interviewer told me to clear the whole day for a phone call

A reader writes:

I received a call back for a position that I’ve really been hoping to get. The job has pretty decent pay for what it is, and the location is somewhere I’ve been hoping to go for quite some time.

However, the person I spoke with informed me that I wouldn’t be able to schedule a phone interview as I always have in the past. Rather than scheduling for, say, 10 a.m. on Tuesday, I was told that I need to be available from 9 – 5 the entire day on Tuesday. I wasn’t given much of an option so I did agree to it, although I probably shouldn’t have done so. I don’t know how anyone can commit an entire day to someone else’s schedule like that! Keep in mind: I was given two days, both of which are work days!

At this point, I’m considering calling to cancel because this practice really doesn’t make me feel good about the company. It’s the most selfish thing I’ve heard in my time interviewing. Besides that, I’m not sure I can keep my entire day open. I was flustered when I agreed to it, which I’m thinking I shouldn’t have done.

So, what I’m wondering is: Is this normal? If so, what if I miss the call and need to call back? Will I be penalized in the same way I would for missing a set in stone interview time?

No, it’s not normal.

The only part that’s a little bit normal is (unfortunately) the total disregard for your time, but it’s taking even that to a whole new level.

Asking you to reserve an entire day for them is a big request even if you were at the finalist stage and they were actually going to use all that time. But asking you to reserve an entire day for them when you’re at the very start of their process and they’re only planning to use a small amount of that time is incredibly rude and thoughtless.

And it’s a real power play too — which is clear when you consider how they’d likely react if you made the same request of them.

And yes, from the way they’ve presented it, it does sound like they’d hold it against you if you weren’t available when they called. God forbid you go to the bathroom or take another call while spending eight hours waiting to hear from them.

It would be perfectly reasonable for you to have originally said, “Oh, I can’t hold a whole day open, of course, since I work and have other commitments. And I want to be sure that I’m available when you call, so can we pick a time that I’ll plan around?”

Of course, if they refused that and reiterated that you truly needed to free up the whole day, at that point it would be perfectly reasonable for you to laugh heartily and explain you weren’t going to be able to do that. Unfortunately, you can only do that if you’re willing to lose the job opportunity — but I’d argue that you should want to lose it at that point, if that’s how this plays out.

You could contact them now and say something similar like, “Unfortunately I’ve been unable to clear an entire day since I work and have other commitments. I’d love to talk with you, but my schedule means that I’d need to nail down a more specific time.”

Their response will tell you all you need to know.

{ 119 comments… read them below }

    1. Bend & Snap*

      I interviewed with Comcast. They gave me next steps of traveling to their office (corporate job) to interview with the team and ghosted me.

      Maybe there was just a reallllly long window for them to respond and it hasn’t closed yet :)

      1. AnotherHRPro*

        Interesting. I interviewed with Comcast as well and found the process was very well done. They were respectful of my time and always followed up in a timely manner. At the time I thought it was ironic as a I was a customer and always hated their customer service. I wanted to crack a joke (but did not) about maybe customer service could learn something from their HR department! :)

        1. Bend & Snap*

          I assume it was because I couldn’t relocate but offered to commute, but they could have at least written back to my follow up and told me I was out of the running. They gave me firm dates to fly in and everything and then just didn’t respond.

          Prior to that it was a good experience.

    2. Gov Worker*

      Comcast in my area gives a two hour window and arrived 20 minutes in. Much improved!

      1. TrainerGirl*

        I got a 2-hour window, but the tech made it 10 minutes past that. They gave me a $35 credit, so I was okay with it. He did do a little extra stuff (I had cables/connectors replaced) and he rerouted the cables behind my sofa which is a big improvement.

    3. Greg M.*

      actually that reminds me. I interviewed for a local ISP tech desk and was out the day they called me to offer me the job. I called them back a couple hours later but they said because I wasn’t home they went on to the next person on the list. I ended up somewhere else but still wow, what a way to treat people.

      1. Greg*

        Bullet dodged. Think about what message they communicated with their behavior: “We want to hire you, but we’re not all that invested in you in particular. Anyone else on this list would be fine as well.”

        Typically, when a company makes you an offer is your moment of maximum leverage: They’re saying, “Of all the people we could have hired, we chose you in particular, and we really want you to come work for us.” If a company is treating you like a replaceable cog at that moment, just imagine how much worse it will get once you start working there and lose all your leverage.

      2. John*

        I was told by an interviewer once that they had chosen someone else because he got his paperwork packet back to them one day earlier than I did. He lasted three weeks and he quit to “Get the old band back together man!”. Then they called me and I sent the packet in (my wife wanted to throw away for three weeks) and I worked there almost two years and made huge gains in uptime & profits. Another time, an interviewing company deliberated for 6 months over $1 more per hour and did no product testing that whole time. I told them never to call me again because I wasn’t fighting through their backlog of testing – 6 MONTHS!

  1. Anonymous Poster*

    I got irritated enough when people scheduled a call and were late (Worst I had was 2 hours late. That was a place I was glad didn’t pan out)- but that’s kind of normal. But requiring you keep a whole day open for a phone interview?

    No thanks. I wonder how they’ll view your time, or even if they think that’s a thing, if you join their team.

    1. KHB*

      Whenever I schedule a phone interview (journalism interview, not hiring interview), I always call at the precise-to-the-minute time. If it’s a 2:00 interview, 1:59 is early, and 2:01 is late.

      People often comment on my punctuality when I call. I tell them that I don’t like sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, and I figure that they don’t either.

      1. Amber T*

        I’m the same way, so it was something of a culture shock for me at my office regarding meeting times. We have a 9am meeting, and I thought that meant the meeting started at 9, meaning butts in the seat, pen in hand, ready to go at 9am, which would also mean you got to the room a few minutes early. Apparently in my office, 9am meeting means leave your office at 9am, take a minute or two to chat, then start a few minutes late. I asked my boss about it once, and he said it’s just How It Is.

        1. KHB*

          My office is the same way. I’ve taken to showing up for meetings on time anyway but bringing some work along to do while I wait for everyone else to trickle in. That pre-meeting time is often my most productive of the whole week, because it’s the only time that I know I won’t be interrupted. :)

        2. Artemesia*

          I worked at a place where I was always there on time and no one else would ever be in the room. When I asked about it, they said ‘oh this is Xorganization time — that means meetings never start before 10 after the hour.’ Nice to know.

        3. Zidy*

          That’s the way it is in my office too, but it’s typically more because most of the directors are coming from other meetings and thus, they need a couple minutes to grab paperwork/laptop/water before going to their next meeting. Of course, then the meeting runs late because it can’t start on time… honestly, I sometimes wonder if implementing a 5 minute mandatory break between meetings (much like we did back in school) wouldn’t solve a lot of those problems.

          1. Amanda Jane*

            We schedule all meetings to be 50 minutes long by default – starting at five past the hour and ending at five to. That leaves ten minutes between meetings for people to clear the room, tech to be set up if required, people to grab water/go to the restroom, grab anything they need and get to their next meeting if necessary. If a meeting needs to be longer than 50 minutes, people are expected to book a meeting room for a double slot. It works well for us.

      2. Kathleen Adams*

        I do journalism interviews by phone too, and my window is exact time – exact time+5 minutes. So if it’s a 2:00 interview, I call between 2:00 (not 1:59) and 2:05.

        1. The OG Anonsie*

          This is what I’ve always done when calling study participants. A lot of the time if I call them at 2:00 on the dot, they are not quite ready to answer yet.

    2. Wendy Darling*

      I had a guy call me an hour after our scheduled phone interview and tell me he had to reschedule and the recruiter would contact me, and then ghost me. I finally emailed the recruiter and she said they’d decided not to move forward with my application. Uh, thanks?

      I’ve been doing a LOT of phone interviews and I’ve started keeping a tally of who is late. About 50% call more than 5 minutes late.

      1. Emelle*

        Oh man, my husband was recruited hard by a company. The recruiter and hiring manager emailed him every couple of days to tell him about the job and the future projects. He wasn’t sure it was something he wanted to do, but figured the interview would be good practice. He got through the first two interviews and then it fell apart on the third. The interviewer called, then the building he was in lost power, so he said he would call back. Never called. Husband called the recruiter to reschedule. He got the reminder email for the interview time, no call. Got another email, “oops, sorry. Let’s reschedule for x day.” Husband:”x day doesn’t work, how about y?” Crickets. This entire time he had been getting emails from the project/hiring manager and recruiter and now they stopped.
        We decided the office was abducted by aliens.

      2. College Career Counselor*

        Some of that is likely because they’ve scheduled back-to-back phone interviews and haven’t allowed for buffer time between calls when the previous interview runs over…. Not excusing it (because you should plan for things not to go smoothly 100% of the time), but that’ll (or a long-winded interviewer/ee, phone glitch, etc.) will definitely do it.

    3. Lauren*

      I had someone call me to chat about my application (ie short phone interview) and then say she wanted to call me back tomorrow after she talked to some people about me and to set up an interview time (likely tomorrow). Would that be ok? Sure I wasn’t working so I made sure I was available at 9 am when she said she was going to phone. Nothing. Nothing all day. She called a week and a bit later. Luckily I had already accepted a position so I could say I wasn’t interested.

  2. Jessesgirl72*

    “After giving it some thought, I can’t possibly leave open an entire day this early in the interview process on a work day, so I’m afraid I’ve decided not to move forward with your interview process.”

    That’s the politest thing I could possibly send them at this point.

    Run, OP, RUN!

      1. Corporate Cynic*

        Plus, I like the idea of laughing heartily if scheduling a specific timeslot doesn’t work out :)

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Literally, I would practice this so I could pull it off smoothly.

          I really envied that doctor’s wife last week who thought of the right thing to say to ridiculousness right there in the moment and said it, rather than figuring it out three days later. (“The wit of the staircase” is what the French call this, that being where you think of the thing you should have said hours ago.)

        2. Kathleen Adams*

          I adore the idea of laughing heartily at ridiculous requests like this. Adore!

      2. Jessesgirl72*

        I hate implying there is any way at all possible that I’d work for a company like that! Either that uncaring or scattered!

        Whatever OP replies, she needs to run! :D

  3. Ann*

    Often AAM will say it might be something one person is doing that the hiring manager or the rest of HR does not know about. It might be interesting to take the call if it falls at a convenient moment and you do move forward, then say, I will not be available for a whole day like for the first phone call . . . All the things AAM and the other commenters suggested.

    1. No Name Yet*

      Oooo, if she does take the interview, I like this idea! Would be good to know if it’s this one person vs endemic to the company.

      1. Squeeble*

        This was my thought, too. At its most charitable, I wonder if this is someone who is brand new to the hiring process and hasn’t considered how inconvenient this setup is.

        1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

          Totally OT, but this zoomed through my head and started me laughing: “Squeebles squobble but they don’t squall down!”

  4. Loopy*

    I would have been flustered in the moment too. I wonder if they count on that. Once most people say yes they have a hard time changing that answer and will be stuck.

    These people have to realize the power play they are pulling, right?!

    1. Ama*

      I suppose they might,but I think it’s more likely they are thinking only about what is most convenient for them and not thinking about what that means they are asking the candidates to do at all.

  5. Manders*

    When I was looking for a job, I had similar issues with some recruiters thinking that they could call me at any time and I would be free. One first tried to call me out of the blue and immediately launch into a phone interview, then kept calling back to schedule further in-person interviews, even though I made it clear that I was working during work hours and couldn’t take unscheduled calls. Another did schedule a call–and then forgot about it, after I’d set time aside to get it done.

    It baffled me! My application materials made it very clear that I was working full-time. I’m pretty sure most recruiters aren’t able to disappear from their desks to take long personal calls at random times, so I’m not sure why they thought candidates could do it.

    1. Root Beer*

      While phone interviews during normal business hours would be most convenient for me, I’m aware that it would not be that way for most candidates who are employed. Its no big deal to arrange to speak to candidates in the evening or on weekends. Just part of a recruiter’s job, IMO.

      1. Manders*

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear–I could have set some time aside during my lunch period if I’d known about it in advance. It’s the totally out of the blue “Hi, do you have 30 minutes to talk with me right now?” calls during work hours that I don’t understand.

      2. k*

        On behalf of job hunters everywhere, I thank you. I have the hardest time scheduling phone interviews during the day. There’s no where in my office that is private enough to take a call like that without being overheard or interrupted, even if I found a spot I be so nervous about someone hearing that I wouldn’t be focused on the call. I’m so happy when potential employers understand.

        1. oldbiddy*

          This. Back in the pre-smartphone days, I used to share an office with a coworker who was on the same team as me. When I was not in the office I was in the lab and there were usually other team members there. I could NOT take interview calls on my cell phone without some prescheduling and either going to my car or going home for lunch. A startup was trying to schedule a phone interview and would not agree to set up an early/late/weekend phone interview or preschedule a time during the work day. I took it as a sign that they would be a horrible place to work and let it slide.

    2. sam*

      Even if you’re not working full time, you still have the right to expect others to show some basic respect for your time. Not to get into too much detail, but when I know I have a long call coming up, I try to take care of certain *functions* (ahem) right before so that I don’t have to worry about them during the call.

      If I didn’t know when, in an 8-hour window, I was going to be surprised by an interview call, I’d spend half the day freaking out about going to the bathroom.

      1. Liane*

        My first–& current–thought is take your phone because they *totally deserve* whatever they hear or imagine…

        FTR, I am not a fan of phone use in the bathroom, but see the need for an exception here

      2. katydid*

        LOL I just got back from the washroom where there was a lengthy, in-cubicle call going on, amid flushes and echoing tile walls. I sure hope that wasn’t an interview!

    3. 2 Cents*

      This happened to me recently when I was applying for a mortgage. How many times I had to explain that, no, I can’t drop everything and come sign papers at the office half an hour away at 3 p.m., since you’re asking me at 1:45 p.m. the same day.

      1. DecorativeCacti*

        I just went through this, too. Infuriating! I took “an hour or two” off to sign papers at noon. Got a call while sitting in the parking lot waiting to go in that they weren’t ready. Ended up taking five hours.

      2. Manders*

        I just went through the same thing! I’m lucky that my husband has an unusual schedule and he can take calls at weird hours, but I still had to miss some work time for mortgage-related stuff because I *had* to do it in person instead of sending in a digital signature.

        1. Peter the Bubblehead*

          Digital on-line paperwork was my saviour when my wife and I bought our house. I would get an e-mail saying the paperwork was ready for review and signatures. I would log in and sign the forms. As soon as I pressed ‘send’ my wife would receive an e-mail that the paperwork was ready for her review and signature. She would press send and my real estate agent would be notified everything was ready. Paperwork was finished in minutes when it would normally take hours of travel and reviewing actual papers.

      3. TrainerGirl*

        I got lucky…I did a refi with my bank and they sent an agent to my office. I was able to sign the papers in the cafe downstairs at lunch.

    4. Natalie*

      I recently had a recruiter call me out of the blue for a phone screen *at work.* I don’t have my direct line published anywhere, so he called the main line and thus damn sure new it was my current employer.

    5. Jessesgirl72*

      The way so many recruiters seem to have tenuous grasps of appointment times (on their end) I’m not at all sure they aren’t taking random personal calls all day.

    6. xyz*

      I used to live in France, and basically every job did the “surprise phone interview” thing. One time, the cell reception was so bad I had to ask them to repeat every question at least once. I told them I was having trouble hearing them, but I’m pretty sure they came to the conclusion I just couldn’t speak French. Another time, I couldn’t remember exactly what the job was and went on for a long time about how skilled I was in electronic document management, and then at the end they said they were pretty much all paper-based. Neither called back. I wish now I had the courage to say “it’s not a good time, can we schedule a phone interview” but it’s hard to do when you’re put on the spot and really need a job!

      1. consultant*

        Phone reception: I have the same problem in Germany. My German is completely fluent and I speak almost without any accent, but the reception is so bad at times that I have extreme problems understanding questions. It’s a very bad situation to be in if you’re not a native speaker.

  6. NJ Anon*

    You could tell them that you would be available with a 1 hour notice by email. This would give you time to figure out the logistics. But absent that? Very inconsiderate of them.

  7. Alicia906*

    I really hope OP takes Alison’s advice and then writes back to let us know what happened!

  8. Tea*

    Laughing heartily is going to be my go-to response for ridiculous interview demands from now on. I love it.

    1. Personal Best in Consecutive Days Lived*

      Not just ridiculous interviews, anything! “Hahahaha… Oh you’re serious.”

  9. mcr-red*

    That’s a huge red flag. I would guess that they think nothing of having you work unpaid overtime, weekends, and expect you to be available 24-7. Run!

  10. Jaded and Cynical*

    This is a “Toadie test”. If the OP agrees to this, the company will know that they can do whatever they please. I agree with the advice given. Tell them no to that range, and judge their reaction. If they insist, say “no”, you just dodged a bullet!

    This is becoming more and more common. The companies here want to get toadies who will take any amount of abuse thrown at them. Alternatively, this could be a test of leadership on the OP’s part. Refuse this abuse and you pass the test. Either way, just say NO!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s possible but very unlikely that this is an intentional test (although it may end up functioning that inadvertently). It’s far more likely that this stems from run-of-the-mill attitudes about candidates’ time vs. employers’ time.

  11. Ms. Anne Thrope*

    Y’all beat me to the cable company jokes. :(

    I had a delivery like this too once. Sometime between 9-5 it was ‘scheduled.’ They showed up at 7:30.

    1. requiredname*

      I once had someone show up to set up internet at my new apartment *2 hours early*. They called that they were arriving just as I was about to run out for a quick grocery run. I very nearly missed them, and of course there’s no way they were gonna come back that day at the correct time.

      Thankfully, my phone interviews have, for the most part, been timely. The last one was 15 minutes late in calling me, but that was actually good, since a coworker IMed me with a work question right when they were supposed to call, so I was able to handle the work issue and still interview un-distracted.

  12. Liet-Kynes*

    Well, OP, I think you should be very grateful to them, because what they’ve just told you is “we will work you like a rented mule, our policies are abusive and arbitrary, you will have to wage guerilla war for overtime pay and to use your paid vacation, you will be treated at all times as a replaceable cog, and we will lay you off without a second thought if that’ll keep the shareholders happy for another quarter.”

    Nice that you didn’t have to learn that three months in.

  13. Moonpie*

    About 6 years into my career I got an interview at a big company. I’d worked in small franchise offices before, so it was my first experience working with a multi-leveled company, an internal recruiter, etc. Our initial call was not a phone screen, we just set the interview time and I didn’t think to ask how long to allow for it. I just assumed maybe an hour and a half like I’d experienced before, and I managed to work out my morning schedule so I could go there first.

    To my shock at the end of what I thought was the whole first interview the hiring manager casually mentioned that after I went to the next couple of people, we’d meet up for lunch and then have a group interview for the afternoon! I scrambled to keep my composure and told her the recruiter had not mentioned an entire day and I really couldn’t stay that long. She didn’t look thrilled but she agreed to let me do a speed round with a couple of team members and they’d call me back for the second half another day. She sat down with me before I left (at this point, I was in full panic mode because I was really late for work) and wanted to chat about their “air time”. They aimed for 20% talking and 80% listening, so she wanted me to analyze for them how they’d done. I don’t even remember what I said, but I already knew they wouldn’t be calling me back and I knew that was going to be fine by me!

    When I became a manager later, I took pains to be very clear with our prospects about the process and time frames. Who expects a full-day whammy for level one?

    1. Anon Anon*

      I’ve done several all day interviews, but each time I’ve done that sort of interview it’s been an interview I’ve traveled to versus something locally.

      Where I work interviews range from 90 minutes or so to 3 hours. If HR and the hiring manager think the applicant is strong, then they have the applicant meet with several other sets of people. If HR and the hiring manager don’t think the applicant is that great then those applicants never meet the other sets of people. However, we typically tell people that the interview will range from 2-3 hours. So that they can plan accordingly.

    2. Quickstepping Matilda*

      When I was looking for my first job out of college, I set up an informational interview with a partner at a local law firm to talk about getting into patent law (I had not gone to law school at the time, but was graduating with a PhD in engineering). When I talked to him on the phone, he had been clear that they did not have any openings for staff scientists right then, but that he would be happy to talk to me about the career path.

      When I arrived the next day, he told me, “When I spoke to you on the phone yesterday, I had not yet read your resume. Now that I have, we may have a job available for you after all.” Instead of a 20-minute informational interview, I was there for five hours, met everyone in the department, and walked out with a promise that I would be getting a job offer in the mail that week. I ended up working there for seven years and they put me through law school.

      I’m really, really glad that I had eaten a big early lunch and taken care of all bodily functions before I arrived.

    3. PM Jesper Berg*

      In some industries (banking, law, etc.), half- or full-day-long interviews are common. However, they definitely let candidates know in advance.

  14. Magenta Sky*

    I agree with the “toadie test” comments. If they’re willing to treat you this badly now, imagine how they’ll treat you after you’re committed. The “is somewhere I’ve been hoping to go for quite some time” part sounds like this might involve a move, which would make you even more committed to taking whatever crap they put on your plate.

    I don’t think I would be capable of being as polite as Alison’s suggestion in telling them where to shove it.

  15. Turtlewings*

    This is one where I’d definitely like to hear from LW later about how it went.

  16. The Foreign Octopus*

    Massive red flag!

    Unless you desperately need a job, OP, I’d tell them that you can’t move forward. How you do it is up to you but I’m fond of the bull in a china shop approach and tell them exactly why but I’m not reliant on contacts and references in my career.

  17. Djuna*

    My automatic response here would just be; “Lol, no.” followed by, “You were kidding, right?”
    I am not the best at minding my words when someone makes a ridiculous demand.
    Alison’s suggested response is perfect, no-one should have to tolerate that kind of entitlement from a recruiter, and they do need to be called on it.

  18. Bossy Magoo*

    I had a colleague who had a terrific round of interviews with a company, and then they called her to schedule an interview with the CEO. CEO was returning from vacation on a Monday and they wanted to schedule the interview for Tuesday. However, my friend was leaving for vacation on Sunday. She told them and they said they didn’t really want to hold up the process for a week while she was away. She asked my advice and I told her that she should absolutely NOT lose time on her trip for an interview and that if they were that inflexible then she should know now because if she just threw out 3 days of her vacation for this and got the job, she had just trained them on how to treat her moving forward. So she told them that unfortunately she’d be out of town but she was very interested in the position, and she would contact them when she got back to see the status of the job and hope that it was still available. They said okay, she vacationed, got back and they had not found someone better in the meantime.

    She’s been there 2 years now and loves it. #HappyEnding

    1. Irish Em*

      That is really excellent advice you gave to your friend, and I am going to take it on board as well :)

  19. Naruto*

    Is there any way that maybe they were thinking you need to be generally available, but it’s okay if you miss their specific call as long as you can call them back in a timely manner? I feel like that would be a little more manageable on the applicant’s end — although still ridiculous, of course, and way less sensible than just picking a time and scheduling it.

    1. Antilles*

      Unless you’ve arranged that in advance with the person who will be calling, that’s not likely. It seems like a completely reasonable way to handle things…but when they give you a huge window for initial phone screenings like this, it’s usually because of some kind of issue on their end – they have a lot of candidates to call or they can’t manage their own schedule or they just haven’t considered your end of it.
      So if you miss their specific call and try to call back later, they’re going to take it as a huge negative on your candidacy – or probably even drop you altogether.

      1. Bolt*

        Some places are just wacko with this stuff.

        I did a job interview in high school and got a job offer call at home during the school day. When my mom asked who/when I should call back after school they said that since I wasn’t home that they’d just offer it to the next person, they weren’t waiting around for me to get off of school (for a student position)!

        The only students they would’ve spoken to were those with cellphones who cut out of class or those home sick/suspended.

  20. CM*

    Unless this has completely turned you off of the company, I would just treat it like a normal day rather than declining in advance. If you happen to be free when they call, great. If not, call them back when you’re free and say, “Sorry I missed your call. Is now a good time?”

    I’ve seen several places where hiring practices were rigid but that didn’t reflect what the entire company was like. It’s possible the hiring manager might agree with you that this practice is ridiculous, but the person you talked to doesn’t think so. If the company seems good otherwise, I think you could proceed with caution. (So I guess what I’m saying is that to me this is a yellow flag, not a red flag. If they react to your missing their call with outrage, then red flag.)

  21. animaniactoo*

    I keep trying to formulate a polite response to being told to keep an entire day open for an initial phone interview and failing.

    Mostly because the instinct I have to suppress is the one that says “Here in MY reality we don’t expect that’s a reasonable expectation for somebody who works. Or has a life in any form or another. Kids. Volunteering. Doctors appointments. Plumbing emergencies. Which may be external or internal….”

    Sorry OP, I know that’s not helpful… but on the other hand, perhaps it’s a marker of exactly how unreasonable this request is and whether you do actually want to work for a company where this is what they’re like when they’re on their best behavior and trying to attract candidates? I mean, yeah… it could be a rogue HR person instituting their own practices. But I wouldn’t want to bet my work livelihood on it.

  22. Czhorat*

    I’ve never had this kind of expectation and I agree that it’s daft. It also speaks of an organization with a low level of respect for your time; you should remember that an interview process is as much your choice to work with them as their choice to hire you. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but a strong point against.

    If they insist on the whole day, another option is to tell them that you’ll do your best to be available, but cannot commit. If you’re available when they call that’s great. If you can’t step away from your job/lunch/midday juggle then great. If not, then apologize and ask if you can call them back or they can try again later.

    Unless you’re quite desperate for a job, don’t let them force you to jump through hoops.

    1. JM in England*

      That’s exactly the the point. Employers today seem to be exploiting desperate job seekers with these kind of unreasonable demands, knowing that some will bow to them…………

  23. Delta Delta*

    I guess I wonder what kind of phone appointment this was. I recently had an initial phone screen that lasted only 15 minutes and was mostly to inform me about benefits and salary, and to see if I was interested based on that information. It was a scheduled call, but honestly, it could have been at any time during a regular work day, given how short it was.

    That said, I agree there’s a serious ick factor to saying, “we’ll call you any time we feel like it.”

    1. Czhorat*

      Yes, but if you’re at your current job you really want ot be away from your desk and/or curious coworkers for even a fifteen minute chat. You also might have other commitments. What if they called during, say, a staff meeting, or an impromptu chat with your boss? If it’s scheduled you can be sure to be away from the boss for that time.

      1. Whats In A Name*

        With all the comments about ghosting from interviewers I’m asking myself what if they burn a personal day and then NEVER GET A CALL. I mean, this is really a lose-lose without something tied down.

  24. Dorothy Mantooth*

    I once had an initial call scheduled with a recruiter and the time agreed to was my lunch hour. I head out to my car for the call, get my notes together, and wait a couple of minutes for the recruiter to call. No call, so I go ahead and dial his number. No answer. Left a voicemail and hung out in the car for a while to see if he just got delayed. Three hours later I get a return voicemail that he is in (other area/timezone of the country) and forgot to correct for the time zones. Silly me, thinking a call about a job located in my city, where the recruiter also worked, would need to factor in time zones.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        Is it a screen name? There’s a (once) well known actor named Randolph Mantooth (from the TV show Emergency).

        1. Had Matter's Pea Tarty*

          Screenname as in username (like mine is Had Matter’s Blah Blah Blah). Also I think it’s a Metalopoclaypse (sp) reference. One of the lead character’s mothers, irrc.

    1. Frustrated Optmist*

      What happened after that? Did you ultimately have the phone interview? If so, what was the outcome? Curious to know what happened after this initial misstep: Did it end up being a minor blip, or was it a harbinger of further problems with the hiring process?

      1. Dorothy Mantooth*

        It never went anywhere. It was quite a few years ago, but I was employed at the time and not really looking – so wasn’t invested in doing much follow up.

  25. Mishsmom*

    So this company won’t know they’re about to call you until 30 seconds before they do? Not even an hour before (like someone suggested) or even God forbid a few hours? And expect you to wait all day for that to happen? That’s a big NOPE.

  26. Bostonian*

    “God forbid you go to the bathroom or take another call while spending eight hours waiting to hear from them.”

    LOL. or shower, or eat, or let the dog out… my goodness!

  27. nicolefromqueens*

    If you can’t get a response specific time, only take the call if you’re available. If you do get to speak with them, and proceed with caution, run if you see any other red flags. But that should be one of the first questions you ask the hiring manager.

  28. Anonymousaurus Rex*

    It’s really frustrating when all of the power is on the side of the hiring company in deciding the scheduling of this, especially when it feels like those doing the hiring already have all the power.

    I can’t think of any reasonable explanation for doing this in this instance, but there are on occasion good reasons for an employer to have all the say in scheduling. I was once in charge of hiring an academy of firefighters. We were required by the local gov’t to interview every candidate who scored in a certain band on a test. This meant scheduling interviews for 65-80 candidates within a week with a panel of interviewers. It was a nightmare. I basically had to assign interview times and hope they worked for the candidate. I tried to be as accommodating as I could when someone had a tricky conflict, and most of the candidates understood why I was so prescriptive, but I felt like a jerk not giving them some more flexibility to interview.

    I would never have asked them to just be available whenever I happened to be ready to interview them without warning. That said–I can imagine that someone new to hiring who has to get through 20+ phone interviews in a day might think this approach was most convenient to her.

  29. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    When I was out of work – I had one interviewer stand me up on the phone three times.

    We finally connected. He interviews me, long story short – in October – tells me I’m his top candidate. Then he says “Can you wait until January?” — since this would have required relocation – I said “sure – if you make an offer to me now, effective January 3, we should be able to go ahead.”

    “No, no, no, that’s not what I meant!!!” When I asked him to explain, he asked me if I would hold off accepting any other situation, and stop interviewing. He is going to keep interviewing new people. If I’m still his #1, he’ll offer me the job in January. But not now.

    I advised “I know you’d like to hear me say ‘ok’ but, that’s unreasonable. I have a family, and a career to move forward with and so I cannot make such a pledge to you. I could like lie and say OK, but that’s not the way I’d work.”

    OK – that ends that, right?

    January 3. I am at a new job, had been there since November, going OK. Phone rings at work. Bozo calls. Tells me he’s got great news, I’m still his #1 candidate and when can I start?

    Advised him that the ship sailed. There’s no way. I don’t know what he did, but he seemed irritated.

    Oh well.

  30. Anon55*

    Good LORD is that rude! The sad part is that some companies are like, “meh, we’re fine with restricting our candidate pool to the few candidates who are willing/able to accommodate our rudeness.” I recently received an email from a company around 4pm telling me the times that they had available (no request for my own availability, because, pssssh, who cares?) and the offerings were 9am the next day (which was also the Friday before Memorial day) and that Tuesday at 9am or 10am. I wrote back and said I was booked those days, but I had x/y/z times available and looked forward to meeting them. Never heard back. They couldn’t even be bothered to send an email back saying, “Sorry, we can only do those two timeslots, but thanks for applying.” This kind of rudeness is so common, but still so galling.

  31. Evergreen*

    OP, is there an outside chance that the company has asked to nail down a day right now but will come back with a more specific time once they lock in availability of other interviewers or whoever else may need to be on the same call? I’m just thinking from a scheduling perspective it may make sense to line up a day first before nailing down a specific time.

    Obviously you’d still want to clarify, but it might go better if you assume it’s a misunderstanding on your end rather than power play on theirs?

  32. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    One mportant thing – if you’re a MANAGER or part of a management team – at a company that pulls horse**** like this – just remember –

    ITS AROMA MAY FOLLOW YOU AROUND One might feel pretty good, and powerful when they use tactics like this – BUT – if your company is throwing up red flags to candidates, they may not be around very long – and YOU might walk into an office looking for a new position – and you might end up on the other side of the desk – from an interviewer who you messed with in the past. Or, someone’s screening applications and sees you worked at Wild Ass Rancorous Company. Buzzer time! Circular file!

  33. Green Goose*

    The inconvenient phone time might be indicative of what type of company they are:

    My husband interviewed at a company that kept giving him weird phone interview ranges at inconvenient times and then standing him up. I think they scheduled a two hour window after working hours on a Friday twice, and both times stood him up. After three no-shows he got an interview and ended up getting the job but it did seem like a sign of how they ended up treating him and other coworkers of his. The company would not set boundaries with clients so he and his coworkers regularly had to work after hours (middle of the night) and during the very limited vacation.

  34. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

    I’m unemployed at the moment so I’ve mostly been able to do phone interviews whenever someone happens to call, schedule interviews at a short notice, complete ridiculous assignments before they even read my CV, and stuff like that. However I’m quite shocked that some recruiters expect huge availability from people who are CURRENTLY WORKING! If I was a recruiter I would see it as a bad sign if a working candidate thinks they are able to, for example, chat on the phone during a work day for more than a few minutes. What kind of work ethics would such a person have who drops everything at work when the phone rings? But if they say they can’t talk during business hours then they’re a dedicated and focused worker.

  35. Irish Em*

    Like… How LONG do they expect that phone call to take? The last phone interview I had took 20-25 minutes, and they scheduled it during a typical lunch-y time (2pm). Do they want you to do an all-day interview on the phone? That is the only way their demand seems even remotely reasonable to me.

    Last week I got a call from a recruiter, and I had *just* bitten into some Rolos (my healthy lunch lol) but I decided it was better to answer and just say “please bear with me for a minute, I just have my mouth full,” and the chap was very thoughtful and asked if he should phone back later. (I have a full interview tomorrow! EEEE!)

    When I interviewed last year for a travel agents’ that sadly didn’t work out, they scheduled Tuesday at 3pm then phoned back an hour later to ask to reschedule to Wednesday at 11am – because I was (and am) unemployed I didn’t mind, and it actually suited me better, but they made it so clear that they were willing to accommodate me if I wasn’t available at the new time. I just can’t understand a company that would treat potential employees so thoughtlessly. And, me being the cynic that I am, I have to wonder if it’s malice or obliviousness.

  36. Audiophile*

    I’ve had a few instances where interviewers stood me up. In one case, I had applied but knew someone at the company. An informational interview was scheduled, I called the interviewer and they asked me to call back. The went on a few times over the next few weeks until I finally gave up for fear of being a pest.

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