my office interviews people who randomly show up without appointments

A reader writes:

I’ve been with the same company, a small business of about 25 employees, for about eight years now. During this time, we’ve had a recurring discussion regarding taking meetings with job seekers when we don’t have an open position. Someone will reach out, either by stopping by our office without an appointment or just sending an inquiry by email, and ask if they can meet with someone. In the past, the president of our company has taken these meetings as sort of informal interviews. From what I recall, I don’t believe we’ve ever made a hire from these meetings when there’s no existing connection to our company or staff.

Over the last few years, I’ve discouraged these meetings for the most part. They just take up time for our team when we don’t have a position, and I also feel they can be misleading if we’re not clear enough that we don’t have a position. I’m more inclined to take these meetings if (1) the person has a connection to a current employee who can give a positive recommendation, and (2) we do have an idea of a need on our team that the candidate could be a good fit for. Otherwise, I’d prefer to say thanks for their interest in our company, and we’ll be sure to reach out should we have an open position that might be a good fit.

I’ve had an inquiry recently from a woman who sent her resume and asked to meet even if we don’t have an opening to learn more about our company and how she can contribute. She’s sent a couple of emails and dropped by without an appointment. I told her we don’t have an opening and that I’d reach out if we do in the future. She followed up with a second email, again asking to meet. She does not have a connection to any of our existing staff, and it seems a bit presumptuous to ask a stranger to take time out of their workday essentially as a favor for some career advice.

I’m sure there’s no hard-and-fast rule, but I’m really curious what your thoughts are on this topic.

So you’re the office responsible for the folklore that showing up without an appointment and asking for an interview is an acceptable thing to do.

Because normally, no, this isn’t how it works! Typically if someone wants you to consider them for a job, they apply, you decide if you’re interested in talking with them or not, and if you are you set up a specific time and date to do it.

Giving interview time to whoever walks into your office will waste a lot of people’s time. Surely your president has more pressing priorities than meeting with random people who show up without any kind of pre-screening! I’m not surprised to hear these meetings have never resulted in a hire … and I’d be worried if you were hiring people this way, since if your candidate pool is “people who randomly showed up unsolicited,” that’s not exactly a rigorous search.

So yes, you’re right to push back against this. And there actually are hard-and-fast rules here, or at least very clear best practices:

* Before you spend time meeting with people about jobs, you should review their materials and make sure it’s a good use of your time and theirs. From there, you should select which candidates it makes sense to meet with, not picking by who happens to show up or who presses you the hardest.

* You should be clear on how you’re assessing candidates, which is tough to do if you don’t have a job description and haven’t put real thought into determining the must-have skills, experiences, and traits for the role. Without that, you’re opening the door very widely for bias in your process — where you end up hiring people because you like them on a personal level rather than because you’ve rigorously assessed them against your needs, compared them to other strong candidates, and determined they’re the person most likely to excel in the job. (And when you hire based on who you like, you tend to end up with a very homogenous staff.)

* Even if you do want to cast a wide net and meet with a wide range of people (for networking purposes, or to build good will in the community, or so forth), you should still schedule interviews in advance, not drop whatever you’re doing to interview people on the spot whenever someone asks. You have higher-priority demands on your time that shouldn’t be trumped by random visitors. Plus, scheduling in advance will help you use the meeting time more effectively because you can prepare — you can reflect on what will be most useful to cover, review the person’s materials, think through what questions you have, etc.

* It’s both okay and normal to take a firm stance with pushy candidates. For example, with the woman you’re dealing with who’s still pushing for a meeting after you’ve already said no, most offices would just say something like, “We’re not able to offer you a meeting. Best of luck in your search.” (Actually, a ton of offices would just ignore her, but polite ones would give a clear no. Once you do that, though, you don’t need to continue to debate it.)

{ 156 comments… read them below }

  1. Fortitude Jones*

    For example, with the woman you’re dealing with who’s still pushing for a meeting after you’ve already said no, most offices would just say something like, “We’re not able to offer you a meeting. Best of luck in your search.” (Actually, a ton of offices would just ignore her, but polite ones would give a clear no. Once you do that, though, you don’t need to continue to debate it.)

    I would have already had her email either blocked or sent directly to my Trash folder by now – unless she’s looking for a job in sales, this pushy, take nos as maybes approach does not work on most people. That’s very annoying.

  2. Veryanon*

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Over the years, I’ve always noticed that the people who pushed HR (for example) to conduct “informational interviews” were higher-up execs who would never have time to do that themselves. I feel it’s a waste of everyone’s time if there isn’t a clear hiring need.

  3. Brooke*

    I’m curious what this company does that so many people want to work there! In previous searches, I had reached out to some small businesses I truly admired and expressed that my passion for their product would be an advantage (I’m in marketing), but I never pushed if they didn’t reply. I can’t imagine that would ever result in anything but mild annoyance.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      My guess: either 1) it’s a saturated field and there are just a lot of people who want a job in that field and are willing to gumptioneer to make it happen, 2) they are a *much* better place to work than most other companies in that field, so they attract hopefuls; or 3) word has gotten out that this company will feed gumptioneers, so, like squirrels, they are flocking to the source of food or interviews.

      1. Lil*

        yes point #2 crossed my mind as well. Remember the LW who worked at such a coveted company that people were showing up to her husbands store for a chance to meet with her/get an in?

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Like squirrels… So the standard application process is actually the spinning bird feeder to keep the squirrels away, right/right?

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I’m thinking small business in a small town = very few competitors for the business and a lot of people looking for various types of jobs.

      For example, something like a printing company. It’s sort of niche, but not so super rare that nobody knows what they do or only a very select few people could possibly do the job. If they’re the only printing company within 30 miles and they have several types of employees — front office reception/customer service, bookkeeper, graphic designer/prepress, press operator, bindery worker, forklift/delivery driver, etc. — then people might think they just need to stop by at the right time (like when the business is in it’s busy season) to get a foot in the door.

      1. Two-Time College Dropout*

        This is what I was thinking. I used to work in a company like this that always had plenty of slightly-specialized job openings in multiple departments, plus sky-high turnover.

        People routinely dropped off application packets in person, and it was pretty typical for someone to drop off a packet on Monday, get a called back to schedule an interview on Tuesday, go to the interview on Wednesday, get an offer Thursday, accept the job on Friday, and start working the following Monday.

        1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          I did actually get a job this way once. Another lady got in the same way–straight out of a printing program at a technical college, making the rounds and asking if she could leave a resume, and they hired her on the spot. You’re on the money about the high turnover (the owner screamed at everyone, including customers) and I moved on before long, but it kept the wolf from the door.

    3. smoke tree*

      As I was reading this, I was thinking this sounds like it could be a small publishing company. Both because it’s an in-demand field (and lots of people are interested in doing the work without really knowing what it is) and because I can imagine a small publisher being willing to interview anyone who dropped by. It’s a pretty casual work environment.

      1. londonedit*

        Not in my experience – publishers (even small ones) are usually pretty locked down. We really, really don’t want people turning up every five minutes to ‘talk about their book idea’ – people do occasionally try, but most of the time editors won’t take unsolicited phone calls, let alone meet people, and most publishers won’t accept submissions that don’t follow their guidelines (usually a sample chapter or two and a cover letter, submitted in hard copy/email). So I can’t imagine a publishing company that would allow random people to drop in and ask for an interview.

        1. TardyTardis*

          If you can find a publisher that doesn’t require an agent–I think there are about three of them left.

  4. Arctic*

    I would obviously never do this regardless but I can’t possibly imagine being told there are no openings and even wanting to come in to meet.
    I had a job interview a week ago and it went well no unusual hardships or grueling questions. I’m not desperate for a new job so I was able to take it with a “whatever happens happens” attitude. And I STILL left thinking “I never want to do another job interview again.” It’s such a draining experience in the best of times. And these people are forcing ones when there is no job to fill!
    I do get that they think they can gumption their way in despite no current openings. But that is just an absurdity. “Oh, man you are so great I’m just gonna fire Bob this second and get you in!”

    1. Amethystmoon*

      I think people must still be getting bad advice from parents, other relatives, etc. Gumption doesn’t necessarily get people hired, especially these days.

      1. whingedrinking*

        Both my parents have been pushing me to do this and I’ve been nodding and smiling and saying, “Yep, absolutely, Mom and Dad, I’ll do that when I have time.” (This isn’t, technically, a lie; I just happen to not currently have time to waste when I could be spending it filling out proper job applications.)
        One that my mom pulled on me was, “Well, your cousin just walked into a place and said he was available and they hired him on the spot!” This is entirely possible. However, my cousin is in his early twenties and works in landscaping. I am a teacher. Everyone who’s likely to have the ability to hire me for a position is probably either teaching or otherwise working with students or staff at times when I’m able to walk in the door and ask to talk to them.

      2. Artemesia*

        it is intermittent reinforcement — it works just often enough to keep the myth going. I know someone who is a partner in a small law firm that hired someone like this a couple of years ago — a walk in gumptioneer.

        1. AmethystMoon*

          I have to wonder too, how many people who get jobs by gumption are pretty people. Are they all Caucasian, thin, and youngish-looking?

      3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        It was common advice back in the day, but it’s not too useful now. When I ran an academic office and had a student job to fill, I soon learned to include “NO on-the-spot interviews,” along with the standard “Please email your resume. You will be contacted if we want to interview you.” Students came to the office anyway, especially certain international students. I concluded this was either “gumption” by their cultural lights or else their compatriots were giving them terrible advice. I tried to be understanding, but I had to put a tray on the reception counter and tell the walk-in applicants clearly, “You may leave your resume in the tray. We don’t do on-the-spot interviews,” etc., just like in the ad. Some tried to engage me in an interview anyway. (It didn’t work.) Some called the office or came back multiple times. Their resumes went into the shredder. There’s a big difference between gumption and peskiness.

  5. Heidi*

    Okay, so is this woman thinking that if they just meet with her, they will be so impressed that they will create a job for her that doesn’t exist? I wonder if this has ever happened.

    1. Amber Rose*

      According to Liz Ryan, it happens all the time. Sounds like this person may be a follower of hers. :/

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’ve had someone who had a job made for them but it was very obscure and weird situation, it wasn’t because they dropped in though, they knew someone ffs!

      New openings do happen but seriously, it’s not from the gumption, impressing strangers side of things 99.99999999% of the time.

      I’ll put it this way, nobody who has tried this kind of thing is actually ever qualified to work anywhere I’ve been apart of for the level of job they’re trying to get created for them. People who are qualified or just hungry for work, goes about it the regular way and are hired pretty readily unless they’re super niche.

      1. JohannaCabal*

        At my previous job, my manager was all about gumption. In fact, she made me interview (and hire!) a woman who showed up in person to drop off an unsolicited resume (smelling of perfume). Interestingly, after hiring, she turned up not to be a good fit for the position reporting to me. Eventually, she ended up in the Sales division.

        I saw other gumption-y moves and honestly the few that were hired like the woman above did not work out.

        1. Life is Good*

          This happened to me, too! At old dysfunctional company, the owner was very susceptible to flattery. Once a lady came in, out of the blue, and asked to meet him. She shook his hand and said she had recently moved into the area and had heard he was the person people most wanted to work for. He hired her on the spot (paid her more than my shortest tenured employee who had been there five years) and had me “give her some work to do”. She lasted about four months…we had to fire her because she was spending her days watching soap operas on her computer.

          1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

            So, “gumption” = “who strokes the CEO’s ego the best?”
            That explains so much….

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah, it really boils down to you have to have some kind of reference. In my case, my first job was given to me because my friend’s sister needed an accounting clerk. I had graduated from high school and was trying to get a receptionist gig or assistant position to avoid the dreaded service industry if at all possible.

          So I had the backing of a college student who said “Sis, this girl would work well for you!” and her sister said “Well if she’s willing to work in our tent of an office, let it be.” Boom.

          If I walked in off the street, the idea of hiring me just on a whim freaks me out internally. I don’t know you and I’m probably going to do what I do when the JW’s knock on my door. Not answer it, I don’t want none! I’m happy to hear this “it was a disastrous choice” instead of the few folks around here with the “it worked out for me!” stories. Of course it worked out for the person who’s now spending time on a blog that gives out work advice, you know…we’re mostly a group of “happy ending” stories if we’re not actively job hunting and looking for advice.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I had an internship made for me because they liked my resume but thought (correctly) that I wouldn’t be a good fit for the one I applied for. But it was an unpaid internship so it’s not like it cost them anything to create it…

    3. Heidi*

      Holy crap. I just remembered that something like this did happen to me! In high school, I entered an essay contest and one of the judges worked for the local paper. He invited me to be a summer intern. This was a small town. Like Stranger Things small. One of my jobs was going to the police station (on the next block from the newspaper office) to look at the overnight reports and write the blurbs about who got arrested for loitering.

      1. Artemesia*

        Someone who knows you asking you to apply is different from you cold calling places and asking for a job. This actually does work with internships and entry level positions and I know people mid career asked this way — that is after all what head hunters do. That is not gumptioneering.

        1. Heidi*

          This is true. I just mentioned it because he did kind of create a job for me. There were like 3 other people in this office and they’d never had an intern. He just told me to show up and then announced to the staff, “We have an intern now. Find something for her to do.” Small towns are fun this way. This would probably not work in the adult working world.

    4. SusanIvanova*

      It *is* possible to have the sort of reputation where hiring managers will say “we’ll call you as soon as something opens up”. But it takes years of work in the field to get there.

    5. Chrysanthemum's The Word*

      My spouse, R, had a job created for him where there was none! R worked in the lowest circle of hell and a former coworker recognized that the toxic environment was slowly going to kill him. So, he arranged for my husband to meet with the owner of a business he knew just so they could get to know each other. R impressed this guy so much with his industry knowledge that they created a position for him and offered him a job.

      It worked out to be a great decision in the long run but for a few years R didn’t have a job title or a job description which made things pretty confusing. They just gave him anything and everything they thought he had knowledge on or was good at. I’d never heard of such a thing before but it can happen!

      1. Venus*

        That’s not random though – the former coworker set things up and I really hope they gave R a recommendation to help improve R’s chances. While it is a wonderful gesture, and the position was created for R, it was a deliberate hiring of someone who had a reference and very useful experience. R was the opposite of a ‘gumption’ asshole, and it’s great news they were able to escape the toxic hellhole :)

    6. Mephyle*

      Cases like the ones mentioned by The Man, Becky Lynch, Heidi, and the one of Chrysanthemum’s The Word’s husband are successful examples of networking, rather than gumption.

  6. Senior Accountant*

    This is actually how I got my first accounting job out of school (in 2010). I met the right person, at the right time, and they hired me. So, it does happen.

    1. sacados*

      Isn’t that more networking though? You met the person (presumably at some other location/event), not just showed up at their office one day.

      1. Senior Accountant*

        No, I showed up at lunch hour. One of the partner’s met with me, came back the next day for an interview.

        Complete cold call.

    2. Me*

      Yes but did you repeatedly contact them and their employer and show up until they talked to you?

      I’m guessing it probably was a bit different set of circumstances.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      What was the salary like for that job?

      I’m curious if they didn’t jump at really cheap labor given the fact 2010 was pretty awful for employment, so if you’re a fresh student looking to work for peanuts that could have been part of it as well. Whereas if they listed a job at that time, they’d get bombed with resumes.

      But also it does matter about clicking with people. Most people don’t click with strangers but then there are always “Love at first sight” stories.

      1. Senior Accountant*

        I re-careered, and went from hi-tech to starting staff accountant salary, but still 3k more than others in the same position.

        Would it work now, for the senior level position I’m in? No, probably not but then I have headhunters coming after me.

        And then, I needed a job, so showing up and saying hi felt much more effective than firing resumes into the void.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Fair enough! I also believe that it’s always worth a shot if you’re in a desperate situation but it’s one of those things that can really backfire.

          However, it reminds me of telemarketing cold calls.

          They do it because it works less than 1% of the time and that .5% pays enough to make it something that pays off enough to at least try it. But yeah, you’re taking the risk of people reacting awfully towards you which most people aren’t equip to handle and should be aware of.

    4. Kathleen_A*

      You need to look at the numbers here. Are there people who would welcome this approach? Sure – your story proves that, Senior Accountant. Do most people welcome this? No, they do not. Will most people find this intrusive and pushy – and will a significant number find it so intrusive and pushy that they will automatically think less of the applicant? Yep.

      The odds are that in nearly all cases, it will not help you get a job or it will even hurt your chances of getting a job. So why do it?

      1. voyager1*

        When you are desperate you are desperate. I too landed a job like this in 2004. It was right after I lost a job due to a merger. When you have a set amount of time before bills don’t get paid and you lose your apartment, you will do anything.

        1. Kathleen_A*

          But…what if doing this actually extended your job search? I understand being desperate, but I guess I don’t understand why desperation would make a bad tactic look good. But hey, if it worked out for you that time, voyager1, yay! :-)

          1. voyager1*

            It was 2004. I could go apply for jobs online (at the library), then drive to places afterwards. I had a cell phone so if anyone called I would get a call. For me it was desperation. I would say also that applying for jobs in 2004 was different then today. I was still faxing resumes then (at same library).

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              I was mailing or faxing resumes in 2003 because we didn’t have a library and probably only about 30% of businesses even used email, just about nobody listed jobs online at that stage in podunk USA. It was about 2007 when I got everyone trained to email me and you get things quicker and in writing and you don’t waste paper/ink.

        2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          Back in the 90s I had a coworker whose husband got the car in the divorce, so she needed a job she could walk to. She hit the bricks and went to every business on the commercial street near her home to ask if she could fill out an application. She wasn’t pushy, just diligent, and it worked out for her. but that was back in the days of paper applications. Don’t know if it would fly now, but I admired her determination.

    5. kshoosh*

      I actually got hired once this way, too, kindof, back in 2008. I have a fairly unique specialized background and job applications weren’t yielding fruit, so I made a list of some mid-sized local businesses that were directly or peripherally in my field and took a day off to drive around to them and walk in with my resume. One of the places I went had, unbelievably, had someone give their notice the day before, and after a conversation with the owner I was invited back to a formal interview, and got the job.

      I still wouldn’t advise anyone else to do it- I didn’t do it because I’d been advised to but out of desperation, not being able to get past any of the automated resume screens and knowing that if someone only met me, they’d give me at least a chance to interview. And the workplace itself wasn’t terribly healthy, confirming Alison’s judgment that workplaces who hire this way are likely not to be.

    1. banzo_bean*

      That’s what I thought initially, but what is the word?
      “If you show up this company will interview you but probably not hire you.” I really can’t seem to make sense of this situation.

      1. Kristen*

        Hi there! It’s more that we’re a desirable place to work in a small town, which draws job-seekers. That’s how I took “ShwaMan’s” comment. Some simply send their resume for us to consider for future openings, and don’t push for a meeting, where others proactively ask for a meeting regardless of whether we’re hiring. The latter is what I’m not comfortable entertaining.

  7. CB212*

    My roommate says he used to do this in the 90s – but literally by showing up with no appointment and asking to speak to HR! He blames 9/11 for ending this kind of opportunity (because now you have to get past security in the lobby) — and I just think, well.

    I mean, sure, yes, but also, hiring practices have changed in a lot of ways since then, you can submit a resume or application online, and job ads reach a broader audience with the internet, you probably don’t ever have to hire walk-ins… And also, HR staff just shouldn’t have to put up with giving up 45 minutes of their day to every brash young man who walks through the door like the male ingenue in a Rosalind Russell movie. Not in 2019!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I mean back in the 50’s, you had to go in and ask if they were hiring too because it was expensive to put an ad in the newspaper and time consuming, etc. Your roomie is one of those people who doesn’t seem to grasp changes happen when there’s new technology and communications involved!

      It’s tied mostly to economics as well, more so than “security” upgrades. When we’re exiting a recession, unemployment is lower and therefore it’s harder to fill spots that come open. So it’s more enticing to grab up someone who is looking for work and seemingly a decent fit.

      The 90’s included the OKC bombing and Unibomber ffs, security started tightening before the attacks on 9/11.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        In the 50’s, companies were willing to train because the person would usually stay until retirement, so hiring walk-ins made sense. Today, job tenures are so short that they don’t want to talk to anyone who can’t do the job on the first day.

        I think designing reception areas that keep walk-in visitors physically separate from the work area has less to do with terrorism and more to do with angry customers and employees’ psycho ex-boyfriends.

        If it’s a job that doesn’t require specialized experience, like a plant floor laborer, allowing walk-in applicants has the advantage of bringing folks from the neighborhood who are less likely to run into transportation issues.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I mean for entry level jobs, like in a factory setting or production work, you’re usually able to walk in still to this day. That’s the story of my life, being in manufacturing/construction. They also include on the job training in most places unless it’s some kind of machine operator kind of position, then you typically want someone with that kind of background given the safety issues involved.

          That’s true though, it’s a lot to do with increased workplace violence. When did the term ‘going postal’ come into play again? I’m seriously not sure but I know it’s related to a postal employee shooting their colleagues.

          In the 50’s we were less mobile as well, that’s why we stayed at the same jobs forever. If it’s a small town, it’s still somewhat the same. I’ve been in some very Pleasantville style towns even in recent years! So in that setting, it’s still a different game.

          1. pentamom*

            I think it was in the 80s and 90s, there was a rash (meaning like maybe three in less than 10 years?) of postal employees going on shooting rampages at their workplaces. It wasn’t just a single incident, it got the name because it was actually recurring a phenomenon for a while.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              And the Connecticut Lottery shooting and…
              Honestly it’s one reason I don’t complain I don’t have a window.

          2. Junior Assistant Peon*

            My understanding of “going postal” was that it started with a rash of incidents of postal workers shooting colleagues in the 1990s. Since it’s a federal job that doesn’t require a degree or specialized experience, they get a lot of military veterans, who are unfortunately prone to PTSD (especially when Vietnam was recent history).

  8. Jennifer*

    The only time I showed up without an appointment was when I saw an ad for an open house for a retail job back in the day. Even now if you just show up to a grocery store to apply they direct you to a computer in the corner.

    1. 1234*

      But an Open House is an invitation to show up because there is clearly a job to full. These people seem to be showing up without being invited/without an appointment and “interview” for a job that doesn’t exist.

  9. Rose's angel*

    I worked for an architect as a receptionist and holy hannah soooo many students did this. I had one person who refused to leave the office. I got him to leave by telling I would put his resume on his desk. I didnt I put it on the bottom of the pile with a note about what happened. He was hired months later. Turned out to be a nice guy.

  10. Veryanon*

    In reading through these comments, I was reminded of the time, several years ago, where a guy sent me an unsolicited resume ON THE BACK OF A PHILLIES JERSEY HE HAD PERSONALIZED WITH MY NAME. I had never met this guy before. I don’t even know how he got my name, unless he called the company and asked to speak with “HR” and they connected him with me. I couldn’t keep the jersey, as our company had strict rules regarding accepting gifts so I sent the jersey back to him. He was out whatever he had spent on the jersey PLUS his name was immediately added, at the top, to my creeper-do not hire under any circumstances-list. So he had nothing to show for any of it.

    1. sacados*

      Hahahaha omg what? That is priceless. Had he somehow also e-stalked to figure out that you were specifically a fan of that team or sth– or was that also just a shot in the dark, like “Well we’re in Philadelphia so clearly….”

      1. Veryanon*

        It was in 2009 and the Phillies had just won the World Series the previous autumn, so I guess he figured it was a safe bet. For the record, at the time I worked for a very well-known Philadelphia based company and I actually do like the Phillies, so he wasn’t entirely off-base (pun intended). But what a creeper!

    2. Combinatorialist*

      Now I’m imagining he did this at a bunch of places (seems likely), and a bunch of them had rules against gifts (also likely), and so mailed them back (maybe less likely — we can donate gifts), and so now he has a closet full of Phillies jerseys with names of random people in “HR”

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      But are you a Phillies fan even?

      I’ll hire the first person who sends me a personalized jersey. If they can figure out my team. Hint, it’s not the local one. Figure it out, Vivian!

      Also I need to know if this is a real authentic jersey or if he got it from one of those print press boardwalk places. I am thrilled by this story because it’s so out there and presumptuous. What if you were a Yankees fan, I just cannot.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I saw that after I posted! So that’s fair and given it was after the world series win, double good bet.

          What if someone had Gritty deliver their resume to you? Now that would be a fabulous way to get yourself a job…[This is assuming you’re still in Phila tho of course hah]

          1. Veryanon*

            LOL that would be both creepy and fabulous. I’m still in the area but no longer working at that company.

    4. Arctic*

      You know you’re on the right track when your hiring gimmick could be mistaken for the first scene of a horror movie.

      Next step is his writing his resume in the steam on the bathroom mirror while you are in the shower.

    5. Massmatt*

      This may well take its place in the “bizarre things people have done to try to get hired” Lore that has become legend here at AAM.

      Bonus points if you were not even IN Philadelphia!

  11. Catsaber*

    If your company is insistent that you still be available to meet with people without a prior connection/invitation, maybe you could set up an “open house”? Pick a 2-hour slot each week/every other week/whatever, and direct people to show up for that, if they are insistent on showing up randomly. Let the word get out about it, so people will show up for something scheduled instead of just whenever. You could assign various people to work the open house if you wanted.

    This is only *if* your company/CEO/whoever still wants to do this practice of taking randos in for meetings. If that’s the case, at least you could put some structure around it so that you don’t have to scramble for unexpected meetings.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      I was going to say exactly this. You’re open for random visitors on Tuesday afternoons from 1-3 (or whatever), and anyone who shows up outside that time will need to make an appointment.

      You could also limit access to only one person (ideally the president, since he seems to enjoy this kind of thing!), or only to those with existing connections. Or you could develop a standard set of questions that you ask everyone in this situation. Or develop a procedure that requires documenting all of these interactions, including how much time you spent and what you talked about, and the eventual outcome. (Of course this would be entirely in the name of “standardization” and “fairness,” and would certainly have nothing at all to do with any attempt to discourage this very valuable process! *ahem*)

      Basically, if you can’t get any traction on eliminating this process altogether, you might be able to red-tape it to death. Make it less convenient for people to just show up, and less easy for your colleagues to take the interviews, and maybe that will slow things down a bit. Good luck!

    2. juliebulie*

      Attending an “open house” event won’t allow the more gumptiony applicants to “stand out” enough. They won’t be able to expect to receive as much one-on-one attention as they would if they showed up at some random time.

      1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        It may work out though to weed out those narcissistic gumptioneers, a blessing in disguise maybe. Or keep the attendees there for a looonnnnggg period of time during the open house that they get fed up without their one-on-one attention that they leave and never return.

    3. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      This is a great idea!! I’m going to suggest same to my own boss, as there is a very similar situation where I currently work. (And it’s extremely disruptive.)

    4. Mama Bear*

      This sounds more logical. Our school district does this and this is also how our career fair recruiting kind of goes. You show up knowing you might talk to someone important, give them your resume, and if you’re qualified, you might get an informal interview that day. Still more networking than walking in off the street, but also a limited time and the company can prepare for it.

    5. Kristen*

      Thanks for the suggestion! We are definitely going to be conducting an open house for another company that we will be launching next year.

      Thankfully, no one is forcing me to have these meetings, or participate in them. In addition, I have a decent amount of decision-making authority on our recruiting policies and procedures, and I’m the primary “gate-keeper” for inquiries. I just know that several members of leadership over the years have entertained meetings as a sort of “good will” in addition to being open to finding a good candidate, and I really wanted some outside opinion on this practice.

      Interestingly, before I wrote in I Googled the heck out of this topic. I didn’t find much from the recruiter/manager perspective, which is why I did write my question, BUT most of what I found for job-seekers actually encouraged people to do this.

  12. Barefoot Librarian*

    We actually just had this kind of presumptuous applicant at my institution lol. We do have an opening….and very clear application process. He evidently applied then called our HR department demanding to be interviewed. The HR specialist bit back a nasty retort and answered politely that the HR department doesn’t handle interviews and the search committee would select the candidates they wanted to talk to and contact them directly. He was super pushy and nasty and she basically had to hang up on him to get rid of him. Unsurprising, he tried calling her boss — the head of HR — next. She’s on vacation overseas and the phone routed back to the same HR specialist. He didn’t realize it was the same person and gave her the same entitled, rude spiel.

    Needless to say, she called the head of the search committee right away and gave her a heads up about this guy lol. He seriously shot himself in the foot on that one.

    1. Kristen*

      You’ve actually brought up another component to this topic – making the decision, but then being undermined when the job-seeker goes around you! That’s definitely something I really want to prevent at my organization. I don’t have anyone here who would intentionally undermine my decision not to take a meeting, but it could very well happen innocently if we’re not talking internally.

      I feel strongly that the way job-seekers treat our current staff is an important part of our overall assessment, and I would not entertain a job-seeker who was either rude or otherwise unprofessional.

    2. MsChanandlerBong*

      I had a candidate try to get me (I do our recruiting) in trouble today! We do a short phone call and then a skills assessment. He did fine on the call, but he did not pass the assessment, so he was rejected. He sent a snotty email in which he said his failure is the system’s fault because he was looking over his answers and it “submitted it before he was ready.” And then he was like, “My experience does NOT match what [Chanandler Bong] told me.” You could almost see him huffing and pouting through the email.

  13. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    So this happens in production sometimes because people do a drop-in to see if we’re hiring and that’s a whole different ball of a wax. I used to work where we were always hiring, no joke. We also didn’t set up interviews for those positions, it was just a ‘We’re hiring, come in and fill out the application.”

    But the fact this is an office is making me cringe so hard it’s unfunny. Even with my knowledge of “stop in and get hired” practices, that’s a thing you do for you know, construction not for a marketing job or something up in the office setting, where there’s usually a set number of bodies needed and kept staffed! These people are so sadly out of touch it makes me just sad over all. Then a president who wastes everyone’s times, yours and the person they’re not going to hire. They’re hurting these people in the end, not helping them. That’s what I’d approach it as. “We’re setting up false hopes to these people and it’s better to just turn them away and tell them to keep an eye out for postings in the future.”

    1. Barefoot Librarian*

      “They’re hurting these people in the end, not helping them.”

      Agreed completely! Honesty is far kinder, even if it’s not what they want to hear.

      1. Jellybean*


        You don’t “help” anyone by giving them unrealistic expectations (at best). If you actually care, you give them useful, practical advice – even if it’s what they don’t want to hear.

        I can’t help but wonder if these “interviews” are an attempt to avoid conflict in general?

  14. a clockwork lemon*

    I grew up in the kind of small town where this sort of thing was actually pretty common, especially if the business owner was someone well-known in the community and had a reputation for being willing to make time for people. Even now when I go home, it’s common to see people getting jobs through this sort of informal meeting, even if it’s just “We’re not hiring but looking at your resume I know off the top of my head that John over at LllamaCo needs someone to fill this spot, let me send you over to him” or something similar.

    It’s unclear to me if this is a similar situation, who exactly is expected to take the meetings, and how often it occurs.
    Is it possible that this sort of thing serves as informal networking and community engagement for your company’s president? If it’s the whole team, you could probably push back as a group assuming everyone else is on board. If it’s just your president, it sounds like this is something he prioritizes and isn’t likely to change for whatever reason.

    Personally, I wouldn’t make it my hill to die on if it’s a relatively infrequent occurrence, especially if you’re in a small community–I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one telling my boss who he can and can’t take meetings with.

    1. Kristen*

      Hi there! Yes, it sounds like we’re in a similar situation in terms of our community. It doesn’t happen too terribly often, and when it does I don’t think we’re dropping everything to meet with someone who just popped in (I’m certainly not). It’s more likely someone would agree to schedule a meeting.

      In the past, I believe our President was taking the meetings himself, and it often went unnoticed. I’ve always discouraged the practice for the reasons I mentioned, but in the last year or so I’ve had more autonomy over who we bring in for interviews; I’m the first line of defense, and I also have some say with the hiring manager. In the instance that I mentioned, my boss simply made the recommendation that I do meet with her, while my peers seemed to agree more with my position.

      What I don’t want is to continue talking about our policy when it does come up! I feel pretty solid that we don’t entertain these “career advice” meetings, and respond as such when I get an inquiry or a pop-in.

      1. a clockwork lemon*

        Gotcha! In that case, maybe just punt to him and let him decide from there? It does seem like the discussions are probably a big waste of time, but if you can make it only his problem then, well…it’s his problem!

    2. Close Bracket*

      I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one telling my boss who he can and can’t take meetings with.

      Yeah, right? With the emphasis on who has standing to do what on this site, I’m surprised that there was no mention in the answer of the fact that the Founder and President likes this approach.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s not telling him what he can and can’t do. But many people will have the standing to say, “I don’t think this is the right approach because X.” And if you’re senior enough/trusted enough, you may have standing to push back a little harder than that too.

        1. Kristen*

          Yes, and this is the case at my company. I’m able to tell him we have a policy of not taking these meetings, without also telling him he can’t do so himself (regardless of how many “X” examples I have!).

  15. Kristen*

    Alison, thanks so much for answering my question! I was second guessing my gut since our Founder/President disagrees with me, so it was helpful to get an outside opinion.

    For some background information on our company to address a few of the comments – we’re a marketing firm headquartered in a small town, with a second office in a larger city. On the small town front, it’s probably safe to say that we have a positive reputation as a vendor (high-quality!) and employer (cool place to work!). It’s a good place to be as a recruiter when we do need to hire, but we’re still a small business so we don’t have openings terribly often.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Don’t ever question yourself for questioning an executive’s decisions. Sure you can’t really press back that much in a lot of cases but believe me, they make a lot of stupid decisions, no matter how good or successful they are at business. Seriously. Nobody in business is perfect, nobody knows everything and it’s okay to question them curiously and cautiously!

    2. Close Bracket*

      If the Founder/President disagrees, regardless of working world norms, do you have the standing to shut it down? You didn’t say what your position was. Does he know you have declined to interview people?

      Personally, I am blown away that this approach is welcome. I can just imagine wandering into an engineering company, assuming it was a small enough place to even wander into, resume in hand, and requesting an interview and actually being interviewed. I’d be asked to leave. But, if the Founder/President likes this, well, he is the Founder/President.

      1. JohannaCabal*

        I mentioned in an earlier comment that I worked for a director who insisted on giving a chance to some candidates who “showed initiative” (i.e., gumption). So they do exist. I wonder if this small handful of founders/presidents/directors inadvertently encourage this behavior (“My cousin Joe just showed up and requested an interview at Acme. The president interviewed him and offered him the job on the spot. Maybe I better try this too.”)

      2. Kristen*

        Yes, I’m a Director with a role split between operations and HR. I handle all of our recruiting (policies, procedures, and some execution). I mentioned this has come up frequently over the years, and my position on the subject has never changed. When I brought it up this time, it was more to gut-check myself; “this is happening, am I crazy?”. Although he said he’d take the meeting, he did defer to me on however I’d handle it.

        To clarify, I don’t think anyone was dropping everything to take a walk-in interview. They were likely taking contact information, and scheduling an informal interview. Also, these are not all walk-ins; some just email (sometimes repeatedly). In addition, not every walk-in pushes for a meeting! Some simply drop off their resume, I review it when it’s given to me, and choose whether or not to contact them (usually not).

  16. Arya Snark*

    Back in the dark ages, I stopped by an office to drop off a resume and the manager took it, then talked to me for a bit (I may have asked, I was in my 20s at the time and probably had gumption). She said they didn’t have any openings but did have someone going on maternity leave soon. I got a call for a formal interview a few months later and got the job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything remotely like that today though!

    1. banzo_bean*

      Yeah, stopping by to drop off a resume and stopping by to ask for an interview are two seperate things IMHO. I agree that dropping a resume off is becoming quickly out of fashion but there is very little expectation on your end that someone will actually have a real amount of time to set aside for you, expecting an interview is a whole other thing.

    2. Arctic*

      I worked in a hotel in the late 90s early aughts and people would definitely come up almost daily and ask about jobs. (We’d hand them an application and put it in HR’s box. Once in a blue moon HR would agree to meet with them right then.) That was pretty normal at the time. But these were entry level jobs.
      And even those would be better handled by applying online nowadays.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This still works in a lot of service industry and retail locations, hospitality is similar in my limited experience! So stopping in and asking for an application is completely normal.

        The big corporate places do tend to have those weird computers that they’ll have you sit at to plug in all your information still. But yeah, dropping into a hotel and asking for an application these days is still pretty normal if it’s a small place. You never know when they’re hiring, since the turnover is so incredibly high in a lot of locations. [I file this under the “always hiring” jobs, they keep accepting applications so they can call up anyone and call them in for an “interview” which is often “Did they show up? Did they seem like they were reliable? Throw ’em in there.”

  17. Massmatt*

    Having people show up requesting interviews is odd and giving job interviews just because someone asks when you have no openings is a waste of time but there is something to be said for informational interviews. Ideally you work your network for an intro (hello, LinkedIn!) vs approach strangers but if you are just coming into the workforce or changing careers you might not have contacts. Still, it seems better to approach strangers that are actually hiring.

    I am sure there are “career counselors” etc that are recommending this, just as there are people still fixated on printing resumes on expensive paper and dropping them off in person as a means to “set yourself apart” from people following instructions by applying online or via email etc.

    Honestly there are advantages for job seekers to the way job searching has changed, it used to involve a lot more printing and mailing costs.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      Honestly, I think sometimes people do this not because they think it will work but because they are living with parents who nag and pester and Just Don’t Get It that job-hunting is different today.

  18. 1234*

    At OldJob, someone contacted us about setting up an interview at our company because they were in town from X Date to Y Date.

    We didn’t have any specific opening for their skill set at the time but we were trying to build our pool of quality candidates for Specific Skill Set. While this person did have Specific Skill Set and a resume to back that up, we felt that she was too junior to be useful should we have openings for Specific Skill Set. I felt like it was a waste of everyone’s time, including hers. I didn’t feel like she was a strong candidate based on her resume already but others insisted on meeting with her because “why not, we always need Specific Skill Set.”

    She was in our city on business travel paid for by another company so I’m sure she had other things she could be doing with her time.

  19. mark132*

    It sort of worked that way for entry level jobs at places like McDonalds a few decades back for me. You show up asking for a paper application, and often the manager would take the application read it, interview you, and often hire you on the spot. But for higher end job, I’ve never had that experience.

  20. GreyjoyGardens*

    Time was when this kind of gumptioneering could actually work, especially for entry-level jobs or ones with more general and transferable skills like clerical work, or if the gumptioneer had in-demand credentials. When a company had to pay (sometimes a pretty hefty sum) to place an ad, and then hope that they could get some good candidates applying, it could be a real boon to have a gumptioneer with the right skills just show up.

    The internet and websites have made job-hunting a whole new arena; a company can put a link up on its website and people will apply from all over. There’s no place for the unannounced gumptioneer anymore.

    Sometimes “unicorn” companies get this still; I’m reminded of the letter that showed up a year or two ago where the LW had a great job at a truly unicorn company (good pay, good benefits, great atmosphere…) and her *husband* got pestered by randoms hoping to get a job at his wife’s company!

  21. voyager1*

    Two things:
    1. Could an employment agency or job bank be recommending people do this at your company since the President does meet with people?

    2. I actually landed a temp job doing this very thing back in 2004, when I lost my job due to a bank merger. So… It does work but probably with small companies. I don’t think is a good strategy at getting a job at some Fortune 500 company.

  22. MOAS*

    oH GOOdness no that’s not how it’s done!!!!! this happened in my office too–they came in to the office, demanded to be interviewed b/c he’d travelled in from a city 45 minutes away by public transit (where we live that’s not a big deal). The front desk/office manager said if we could interview him and I flat out said no. We went to the HR/recruiting and they said that the guy was rejected a while back. I doubled down and said definitely no–call security if he gets angry. Crazy.

  23. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    This is just so odd.
    1. The job seeker sends stuff, drops by, and still asks for an interview, presumably in some sort of “if you just knew how awesome I am, maybe you’d hire me.” Which isn’t how that works. She’s got two very different beasts confused — Job Seeking and Informational Interviewing. They should NOT be conducted as if they’re the same thing. Yes, a job could develop out of an II, but that’s only if the interviewee brought a HECK of a lot to the table and then management went back and started wishing they had that extra stuff. “I’d like to meet,” is not enough of a reason. “I’ve been watching your company for this and such reason and I’d be interested to learn more about teapots and teapot development, do you have a suggestion about where I could go next?” is more like it. And let the person point in some directions, or offer to sit down and chat. And during that chat, never talk about job openings. Because otherwise you’ve just bait-and-switched a potential colleague/boss who thought that you were interested in their knowledge, not just a Way In.

    2. And then what’s with the Big Boss? He says “sure, come on over for a chat”? And then makes his staff do the chat?
    If this happened more than once a year, I’d be all over the boundary setting. “Sure boss, I’ll meet with the random stranger. Which project should I postpone in order to make this meeting happen?”

    1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      Exactly!! An informational interview request should be carefully navigated as Networking. Politely flatter the business, ask about where you can learn more about it, express interest, etc. If well received, you might be able to schedule a brief visit or meeting at the other person’s convenience, respectful of their time. Also be prepared to offer something in return for their time. Like if you have connections that may benefit their business. Depending on how that develops, they may see you as a good potential job candidate over time.
      And #2 – that describes my workplace!

    2. Kristen*

      Yes, she does seem to be mixing the two tactics. I personally see “informal interviews” as an opportunity for two professionals to meet because they both believe there is an opportunity to work together. If you put that in LinkedIn terms, the interviewee is “Open to opportunities, but not looking”.

      Regarding my boss, he is NOT mandating that I or anyone meet with job-seekers. He personally takes these meetings when he’s approached, which happened more in the past since we now have a dedicated recruiter (me). In the example I gave, he advised that I meet with her, but deferred to my decision.

  24. Barbara Eyiuche*

    When I was unemployed two years ago I was more or less forced to take a job search class. At this class, which was provided by the government, you had to agree to go to businesses in the area and ask for jobs. I was dubious about it at the time; after reading Ask a Manager for a year, I definitely would not do it now.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      But do they require you to do drop ins like that in order to be eligible for unemployment?! Some states are awful and may very well require it be done, I had people years ago who had to collect a business card to prove they had stopped by for their unemployment claims. Don’t forego your benefits if that’s the case. But yeah, keep in mind you probably aren’t going to actually land a job that way!

      1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        Yes! It still happens here in all 5 boroughs of NYC. The state unemployment and career center requires you to do this in order to continue to receive UI. Periodically, you’re called in to submit written records as proof of your job search. Also expected to accept anything (within a certain mileage radius) even if it’s not remotely related to your previous work.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Oh thank God that the catch out here is that you aren’t expected to take a job that’s outside of your expertise. If you’re laid off as say an accountant, you’re expected to find something in the accounting field, within the same scope as you were in before. You’re not expected to take a huge pay cut either and take a clerking position if you’re a CPA, you know? Many people would do it during the recession of course but it’s not required to continue to receive benefits.

          I know since the extensions ran out years ago, that people weren’t being held to very high standards as long as they did required classes or checked the WorkSource website daily, etc.

    2. Arctic*

      In some states humiliation is a feature not a bug of the unemployment infrastructure (more true of other benefits though.) It’s disgusting.

      1. Ermintrude*

        In Australia that is very much the case. I’ve been applying to advertised vacancies online because anything else is likely a waste of time and money, and too much damn effort.

  25. Kiwiii*

    I don’t have anything helpful or constructive to add, but it does remind me a bit of that time in college where my sister had interviewed with a store opening down the road from our parent’s house and accepted a job before realizing that she was going to be too busy with her slighter better-per-hour and in line with what she wanted to do, but far-less-hours weekend job to help open a store. I was home for the summer and the owners knew me, so I asked if I could do it instead.

  26. Cat Meowmy Admin*

    This is still somewhat common practice in some restaurants and retail stores, especially in a smaller community with known local businesses.
    Regardless, that level of overbearing gumption anywhere is cringeworthy and I feel embarrassed and saddened for people who think it will actually yield results. (And lordt, that pushy woman omg – there’s your foot honey, keep shooting it.)
    I’m an Admin at a local manufacturing business in a borough of NYC. My boss is known for casually interviewing and frequently hiring local people from the area, many of whom speak little to no English. That’s a good thing… except for the frequent walk-ins looking for work during all hours, including *my* busiest times, when the boss is absent (and that’s often). I only speak English, so there’s a language barrier too. Usually they just write their name and phone number on a sheet of paper for him. It can be difficult when people show up unexpectedly who are drunk, junkies, with 5 kids in tow, and some I won’t even mention.
    Boss and I share the one small office in the facility (our desks face each other ugh). So when he IS there and he spontaneously interviews a walk-in candidate, it’s difficult for me to stay focused on my deadlines work and not get distracted. (Also happens when he’s reprimanding or firing an employee. One time a physical altercation broke out.)
    The unfortunate part is, some of the people don’t work out. So he gets frustrated and takes it out on his good employees. (And yes, I’m looking for another job for this and many other reasons.)
    In the meantime, I’m going to suggest that he/we use a basic employment application (English and Spanish) to hand out to walk-in candidates.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m so desensitized that this sounds like a Tuesday after my experiences in manufacturing. Except the boss wasn’t over the top enough to take it out on good employees, he knew we’d all laugh at him and leave if that ever happened. He needed us more than we ever needed him in most cases. I’m sorry you’re in this situation and hope you get out of it soon! It’s not sustainable to stay in those places for the long haul, which of course blows the minds of the bosses, bless their hearts.

      1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        The “sounds like a Tuesday” had me literally lol’ing – so relatable. Yes I too have become desensitized there to a lot of things. Thankfully I can still see all the red flags blowing in the wind for exactly what they are. My mindset is GTFOH ASAP. So I’m diligently but carefully job searching so I don’t take something out of desperation unless absolutely necessary. Anything is better than the hellmouth.

      2. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        PS – I don’t know if you remember- a few weeks ago I commented (under another name) on the Friday open thread about another part of this toxic wasteland. You had replied with
        “Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew!!” and some very kind and validating words. I saved that one and refer to it whenever I need to remind myself of the abnormal situation and kick my own a$$ into high gear. THANK YOU FOR THAT! XO

  27. MsChanandlerBong*

    My boss and I have different views on this, too. I personally think someone who would show up unannounced to talk to someone about a FREELANCE position (not even a full-time job!) is going way too far and is not someone we want to hire. But my boss thinks it shows dedication and strong interest in the position. I work from home, so it doesn’t affect me at all, but I think it’s weird.

  28. WellRed*

    Different but: my dad worked for the state career services unemployment bureau. I worked at a tiny printing place a block away. He once had someone come in looking for a press operator. He knew we were looking for one (not listed with him) and just sent her over. She was hired! This was early 90s and I wonder what the candidate thought about it.

  29. Emma*

    I suspect that hiring in this way would mean you hire more privileged people and fewer people from disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e. more white people, men, people from high socioeconomic status, etc. and fewer women, people of colour, people with disabilities, etc.). Marginalised people are (in my opinion) less likely to assume they can just walk in to a company and ask for a job. They will probably already be aware that they’re not the typical hire, and will be inclined to follow the stated procedures.

    1. Asenath*

      It depends a bit on context. I remember being taught in school how to apply for work and one of my classmates – well, he might have punched you if you called him “disadvantaged”, so let’s say he was unlikely to go for a white collar job, gave the teacher a hard time because he (the student) knew how you got a job, and it didn’t involve any of this foolishness with letters and application forms. All you need to do is go to Mr. X and tell him you wanted a job. The teacher pointed out that Mr. X (who hired labourers for the only large employer in a very small town) already knew all the possible applicants personally, but it was possible that Student Y might want a job in a larger city where the person doing the hiring didn’t already know him. I don’t know if Student Y was convinced, but the employer long ago went out of business; the town is pretty moribund, and just about everyone I went to school with ended up looking for jobs in places where they weren’t known personally to the employer.

  30. Barbara Eyiuche*

    Well, this was one problem I had with the requirement that we had to walk in to a company and ask for a job. About half of the people in my ‘job search’ class were people that would arouse suspicion in the average store in my area, and would be followed around. There is no way they were going to be hired. About the best they could hope for was that they would not be thrown out. I felt expecting them to just go in and ask for a job was really unfair. Even for me, it wouldn’t work. Someone hiring might be impressed by my resume; there is no way they would be impressed by me. I want them to see my resume first.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Those job classes will never ever take into consideration about racial profiling issues or the fact that people are still highly discriminatory like that. It’s because they’re playing up “Well the law says they can’t do that, so they would neverrrrrrrrrrr do that! They’re a place of business!”

      This is one of many reasons why poverty still exists in a “civilized” and advanced country.

      1. Ermintrude*

        If I were in that situation and I had to go to places that wouldn’t hire like that I’d make sure to explain *why* I was wasting their and my time.
        In Australia about 15 years ago jobseekers had to fill out diaries with X number of jobs and record the contact names, contact details and methods of contract. So basically applicants in regional areas with less opportunities swamped the local businesses. My friend and I were both writing down details of McDonald’s etc. without applying to meet the quota each fortnight. It sucked for jobseekers and businesses alike.

        1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          That’s still a possible requirement for employment insurance here. You need to track it because they might audit you and ask “What have you been doing to find work?”

    2. Kristen*

      While I do agree that seems like an out-dated tactic that might just be stuck in an out-dated system, I also think there’s a way to make it more effective. If you’re required to visit employers in-person (side note, how on earth do you prove that?) I don’t think there’s any harm in politely inquiring if there are any open positions and dropping off your resume. I wouldn’t necessarily push to speak to HR or a recruiter, but expressing your interest in person and making a good impression on the receptionist is probably the best way to fill this requirement.

      I also feel the industry has a ton to do with how this would be perceived. My company is very heavy in technology (we’re a marketing firm), and this tactic doesn’t exactly speak of a tech-savvy candidate. If a candidate arrives and clearly hasn’t seen whether we have an opening on our website, or read the instructions on how to apply, I tend to assume they didn’t check our website or aren’t very good at following instructions!

  31. LGC*

    I’m disappointed. The letter writer literally works at the Gumption Factory and there’s only 20 uses of “gumption” so far? (Okay, 22 with this post, when I counted.)

    Honestly, I do kind of wonder if it’s just A Thing that this company does, or even LW’s industry. I’d be inclined to write off the woman who harangued LW about getting an “informational interview” as a wackadoo, but it seems like this happens regularly enough with others as well that it can’t just be handwaved off. (And I think that certain fields do tend more towards being face to face. Certainly, LW is entitled to turn down randos haranguing them, but…I feel like if even the president of the company is getting in on this (or at least tacitly encourages it), it’s a bit of a lift, to say the least.

    On the other hand – LW’s company (which I suspect is the #1 worldwide supplier of gumption and that’s at least #23 right there) is spending all of this time and hasn’t even hired anyone. Like, they could stop cold tomorrow and literally nothing of value would be lost. It might be enjoyable for most people there, but it’s also provides zero benefit (and has provided zero benefit for at least the past eight years).

    1. Kristen*

      Hi there! A few commenters seem to think there are a ton of these people and I’m doing nothing but meeting with walk-ins. This is not the case, it’s a few times a month at most, and in fact I’ve never taken one of these meetings without their skills actually aligning with a current opening (it was an intern, and she actually wasn’t great). My boss, however, can be a little old school and does like to take these… thankfully, they mostly come through me now.

      From the comments so far, I think there is a common thread amongst the people who seem to like meeting with these job-seekers. They all sound like C-Suite/Presidents/Founders, etc who probably really want to see “gumption” in their employees (my boss would call this “grit”). I suppose they hope we’ll find a unicorn, or it worked out once and they don’t want to miss a chance of it working again.

      Alison’s recommendation to first figure out what you need, create a position, and then assess applicants against that criteria is exactly what I do. Regarding walk-ins, I just don’t allow them to circumvent that process, and I’m happy to see that Alison and most of the commenters agree with me!


  32. char*

    I’ve had an inquiry recently from a woman who sent her resume and asked to meet even if we don’t have an opening to learn more about our company and how she can contribute.

    “How she can contribute”? Obviously she CAN’T contribute, because there are no openings! So presumptuous.

  33. dissolvegirl*

    This is actually surprisingly common and encouraged in some Nordic countries, which was baffling to me when I was job seeking there. A native friend actually took me aside and lectured me about how I wasn’t aggressive enough!

    1. Kristen*

      That’s really interesting! I bet culture, and also industry have a lot to do with that tactic being effective or not.

  34. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    When I was at the engineering company, I had a steady trickle of walk-ins, usually recent or soon to be grads in engineering. I would take the resume, date stamp it, pass it along and direct everyone to the website. I would also get a steady trickle of emails to our general email inbox ( of unsolicited resumes for which I had developed a standard reply (go to our website!).

    So many of these kids were shy and had no expectations of any interviews. One had gumption to spare (pretty sure no one called him though); and one insisted that he could not give me his resume as he had to speak to someone to explain it first and since he lived out of town, he couldn’t just come back.

    Dude, engineers bill by the hour and are under pressure to be billable. No one was going to just drop everything because you’re being mysterious.

    Except for the manager in our sister office in another town. He considered it his privilege once to quickly talk to a fellow who walked in looking for work. Considering how difficult it was to get to that office by bus or by car (very industrial area), it was probably challenging to get to that office for that person and that was a really nice thing for that manager to do.

    I still remember the poor hairdresser who walked in with her resume and who was looking to move to admin work and had no French…which was fairly essential for my company for the admins. She was so keen to move up into the business world. Since the bulk of my time at reception was not billable work, I took the time to look over her resume and direct her to a bunch of good job websites.

    1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      That was a very nice thing for that manager to do. And can I say, it was also very kind of you to take some time with the hairdresser and offer guidance. I believe you may have made a difference in her life; at the very least you let her know that she’s worthy. Sometimes that’s exactly what someone needs to help them keep going and not give up. You’re a good person. <3

  35. CanadaNarwhal*

    I’m surprised that you say you’ll reach out to these people when an opening is available? Do you have a long list of people to email for every opening? I would tend to tell people “please keep an eye on the careers section of our website/social media/wherever we post for any openings” and then leave it to them to apply through regular channels.

Comments are closed.