. Jen*

        Yep. If someone can’t even bother to get grammar right I’m not going to waste my time responding to their email.

    3. anonanonanon*

      A lot of the LinkedIn messages I receive from recruiters are poorly written and grammatically incorrect. Sometimes it seems like they’re copying and pasting different templates, so you get that awkward situation where a couple of words seem randomly inserted in a sentence.

      I find it really unprofessional when there are errors like that in a message or when they make unforgivable mistakes like incorrectly using they’re/their/there or it’s/its. This is especially annoying when they’re contacting me about writing or editing jobs.

      1. Uyulala*

        I got one that was extra horrible once. I corrected it and sent it back! Never heard back from that recruiter (wasn’t a good job anyway).

      2. Phoebe*

        Lol! This reminds me of my favorite T-shirt slogan: “Hukt on fonix werkt 4 me!”

  4. MommaCat*

    #5, if it turns out that FMLA doesn’t apply, perhaps you could make the argument that adhering to it, even when they don’t have to, would help create goodwill amongst employees looking to get pregnant? Because if I found out that a company I worked for was not even doing the bare minimum for pregnant women and their significant others (aka FMLA), I’d GTFO ASAP.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      My company is large but too distributed for FMLA to apply… so they’ve created a leave policy that’s more generous than FMLA. It still makes me a little nervous because that policy can change and if they decide not to adhere to it I’m up a creek, but at least they’re making the effort.

      1. 2 Cents*

        My company doesn’t qualify under FMLA, but they respect it, and for pregnancy, they have a more generous package than other companies of equal / slightly greater size. And that means a lot. I know it’s difficult for a small company where pretty much everyone has their specific function to have 1 person out for months at a time. On the other hand, it shows to me that leadership is human, treats us like humans with a life beyond these cubicle walls, and makes me more inclined to do good work for them.

        1. De Minimis*

          Same here, we just try to be employee-friendly because we want to retain people. The employees located at our main office are covered by state law which is equivalent [and maybe even somewhat better] than FMLA.

          We pay for short-term disability insurance for the out-of-state people, and that provides them with a similar benefit should they need it. It’s actually not that expensive.

    2. Xarcady*

      This. I worked for a small family-owned company, and they made a big deal out of how they were too small to *have* to offer FMLA, but they did anyway. The fact that the workforce was 75% female may have had something to do with this.

      Also check your state laws. States can make stricter rules than FMLA, so there may be something in the state laws that can help you. My state requires FMLA for companies with 50 or more employees, for example.

      1. Mona Lisa*

        This was the same at the awful non-profit for which I worked. We were a small branch of a larger non-profit and one of only three branches in the nation that didn’t offer paid family leave. When I brought this up to superiors as an easy way to compensate for the below-market pay for their primarily young female workforce, I was told that they were already treating us better than they had to because technically we weren’t covered by FMLA (our branch had 35 employees between several locations) but that they were graciously extending the benefit to us.

        Not surprisingly most women who went on maternity leave there didn’t end up returning.

      2. Emma Peel*

        Yes, definitely check your state laws. My company is too small for FMLA as well and the leave HR told me they offer was less than that legally outlined by my state.

      3. Kyrielle*

        DEFINITELY check your state laws. California has some good ones, I believe, but so does Oregon. And Oregon’s kicks in if they have 25 or more employees in the state.

        In fact, even if you were in a company where FMLA applies, still check your state laws. They can still benefit you. For example….

        If you happen to be in Oregon, Google ‘Oregon OFLA’ – using *all twelve weeks* (you must take all 12 for this to apply!) of its maternity leave gives you access to another 12 weeks of “sick child” leave for the year, instead of leaving you with no coverage. Also, it allows 12 weeks leave post-birth even if you use some time before the birth for pregnancy-related medical conditions. And speaking of things other than pregnancy, OFLA covers leave related to some relatives that aren’t covered under FMLA.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I worked in the NY office of a company based in California. Too small for FMLA. When I started, one of the CA employees was out on 12 weeks’ maternity leave. My NY-based co-worker got pregnant, and when it came time to discuss her leave, they told her she could only take the 6 weeks required by New York. I get that laws vary by state, but to not even offer the courtesy of 12 weeks or offer any flexibility… it just seemed so stupid and short-sighted. My co-worker ended up working out a deal to work part-time, and she’s still there, and every time we talk it’s a matter of staying until she starts graduate school because at least she knows what she’s getting. So miserable.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Nothing says “we care about our employees” like doing the bare minimum required by law.


    4. TootsNYC*

      And creating their own FMLA-matching leave policy might be a huge recruiting tool as well. Just being able to say, “Though our company is too small to be covered by the FMLA, we follow those federal guidelines anyway,” would send the message that your company recognizes the benefits and fairness of such a law, and that the company will strive to be industry-standard on things related to employees.

      It might mitigate a recruit’s worries about how difficult it might be to work at a smaller company.

      1. Ama*

        Yup. We are just under the FMLA limit (and we have a smaller satellite office much further than 75 miles away), but we offer pretty good maternity leave — and like your office. But we’re nonprofit and our COO has been open about the fact that generous PTO and leave policies are designed to offset our inability to compete with the private sector on salaries.

    5. Total Rando*

      Plus, all FMLA promises is 12 weeks unpaid leave available while you’re job is protected. In all honesty, that’s not that much. The company would do better to come up with a reasonable maternity leave policy, and promise to not fire people for having babies… It shouldn’t be too hard.

      1. TootsNYC*

        well, the smaller the organization, the harder it is to have someone out on such a long leave. I’ve seen it happen–the main sales person was out on maternity leave, and revenue really, really dropped. They had someone in to sub for her, but in that role, it’s just really hard!

        1. Total Rando*

          That’s definitely valid. I can see how it’s dependent on the role and the company, but I also think that it’s shouldn’t be a hard CHOICE to decide to accommodate a maternity leave.

        2. TootsNYC*

          Oh, they accommodated it, without complaint. But asking them to be more generous would have actually been a hardship.
          They need a consistent policy for everyone, of course, but it’s not like there’s no downside for a company!

    6. Elle*

      OP, I would do some research into how they handle other medical/disability leaves. If they gave someone 6 weeks of for his heart attack, and another employee 6 weeks for her diabetes issues, you have some precedent to go on.

    7. SystemsLady*

      I have a co-worker who was burned by this, though through a twist of fate I don’t think the manager who did this expected, the job they pushed her into after her return ended up being a lot better for her. All because a couple of our close to 60 employees live more than 75 miles away from the office and < 10 report to a satellite office over one hundred miles away.

      They mostly follow FMLA and offer the time off, with the notable exception that one of the managers seems to be a fan of reassigning people who've been on medical leave to a totally different job. Almost as if he wants to rub it in, some of the reassignments have been so extreme.

      Our state all but bottoms out the employee requirement for pregnancy-related FMLA, but unfortunately (for some reason) they stopped there…

    8. Anna*

      Yes. While it’s better than nothing, FMLA really doesn’t do a whole lot and a company that won’t even do that isn’t one I’d care to work for. Though, I also wouldn’t care to be job searching while pregnant most likely. I think it’s worth bringing up the argument of employee goodwill fostered by offering leave and, while it may not be changed in time to help you, it may at least spark the conversation for the future.

      I just started a new job at a company that is both the smallest I’ve ever worked for post-college (definitely doesn’t qualify for FMLA) and the only one that has offered paid maternity leave. I’ve found some that say they offer paid leave when what they mean is that they’ll cover short-term disability, and to me that’s not really the same thing – though, it is nice and more than FMLA.

    9. Chickaletta*

      Good luck, #5. I was the third woman in my office at one job to be let go for having a baby. In fact I replaced a woman who was let go after giving birth. When I asked why she was leaving the company during my interview, I was told that it was to stay at home to raise her baby and they implied that it was voluntary, which I found out later wasn’t true.

      This was also at a 2,000 employee company with millions in annual revenue, but I worked in a satellite location that had the fewer than 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. We were very close to the 50 employee mark, but many suspected that the company didn’t reach that benchmark on purpose to avoid being forced to follow FMLA. We also strongly suspected that the CEO’s strong religious affiliation had a lot to do with the policy too, because it is known for being “family oriented” (ie: women should stay at home to raise their children).

      I am a strong advocate for any legislation or changes to the FMLA law because of what happened to me and the other women at this company. I’ve also left them reviews on Glassdoor explaining what happened (without the speculation, but most people who see where it’s headquartered can put two and two together pretty quickly).

  5. Neeta*

    #3 I second Alison’s suggestion to include details of an actual job.
    There is nothing interesting in that description. If I’m a Java developer I’m most probably already working somewhere making use of my j2ee skills. Why would I go elsewhere just because you’re looking for? It’s one of the things that really frustrate when looking over job ads where the company is confidential.

    Eg: If I’m looking for a job, I’m interested in companies that employ more than 10 people, have better benefits than my current workplace and have some sort of public history. If you can’t even provide a functioning website where I can look this information up, I’ll be very very wary of this.

    Also, as a personal pet peeve, I hate the term “talent” being used like that. I know that this now the new trend, and all but it really just sounds like a buzzword to me. And I’m very distrustful of buzzwords. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use this anymore. Perhaps other candidates like the term.

    1. Lora*

      On behalf of other candidates, “talent” is not exactly offensive but like all other buzzwords, makes us sigh internally, similar to “leverage” and “innovate”.

      I’m in life sciences/pharma, and I also need to know the size of the company and importantly, who it is. I’ve had a slew of recruiters recently asking if I’d like to work for a dynamic, exciting, entrepreneurial company which either I’ve already worked for (!) or which has a particularly awful reputation, and they figure if they just don’t mention who it is, or speak of this organization by the name of the parent company/subsidiary company, I won’t know who it is and somehow…accidentally or something, I guess?…get all the way through the interview process and be tricked into working for them? I’m not sure how they expect that to work. If you’re not saying, “I am a recruiter for Company X and we have an opening in department Y” then my assumption is that you’re deliberately hiding this information because the answer is like, Enron or something. If it was “I am a recruiter for Awesome Company and we have an opening in the Chocolate Tasting Department” you would say that up front, right?

      1. Undine*

        It’s normal in in the first contact for a third-party recruiter not to mention the name of the company, for several reasons. First, if you are interested and you haven’t agreed to work with the recruiter, you can just go ahead and apply directly — which means the recruiter doesn’t get a fee. In some cases also the company doesn’t want their name revealed until they show interest on their side. It does sound like what you’ve encountered is a little different though.

        1. Lynn Whitehat*

          Really? I’ve always found that that’s the first thing they say during the phone screen. “The job is with Amazon”, or whoever it’s with.

        2. Neeta*

          I can certainly see that angle, but that doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t really have a very good impression of companies where the recruiter had initially withheld their information. Also, I’m the type who doesn’t really see a need to jump around the 3rd party recruiter. If the company gets squeamish about paying the recruiter’s fee (but tells me they’d hire me otherwise), then that’s a huge red flag for me. Of course, I can totally understand that this is just my personal outlook on the matter.

      2. Neeta*

        Maybe hate is a bit too strong of a word, because there is certainly nothing offensive about it. But like you said Lora, there’s definitely some internal sighing going on there.

    2. LawLady*

      I’m over here totally shocked that the spammy emails I get on LinkedIn might have actual people behind them!

  6. annabel*

    #4. I once sat in a cubicle right outside a woman who would always take or make calls loudly on her speakerphone. I would just get up and close her door. Once she realized she was no longer putting on a show for the whole office the volume would markedly decrease. Not once did she question why I was closing her door, though she never did stop.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      This. Get up and close your coworkers doorway, not yours. It fixes the problem.

      1. Broadbean*

        Yes. Close his door. My neighbour did this to me and I realised immediately that I was disturbing her, and stopped having calls /meetings with my door open. If you want, first time you could put your head round the door and mouth “sorry, the noise is disturbing me”.

    2. Hornswoggler*

      Why does he need to use speaker phone? Is it because he needs to have his hands free (e.g. for taking notes? Or because he likes to walk around or wave his arms around when having certain types of conversation (which is something I sometimes find necessary)? Or because he has a frozen shoulder and finds it hard to hold up the receiver for long periods (also something I have experienced)? All these seems to be reasons to have a headset – so that’s what I have. I wouldn’t be without it. I work alone but it’s still an essential piece of kit as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        So, I actually have a recently-diagnosed TMJ disorder that causes not infrequent ear pain and sensitivity to sounds emitted close to my ear. I’m working on it with my dentist, but for now it means I have to use speaker phone pretty exclusively since even headsets and earbuds are painful for me (which really sucks because I like listening to music while I work). The difference, though, is that I am careful about closing the door when I make or take a call and keep the volume as low as I reasonably can.

        1. Hlyssande*

          Holy crap, is that why sometimes I can’t deal with headsets/bluetooth/handsets against my ear? I have some pretty harsh TMJ stuff going on and I definitely have issues with sounds so close to my ear off and on.

          Note to self – get my butt to the dentist again.

        2. Hornswoggler*

          Sympathies. A family member of mine has a similar problem. I can’t stand earbuds either, myself, but I think is because I have tiny little ears, or possibly the wrong shaped ears.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            They don’t work for me either. They hurt or fall out. I can only use the ones with the hook that goes over your ear when I work out, since they stay in. But as soon as I’m done, off they come. My Bluetooth thingy doesn’t bother me, though.

      2. Koko*

        I prefer speakerphone to wearing a headset. Just don’t like wearing the thing, it presses on my head, sometimes pinches my ear, tethers me to the phone by a physical cord, if one person on the call is talking louder than everyone else it’s right in my dang ear… It’s pretty standard in my office that people without private offices use headsets and people with private offices close their door and use speakerphone. Nobody seems to like wearing the headset unless they have to.

        1. Windchime*

          We have wireless headsets where I work and they’re really nice. You can walk quite a ways from your phone and still be connected.

      3. LW4*

        LW here: he does frequently do this while he’s doing other things on his computer- occasionally typing, but at least checking emails or reviewing the agreement they’re discussing, or whatever. He doesn’t seem to have a headset, but I know if he asked for one, he could get one.

    3. DeskBird*

      I once worked in an open office plan with a woman who would pick up her phone – put it on speaker – and THEN look for the number she wanted to dial. So the horrible dial tone would be on speaker for up to a minute while she looked for the number. Then she would dial the number and wait for it to ring – and once they picked up she would take it off speaker. Thinking about this still enrages me – and I haven’t been there for years.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Wow. That’s bizarre. What was the point of dialing on speaker and then taking it off to have the conversation?

        1. JMegan*

          I do that. The way my desk is configured, I can really only reach the phone with one hand, so using one hand to hold the phone and the other hand to dial is just really awkward. Speaker to dial then pick up the handset is by far the easiest way to do it.

          But I do always look up the number before I start dialling!

        2. Tommy*

          I think the mindset is that you aren’t fully committed to the call until someone has answered it, and you can still use both your hands for the 6 seconds the phone is ringing.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            Thanks goodness I’m at a point in my career where I can waste 6 seconds while waiting for a phone to ring…

          2. MaggiePi*

            Yep. Lawyers do this all the time when they call me. Once they know they actually reached me, they take it off speaker (often with a loud thunk of some kind) and talk on the handset.
            It makes it really hard when you first answer the phone (on the receiving end) to figure out who they are and who they are trying to reach when it sounds like they are shouting from across a football field through a tin can. I am not a fan of speaker phone.

      2. Sophia Brooks*

        The department director at my part-time job does that. I think someday his admin is going to snap.

      3. Windchime*

        We have a guy who does this, too. Puts it on speaker and dials, then lets it ring until the other person answers and only then does he pick up the handset.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          That makes the most AWFUL sound to the person who answers your call, though; phone etiquette is that you make the call with the handset/headset and THEN ask the caller if you can put them on speaker, not the other damn way around.

          If you call on speaker and then pick up the set, it goes *clunk* in their ear and that sucks. So everybody stop it!

          1. MaggiePi*

            Yep. The recipient doesn’t like it, and your colleagues in your office don’t want to listen to a phone ring either!

        2. TootsNYC*

          I did this when I had my own office–because holding the handset and dialing was awkward (had to twist my body around more). Also, I’d be doing things with my hands (pulling out papers, etc., when the phone was dialing).

          But it was annoying for the other person to try to converse that way, so once the conversation started, i picked up.

          But I had my own office, and the volume was pretty low.

          I didn’t know about the clunk–I’ve never had that happen to me on my end, when other people did it. I mean, it made a noise, but it wasn’t that big, really; I didn’t mind it.

    4. 2 Cents*

      At my old office, this sales guy who had his own private office was “demoted” to cube land with the rest of us. He decided he didn’t care if it it bothered the 25 other people in his vicinity if he spoke loudly on speakerphone all day. That is until I got up after he hung up once, and said, “Rudy, could you not use speakerphone? It really disrupts the rest of us here.” A huffy eye roll resulted, but no more speakerphone!

      1. Formica Dinette*

        People who use speaker phone are 37% more important than those who don’t. It’s a Scientific Fact.

    5. Artemesia*

      I once had a small office between two bigwigs and one of them loved to show off — he didn’t take the calls on speaker phone but he would absolutely bray his side of the conversation. Two themes of those loud calls: criticizing our workplace and colleagues and bragging about his political connections. We were sooooo impressed.

    6. Stranger than fiction*

      We have a new person who’s in the office right next to me (our offices are 75% windows/glass and have very thin walls) and when she began making customer calls, she used speaker phone with it cranked up to wake the dead. I just knocked on the wall and sent an instant message could she please use her headset. She stopped but still forgets once in a while so I’ll hear the very beginning of the convo on the speaker occasionally while she fumbles to get her headset on.

  7. Mike*

    Regarding #3: As a software engineer the recruiting emails I respond to (even if it is to say I’m not currently interested) have been the ones that tell me about the company, the job, and how my experience fits in (i.e. reference something from my LinkedIn profile). Do not use a ton of buzzwords (I seriously got one that said the company was a “global gaming unicorn”).

    Also realize that IT folks in IT heavy areas get a ton of InMails and generally ignore them unless they look interesting.

    Regarding #5: I kinda have the same problem but instead of a coworker it is our manager. Originally we were all in one open area. The first thing we did was address the issue with our manager and senior management who then had some walls constructed to give our manager his own enclosed space. We also did some other ways in our area and it has made it a lot more functional.

    Now, when he is on a call that is disrupting the group I’ll just get up and quietly close his door. That dealt with the majority of issues. To get over the last part I went a bought a white noise machine that sits on a table in the main area. That combined with headphones have solved like 99% of the issues.

    1. Kristinyc*

      Yeah, agreed on #3. I get a version of this message 3-5 times a week. Even if I was interesting in a new job right now, there are certain buzzwords that I see as red flags (mostly related to my aversion to startups, but everyone uses them): guru, rock star, fast-paced, ping pong table, unlimited vacation…

      Everyone else here is right – your message needs to give them a reason to be interested and let them know why they should reply to you over the other inmails they got today.

    2. J.B.*

      Now how can you pass up the unicorn?! Or at least call them back to get some more buzzwords for the open thread :)

      1. kristinyc*

        I’ve actually worked at a unicorn startup… even though it was a mostly good experience, there is not enough money or free beer in the world to get me to do it again. I just read the book “Disrupted” which pretty much sums it up. (My name links to my blog posts reacting to the book…)

    3. NotASalesperson*

      At my former job, the people at the end of my row would have speakerphone conversations all the time. One coworker would go to the other’s desk and they’d make a call on speakerphone. It bugged the rest of us in the row, but no one would say anything because they were the office favorites.

      Finally I got fed up, walked over, and said, “Hey, when you guys do a call on speakerphone it’s hard for the rest of us to concentrate even with headphones. Would you mind booking a room when you need to do calls like that? Thanks!”

      I don’t recall them ever doing another call on speakerphone after that.

  8. Chocolate Teapot*

    4. Another department kept having client calls in an open plan office. After a few comments of “Can’t you book a meeting room?” we managed to train them to stop.

    And we moved to a different floor in the building!

    1. Sydney Bristow*

      I’m in a room full of partial cubicles and one of the higher ups likes to have impromptu meetings on 5 minutes notice with several people at once who are scattered throughout our room. So they all gather around one cube then the higher up drapes his arm over my cube wall and very loudly leads the meeting. After this happened twice, my coworker knew it was ridiculous and started getting a conference room when she knew he was coming over and gently suggests they meet in there. Bless her!

  9. Dan*


    You know a good way to think about this? If someone were writing a cover letter and sending you a resume, what would get *your* attention? AAM spends a lot of time counseling job hunters to write a compelling story in the cover letter, and making sure that the resume aligns with the job description. If it doesn’t, what are the odds that you’ll call them back?

    Similarly, your intro message is the equivalent of, “Hey, I’m interested in the job that you have available. Can we set up a time to talk?” This, without even a resume! Would you call that back?

    You’re expecting your cold calls to call you back with essentially that amount of information. If you’re contacting employed people, what makes you think they’re interested in what you have to offer? You’re not even telling them!

    What will it get me to leave my current job? Interesting work, more money, and without much added stress. Big hint: I have a *CUSHY* job. I work 40 hours a week on a flex schedule, 6 figure salary, 10% 401k match, 4 weeks PTO. I come and go as I want and can work from home when I feel like it. I never (and I mean in the three years I’ve been with the company) never have had to work weekends or stay late at the last minute and cancel social plans. My company made a Forbes list this year for great places to work.

    If you want me to respond to your inmail, you’re going to have to beat that. I fully understand that you can’t know that per se (my company is a large employer, so we’re not some 20 person shop where you can’t know that ahead of time) Like I mentioned, we got recognized in Forbes. If you working in recruiting, you should be aware of our status and know that getting through to one of us isn’t going to be easy.

    So… you cold call me, and want a response? You need to give me a reason to call you back, and not make me think I’m wasting my time. Raytheon (I have no problem naming names) likes to invite me to career fairs. Uh, really? You want me to flex my time or take PTO, and you can’t even bother to convince me that you have work that I want to do? After the second or third one, I told them to stuff it, but if they have a real job to talk about, schedule 30 minutes on the phone to ensure mutual interest. Guess what? No call back.

    Money talks. You’re going to have to name a number in the opening message, and it better be big. If you’re just sourcing candidates for “potential” jobs? Pound sand ;)

    1. Charisma*

      YES! Why waste your time on someone who can’t even be bothered to show you that they are going to offer you a better quality of life or even new challenges? I’m not saying I couldn’t be doing better, but right now I am really happy where I am. If the recruiter wants responses, the onus is on them to do a better job finding, researching, and reaching out to the people they want to talk to.

    2. Ineloquent*

      Dan, I want to know where you work, because I’m at Raytheon and if your workplace (which sounds awesome) has an equivalentish position open, I’m totally applying.

      1. Dan*

        Most of our work is in Northern VA or Boston. Let me know how to get ahold of you and we can chat. We’re a federally funded bunch of software engineers and data analysts that do R&D work for the federal government. Bonus points if you have an active clearance.

        1. Ineloquent*

          My expertise lies in the importation of ITAR controlled hardware, so if you need someone who does that, I’m willing to look into such an arrangement (plus I’m cleared, so that’s cool).

  10. Dan*


    Wait… you write, “I have recently joined the corporate world and am working as a recruiter with one of the biggest IT providers in the U.S.”

    Do you mean you work for a body shop/head hunting/outsourcing firm? Most internal recruiters wouldn’t refer to their own companies like that. I mentioned Raytheon previously, I would expect a recruiter from there to refer to themselves as “a large defense contractor” or something like that.

    If you work for Google, Facebook, or Amazon, you will have no problem getting people to return your calls.

    So, I gotta figure that you’re working as a third party recruiter. If that’s the case, you’re climbing up a mountain, because *your* employer isn’t a selling point to me — I won’t even work for you! Why should I care? If you are representing a big name employer, you need to tell me that up front. (I realize you may not want to or can’t, but point is, you have to sell yourself, and your agency doesn’t do that.)

    Cold calling candidates in your position is about as easy as calling up companies without posted jobs and asking if they’re hiring, when they don’t have a “continuously seeking strong talent” message on the “career” section.

    1. Corporate Drone*

      Yeah, if you’re a recruiter with Mondo? No one will respond to your spam emails.

      1. anon for this..*

        HAHAHAH oh my god you made my day… I used to work for them! Back before they really truly split off from BW but oh I needed this.

  11. Eric*

    #3 — no offense meant, but your recruiting emails are incredibly low-effort. If I sent out an email like that to a colleague in another department, most of the bosses I’ve had would chew me out, and I’d deserve it.

    I try and respond to every recruiter email I get (no stats on anyone else in my field, so I can’t tell you how far out of the norm this is), but the ones I’m most likely to skip on are the lazy ones like “Hey Eric, I’m a recruiter. Your background is interesting. Do you have time to talk?” The reason for this is that you’re providing me zero info about what I’d gain from a phone call with you, which I need to step out of the office for, which is a little risk for me, but a risk nonetheless.

    Next step up would be something like “Hey Eric, I’m YourName, I work at a recruiting agency and I place Python developers. We have some openings which you look like you’d be a great match for. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more!” The next step up from that would be including some details on the client (or who they are), the nature of the work, the benefits, salary, etc.

    I understand that sometimes you can’t name the client until later on, but if you can, that’s optimal — most big metros have a few big names that are in the midst of big hiring pushes (could’ve fit “big” into that a few more times) at any given time, and statistically you’re more likely to be working with them. And maybe your lead’s declined one of them, or got let go from one of them, or had a really negative interview experience with one of them and has written them off (it happens, I’ve seen it/had it happen to me, and most people are professional enough that they’re not going to out and say it).

    I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post somewhere on how software engineers should communicate with recruiters and vice versa. Who knows if I’ll do it, though. :)

    1. Dan*

      It’s funny. I recognized a job ad from a recruiting firm who was looking to fill positions from a company who I co-op ed with in college. If it was just Java developers, it wouldn’t have been quite so obvious, but these guys use an esoteric language to the point where I don’t know who else uses it. So their usage of a particular language paired with a specific government agency is a dead give away.

      But the posting made me gag. It was buzz word central. I worked there, and oh hell no.

      1. Eric*

        I don’t get why some recruiters refuse to name who they’re hiring for even when it’s very obvious like that. I’ve definitely had that experience. “Is it company X? I know of them, and the [commute/culture/whatever] isn’t what I’d be looking for in a new job.” “Sorry, I can’t say.” “Best of luck finding someone to fill the role.”

        Then again, the recruiting firms may have a good reason for not identifying the client to us that we just don’t know. I’m paid to build software systems (and interview, I guess), not hire people.

        1. UK Nerd*

          I think it’s because if they name the client, you could go and contact them directly without involving the recruiter, and then they wouldn’t get paid for finding you.

          1. Kera*

            I’ve been told it’s to ensure that the candidate is interested in the job, not just the company (my industry uses recruiters a lot and has some companies that are very “glam”). Mind you, it sounded like flannel then, and flannel now.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yes, but in order to gauge any interest, you still have to actually say what kind of job it is. If you just say “an opportunity,” I’m going to wonder if you want me to launder money.

          2. TootsNYC*

            It’s also so that the company doesn’t get bombarded with lots of cold calls once news spreads of the opening.

            They hire recruiting firms so they don’t have to do that work or have that disruption.

        2. TGIF!*

          There is sometimes a company prohibition on naming them, too, so they don’t get flooded with calls or, unfortunately, because they don’t want the incumbent to know they’re being replaced. I see the former more with low-level positions and the latter with C-level jobs.

    2. BRR*

      I would say not only is it low effort but seems to shift everything to the recipient as well. Like hey I’m going to now have it be like you’re applying to the job instead of me initiating contact. If you’re cold calling people you have to “wine and dine” them.

  12. JS*

    #1 – At first I was ready to agree with Allison’s advice that this was way too much however things changed a bit when I found out it was an internal candidate. External, this would definitely be an automatic disqualifer however in this situation I feel internal should get more leeway. That said you have every right to feel annoyed at the situation since you were under pressure and likely feeling stressed already with a huge project you had to drop everything for, but I wouldn’t take it out on her.

    I work in corporate and IM I personally feel is a horrid method of corp communication (Email and calls only is my preference) due to these kinds of misunderstandings. I wouldn’t translate her message as passive aggressive necessarily and unless when you talked to her on the phone she had an attitude or kept bringing up the fact no one answered her. Or unless you are 10o% sure there is no way she could have known someone else wouldn’t pick up the line and it was your personal line (There is a general HR number at my job HR puts in their emails under their name which then rings on multiple phones where anyone could answer separate from their own direct line).

    You said she was from a different department within the company, if you were on the “Do Not Disturb” list isn’t this showing up on messenger, email or diverting calls directly to voicemail in someway? Not to pass any blame on you but unless it was made obvious for other people inside your company, not just your boss, not to disturb or contact you calling or IMing is fair game.

    Personally, just so I didn’t have to waste time calling someone who doesn’t appear to be at their desk or might be on another call etc, after the second call I just would have sent an email asking when would be a good time to connect which I think is what she should have done. I would point that out that out and give her the benefit of the doubt this time. The good thing about her already working there is you can get direct feedback from her manager or coworkers to find out if this kind of follow up is something that is the norm in their department.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think it matters whether the IM was passive-aggressive or not; the issue is that she called four times in a single day about something that wasn’t urgent and then tried another method when the calling didn’t work and implied that she was being ignored (instead of realizing she just wasn’t the OP’s #1 priority in those few hours). It shows a weird lack of judgment about when to treat something as urgent and her attitude toward other people’s time.

      1. Dan*

        Maybe, but if a JOB! wasnt involved, I bet op wouldn’t have bothered writing. Unless it was a peer who consistently demanded instant attention, this winter have even been a question worth writing about.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Maybe, maybe not, but I don’t think it even matters. This is someone who’s signaling she has poor judgment and thinks her (not very pressing) needs matter most.

        2. hbc*

          If any of my colleagues (or employees, or superiors–or relatives, come to think of it) tried this about anything non-urgent, I’d be ticked off. You left me a message, there isn’t a tight deadline, why the heck are you bugging me? Trust me to prioritize my life accordingly.

          And if it *is* urgent for non-obvious reasons, leave some context for that in the first voicemail or the IM. “I’m sorry to keep bugging you about this, but I’m going to be on vacation for three weeks starting tomorrow and need to make sure I get you everything you need by the end of the day.” This is basic judgment and communication skills, not some esoteric job hunting rule.

          1. Artemesia*

            We read here all the time about people who got a call for a job interview, missed the call, called back and were told ‘oh we moved on when you didn’t answer and all the interview slots are full.’ You all see it as non-urgent — but to the candidate it is urgent to her that she not miss the ship that is sailing. Bad judgment — probably. But from her perspective you are calling for interviews and she is scared that her chance is about to be lost because she wasn’t available for the magic phone call.

          1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

            Me too! I was on a *really* tense client call because there was a mistake on the project. One of the project managers needed something from me about another project. She called multiple times, sent an email, sent an IM, and then knocked on my door — when I shook my head no, she then tried to open my door!

            By the time I was off my call I was livid.

        3. DeskBird*

          When applying for a job – you should be at your most professional. You definitely shouldn’t get a pass for not being professional because you are excited about a JOB! You have a very limited number of interactions to prove you are the right fit for the role – and the first impression here was very bad. It’s more likely that this is this person’s personality than that it’s a one off.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Yes, this person could be great and skilled in other ways, but now all we know about her is she lacks patience, respect for people’s time, and thinks the world revolves around her.

        4. Dulcinea*

          I would be furious if someone did this to me, coworker or not. It’s incredibly disrespectful. I feel the same about people flagging their emails as urgent just because it’s urgent to them and not me. Particular pet peeve of mine I guess.

          1. OhNo*

            Yeah, it does rather imply a “Drop everything a help ME!” attitude that tends to annoy me. Even if that’s not the intent, you’d think people like this candidate would realize how it comes across.

        5. LBK*

          Oh, no, that drives me absolutely insane when anyone does it. I admit I’m a phone avoider (there’s basically only 2 people I pick up for, otherwise it goes to voicemail) but calling me multiple times in a row never works. If I didn’t pick up the first time, nothing will have changed 30 seconds later that will make me want to pick up. Especially when people don’t leave a voicemail and just keep trying back – I will almost never return a call from someone I don’t talk with regularly if it’s just a missed call with no follow up (voicemail, email, etc.).

          1. Turtle Candle*

            Same. In fact, at this point I automatically associate repeated callbacks (especially with no voicemail left) with scammers/telemarketers. The best way to get my prompt attention is one clear voicemail.

            (If for some reason I don’t get back to someone who left a single clear voicemail, I do understand calling again after a reasonable period of time just in case the message got mangled or lost. But that is definitely not again the same day! It’s more on the order of a week or so.)

    2. Boo*

      Honestly, I think it’s worse coming from an internal candidate. An external candidate could convince themselves of technical glitches or the need to appear like they’re taking the initiative. An internal candidate is demonstrating that despite working in that company already, they have no idea of the culture or expected norms.

      1. Eric*

        Yeah, I agree with you. Especially on that last point about culture. And the internal candidate is already employed, too… what they’re doing is definitely way too much.

        1. I'm not a lawyer, but ...*

          There is already employed, and there is gainfully employed. I worked for a HUGE employer that made it very difficult to get a professional job without a masters degree – unless you already worked as a clerk in any division in any city and bid internally. And the process took forever. More than once I contacted an internal candidate to find out that they were being laid off that very week from a clerical job in some town in the middle of nowhere and they had used their work phone on their bid. Some were smart enough to use their cell numbers, but I was never able to reach others. “Sorry we didn’t need that guy with the engineering degree to stuff envelopes any more so we laid him off, and no I don’t have his cell #”. So an interview might not seem like a big deal, but if it moves you into your field with a 25% raise? That’s an emergency.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            “So an interview might not seem like a big deal, but if it moves you into your field with a 25% raise? That’s an emergency.”

            No, it’s really not. It’s IMPORTANT (to you), but that’s not the same as an emergency.

            1. fposte*

              That’s exactly the failure here, and why it doesn’t bode well for job performance. This is a perspectival failure.

          2. OP #1*

            Definitely not an emergency. Besides, I gave her the potential dates for interviews when I left my message. Calling her back one day later was not going to run against any of those dates, so she knew it wasn’t something that needed an immediate response.

        2. OP #1*

          I’m just wondering if this was the method she used to get her current job and for some reason, that’s why she thinks it’s a good move now.

      2. Christopher Tracy*

        + 1

        The internal candidate should know better since she could see the messenger was set at Do Not Disturb. How she saw that and figured, “I’m being ignored” is a logic leap I don’t understand. And calling four times? Ugh. If your call isn’t answered, leave a message and wait for a return call. People who don’t grasp that basic concept irk me.

    3. OP #1*

      I’ll clarify a few things because I definitely see where you’re coming from with some of your points.

      – She’s technically an “internal candidate” in that we both work for the same university. That said, the university has hundreds of departments, thousands of employees, and multiple campuses. Honestly, if I knew her at all, maybe it would be easier to give her leeway but I don’t know her from Eve and can’t tell if she’s always like this or not, so it made a bad impression. The fact that she’s technically internal doesn’t change that for me.
      – I was honestly just taken aback that she IMed me instead of sending an email. An IM kind of carries the “answer this immediately because I don’t want to wait on you anymore” connotation. It just seemed a little off-key and disrespectful of my time.
      – I didn’t clarify this at all in my letter so here goes: I was on Do Not Disturb all morning, when she left the four phone calls. After lunch, I forgot to set my status back to that, so anyone was free to IM me. Otherwise, you’re correct. My Do Not Disturb would have made it impossible for IMs to get through (I guess that was my big mistake huh?)
      – I really have no say in the hiring process so it would be waaaay beyond the scope of appropriate behavior to try contacting her manager, not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t do that even if I was hiring because I don’t want to jeopardize her current job by outing her job search. Like I said, this is a huge company so while it’s possible to get feedback from her manager or coworkers, it would be weird in the context because nobody she works with knows us and vice versa.

      That was long-winded, but hopefully it helped clarify.

      1. Sitting Duck*

        While part of me thinks 4 calls may be a bit much there are a few things i’m wondering.

        Did she leave a message every time, or was she just calling back to see if you were available and you saw it pop up on caller ID. Despite the age we live in, not everyone has caller ID on work phones and she may not have realized that you knew she called so many times. If she only left one message, I think its unfair to hold it against her that he was trying to reach you again. I know in my own company (and perhaps in her experience as well) people often ignore messages, and its necessary to call back again to get an answer to your question. So perhaps in the department she works in now, that is the norm.

        You continuously mention that you had a BIG project that was important to finish today, but there is no way she could have known that. So that makes me wonder what you said in your message to her, did you say ‘Please call me back at your earliest convenience to schedule and interview’ or something like that? You mentioned that you didn’t get the BIG project until after you had made the phone calls, so is it possible you implied you would be available that day to take calls when you left the message, but then you weren’t (and there was no way she could have known this) You just seem to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that you had a big project that you needed to finish, but I think its unfair of you to use this as a reason why she was annoying you, because again, there is no way she could have known you suddenly got a huge need to do now project.

        I guess i just feel there is a lot of assuming going on, based on your own norms, but you need to realize that your norms, and your personal knowledge that you have a BIG project to do, are not hers. Her department could operate very differently, so I think you need to give her a break.

        1. OP #1*

          I know there’s no way she could have known I had a big project, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that since I’m at work, I was working. If I wasn’t in the middle of something else, I absolutely would have answered her calls. I tend to think she doesn’t have much of an excuse since she also looked me up on IM and presumably saw the Do Not Disturb status. If you saw that, would you think someone was just dodging your calls or would you assume they have work?

          She did only leave one message, but I don’t think not knowing about caller ID is a valid excuse for calling back four times. And I didn’t mention it in my letter, but she called four times in as many hours. That’s excessive no matter what context it’s in. It screams a fundamental misunderstanding of standard business norms.

          1. Caledonia*

            I agree with Sitting Duck here. I’ve phoned people 4 times in a day before without leaving a message. At work. I was trying to get a hold of someone and would rather talk than leave a message. I hate leaving messages – I get all rambly.
            And I’ve also probably I’M’d a similar message, WITH A SMILEY.

            The world did not end.

            The OP sounds like she is going to hold this against the internal candidate – maybe not consciously but it’ll be there somewhere in the back of her mind.

            1. neverjaunty*

              I’m not understanding “the world did not end” as a justification for inappropriate behavior at work.

              1. Lily Evans*

                I also think that “the world did not end” is kind of hyperbolic. Of course the world didn’t end. But it’s possible that the person you called that many times thought your behavior was annoying and unprofessional and just didn’t mention it to you.

            2. Lily Evans*

              But it wasn’t just four times in one day, it was four times in one morning. One day is still excessive, but not totally unreasonable if there’s been a few hours between each call. Personally, I set my limit at calling twice. The first time I won’t leave a voicemail, since I also ramble if I’m not prepared for it. The second time I’ll have waited at least an hour, and I’ll have a script in my head ready in case I get the voicemail again. Four times in one morning with no voicemail is over the top, especially from an internal candidate who apparently was waiting on tenterhooks for the “Do Not Disturb” status on OP’s IM to change.

            3. On the Phone*

              I don’t think you should do that. Calling someone repeatedly like that is excessive. You should hey more confortable with leaving messages or sending emails instead of calling over and over, as that’s pretty far outside of social norms. Most people consider it kind of rude.

            4. OP #1*

              I sure am. But it doesn’t really matter since I’m not the hiring manager.

              No, the world didn’t end but it’s inconsiderate behavior and should absolutely be taken as a warning sign. Maybe it was a fluke and the hiring manager will find that out in the interview. Maybe she’ll find out this is how the candidate acts about everything. “The world did not end” isn’t a good justification for ignoring bad behavior.

            5. ginger ale for all*

              Calling four times in one day without leaving a message is annoying. If you don’t want to be rambly, jot down a short note with key words or bullet points about why you are calling and refer to it when you leave a message.

            6. fposte*

              And I would ask you not to do that, if you were trying to get me. Nobody likes leaving voice mail; it’s not kosher to disrupt somebody else more to avoid discomfort with leaving them, though.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Yep. It’s incredibly annoying to be in a meeting or focusing on a project and see your phone ring with the same number over and over. Even worse when you’re on another call and it keeps beeping in on call waiting.

            7. OlympiasEpiriot*

              I can get rambly, so I always have a list of talking points before dialing. That is useful if I get the person or if I have to leave a voicemail.

              Don’t call and hang up. Lots of systems still register a hang up as a “message” in the system we still have to go through the steps to clear. I find that more annoying than any message except for the 1 minute 45 second things from a REALLY rambly client (who I personally like, so I forgive him, but, damn, those message are too long).

            8. LBK*

              I said this above, but for me, missed calls with no voicemail or email follow up to explain what the purpose of the call is never get returned. Picking up the phone is disruptive and often a waste of my time, so you’re much more likely to get a response if you leave a voicemail or send me an email to give me an idea of the topic of conversation. That way I can determine if it’s worth getting back on the phone with you or if I can just send you email. For the work I do, 99% of the time it’s something that could be addressed via email, or that I would prefer to answer in an email because I’ll need time to do research, I’ll want a written record of the details of the request and I’ll want to make sure my response is worded just right. Calling me 4 times a day would be a waste of your time.

            9. BeautifulVoid*

              After thinking it over, I think it’s the IM that pushes this over the edge for me. She wouldn’t have had access to it if she hadn’t been an internal candidate, and while I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with taking advantage over any “edge” you may have over the competition, I also think it’s important to use it responsibly, or else it could backfire (like it might do here). Other people have written sample IMs that might have gone over better, like even a simple “hey, sorry I missed your call, I’m definitely interested in the position, I hope we can talk about it soon”. But the passive aggressive message, complete with a smiley to try and direct away from the aggressive part of passive aggressive, was a misstep. Also, this isn’t really a peer-to-peer interaction, despite them working at the same place, and I think that’s another reason why the tone of the IM just seems off for a lot of people.

        2. Graciosa*

          I don’t think we need to give her a break – four calls and an IM was three calls and an IM too many.

          That would be true regardless of what the OP was working on.

          OP, I would have a conversation with the hiring manager about this person as forcefully as our respective positions allowed to discourage the hiring of this candidate. Someone with so little respect for boundaries is going to be a nightmare of a colleague.

        3. neverjaunty*

          But everything you are telling OP are reasons that this woman’s behavior was inappropriate. It’s exactly because she didn’t know what the OP’s schedule or workload was that her multiple calls and IM were inappropriate; it shows a lack of recognition that OP has things to do other than drop everything and respond to her immediately. (And we know from her IM that this wasn’t an issue of a co-worker needing information in an emergency; this woman just wanted to talk about a job application.)

      2. TootsNYC*

        I don’t think it would ever be appropriate to contact her manager.

        But I do think that no matter what your official status, you could get back to her and say, “I’m calling for Hiring Manager, who wanted to let you know that he won’t be scheduling an interview with you after all. And between us, I thought I’d let you know, in case it helps you in the future: the thing that changed his mind was that you called so often. He felt it was an indicator that you’re inexperienced in office norms. In general, it’s a smart move to call back once and then wait a couple of days; people get hung up and unable to return calls right away. I thought it was only fair to you to explain why things changed.”

        But only if you wanted to.

      3. Honeybee*

        I get the rest of it, but the IM thing really depends on your company and departmental norms. In mine, IMing someone if they’re set to available is pretty normal – it just means “hey, you’re available, and I have a quick question for you”. I’ve even had people email me when mine was set to Busy or In a Meeting because they assume that even if I’m in a meeting, maybe I’m in a boring meeting that I’m on my computer during and can respond (a fair assumption about 50% of the time, TBH) and even if not, the IM gets emailed to me as a missed conversation after 15 minutes.

        So maybe her department has different norms around IM? Otherwise I 100% agree with you.

    4. neverjaunty*

      This candidate called four times in a single day, and then responded with an IM that implied there was something wrong with her calls not having been immediately returned. There is no ‘benefit of the doubt’ to give here.

      1. TootsNYC*

        four times in a single morning, actually

        And the calls, I might excuse; I never remember that there’s a record of who called; I figure if I didn’t leave a message, it didn’t happen.

        But the IM later in the same day implying that someone is being unprofessional for not returning her voicemail?

        1. neverjaunty*

          Yeah, that. If the IM were “Just wanted to follow up on my voice mail, if you have some free time today could we chat?” it’d still be annoying and mildly inappropriate, but implying that the OP was at fault for not being available on demand? Wow, no.

  13. Onymouse*

    #1 – FWIW, I don’t read that smiley face as passive aggressive. To me, it would convey, “I’m not mad at you, just trying to reach you”. And I wouldn’t be surprised if people inside the company come to expect near-instant communications from their colleagues.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      Yes, we often do this in my workplace when we are messaging each other about stuff. It just gets the right tone across nicely.

      1. OP #1*

        I do this with people I know…not with people I’ve never met and have previously bothered four times within as many hours. It’s not the smiley face itself that bothered me so much as the context AND the smiley face.

      2. Rat Racer*

        I totally disagree. I think it’s a sign of emotional tone-deafness to attempt to paper over an emotional email with a smiley face. It comes off as totally insincere. Like the equivalent of saying starting a sentence with “No offense, but…” and then saying something totally offensive.

        Case in point: the account manager who called me a prima donna and then added a winky smiley face “just kidding! we’re all just friends here!” Doesn’t work.

    2. Dan*

      Yes, I’ve been meaning to write that “etiquette” is loosened a bit for internal applicants.

      The cartman style “you must respect my authori-TAY!” doesn’t hold just because a JOB! is involved.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But this isn’t about “you must respect my authority.” It’s about “you should be a reasonable and considerate person and not act demanding and as if your needs jump you to the front of line.”

    3. BRR*

      I’m not as concerned about the smiley face as the message itself. It was rude to say that to the lw.

      1. DeskBird*

        Eh. It’s lesser – but still not a good sign. I would never, ever smiley face someone I had not met or talked to before. And I would never use one in any part of a job search. It just doesn’t seem professional to me.

        1. BRR*

          I totally agree with your points as well. But I think we’re all over analyzing the smiley face when the actual message is something I can’t imagine sending to anybody let alone in a job search.

    4. Boop*

      It’s possible she did mean the smiley face as you suggest, but I find it weird that she used one at all. I wouldn’t use a smiley face in a professional communication unless I had a very good relationship with the recipient and I was actually saying/responding to something funny. There’s just too much potential for it to be misinterpreted or appear unprofessional. I understand every workplace is different, but it doesn’t sound like this office is a “smiley face” kind of place.

    5. OP #1*

      It might have conveyed that to me as well but that fragment in my letter was a tiny portion of a Very Long Note about how nobody was answering the phones. Maybe if she had said “Hi, OP. Sorry to be reaching out this way but I just wanted to connect regarding your earlier phone call,” I would have been chill with it. But it was a lot more extensive than my letter makes it sound. The language was very much in the tone of “Why aren’t you doing your job and answering my calls?”

      1. Graciosa*

        It sounds more like “Why aren’t you doing your job and DROPPING ANYTHING ELSE YOU MIGHT HAVE IN FRONT OF YOU to answer my calls IMMEDIATELY?”

        This is a lot different from a simple, polite query because maybe there’s something wrong with the phone system –

        1. Elizabeth West*

          That’s how it felt to me.

          The only time it’s okay to call me four times in one morning like that is if something is on fire or someone is dying.

          1. Christopher Tracy*

            The only time it’s okay to call me four times in one morning like that is if something is on fire or someone is dying.

            Because this bears repeating. (Can you tell I hate multiple phone calls by the same person in one day? Lol)

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              This! If I have not returned your message, it is because I am involved in some other work related task.

              In my experience, the repeat callers are the procrastinators. Most days I am ready to post a sign outside of my office that says, “procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

    6. Grey*

      To me, it would convey, “I’m not mad at you…

      But I think that’s the point. It expresses that the applicant still has a reason to be mad.

      It’s like saying, “You’re not doing your job, but I forgive you.”

  14. Chaordic One*

    #4. I found this to be a real problem and the last place I worked which was an open-concept office that employed a whole bunch of extroverted loudmouths. Although we had cubicles, there was a particularly obnoxious women who had injured her back when she fell off a cliff while mountain-climbing. As a result she was given a standing desk so she could stand up which alleviated back pain. This allowed her already loud voice to carry over and above the cubicle walls throughout the office as she hollered into her speaker phone. She had curried favor with the boss who suggested to complainers that they get ear-plugs or headphones.

    This particular person seemed to feel that in order to “build relationships” with clients and potential clients she had to share all the personal details of her life with them. We learned all about her previous career, her childhood, her strange family, her cheating husband (who worked in the same department with her), her spoiled son and all the sordid details of his medically complicated birth.

    Eventually, she (and her husband) left for a different jobs elsewhere, and while the office wasn’t really quiet afterwards, it did seem kind of quiet.

    1. LW4*

      Thankfully, this guy is just doing business calls. They’re distracting, but not…massively inappropriate.

  15. Quirk*

    A key point with #3: in software, most of us are not actively looking for a new job. If we have even semi-reasonable credentials and put a resume up on a job site we get absolutely buried in hungry recruiters, and there’s a steady stream of recruiters contacting us throughout the year.

    Personally speaking, there is simply no way you’re going to get to talk to me in an open-ended discussion at any point that I’m not actively looking, and even when I am actively looking I’m going to be quite choosy about which recruiters I deal with. Last time I was on the market I was contacted by over fifty recruiters in the first week, with about half of them on the first day; my ex, with only a couple of years of experience, had a dozen recruiters contact her on day 1. This is the kind of competition you could potentially be dealing with for candidates who are actually available, though this will vary greatly from area to area.

    You would therefore need to make substantially more effort even when reaching out to a candidate who was on the market. Someone who hasn’t given any signs of looking for a new job will likely have a higher bar for responding to recruiter InMails.

    Alison’s advice is good. You need to sell the specific role you’re looking to fill with as much detail as you can, and you need the role to be appropriate to the candidate to have good odds of a response e.g. if someone’s worked almost entirely in Java for years, they’re probably not going to want to take a C++ job even if their profile mentions they worked with it occasionally in the past.

    Again, personally, if the role being suggested sounds attractive and a good fit but is coming along at the wrong time, I will keep the recruiter in mind when I’m next on the market and actively reach out to them because I feel hopeful that they will be able to provide other good roles.

  16. Kera*

    #1 – While I can understand her frustration/wibbling and don’t read that smiley as passive aggressive – 4 times and an IM is excessive. I wouldn’t cancel her interview or anything (she’s presumably shortlisted for reasons other than being an internal candidate?), but I would take that as useful information and judge accordingly. In the future however, is it possible to have your phone redirect to another colleague who could let your candidates know you’ll be in touch asap? Might take some of the stress off you when these big projects collide to know that at least that part is being handled sensitively.

    #3 – ack. That is not a message I’d respond to even if I were actively job hunting. It’s spam, with all the personal touch of a badly targeted mailing shot. There’s no information – is there even a role? It’s not well written, both in sentence structure and word choice. You’ll get candidates equivalent to the effort you put in – no effort, no clients.

    Compare to a recent LinkedIn message I received – functionally the same message, and once you’ve done your candidate search you can basically copy and paste it into each mail – they’ve just put slightly more effort and information into the initial message, so I’m more likely to respond, even if just to say that I’m not looking at the moment, but thanks.

    Hi , I’m a recruiter for . I’ve a position you might be interested in – in . They are looking for and are offering . Could we set up a call to talk more about the company and whether this would be a position you’d be interested in?

    1. Kera*

      arg! should’t have used angle brackets

      Hi [name], I’m a recruiter for [recruitment company I’ve heard of]. I’ve a position you might be interested in [job title] in [location]. They are looking for [skills that match my current skills] and are offering [salary & key benefits]. Could we set up a call to talk more about the company and whether this would be a position you’d be interested in?

  17. t*

    #3 – 2 things; 1 – I hate talking on the phone. Despise it. (Who even talks on phones anymore?? You realise emails, IMs, Facebook, texts, WhatsApp, face to face meetings, hell even snapchat exists right?), so I wouldn’t want to respond to your email there because your phrasing makes it sound like a phone call is the only way forward. Why not try ‘if you’re interested, would you like to get in touch?’ so that it sounds like you’d be happy to email instead?

    2 – you’re severely overestimating how happy people are to talk to recruiters. If I’m looking for a job, I’ll contact recruiters, outside of that it’s an unasked for annoyance. I’d suggest you should open with a job offer right up front. Also; try to limit the size of the email.

  18. Hannah*

    #1: Oh no, I feel so bad for this candidate when I imagine their perspective. They were probably freaking out that they missed your call because they didn’t want their interview slot to go to someone who did pick up, so after they left their voicemail, they were trying to catch you at your desk with the other 3 calls. They knew you were in that day and available to take calls, since you called them first. The fact that they didn’t leave more than one voicemail is important I think, because four voicemails would be crazy. Honestly it is pretty unusual to leave someone a voicemail saying to call you back, and then turn off your ringer for the rest of the day, so the candidate could have never guessed that was what was going on. They may not have thought it was even a direct line, as evidenced by their IM. They also probably felt more open to contact you, being an internal candidate. Overall I wouldn’t harshly judge the candidate for this unitil you meet them. I think your stress about your other project is a factor in how much this bothered you.

    1. BRR*

      I also think it would be nerve wracking for the candidate. But if someone wrote in and said they left a voicemail with the person who called them and haven’t heard back (and there are probably several similar letters) the answer they would get is maybe call once more and send an email if you haven’t heard back in a couple days. And you would phrase it in a not sure if you got my voicemail way. Not a somebody’s day isn’t returning my call sort of way.

    2. Sarah in DC*

      Calling someone first is not a signal that I am in and available all day to take your call back. Not only does urgent stuff come up as it did for the OP, but I don’t generally leave my entire schedule in VMs for colleagues when I call them in the morning and have a few meetings that afternoon. I try to give a general indication, but they still might miss me and that’s OK.
      4 calls is just as problematic as 4 VMs to me, it still shows a massive lack of understanding of how to return a hiring manager’s contact.

      1. OP #1*

        Yeah. There’s no way I could have known that as soon as I left her a voicemail, I was going to be on Do Not Disturb for most of the day. I understand that she was probably worried about missing my call but I’m not sure it should be cause to drive someone into such a panic that they have to call every hour for four hours and then ignore business norms by not emailing but IMing. IM to me just seems like “this is urgent and you have to answer me now.”

        1. Hannah*

          The candidate’s behavior was definitely over the top, don’t get me wrong, I just feel bad imagining them as an over eager person who ended up shooting themself in the foot with their bad phone etiquette, rather than a really rude person. I’m sure it would be pretty easy to distinguish if you interact with them more or ask around.

          1. OP #1*

            I agree with that. I’m not the hiring manager but even if I was, I wouldn’t count anyone out just because of a bad first impression. I would absolutely count it as a factor and maybe a warning sign of not understanding professional norms but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker to me until I could get a better feel for her personality in the interview.

            1. Average Joe*

              Well, one thing that I’ve noticed occasionally in internal applicants that are in a rush to take a new position is that they have caused a big problem somewhere and have simply papered over it for the time being, and are trying to get some distance between themselves and the issue before the paper falls off(even going so far as to say give me the position by this date or I’m leaving). An issue in a previous position doesn’t give the company grounds to fire them from their current position, so long as the issue isn’t illegal. I’ve seen guys jump positions several times within a year to get away from issues they’ve caused or problems that they just didn’t want to have to sort out that they’ll leave for the new guy to deal with.

      2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        Calling someone first is not a signal that I am in and available all day to take your call back.


    3. Katie the Fed*

      So she freaked out. We all get really excited and nervous about things. It’s an issue of impulse control and professionalism. Just because you’re freaking out doesn’t mean you to get to freak out AT SOMEONE ELSE to this level. It sends a strong message that you only think of your own needs and not the norms of the business. That’s not a good quality in an employee.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      Honestly it is pretty unusual to leave someone a voicemail saying to call you back, and then turn off your ringer for the rest of the day, so the candidate could have never guessed that was what was going on.

      Yes, this. I get that it was annoying and inappropriate for her to keep calling, but if I had asked several people to call me, and then something came up and I had to stop answering my phone, I’d change my outgoing message to reflect that.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I *do* do this.

        I think it’s only fair.

        (doesn’t excuse her handling it poorly, but I still would have done this)

      2. fposte*

        That’s why I love email. Most of my work days I couldn’t pull together synchronous communication if you threatened me with firing, but email I can handle.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Eh, I don’t think that’s realistic in many jobs. In many jobs, things are going to come up all day every day and you can’t keep changing your voicemail message to reflect that. And you don’t need to — the normal rules about how this stuff works generally work just fine (leave a message and I will get back to you when I can, based on how urgent this is).

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Yes, on a normal day, things come up and you can’t answer every call. But it seems like this is kind of a perfect storm – the LW had called several people that morning and asked them to call her back, and she was going to be avoiding their calls altogether. If I had both of those happen at the same time, I would quickly change my message to “I’m unavailable for the rest of the day, but leave me a message and I’ll call you back tomorrow.” The same way I’d change it if I were physically out of the office that day (or maybe I’m the only one whose boss really, really wants me to do that?)

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            To me, it seems like a pretty normal day — the leaving messages and the having lots of other stuff go on. I don’t that requires a whole new message in most jobs.

    5. LiveAndLetDie*

      I think it’s fair to assume that the candidate freaked out and panicked, but she handled it very poorly, and the way she handled it is the problem. If you miss a call, you only need to call back ONE TIME and leave a voicemail. That puts the ball back in the OP’s court, and you then have to trust that the OP will return the call when she has a minute. Not answering the phone = not having the time to talk. If you call repeatedly when someone doesn’t pick up, you’re essentially telling them, “Your time doesn’t matter as much as my time does.” It’s rude.

    6. The Cosmic Avenger*

      This was my feeling about #1 — yes, it was excessive, but they were probably worried that there were limited interview slots that the OP was filling up that day. I do think it was a bit worrisome, but just as we try to allow for interviewees being nervous during an interview, I think I’d take that as a warning sign to look for communication and judgment issues later on in the process, not as a disqualifier.

      1. Tommy*

        I agree. I think if it’s a bit ambiguous like this situation, you are better off giving the applicant the benefit of the doubt and keeping your eyes open going forward in case this is a deeper issue.

        Seriously, life’s too short to trip over every mistake people make.

      2. MaggiePi*

        I think this changes a lot *if* this place is known for a limited number of interview slots and they are first come first served.
        If she knew that this is how it’s done there, it wouldn’t matter if the interview days were a week or even a month away, only that they’re a precious and limited commodity. She may have thought that you weren’t answering the phone because you were talking to all the other candidates who were taking all the interview spots!
        Then it becomes more like calling the radio station to try to answer a trivia question and calling back 10 times in a row to try to get through when the line is free. While I understand from you that you weren’t on the phone with other candidates, it sounds like she didn’t have any way of knowing that.

  19. TheOtherJennifer*

    #4 – I would get up and shut BOB’s door. I had to do this with one of our recruiters, she simply was so loud and had no indoor voice. After a few times, she seemed to get the message.

      1. OP #1*

        It does, but it sends a very clear message. I think I would talk to Bob first, though. He may not even be aware that this is a problem for others in his space. Maybe include something like “I don’t want to interrupt you while you’re on a call to mention your volume, so would you mind if I got up and shut your door if I’m finding it distracting?” I don’t love that language but maybe something to that effect. I just think you should have a conversation about it before you start doing it.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        No. It’s actually quite aggressive. Passive-aggressive would be loudly whining about how noisy it is in here, and hoping he caught that you meant him, and you wanted him to do something about it.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I’ve had people do it to me on occasion. It comes across as really hostile.

        If they’d come and said, “Sometimes you’re pretty loud on the phone; I don’t think you realize. If it happens, I’m going to shut your door for you, because it’s hard for me to concentrate when it happens.”

        And I started getting up and shutting my door myself after someone did it to me (and I investigated turning up the volume on my earpiece so I would sound louder to myself, and I put up a note with the letters “DBSDL,” because she had a valid point)–but the whole thing sure didn’t make me like her much. It really, really colored how I saw her.

        I’m sure my unintentional volume colored how she saw me (which is appropriate), but the fact that she wouldn’t say anything to me before she took this tactic really came across as her being hostile to me. I was just clueless.
        (our doors were glass, so I nearly walked into it, because I’d had my back to the door and didn’t see her pull it shut; I put a sticker in the middle of the door, too)

        1. esra*

          I find this really interesting. I’m the type that would just get up and shut the door. I wouldn’t want to interrupt the call, and I wouldn’t take it personally if someone shut a door while I was talking, so it just seems like a practical solution.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          In her defense, as the person who’s been in her position, it’s quite possible that it was the least hostile reaction she could offer at the time. ;-) It could be that she sat there, quietly seething, blood pressure ticking upward, thinking “surely she’s going to stop soon, surely she’s going to realize how loud she is, surely she’s going to hang up in a minute, please god please…” until she couldn’t take it any longer and had to justgetupandshutit. Because the truth is, speaking very loudly as if no one else shared your space can come across as really hostile too.

          (Why yes, the person in the office next to mine DOES have a loud voice that carries across continents, now that you mention it…)

          (Also? If multiple people are shutting your door? You are really loud. TootsNYC has recognized this. If it’s happened to you, and you aren’t doing something about it, PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.)

        3. annabel*

          I don’t see how this is hostile. I also close people’s doors when they are having one-on-one conversations I don’t think I should be overhearing. Once or twice I’ve left and walked around the block when things devolved into a shouting match.

      4. Mephyle*

        It would likely read as aggressive to a people-focused person. On the other hand, to a task-focused person it reads as practical and less disturbing (and hence more polite) than trying to talk to the loud person at the same time as they are on the phone (to, say, ask them to close their door, turn off their speaker phone, or even just apologize for closing their door). Yes, you can have a conversation with them afterwards about the general pattern, but that doesn’t help when you’re trying not to hear them *right now* in the present phone call.

  20. UK Nerd*

    As a developer I get a ton of InMails. The bare minimum for me to even consider replying is a message something like this (details changed for anonymity):

    Subject: Senior web developer, West Lothian

    Hi UK Nerd,
    I have a fantastic senior web developer role at a web communications company that I believe would be of interest to you.

    Key Skills;

    Agile experience

    Salary – £50,000 plus 25 days holiday, working from home 2 days a week
    Location – West Lothian

    If this is of interest, I can supply a more detailed spec.
    Recruiter X

    Key points:
    There is an actual job. So I know Recruiter X is actually recruiting, not just trying to pad their candidate list.

    It lists the relevant technologies, not just the language, and they match up with what’s on my profile. So there’s a good chance Recruiter X has actually read my profile, and is not just contacting everyone who matched a search for asp.

    It includes salary and benefits. I know Americans like to be a bit coy about the fact that work involves getting paid, but developers know what they’re worth and I’m not going to waste time finding out what you consider a ‘competitive’ salary when Recruiter X has given me an appropriate number up front.

    It includes location. There’s no point spending my time following up on a job if it isn’t within my commuting range.

    And finally, an important point to me, the proposed contact is still at email level. I like job info written down for careful perusal and consideration, not told to me verbally where I’ve either got to take notes or risk forgetting something important. And if I don’t want to talk on the phone, I absolutely don’t want to meet in person for something that can be handled perfectly well over email.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Oh my, yes! I’m in another engineering field and I would love it if recruiters would send that.

      I once took a chance on speaking with a very persistent, vague I’d-love-to-get-to-know-you recruiter. I gave him very specific info on what would make a job interesting to me (location, salary, kinds of management situations, job challenges). Total waste of time. He then kept contacting me with *exactly* what I wasn’t interested in. Never again.

    2. the gold digger*

      Americans like to be a bit coy about the fact that work involves getting paid

      Recruiters like to be coy.

      Employees do not. Tell me about the money, please. I do not want to waste my time for a job that would not give me a big raise.

  21. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I wish speaker phone was not available on all phones unless specifically set up with a real speaker, like in conference rooms.

    My last cubicle was between two more senior people who always used it, even when they were speaking to each other!

    1. JoJo*

      I once had a co-worker, or should I say co-irker, who would listen to voicemails on speakerphone at the loudest setting, we worked in a bullpen setup, btw. I’m talking about company-wide messages that everyone else had gotten. When asked to stop, she acted like an injured innocent and whined that she “was only trying to help everyone” by giving them information that they already had.

  22. Overeducated*

    #5: really?! That seems like an unfair loophole. I am really sorry, best of luck.

  23. Punkin*

    On #1, I agree that 4 calls and an IM in 1 day is excessive. Like Hannah mentions above, though, I feel a little bad for the internal candidate. She may have a poor fit (or toxic boss) in her current department (we all know that is possible within the same company) and be so excited that she has a chance to get out that she overdid it. It may be her department’s way of communicating and she has never been guided differently. I would take it as a data point in the interview process. She may be a star performer in need of polishing. Or she may be someone who will not fit at all. We have all done stupid things and had bad days. Maybe she is a good candidate who had a bad day. The interview process should clarify the situation.

    1. OP #1*

      I agree with taking it as a data point. The problem is, I can’t act based on what I envision her circumstances are and even if I was the hiring manager, I wouldn’t hire her just because she doesn’t like her current job, so that kind of guesswork doesn’t seem relevant. What is relevant is that she’s coming across with a misunderstanding of basic professional norms and if I were a hiring manager, I’d definitely watch out for that showing up in other areas during her interview.

      1. Punkin*

        Exactly. The interview may just confirm she is clueless to professional norms. She may just sink her own ship.

        I also work in higher ed (large community college) – it is amazing how different departments have widely different standards. Nothing shocks me any more, but I have seen some crazy stuff go on in other areas of the school that would get someone fired post haste in my department. Yeah – we have some issues.

        Hopefully, she can get some guidance on professional norms before she digs into bad habits.

  24. NotAManager*

    #3: I’m a software engineer so I get a ton of recruiter messages on LinkedIn and there are a few things that stand out to me and get my attention:

    1. I have a lot of information on my profile. Include something in the message that indicates that you actually looked at my profile. One recruiter recently read through what I did at my last two jobs and told me why my experience would be a good fit for the job that they are hiring for. I love my current job and don’t want to move so it wasn’t a good fit but I replied and connected with that person.

    2. Include some information about what you are hiring for. No details about an actual job is the inverse of people sending resumes unsolicited.

    3. Consider that in this industry people are probably getting 10+ of these messages per week even when not actively looking for work. I’ll bet a lot of Alison’s cover letter advice would be helpful since that’s essentially what you are writing.

  25. Allison*

    #3, the problem is that you’re a third party recruiter, and you’re being very vague – I suspect on purpose, because you have a ton of jobs to fill and you figure that anyone with J2EE is either qualified for a current opening, or they’ll be qualified for a later opening and you want them in your database for future use. Engineers don’t like that. They don’t want to take time out of their day to talk to a recruiter only to find there never was a specific job for them, the recruiter just wanted to “make a connection” just in case.

    People want specifics. You don’t have to send them a pamphlet with all the information about the job and the company, but if you give them a specific job and a specific company, and a few sentences about what the job entails, people will be much more willing to talk to you. If you can’t name the company (I get it, a lot of staffing firms can’t), at least mention what kind of company it is.

    1. De*

      “and you’re being very vague – I suspect on purpose, because you have a ton of jobs to fill and you figure that anyone with J2EE is either qualified for a current opening”

      Gosh, this! J2EE (which is capitalized, by the way – not writing required technology correctly is a huge red flag in recruiting mails) is very, very vague. It’s basically like saying “can you program in Java?”, saying nothing about experience level or other technologies used. Knowing J2EE can apply to someone with 2 months and someone with 20 years of experience in software development with Java.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Engineers don’t like that. They don’t want to take time out of their day to talk to a recruiter only to find there never was a specific job for them, the recruiter just wanted to “make a connection” just in case.

      I’m absolutely certain engineers don’t like that, but can I expand it out a bit and say I suspect no one likes that? I’ve never been an engineer. I still don’t want to “make a connection” with any recruiters without a specific position in mind, unless I initiate the connection.

      1. Hillary*

        Depending on the circumstances, I’m open to it. If I meet a recruiter at a networking event or if I’m loosely connected to them (mutual contacts or whatever) I’ll absolutely take time to talk. My industry is small and very connected in my area.

        I got two jobs through a recruiter whose wife I’d worked with two jobs before. He called me out of the blue to see if I was interested in interviewing for something, turned out my last contract had ended the week before. The only time we’d talked before that was at company holiday parties.

      2. Allison*

        You’re right, no one really does, but I’d imagine these things bug engineers a lot more simply because they get so many of these messages.

  26. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.*

    #4 I used to work in a cubical outside the office of someone that did this. I’d get headaches from her. She was just a loud talker. Even calls not on speaker phone you could hear clear as day two office down, through the walls. We got her a headset, it stopped the other side’s noise, but she just ratched it up and talked even louder. Eventually I had to shut her door. Even then I could hear her but it was more like she was speaking at a normal indoor volume.

  27. Faith*

    #3. One of my biggest pet peeves with LinkedIn recruiters is when they send me a message stating they were impressed by my profile and they have a position in mind that would be a great fit for my experience, and then include the description of the position that has absolutely nothing to do with my experience. It would be like sending a description of a cardiologist position to a brain surgeon because you are looking for a “doctor”.

    1. Mike C.*

      I used to get job notices for fast food joints because I used to work for a food safety laboratory. That’s always been special.

      1. Elizabeth S.*

        Haha! I have a generic government-agency title (“Project Coordinator”) and I get lots of job notices apparently based on the keyword “project.” I know this is hard to believe, but some actually are not a particularly close match.

  28. Michelle*

    Op#1- could you have possibly taken a few moments to put a message on your voicemail that you were busy on project and would not be answering calls that day? I get why this is annoying, truly, and the instant message thing is way too much, but when you call someone and leave them a message to call you back and then you don’t answer or return their call, it can feel like you are being ignored. If people know you are working on a big project and can’t be disturbed, it makes waiting much easier.

    1. Amelia Earhart*

      If she was not answering calls or emails for multiple days, okay, yeah. But one day? If I call someone and leave a voicemail, particularly if it’s non-urgent, I give them at least a day of leeway.

      1. OP #1*

        Yeah, I completely agree with this. When I left a voicemail, I gave her potential days for interviews (no time slots so she didn’t feel like they’d all be taken before she could reach me again), and none of them were so close that a call back couldn’t have waited until yesterday, which is when I would have answered her. The incident in the letter happened Wednesday so it’s not like I would have left her hanging for days on end or agonizing about it over the weekend.

      2. hbc*

        One hour, even. She was calling back after an hour! Job searching is stressful, but my desire for instant gratification does not equal a right to impose on anyone else’s schedule. OP could just as easily been on the phone with other candidates.

        Unless there was something in the original call like “Please call me so we can get this done by end of business” or “interview slots will be filled in the order in which I speak to you,” there’s no excuse for calling and IMing like that.

  29. Jubilance*

    #3 – If I got that LinkedIn message, I’d ignore it too.

    The best LinkedIn messages that have gotten me to reach out to the recruiter immediately, are the ones that show the recruiter actually read my profile and has an understanding of my skill set; tells me a bit about the role and the company and what they are looking for; makes the connection between my skill set and the role; does it in a friendly manner that doesn’t seem like cut and paste or overly formal.

    OP, do you have colleagues that you can emulate who have a better response rate? Maybe a recruiter professional group that can give you some pointers as well?

  30. Mimmy*

    #1 – I think I’d be feeling a little antsy too if I missed an interviewer’s call and, when I call back, don’t get a response. I wouldn’t keep calling 4 times – I’d probably wait a day, then try again or email.

    Also, if I were calling candidates, leaving voice mails for some, I’d be a little annoyed to be pulled into a project for the rest of the day. Sure, things do come up and I don’t know if your messages gave the impression that you’d be available; but knowing me, I’d be antsy that I’m leaving people hanging. I like the suggestion someone posted above to change the outgoing greeting to reflect this unexpected change.

      1. OP #1*

        I agree. I wasn’t even on Do Not Disturb for the entire day, just the morning. I mean, I get being a little nervous if you miss a phone call for an interview, but a response like that just says she doesn’t get that people are busy. If this is the time when she’s supposed to be on her best professional behavior, I don’t want to know what she’s going to be like once she’s actually in my work space and can walk into my office any time she wants.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Okay, I got the impression that you were not answering calls for the entire day.

      2. fposte*

        And most people who are doing hiring aren’t constantly phone available anyway–they’ve got other work that often trumps immediate phone responses. So it seems pretty normal to me that somebody could be unavailable for a morning while hiring is going on.

        1. TootsNYC*

          “for a morning”

          That’s an important distinction–the calls were in the morning. People can be busy for a morning VERY easily.

          1. LBK*

            Yeah, I’m almost never available before lunch unless something’s on fire. Just my daily tasks alone usually take until 10 or so, and then the rest of the morning is dedicated to catching up on the emails I missed while I was doing my morning tasks.

  31. Rusty Shackelford*

    #2 – How would you handle it if a payroll clerk was neglecting to enter all of your hours worked? Because this is almost that bad. Would you dither about going over that person’s head?

  32. Corporate Drone*

    #3, I get many inmails from recruiters, and rarely respond to them because they are generic, like yours. In addition to the the specifics already mentioned, it would be greatly appreciated if recruiters would share who their client is. That is a key piece of information that I need before I decide to move forward.

    1. Allison*

      They can’t always do that though, unfortunately. Sometimes the contract, or the agency’s policies, forbid recruiters from specifying. Of course, then you have recruiters who withhold it just so you won’t go around them, apply on your own, “robbing” them of their commission.

      I never want to work in an agency. Internal or bust, baby!

      1. Recruit-o-Rama*

        I have worked both internal and at an agency and I agree with you 100%. I LOVE LOVE LOVE working as an internal recruiter, the advantages are huge.

      2. AFT123*

        Agency recruiters have a tough job, dang. As a sales rep, I get messages all the time, and even though I understand that sometimes they can’t tell me the company, I will not respond to those messages. MAYBE – if they’ve included some other perk that appeals, I might reply and ask them about it, but if they still can’t/won’t tell me, I will move on. If they can tell me the company and some details, and they reached out to me, I guess I don’t understand why an applicant would go around them – what would the benefit to me be to apply directly with the company and circumvent the recruiter? I feel like I’d have a better “in” with a recruiter.

        1. Recruit-o-Rama*

          Many applicants think that they have a better chance of being hired if they go direct because the company won’t have to pay the recruitment agency fee, which can very very expensive. It’s sometimes true and sometimes not true. Circumstances vary a lot.

  33. Oryx*

    I’ve been trying to figure out what about the IM situation bothered me — other than the message and smiley face — and I think it’s that she’s clearly trying to circumvent the process by taking advantage of the fact that she’s an internal candidate. For all the people the OP called, only those who work at the same place have that level of access outside the standard phone call. It shows a lack of judgement — especially because the OP doesn’t seem to actually know the woman. They just happen to work for the same company, so using IM in that way and sending a cute message with a little emoji seems to be crossing some personal intimate boundary.

    1. OP #1*

      Yeah, I’ll confirm this. Even though she’s internal, our company is huge and I don’t know her from Eve. It would absolutely be different if it was someone I knew well but we’ve never so much as crossed paths.

      And the IM I included in my letter was a very small portion of a Very Long Message, which was definitely another factor that rubbed me the wrong way.

      1. Lily Evans*

        My curiosity is piqued. How long was the message in its entirety? And what did the rest of it say?

        1. OP #1*

          +1000 for your username. She’s my fave.

          The message was like…academic paragraph length. I’m sure I made it sound longer but I counted and it’s 6 sentences (which seems excessive over an IM. Like, put it in an email??).

          Here’s the message:
          Hi, [OP#1]! This might seem a little unorthodox, but you had sent me a voicemail in regards to the [job opening] this morning at about 8:30 a.m. (ET). I tried to call you back several times, but every time I did, I kept getting your voicemail. Is it possible for me to set up an interview for [date listed that’s over a week away] since that was one of the dates you had mentioned in the voicemail? Thank you, and I’m sorry if this method seems a little odd! I just wanted to make sure you knew I had tried calling earlier, but for some reason, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone :)

          Note from the OP: I appreciated the apology but the fact that she knew the method was Not The Norm and did it anyway also rubs me the wrong way.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I just wanted to make sure you knew I had tried calling earlier

            You know, voicemail works for that too. Just sayin’.

            but for some reason, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone

            To me, this is the inappropriate part. Not the smiley. The implication that someone – don’t want to mention any names! – isn’t doing their job!

            1. OP #1*

              Agreed. It was a really weird “I’m blaming you but don’t take this as blame because I’m still trying to make a good impression.”

          2. Lily Evans*

            She’s my fave too (obviously, haha)!

            But wow. The way she unapologetically acknowledges that she called several times and didn’t bother leaving a voicemail when no one answered (despite the fact that voicemail exists for this specific reason). Plus, one of my biggest pet peeves, the “sorry not sorry” where someone basically says “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I don’t care.” And you would have known she’d called if she’d, you know, left a voicemail.

          3. Oryx*

            Ugh. I really hate when someone has an aversion to voicemail. My old job, the phone was connected through email so every time someone called we’d get a missed call email. I’d have people call before we were open and I’d come in with 5 missed calls from the same number within a span of about 10 minutes (not even exaggerating even a little). No voicemail left.

            Then when they finally did get a hold of me they’d be all huffy “I tried calling and couldn’t get a hold of anyone.” Sigh. If you leave me a VM I will call back.

            1. OP #1*

              That was the most frustrating part, though! When she called the first time, she did leave a voicemail. So it was like, you’ve got your bases covered. I will get back to you when I have time.

          4. LBK*

            Yeah, I think this reinforces what Oryx was saying, that she was trying to circumvent the process by taking advantage of the fact that you work for the same company. I think there are times when you can be exempt from certain hiring norms as an internal candidate, but I’d say the rule of thumb is to let the recruiter/hiring manager determine what those are for you – if you’d IMed her in the first place to set up the interview, that would’ve been fine and it would’ve been fine for her to IM back, but having established that you were going through the normal channels of calling her, it’s not her place to decide to IM you.

          5. True Story*

            Weirdly enough, seeing the whole message makes me feel bad for her. I read this as a pretty normal note (minus the smiley face, which is a bit overly familiar). Seems like she might have had a perfect storm of bad timing and different norms.

            The calling could be a one time mistake or a red flag. The smiley face is slightly off-putting but not a deal killer for me. Even her line ” just wanted to make sure you knew I had tried calling earlier, but for some reason, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone :)” read more as an overly familiar tone than an accusatory one for me. Not something I would write, but something I might say over the phone with someone I know.

            It’s almost like the kind of thing you’d say to a new colleague when you aren’t sure whether you’re doing the right thing. The process of calling 4x + IM is something to flag for the hiring manager for sure, but it’s possible you’re reading a bit more sass in this message because of the calls.

            All that to say, you’re doing the right thing here but I’d be interested to hear from her colleagues about what she’s really like (self important or a bit unaware?).

  34. IT_Guy*

    #3 – My biggest complaint with these messages is that I get so many of them they tend to get lost in the noise. It is basically spam to me unless you can add verbiage like “You stand out from crowd because you mentioned being able …” If you can’t tell them personally why they were selected from a cast of 1000’s, it really is spam.

  35. Recruit-o-Rama*

    I have been a Recuiter for a long time so I have advice for both #1 and #3.

    #1- this happens to me at least once a week. With external candidates, I remove them from consideration AND I tell them why, gently. With an internal candidate, I think it depends very much on your company culture. I’ve been here long enough, have a senior enough title and have built up the political capital to tell an internal candidate that their behavior is inappropriate AND to discuss it with their HR Manager. I would frame it in a career development/coaching context. You may need to tread more carefully depending on how your work place operates. This over eager behavior prior to hire almost always translates into pestering unprofessional behavior after hire. I use my cell phone for work so when people are calling me over and over, I have a few text messages saved in my text templates that say something along the lines of “I have your messages, I am not able to take your call right now, please stop calling over and over- I will return your call when I am available”. It’s an annoying part of the job that you may have to get used to if you are doing a lot of recruiting. If recruiting is not part of your regular duties, that does not apply, of course.

    #3- Recruiting IT and software people (and other hard sciences) via LinkedIn is a “tread carefully” business. Generally speaking, I only use LinkedIn to connect with people I have a common “2nd” connection with and the in mail might start out like this;

    Good morning Bob,

    I was talking to Jane Smith about the Implementation Manager position we have open at XYX. She is currently the BIT DIRECTOR at our company, XYX. She told me that the two of you worked together at ABC on very similar projects. I can see from your resume that you are currently working on LMNOP which is very close to the projects our Implementation group is working on. Please see the description below for more detail. If you are on the market, I would love to talk to you about what we have to offer at XYZ. The salary range for this position is X-X.

    Thanks for your time, Jane says hello!


    “Cold calling” on LinkedIn rarely works, use it as a networking tool, as intended and you will have more luck. The in mail above can be modified depending on the relationships you have with various people, but in software and IT referrals will be a huge source for you so start developing relationships with your co-workers! Good luck!

    1. Kyrielle*

      I am not a recruiter but I certainly get them reaching out to me. I rarely respond – but I am aware of who reached out to me and how, and if I ever wanted a job, I might reach back out to the ones who were polite and professional.

      When I was looking for a job, I was more responsive, but it still depended on the actual message I got. There’s not much reason for me to respond to a recruiter who’s trying to recruit me for skills I don’t have, that aren’t even tangentially related to the skills I have. And I may respond to, but am unlikely to work with, a recruiter who is trying to fill positions in a city that’s 4+ hours away from me by car, when I don’t want to move. :)

      1. Recruit-o-Rama*

        I agree. I think it’s important to have a thick skin and not be hurt by rejection when you’re a recruiter. If someone doesn’t respond, I assume it’s because they are not interested. No big deal, I know it’s not personal.

  36. Aaron*

    Related to #1 – I had an internship candidate this year who missed her scheduled phone interview with me.

    I left her a voicemail and sent her an email note asking her to reach out to me with a time to reschedule by email.

    Instead, she called me NINE! times within a two hour span.

    I reacted the same way both OP and Alison did – and I never gave her the opportunity to reschedule. But my boss felt bad for her because she was an inexperienced intern.

    1. starsaphire*

      Nine times? I don’t remember Ferris being absent nine times…

      (sorry, I couldn’t help myself…)

  37. Dayinthelife*

    I’ve had my share of over eager candidates. Once I had two interviews back to back and was away from my phone for a little over an hour. Next thing I know my manager asks me about the candidate and he can’t hold himself together.

    The candidate called the main line and was forwarded to him. Candidate mentions he had a missed call and has been trying to get a hold of me.

    He called a total of 74 times…

    And not a single voicemail.

      1. Recruit-o-Rama*

        This is so common. I can even tell you. It’s MORE common in certain roles than others. In addition to corporate positions, I do a lot of recruiting for labor and production type jobs and when I leave a lot of messages, I know I’m in for a day of these repeated call back/hang ups. SO ANNOYING!!

        1. TootsNYC*

          why is it that some categories of labor don’t get the “leave a message” thing?

  38. Mockingjay*

    #2: I’d see what can be done to correct past logs, as well as going forward. This is your work record. Absolutely ensure it is correct.

    I am curious as to what kind of log this is. Is he present at these customer meetings to record your participation? Or do you provide the meeting info to him to record? Who or how validates the data that he inputs?

    You mentioned that he takes feedback personally. An approach might be to present it as Process Improvement. “Hey, team [note that he’s not being singled out], we’ve had some instances where the meeting logs weren’t recorded properly. I recommend steps x, y, z going forward. Let’s update the SOP.”

  39. Allison*

    #1, in my early years I would get anxious if I didn’t hear from someone when I was expecting a call, and if I had trouble getting ahold of my contact I probably did freak out a little. But the most I would do was call, then wait 20 minutes and call again, and if they didn’t pick up I’d send an e-mail and then let it go until they got back to me, figuring that something came up.

  40. animaniactoo*

    #3 – in case it isn’t clear by now, let me add one more voice to this.

    What your message indicates to me is “I’m a recruiter and I want to have people in my stable to offer to employers.” From my end, however, I have no interest in being in your stable unless one of the two following things is in effect. 1) I am actively job hunting. 2) You have an active opportunity that I can look at immediately and decide whether I am interested enough to talk to you about that specific opportunity.

    Barring either of those two things, being in your rolodex actually becomes a drawback for me given the likelihood of your continuing to try to contact me for positions I am pretty likely not to be interested in and not want to waste my own time hearing about them.

  41. animaniactoo*

    #4 – I had somebody who used to do this. We had an open plan for the center of the floor, and private offices on the outer ring. He had an office right in back of my cube, and he’d do it for *everything*. Including talking to his 2-year-old son. It was uberannoying. “Did you see the trains today? Where did the train go? What sound does a train make?” I have to stop now because I’m having flashbacks.

    For the first few weeks I would stand at his door and motion that I was going to close it and he’d nod his head. He’d then open his door when he was off and generally be better for the next few hours, and then do it again.

    After a few weeks, I stopped looking for his okay, and would just go and shut his door. He never said anything about it. Other people from the floor started calling me to go shut his door. I’m really happy he doesn’t work here anymore.

    On the other hand, sometimes it is easily solvable just by mentioning the issue. The woman who worked in the cube next to mine used to use her speakerphone to dial and greet and then *might* pick up the handset. After awhile I said “I’m not sure if you realize this, but it’s really disturbing to hear that all the time and if you wouldn’t mind not using the speakerphone when you’re in the cube (sometimes she’d be able to co-opt an empty private office and would go there to make calls), I’d really appreciate it.” She had no problem with that at all, and stopped using it immediately.

  42. Carissa*

    Situation #1- I know I’m going to get dog-piled on for this but… commenter Boop (8:25am) wrote ” Isn’t this person also at work? Shouldn’t she be…working?”. OP #1 has responded to almost all of the comments on her submission, approximately 26 times this morning, so it makes me wonder if the OP is at work and if so, why isn’t she working vs. being online? Also, why should OP mention this to the caller’s manager? Maybe the caller has a horrible manager and needs to transfer out of that department. If you don’t want to interview her, don’t. Calling her manager to report she called you 4 times and IM’d you (which I do agree is way too much) feels like you just want to put her in her place because she called too many times. If you think is she sabotaging her opportunities, why not just have a simple, straightforward conversation with her, explain it to her in a normal tone (not preachy) and she might be able to make some changes to how she approaches future interview opportunities? None of us know what she maybe dealing with at work or in her personal life and just maybe this position would be a great things in her life. A little bit of kindness and understanding can make a world of difference to someone whose struggles may not be obvious.

    In case anyone is wondering, I’m home after a head-on collision last week that left me with a broken leg, grade 2 concussion, multiple contusions and a 4 inch gash on my forehead that required 23 stitches.

    1. Lily Evans*

      Well, OP #1 mentioned they’re at a university, which definitely fits the timeline for suddenly being super busy on a random day during finals/commencement season and then having a ton of downtime just as quickly. And I think that we’re all adults here who can judge for ourselves whether or not we have time to spend on the internet during the work day. You don’t have to prove your point by saying that you’re home today, but I do wish you a speedy recovery!

      1. Carissa*

        Thank you for your well wishes.

        I have always disliked the way people assume that if you are making/taking a personal call or using the internet during work hours then you are not working. That’s why the comment about the caller “should be working” rubbed me the wrong way. In hindsight, I made the same assumption about OP#1 that was made about the persistent caller and that was wrong.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      People here work different schedules and are in different time zones all over the world. People also take time off from work.

      But yes, many people post from work. In many cases, they’re doing so perfectly appropriately because they’re taking a break, able to manage their own time, waiting for a process to run on their computer, or all sorts of other things.

    3. OP #1*

      I’ll just add that I opposed the suggestion of calling the candidate’s manager. That’s way over the line to me because it could jeopardize her current job.

  43. Anon Moose*

    #3 Its a pet peeve of mine that companies who post jobs don’t always have the same attention to detail or level of professionalism that they turn around and expect from job candidates. A job application that’s vague and has many typos or inaccuracies… honestly it makes me wonder why I should bother to make a clear, personalized application when its clear the company has not put in the effort to have a job description to match. Sometimes I still do apply, because I’m the one who needed a job. But I think its even more true for a recruiting email. You need them to respond to you- not the other way around and although I’ve never gotten recruiting emails, to me that example sounds exactly like craigslist or email spam. First rule of internet contacts to strangers- you have to seem like a real person is behind it while still protecting your personal info somewhat.

  44. Eric Waters*

    Re: situation #3, I work in the tech sector for a high profile company and receive weekly, sometimes daily recruiting emails, none of which I ever respond to or even bother to open. This morning, I received this very amusing followup to an ignored email sent last week:

    > Greetings Earthling!
    > Since I haven’t heard back, I must assume you have been abducted by aliens and taken to a fabulous disco party on Mars, thus unable to capitalize on the opportunity below.
    > Let me know if I should send a search party!

    This compelled me to respond – it was by far the most original, most amusing followup to date! If you want a response, you might want to be silly like this fellow. It was much appreciated.

  45. SusanIvanova*

    #3 – What is it with Java recruiters, anyway? Yes, I worked for Sun on Java. In 2001. Is there anything newer on my LinkedIn profile about Java? No. Does it mention server or j2ee? Quite the opposite – I worked on the UI. I have, actually, never worked on a non-trivial Java app in my life; I worked on the language itself. And yet most of the cold-call recruiters are for Java server!

  46. Michael Lapointe*

    I once was part of management team that, subtlely at first, kept me out of some conversations … then meetings … then key decisions … then team building exercises. I convinced myself that it wasn’t personal … and from their perspective it wasn’t personal per se but they knew long before I had to sign my non-disclose agreement who they were going to sacrifice. You’re coworker must be a narcissist or possibly a sociopath … and let’s hope not because these types are like cockroaches … they scurry away from any blame and at the same time question your judgement of the situation. In my case, my gut was screaming “THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG HERE” and I ignored my gut feelings for years. Ignoring your instincts and small clues isn’t healthy. Document everything that you think is odd and bring it to a trusted human resources person that will not immediately alert your supervisor (if they exist in your organization … they often don’t). Is your coworker very friendly with your supervisor and perhaps a social life with your boss outside of work? Be VERY CAREFUL! This is a power play! He is possible sweetening his “brand” over yours. He wants a deeper connection with the boss than you may have. There is a reason for this. When S**T hits the fan … he will not be the first to go.

    If you cannot resolve your current problem, transfer to a different department, location, or find a more honourable company elsewhere.

  47. Liz*

    I worked as a tech recruiter for a little over a year, and I’m still with that company but in an operations/analytics role. One of my projects is tracking and analyzing our recruiters’ InMail response rates. Here are some tips & best practices to get you started:

    1. For the love of cheese and all that is holy, do NOT send bulk InMails. I don’t care how much faster it is to reach a large number of people. You are targeting an audience that is largely passive in their search but open to hearing about opportunities. When you send the exact same message to multiple people, it shows- and you lose credibility. Don’t be a bot.

    2. Craft a strong subject line- it’s the first people see. I see a lot of recruiters us3 subject lines like “Let’s connect!” or “Open to networking?” Those aren’t *terrible*, but they’re pretty bland. Mention a specific detail from their profile or the specific position you’d like to recruit them for.

    3. Keep your message short and sweet. 50% of LinkedIn users are on mobile, and few people will bother reading a multi-paragraphed InMail.

    4. Don’t just copy and paste a job description- what’s the “sizzle”? What’s the career trajectory for this role? Are there exciting projects in the pipeline? What kind of perks does the company offer (excellent healthcare benefits, flexible scheduling, tuition reimbursement)? Has the company won awards for its growth and/or company culture (if so, send a link!)?

    5. It’s always good to close by making it easy for people to follow up with you. Share your email and work number (if you’re comfortable with that), and let them know your availability to connect if they’re interested. However, do NOT ask them to send you a resume or fill out an application. Don’t make people jump through hoops just to get more drtails; it’s annoying, and passive candidates have no incentive to do so.

    Final point: LinkedIn has a ton of great resources to help you with this. I personally really like their Talent Solutions blog, but they also host decent webinars on various topics. Hope this helps!

  48. VictoriaHR*

    #3 – this has been covered very well by the other commenters, but I just wanted to add that LinkedIn is not a place for people to post their resumes in the hopes of finding a job. Many folks are open to new opportunities, yes, but they’re not there just because they’re looking. I’d say 75% of the people on LI are happy in their current position. So no, they’re not going to answer in that case.

    I’m a software development recruiter and I do send LI in-mails but not many. I do advanced Boolean searches and only contact the people whose profiles match the searches exactly. And I always send the job description in my inMail. Then I move on. I don’t dwell on who answers me or not, because if they don’t answer, they’re not interested. I see no point whatsoever in bothering someone who’s not interested.

    Software Development has like a 0.2% unemployment rate right now. It’s a difficult market to recruit in and you have to be very specific about what you’re looking for and matching the jobs to the candidates. You don’t want to tick the candidates off by bothering them about something that’s not a fit.

  49. A pedantic developer*

    #3- the other points are more important, but also make sure you have the right terms/skills. The latest version is now called JEE, not J2EE (this term is now several years old), so you’re sounding out of date if that’s an actual example. If it is J2EE skills you’re looking for and not just that you’re using the old acronym, then it sounds like your company is using older technology that many people may not be interested in. Also, ‘Java J2ee’ is redundant since JEE/J2EE by definition involves Java. Developers can be quite pedantic and like to use the newest technology, so it helps to get this stuff right. ;)

  50. DevelopingDodo*

    For #3, the amount of linkedin connections we get (as a java developer and web developer) it would be almost a full time job to respond to all of them.
    I and many of my colleagues with me, hardly read linkedin nowadays simply because of that.

    As a bit of advice from someone who’s on the other end of those mails, find someone you both know personally, and approach them via via. The only interviews I have accepted in recent years have been because it went through a former colleague or friend.

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