should students prioritize interviews over classes, complaining about my sister’s manager, and more

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

1. Should graduating students prioritize interviews or schoolwork?

I’m responsible for hiring at my company, and we have a lot of opportunities for graduating seniors — roles that are truly entry level and not “entry level but we still want 1-3 years of experience.” As a result, I do a lot of on-campus recruiting at career fairs and frequently engage with students who are about to graduate and are looking for their first career move.

One issue has come up a few times lately and I don’t know how to interpret it: when scheduling interviews with these students, I’ve been hearing that they are not available to interview on any of the dates I’ve offered because they have exams or presentations. I understand they want to finish out strong, but I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path. It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.

Am I reading the situation wrong? Should I push back on them a little bit? Up until now, I’ve accommodated their schedules by offering additional dates in the future, but sometimes we are moving more quickly and they could be missing out on a job opportunity. Our limited availability due to the holidays is just compounding the issue when scheduling with students that are graduating in December.

Nah, if you’re hiring students or new grads, you’ve got to expect to work around school. It’s not reasonable to expect someone to miss an exam (or not study for it) to interview for a job they may not even end up being offered. And really, if a student wrote in telling me that a company expected them to miss an exam or important classwork for an interview, I’d tell them to run in the other direction because that sounds like a company that will be overly rigid and callous about its employees’ outside lives.

If you need to hire faster and can’t wait for dates that will work for student candidates, then that’s just how it shakes out and they won’t be able to interview for that role. But if you’re designing roles that you want to hire fresh grads for and you have any flexibility on the timing at all, it’s something you should plan around.

2. I’m a new manager with an assistant who’s constantly pushing back

I got my first manager position three months ago and was excited to have an assistant. My assistant was close with the previous manager who I took over from, so it’s been a bit of a challenge creating a good relationship with her.

Any time I make a change in our responsibilities or make a decision for our team, I constantly get asked why and she quite often says, “That’s not how Cortney and I used to do it.” (Cortney is her previous manager.) She constantly is comparing me to her previous manager whenever there there is a decision with workload, responsibilities being changed, etc.

I decided to have a time off request form for vacations, sick days, etc. so I could better keep track of our days off. She had an issue with that and went to HR and complained about the form I created, even though HR approved the form. But with any changes I make she questions and compares me with her previous manager.

I also wanted to add, because maybe this ties in with whatever the issue is, she is a few years older than me, and could have applied for the manger position but decided not to. Any suggestions or advice?

Asking why isn’t itself a problem, and can be a good thing. And she may have historical knowledge that you don’t have and that could be helpful to you. But it sounds like this goes beyond that, and is coming from a place of resistance.

If that’s the case, sit down and have a direct conversation with her about it. Say, “I’m noticing that when I make a change or a decision that’s different from how the team used to do things, you often resist it quite strongly, to the point that it’s disrupting our work. I’m going to be making decisions that might be different from how things were done before. I appreciate your input if there’s context that you think I’m not aware of or not weighing appropriately, but once I make a decision, I need you to be on board, even if it’s different from how something was done in the past. Are you able to do that?”

If it keeps happening after that, then the conversation needs to get more serious: “We’ve talked about this before and it’s continuing to happen. I need someone in your position who can roll with changes like X and Y. I’d like you to take a few days to think about whether that’s something you’re up for. I hope that you are, but I need to be clear that what you’ve been doing can’t continue.” And then follow through on that — because ultimately you need an assistant who is willing to assist you, not work at odds with you.

3. Should you let someone know you’re reporting them to their manager?

Is there etiquette involved when reporting someone to their superiors? Last week, I was one of a two person teaming working at a satellite office of a local government agency. My colleague made a pretty serious cash handling mistake. After the matter was rectified, I immediately notified the management team at the home office of what had happened. This led to some kind of disciplinary action for him. He and I are peers although I was acting as a lead on that day so it was appropriate for me to act on the situation. Should I have told him I was reporting the issue up the chain? I’m generally for transparency in the work place so I feel like I should have levelled with him, although there may be drawbacks. What do you think?

You don’t always have to, but in many cases it’s better for the relationship if you do. In your context, you could say something like, “This is the kind of thing Jane has asked me to keep her in the loop on, so she might talk with you about it. I wanted to give you a heads-up so you’re not blindsided if that happens.” In other contexts, sometimes it makes more sense to say something like, “I’m going to loop Jane in on this to see if she can help us figure this out.”

There are other times, though, where you might choose not to. For example, if someone is being hostile to you or clients, you might be better off just flagging it for the manager without spelling out for the person that you plan to do that. (In fact, as a general rule, if there’s no way to say it without it coming across as “I’m telling on you,” it might make sense to skip that step.)

4. Should I complain about my sister’s manager?

My grandma has recently fallen quite ill and has been admitted twice to the ICU in the past week and a half. My sister is my grandma’s caretaker but also has a side job at a local arcade. The night my grandma was admitted for the second time, my sister had asked her manager (around 11 pm) if she could not come into work the next day since my grandma was in the hospital. He responded, “Hospitals have doctors and nurses. You are still responsible for your shift.” I understand where he is coming from, but this was a family emergency and my grandmother does not speak English so a family member is constantly keeping her company. They exchanged some words and my sister quit.

The manager is the son of the arcade owner and was disrespectful and insensitive towards my sister. He blatantly accused her of not coming in due to partying. Granted, she’s still a little immature (19 years old) and text-arguing with him wasn’t a good look, but she hadn’t missed a day of work during my grandma’s time in the hospital until requesting it the night before.

I’d like to speak to the owner in regards to how the manager handled the situation, but I’m not sure if I should or how to. Any words of advice?

Stay out of it! The manager was an asshole, but this is your sister’s to handle, not yours. You don’t have any standing to get involved, and it’ll be undermining to your sister (who is an adult!) if you do.

5. How important is it to have my current boss as a reference?

How important is it to get a reference from your current supervisor once you get to the reference-checking stage of a job interview? I am applying right now and don’t want to give my current boss as a reference – she knows I’m looking at jobs but I don’t particularly trust her judgment. In the past, she has added things that she later admits aren’t really problems to my (overall very good) performance reviews just because she “felt like she had to have something,” and I worry she would do the same in a reference call.

It’s very normal not to offer your current manager as a reference, because it’s generally understood that your current employer probably doesn’t know you’re job searching and it could jeopardize your current job if they found out. In your case, your manager already knows, but the employers you’re interviewing with won’t assume that.

{ 605 comments… read them below }

  1. MissGirl*

    OP1: I would think you would want candidates who take their schooling seriously and want to uphold their responsibilities. These are future employees who will do the same with their work at your company.

    1. Drew*

      Very well said. You shouldn’t penalize students for prioritizing their school responsibilities (which, after all, is basically their job for as long as they’re students).

      1. Lord Ye old*

        Classes is one thing (I do admit to playing hooky once or twice in my youth.) – but an exam or presentation? Where an absence might mean the student fails the entire semester, and may in turn have a detrimental impact to whether or not they graduate? I would miss an exam and presentation for anything short of a signed paid job offer at an industry famous firm.

        1. Jen S. 2.0*


          It’s one thing to miss one class (although that still shouldn’t be an expectation), but an exam or presentation is something that happens once or twice a semester per class, and often is the only means of evaluation. The career office should be bending over backward to work around legitimate school obligations. No student should be being asked to miss an exam by another school department. I’m honestly surprised this is even a thing.

          It gets discussed around here why you can’t equate school and work 1:1. Students get indignant when we point out that no, a group project in Econ 201 is not almost like a $5 million consulting project at Booz Allen. Well, that goes the other way as well. Employers, skipping an exam is not just like taking a day of leave at work.

          1. BethDH*

            I agree but just want to point out that no school department IS asking the students to do this. OP is at an external company that just does on-campus recruitment (career fairs and possibly info sessions are the most common things I see; occasionally a company may hold interviews on campus as well). Career services likely doesn’t know about this issue at all!

            1. Important Moi*

              Grateful for my alma mater. My Career Services Center would not invite back a company unwilling to schedule around students life.

              1. Hills to Die on*

                Right? I cannot imagine working for years toward my future career for one company that wants me to compromise that on just the chance to interview with them. You will end up with mostly people who don’t have options or don’t care, neither of which is what you want.

                I cannot stress this enough: you are out of line.

                No. Flipping. Thanks.

          2. RecentAAMfan*

            I was surprised Alison equated missing an exam with missing some studying time because there is a massive degree-sized difference between the two. The LW had referred to missing exams or presentations, both of which are very significant. I’d certainly expect students to carve out a bit time for interviews when they’re in study mode

            1. Lusara*

              Right. It’s completely unreasonable to expect students to miss actual classes or exams. But it’s very reasonable to expect students to be able to adjust their studying time around an interview.

              1. Quill*

                Depends on the notice given: there’s a world of difference between “can you come in tomorrow” when your group study session the day before the exam is then, and “can you come in friday” when you can potentially adjust your schedule.

                Even still, OP is trying to get people to prioritize their *chance* at a job over a prior commitment that could easily affect the students’ eligibility for that very job, and that screams a lack of common sense and respect to me.

                1. AnnaBananna*

                  Eh, if we treat these candidates like we would normal FT working adults, the OP thinks it’s weird that they’re not ditching (as real-world comparison examples) important meetings with their Grandboss and/or attending an important conference.

                  I would never avoid either of these if I cared about my career. It’s disrespectful of their candidate’s time, judgement and long term career aspirations. Someone who thinks it’s no big deal to miss this stuff is entirely out of touch with their candidate pool…and likely recruiting overall.

                2. Avasarala*

                  Even still, OP is trying to get people to prioritize their *chance* at a job over a prior commitment that could easily affect the students’ eligibility for that very job, and that screams a lack of common sense and respect to me.

                  This precisely. It’s plain stupid and disrespectful. An exam is way more important than an interview!

              2. Marny*

                I disagree. Good candidates will need time to prepare for an interview, so it won’t mean missing study time just for the interview– it’s also the time spent preparing. Plus it means unnecessarily adding another stresser to the students’ plates during finals. One would think that a company who gets their candidates directly from college career fairs would take a few minutes to find out when exam time is so that they can try to avoid it. It also sounds like the company is waiting until pretty late in the year to start interviewing. If you want to hire recent grads, your company will find better people if you work within the college’s schedule instead of expecting the college to bend to you.

                1. BethRA*

                  This. Was just about to post the same thing.

                  And there’s a gob-smacking disconnect between employers requiring degrees and wanting to target recent college grads in their recruiting on one hand, but not wanting to accommodate exam schedules on the other.

            2. Elizabeth Proctor*

              My recollection of exam week (which is about 8 years ago for me) is that it’s a very high stress time with 4-5 make-or-break exams/papers/presentations happening. Imagine if you had to give/complete 4-5 of the most significant presentations/projects of your career within the course of 7-10 days. Would you want to or be able to add in another?

              1. Quill*

                Not to mention travel time! When I was on campus it could be the work of a week to aquire transportation if you didn’t have a car on campus (and there was really no incentive to have your car there if you could avoid it: ridiculous parking fees and limited utility for either going out on the town or getting supplies, given that most of the cars were parked well off campus and you had to take a shuttle to get to them…

                1. Lusara*

                  I read it that these are on campus so no travel time involved. And I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that there is sufficient notice, a week or more, not “2 pm tomorrow.”

            3. Is it Friday yet?*

              Often the end of year exams and presentations account for a pretty substantial part of your grade. I’m shocked that this question is even being asked.

              1. KayDeeAye (Kathleen_A)*

                I absolutely had classes in which my entire grade was based on a mid-term and a final or a mid-term, a final and a term paper. Of course I wouldn’t have missed a mid-term or a final for a job interview!

                I have to wonder why the OP doesn’t seem to realize this. It’s been a very long time since I was in college, and I realize this, so the OP ought to realize it, too.

                1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                  My entire degree was decided by four three-hour papers over a fortnight in my final year. Absolutely no way I could also have prepared for and attended a job interview at any point in those two weeks.

                2. ceiswyn*

                  My first degree was decided by eight three-hour exams, seven of which were in one week. No way in heck would I have tried to shoehorn an interview in there even if I had technically had time. What I wouldn’t have had was the physical or emotional energy.

                  (My second degree and my MSc were less intense in their assessment methods, but exams and presentations still weren’t movable or optional. How would moving someone’s presentation work, anyway? How are you going to reschedule a lecture theatre full of fellow students and senior lecturers to listen and ask questions?)

                3. AnnaBananna*

                  Precisely. Why would throw away 50% of my grade to spend time interviewing with someone who clearly doesn’t understand ‘recent grads’ as a concept, who for all I know is just fitting me in an interview quota spot?

                  Nah, bra. Hard pass.

              2. boo bot*

                I think the reasoning lies here: “I understand they want to finish out strong, but I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path.”

                My read was that she’s basically saying, “they’re graduating anyway, so they can blow off their final exams.” Which I’m not going to begrudge anyone, if they can pull it off. But if my dim recollections are correct, the final is usually a big enough percent of your grade that blowing it off or not studying could cause you to fail the entire class, which might mean you don’t actually graduate on time.

                Even if you’ve aced the class so far, the impact of missing a final would drastically change your grade – like from an A to a D, which many people won’t be comfortable with.

                1. Gazebo Slayer*

                  My college actually had an up-or-out rule where, barring special and unusual circumstances, you were not *allowed* to graduate with a degree from there, ever, if you took more than 8 semesters. Like, if you failed your last semester, you’d have to transfer to another school. And most colleges require at least 4 semesters of residency for graduation regardless of your transfer credits, so it would have meant delaying your graduation date 2 years and paying another 2 years of tuition wherever else you went!

                2. Elitist Semicolon*

                  And that difference between an A and a D could have effects on the overall GPA, which (in some fields) actually does influence what doors open and what don’t. What the student in question could do with a lower GPA and one year working at the OP’s company under their belt and what they could do with a higher GPA straight out of college might be significantly different. A nuclear engineering student who wants to work for the federal government can’t be blowing off final exams to go explore “what (could be) a long-term career path.”

                3. CmdrShepard4ever*

                  I know you had nothing to do with it, but 8 semester limit seems crazy strict. The 4 year graduation rate for public institutions is only 33.3%, and 52.8% for private institutions. I know there are various problems with how graduation rates are calculated. But a 4 year graduation requirement seems very penal and like the school it just trying to play the statistics game. Although I think pushing people out after 4 years I would imagine would hurt their 4 year graduation rate.

                  Does anyone here know if there is data showing that a strict 4 year grad requirement pushes more students to actually graduate or just push them out to another school?

                  I was about to say I don’t think I did 4 semesters at the school where I graduated from, but now that I think about it I think I technically did. Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer but I did them all in just one 12 month cycle.

                4. SusanIvanova*

                  @Gazebo Slayer:
                  Wow. My engineering college (and probably others) had a saying: “You can graduate with your class or on time.” Because unless you absolutely maxed out your credit hours each semester, your 4-year degree was going to take 5 years.

                5. NotAnotherManager!*

                  Forcing out people who didn’t graduate in four years/eight semesters is insane and very biased against people who have health issues that prevent full course loads, people whose financial circumstances require they take lighter semesters (or people who have to work full-time), or people who don’t want to expose their personal life to the school by going to ask for an exception. I had no idea that was a thing and am going to make sure neither of my kids end up at a place that is so unforgiving. Life happens.

                  I graduated from a school that publishes its gradation statistics at 5 years only because it has at least two degree programs that are 5-year courses of study (one is a top-10 program nationally) and because it has a robust co-operative education program that places enrolled students in paid jobs for a semester or two. The co-op program was how a number of my friends in school stepped right into a career-track position when they graduated and is a huge selling point.

                  I personally did nine semesters because, after eight semesters, I was 2.5 classes away from getting a whole second degree, not just a double-major. I came in with a semester of college credit and graduated with honors. I’d be highly irritated to have been kicked out or denied my second degree for a marketing statistic/numbers game.

                6. Jen S. 2.0*

                  WOW, I am shocked to learn about the 8-semester thing. I graduated in exactly 8 semesters (and I came in with only 6 AP credits), and it required effort and timing and a little luck. I had a last-minute scramble where I had to drop a class and find an independent study, and it wasn’t a given that it would work out. I probably know more people than not who took a summer class here and there, or studied disciplines that often take 5 years (engineering, architecture), and so forth than not. 8 semesters is certainly standard, but it’s by no means a given, and it doesn’t mean the student did anything wrong.

                  Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t choose a school with a requirement like that.

                7. HoHumDrum*

                  My school had a similar rule as to what Gazebo Slayer’s did, and tbh it was a good policy.

                  The difference was my school was very small, so I had plenty of guidance and handholding over what courses to take to ensure I graduated, so I never felt at risk of not completing on time. Students who needed accommodations got them.

                  As compared to the local big state school where basically everyone was forced to take an extra year (and pay more tuition) because there were always classes they couldn’t take earlier due to scheduling and often requirements weren’t clear and people got caught by surprise.

                  I felt my school’s policy was a protection against being forced to shell out an additional year of tuition due to the school’s bs. But again, I think the small school was a huge factor in that, I got regular one-on-one guidance and got to personally talk over my course list with my advisor as often as I needed/wanted (and was required to do so before every semester) and the requirements were pretty loose (certain classes were required for my major, but the rest of my course load was entirely up to me). So YMMV with a policy like this, I think it depends on the type of school you go to.

                8. AnnaBananna*

                  I do remember high school being like this. In that your grades during junior year were way more important than senior, once you were accepted at a uni. College isn’t remotely like this. At least the two schools I went to didn’t. I think only my Astronomy final was one I could bail on if I wanted, but that’s because 90% of the grade was lab, not the lectures. That class wasn’t my senior year, either. I was in all upper division, tough, major degree required classes. I wouldn’t have skipped them unless I already had an A in the class. And I *never* would have skipped for a mere interview.

            4. Anonymous Poster*

              I read that bit differently, unless she’s changed it. It sounded to me like she suggested that students shouldn’t miss exams or study time.

            5. Jen S. 2.0*

              Re carving out time for interviews while in study mode, I’m not sure about that. Interviews require preparation, which takes focus and time, and finals week or thereabouts is just the wrong time for that. This person needs to move forward a couple of weeks or back a couple of weeks.

            6. Daisy-dog*

              My understanding is that the students are refusing to schedule at all the week of finals in order to prepare for the presentation or study for their exam. OP isn’t requesting that they skip their exams. For instance, their exam/presentation is at 11, why not interview at 9? The student doesn’t have to ace that final because it doesn’t matter as much as a lifelong career! OP *is* still wrong, but not quite that bad.

              Also, OP is missing the fact that preparing for an interview (particularly when new to interviewing) takes about as much time to prepare for as these exams and presentations and the students are already tapped. I’m remembering the time that a student went on the game show Millionaire and missed the first, very easy question because he stayed up all night travelling to the filming.

              1. SufjanFan*

                I don’t know… I’m way too nervous of a person to schedule an interview at 9AM if I have a final exam/presentation at 11AM (esp. if the exam/pres is worth a significant portion of my grade). How can I guarantee how long the interview is going to be? And, if I’m sitting in the interview worrying over my presentation in two hours, I’m not going to perform well.

            7. Aurion*

              I have had final exams where the final exam was worth 100% of my grade. Not split between final and midterm(s), not split between lab and final or presentation and final or any other combination, oh ho ho no. 100% grade on the final. On a course that’s required for me to graduate.

              It is completely unreasonable for the OP to expect students to prioritize an interview over their final exams.

          3. bluephone*

            “I’ve been hearing that they are not available to interview on any of the dates I’ve offered because they have exams or presentations…It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.”

            I kind of can’t believe that the OP entertained this thought in their head, committed it to paper (email), presumably read it over, and then submitted it to another person to read and respond to. I get that interview scheduling sucks, especially when you’re in a time crunch. But…you’re recruiting students. You KNOW you’re recruiting students. You KNOW that some of them might even be graduating in December. In my experience, trying to reschedule an exam, presentation date, portfolio deadline, etc. in university is harder than getting blood from a stone unless the student has a terrible reason like “death in family” or “was at death’s door myself” (and even then, you hear horror stories about professors or universities forcing the student to take the hit on their grade because they dared “skip” the final exam for some emergency gallbladder surgery).
            Like Alison said, you really only have 2 options here:
            1. Accept that for students–especially graduating students–school is the first priority (ESPECIALLY when there’s no guarantee that your company will hire them or that–after being hired–the position won’t work out for whatever reason). Accept that therefore, you will have to schedule interviews *around* the student’s academic deadlines
            2. Stop recruiting active students.
            3. There is no step 3, these are literally the only 2 things you can do, miss me with any “But–!” nonsense.

            1. Senor Montoya*

              I work at a large university. Final exam times are set by the university, based on the days/times the class meets during the semester. Anything else would be madness.

              Students can ask instructors to take their exams on another day/time during the two exam weeks, but instructors do not have to grant that request, and many will not for anything short of an emergency genuinely beyond the student’s control. (The reason being, that if one student gets to reschedule, many students will want to reschedule, and then the instructor is in the position of making numerous exams and having to find space for multiple students to sit the exam at possibly multiple days/times.) Every couple of years I have a student with a legit reason to need a final rescheduled and an instructor who won’t reschedule. As is their right. At that point either the student eats the poor grade for missing the final, or makes a case for the dean to withdraw the student from the class.

              All this to say, OP is being completely unreasonable. Students have to complete their end-of-term academic obligations. They have to have time to prepare for these obligations. If OP wants to hire new graduates-to-be, OP needs to interview students earlier in the semester.

            2. another Hero*

              Yeah the idea that it’s short-sighted to prioritize *getting their degree* over scheduling one (1) job interview is wild

            3. Avasarala*

              So true! Even if a final exam and and interview were equally important, you can reschedule and interview. Students can’t reschedule their exams.

        2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

          True. Things can be different at different schools and I’m not very familiar with US systems but I think one thing is in common for all schools and universities in the world: if a course includes an exam, then you have to take that exam, or you will fail the course or at least get a very bad grade. Whether or not it’s possible to take the exam at a different time depends on several things but you can’t expect that it’s possible, at least not in time to graduate at the expected time. For ordinary classes it can be quite different but it’s not unheard of that you can’t skip that many lessons without failing the whole course.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Whether or not it’s possible to take the exam at a different time depends on several things but you can’t expect that it’s possible, at least not in time to graduate at the expected time.

            This. When I was a graduating senior at my university a decade ago, exam dates for us were pretty set in stone since grades had to be in our respective academic offices at a particular point to be uploaded into the system in time for us to graduate. If we needed to take an exam early for whatever reason, you’d need to arrange that months in advance so the professor could even get it prepared by then and have the time to proctor it.

            OP #1’s expectation of these students is unrealistic and short-sighted.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


              I managed to reschedule an exam once when I was in college, and it was because the way the schedule shook out, I had 3 exams within 24 hours and school policy was on my side. For anything less, you had to basically promise your firstborn to your professor before they’d be willing to grant you flexibility.

              1. Quill*

                Yeah, exam rescheduling on less than multiple months notice? You’d better have a medical emergency to back you up.

              2. Lara*

                Yeah, the only time I managed to reschedule a paper that was due was because of the death of my grandfather. Frankly anything less urgent than that and I wouldn’t have even attempted to reschedule.

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  I ran into that as well – the only college exam I ever was able to reschedule was because of a death in the family, and at that I had to move it up two whole days to make an out of state funeral….

              3. Hush42*

                Exactly- I once got an exam rescheduled but only because the professor was completely ignoring school policy- he wanted to give the exam AFTER the official end of classes because he decided he needed more time to grade the assignments due before the exam started. It was my last semester and I was not willing to take another exam after graduation so I politely pointed out that classes ended on Thursday and his exam was the following Monday. He basically told me that I was going to have to get over it because it was how he had decided to schedule it. I then took it up the chain to the dean of his department and lo and behold he suddenly decided to open the exam on Thursday instead. It was an online class which I suspect contributed to his idea that he didn’t have to follow the schools schedule.

                But to OP- if I was told by an interviewer that I needed to miss an exam or presentation to come to an interview instead it would be a huge red flag for me. If you are not willing to accommodate my school schedule before you even hire me what are you going to expect if I do end up working for you?

                1. Elitist Semicolon*

                  Good for you for not letting go of this and for reporting it up! Faculty shenanigans that benefit only their own convenience are not on.

              4. AuroraLight37*

                I was allowed to reschedule an exam because I literally fell to the ground in front of the teacher and was rushed to the hospital with a collapsing lung. She was very understanding (and spent the rest of the semester twitching every time I coughed.) But short of that? No.

                1. Sans*

                  Yeah, one time I had food poisoning but was trying to take an exam because I was ready for it and just wanted to get it done. But I ended up having to excuse myself halfway through to puke and hyperventilate in the bathroom. Another time I got chicken pox and was too contagious to go take an exam. Those are the only times I could reschedule an exam in college. An interview? The professors would have laughed.

                2. AKchic*

                  My husband wasn’t even excused from one class for the birth of our son. “You’re not delivering the baby, and the hospital is right up the street if anything important happens.”

                  He wasn’t even testing that day, it was just one teacher that didn’t believe in “excuses”. My husband didn’t go to class. I delivered sometime during the class period. His Saturday morning teacher was fine with him missing out, and his employer gave him the weekend off.

            2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

              Spring term of senior year I ended up in the hospital. I missed two weeks of classes. When I came back, one instructor told me that I could have an reschedule my exams/presentations (it had both), but I would not be able to graduate that term.
              He was a nice guy and genuinely relieved when I told him I had transferred in and was 12 credits short anyway and not planning to graduate until December.

            3. ceiswyn*

              I have never been at a university where rescheduling exams was a thing.
              If it was physically possible for you to to be at the exam, you had to be at the exam. And that is how I ended up taking an exam 4 days after one of my oldest friends died suddenly.

            4. T3k*

              I lucked out the one time I asked for an exam reschedule. It wasn’t for anything serious, just the way my schedule fell, all but one exam were within the first few exam days, with the last one over a week out and we were expecting a snowstorm soon. That last exam professor was awesome and let me take the exam early so I could head home earlier instead of waiting over a week.

            5. Librarian of SHIELD*

              I wasn’t even able to reschedule an exam in college to visit a seriously ill family member in a hospital out of state. There was nothing in the school’s exam schedule policy about it and the professor was tenured, so what she said went and I had to take the exam on her schedule. I can’t even imagine asking this same professor if I could reschedule a test or a presentation for a job interview when she wouldn’t grant it for a dying family member.

              (I did manage to get a red eye flight the night after the exam – it was a class that met at 6:00 in the evening – and was able to see my family member before they passed)

            6. SpaceySteph*

              Yes! I took off the days for the Jewish holidays at the beginning of the fall term every year. Most years it coincided with an early quiz or test in at least one class. The policy in most of my classes was if you missed a quiz/test you took a zero. Even though religious holidays were an excused absence per school policy, most professors would only offer me that I could use the next quiz/test during the term to count for both rather than take a zero. I doubt they would have been so accommodating for a job interview.

          2. Alton*

            Also, even if accommodations can be made, such as making up the exam or presenting on a different day, this can create more work for the professor or make it more difficult to fit everyone’s presentations into the schedule. It can also impact other students if it’s a group project. Good professors are understanding about accommodating students when possible, and there are plenty of good reasons to request extensions, but I don’t think it should be taken for granted.

            1. Anonymous at a University*

              This, my god, THIS.

              I had two students this semester who had a terrible pattern of wanting to “reschedule” every time they had a quiz or other assignment due. I did offer them times because they had what sounded like pretty legitimate reasons, but they kept coming back and saying, “Those times don’t work for me.” One student claimed the only time she could possibly come to my office take a quiz was at one in the morning (!). I said, “That will be impossible,” and got back whining. Quite often, the reason professors don’t want to reschedule things is not lack of compassion but lack of their own time; I can’t meet random requests for reschedules because I have other classes to teach or work to grade or, you know, a life of my own.

        3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read that OP is seriously expecting them to do that kind of damage to their grad-school performance for an entry-level job at a random company that can hand them a pink slip and a box for their things a few months after they start. (Can as in, “they have the right to do it for any reason at all or no reason whatsoever.”) Not even for a job offer, but to go to an interview, after which they might never hear back from the company again! They are looking out for their long-term career path, OP. That’s why they won’t miss exams or presentations for this.

          1. Autumnheart*

            That’s exactly what I was thinking. I mean sure, these students have spent $100,000 or so on their degree so far, but why not throw it all away to get a shot at some $18/hr entry-levrl job that probably doesn’t even come with full-time hours or benefits?

            Spending their last tuition check on Powerball tickets might be a slightly worse decision, but not by much. Get real, OP1.

          2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

            Who is flashing back to the letter from the supervisor who wanted Alison to help him compose a professional letter to his star employee about professional norms and responsibilities. This young woman had spend the last four or so years of filling in for every shift, staying late and doing everything asked. She just up and resigned though because thought she should be able to take two hours off to go to her college graduation and get the diploma she been working for (while estranged from her family and supporting herself) during this whole job.

            1. Kendra*

              Both are proof that it’s disturbingly easy to get tunnel vision, and think that since your thing is more important to you, it should be the most important to everyone – and also that real life doesn’t work that way.

          3. Good Wolf*

            Yes, I found this letter so wildly insulting that I actually felt compelled to comment, and while I’ve been a very loyal reader of this site for years, I think I’ve maybe commented… once? before.

            People spend tens of thousands of dollars on their college education in the US! Perhaps well over 100k!! So presumably that knowledge and diploma are worth a lot to them. Why on EARTH would they throw all that away just for a CHANCE to get a basic entry-level job? And why would you ask them to?

            I know very few people who made whole careers out of the first job they got out of college. I’m sure many of those people exist, but it is absolutely not something you should depend on, and if you decide a job isn’t right for you for any number of reasons (which the OP may have nothing whatsoever to do with, even if they really do think they’re providing the best job opportunity ever), it would sure be a shame to feel you have no other options because you never got that diploma you worked towards for four years until that last finals week.

            And as people have said, no, carving out some study time in the middle of the week isn’t reasonable either. At least at my college, most people barely managed to get ANY sleep the whole of finals week just studying for the exams and presentations they already had; adding an interview, any travel time required (and coordinating to borrow a car, etc.), interview prep time, and the sheer nerves of your first real professional interview into the mix could be disastrous.

            I’m guessing the OP just didn’t really thinking this through all the way because it sounds like they do want to provide good opportunities to young people, but on the face of it, I found the ignorance and entitlement of this particular question staggering. If you’re hiring college grads, presumably you want people who… actually graduated from college. So let them do it!! And let them show you that they’re responsible and can fulfill the expectations set out for them while they’re at it!

            1. Gazebo Slayer*


              When I was in college, someone on my dorm floor had a part-time job at a local restaurant. She had been planning to work there full-tune for the summer… but they scheduled her last-minute for a shift at the same time as a final exam, and refused to let her move it. As a result, she was forced to quit without notice and find another summer job within a couple weeks, the restaurant lost a hardworking and reliable employee, and I boycotted the restaurant for years.

            2. Blunt Bunny*

              Yes I don’t understand why they would even think that was reasonable thing to suggest. I can’t imagine it is a company that rates academic qualification highly like STEM that would suggest you skip exams.

        4. Quill*

          If I didn’t miss an exam with a 104 degree fever, I’m not going to miss it for an interview! (Side note: should absolutely have stayed home but 104 degree fevers don’t lead to making the best of choices. I’m also near convinced that my professor picked up my blue book with tongs and threw it out without grading it – he made me take it in a closet because he was afraid I’d infect the class… with a fever that was completely not contagious, not that he should have taken my word for that.)

          1. Is it Friday yet?*

            Yep. I have done this as well. Went straight from an exam to the ER with the flu. I learned my lesson after I had to miss a normal class because of my grandfather’s funeral and lost 2 letter grades because of it.

          2. Diahann Carroll*

            I took a final once for my Italian class and my desk was piled high with tissues from my runny nose. I had been visibly sick the entire 10 week term due to some mystery virus no one could identify, and had been coughing and hacking up a lung the entire time. Clearly, I was entirely too disruptive to be in an exam room where my classmates had to concentrate, so 10 minutes into my exam, my professor came over, told me I looked awful, and should go home – as long as I dropped a doctor’s note off in his office mailbox by the end of the week, he’d pass me without taking the final. I ended up with a C in the class, which was generous since I was too ill to have done most of the work in that class and I didn’t even bother going back to the doctor for the umpteenth time just to be told, “Just take some aspirin and try to get some sleep.”

            1. Quill*

              Even in high school I knew kids who weren’t allowed exam accommodations or rescheduling when they’d had mono for the last month and a half… The best that dude got was an understanding that if the proctor saw him fall asleep they’d poke him so he could wake up and finish the test.

            1. Quill*

              He actually offered, but I had to leave campus within 3 hours after the course ended (It was the very last possible exam slot you had to apply two weeks in advance to get an extension on staying that one extra night in the dorm,) and it just wasn’t going to happen.

              So I looked him dead in the eye and said “You are the only thing standing between me and being unconscious for a week on my parents’ couch, I don’t think I’ll be able to come back on Monday to take this, since I might not even be conscious,” and proceeded to take the exam.

              (I did, in fact, have that fever for another week, but it went down to 102 for most of it. Turns out I had tendonitis! And I couldn’t walk without crutches until the end of July!)

          3. Do I need a hard hat for this?*

            I had a sinus infection at the end of one semester and went to the clinic on campus the morning before a final. Turns out prescription decongestants are not my friend! I took some high-powered Mucinex and then went to take the final for this class called Applications of Modern Math (very interesting class actually, we learned how to calculate interest rates and statistics and many useful things).

            I had a B in the class and needed to make like a 110 on the test (all answers correct plus several bonus answers) to get an A. I sat down to take the test and the I swear the words were zooming in and out on the page. I was LOOPY. I went very slowly taking the test so I could reread every question at least 3 times. I was one of the last people to turn it in and I was so worried I had bombed the test.

            I went home (to the dorm) and slept for like 3 days straight after that. When I finally pulled myself out of bed and to a computer to check the test results I had made a 112 on the test! I got an A! I was a horrible student in college and barely made it out alive. That A was one of my proudest accomplishments!

          4. whingedrinking*

            I was in a writing class once where attendance and submission guidelines were extremely strict. If you missed your submission date for a draft, you could not submit it later and you could not get peer feedback during the next session. As it happened, my submission date was the same day that I had a terrible fever. I sat in class, in mid-October, wrapped in a hoodie and my coat; according to my classmates, I was a very interesting shade of pale grey. The instructor finally told me to go home halfway through. And all of this was just to hand in a draft of my play for review. (This was before submitting assignments by email or Google Docs had caught on, and for writing workshops you were expected to bring one copy of your draft for each person in the class. In drama workshops you were usually expected to write a script of about 20 pages; the printing costs were almost enough to make me switch to poetry.)

        5. Allypopx*


          I have a full time job and I’m a full time student so occasionally I miss a class for a work related event (after consulting my syllabi, and communicating with my professors) but I also…intend to graduate. Sometimes these things aren’t negotiable and students need to prioritize school over a job that they don’t have and are in no way guaranteed to get. You should respect how hard that decision can be, especially when an opportunity looks more enticing that presenting to your class for the upteenth time that semester.

        6. Nanani*

          There are classes where the final exam/project is worth half the final grade or more. Skipping it means failing means not graduating.

          Expecting students to skip finals for an interview is absurd.

        7. Jaydee*

          What it sounds like is that you are trying to schedule interviews during the last week or two of the semester, when most students are frantically finishing final projects and studying for final exams. That’s like expecting a CPA to be available for an interview in early April. It’s just plain unreasonable.

          If you really want to target hiring of these entry level positions to new grads, you need to interview earlier in the semester or wait till after the holidays. In an ordinary week, you may run into intermittent scheduling conflicts (a student might have an exam or paper due on Tuesday but be available on Wednesday or Thursday to interview). But during finals, it should be expected that students are focused on school and not available to interview.

          Your business needs may make earlier or later interviews unworkable, and that’s fine. But the students aren’t being unreasonable by being unavailable during finals.

        8. designbot*

          Exactly. Play this out—student skips an exam or presentation to interview with you. Say they fail the class and their graduation is delayed. If you don’t hire them, they are immediately forked, because they are not valuable on the market anymore. If you do hire them, you’re electing to hire someone without their degree, you’ve devalued your own hire. Will you hold that against them when it comes to raises and promotions going forward? The outcomes are bad all around here, so this feels like an extremely short-sighted complaint.

      2. Ferret Face*

        OP1 should totally do this — if she wants her future employees taking time off to interview during mission- critical projects.

        1. pentamom*

          This. I’m curious as to whether LW1 would simply schedule an interview for a currently employed person without checking to see whether the time is viable, or expect no pushback if they did, and if not, why is it different with students? School is their current responsibility and major school responsibilities like exams and presentations can’t be opted out of any more than major meetings or business trips can be opted out of.

      3. On Fire*

        This reminds me of the manager who asked how to best reprimand the ex-employee who quit when he demanded that she miss her university graduation to work. LW1, this is not a good look for you or for your company. Please reevaluate your stance on this.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          That remains my favourite AAM letter because it was the one that introduce me to Alison and this site.

        2. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          Remember that letter well. But it wasn’t that it was demanded of her but that well, no one (wants to) can swap shifts with you so, oh well, you have to work, can’t do anything for you despite the fact I consider you my most reliable worker.

          Manager should have helped to make that swap happen. That worker’s coworkers were jerks.

          1. Antilles*

            Don’t forget that (i) the manager was willing to intervene for someone else who had concert tickets because that was a “special circumstance” (because seeing a band is apparently more of a once-in-a-lifetime event than graduating college?) and (ii) the employee wasn’t even requesting the entire shift off, just to come in a couple hours later.

          2. Jules the 3rd*

            The manager should have taken the shift.

            Good managers understand ‘rank = responsibility’, bad managers think ‘rank = privilege’.

      4. Liane*

        OP1, if a job candidate does skip the exam etc. to interview, thus fails a required course and cannot graduate for another 1 or 2 semesters*, will you and your company waive the degree requirement, make the position parttime/remote, &/or okay a start date 4-12 months later?
        That’s a hard no, correct, OP1?

        *some US schools only offer certain courses 1 term per year or not during the shorter summer sessions

        1. PB*

          This. And even if OP’s company would waive the requirement, the candidate not completing their degree would have a long-term impact on their future employment. Asking a candidate to miss a major course component for a shot at a job is really unfair.

        2. NerdyKris*

          And guarantee employment long enough that it won’t matter. This is an interview. What happens if it they don’t get hired? They’ve just torpedoed their hire-ability at any other job.

          1. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

            This! The student needs a degree to get a job when they don’t get a job at OP1’s firm.

        3. RC Rascal*

          Not to mention that college credits and courses cost money. At a top private university, you are talking $1500-$2000 per credit hour. That means that three credit course the student doesn’t pass because they skipped the exam to interview OP’s company? That class could cost $4500-$6000 to retake. And if the OP doesn’t get the job offer, which is the outcome of the majority of jobs we interview for? Talk about opportunity cost.

          OP, you are proposing an extremely expensive job interview.

    2. Loretta*

      it seems very odd to me to expect students to trade graduation and money invested in officially completing courses for the uncertain opportunity of a job interview?

      1. annony*

        Yep. It’s an interview. Most of them won’t be hired. So those students would just be screwed I guess.

      2. J*

        Well, this position requires a degree but you skipped your final and failed the class, so without a degree we can’t hire you.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Absolutely this. Especially when we’re talking about exams and presentations. I would feel uncomfortable with an employer pressuring students to skip class, but I can understand the impetus (and some classes are more “skipable” than others, although none of us can get inside a student’s head to make that call for them).

      But expecting them to skip an exam or presentation is unreasonable in almost every context. Those exams and presentations are often necessary to complete in order to pass a class and graduate. I would think that securing your college degree trumps an interview with no guarantee of employment for most scenarios.

      1. many bells down*

        Yeah, I was back in school several years ago, and missing a presentation day for anything short of hospitalization was guaranteed to hurt your grade. I debated it once with a professor, because one member of a group project did a ton of work but missed the presentation day and another girl did no work and showed up to the presentation with no idea what we were even doing. Girl #2 got full credit. Girl #1 got 50%.

        I think OP1 maybe underestimates how rigid the school may be about these things. And possibly failing an important class is ALSO going to hurt their career goals.

        1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

          Yeah, not way is skipping OK.

          In grad school I asked to make my final presentation a week early due to an work commitment and my professor agreed.

          Skipping was not possible. Moving, at least in grad school, was possible. And I think I recall students doing the same in college, but I’m not sure.

        2. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I had one professor in a business class that had the perfect solution to the slacking work group person. All the students in the group were “partners in the business” we were allowed to fire people that were not pulling their weight with the group work. If the person was fired they were then responsible for equivalent amount of group level work as an individual. So it was in peoples interest not to get fired and do 1/4 or 1/5 of the work rather than having to do an entire project by themselves.

          1. Senor Montoya*

            That’s a good idea in theory, but you have to set it up to prevent bullying and discrimination.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              If memory serves me right (it was a while ago and my group never fired anyone, so it might not) we had a certain process/procedure we had to follow, documented warnings and a PIP type thing before we could fire anyone. I do not think it was just a majority rules, if we fired anyone we still had to produce the same amount of work so again it was in the group’s best interest also not to fire anyone.

      2. EPLawyer*

        If I spent the entire semester in a class, then was pressured to skip the exam for a job interview, I would cross that company off my list of possible employers. No company, not even a “dream job” is worth skipping an exam or a presentation that you have spent literally weeks preparing for.

        Just because the jobs are designed for new grads does not mean the new grads want to give up everything for them.

        1. Allypopx*

          And it *should* be a red flag to students about how they’ll be treated as employees, but unfortunately many students don’t have enough experience to notice that – so it could be setting them up to expect terrible workplace norms, which I’d strongly advocate against.

        2. Sacred Ground*

          I would also be unlikely to ever consider applying at that company in the future for any position. So, if in 5 years you’re looking for someone experienced to take a more senior position? Not me, pal. And not likely anyone I know either.

          Because that’s another thing: students talk to each other. The top students in a degree program know each other, likely talk to each other and at this point close to graduation, they’ll certainly be talking to each other about their current job searches. Any top students, the most desirable ones whom you most WANT to hire, have options. They’ll pick the employer who works with them, not against them. They will straight up ghost you and your company AND so will the ones they speak to.

          Your applicant pool will be reduced to the irresponsible and the desperate.

        3. Esme Squalor*

          Agreed. Any reasonably desirable candidate who has any options at all is going to immediately mentally blacklist a company making a demand this unreasonable. By having this practice of pressuring students to skip final exams or presentations, the letter-writer’s company would automatically be selecting for the lower tiers of candidates who have fewer options and who are more desperate.

      3. Mookie*

        Yes. Particularly in countries where you have to pay large sums to take the courses to get the degree, that degree is an investment in a way that few job interviews can ever be. The expectation is not just presumptuous, it sort of defies known reality. I advise the LW to think their reasoning through one more time to make sure they know what they’re asking. I’d also encourage them to continue making this a deal-breaker and watch excellent candidates continue to slip through their fingers, but I’d feel terrible for the students who feel they have no choice and make those kinds of concessions early in their career and in the midst or end of their studies. LW, they can do better than you. I wish them luck and preserverence.

      4. Emilia Bedelia*

        I don’t think they are asking the students to skip the exam/presentation itself. My reading is that the students are saying something like “I have exams from the 15th-17th so those days don’t work”.

        I’m assuming that the OP is looking for the students to offer some potential times, even if they are busy – eg, “I have an exam on the afternoon of the 15th and the morning of the 16th, but I am available afternoon of the 16th”. Asking students to skip an exam is one thing, but wanting them to make time in their study schedule for an interview is not so unreasonable, IMO.

        1. yala*

          I have never known a grad student who had even a thimbleful left of brainpower and energy to do One More Big Thing during/immediately after exams.

          Half the time they’re literally sleeping at the library.

          1. ThatGirl*

            I once had a first date scheduled for right after a final and I was completely brain-dead, the guy (who I already knew somewhat socially) was wondering where the sparkling personality he’d been attracted to had gone, ha :)

          2. Jaydee*

            Four Decembers in a row, I returned to my parents’ house after finals and promptly got sick with at least a bad cold. The stress of studying and taking the exams and finishing the projects and packing for break knocked me out every single year. I can’t imagine adding job interviews to that mix.

        2. Quill*

          Keep in mind that there is probably travel time, there’s interview prep, there’s having interview clothes, and there’s going into the interview with any sort of coherence and confidence, which… if I’d just had two exams, and had to leave campus at one pm precisely to drive to an interview for, generously, 30 minutes, have an hour interview, and get back at 3 pm… that would have been a huge impact in my ability to study for my afternoon of the 17th exam. And this was in undergrad, I’m guessing grad students don’t have the added difficulty of “by the way, you have to move EVERYTHING YOU OWN out of your dorm room by 5 pm on the last day of finals. Yes, I know the final finals slot finishes at 4 pm.”

        3. fhqwhgads*

          I have to assume the OP’s mindset is somewhere like this. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise. When I was in school I took 16 credits a semester, which usually shook out to 4 classes. So at most I’d have 4 exams. Our exam period was spread across two weeks, but any individual exam was never more than 2.5 hours. If OP is thinking of something like that, then I wonder if they’re thinking the students should potentially have a lot of free time during exams. If they’re asking for interviews across the span of a week and the answer they got is “that’s exam week, no availability”, I think it’s a bit more reasonable they might be thinking that students should be able to find some window in there that is not an exam, not a presentation, and would allow them to go for an interview, assuming it’s not an all-day interview. Mathematically, I can see how OP would be thinking “there’s time in that week somewhere”. But if what the OP is thinking/doing is more like what a lot of the comments have assumed: they offered a few specific interview times on specific dates and the students frequently have an exam at those literal times (or overlapping those times or impossible to get to and fro without overlapping those times) and thus cite no availability like that, if OP is expecting them to skip or be late for the exam itself, that’s not at all reasonable.
          In terms of fixing it though, it seems like if the company has tight timelines but knows when the school calendar runs, they might need to change their interviewing schedule to avoid so much overlap with the exam period given what they’re running into. That or just not worry about it and accept a significant portion of the applicant pool may not be available at the times offered them.

          1. RaccoonLady*

            In my undergrad I usually took about 17-18 hours and that was anywhere from 5-6 classes. Our exams were from a Wednesday-Friday schedule. So I suppose I could have had time for a job interview; but as a double major with a science major and a language major…most semesters I was spending all my spare time finals week in the library. I can’t imagine also preparing for a job interview.
            And now in grad school the way this university does things (which is also how their undergrad works, FYI) is that exam week is a M-F, and I have one exam every day (I am in a medical program so we have 5+ classes a semester until we get to our clinical years). And again, I am spending most of my time studying during that period.
            Or for example, last month I had a two week period where I had 6 exams. That doesn’t sound too bad but I was studying like crazy and wasn’t sleeping well. I didn’t have the mental energy (“spoons”) to get myself to the grocery store, or clean my house, let alone also prep for a job interview.
            There’s a lot of time that goes into exams/presentations, even if it’s not directly overlapping. So for that 2 week period of exams, I probably would have said “hey, my last exam of this period is on Thursday morning. Would Friday afternoon work for an interview?” But anything earlier…yeah I couldn’t work that into my schedule.

          2. EH*

            I want to be at 100% for interviews, exams, presentations, etc – which means doing two on the same day is horrible, nevermind three. Either I shoehorn the interview in before an exam and screw up the exam (interviews leave me really drained), or I shoehorn the interview in afterwards and bomb the interview because I’m drained from the exam (our finals were three hours a piece, and required a lot of writing).

            Exam week is for exams. Studying, sleeping, tests. That’s it.

        4. Daisy-dog*

          My read as well, but OP is still in the wrong. I graduated in December 2011 and all of my on-campus interviews were scheduled in October-November. Like OP’s company, these were jobs designed for new grads that would start in January. OP just needs to move up the timeline next year and be more realistic this year.

        5. Senor Montoya*

          Unless a student has just one super easy exam on the last day of a 2-week exam period, then this is not a reasonable ask. Students need to study. They need to focus on their work. They may need to meet with other students to complete and practice presentations. They can’t always do this before the finals period, either because of other obligations, or because they literally were not given directions for the final project until the last day of class.

          If they have a break, it needs to be something not-stressful. Also, they need to have time to prepare for the interview — I’d call an interview like that the equivalent of a final exam, especially for someone at the start of their career.

      5. Ama*

        I’d also add, as someone who once had to work around student work schedules (and now is sometimes trying to schedule group meetings around medical boards) — if there are a few colleges you regularly work with, see if you can find out when their exam weeks are ahead of time (at most colleges this will be a set week or two week period at the end of the semester), and then try to avoid that week . When I had student workers, I’d try to make sure any major project I needed their help with was scheduled no later than two weeks before exam week, which was usually the last week I could definitely count on all my workers being available on their regular work schedules (as then you’d get into crunch time with special study sessions, off hours meetings for the classes that had group presentations as part of their final exams, etc.).

        I get that it can be annoying to realize the week you’d prefer to schedule interviews is the week Major Local University is having exams, but if you truly want the best candidates you would be best served to do a little advance planning and try to avoid the end of semester crunch if at all possible.

      6. Koala dreams*

        Yes, even if your first employer hires you without the degree, you then risk losing opportunities later on. Other employers might make the degree a hard requirement. Then you’ll need time off to take the course next year as well as the money to pay for it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          This was my husbands calculation when he passed on a full time job offered to him (no interview, but only because he had worked on a major project during a summer internship that involved the chief decision maker when it came to hiring at that company). He was being asked to skip his final semester of college to take that job and then try and finish online at a later date, which he declined to do.

          In the end it worked out for him, the guy they hired didn’t work out and quit six months later. My husband was invited to interview in the new round and he ended up getting the job anyways.

      7. beepboppin*

        So I actually read this as students saying they couldn’t schedule anything because they had to prepare for exams or presentations, not skip the actual exam or presentation themselves. I used to advise a college student group and this was a constant frustration of time management, especially for events that were preset months in advance. I can understand OPs frustration about scheduling around study/prep time but actual classes and exams themselves should take priority.

        1. Librarian1*

          If you’re talking about a final exam or presentation, there’s only so much that can be done ahead of time, especially for exams. Students have to remember an entire semester’s worth of info for those exams. They need time to study them! It can be difficult to have the bandwidth to also prepare for an interview. Students also probably have other commitments (work, sports, volunteering, clubs, etc) that they’re working around as well.

        2. Jen S. 2.0*

          I hear you, but still not team OP. Finals week involves studying, finishing group projects, preparing oral presentations, and writing final papers … and the accompanying stress of that. No, students don’t have time for a job interview and its attendant prep and whatnot (and stress), even if they DO have a 90-minute gap in there somewhere that’s not taken up by eating, showering, and sleeping. That’s especially because OP has options across the other 50 weeks of the year for when to interview. The students don’t have options for when finals week occurs.

        3. SimplyTheBest*

          I’m confused. The events (such as presentations, exams, etc) may be set early, but that doesn’t mean anything other than I know when they will be. All the studying and work and prep and that goes into those events still has to happen during that same time. You can’t study for exams three weeks early. You haven’t gone to all the classes yet. You can write your finals papers early. You don’t have the prompts yet. You con’t complete your group presentation early. You haven’t been assigned a group yet and they don’t care about your interview.

          A hiring manager who is trying to hire college students but doesn’t understand that exam week is basically a black out week is one that doesn’t sound like they understand their business.

    4. Tea Rocket*

      I really wonder if this OP understands what s/he’s expecting of these graduating students. In my final year of uni, all of my exams (I was a mathematics major) were at least 70% of my final grade and many were 100%. Skipping them for a job interview would have been madness—with those stakes, it’s not just about wanting to “finish strong”, it’s about wanting to finish at all. In fact, I think it may have been university policy that you needed to sit your final exam (assuming there was one; I know some other subjects had entirely essay-based classes) in order to have any chance of passing, even if the exam itself was not worth such a large proportion of your overall grade. And asking for permission to take a make-up exam at a later date was a big deal—you needed to have been very ill or had another good reason (like the sudden death of a close relative) not to take the exam as scheduled. A job interview would not have cut it.

      1. Gingerblue*

        Seriously. As a professor, I try to be as flexible as possible for students who need to interview or go to conferences or what have you, but for major class elements like final exams, it can be really difficult to work around even if I want to. That goes double for graduating seniors–it’s not like I can give them an incomplete and have them take the exam later. There is no later. The registrar needs to know if they’ve passed my class to figure out if they’re graduating.

        1. AnotherSarah*

          +1. It’s quite difficult and sometimes impossible to reschedule exams, and almost always impossible for graduating seniors. Hospitalization and death are more or less the only excuses I and my university will accept.

          1. Bilateralrope*

            I had to leave one of my exams to throw up. Twice during that exam. I still had to come back and finish the exam afterwards.

            Then get a doctor’s note for the compassionate consideration process. My university never reschedules an exam, instead they have a process to estimate what you should have got based on your work in class. Then give you the higher of their estimate or what you actually got in the exam.

            1. JKP*

              I broke my leg *during* an exam (was basically stampeded in the mad rush of students behind me running to the front of the classroom to grab a test booklet and get started), and I *still* had to take the whole exam before I could go to the ER. I can’t imagine that professor would have let me reschedule for a job interview.

                1. JKP*

                  I think the prof thought I was being melodramatic to try and get out of the test until I showed up at the next class on crutches with a cast. Aced the exam too! (And broke the other leg the next day when I slipped on the ice trying to get to class on crutches).

                2. Myrin*

                  @JKP, do you secretly live in a sitcom?
                  (I’m like that, too, although tankfully I haven’t broken any bones in the process yet. But sometimes I look back at situations that happened to me as I tell them and wonder wtf that even was.)

              1. Mr McGregor's Gardener*

                There was that poor girl who went and sat her Chemistry GCSE the morning after her entire tower block was incinerated (Grenfell Tower, London) and still got an A. Though she’d been predicted an A*.

                1. RC Rascal*

                  When I was in B School at a top US university, one of the law students drove off the top of the parking garage by accident during exam week. Her car was hanging on the safety cables at the top of the garage. She hopped out one of the back doors and went and took her exam. University Parking Services found the dangling vehicle and called a tow to pull it out. The photo and story made the paper. (According to my JD/MBA classmates, she did OK on the final).

              2. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

                This is so extreme I’m not sure it’s of value to the OP other than thinking “schools can be crazy.”

                In the US, this should result in substantial compensation to you, or at least a lawsuit.

                1. JKP*

                  I was just citing it as an example supporting everyone else saying that you have to be in the hospital or dead to reschedule an exam or paper. I also had to drag myself out of bed and to class when I had mono. Also, I couldn’t go to a funeral when there was a death in the family, because university policy was that you could only reschedule for death of immediate family such as parents or siblings, but not family such as grandparents and aunts and uncles. Also, I failed a quiz when I was literally trapped in an elevator and couldn’t make it to class, even though the event was in the school paper. So my experience in a large US State University years ago was that there was zero flexibility for life outside of school. So rescheduling for a job interview would be laughable.

              3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*


                Please tell me your leg healed correctly.

                How did you even do on that exam? I have high pain tolerance, but taking an exam with a broken leg is beyond my realm of possibility.

              4. Quill*

                Closed fracture, I’m assuming?

                Not that it sounds like it would have mattered to your professor, but I feel like they deserved to be bled on.

              5. Paulina*

                As a 20+ year academic, I am appalled at both JKP and Bilateralrope’s experiences. This is terrible practice by your universities and professors. Anyone in a similar situation should check to see whether the professor broke regulations, though of course you can’t do that when being forced to write an exam.

                Our regulations are the reverse: if you are sick during the exam, you need to not finish your exam (turn in the paper and say you can’t finish due to illness, then immediately seek medical attention). It stops students from trying to get two cracks at the exam (can’t decide after writing that you don’t want it to count), and, most importantly, means that they get medical attention when they need it, not hours later!

            2. Lynca*

              I wish someone had compassion consideration when I was in uni.

              I came to an exam sick with what I didn’t know at the time was pneumonia and after I had to spend all weekend in the hospital because my mother was in ICU. As in, I needed to be there to help direct care she couldn’t consent for. Walked into class expecting a lecture and realized “oh. There was a test today.” I ended up making a 48% which I was shocked by. I expected worse.

              I immediately went to the professor’s office post test to see if maybe, possibly they would consider letting me retake the test because of the circumstances. Immediately dismissed me and told me that even if my “grandmother” had died he wouldn’t let me retake a test. I was proud I didn’t break down in his office. I still ended up with the 2nd highest grade in that class somehow.

              1. Not in US*

                OMG that’s horrible! I have missed 1 exam in my life – during my MBA I was so sick I fainted the day before the exam (gave myself a black eye) and could barely stand the day of the exam. I got to write it a week later with a doctor’s note. The black eye was still very apparent when I dropped off the paperwork.

        2. Tea Rocket*

          For sure. At my school, the exam timetable was decided centrally (though almost certainly with the input of the different departments). The only time I had an exam moved was because the university scheduled the exams for two different gruelling masters-level classes one day after the other, and those of us who were in both complained (and, speaking personally, I was surprised they listened to us). One person asking for an exam to be moved because they had a job interview would have been told the academic admin equivalent of “Tough shit, sweetheart.”

        3. Mookie*

          There is no later.

          Just like with work! Almost like university is</i, itself, real life and not an ivory tower with nothing at stake and no real work to do!

          I often wonder about these chuckleheads who already regard students and graduates with suspicion and whether they themselves went to school and if they similarly treated it like it meant nothing, could and ought to be dropped at once for the promise of any bit of tinsel, or if they were just really bad at it. At any event, asking someone to skive off an obligation to do what you want them to for no real reason, you could always work around each other’s schedule but you don’t feel like it and you’re the boss, doesn’t really set a grand example, does it?

          1. Mookie*

            Oh, lor’, those italics. I’m sorry, everyone, but especially to my keyboarding teacher from middle school.

          2. One of the Sarahs*

            Actually, I was wondering if OP is imagining a different system to the current one?

            In the UK, the academic year used to be run on 3 terms for a lot of courses, with the only exams that counted in the summer. Then in the 90s, a lot of universities moved to 2 semesters or teaching blocks, with ‘must pass’ exams in January as well.

            If OP’s uni course was summer-exam-only, or they didn’t have to do assessed group/individual presentations, that rely on happening in front of an audience who can ask questions, she may just not understand that her experience is not universal.

            Of course, if that IS the case, and she’s doing graduate recruitment without understanding basics of modern university life, she’s been let down by bad training. She can rectify this by reading the programme specifications of the courses she wants to recruit from, before going out to the recruitment fairs.

              1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

                Doesn’t matter. Many schools have two graduations each year. Besides, the exams that end Fall Semester are scheduled just like those that end the Spring.

          3. Lina*

            When people use the term “real life” I always think they mean that they think their experience/POV is important and whatever situation the Subject of the expression finds themselves in is not of value.

            It’s a statement made almost exclusively to discount, diminish, and disregard. Like “with all due respect,”, what follows is never out of respect.

            1. Quill*

              “With all due respect” = you are due none, but I can’t actually cuss you out and get away with it, so…

            2. Allypopx*

              Yes! College is real life. It’s an important step that employers (clearly this employer) require for hireability so you better fricking take it seriously. Have I sometimes gotten really frustrated with repetitive case studies and hypotheticals in grad school? Yes. Is that better than entering the workforce (not the real world, note, the workforce) never having experienced these dilemmas? Yes, and employers tend to agree.

        4. Diahann Carroll*

          Yes! The registrar’s office was the office name I was looking for – they usually have a deadline of when final grades need to be submitted so they can approve a student for graduation. Asking to move an exam either earlier than scheduled or later can screw up the whole timeline.

      2. Tin Cormorant*

        I’m in my last month of classes now, and I will admit to having skipped a class to go to an interview recently (it was a second interview, at a company I thought was a good match, and my class was having a totally skippable review session that day) but if it had been an exam or presentation? My response to them would have been from the perspective of “obviously I can’t miss that, so is there another date that would work?” because it’s just so totally unreasonable to ask me to put my graduation date on the line for an interview that it would have been bizarre for someone to even suggest such a thing.

      3. Avi*

        From the headline I was expecting this to be something along the lines of a manager wanting students to adjust their class schedule to fit work demands or the like. The actual question is just mind-boggling.

        Like, OP, you *have* attended school at some point, right? Exams and such are pretty big deals for everything past elementary, after all. Expecting people to skip them for anything work-related is amazingly out of touch.

        1. Antilles*

          That’s what I was expecting.
          Though worth noting: Even asking your employee to shift their class schedule may or may not be possible. If it’s like Chemistry 101, sure, there’s six different sessions and you could take it at different times, but when you get into major-specific classes in junior and senior year, courses are typically offered at only one time per semester…and may even only be offered once per year period. So even then, you need to be realistic that what you want from your intern may not be logistically possible.

          1. Quill*

            I was in a small program, I did NOT have any class flexibility in terms of when to take a course after my freshman year. This meant consistently taking 2 (and once 3, but I withdrew from one of them when I realized I was going to fail that course) lab courses during the fall semester and none during the spring semester. One course I had to take was only offered every other year in the fall.

            1. bluephone*

              This too. By junior year, most of my classes were offered every other year and it was only through luck that I was able to graduate in 4 years because said (required!) classes happened to fall during the years I could take them. I knew more than a few classmates who became 5th year seniors because said classes weren’t being offered in their 3rd or 4th year (and/or there was only one session of the class so if it conflicted with another class, you were SOL; and/or it was only taught by one professor and if anything happened to them then whoops, no class that semester, etc)

              1. Quill*

                Only reason I was at that school was a scholarship, said scholarship would not have stretched to another semester, I *still* have nightmares about that…

          2. Allypopx*

            Yes, I’ve run into this a lot. My employer hasn’t always been *thrilled* about it but they knew I was in grad school when they hired me and this comes with the territory.

          3. Senor Montoya*

            I’ve worked with students who took one or two classes a semester because they were working full time : one online class if it was available, and one either starting at 7 pm (which meant they went to work extremely early in the morning) or at 8 am (which meant they worked til 10 pm). It was a real problem senior year, what with once-every-other-year classes that were required for graduation. Often they had to delay graduation or, worst case, quit work for that semester.

      4. Scarlet2*

        Yeah, the reasoning really baffles me here, esp. the comment about “finishing strong”. I don’t know where LW is located, but I’ve never heard of university/college exams as being optional in anyway. In my university (and most universities in my country), the final exam is often the only evaluation for a class and you really cannot skip it, unless you’re actually in hospital. If you miss just one exam, you fail your entire year, no matter how good your other results are.

        1. jam*

          I (probably unfairly) associate this kind of “Cs get degrees” attitude with giant state schools in the US or maybe less-academic type programs.

          As others point out, it would be majorly short sighted to give up doing your best on your degree (which you will be counting on to get you jobs for a long time in the future, and which you have presumably significantly invested in already) for the sake of a one-in-how-many dozens chance at an entry-level job (which you may not get, which may not be a good fit, which almost certainly won’t be lasting you until retirement). Maybe there are places and times where that kind of bargain is worthwhile but they’d be exceptions rather than the rule.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I didn’t even spend a full year in my entry-level job. Only way for me to get a raise, a title without the words “entry level” in it, and more marketable skills was by finding another job and leaving. This is not the 1950s where you can start in the mail room and end up the CEO of the company. I was in a very different position than OP’s job candidates are though, we were a family of 4 in a new country with no income, so when a job offer for something/anything in my field appeared out of nowhere, I grabbed it.

            And truth be told, I’m second-guessing my decision to take that job to this day. I had already applied to a grad school and was eligible for a Pell grant. Truth be told, had I known what an uphill battle it is to keep your skillset up-to-date when you are working a corporate job, I may have gone with my original plan. Employers do not hire you so you could learn on the job and leave them for someone better. They hire you to maintain and support their old legacy crap that needs to be maintained and supported. Lovely of the OP to want the students to sacrifice their grad-school record for that.

          2. Dot Warner*

            I (probably unfairly) associate this kind of “Cs get degrees” attitude with giant state schools in the US or maybe less-academic type programs.

            I attended a giant state school in the US, and even there, a student who missed an entire exam would fail the class. Most of my classes only had 3-4 exams; that’s just too big a percentage of the grade for a person to be able to bounce back from getting a zero.

            1. Quill*

              Yeah, “C’s get degrees” only applies if you, you know, actually get that C, and since your final exam is worth at least 25%, if not 50% of your grade…you’re not guaranteed a passing grade even if everything else was at 100% if you don’t turn up for the final!

            2. MLIS A. Non*

              In the state university where I earned my MLIS, Cs did not get degrees. If you were getting less than a B in a class, it was better to drop it and try again later. Cs would get you dropped from the program.

              1. Ethyl*

                My grad program was like this as well! Stressful, sure, but wow I worked my entire butt off (it grew back tho).

          3. Atlantian*

            On the topic of “Cs get degrees”. I graduated college with a 3.7 GPA in the early 2000s. Mostly, As, a few Bs and one I/E (Incomplete) mark in a course that was required for my major. I got that I/E because I was called for jury duty the week of finals my junior year and I had to go because I was attending a state school and not living in the dorms, so “away at college” was not an excuse that the court would accept. Thankfully, every other course I had that semester required a final paper, not a scheduled exam, but neither the professor nor the judge would budge on the dates. I ended up having to serve that day at the court, and the only thing the professor was willing to compromise on was giving me the incomplete instead of just a fail.

            Last month, nearly 2 decades later, I was asked about why, in the middle of what is otherwise a glowing college experience, there is a single black mark. I explained the situation, as I have done many times before, got the “I see.” response complete with side-eye, and was not offered the position. In fact, I don’t think I have ever been offered a position after an interview where that grade was questioned. So, yeah.

            STUDENTS: Don’t skip your exams, and pray for reasonable professors if something outside your control comes up.

            OP/INTERVIEWERS: Do not ask this of students. It can literally have lifelong consequences.

            1. Allypopx*

              I’m curious what industry you’re in where the can see that level of detail on your academic record. I’ve never gotten more than “Yep, you got the degree, cool” or maybe a GPA question.

              1. Barbara Eyiuche*

                Law and the foreign service. I had a panel of people interviewing me for the latter, all of whom had my university transcripts in front of them.

            2. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

              “Last month, nearly 2 decades later, I was asked about why, in the middle of what is otherwise a glowing college experience, there is a single black mark. ”

              This tells us more about the interviewer than your answer could likely say about you. An employer caring about grades after 2 decades is whack. Let alone a single bad grade – that’s beyond whack.

            3. somanyquestions*

              I’m really interested in what area you’re in that cares about grades after college. After graduation I’ve never been asked.

          4. Nanani*

            Even in a “Cs get degrees” environment, missing your final equals a zero and not a C. If the final is worth half the overall grade or more, you fail the class.

            It still boggles.

          5. Ted Mosby*

            I’m guessing that too, but it’s utter BS. Most of my friends were very smart and cared a lot about school, and went to our flagship state school. One is now a vet, having gone to Penn for vet school, one is finishing his PhD in biology, one went to a top 10 MBA program, one got her masters at Harvard… none of these things happen without good grades.

            Even in a huge school and getting a BA, final presentations and exams were minimum a quarter of my grade (and often more than half). So you’re basically asking students to guarantee that anything later in life that needs their transcript or GPA will be far more difficult, for a shot at maybe an entry level job that likely pays very little (even, or maybe especially, if you pay the fair market rate…).

            Yea, no, this is nuts.

          6. ArtK*

            Please drop that odious association. I went to a giant state school that is regarded as one of the top in the country, and respected around the world. Making that kind of assumption will prejudice you against very good candidates.

            I got my MS last year and could not have gotten that without a B average or better.

            1. Pomona Sprout*

              That comment pissed me off. I have 2 degrees (BA and MA) from a “giant state school,” and I resent the implication that it could not possibly have been academically rigorous or that people who go to large state universities aren’t serious about our GPAs. I’ll admit I wasn’t a stellar student as an undergrad (except in my major), but I knew a lot of people who graduated with a 3.5 GPA or higher. And in grad school, I HAD to maintain lat least a 3.0 to stay in the program, and I worked my tail off to make sure I did. At no time during my undergrad or grad career would I have ever skipped a final exam for a job interview.

          7. Mia*

            That’s a completely inaccurate and really awful association. Lots of perfectly competent students don’t have the resources to go anywhere other than big state schools. And there’s no way anyone at my state school alma mater (or any of the other universities in my state’s system) would’ve managed to pull even a C if they skipped an exam or major presentation.

          8. SimplyTheBest*

            Agreed with everyone else in this thread. Drop the nasty association. My giant state school is considered a public Ivy and is definitely not a “less academic type program.”

        2. somanyquestions*

          The way the LW says that makes me think of how many high school seniors treat their final semester. They know they’re graduating, and they see no need to strain themselves. Thy’ve generally gotten into college if they’re applying, so grades don’t matter.

          College is so different than that, though.

      5. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I had my primary writing hand in a cast for the last exam freshman year, and it was considered a really big deal that I was given extra time to fill out the exam with mine on primary writing hand! Skipping was not an option.

        1. sciencenerd*

          This happened to me, too! I broke a finger on my writing hand the night before an exam. I showed up for the exam in a cast. The professor thought he was being super accommodating by giving me an extra 20 minutes on a 3-hour exam. I still count it as a big accomplishment that I was able to finish and did well on the exam.

      6. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

        This is off topic, but one exam being 100% of a grade is a terrible practice from a pedagogical standpoint.

        1. RC Rascal*

          In my graduate statistics course, the final exam was 100% of the grade. The prof put all scores on a normal distribution; the top 20% got the As, second 20% got the Bs, third 20% got the Cs, and the bottom 20% failed and had to retake the course. My exam score hit right above the median. I have never in my life been so happy to be average.

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            They probably thought that’s appropriate for a statistics class, but from here it looks like they were saying “I am a poor enough teacher that exactly one fifth of my students will fail each time.”

            1. boo bot*

              Yup. And the flip side – what if you have an outlier class of students who all get 90% or more of the answers right? Do you still cut that 20% on principle?

              1. JKP*

                That happened to me. The prof was actually a really good teacher and everyone understood the material really well from his teaching and review sessions, but he still insisted on grading on a curve. Everyone did so well, that 100% was an A, 99% was a B, 98% was a C, and 97% was failing. Only exam I ever failed, and with a 97%.

          2. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

            That’s a normal distribution?

            I though a normal distribution would mean a lot of people in the middle and very few toward the edges. it seems to me he took the grades on the exam (which would probably be normal) and flattened the distribution out into letter grades.

            But what do I know, I’ve only taken stats and haven taught it.

            1. whingedrinking*

              Yup. The way it should work is that A is for exceptional performance, B is for good, C is for acceptable, D is for “you’re not meeting expectations but your work’s not a complete trash fire”, and F is for “get the extinguisher”. In general, a properly designed and targeted curriculum should produce a bell curve with a few people at each end and most of them in the middle – in a large enough class, taught repeatedly. Imposing the curve on a class is a terrible idea.

      7. Elenna*

        Yep, for most of my classes, percentage grades aside you were literally not allowed to pass the course if you missed the final. Even missing a midtern, you might theoretically still pass the course but you’d have lost 30% of the grade, so suddenly passing would become way harder.
        And even if the university would have let you move the exam (no clue if they would, it’s such a big ask that it never occured to me to think about it), I imagine the professor would have had to write a whole different exam for you to take to prevent cheating by asking the rest of the class about their exam, which I doubt they would be happy about. (And no, you can’t move the whole class’ exam, those dates are scheduled months in advance).
        Skipping classes is one thing. I did once skip an afternoon to go to an interview for a co-op job. (If I’d known then what I know now, I probably would have asked if they could use the university’s Skype software or have someone drive up, or at least asked for a reimbursement on transportation.) But I definitely would not have skipped anything that would seriously affect my grades for an interview.

        tl;dr I’m honestly amazed that the OP thinks this is a reasonable thing to ask. Not the good king of amazed, mind you.

    5. Gingerblue*

      OP1: Replace “school” with “current job” and you may understand how weird this sounds. “When scheduling interviews with these applicants, I’ve been hearing that they are not available to interview on any of the dates I’ve offered because they have work events or presentations.”

      Someone who skips their presentation at school for your job’s interview is someone who will skip their presentation at your job for their next interview. After all, you’re training them that that’s what they should do for a job that could be “attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path.”

      1. LQ*

        But this is more like, “We only want someone who has done 10 presentations because at 10 presentations you become magic. oooOOooo” and then being mad when they wouldn’t skip the presentation that would make them magic. At which point the OP wouldn’t have hired them because they wouldn’t be magic. But also the presenter would have a hard time getting other jobs because they haven’t crossed the magic threshold.

        A really important missing point is that the degree which comes from these exams and presentations is undoubtedly required for this job. That’s what makes this so shortsighted. (Otherwise why bother trying to hire folks nearly graduating from college.)

      2. Ted Mosby*

        Except your current job cant charge you thousands of dollars to redo a quarter if to mess up a big meeting…

    6. Marzipan*

      #1, you seem to be thinking that these students ought to be willing to trade the outcome of their education – in which they have invested years of their lives and in most cases huge sums of money – against the uncertain possibility of maybe becoming a Teapot Analyst (Junior Grade). That… does not make sense to me. I am doing a Spock eyebrow right now.

    7. Lucky black cat*

      Studying costs a lot of money and your results could affect your whole life. I’m a bit shocked by this letter.

    8. Budgieman*

      And in next weeks letters “This company is advertising for graduates, but wants me to interview at times that collide with my final exams and presentations. How do I push on this back without getting them offside?”

    9. Claire*

      I’m struck by the line, “It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.” What OP doesn’t seem to understand is that in almost all cases, there’s no flexibility when it comes to exams. If all three proposed interview dates clash with exams, there’s nothing that the student can do. It’s not being unwilling to make things work, it’s being entirely unable to.

      1. WS*

        +1, and if they’re a student with exam-heavy subjects (such as languages) there may be multiple, inflexible dates *per subject*!

        1. Quill*

          oh god, I’m having flashbacks to my spanish oral exam to complete my minor… which consisted of me complaining about my science courseload in spanish… for an hour… in preterite tense…

          I passed, and I remember literally nothing else about it.

      2. CM*

        This. It sounds like either the OP doesn’t understand how university schedules work and believes students can somehow change them, or else they see university as the place you go to find a job in the same way people used to think it’s where you went to find a husband. So, why go to your finals if you could spend that time getting someone to marry you / offer you a job?

      3. PM Punk*

        I’ll add, as someone working at a university, that schools typically have a timeline of their semester that includes final exam weeks searchable on their respective websites. It would likely take OP a few minutes to suss out that students at a given university won’t be able to interview during week x, possibly saving everyone the time and trouble of finding a different date.

        1. Antilles*

          I’ll add, as someone working at a university, that schools typically have a timeline of their semester that includes final exam weeks searchable on their respective websites.
          Shoot, schools plan this out literally *years* in advance. Just checked my own former university and the very first result of a Google search for “(University Name) final exams” is the school’s website with a calendar listing off every midterm exam week, final exam week, spring break, fall break, etc from now until 2028.

      4. Rusty Shackelford*

        In fact, it would be desperately short-sighted to potentially throw away your chance to graduate at all, just for a job interview!

      5. Emilia Bedelia*

        I don’t think OP is expecting them to skip the exam itself. My interpretation is that the students are blocking out the entire day of the exam and OP wants them to offer more flexible times.

        When I was a graduating senior, I did actually have some interviews scheduled during finals season, and it worked out. It was a very tight schedule and I certainly would have preferred more free time, but I made it work.

        Obviously we don’t know each students’ individual schedule (and neither does OP), but if large groups of students are saying “That’s finals week, I can’t interview on any of those days” and not making any attempt at all to offer a time that would work… well, I see OP’s frustration.

        1. Washi*

          But it’s still the students’ prerogative not to want to do an interview during finals week. And it’s OP’s prerogative not to offer alternative times, if that doesn’t work for the timeline. I don’t see how the OP can reasonably “push back” when someone says they’re not available.

          And if the OP is trying to recruit students and decides to do it during finals every year, then I think she’s just setting herself up for frustration!

          1. Dot Warner*

            Most universities have their academic calendar available online, which will include the weeks of final exams. OP, if you find that every year you’re having trouble recruiting due to conflicts with finals, maybe it’d help you to find the academic calendars of the school(s) where you do most of your recruiting and try to schedule interviews around finals.

          2. AnonEMoose*

            This is a good point. If the OP works with this university a lot, why can’t OP find out when finals week is in advance? It’s hardly a secret.

            If this is consistently a problem, I would suggest that OP go to her management and say something like “we’re consistently running into issues scheduling interviews during finals at X University. Could we possibly consider shifting our interview options to the week before or the week after?”

            Maybe there are reasons that wouldn’t be possible. But maybe it’s no big deal and would be easy enough to make that shift, saving OP and the students a lot of frustration in the process.

        2. Allypopx*

          I dunno. Most interviews I’ve been on have offered pretty specific time slots, or even “sometime between 1 and 3” could be tricky if they have a 10am exam and need to commute from campus afterwards, or vice versa if they are going to risk being late for an exam. They could have multiple exams and presentations per day, not uncommon at the end of the semester. The OPs stance still seems unrealistic.

        3. Avasarala*

          I don’t see anything abnormal with blocking out an entire day for an exam. All time before that is devoted to studying, eating brain food, and other prep. All time afterwards is spent recuperating and resting after an exhausting exam! Plus if you have an exam at 11am and an interview at 3pm, when are you supposed to prep for the interview?

          It is really callous and ignorant of OP to target students for these entry level (read: not important) jobs and then be frustrated when students are unavailable during the most important time to students. It’s like scheduling jobs aimed at football players in their final year before retirement, and trying to schedule interviews during the Superbowl/World Cup. And then complaining they’re being inflexible. Ha!

    10. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

      At the risk of pile on, I have to say this:

      The amount of money our family is paying for school?


      My son will be choosing to put his school first, thank you*. Almost everyone’s education, except that of the wealthy, comes at significant sacrifice. For many students it is 20+ years of debt. For our family, it is a house full of furniture with the stuffing coming out of it and several years of missed retirement contributions. It’s bizarre to think students should be casual about the single largest unsecured financial investment of their lives (except I guess their own children, who they will have to get through school one day also).

      * I wish my son were a little more aggressive about career fairs and pre graduation opportunities. He is graduating with his masters in EE in a month. I have been wishing he would be but he’s like Mom, school is taking everything. And then I read this post and think, okay, if you have to make a choice, good choice. son.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Agree — college in the US costs more than the median per capita income these days. Other countries may be different, but here, even the wealthy are starting to struggle (all but the uber-rich are caught in the bind of making too much for scholarships therefore needing to take out predatory loans at 6.8% or higher rates). Many of my doctor friends with toddlers have been saving for college since their child was in utero, while simultaneously trying to pay off their own student loan debt. I am child-free for many reasons, but a nice perk is that I have actually have a shot at retiring before age 70!

        With that kind of financial pressure, it’s no wonder that students would be terrified of failing out to attend your job interview.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I lived paycheck to (pretty sizable) paycheck for several years when my kids attended cheap state schools. Cheap or not, it’s still five figures and still cuts into one’s budget. Also, if my furniture were a person, it’d be old enough to drink, so no pile-on from me.

    11. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      Let’s not forget that exams are scheduled weeks in advance and are not flexible at all – that schedule is pretty much set in stone. And they need time to prepare.

      I’m a bit baffled by the attitude of this recruiter. The soon to be grads have no power to change the exam schedule (at a school where they’ve *paid* to attend). The employer has a lot of flexibility/power to change when they plan to hire and interview.

    12. The Original K.*

      I’m frankly floored by this letter. Even expecting students to miss a class for an interview is wholly inappropriate, but an exam? And being annoyed when they can’t? Absolutely, wholeheartedly not.

      1. Tedious Cat*

        I can’t get over the bad faith of coming to school events to recruit and then trying to undercut the school. If I were still in academia, I would report this to Career Services so fast it would make my own head spin.

        1. AKchic*

          I honestly wish the students had the presence of mind to do so. In the US, most of young/new workers don’t know their rights, or even the majority of their rights as workers, let alone as citizens. Add in the additional student rights, and the morality of a company coming in presumably to hire new graduates before they graduate but then subtly pressuring them to blow off the very exams/presentations that would allow them to graduate on time (if at all)… it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, and if I were more of a conspiracy theory nut, I’d say there’s something sinister about it.

          At best, it’s bad faith. At worst, there’s more to it. I wish students were taught their rights as employees. This is the kind of employer that really shouldn’t be at a job fair if they can’t accommodate a student’s testing schedule.

        2. Esme Squalor*

          At my alma mater, a company would have been banned by Career Services from all university events for this kind of behavior. I remember Career Services encouraged students to report this kind of thing, and messages went out about it around the time of career fairs.

    13. Mel_05*

      Exactly. The OP wouldn’t want them to ditch important work for the company just because they’re interviewing for a better job.

    14. Lina*

      Going to post here in order to avert a dozen threads on this LW.

      I think this is a classic example of someone so caught up in what they want and how great attractive they think their offer will be that they absolutely have stopped seeing the people they are interacting with as people. They see them as appliances to fill a slot. (Stolen from ChumpLady).

      It’s so easy to do this. People doing it when dating. They focus on what they have to offer and what they want and don’t see the other person as a person with independent wants and needs. We do it with family (as the good Captain says “but faaaamily” = Do what I want b/c I’ve decided unilaterally what family should look like).

      They are 100% seeing this one from their side to the point it has absolutely skewed their POV.

      They aren’t evil or mean, just falling victim to a common mistake: I have this great thing. Everyone should trip over themselves to get this great thing. Why are they being unreasonable and not bending to my and begging to get access to this great thing?

      1. Lina*

        This isn’t to say that people who do this when dating or in families can’t be evil or mean about it. I just don’t think LW is evil or mean or purposefully trying to be selfish or manipulative.

        But they do need to step back and ask themselves how they got this far down the rabbit hole away from the light. Because at the bottom of that rabbit hole, there be dragons. Not fluffy bunnies.

    15. Nita*

      Agreed. One thing that may make things easier for OP and the students – final exams and presentations typically happen in the final weeks of a semester. Most universities have an academic calendar online so you can see when exam week is. If I recall correctly, presentations are usually scheduled shortly before exam week. If OP plans to schedule interviews outside of this time frame, there’s a much smaller chance of running into major scheduling conflicts (there are other big exams, but not as often as in those final weeks).

    16. Catsaber*

      Also, if the OP is looking to hire students who are on their last class to graduate – that means they are usually taking a capstone course or some other important course that is needed to graduate, and they need to make a good grade. Not want – NEED. There are many programs where you will fail the entire program if you fail your capstone (the Nursing programs at my university come to mind!).

      I get that it’s annoying to juggle interview scheduling with students – I just hired a student worker for my team, and it took a while to coordinate schedules. But I’m not going to expect students, whose entire college career might be riding on a presentation or an exam, to skip that just for an interview. I did at least 20 phone interviews for this one position. Would I expect 20 students to skip out on important coursework, when I am only going to hire one of them? No.

      OP – I think you will just need to put up with the annoyance of scheduling or start doing the interviews much, much earlier in the semester, when the stakes are lower for students. But like I said – if it’s something like a capstone course, then it’s ALL high-stakes, and they won’t want to miss any of it.

      1. Quill*

        Yeah, OP: summer internship applications typically start, at latest, in the end of march. If you want a grad to start in June? You gotta get your process started in march, and have a decision WELL before finals.

    17. yala*

      Exactly. Also, OP said: ” I understand they want to finish out strong, but I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path. It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.”

      Which just seems…incredibly self-involved? Or at least unwilling to actually see things from the students’ perspective. As they say, it COULD BE a long-term career path. And it’s just an offer.

      OP seems to be expecting students to potentially tank their degree–something very expensive and difficult that will probably serve them very well in the future in terms of employment and salary–for the CHANCE that 1) they will get hired and 2) they will stay at the company long term.

      That’s definitely not reasonable. If you’re hiring students, you have to work with student needs. Students NEED to pass their classes–especially in grad school!

      1. OP #1*

        Totally fair interpretation to see it as a self-involved question — upon re-reading it & hearing everyone’s thoughts on my question, I can recognize that I probably didn’t accurately represent myself. There are a lot of culture changes to navigate going from student to employee & I guess I was really just digging into when that shift should start to happen.

        I also have a lot more inside info on the candidates chances for employment (by the time we get to the in-person interview I’m trying to schedule, it’s pretty high!) but the candidates don’t have that info, so there’s more risk on their end. I’ll keep offering dates to students until one lines up for us — thanks for chiming in!

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          I feel you on hiring/interviewing – I hire true entry-level people as well, and we both want to get our finalists in but also be respectful of their school schedules. Sometimes, between their schedules and the very busy interviewers’ schedules, it feels like doing an LSAT logic puzzle.

          That said, an interview is just that – an interview. For one position, at one organization, even. Even if someone is likely to be hired, they may decide the job is not a good fit for what they want, you can decide not to hire them, and then they may have made an irreparable mark in their GPA (which certain industries do care about and could also damage their chances at admission to graduate or professional school). It’s not like high school senioritis when you’ve already been accepted to college – even if you transfer, they’re going to have some college grades to go on. Your undergraduate record may need to be more than just your foot in the door at one company and for a much longer time.

        2. Close Bracket*

          “There are a lot of culture changes to navigate going from student to employee”

          True — but skipping important milestones for interviews is not one of them.

    18. Quickbeam*

      For OP #1…the situation cries out for expanded interview hours. It’s really common in my field (nursing) wher you are looking to hire shift workers who may be asleep or working during regular hours. It might solve the problem and expand the interviewee pool.

      1. OP #1*

        That’s not a bad idea — I think we could absolutely make a Saturday interview work on our end during these busier times or if we were in a legitimate time crunch. That might help address the student schedules as well since they’re unlikely to have classes on the weekends. Thanks for the idea!

    19. Richard*

      As an educator, I can tell you that those exams/presentations can weigh anywhere from 25-50% of a grade (it really depends on the school). It would probably hurt their job prospects with you if they did not graduate/delayed graduation, too, right? And understandably, you may need to fill a position sooner than the candidate can be met–that’s life, and that is also a lesson said students should already have learned.

    20. OP #1*

      Chiming in here in response to all the feedback — I appreciate Alison’s flipping of the situation as “if a student wrote into me with this concern, I’d tell them it was a red flag for the company”. That was definitely a helpful reframing!

      I would also like to reiterate that we have always accommodated student schedules for interviews & have no intention of changing that in the future — I was looking for confirmation that we were approaching that correctly or if we needed to push back a little (clearly the answer is yes we are doing it correctly & no, don’t push back!)

      My question was sparked by a student who was unable to meet with us on any of the 6+ dates I had proposed between mid-November & mid-December. It’s obviously a busy time of year & we will certainly offer dates after the holidays, though I don’t have those confirmed yet. I was a bit taken aback by their attitude when I notified them that I would be in touch when future availability is confirmed, which got me thinking about how much accommodating is reasonable both on our end as an employer & on their end as a candidate. Sounds like our current system of continuing to offer dates until one works for all parties is the best, & I’ll continue to do that!

      I know this is all anonymous but I do feel compelled to clarify that we are a good company & I genuinely love working with students! We are not perfect, & I am certainly not, which is why I love AAM & appreciate Alison answering my question, plus all the commenters. I promise I’m not a monster who is blacklisting students who just want to graduate :)

      1. Mid*

        Thank you for this comment!

        I’m a recent graduate, so I get it. It’s really tough. It could be helpful, if you aren’t already, to
        1. Look at school schedules and see when final exams are and work your interview schedules around that
        2. Offer alternative interview methods (e.g. Skype) for students who are obligated to go home during school breaks, have to work, etc

        I know when I was trying to interview for jobs, it was difficult to balance attending my classes, working, and finding time to interview, especially when missing a shift of work meant I wouldn’t make rent that month. I tried to be as flexible as possible, but sometimes I just couldn’t make it work.

      2. Warm Weighty Wrists*

        I’d like to add to someone else’s suggestion of expanded interview hours. When I was in college, I was a double major and also worked at a library with limited hours, so I was completely booked 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. If I had an interview during the week, I miiiight have been able to make it work, but I would have had to weigh it against passing THIS class, making rent THIS month, etc. Like many people, I was living my life on a bit of a knife edge during college, not because I didn’t care or was disorganized, but because I was trying to accomplish a whole lot without a lot of resources. Evening or weekend options would have made my life a lot easier, and made a very positive impression on me about the company.

        1. OP #1*

          Yes, someone else suggested that as well & I definitely think we could make expanded hours work, either later in the evening or on weekends for students because, using your schedule as an example, that doesn’t just come up during exam periods.

      3. Daisy-dog*

        I think your company would benefit from having recruiting schedules instead of accepting applications year-round. This is pretty common for certain programs that hire new grads, so it won’t seem unusual. Can you ask your liason at the university for guidance on how other companies handle this?

      4. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        Hi OP #1. I am thrilled that you have been so positive in response to these comments. As to your specific point, the lesson may be not to overgeneralize. If you have one student whom you have found difficult to schedule, that may say more about that individual than about students in general. As you can see from the comments, most students will go to great lengths to accommodate an interviewer.

        1. OP #1*

          Haha yes lesson learned :) I think I set out with more of a thought exercise like, “this is how we’ve been doing it, but now I’m faced with one specific challenge that has me wondering if I’m actually doing it correctly…” but you’re right that it might speak more to that particular student. Or not! Either way, there have been some good suggestions in the comments about ways to make hiring students smoother for everyone so I have some ideas to improve our process, beyond just this one situation.

    21. CanCan*

      It would be incredibly short-sighted and excessively optimistic for a student to miss an exam or presentation, thus failing a course, and therefore not being able to graduate, in order to go to an interview. Even if it weren’t an interview, but the actual job start date, it would still be a bad idea.

      1. OP #1*

        Definitely not asking them to miss an exam or presentation! We want students to graduate! We even insist that they don’t start until they are completely finished with school responsibilities & are always happy to push their start date to allow them to travel or celebrate the accomplishment. Just a poorly-worded question on my part about a situation I encountered that had me wondering if I needed to change our approach (& turns out I do not, as everyone here has stated haha)

        1. Sacred Ground*

          If you’re scheduling interviews for students in early December at all, then no, you’re not doing it right. You’re making an outsized demand for time and focus when they can least spare it and you KNOW this. You know this is a hell week for students. You say you aren’t asking them to miss exams but what you are asking them is to miss studying, library time, editing final projects, etc. Preparing for an interview puts a big time/mental energy suck when they can least afford it, then expressing confusion and annoyance because one student pushed back.

          If you just moved your own hiring schedule forward 2-3 weeks this whole problem wouldn’t exist. This schedule conflict is your company’s own doing. You know the semester schedule and (you say) you understand students’ priorities. So, work around that.

    22. Kate*

      This. I’m a college professor. Missing one class for a job interview is normal and expected. But as many folks said on this thread, missing an exam or presentation could take an A grade down to a C or below, and for what?

    23. HannahS*

      Ye gods, you can’t ask students to risk their performance at school for a “long-term career” that you may or may not offer! What do you think will happen if a student fails a course…and then you don’t offer them a job? You’re expecting them to risk shooting themselves in the foot.

      Pretend they have a job. They can take a half day off on certain days, but don’t ask people to risk getting fired. Student schedules are are set months in advance and are notoriously inflexible.

    24. RaeaSunshine*

      Right? Will LW still be interested in hiring them if they don’t graduate due to failing a class because they were a NO SHOW for an exam or presentation?? It’s not even like it’s just an issue of them missing a class, those are make it/break it milestones in classes!

    25. Database Developer Dude*

      MissGirl’s comment is exactly why this one needs a pile-on. It should be so obvious, that this is a red flag, and I wouldn’t want to work for that company anyway. Expecting students to blow off an exam, presentation, or class for an interview is so far beyond the pale, that if I was that recruiter’s manager my first question would be “WTF is wrong with you?”

      A graduating senior who will blow off an exam for an interview is a future employee who will blow off a deadline because they had something better to do.

      Plus, it’s a red flag that work expects to be all encompassing. How will they react if an employee needs to be out due to a family emergency? Maybe someone’s in the hospital? The work/life balance at this company is suspect.

    26. Cacwgrl*

      This! Our bread and butter comes from our recently or soon to be graduated S&Es. We recruit during the year but are flexible in requesting interviews, to the point that if they can’t sit with our recruiter before they leave campus, the recruiter typically schedules a phone call with the candidate in off class hours. It works well and we know what to expect. We also require them to travel to the sites since they are a bit remote and those we expect to happen during holidays/slower times for students. We pay for and make all arrangements, but it’s at the students schedule and we accommodate them. To be fair, we have solid relationships at our schools and most instructors know how our gig works and help accommodate the time for the students as well. We just accept working with student schedules to be part of the job.
      If they’re willing to drop everything at a moments notice, we actually get a little concerned. Are they poor students, are they not in any other job hunt process – this is a very competitive field-, basically it’s more of a yellow flag at least for us to watch.

  2. A*

    OP2: I hope you will also consider whether all the changes you are making are strictly necessary, and even whether they are all improvements. It’s possible that existing systems work in ways you don’t see yet as a new manager. Even where change is necessary, too much at once is destabilizing to the existing team. It sounds like your assistant is trying to hold onto her footing in a decidedly inappropriate way, and Alison’s advice is spot on for addressing that. But before you get too my-way-or-the-highway, it might be worth it to take a 10,000 foot view to see what changes will make the most immediate positive impact and which are preferences that can wait until you have more rapport with your team.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      If that’s the case, and if the assistant is responsive after OP’s first intervention (and only if she’s responsive), then it sounds like it may be helpful to ping her on institutional memory. I would be curious to know if other team members are also reacting this poorly, or if this is really an interpersonal issue. Unfortunately the assistant’s behavior is problematic enough that it probably occludes OP’s ability to get that 10,000′ view.

      1. valentine*

        I think the assistant didn’t apply for the job because the previous manager treated her like second-in-command and it didn’t occur to her that would change. If so, she may be experiencing the new dynamic as a demotion.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          This was absolutely the situation in my case. The former manager treated my direct report as her assistant and when I came on board, I had this person doing more of the things she was really meant to be doing–she was quite overloaded at the time. She felt is was a demotion when it was more of having her focus on the things that are truly her realm. Also, she acted much like OP’s assistant. She absolutely hated change and never got on board with it, so she quit.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      Even if true, it couldn’t justify going to HR about the forms. That’s over the top and makes me believe that it isn’t about previous systems. After all, if the previous systems did work it would be the assistants job to let the OP know that.
      The assistants response is inappropriate.

      1. One of the Sarahs*

        I disagree – if a manager wants forms with things like reasons someone wants holiday/ invasive questions about sickness that are beyond the organisational norms, HR is exactly the place to take it.

        1. Sarai*

          Where are you getting that the OP’s form asked invasive questions from? There’s absolutely nothing in the letter to indicate that. You seem to be adding your own twist to the story to try to justify the assistant’s poor behavior, which is both unhelpful and weird.

          Also, HR had ALREADY APPROVED the form.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          You are fabricating facts. There was no mention of reasons or invasive questions. Only tracking, which is reasonable if it isn’t already automated.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I agree. We have no idea what the employer’s timekeeping systems look like or it works. Maybe it’s great and the form is unnecessary. Maybe it has some gaps and a form will help improve tracking, as OP said. Maybe it’s a total piece of crap and the form is essential. Just because someone creates a form, it doesn’t meant they’re doing it “just because.”

            (Also, just because a new manager makes changes doesn’t mean they’re doing it “just because” or that the changes aren’t necessary or they haven’t given it some thought. Maybe OP was specifically tasked with making changes because something wasn’t working.)

            1. londonedit*

              Exactly. I can see the employee being annoyed, because yes it can be annoying when a new manager comes in and you’ve been used to maybe a bit of an ad-hoc system and all of a sudden it’s ‘OK we really need to start keeping a proper record of annual leave and sick days, HR have approved this form that we all need to use from now on’. I can see someone thinking ‘Ugh, really, this new manager is really militant about people’s holidays, it’s so unfair’. But the truth is that if the OP thought the holiday/sick tracking system wasn’t working from a management point of view, then it sounds like it absolutely was part of their job to talk to HR and come up with a system that was going to work. It doesn’t say anywhere that the new form involves ‘invasive questions’ – it could easily be a case of there simply being a form where there wasn’t one before, and that’s what the employee is reacting to.

        3. Adereterial*

          Every single place I’ve worked in the UK has required some sort of form to be filled in when requesting leave. It’s absolutely not something to be going to HR over.

          1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            Forms are a sure way to prove you’ve requested the leave and it was approved. An email is a close second.

            If you work for a place where you have to book your time, and you enter the codes for sick or vacation without proof it was approved, you risk not having the time paid.

            I would have to start speculating as to why this new manager needs to track absences but it may be because it was starting to feel a bit loose and not well managed.

            At my workplace, where the absence sheets trickle into HR all day, some have been accused (behind hands and uttered in hushed tones) of taking sick or vacation days and simply forgetting to submit the sheets so that they can take more time off later. I was shocked and am not convinced it’s true but in a system like ours where the sheets are entered manually once submitted to HR, I can see how it could happen if a manager is not on top of it.

              1. sssssssssssssssssssssssss*

                Oh, believe me, I know it. Still don’t understand why we haven’t moved to an electronic system yet.

          2. WellRed*

            But if you work at a place where it’s not something that has been done, I can see why it’s annoying. Doesn’t excuse the behavior.

        4. Diahann Carroll*

          HR approved the forms, so there was absolutely no reason for the assistant to go whining to them about it other than to try to override the new boss’s directive. It was passive-aggressive as hell.

        5. LQ*

          This isn’t what OP said they were for. We are supposed to take the OPs word. HR had already approved the forms.

          And forms are less likely to have these kinds of questions because if they are written down then they can be called out. If someone only asks them in the word talking then it’s way easier to be slippery.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Actually, in our company forms are strictly controlled. They have to go into an SOP system for ISO 9000. I don’t know why our HR department forms affect a manufacturing quality system, but it’s what we’re working with.
        That said, the assistant should have told new manager that any new forms need to be approved before use. “Do you want to get HR’s signoff or should i do that?”

        1. SimplyTheBest*

          Seeing as the forms were already approved by HR, the assistant shouldn’t have done anything except start using the forms.

    3. Lucky black cat*

      I think the LW should also:

      – talk to your assistant and involve them in change (aka ‘getting buy-in’)
      – make sure you’re building a good relationship by holding 1:1s etc
      – look for quick wins where you can involve her in decisions
      – learn about change management and ask yourself honestly if you’re just making changes because you can

      I don’t love Alison’s answer as it didn’t cover a lot of this and focused on the idea that she’s being resistant. Most people would be resistant to a new manager who made loads of changes without discussion.

      1. Yvette*

        I have a little bit of an issue with this : “And then follow through on that — because ultimately you need an assistant who is willing to assist you, not work at odds with you.” Even in an at-will state, it is often difficult to fire someone, and LW needs to make sure that these actions fall into the category of offenses that she could fire or write someone up for as a prelude to dismissal. LW may have to fall back on poor performance evaluations which would impact raises, promotions etc.

        1. Emily K*

          That’s the purpose of the, “I need to be clear with you that -” conversation. If you as a manager say clearly that you need XYZ as part of the job and the employee doesn’t do XYZ, then they’re either incapable of doing the job as defined or they’re being insubordinate and disregarding a direct instruction from their manager, both of which ought to be considered part of a “category of fireable offenses.”

          I’m sure there are some companies where a manager might be kneecapped and not given authority to decide what they need from their staff or fire staff, but they’re dysfunctional and not the majority… and a lot of times in my experience managers will exaggerate and say that they’re “not allowed to fire anyone” when what they really mean is they just don’t want to because it’s going to be A Whole Thing that will take them away from projects they’re focused on and also they don’t want to be seen as Mean Firing Manager.

          In most companies, though, there’s a process that managers must follow to terminate an employee, and it’s often a system of progressive warnings where this “I need to be clear” conversation serves as the first warning. Very few companies will micromanage to the point of telling a manager they can’t decide what is a fireable offense and what isn’t – they’re only concerned with whether the progressive warning system was followed and properly documented.

        2. Witchy Human*

          I think for the most part people who learn that their boss doesn’t think they’re a good fit for their position are going to start job searching.

          There are definitely long-tenured people who will stubbornly dig their heels in, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

      2. One of the Sarahs*

        Especially if OP is bringing in processes that only her team have to complete. If the rest of the organisation uses self-certification for short sickness, or OP’s forms are in addition to the office-wide processes, or if this team-only form asks for personal info the staff haven’t had to provide before (why I want time off, details of medical stuff) I’d ask HR about that too.

      3. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yeah, this is one of those situations where it’s impossible to tell whether the assistant is just having an ‘I don’t like change or you’ problem, or if LW is creating a huge amount of extra work and document-disparity for her team, and the assistant is trying to helpfully hint that this is going too far. I’d say examine for the latter, and then, if you’re sure it’s not applicable, just respond to each “that’s not how X did it” with “well, it’s how we’re doing it now.”

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          If the LW’s changes are actually not good for logistical reasons, then the assistant needs to say that rather than leaning on “That’s not how Courtney did it.” The behavior LW described isn’t helpfully hinting, it’s empty bellyaching.

          1. CupcakeCounter*

            Yes – we are all rightly assuming that the assistant knows more about the company/operations/team than OP and if there really are issues with what OP is doing, the assistant should push back but not with “that’s not how Courtney did it” but with “Hey, just a heads up that corporate policy states X so this form isn’t going to go over well. What about trying something like X? “

      4. MadeleinesAreMoreIsh*

        I would second this and agree the answer was lacking here. The assistant may well be incredibly anxious about what this change might mean for her – it makes sense to consider this possibility, and maybe adjust your approach to changes accordingly. Chances are you will end up with a much happier relationship with her. Trust takes time to build.

    4. MistOrMister*

      This is what I was thinking as well. In my old department the new manager has been making changes left and right. The majority of which are causing everyone more work but aren’t actually necesary. Like implementing new forms where there were already forms with all the needed information but now the new forms are harder to read and more time consuming to fill out. In many cases they have to backtrack and change things once they roll out the new procedures because it comes to light that, oh no, you can’t actually do that based on X Y and Z, which they would have known had they bothered talking to their team leads or counterparts in other departments. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with.

      Which is not to say that OP isn’t implementing well thought out changes, or that the assistant is behaving appropriately. But, I would agree that OP should take time to reflect on if these changes are all necessary. And to perhaps consider looping others in. Especially as a first time manager, it’s possible that OP might be coming off as heavy handed or overbearing with these changes. Definitely talk to the assistant. It might be that she is too resistant to change or too loyal to the previous manager to do any good. But she might be feeling unappreciated or that she’s not being given the same level of respect or having her opinions considered like they were under her previous boss and that could be a factor here.

    5. Judy Rootytooty*

      also when you make changes to job responsibilities — do they all involve your admin? If 90% of your changes create more work for the admin, the pushback might be coming from a place of overwhelmed/overwork.

      1. CL Cox*

        But the assistant is not saying that it’s too much work, she is saying “that’s not the way Cortney and I did it.” If it’s creating too much work, then that’s what she needs to say and that should come out in the initial meeting Allison recommended.

    6. Lina*

      Yes, but some people hate change. Some people are completely risk-averse. Some people get invested in how things are done because it gives them power.

      I distinctly remember somewhere around 2007, a friend who was a lawyer wanted to move everything off of paper and occasional word documents and on to a software program and networked computing. Her admin found a reason to hate every single program and consultant. Every single one. She eventually figured out the admin wanted to keep doing it the old way because it was comfortable, safe, and gave her power.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        That is what I read from the letter. I have worked with subordinates who hated change in general. It doesn’t take many of those experiences for me to have deep sympathies for OP2.

        1. Do I need a hard hat for this?*


          Some people just hate change, effort, and any change that takes effort. I constantly have to remind my coworker that some changes increase efficiency, which means you can work smart and not hard! Why would you not want your job to be easier in the long run?!?

      2. fogharty*

        I worked with someone who absolutely resisted even the smallest change. I think they saw any new procedure or process as being an insult to the them and the way it was done previously.
        So when we started sending pdf files to be printed instead of hard paper copies (which would have been scanned and converted to pdf anyway, with much image loss) they refused to do it. Because “the way we’ve always done it has worked fine and no reason to change and we didn’t know this new-fangled way of doing stuff!” This was in the late-2000’s.
        They also resented the fact that some jobs they could spend weeks completing could now be done in less than a day. They saw it as disrespecting them, somehow (a “slap in the face” to call back to last week’s LW.)
        It got so bad that we (the other staff including her manager) had to introduce new procedures when they were on vacation or otherwise out of the office just to avoid all the complaints. There was still whining, but it was a fait accompli, so not much they could do.

    7. henrietta*

      There’s a thing that sometimes happens when people are confronted with the kind of change described here; I offer it for what it’s worth. Whenever OP implements a change resisted by the assistant because “Cortney & I never did it this way”, there might be an undercurrent of taking offense that fuels the resistance. In other words, ‘if Cortney & I never did it this way, your doing it this way means that you think that Cortney & I suck! We don’t suck! YOU suck!’

      That kind of thing isn’t even conscious; it’s just reflex out of fear.

      Something to factor in.

  3. Drew*

    Alison, what would you say if OP#4’s question was “Do I have standing to trash them on Yelp for mistreating their staff?” Still too involved?

    1. Lord Ye old*

      It’s dangerous though, either OP has to be forced to make blatantly false reviews (arcade is dirty, I was cheated out of my money, staff stole my wallet), which will only make things worse for staff; or OP will have to include work details of her sister and her manager (XYZ manager is unfair and I know because ABC cannot take leave for a sick relative), which also doesn’t seem wise.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s just not her fight! This is her sister’s to decide how to handle. She can certainly coach her sister from behind the scenes though, if her sister wants that.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Exactly. I would be pretty peeved if one of my family members took it upon themselves to use my situation to publicly bash my employer or otherwise try to seek retribution on my behalf. And if said Yelp review referenced my situation, the former employer would assume I wrote it, which would be doubly irritating.

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        Cosigned. I had a family member try to intervene in a dispute between me and a former employer. It did not go well, and I’m estranged from that family member now.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Not Alison, but that approach sounds like it’s still inappropriate and definitely too involved. First, it’s easy as heck to trace back to the sister, who really doesn’t need this crappy experience to follow her around. Second, the manager being a jerk is not enough to suggest the employer (or even the manager) mistreats their staff.

      Expecting someone to come in for a shift, especially without knowing all the context OP gave us, is not an inherently wrong expectation for a manager to enforce.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      That’s pathetically passive aggressive and retaliatory. Yuck. Who does that?

      I’d encourage the sister to go to the owner and let him know the circumstances of her quitting. Then let the owner decide if it is worth handling. The reality is that if Jr keeps treating employees badly it will affect the business. Dad will be mad.

      1. Mejor vivir de pies que morir de rodillas!*

        I don’t agree with PCBH and Engineer Girl. I think a critical Yelp review is completely appropriate. How a business treats its staff is valid Yelp material.

        As for it being “passive aggressive” – no, not if other options have been exhausted.

        As for it being “retaliatory” — sure it is. So what? The credible threat of retaliation, especially cost-free retaliation, can keep small businesses in line when no one else does.

        1. JessaB*

          Except the OPs sister may not want this on Yelp or anywhere else. The details may identify the sister and it’s not the right of someone else to out the circumstances. It just isn’t the same as going into a supermarket and hearing the manager screaming at a cashier, that’s an event where the OP is a neutral observer. Right now the only info the OP has on this is because the sister told them in confidence.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          Other options were NOT exhausted. And sneaky behind-your-back retaliation is a classic passive aggressive move.

          It’s certainly reasonable for a customer to leave a Yelp review but that isn’t the case. They aren’t a customer.

        3. Engineer Girl*

          Besides, people who retaliate enjoy hurting others. They’re just trying to justify their behavior by making it look righteous. Walk away…

          1. Mejor vivir de pies que morir de rodillas!*

            First off, I am curious whether in the context of defense policy you favor unilateral disarmament. If yes, then you are at least being consistent when you say “people who retaliate enjoy hurting others.” If not, which is what most people see as the reasonable position, that deterrence works to enjoin bad behavior.

            Second, I do not see why you equate “passive aggressive” with “bad.” I happened to be reading an article in the Guardian a few weeks ago that observed “passive-aggressive behaviour is a way to retaliate if you’re at the wrong end of a power dynamic.” In other words, it can be a way to ensure you’re not a doormat.

            You seem to take the view that people at that wrong end morally must be a doormat. I think that’s a very privileged-based viewpoint.

            Third, I completely agree that OP should avoid identifying her niece. But a OP can write an anonymous Yelp review in a way that does not identify any of the parties in question, such as by omitting details, altering immaterial details, and so on. All it has to say is “I patronized this arcade on November 25th and saw a manager interacting very rudely with staff.” Or OP could be even more ambiguous and claim that the place was dirty; that would still be accurate, because the working atmosphere is dirty.

            The manager has established that his relationship with his employees is one of unfairness, and he has no moral standing to complain if they reciprocally treat him the same way. Veils of ignorance, and all that

          2. Mejor vivir de pies que morir de rodillas!*

            First off, I am curious whether in the context of defense policy you favor unilateral disarmament. If yes, then you are at least being consistent when you say “people who retaliate enjoy hurting others.” If not, which is what most people see as the reasonable position, that deterrence works to enjoin bad behavior.

            Second, I do not see why you equate “passive aggressive” with “bad.” I happened to be reading an article in the Guardian a few weeks ago that observed “passive-aggressive behaviour is a way to retaliate if you’re at the wrong end of a power dynamic.” In other words, it can be a way to ensure you’re not a doormat.

            You seem to take the view that people at that wrong end of a power dynamic must be a doormat. I think that’s a very privileged-based viewpoint.

            Third, I completely agree that OP should avoid identifying her niece. But a OP can write an anonymous Yelp review in a way that does not identify any of the parties in question, such as by omitting details, altering immaterial details, and so on. All it has to say is “I patronized this arcade on November 25th and saw a manager interacting very rudely with staff.” Or OP could be even more ambiguous and claim that the place was dirty; that would still be accurate, because the working atmosphere is dirty.

            The manager has established that his relationship with his employees is one of unfairness, and he has no moral standing to complain if they reciprocally treat him the same way.

            1. Ico*

              Both of your example posts are not just changing “immaterial” details – they are straight up lies.

              1. valentine*

                Both of your example posts are not just changing “immaterial” details – they are straight up lies.
                And if your username is a response to the letter, it’s wildly disproportionate. We don’t know what tone or wording the sister used to request the day off. Maybe she has bragged about partying. Maybe she doesn’t share her more egregious behavior with OP4. She may have said, “I need to be with my hospitalized grandmother overnight to act as her translator. Is it possible to have tomorrow off?” And the answer might still be no because the notice was too short. To the employer, the job is just that, not a “side” job. (Really hope it’s not just a figure of speech and the family is paying the sister wages, including PTO, for the caregiving, especially since it obviously precludes her from doing other work.) A nonsense review isn’t going to help. Even with details, the owner will likely have the same kind of bias toward their offspring manager, especially if the latter is close in age to the sister, and has little reason to take the side of someone who quit on the spot, especially after they “exchanged words,” and most especially because they did so in writing. Even if they took action, how would OP4 know anything good came of it?

                1. Beth Jacobs*

                  I’m startled at the idea of “the family” paying her wages. What? The sister is also family.

                  In my family, care giving is shared. It was very difficult when an eldery relative required round-the-clock care for months prior to her death, but we did it somehow and I’m still glad she got to die in her bed. How would the wages even work? When I’d come in to relieve my sister or mom of caregiving duties, would she pay me or I’d pay her? Do you also expect kids to pay back the monetary value of childcare their parents and grandparents provided?

            2. hbc*

              That is horrifyingly inaccurate. The fact that you’re having to “change things up” to such an extent supports the ideas that the OP doesn’t have standing to write a review (having not actually witnessed anything) and that the actual incident isn’t something that customers care about.

              I mean, giving some push-back on a texted shift-switch request at 11pm the day before? That’s hardly an offense that should cost someone their business, and we don’t know what the sister texted before she quit.

            3. Engineer Girl*

              Passive aggressive antics destroy trust to the point that other reasonable solutions can’t be found (because they are based on trust).

              Even if you are at the wrong end of a power dynamic you still have free will and the ability to choose right. It’s especially true with a low stakes job as described by the OP.

            4. NotAnotherManager!*

              So, basically, lie in a publicly-posted review in retaliation for an offense that did not happen to the dishonest reviewer personally and about which the dishonest reviewer was not a direct party and may not have full knowledge of exactly what went on.

        4. Anonymous*

          If I read such a review, I would immediately think it was a disgruntled ex-employee. A situation like JessaB describes is appropriate content for a review; you saw something negative in your experience, you report it. But saying that a manager denied a shift change to an employee with a sick relative, that marks you as either the employee or a friend of theirs.

        5. LadyL*

          I don’t use Yelp but I have to say, I maybe would start if all reviews included info on how the business treats employees. I would prefer not to give my money to places that don’t respect their own people (although based on my experience in retail and food service that would probably mean I’d have very few places to shop at/eat at).

        6. RaeaSunshine*

          But Sister only has one side of the story. Who knows how much of the circumstances was explained to the employer, or what her work ethic was like prior to that, etc.

          Unfortunately Grandparents are often not included as qualifying for bereavement time etc. so I don’t think it’s inherently awful that the employer didn’t just accommodate right off the bat. We have no way of knowing how the request was communicated, what details were given, or how often the employee might have called out or missed work for other reasons. I can see many scenarios where this kind of response from the employer could be justified.

    5. JKP*

      Actually Yelp, Google, et al expressly forbid reviews from/on behalf of employees past or present. If OP did post an honest Yelp/Google review, the owner could immediately flag it and have it removed for violating TOS. Reviews are supposed to be only about customer experiences, not staff. Glassdoor is for employee experiences.

      1. Mejor vivir de pies que morir de rodillas!*

        She’s posting as an employee – but as a consumer concerned about this business’ treatment of employees generally.

        1. JKP*

          It doesn’t matter. Google specficially bans reviews about the “employment experience” but doesn’t specify that the review must come from the employee themselves.

      2. Gazebo Slayer*

        That’s a really unfortunate policy – a lot of customers would very much like to take into account how businesses treat their employees when choosing where to eat/shop/etc.

    6. Sara without an H*

      No, she doesn’t. This really isn’t about the circumstances of the sister’s firing — which I admit were handled badly. It’s that the OP is presuming to interfere in her grown-up sister’s life, without her consent.

      OP, your sister is an adult. Do not try to run her life for her.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Just want to note that she wasn’t even fired–she quit. “Wouldn’t give someone time off at the last minute” may be totally unreasonable if you know the big picture–but it’s not unusual on the face of it.

    7. Blue Eagle*

      Except all OP knows is the sister’s side. There may be other things that happened at work that the OP doesn’t know about (because the sister wanted to make her own side look better) and it might not be true that the owner’s son is a jerk.

  4. Caramel & Cheddar*

    LW1, if you’re hoping to hire graduating students, then it might make sense to let them take the exams they need to graduate.

    Is there any way to have them interview earlier in the year and have them start after graduation? i.e. if exams are in April and the start date is May, can you begin your interview in February or March? (Don’t interview them during midterms!)

    1. MS*

      OP1- if you are recruiting at specific schools, you should see if you can get the appropriate information from the career office about the school calendar to avoid this. You can plan to recruit earlier or later to avoid finals. You should also try to offer a wider variety of interview slots to minimize class schedule conflicts. Also remember that some classes have a limited number you can miss without getting a grade penalty, and at the tuition rates these days can you blame students for not wanting to skip class?

      1. Lina*

        And do the interviews on campus. 100% on campus.

        You should also bring snacks, treat the students to lunch, etc.

        Good firms know the pressure of exams.

        Example: all top-teir law firms at my alma matter do their in-person interviewing on campus on the same day. (Resumes are vetted ahead of time). Most bring goodies of some sort. I’ve never seen anything more competitive and more “career making” than getting a job at one of those firms. Nothing. In spite of that, the lawyers interviewing for the positions come to campus and bend over backwards to make it easy for the students.

        1. DCR*

          But that’s only the first interview. You still have to go for a call-back Interview at the law firm. That sounds pretty similar to this process, where there is an on-campus interview and then a second interview.

          1. Pinto*

            Exactly right…plus at my law school that first round of on campus interviews takes place before classes have even started. Second round is shortly after…so you have to work around class schedules but not exams.

    2. Actually*

      This is exactly how it worked at Australian universities. All the desirable companies would recruit at the start of the final year while we were all settling on this topics. Many of us already had our graduating offers lined up from the companies we interned with over the summer. If you were recruiting during final exams you would be getting the worst candidates because all the excellent students had their offers in hand and had negotiates their start dates. A few of us take the summer between graduation and starting work off because we know it’s the last long break we’ll get.

      1. Ribena*

        This is how things are in the UK too – most big companies have their new cohort of “grad scheme” employees all signed up by November of the year beforehand, to begin work the following September.

        1. Blunt Bunny*

          Depends on the industry can be more March-April time as the deadlines usually close December-January. Also completing a placement doesn’t guarantee a job with the company in the future I have seen many people who completes placement with big companies still struggle to get a permanent role and I have seen very smart and hardworking student get no job offers. Definitely doesn’t mean the ones who haven’t found anything yet are the worst ones. There are vastly more applicants than jobs even the biggest companies only hire about 20 people for their schemes that’s like 10% of one graduating class on one course in one university.
          I say this a someone who completed a summer placement, year placement with a large company and only got offered a permanent job at my dream company a month before graduating after they had rejected for the graduate scheme in the end it worked out better because companies don’t have to give you a role after completing you placement. To anyone reading don’t give up!

      2. Gaia*

        Depending on the field, this occurs in the US as well. It is unheard of in some fields, but really common in others.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A side comment: please keep in mind that you can’t assume someone who didn’t have a job right out of college is undesirable as an employee–look at the economy they graduated into. Software engineers who graduated just after the dotcom bubble burst had a harder time finding a job then those who graduated during its expansion.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Thank you. I graduated into the ‘09 recession – most of my classmates didn’t have a job when we left.

        2. Gazebo Slayer*


          (And even in a good economy, people have health issues or other circumstances that interfere, or just get unlucky.)

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      So much this. When I was a graduating senior, my university set up on site job fair and interview right after mid-terms. Several of the professors and advisers actually included attending the fair as part of the curriculum. Timing was great for the students who had just completed a big task and had a little down time before the next big push to graduation and while the firms has a wait a little longer for us to start, there was a fairly low no-show or last minute change of heart on the offers since almost all hiring was done in that same time frame (i.e. very few other positions available).

    4. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      OP1, I led recruiting for two different companies at two different schools…after having been recruited by both companies on-campus. One company was a “hot” company, so students would do almost anything for an interview. We NEVER would have asked a student to miss an exam or presentation. The reason? Respect. Respect for the students’ time. Respect for their obligations to the university. Respect for the rules by which we were allowed to recruit on campus.

      BTW, if you treat your prospective employees with respect, you are more likely to hire great employees.

    5. OP #1*

      Yes, we do this! We can be more proactive about early schedules for the students we meet at career fairs at the schools we recruit from, though it’s not as easy for students we haven’t already met who are applying for the job in November or December right before their exams start. The holidays compress this even more at this particular time of year — I haven’t had any issue with spring graduates because our own internal schedules for the hiring teams are less impacted by vacations & holidays.

      But we do hire on a rolling basis & have already hired several students who don’t graduate until March or May or June. Ideally all of our hiring will be done in advance like this in the future but I’m not quite there yet :)

  5. pcake*

    OP1, students’ grades can make their entire career and lives much better. I would certainly hope that they prioritize school over an entry level job that may barely be a memory in five years.

    1. JessaB*

      Especially if they fail their degree course, it’d be lovely to hire an entry level engineer and then find out they do not have an engineering degree because they skipped one of their finals.

    2. Clorinda*

      I’ve taken classes in which missing the final would cause you to fail the whole class no matter how great your work had been up to that point. If you’re recruiting students, you should work within the academic system, and that includes the commandment Thou Shalt Not Miss Thy Final Exam.

      1. CJ Record*

        This. Especially in senior level capstone courses. Your degree revolves around that presentation, and Thou Shall Teleconference From Thy Hospital Bed is the attitude in some programs.

  6. AcademiaNut*

    Letter 1 is really a re-skin of questions where employers wonder why applicants aren’t able to drop everything on short notice to interview at a rigidly specified time, or aren’t willing to give their current manager as a reference. And the answer is that it’s generally foolhardy to risk your current employment for the possibility of future employment. Not being willing to bail out of important work responsibilities or brush off a final exam is a sign of responsibility, not lack of interest or dedication.

    For the students – skipping a final exam means they get a 0 on the exam, because “I had a last minute internship interview” is not a sufficient excuse for a rescheduled exam. For final semester students, that can mean failing a key course and failing to graduate, leading to a retraction of a job offer that’s contingent on actually getting the degree. For students mid-way through the year, it can still seriously disrupt their degree program. That’s a really big price to pay for the possibility of an internship.

    If scheduling interviews around holidays what about doing interviews early (like in early November)? At the very least, offer a couple of different time slots.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      Not only is it very similar to questions where interviewers are being unreasonable with people who currently have jobs, it makes me want to ask the same thing I ask to those questions: has this person never been to school? And have those employers never searched for a job while employed?

      LW1 seems surprised that current students are serious about their exams (which, as discussed upthread, they are paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to take, and which are nonnegotiable to graduate to get the jobs they’re interviewing for). Unreasonable employers seem surprised that currently employed people can’t jeopardize their sure thing for a maybe.

      1. Quoth the Raven*

        I mean, when I was in university I didn’t have to pay for tuition or enrolment costs (since the university I attended is, for all intents and purposes, free) and I still wouldn’t have skipped a final exam or presentation for a job interview because I’d effectively fail the class or even the whole semester. We’re talking about months of my life I would have wasted, and a tanked GPA that may be very difficult to recover, which are worth just as much as whatever money I (didn’t) pay.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Even a “free” education incurs costs such as living expenses, lost earnings if you can’t work much/at all around your workload. Most people can’t afford to suck up a do-over even if they aren’t paying tuition.

          (my university heavily discouraged paid work except in vacations; there were several loopholes I exploited; even then it didn’t cover my living expenses)

    2. LadyL*

      Not just the cost of the exam, to me it’s like “Do you want an employee who is responsible or not?” Do you really want to hire someone who would throw away a semester’s worth of work on just a chance of something better? What does that say about the long term planning and overall work ethics of your ideal employee?

    3. LQ*

      I feel like this is worse than that because of the point you made about failing to graduate. The interview is a CHANCE at a job. A chance at a job that you would then lose if you got it because you failed to graduate for the interview. It’s very ouroborosey.

    4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      100% to all of this. The ability to find a mutually agreed upon time for an interview does not equate to disinterest. I would have never skipped out on important end of semester schoolwork or exams for the POSSIBILITY of a job, and I’m not going to risk my current job for a MAYBE. I’m with Alison…if a company is unwilling to work with me to find a time that works for both of us (within reason), that’s a red flag.

    5. OP #1*

      Totally understand what you’re saying — I replied to another comment with this as well but I am absolutely not thrusting interview dates on anyone last minute. The situation that sparked my more generic question to Alison was a student who was unable to make any of the 6+ interview dates I had suggested for the 3 weeks in December that lead up to Christmas. (The communication with the student happened prior even to thanksgiving, so it was several weeks notice.) It is certainly not going to impact my continued communication with the student & we will find more dates in the future that work for everyone. It just prompted me to wonder if that’s the best approach & I’ve gotten plenty of confirmation that it is!

      1. bluephone*

        It is possible that those dates weren’t good for the student as crazy as that might sound to outsiders. By my senior year of university, I was working 2-3 part-time jobs in addition to a full-time course load– including a job in the field I’d planned to work in after graduation. Between those jobs, classes (including the senior year thesis that would basically determine whether or not I would graduate), and general life stuff (my family’s lives didn’t stop while I was in college, my car didn’t decide “oh, bluephone has a busy schedule so I *won’t* break down the day before winter finals like I’d originally planned,” etc), it’s possible I would have looked at your suggested dates and noped out too.
        Everything about the job search process is frustrating, on both ends, so I get where you’re coming from.

      2. anonymous 5*

        The thing is, it isn’t really about the amount of notice that you’re giving. It’s that the three weeks before Christmas are an objectively terrible time to schedule anything with a student who will be taking end-of-term exams etc in December. Heck, they’re objectively terrible for me as a professor, and I don’t have to do nearly as much studying beforehand.

        Don’t try to interview students during the last 2-3 weeks of *any* academic term.

      3. Blunt Bunny*

        My university used to have the semester and exam dates available on the public website. You could speak to the course administrator of the university or the careers service to see when are the best day/worse days for example in the UK we have Wednesday off so we can do extracurricular activities and on some courses they would spend a full day every week doing practical courses eg labwork that gets marked.
        It maybe helpful to put dates of interview and timeline in the job posting. For example interviews will take place in February or please be available for interview Nov 22 and 23. Or if the start date isn’t until summer have telephone interviews October-November and in person February-March. Also remember that they could also be applying and interviewing elsewhere and that you are not their only hope.

  7. anon4this*

    As someone who’s graduating in December, I’m not going to be in a position to take a job in the spring if I fail a course and can’t graduate! Most professors in my program don’t allow exams to be taken at alternative times (for academic integrity reasons) except in the event of a medical emergency; presentations are usually team-based and also can’t be rescheduled. It’s not short-sighted to treat exams as non-negotiable when any given one might represent 25-50% of your grade in a course.

  8. Bilateralrope*

    >I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path. It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.

    Attempting to offer the students a long term career path by trying to torpedo their degree. Is it just me, or does that sound like a attempt to make it harder for those students to switch jobs later ?

    I also have to ask: How many students complaining to the career fair about an employer who wants them to choose between an interview or an exam before the career fair bans that employer ?

    1. Gaia*

      Ha. I thought the same thing. I’m sure it isn’t intentional but I thought “it’ll have to be long term when they fail and don’t graduate so they can’t get another job as easily…”

    2. Allypopx*

      On the same note, how many un-schedule-able interviews before OP realizes the problem might be on their end, not the students’ end.

    3. OP #1*

      At no point have I ever asked a student to skip an exam to interview, nor would I. My question clearly says that we have always accommodated student schedules, & I will continue to do so. It’s just been a lot more difficult with the holidays this year but it’s obviously not insurmountable.

      1. Allypopx*

        But it also reads like you’re looking for permission to be less accommodating, which is what people are responding to.

      2. pcake*

        Then why not just ask your interviewees what date and time works for their schedule rather than offering several that may all conflict with classes or exams?

      3. Mellow*

        “I understand they want to finish out strong, but I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path. It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work” doesn’t square with “My question clearly says that we have always accommodated student schedules, & I will continue to do so.”

      4. Tedious Cat*

        The single situation you’re describing here in the comments is markedly different from what came across in your letter as interpreted by a vast majority of commenters. Now might be a good time to review your communications with students to make sure your intent is as clear to them as it is to you.

  9. Kevin McCallister*

    The students might not have the choice to skip class. Some professors make attendance a significant part of your grade and they’re strict about what’s considered an excused absence. Rescheduling an exam or presentation (especially a presentation for a group project) is pretty much impossible unless you’re dying in the hospital.

    Getting a job is important but skipping a class could mean serious consequences. Retaking a failed class costs thousands of dollars and could delay graduation by a semester. Even if they don’t fail, their GPA could drop enough to where they lose a scholarship or later on lose out on job or grad school opportunities because they don’t meet a minimum GPA requirement to apply.

    1. Yvette*

      Exactly, LW seems a little out of touch, coming across as someone who either never attended university, did not attend one with particularly rigorous standards, or who attended so long ago that they don’t remember what it is like.

    2. You can't fire me; I don't work in this van*

      This is what I thought of when I read the letter. Some college courses have flexible attendance but some don’t.

    3. Nanani*

      Very true. They might also be expected to be in the audience asking questions for other people’s presentations as part of that participation score.

      Take their word for it and schedule around school, or stop trying to recruit in the last weeks of people’s schooling at all.

    4. Another worker bee*

      My college experience is dated a little over a decade at this point, but my experience was that attendance was tracked and counted officially in the more junior classes and not so much in the senior classes, but….the senior classes were hard, so you didn’t want to miss class. Plus they were typically your major classes or adjacent so if you missed, it would be noticed, even if it wasn’t FORMALLY counted against you.

  10. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#3, I think this depends strongly on the nature of the problematic conduct, the roles of both people, and the rapport you share.

    There’s a category of “do not pass go” issues that require you to go directly over someone’s head (e.g., theft, fraud, violence, breach of a significant security or regulatory requirement). But there are a lot of lesser harms that should probably be disclosed or discussed, unless doing so breaks internal protocols or there’s a prior history that weighs against telling that person. At the end of the day, you have to be able to feel comfortable, safe, and confident about your decisions if the person confronts you.

    1. voyager1*

      This is such a better answer then AAM gave. I would also add if then manager’s actions are causing extreme strife or division or morale issues. This may involve some kind of blatant favoritism or sexual harassment.

      One time that is normal to tell the manager’s manager is if your manager is out on leave or sick. But most places have a procedure for that.

      1. voyager1*

        Oops, I misread that. I thought the coworker was the manager and LW is a lead. “Acting lead” isn’t really the same thing, at least where I work.

        Since I did misread that, it changes my answer a bit. If this cash issue has no impacts then I probably would not have not reported it unless their was a regulatory issue involved.

        I think the LW feels he was snitching, well yeah you kind of did. But if you had to let management know, then your hands were tied. But if you made the decision on your own, then yeah you probably didn’t make a friend that day.

    2. Allypopx*

      “At the end of the day, you have to be able to feel comfortable, safe, and confident about your decisions if the person confronts you.”

      This is a rule I try to live by in general when making tough choices. It’s really shaped me as a manager – for the better, I think.

      1. CM*

        Yes, great rule — not just if you’re confronted, but if the email you sent is forwarded to the person it’s about, will you be able to stand behind it? Or will you feel like you’ve been caught doing something sneaky?

        In this case, when going over next steps with this person, I would have included as one of the steps, “I will be reporting this to management because they need to know about this type of cash handling issue.”

  11. Blarg*

    In the late 90s, I worked at a smoothie shop after school and on weekends. They scheduled me to work during an AP exam, despite my timely request. They suggested I take the test at another time. I explained that isn’t how it works. They requested I find shift coverage. I quit. They got bought out by a larger chain.

    PS — OP #1, perhaps loosening your own availability around the holidays, aka after exams are done and these students have actually graduated, would help. You’re putting up barriers to your own hiring.

    1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

      I worked in a shop as a weekend assistant when I was doing my A levels (UK exams taken at 18). I told my manager with six weeks’ notice that I could not work a particular weekend in early December because I had to travel to have an interview at Oxford University. She scheduled me to work anyway and asked if I could ‘just move it’ and then when I said no asked why ‘someone like me’ wanted to go to uni anyway, and then seemed genuinely affronted when I quit my £1.82 an hour job on the spot…

      1. LibLon*

        I had a nightmare of a time getting out of my Friday and Saturday check out shifts for my Oxford interview too!! I even had leave hours available but it was apparently ‘too short notice’ (also six weeks) and apparently if management knew I was looking at universities it could ‘harm my chances of getting trained in the kiosk’. I had to go to the most senior manager to get approval in the end, it was bizarre.

      2. Amy Sly*

        1.82 lb/hr?! Please tell me this was a while ago, because otherwise I have a new talking point when non-Americans complain about our minimum wage laws.

        1. LadyL*

          Worked as a waitress in 2011 and made $2.43/hr. My tips were supposed to make up the rest but they absolutely did not so yeah, it really was basically just $2.43/hr. American minimum wage is insane.

          1. Amy Sly*

            If your tips didn’t add up to minimum wage, your employer was required by law to bring it up to minimum wage. I’ll grant that companies don’t always obey the law, but even tipped employees have to make minimum wage.

            But the UK doesn’t have a tip culture or a lower minimum wage for tipped employees with the expectation of tips making up the difference, so NewHere was making $2.34/hr (at current exchange rates) in a country where a dollar buys only 70% of what it buys in the US, so s/he was effectively making $1.63/hr. That’s rather amazing, though not in a good way.

            1. MsSolo*

              We actually used to have the same rule about paying people less in tipped roles, despite not having a significant tip culture. It changed in 2009, but it’s shocking how few people even realised businesses were allowed to undercut minimum wage here.

            2. Gazebo Slayer*

              From what I’ve heard, actually making up minimum wage if the tips aren’t enough is the exception, not the rule, legality be damned.

              And I also really, really hope that job in the UK was decades ago too.

              1. Amy Sly*

                My husband is a chef at a more upscale restaurant; his observation is that if waitstaff at his place isn’t getting the $5.12/hr tip credit, then either the restaurant is so slow it needs to be closed (e.g. weather) or the waiter/tress is so terrible at their job they’re going to get fired anyway. (Granted, the average charge for a table at his place is $100, so one would have to be spectacularly bad or unlucky to not make $5.12/hr in tips.)

                The complaint that drives him nuts is when the waitstaff were tipped so well that the taxes ate up the entire $2.13/hr of their paycheck, so they complain about not getting paid on payday. They’re ignoring of course, that unlike the back of the house, they got to take their pay home every night.

        2. londonedit*

          UK minimum wage for under-18s is currently £4.35 an hour. For people aged 18-20 it’s £6.15 and for over-21s it’s £7.70. Then for over-25s it’s the National Living Wage which is £8.21 an hour.

    2. LadyL*

      This is sadly such a common problem. After college I worked at a “quick service” restaurant *insert eye roll here* that also employed many high school students. On several occasions the manager would pressure students to leave class early or skip after school activities (like track practice or other school sanctioned clubs that the student had obligations to) to cover shifts for other people, which I found appalling. These students were forking minors and the so-called responsible adult manager wants them to skip school?? Also, after school activities are crucial for getting into college, and they’re real commitments (one student was captain of her sport). The students scheduled their shifts around these obligations because they were responsible, but the manager still expected more. Made me so enraged.

      Also, similarly, I know someone who had a high school aged child who was working at a hardware store part time and she found out the manager had spent the whole time telling her child that college was a waste of money and that he should just move up to full time at the store because maybe he could get on the manager track. Boy, You did not want to be there when she heard that news, she was, as the kids say, big mad.

      But yeah, it’s sadly not as shocking as it should be to me that certain employees prioritize their business over the needs of their employees, even their young and vulnerable ones. What would LW1 do if their employee failed a class and was no longer eligible to graduate???

      1. Paulina*

        Yet another block to class and financial upward mobility — if the kid needs the job enough, they can’t push back against the ways in which it blocks their education, ability to get activity-based scholarships, etc. Employers shouldn’t eat their young.

      2. Do I need a hard hat for this?*

        I grew up in a small town and my first job was working as a hostess at a restaurant. I worked there for a whole summer, but had to quit because the owner was pissed that I was cutting back hours when school started. I was pretty much the only hostess on the schedule at that point because he was such a jerk!

        I ended up getting a job at the Super Walmart the next town over instead. I worked evenings and weekends in a department stocking shelves and rearranging displays and whatnot. That ended up being the most flexible job I’ve ever had because the management was understanding and I wasn’t a necessary employee (like a cashier would be). I had 2 or 3 extracurricular activities (including cheerleading, which was a time hog) and it was never a problem. I just had to stay ahead of the scheduling with my time off requests.

        The store manager of that Walmart was a really nice guy. He encouraged the hiring of high school students and college students and was flexible with our scheduling, even though he was running a store in a VERY corporate environment. We were a high-performing store that served a huge rural area. When he retired it was a sad day for all the employees there. The next manager had a different set of priorities and a lot of people quit.

        It might seem like a pretty measly job, but I learned a lot from working there for 2 years. That environment was the kind where you really see the hierarchy of the managers in real time, right in front of you. If the person at the top of the ladder for that store wasn’t for the employees, then it was really tough for any other manager to do right by their teams. Even young kids like me were able to be good employees and contribute to the well-liked environment of that store because we were managed well.

        It’s a shame a lot of places don’t have that same type of attitude.

    3. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

      Target asked me to consider not going back to college so I could continue to work there for $6.05/hr (5 cents over minimum wage) and an average of 8-10 hours a week after the holidays. HR lady was miffed I didn’t consider their offer.

    4. Quill*

      Oh, lol, a *december* graduation, including students traveling for the holidays?

      LW, you should have been hiring in september. As it is, don’t expect anything until January.

      1. OP #1*

        We did hire in September :) and October & November. There’s only so much I can do when a student applies mid-November though! We will absolutely have interview dates available in January for them.

        1. Quill*

          They’re probably not expecting to hear anything by the end of the year, considering how when it comes to colleges, (and some industries) December basically doesn’t exist in terms of actually getting work done.

    5. A Non E. Mouse*

      Late 90s, hardware store cashier, requested just one Saturday *morning* off to take the SAT weeks in advance, and they scheduled me for the shift.

      When I explained (two weeks in advance, when the schedule came out) that I had requested in writing to have that morning off, they said I could work it or get written up.

      So I quit. On the spot. Good luck covering all those shifts too, you dimwits.

    6. littlelizard*

      I had a back-end retail job for less than a month one summer when I was also taking classes. I applied there in the first place because I’d worked for the chain before and they had been very flexible with part-time employees. My exams were coming up and I was scheduled for a lot of shifts, and I asked to be scheduled differently so I’d be able to prepare. I was told that the supervisor would “see what she could do” but that I should “Remember, you made a commitment to working at [chain].” I was really emotional at the time and all but burst into tears over this, but looking back, I just have to scoff at that phrase. I made a commitment to go to college and get a degree, and I made it clear it was the more important commitment…

  12. Princesa Zelda*

    I am graduating in December and have a permanent position, and I’ve had to negotiate with my boss and with my professor to make sure I can actually attend everything I need to attend. I had an exam and a final presentation and a required training on the same day, for instance. The only way I could do both was to persuade my professors to move the exam and the group presentation, which took a lot of professor-persuading and buy-in from the rest of my presentation team. If I were to try and move it for a job *interview*? With no promise of an offer? Honestly, my professors wouldn’t have moved their assignments, and I probably wouldn’t have even tried. These things are worth 25% of my grade, and I need these classes to graduate. And if the interviewer didn’t understand that I had unmovable commitments as a student, I would consider it a bullet dodged. I’d have interpreted a lack of flexibility around exams (!!!) to indicate a severely rigid environment with little patience for the fact that Life Happens.

    1. Princesa Zelda*

      Interesting note: One of my professors moved the exam immediately on the justification that work should be my first priority as work=money=life; the other didn’t want to move the presentation in part because schooling should be my first priority since I am paying cash money to get my degree (though it mostly was because he had a blanket no-flexibility policy).

      1. Allypopx*

        This is interesting and also important. It doesn’t matter if OP knows the final schedule, the school policies, or any other high level information they feel they can use to justify their stance. It all comes down to the professor, and student’s have very little control in that dynamic. If they really want to offer great opportunities to graduating seniors, they need to understand that and plan accordingly. Maybe start hiring earlier. Whatever it means to be more flexible.

  13. Middle School Teacher*

    OP 3, depending on your job, there is sometimes a written code of conduct that requires you to tell your colleague you will be talking to the boss. Definitely worth looking to.

  14. Properlike*

    OP#1 – I am a college professor even now fielding panicked emails from students about whether a project worth a significant percentage of their grade is really due at the date and time I specified, and if maybe they can be exempted from the “no late assignments” rule? Many of these are the same students who don’t believe that they can be dropped for exceeding the maximum number of absences allowed for the semester (but this time I was really sick!), or think the final exam date is a guideline and not a requirement by the college.

    By all means, hire the students who will skip an exam or project for a gamble on an internship. Don’t be surprised when they’re similarly cavalier about the project/presentation deadlines and attendance requirements for your company.

    1. Tea Rocket*

      This is an excellent point. Their hiring pool is going to consist mostly of people who, as you say, will be “cavalier about the project/presentation deadlines and attendance requirements for [their] company”, with a just a smattering of reliable people who were lucky enough not to have a scheduling conflict on the day of the interview. OP1 really needs to rethink this strategy.

    2. Mellow*

      “By all means, hire the students who will skip an exam or project for a gamble on an internship. Don’t be surprised when they’re similarly cavalier about the project/presentation deadlines and attendance requirements for your company.”

      That. Right there.

  15. UKCoffeeLover*

    I work in higher education. If we knew employers, who were attending career fairs on campus, were expecting students to miss exams for an interview we’d not invite that employer back. End of!
    Studies come first.

    1. Allypopx*

      Unfortunately most students won’t think this kind of thing is reportable or know who to report it to, which sucks. I hope professors can have an ear to the ground about it. But I’m happy to hear you’d take it seriously.

    2. RockProf*

      Granted I’ve never really been involved in the career fairs on my campus, but I’d also imagine that there are university contacts OP #1 is in touch with about the fairs. OP #1 or someone from their company could likely be even more pro-active about interviews and ask those contacts about when final exams are scheduled. At my US school, finals are all during one week and generally between specific hours, so they could use that information to offer additional, non-standard interview hours particularly during that week.

  16. Diamond*

    #1 – Schoolwork should be the priority – an interview with you MIGHT lead to a job but the entire thing will be moot if they fail to graduate. Exams and important presentations cannot be missed (and can be worth up to 100% of a grade), and having an interview is usually not a good enough reason to reschedule them. Even if a reschedule is approved it could mean pushing back their graduation date or putting their end of year plans out of whack in a significant way.

    Interviewing during exam period would also be very stressful – if graduates are your target audience I would honestly consider shifting your recruiting period so you don’t get this clash so much.

  17. Observer*

    I understand they want to finish out strong, but I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path. It seems short-sighted that they wouldn’t attempt to make any of our proposed interview dates work.

    This is not about “finishing out strong” but about FINISHING OUT. Period. If a student misses an exam or presentation, they might fail their class. And what makes you think they have any ability to “make … proposed dates work”? Exam schedules are set by the school / instructor and there is no chance that those dates are going to be changed because one student has an interview. Presentations may be individual, but the schedule is not set by the student anyway and they don’t have the ability to change those dates either.

    And, by the way, do you look at the GPA’s of the students you are considering hiring? Even if missing these dates didn’t cause them to fail, it would almost certainly hurt their GPA. Would you accept that this happened because they were trying to please an employer? Would you even consider that possibility or would you just look at the lower GPS as a negative?

    To be perfectly honest, the question makes you sound like someone who would be very difficult to work for. You don’t seem understand some of the basics of your candidate (and employee) pool, and you have an inflated sense of what you have to offer vs the kinds of effort and commitment candidates show show. That rarely makes for a good working experience.

    1. Scarlet2*

      The letter is so out of touch with reality that I’m really wondering if LW ever went to college. They seem to believe that exams are optional or can be rescheduled at will by students, which is just… not the reality at all.
      In fact, that’s not even how it works in high school either, so I’m really puzzled by the reasoning here.

      Also, exams tend to happen during a specific time of the year, why on earth would you interview at that time when you’re looking to recruit new graduates?

      1. MsM*

        I don’t understand what OP’s experience with school at any level was like that they don’t understand this. Even in high school, exams were not really something you could work around.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          meh – my high school could be pretty flexible with exams. Also, high school exams tended to be at most 20 – 25% of the grade and a *lot* were 10%, so if you got close to exams with an A or B, exam was 10%, you could skip without much problem. Post school plans were already set, all you had to do was pass that last semester.

          This is not true senior year in college. Those exams were *minimum* 25% of the grade.

          OP’s definitely treating these college grades like they’re high school, which seems weird for a corporate hiring professional. OP might want to dig into the source of their disconnect and make sure it’s not affecting other hiring protocols and decisions.

          1. Shan*

            Provincial exams here in Canada are 40% in the province I graduated in, and were 50% in the province I later taught in (now they’re 30%, thank goodness). And you can’t graduate without passing the required ones. I also received a tuition bursary directly linked to my exam scores.

            Basically, I think don’t think employers should be expecting *any* students to skip.

      2. Dahlia*

        I didn’t go to college, and I still wouldn’t expect people to be able to move their exams all willy-nilly.

      3. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

        This is what I don’t get either.

        Everyone knows that in my country, January and June are the examination periods at the universities here. No decent firm / company would think about interviewing potential graduates during that time. It is stressfull enough.

        Even if they had an exam on Monday and the next one one Wednesday, I would think that the student will be stressed about the next examination and rather likes to study instead of having an interview on Tuesday.

    2. NotThatCompany*

      Note, too, that part of the scheduling challenge is around “the holidays.” LW wants the students to work around things completely out of their control, but doesn’t want to skip the holiday lunch provided by their company.

    3. MistOrMister*

      This one was really odd to me. Why in the world would a potential employer who hires a lot of newly graduated students not realize that they need to put their education first? If they were offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to come out of school making 6 figures and be a billionaire within 5 years and getting hired was guaranteed even if the student didn’t graduate, that would be one thing. But asking students to jeopardize their academic standing or ability to graduate for an entry level job?? Uh, no. That is absurd. And, most schools have fairly predictable exam dates. As someone who is working with schools regularly, are they not able to find out when exams are being held? If so they should definitely be offering interview times after exams. If it’s right before or during exams, then anyone who can come in is an exception, not the rule because most students just aren’t going to be able to swing that!

    4. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      I agree. For those students who (rightfully) won’t skip an exam or presentation to interview with OP1, bullet dodged!

    5. pally*

      Gotta ask: does the company require a degree in order to work there?
      If not, then I can understand the lack of sensitivity towards the student’s commitments to their class assignments. I don’t agree with it though.
      If so, then they are hypocrites.

      1. Allypopx*

        If they don’t require a degree and are trying to poach students in their senior year from a degree program and are willing to sabotage their success in the process?

        That is 100% a shady company I wouldn’t want to work for.

    6. moql*

      I went to a small college and it was very doable to move an exam for something important. It was up to the professor’s digression, and you had to work with them, but maybe(?) that is the sheltered environment OP grew up in and doesn’t realize how out of touch they are?

  18. The Bad Guy*

    It’s funny how transparent it is in lw1s letter that college is still just gatekeeping. The schooling and academic don’t really matter, what matters is that you managed to get in line for four years and get the expensive piece of paper. The final 4-5 classes second semester senior year don’t actually matter, what matters is that you made it to second semester senior year…

    1. Mel_05*

      I learned a lot of foundational skills in college. And while it’s certainly possible to do my job without a degree, most people don’t have the discipline to do it well without the course work (myself included) and the difference shows.

      There are, of course, people who teach themselves and do it well. I’ve never seen it hurt their prospects.

    2. Spreadsheets and Books*

      Unfortunately, a lot of employers have the view that school is secondary.

      When I was in grad school to switch from English to Accounting, I got hired in my second quarter for a (seemingly) great job that was admittedly a foot in the door for where I am now, but only because the job title sounds like it could fit into my current field even though it was not at all in the same area. When I was hired, the company 100% knew that I was a full time grad student taking a combination of online and night/weekend classes. They also knew that I was very new in the field with a lot left to learn (~2 years of school to go), and that my continued studies would heavily influence my success in the job. They were happy to be accommodating… until I actually started and they weren’t. Normal hours were 8:30 to 5 with a 30-minute lunch break, but most people worked 8:30 to 6 or 7, which I was expected to do even though that meant missing chat sessions and class time. I started coming in at 7 so that I worked the same amount of time as everyone else, but that wasn’t seen as okay either. I ended up getting fired after 14 months for failing to be a team player and my “divided interests.” You know, the interest of getting my master’s degree in the field I was working in.

      I got a great internship at a different company a few months later, and they were happy to work around my school needs. They respected what I needed to do and were thrilled to bring me on full time when I graduated. Newsflash: school is important.

      1. Allypopx*

        When I first went back to school I had a conversation with my then-employer about shifting my hours, maybe working 4 10s or coming in earlier. I also got a “divided interest” talk. They are now a former employer.

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      School provides skills at about a 2:1 speed over experience, from my observations. College (and to some extent, high school now, at least more so than my high schools back in the 80s) also teaches people how to *learn*, and gives valuable experience at applying skills across disciplines.

      The interesting thing is how I’m seeing some places get more flexible about ‘gatekeeping’, especially in technical skills. ‘New Collar’ is getting some decent focus among tech cos.

    4. Observer*

      No, it’s gatekeeping for this employer Or maybe just for this hiring manager. In some fields. college really is useful.

  19. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    OP4 – As Alison said, this isn’t your fight, but as a good sister, you can talk with her about the situation and give her some tips/encouragement to go to the owner herself.

  20. Don’t get salty*

    #1: I sense a very obvious lack of respect for a graduating senior’s time and priorities. It’s as though you are expecting people to drop out of school for a chance to interview with your company. I interviewed for the job I have now after I completed all of my classes, but before I officially graduated. There is no way I would risk the education I paid for on a company who is expecting me to blow off my final exams for an interview. Similarly, these students will have plenty of chances to interview with other companies on a timetable that doesn’t conflict with their classes.

  21. Dan*


    Why are you interviewing so late in the “cycle”? Exam week and the preceding “reading” week are sacred. Don’t mess with it. You can interview in early November — before the Thanksgiving holiday, and when students have the time to appropriately prepare for your interview (and not ditch important obligations.) If the career fairs are held too late to make an early November interview timeline work, circle back with the career office at the university that sets these things up. You won’t be the only one with this problem.

    Second, there’s something with your letter that bugs me a little. Your concern over people’s careers whom you barely know is a bit… odd. Your job is to fill roles at your company, end of story. If people don’t want to accept your interviews as offered, that’s their choice. If that means you can’t fill roles, then yes, you have to change your interview procedures/times. If you are getting qualified applicants, then it shouldn’t matter to you in the slightest that people have schedule conflicts and won’t interview with you.

    I have to admit, your letter comes across as if you are expecting people to grovel a bit because you have an entry level job to fill, and that’s not a good look.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*


      The fact that a lot of students aren’t available when this employer wants them to be signifies that the employer’s timing is off, not that students in the middle of exams need to change their schedules.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      Well, there is a long-standing complaint / concern about the catch-22 that most ‘new hire!’ positions want 1 – 3 years experience in the field, so the ‘straight from college’ jobs are slightly more valuable.

      But not more valuable than that degree….

      1. Quill*

        “Entry level job, requires Bachelor’s in Engineering and 5 years experience, pays $13/hr” has been a common refrain in my job hunts. (Note that these jobs are often the same ones being filled by high school graduates in more rural areas of my state… same pay too…)

        So has “wants recent grad!” (because they won’t know that our company culture is absolutely batshit and they’re under so much stress they’ll sign up without thinking about the fact that they’re being severely underpaid.)

    3. Observer*

      I have to admit, your letter comes across as if you are expecting people to grovel a bit because you have an entry level job to fill,

      Exactly this. If a student has options, this is a fairly significant flag.

  22. nnn*

    Dear LW#1:

    Imagine one of these graduating students you’re considering hiring doesn’t end up graduating because they missed a crucial exam or presentation in a mandatory course.

    Would you still hire them?

    1. nnn*

      On a practical note, you could consult with your university contacts to see what the patterns of students’ schedules are like, and maybe see if you can adjust your interview schedule accordingly.

      For example, in my major, we never had classes on Fridays. So an employer trying to recruit students from my class could schedule interviews on a Friday and avoid hitting up against any class commitments.

      My school also had a reading week before exams, so if interviews were held then, students wouldn’t have any time-specific commitments. Or you could schedule them after exams – even if students have another semester of classes starting right away, there tend to be fewer consequences to skipping classes earlier in the semester.

  23. Beth*

    OP1: As a general rule, yes, it’s not a huge deal for an otherwise-good student to miss a day of class. But there are a lot of exceptions to that rule! For example, around this time of year, missing a day of class may well mean missing a final exam or skipping out on their part in a group final project. For a less seasonal example, lab classes may not be possible to make up, and since they’re practical classes by nature and often require a high level of attendance/participation to pass, skipping one may not be an option.

    Not to mention, many students have non-school responsibilities–jobs, commitments for clubs or teams, family responsibilities, etc.–which may cause conflicts as well. I’m a PhD student right now, and even though I’m not THAT far removed from undergrad (I’m still under 30), I’m routinely shocked at how much some of these kids are juggling. I kept plenty busy in undergrad, but they’re on a different level! And that’s not even getting into non-traditional students who may well be working full-time and/or raising a family alongside school.

    I think it’s easy for adults with ‘real jobs’ to look at students and assume they’re carefree kids who should be able to move their schedule around at will to accommodate ‘real’ needs. But that just isn’t the case. They’re adults with a lot on their plates, and much of it can’t be dropped or rescheduled so easily. Trust them to know their schedule best; if you can’t accommodate them, that’s fine, but don’t judge them for not being at your beck and call.

      1. Beth*

        Yes, as I said, “missing a day of class may well mean missing a final exam” and that’s an exception to the “missing a day of class isn’t a huge deal” rule.

      2. Mommy-MD*

        There are some advanced science and higher math classes I would definitely not miss because so much information is given I’d be in the dark the next class. Some classes are unmissable. I’ve gone to these classes sick because the alternative was worse. No way would I miss because of an interview at an entry level job I might not even get.

  24. WomanFromItaly*

    I would have very real concerns about working for OP 1 or their company. Depending on the college, a student might graduate with $60k in debt. Expecting interviewees to miss an exam, which can easily lead to failing a class that cost thousands of dollars, just for the possibility that they MIGHT be hired by OP1’s company, is so grossly inappropriate that I am wondering what working at the company is actually like.

    1. Quill*

      With that and the insistence on “jobs for recent grads” I’m wondering if OP1’s company doesn’t want recent grads for sketchy reasons, like underpaying them, not offering benefits, having a ludicrous company culture…

      1. Allypopx*

        I was getting that vibe too. The “you should be grateful to even be considered by us” mindset does not scream “healthy and supportive working environment”.

  25. TechWorker*

    The company I am now working for, I agreed to an interview and then immediately phoned back to ask if I could have another date because the suggested day was the day after I finished finals. They were fine with it and I got the job… obviously some companies would baulk at that but – finals were probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever done and I was so glad I could spend the day after sleeping rather than last minute prepping for an interview. Candidates probably have some choice over where they work too – being annoyed because they won’t miss an exam is not going to make them want to work for you…

  26. Be Positive*

    Op1: expecting students to compromise their education is irresponsible recruiting. There is no way I would miss an exam or presentation for a interview with no guarantee I would land the job. With no or little experience I would rely on the grade and confidence of any recommendations from the faculty. When they decide to leave your company, wouldnt you want them to extend the same courtesy to work interviews around important projects as well?

  27. It's a Yes From Me*

    Based on all the responses, I must be misunderstanding LW#1’s question. I’m assuming s/he’s not expecting students to skip an actual exam or presentation — I don’t think anyone would think that is reasonable.

    Instead, I had the sense that students are saying “I have to prepare for exams and presentations” as the reason not to make themselves available at any time in the weeks leading up to those exams and presentations.

    I’m pretty old now, but I remember being able to make time for socializing in the weeks before final exams, even while hitting the books hard to make that 4.0. If I could take the odd hour here and there for socializing, I could have made time for a promising interview.

    That’s the only way #1 makes sense to me, but apparently I’m the only one who thinks that was what s/he was asking.

    1. Scarlet2*

      “I’ve been hearing that they are not available to interview on any of the dates I’ve offered because they have exams or presentations”

      To me, that sounds like they have exams or presentations on the same day… But even if they’re talking about study time for exams, I still think LW is wrong. First of all, you might have had time to socialize but depending on the exam scheduling, it’s certainly not possible for everyone. Also, depending on the location of LW’s office and the transportation means available to the student, we might not be talking about taking “the odd hour” off. The whole process could very well eat up the better part of an afternoon. If you add to it the fact that interviewing itself is stressful, it sounds like a really bad idea to organize it at the most stressful time for students.

      And the biggest red flag is an employer who seems to believe their entry-level jobs are some sort of Holy Grail and candidates should be ready to drop everything for a chance to be hired.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        > The whole process could very well eat up the better part of an afternoon.

        If it’s really the dream starter job LW thinks it is, a good candidate would want to devote at least that much time to preparation for the interview, let alone attendance. I was not the most diligent kind of student but I still couldn’t have lost an entire day in the middle of my finals – particularly to something so intellectually strenuous, so not even a brain break.

    2. Rexish*

      I think it can be read either way. I’m a leader for 15-17 yo teenagers and often they cannot attend because they have exams. The exams is not in the evening, but within the next few days that they have to prepare. You do still say “can’t, cause I have exams” but the phraising can also mean that OP wants them to skip exams.

    3. Washi*

      Even if this is the case, what is the employer going to do about it? It’s definitely not appropriate to “push back” when someone says they’re not available. OP can just do what employers do in the real world, which is find alternative dates if the candidate is worth it, or if there are stronger people in the mix, let the unavailable one go.

      When I read the title of the post, I thought it was going to be about students trying to reschedule interviews at the last minute because they suddenly realize they have to study or have exams. That’s something I’ve been less sympathetic towards, since usually the impression I get is that the student isn’t great about planning their time and checking their availability ahead of time.

    4. Mike C.*

      Maybe things have changed? Maybe we should trust the people who’ve said that they’re busy rather than simply second guessing them?

    5. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      A job interview is a pretty different beast than taking some down time to socialize, though.

      It’s not just “an odd hour” here or there — it’s preparing for the interview itself, plus an interview is additional stress/workload rather than a break period.

      1. LQ*

        This is really important. I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one who gets brain fried and can’t keep going at the same speed I have been. At which point I can sometimes switch to something REALLY different that doesn’t require the same kind of brainpower. Like I could go and paint if I was an artist maybe. Mostly I just end up sort of staring dead-eyed into the middle distance. Not fit for interviews! (For me not fit for socializing either but that’s a me problem I’m sure.)

        1. Quill*

          At multiple points my senior year of undergrad I stopped being able to speak… or to stick to one language during crunch time. (I was minoring in spanish and apparently my brain threw a gear on its way to passable fluency. Probably due to the fact that i’d also taken Latin for a few years for a classics major that never actually happened.)

          I couldn’t have interviewed like that. I was just fortunate I didn’t end up giving my thesis in an unholy mix of spanish, latin, and french.

          (I also passed out during a thesis prep appointment but that’s by no means an average experience.)

      2. Quill*

        Not to mention travel time, unless OP1 is meeting them very close to the university it’s going to be, at minimum, an hour’s round trip. (And if the student has to jump through hoops to get off campus / cross a metro area, we’re talking about probably 2 hours travel time… so 3 hours just for attendance, during normal business hours which are also normal school hours where you have classes or your study groups meeting… or your current day job prior to your night class…

    6. Important Moi*

      This comment comes across as condescending and dismissive. What does your ability many years ago to socialize and have a 4.0 GPA have to do with anything ?

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        It speaks to a possible different interpretation of OP’s expectations, a more generous interpretation than we’ve been giving them.

        I find reading OP’s statement as ‘students are prepping for exams’ as a stretch, but I could see it, and in the US, in many schools, you do have some down time during exams. In all three of the public universities I am familiar with, you’d have 5 exams over two weeks (undergrad) or 4 exams over 1.5 weeks (grad). Those schedules haven’t changed in at least 30 years (I have a friend taking exams next week). Many exams only cover the 2nd half of the course, and are worth 25 – 40% of the grades.

        My understanding is that non-US school exams are usually higher % of the grade and cover more of the course (eg, some classes, the final exam is the only grade), and that some US schools follow this, but in the US it’s unusual.

        It’s a Yes’s comments are neither condescending nor dismissive, they simply reflect the very real difference between ‘an exam’ and ‘preparing for an exam’, which no one else has been discussing.

        If it’s ‘preparing for an exam’, OP’s got *slightly* more standing because that isn’t as critical as the actual exam, but only if OP’s also making it *reaaaaaly* easy for students, ie by conducting interviews on campus. Even with decent ‘socializing’ time, ‘getting to a company site during 9 – 5’ is not an easy ask.

        1. Observer*

          If something is 25% of the grade then not prepping adequately for it is just stupid – that could EASILY make the difference between passing and failing, and for sure could create a real hit to the GPA, which makes a difference in the first years after college (and could also make a difference in the ability to get financial aid.) If it’s as much as 40%? Messing that up WILL create significant problems.

          The idea that “Well I was able to do some socializing so everyone else should be able to actually take significant amounts of time and energy to interview” is . . . clueless, to be charitable.

    7. The Original K.*

      Prepping for and attending a job interview takes more than an hour. You can (and in my opinion, should) watch an episode or two of a show to give your mind a break, or meet up with friends for dinner and then go right back to studying. Prepping for and attending a job interview requires not only more time than that, it requires the interviewer to be “on” in a way that’s pretty taxing. It’s a stressor. Totally different – antithetical, even! – from socializing.

    8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      That’s cool that you could get some socializing in. Most likely at night right before bed. So these interviews should be held at say 9 or 10pm with beers to get you ready to turn in? Sounds like that would work…

      Not everyone is afforded your luxuries.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        lol – 90% of students I knew were night owls, 9 – 11 is *prime* study time.

        Finals weeks were always weird – 11pm half the hall / apartments would go to sleep (exam tomorrow) and the other half would get dressed / go out for 12am – 2am beers, even though it’s Tuesday. It really is a different, slower pace than the rest of the semester, it’s not just It’s a yes’s experience / luxury. I’ve got a friend working on his BA (on the 20 year plan), his exams start next week, and the underlying structure (5 exams 2 weeks) hasn’t changed, so I’d bet the student behavior’s pretty similar too.

      2. Quill*

        “socializing” = still attempting to cram but with friends around and probably a pizza.

        And the one person who went “fuck this, if I didn’t know it yesterday I won’t know it tomorrow morning” and proceeded to play mario kart until 2 am.

    9. JimmyJab*

      I read it this way too, also because it doesn’t otherwise make sense! I interpret it that the students are saying, “I have exams/presentations on X date and I’m busy until they’re over” or something similar. In which case, students should take the time to interview as long as it doesn’t prevent attending important exams and/or presentations!

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        meh – even if I read it this way, the company would have to make the interview *easy* to interest me.

        I know my current employer did interviews on campus. I *think* they did them right after midterms, fall semester, for spring employment. Despite having a car and an easier schedule during exams, I doubt I’d have prepped, driven 30 minutes each way, and done an hour interview during exams unless I was desperate. Four hours is a pretty big chunk of time, and the big names / desirable companies were on campus.

      2. Blueberry*

        Exam Week is already pretty taxing without adding interviews. I think it’s reasonable for a student to not want to add an interview, when they need to be at their very best, to an already difficult time.

        1. Scarlet2*

          Exactly. I graduated 25 years ago, but I still remember how exhausting this period of time was. I’m amazed by all those people who claim that it should be no big deal to take half a day off of your study time to go interview for an entry-level job that you might or might not get in the end.

          No, it is a very big deal. I remember all our exams were crammed in 2 weeks, with 2 exams per day on the first week, including Saturday. The 2 weeks of study leading up to that were complete insanity. There’s no way I could have found the time and energy necessary to prepare for an interview + travel time + the interview itself.

          When a company wants to hire new graduates, it’s up to them to be mindful of exam times. They’re just doing it the wrong way and their rigidity is a serious red flag.

    10. Nanani*

      “an odd hour here or there” doesn’t sound like enough time to adequately prepare for an interview, and travel back and forth to it.

      As you say you’re pretty old, consider you might not have the first clue what it’s like to graduate into the modern economy?

    11. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Preparing for an interview is generally more than taking “the odd hour here or there”, and maybe OP isn’t expecting them to skip exams or presentations, but those things take prep time, especially at the end of your last semester. I graduated from college 25 years ago and I agree that the OP is very out of touch, and expect them to drop everything for the POSSIBILITY of a job. It’s not your age that’s the blocker, it’s your unrealistic expectations of how things work.

    12. OP #1*

      You’re definitely reading it the way I intended for it to be read, but I guess my phrasing wasn’t clear enough :) I generalized the question when I asked Alison but the impetus was one student who I was working with being offered 6+ dates across a 3 week span but none of them were viable. It’s not the end of the world, & we will definitely find another date to meet with this candidate. One thing I’ve picked up on in reading the responses is that maybe we do need to consider an interview blackout in December because of exams — I do have students with availability in December but now I’m wondering if they’re actually available or if they feel like they MUST make it work even if it means they’re not as well-prepared for their exams. I wouldn’t have insight into that calculation but certainly don’t want to put them in a tough spot. We address candidates on a rolling basis so if they applied earlier in the semester, they’ve already been interviewed. If they apply mid-November or later, their interview would likely fall in this tough holiday/exam black hole & we could certainly consider focusing on mid-career interviews in that time & resume the graduating students in early January when everyone’s schedules open up.

      1. Observer*

        So here is the thing – it’s still not reasonable to expect students to “make it work” even if it’s just prep time.

        To put it in work terms (at least for my job…) if I have a major proposals due on 11/30, I am NOT making appointments the week prior. I significantly change my work schedule the last 2 months of the fiscal year to make sure that projects that are tied to the fiscal year get done on time, even when there is not a single specific due date, and I don’t make outside appointments for then, either.

        That’s the kind of thing students are dealing with during end of semester / finals time.

  28. Pibble*

    OP 1: On top of everything else people are saying about how bizarre it is you’re expecting people to risk failing to graduate for a chance at an entry level position, every college I was at had final exam times set by the school. Professors and students had absolutely zero say in when their exams would be (in order to ensure exams can be longer than the usual class period and no student is scheduled for two exams at once). It meant I had to take some exams at times that were otherwise inconvenient for me, but there was no changing things short of an emergency or a disability accommodation. I would be deeply skeptical of any company recruiting on a campus that doesn’t have a basic understanding of this sort of schedule.

  29. Xl*

    For #4, most of my amazement stems from hearing about an arcade with a staff of numerous people. Was this letter teleported from the 1980s?

    1. Myrin*

      Arcades have never been a big thing where I am (not in the US) but apart from that, I used to think the same thing.
      However, during the last year, a favourite videogame streamer of mine has started hosting gaming events in barcades, leading an honest-to-god tour all through the US. These are huge buildings, jam-packed with people, and, while so far all in cities I’ve heard of before, definitely not only in huge metro areas like New York or San Francisco. When he first started to announce these news, I thought to myself how many lucrative arcades there could probably be nowadays but it turns out that this is apparently a pretty big thing amongst a certain clientele (that sounds weirdly shady but I really only mean that there are few but loyal people who are extremely into it).
      I don’t know how strongly the “b” in “barcades” factors into all of that, though.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s less the liquor itself and more the no kids atmosphere in my experience. It’s a different vibe than an all ages setup.

        Bars have always had a few video games. Pinball and such, they’re always been popular enough. Some just grew that out to what barcades are now.

      2. Antilles*

        Slightly off-topic, but I went a speedrunning gaming event to one of these a few weeks ago (maybe by the same streamer? GPB?) in Atlanta. Was tons of fun, definitely worth watching, would highly recommend if they come to your city/country.

    2. Asenath*

      I don’t know that I’d call it an arcade, but a long-lived local business specializing in games recently closed and then re-opened to lots of advertising. I don’t know what type of games the original business had – I never went inside, having assumed rather vaguely that it was mostly arcade machines for the teen-aged and young adult set – but it apparently made a profit for many decades. The newer version, part of a national chain, advertises food, drink, arcade games, virtual reality, a bowling alley, axe throwing, a couple things that are a bit vague (“tech shop”?), and careers.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We have a lot of them still. A few strictly for adults with bars included as well.

      Yes. The 90s are alive and well. Well at least we still have Pearl Jam who woulda thunk that.

    4. Jules the 3rd*

      We have at least four in our area, though most also have mini-golf, go-karts, and laser tag. The one that doesn’t is an all-ages barcade; don’t ask me how that works, I haven’t been, but Mr / Little Jules have been a couple times.

      1. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s separation between areas with drinks and without them usually. And timing.

        We have minors allowed places that are considered bars around. No minors on the actual bar rail is the hard and fast rule they live by. It’s a loophole many liquor licensing boards have opened to allow for increased sales to the restaurant or entertainment portions. I believe the licensing process is more rigorous and expensive as well of course given that setup.

    5. Antilles*

      So there’s definitely still arcades around. Not as much as there was a few decades ago, but most major cities still have a couple arcades with racing games, pinball, skeeball, etc. There’s a couple major chains that dominate in this space – Dave and Busters, Main Event, etc. These places usually have a full bar and a restaurant attached which is where the money is really made.
      Then there’s also usually at least one ‘video game cafe’ place. It’s effectively like a normal bar, but instead of the usual darts/pool to play with your friends, there’s tons of consoles (new and classic ones), networked PCs, etc to spend time with.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Laser tag overlaps here.
        And there’s also an alternate usage for a shopping arcade. Alison gets letters from all over the world, and that definition is still pretty high up in the dictionary.

  30. Jeff*

    It seems I’m not the only one with this opinion, but I still feel like venting my two cents’ worth just the same:

    My initial response to the first letter was “Wow, this OP is way out of touch with expectations when it comes to exams and such”. But then I got up to get something and stewed on it a bit and became honestly galled at the entitlement they were displaying towards their candidates’ time.

    As has been said by others, ducking out of or skipping a regular lecture generally isn’t the worst thing, and I’ve definitely seen other students all dressed up because they had interviews at some point in the day. But things with mandatory attendance like labs and especially big-grade items like exams and presentations? Those are unconditionally off the table. And they’re not even guaranteeing lifetime employment – It’s for an interview for a chance at a likely not-entirely-secure job.

    They’re asking their candidates to risk their entire degree by throwing away a potentially critical grade, for which they won’t have a valid excuse. A degree, which, one assumes, will be a requirement for not only the job they are interviewing for, but also any future jobs in the same field.

    And, presumably, this is not the first time they’ve ever hired people straight out of school, so it’s not like this should be unfamiliar territory. So, how they’re so bafflingly unsympathetic to students’ needs in this regard is inexplicable.

    Like Alison said, if a company pushed back on me saying, “Unfortunately I have class at that time, would [___] work? [with a list of all available reasonable dates and times]”, let alone a critical thing like an exam or presentation, I would pretty much strike them from my list because it would raise a large enough red flag about their respect for my time and needs outside of work.

    Admittedly, though, that’s older-me, who now has a little bit of sense of self-worth and willingness to stand up for himself against toxic work environment/mentalities. Fresh-out-of-school with my first B.Sc. me absolutely would not have had this sense. And that first terrible job that I had across the country out of school directly was a result of me not knowing better enough to watch for red flags of the sort of nature that tells one that a job is not a great fit [For oneself personally, or for like, anyone, because it’s just so toxic – which was more the case with that job, ultimately].

  31. Mommy-MD*

    I don’t think this Assistant is going to work out. There’s no trust or sense of teamwork. Is it possible to ask for someone else? This person seems oppositional and deliberately undermining (going to HR about the form) and it’s unlikely her core attitude is going to change. Her continuing to bring up previous manager shows she can’t or won’t move forward and accept you as new manager. This is a negative situation and you must feel stressed going to work every day. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells or worry that every decision you make is over-scrutinized by her or she’s going to report you to HR. Personally I’d ask for someone else if possible, saying it isn’t a good fit, and that current assistant is having a hard time with the transition. Good luck.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      While everything you say may be true, she can’t ask for a new assistant before she has a conversation with her. That’s like firing someone for not being great at their job with zero warning on ways they can improve.

      1. Maria Lopez*

        She CAN ask for a new assistant, but it probably would be better for her to have a conversation with her on the off chance that the assistant doesn’t realize how obnoxious she is being. However, from the letter it doesn’t sound as if the OP has said anything to the assistant when she has encountered the resistance, but this is an experienced assistant, so I think she knows exactly how inappropriate she is being.

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          When I say she can’t ask, I don’t mean that literally. It’s going to negatively affect OP if she jumps to asking for a new assistant before she tries to work it out with the current assistant. It’s like going to your manager or HR before trying to work out an issue with the individual themselves (assuming you don’t feel threatened or similar).

  32. Mommy-MD*

    If any family, friend, or God himself, called and spoke to a current or former manager or interfered with my job in any way, I’d be livid and pretty unforgiving. Stay completely out of it. She has to learn to deal with employers and managers herself.

  33. Mommy-MD*

    OP 1: with all due respect, you are the rigid and short-sighted one. You are not offering the opportunity of a lifetime and should be cognizant that of course they can’t miss class or an exam to go to a routine interview. Grad school is serious business. Sometimes missing a single class puts you way back. Personally I’d pass on working for you. You seem to be taking this as some type of personal insult when in fact, it’s a scheduling conflict.

  34. triplehiccup*

    The first letter makes me wonder how it would go if colleges worked an “interview week” into the calendar for seniors: still hold classes, but no exams or presentations, and maybe the classes are about “bonus material”–as a high school teacher I always had topics I wished I could get to. You could have a big career fair and departments could offer seminars on job finding tailored to their major. Students who opted to do a bunch of interviews could share their lessons learned at the end of the week. It would be a huge improvement over the stale career services advice at some schools!

    1. No Tribble At All*

      I did an on-campus interview as part of a career fair, but it wasn’t offered to everyone. I’d be delighted to have a one-credit class about interviewing, but what you’re suggesting is a lot of work for the companies with no payoff at all.

      1. triplehiccup*

        Oh I hadn’t imagined the companies doing anything besides having an established week that they can more easily fit in interviews with college students.

  35. Wordnerd*

    As someone who supervises college students at their college student jobs, I would absolutely give a student the day off to go to an interview! When I saw the headline and thought it was just “class,” yeah, I wouldn’t judge a student for skipping class for an interview. But exams?? No way.

    And just as a piece of anecdata, our school holds our major career fair near the end of September, and cancelled classes for the fair itself. It would be a lot easier to skip class in September/October than in December.

    1. Delta Delta*

      Yep. I teach a class in higher education. If a student tells me s/he has an interview (or other excellent learning opportunity) that takes them away from class, I give them my blessing and wish them luck. If it’s during the time of a graded assignment/exam, I tell them they make whatever choice they make.

      1. Quill*

        I did skip my research job on campus one day to hitch a ride with the physics boys to fermilab (it’s fermilab!) but it was the sort of project that could be done the next day. My professor / then supervisor was way more chill about it than she would have been about me skipping a lab or presentation.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      Yeah, iirc, my first post-grad school job came from a late Sep career fair, mid-Oct on-campus interview, late Oct ‘aptitude test’ & second interview from the employer, Dec offer for June employment. The career fair had 20+ big employers with local branches (think Deloitte, PwC, Cisco), a couple of west coast tech cos that had partnerships with the university (I think I remember Microsoft), and a good number of local tech / services firms (eg SAS, Red Hat), so a lot of companies were working this as their standard method of getting new graduates. Big school, though, 20K undergrads 10K grads, and a strong comp sci dept. We may have also acted as a regional job fair for the HBCUs / partner community colleges in our area; I know there were people there from other schools.

  36. Delta Delta*

    #1 – I’m reading this letter differently than others. I’m not reading it to say that the OP thinks students should blow off exams or presentations during their scheduled times, but rather that dates are given for possible interview times (not sure how many, but it seems like multiple options), and students refuse every date and time given, citing “exams” as their reason. Without knowing more – like whether these are on-campus interviews or if there’s travel involved, how many dates/times are offered, etc., it’s hard to know what’s reasonable. If it’s “we can see you Tuesday at 2” but Tuesday at 2 is an exam time, of course students should decline the interview. If it’s “we have 17 open interview slots during the week of the 14th,” it seems that some students might find a way to make that work.

    That said, if these are on-campus interviews, OP would do herself a favor by checking with the schools to find out when the exam period is and not scheduling interviews during that period. The exam period can be a really high-stress time, and honestly, many students might not be the best representations of themselves at an interview during exams/reading.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Yes but if she’s offering these times during a critical period of time for students, whether OP is offering 2 options or 20 options, it would be a no go for most and I don’t find that unreasonable. End of your the semester (especially the last before you graduate) is crunch time, and the last thing I’d want to try and do when I’m finishing up big projects and studying for finals is try and shove an interview in the middle of all of it.

  37. hbc*

    OP2: I’m a very collaborative, flexible manager, but I had to put my foot down on any kind of argument that was based on “this is how we did things before.” That’s a description, not a reason. There’s presumably some reason a new thing is being proposed, so I’m happy to discuss what the drawbacks are or how the supposed benefits won’t really come through because of some detail I don’t know about yet.

    Tell your assistant that you value her knowledge, and she has to use that to help you understand the historical picture, not just obstruct change. I’ve softened this by putting something in like, “Maybe I’ll decide that the benefits of the new process outweigh the downsides, maybe we’ll end up tweaking the process to get the best of both worlds, or maybe I’ll just learn more and not come up with another unworkable idea next week.”

    1. LadyCop*

      #2 Did I read this right? You’ve been the manager for 3 years and you’re still getting, “Courtney and I always did it this way.” Sheeesh. This woman has got to move on!
      I realize people are generally averse to change, but requiring time off forms to be filled out is a pretty common occurrence.
      I’m guessing the assistant just had a different rapport and she’s feeling a little threatened now that’s gone.
      Some people seriously want to start battles over nothing.

    2. The Supreme Troll*

      “‘this is how we did things before.’ That’s a description, not a reason.” You have summarized this perfectly.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        One of the most useful things my trainer did for me when I first came into this position was they spelled out the unusual legal / financial structure of my team and explained the impacts of it. It was ‘we did it this way before Because Financial and Regulatory Reasons’ (I love you, Sarbanes-Oxley! really! You keep me employed!). This really helped with the 10k’ view mentioned above, and made it easier to see areas where we could change.

    3. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is an excellent way to discuss the issue.

      My response is “I’ll need you to be flexible when it comes to change. I’m not Courtney, we do things differently.”

      I don’t work well with people resistant to change needless to say.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Hey The Man, I suspect we’re in different parts of the country, but I’d love to work with or for you. Just had to say.

  38. Lusara*

    OP1 isn’t clear if it’s that they are saying the proposed times conflict with the actual exams or class times, or if the students are saying they conflict with their planned study times. There’s a big difference between “I can’t interview at 2 on Wednesday because I have an exam at that time” and “I can’t interview at 2 on Wednesday because I have an exam on Thursday I need to study for.” It’s completely unreasonable to expect the first student to make that interview time. But it’s totally reasonable to expect the second student to be able to make it.

    1. Manon*

      I have to disagree with this, as a current student. Between an unpaid internship, an on-campus job, class, and practice/rehearsals (music student), sometimes I have very specific slots of time during which I can study. It’s not unreasonable to decide that preparing for an exam that’s worth 35% of my grade takes priority over an interview.

      What’s more, maybe the class review session is at 2 PM on Wednesday. Or the TA/Professor has office hours from 2-4 PM on Wednesdays and you need to get help on an important concept. Or you’ve already scheduled a study group with other students.

    2. Asenath*

      I don’t think it’s necessarily reasonable to expect a student with an exam the next day to attend an interview, which could take a few hours out of the day when you allow for preparation and travel time for the interview. It’s not just last-minute studying for the exam – many students have the entire exam period blocked off with study and completing final papers and presentations. I would argue that this aren’t always students who have delayed studying until the last minute; they’re often the most hard-working students who have been studying all semester, and are now at the climax of their courses, and figuring out how to complete everything around an exam schedule which, as others have said, may well have been dictated by some central authority and therefore isn’t always either convenient for the student or easy to change. Now, if what was being held the next day wasn’t a final exam, but perhaps a short quiz that didn’t contribute much to the grade and which any decent student should easily be able to prepare for, that’s different. But I get the impression here we’re discussing final exams.

    3. CheeryO*

      I disagree. Reading days and exam days should be totally blacked out. It’s an extremely stressful time for students, and there’s no reason why they couldn’t do the interviews earlier or later.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think a lot of folks removed from university forget sometimes the students have jam packed schedules. Especially during their degree wrapping up!

      I had to schedule weekend visits many moons ago around these schedules. It can mean not being able to study at all.

      These are people who are often deprived of enough sleep or enough time to eat a meal.

    5. Another Anon*

      I agree with this. At first I felt the way most people here feel but if it’s study time, students should be able to manage their time in a way that allows for things like this if they’re serious about the opportunity.
      I get it, studying is important, I’m a current law student so I understand the pressure of final exams, it’s literally 100% of my grade. I also work two jobs and am in a clinical program this semester, so I empathize with being a busy student. But some of my colleagues in my clinic are complaining and refusing to go to their scheduled court dates that got adjourned until december cause they have to study for finals. They aren’t studying every second, they’ve had the exam schedule since August, and they are burdening the rest of us with their refusals to do the work they signed up for. So if it’s a situation where the LW has given students a significant number of choices to interview, but they have blocked off a full 2-3 weeks to study for exams or do presentations, that seems pretty whack. But in that same vein, maybe the LW should consider that these students really aren’t that interested in coming to work for them to begin with.

      1. Quill*

        It’s a different setup when it’s an interview, which is only a *chance* at a job, than it is when you have to go to court for a job you currently have.

      2. Delta Delta*

        As a lawyer… what? Court isn’t optional. You go to court. That is 100% literally the reason you are all in law school. Also as a lawyer who could hire students for a job as a lawyer, I do not want to hire those students. This shows problems with time management, which is a very significant part of being a lawyer.

      3. Observer*

        students should be able to manage their time in a way that allows for things like this if they’re serious about the opportunity.

        Why should they take the opportunity so seriously? It’s an entry level job, it’s not guaranteed to get the on the career path they want, and it’s not even a guaranteed job.

        Beyond that, what makes you think it’s just a matter of “time management”. The core schedule is totally inflexible. Everything else revolves around that. That includes working with other students and staff, whose schedules are not all that flexible either. And then, they need to fit basic exam prep (I’m not talking about cramming, but just the basics) around that. Now, you’re expecting to somehow find the time to fit in half a day to do an interview? It’s not not reasonable or realistic AT ALL.

      4. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

        Going to a job interview =/= going to court. Court is a current commitment (rather like finals); a job interview is only for the chance of maybe getting a job. Only one place I interviewed at during law school expected me to interview during finals, and that was a highly competitive government job that only required me to do a phone interview (so it really was only an hour of my time, and not several hours or days).

    6. Jules the 3rd*

      I disagree. It’s less unreasonable, but it’s not *totally* reasonable. There’s a ton of variation in college schedules, and a reasonable response is to be flexible and respect the students’ assessments of their availability.

    7. Observer*

      Actually, it’s totally not reasonable to expect student #2 to make it. These exams are pretty much make or break for students. Asking them to forgo appropriate prep for the mere possibility of an entry level job that might lead to a career is not reasonable.

    8. Lusara*

      I forgot that nothing goes without saying online. I assumed that the interviews are on campus so no travel time needed, sufficient notice is given, say a week, multiple times are offered, and it’s not during finals week.

      I was never so swamped in undergrad or grad school that I wouldn’t have been able to find 2 hours for an interview.

      Of course if the OP is offering one time slot on short notice then yes, it’s unreasonable to expect someone to be able to make it.

  39. Important Moi*

    LW1: When I was close to graduating and my University had companies come on-campus to interview, that attitude or in this case question damaged the reputation of companies. We are students thought “Why are you coming to a school and going to have issues with people schedulong around class?” It seems like the companies didn’t understand what they were showing up for. It seemed out of touch. It was an OK Boomer moment before OK Boomer became popular

  40. Important Moi*

    LW1: I do not know if you are working with a University’s Career Placement Center ( or whatever name it’s going by). When I was in school students were always encouraged to notify the Career Placement Center if companies had your type of concerns about student availability. They weren’t invited back to campus to participate in student interviews.

  41. Manon*

    OP 1 – Keep in mind that presentation and exam times are non-negotiable. They happen either during scheduled class time or during a pre-selected time slot and are a matter of university policy. Even scheduling a make-up exam for many students is a BFD and very rarely happens. If a student says they can’t make it because of an exam, they literally can’t make it unless they want to fail the class.

  42. Pretzelgirl*

    Op1- I fully admit that 15 years ago, I wasn’t the most responsible college student. I would sometimes skip class. But I would never miss a presentation or exam for an interview. Even then I would have known enough to run the other way from a company like that.

  43. StressedButOkay*

    OP1, look at it this way – right now, college is their full-time job. It would be the same for me if I was trying to schedule an interview around my full time, adult job that had meetings and responsibilities. Sometimes the interview time just doesn’t work and my current commitment has to come first.

    Also, you have no idea how much an exam can weigh on their grade. I had a class in college where there was very little course work and nearly all of the grading came from the 4 exams I took that semester. Missing even just one could have a disastrous impact on their grade. Don’t fault the students for not wanting to jeopardize their hard work – work with them, instead.

  44. Jay*

    OP#1, I don’t know if things are different where you live, or were different when you went to college, but trying to interview college students during Exam Week is nothing short of shear, raw, MADNESS. It’s been about twenty years for me, but I still remember the nightmare that was my last Finals Week. I was both academically skilled and well prepared, as well as being moderate in my personal habits (not much booze, no drugs). Basically your typical nerd, except I spent at least an hour a day in the weight room. That is to say, I had much less to worry about than many of my peers. I still didn’t sleep for days. Studying all hours of the day and night, forgetting to shower, brush my teeth, or comb my hair. I was a wreck. I vividly remember, on the night before I had 2 Exams and a Presentation due, one of my room mates was playing Jimmy Buffett music a bit too loud while he studied. I asked him twice to turn it down. Then I punched his door in and threatened to do the same for his skull if he didn’t turn down the music. The reaction among our friends was along the lines of “You were playing music the night before Exams?!?! I would have KILLED you for that”. Not one person any of us knew thought my behavior was anything less than restrained.
    THAT is what Exams due to mild, nerdy students. You should see the other kind. Not just near lethal doses of caffeine to keep you going and alcohol to get you to stop, but all manner of study/alertness enhancing drugs, legal, illegal, prescription, street, and snake oil.
    You would have been interviewing literal lunatics. People who could have rattled off every major river in Asia on command, but who forgot to wear pants to the interview.
    Do yourself and your company a favor and give them some quality time to recover, sober up, wake up from the coma, whatever. It will be better for everyone this way.

    1. Quill*

      You went to college before a Jaeger Monster was a thing, and I can only assume that this has added at least ten years to your life expectancy.

      1. Jay*

        I may or may not know what happens to a person when they dissolve caffeine pills in strait Everclear.
        And it may or may not be directly responsible for a my-forehead-shaped-hole in the apartment wall. Even nerds cut loose sometimes;)

        1. Pobody’s Nerfect*

          Geez. My college finals all-nighter study sessions were fueled by M&Ms, Smartfood popcorn and Taco Bell. So glad I wasn’t part of the drug/everclear world, it sounds horribly toxic.

            1. Jay*

              I am absolutely positive it had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I was on two different high blood pressure medications by the time I was 35.
              Nothing at all.
              Not a bit.

  45. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    She did the right thing by quitting and standing up for herself to a cruddy manager. It’s service/retail life nonsense. Even if you did speak with the owner about his son’s bad management, it’ll do nothing but make them dislike the family. You don’t have any power there. You never will. I say this to encourage you to move on with hopeless cases.

    He’s lucky she told him she quit in that exchange. A large portion in that setup says “fine I’ll be there” and ghosts. Again. Not an industry that plays by professional guidelines that were all used to here! It’s minimum wage and she’s 19, she won’t be needing that callous doofus to give her a reference.

  46. Eclecticism is a Virtue*

    LW #2, it’s completely normal when a manager takes over a department the employees who were already in the department resent the changes and leave. I think sometimes, maybe even most of the time, it is not they are averse to change, but rather the former manager’s approach worked well for them and the new approach does not work as well for them. In that sense, it’s self-selecting out of the job because their approach to work doesn’t mesh well with the new manager’s way of doing things. If that happens, it’s what is best for everyone.

    That said, Alison’s advice is spot-on if she continues to be vocal about her displeasure with the changes.

  47. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I didn’t even go to college and know you don’t just skip classes let alone exams for any reason unless it’s life or death. And even then they want you to wheel in on deaths door. Your degree depends on it not just if you get honors or graduate at the bottom instead of the top.

    This is like offering someone currently working an interview and expecting them to make tomorrow at 11am work out. You want them to prioritize their current employment first. Since they’re already committed there.

    You want students who keep their commitments and stay on track. Otherwise you’re taking on people who jump at whatever is dangled in front of them without a thought to their current responsibilities. That’s the kind who are prone to ghosting, lying about being sick to go to the beach and just generally not the reliable mature people you’re hopefully looking to launch into these career paths you’re trying to start.

  48. Sharrbe*

    LW1 – I can’t believe this person is seriously asking this question. You don’t put in four year’s worth of work and relationship-building with faculty just to blow them off at the last minute. When you are a senior you are taking courses in your major, and more than likely you have taken multiple classes with the professors who are teaching those courses. Walking away from those is damaging to your reputation in that school and you can pretty much kiss any future recommendations from faculty goodbye. LW, you really have to rethink your position on this because you are entirely wrong.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      The OP is the short sighted one.

      They can offer these people jobs to get their feet wet. Cool. But what then? Are they then captive to this one entity? The hit to their reputation with their professors and their grades will follow them, making moving up and probably out of the institution that’s wooing them now is possibly crippling.

      If I were a cynic. Oh wait I am. I would think this is how the business that the OP works for really wants it. Then they’re even more in charge of an employee for much longer in the end. Makes their retention rates better at the expense of the incoming employee’s networking power.

  49. MonteCristo85*

    OP#1 is why I am firmly on the side of not giving reasons for declining invitations or appointments. No matter the relative strength or weakness of a reason or excuse, people will try to argue about it, as evidences by the comments here. A firm, “I’m sorry that time(s) doesn’t work for for me” and leave it at that. It both parties can’t come to an agreement on a time, then it wasn’t meant to be and everyone can move on without second guessing the other parties motives.

    1. Witchy Human*

      I mostly agree, but if you’re blocking off more than a few days at least a vague explanation is a good idea. An “I’ll be out of town next week” is better than “there are no days next week that work for me.”

      And if you have something work related–an all-day meeting or a conference–it may be worth mentioning. A good employer wants you to follow through on work commitments; if they get annoyed that you don’t blow it off, you don’t want to work for them.

  50. SM*

    Who would want to employ someone who would walk away from a 4 year investment that is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for an entry level opportunity that may or may not pan out???

  51. Sharikacat*

    For LW#2, I’m reminded of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (showing my age!) where Data was temporarily in charge with Worf as his second-in-command. After Worf questioned one of Data’s decisions in from of the crew, he pulled Worf aside and laid out his clear, unequivocal expectations: bring up your objections with me in private, but in front of everyone else, you need to back me up whether you agree with me or not. If you can’t do that, I’ll replace you with someone who can. To his credit, Data would have phrased it as a transfer rather than a demotion, just trying to find the right person for the role.

  52. Blue Eagle*

    OP1 – Many commenters have asked you if you would still hire the person if they failed the class that they skipped to take your interview. And maybe your answer is that you would hire them anyway. My comment is about all the others.
    Are you only interviewing one person and will definitely give that person the job? Because you are worried about that one person who would get the job and now won’t because they chose school first. But what about all of those who you interviewed and then did NOT hire? Did you ever consider how skipping school to go to your interview and then you not hiring them for that “long-term” position would affect them?

  53. Yvette*

    Re #1 Am I the only one dying to know what company this is? Because honestly Cutco/Vector comes to mind. That
    with the mindset of “I’m attempting to offer them (what could be) a long-term career path.” It sounds like it is coming from someone who drank the Kool-Aid. (OK Forbes, Flavor Aid )
    But then again I would imagine most colleges would not allow them at career fairs.

    1. Quill*

      It depends on how dilligent the due dilligence the career department has done is…

      There’s always a market for preying on recent grads, and OP#1’s attitude that “You should be able and willing to drop everything for a mere chance to work for THIS company” is a red flag, but also not confined to those types of scams…

  54. Andream*

    LW#1. It sounds like you are offering interviews during or right before midterm and/or finals. Why? You can’t say that you don’t know when these times are. Every university or college has its academic calendar posted on its website. All you would have to do is look and then know that the students most likely wouldn’t be able to make those times. You could be nice and when your talking with the students say something like “well we do have some availability on X dates, but I know this is finals week so you may not be able to make these times. What would work for you?”

    Also, are you only looking for college students still in school/ about to graduate? If so you need to understand that to the students, their classes are a FULL-TIME JOB. You wouldn’t want them to skip their tests because, as someone else mentioned, these people would bethe ones to skip work. Plus Students aren’t going to waste their 50K in student loans, blow that final class they need to graduate, just because they have an interview they “might” get hired for.

    If you are only going to college fairs, yet you need to hire people in a certain timeframe, I would reconsider only going to college fairs. Reach out to your local unemployment agencies to see if they have Career fairs. Even if it’s entry-level you would be able to find some nice candidates, whom you can schedule to interview when the college students can’t. then after finals, you can go onto the college kids.

  55. Alex*

    I turned down a job (or rather, didn’t get hired when I told them no, this wouldn’t work for me) when the company that was trying to hire me in April of my senior year of college (So, I was graduating in May) was angry that I couldn’t start full-time until after I’d finished my last semester’s coursework and exams. I’d spent over $100k and worked to get all the way to the last semester in college, just four weeks from graduation, and they thought I was going to drop out so that I could work their $15/hour job? And it wasn’t like it was a time-flexible job either, so I could have worked a full time schedule around classes and exams. It was not.

    I later met someone who worked for them and her words were “Yeah well you dodged a bullet.”

  56. blink14*

    OP #1 – I think you need to change your thought process, and more broadly, your recruiting process.

    These students don’t want to just “finish out strong” – they need to graduate! What would happen if they took an interview, didn’t prepare well enough for an exam, or skipped it altogether for the interview, and then didn’t graduate? Most people would look at that and say it was irresponsible to take the job interview when they knew they couldn’t do both.

    You want these students to do well and to GRADUATE. I’m assuming that a college degree is a requirement for the jobs you are offering them. Why go against that and get annoyed that they can take an interview when they are either preparing for or taking an exam, doing a final project, presentation etc. School is their job right now (and they very likely could have a second job going at the same time).

    I think your company needs to reevaluate it’s recruiting timeline. Someone graduating in December should be interviewed earlier in the fall, say by the end of October or early November. Anything later and of course you’re going to run into their exam schedules. Recruiting students graduating in May or June should be interviewed by the end of April. There has to be flexibility or you will miss out on the best candidates, without a doubt.

  57. CommanderBanana*

    OP1: Seriously? Reread your question and see if your company sounds like a company a grad would want to work for.

  58. KeepIt*

    I have a lot of harsh words I’d like to say to op1 but I don’t want to get banned from the comment section

  59. One of the Daves you know*

    LW#5 – in my industry (academic specialized library, think medical or law), if you don’t have your boss from the current place of employment listed, we’re going to come back and ask to speak to someone where you work. It’s a small enough industry that we probably will reach out to a higher up at your current place to get an assessment in addition to your offered reference in addition to whoever you let us speak to. This is the only industry I’ve worked in where not including the current boss is a huge warning sign. And we do this for any job in the hierarchy.

    Other places I’ve worked, no one batted an eye if you didn’t include someone from your current place. However, then you start to run into problems if you’ve worked one job for a number of years, you don’t have someone who can speak to your current skill set.

    1. Pobody’s Nerfect*

      Yup, my current workplace also not says you must list your current manager in your references, but then HR will NOTIFY your manager by email the second you apply for a an internal position, regardless of how far you get in the process. It’s a nightmare. And for those people whose current employers don’t want them to leave/move, they can give a faulty/negative reference that isn’t true but will pretty much ensure no other dept will hire you. It’s a horrible system that creates so much tension for those looking to move on.

      1. Antilles*

        For internal positions, it’s very common for the hiring manager or HR to notify your current boss. In fact, it’s often expected that the employee themselves will give the heads-up before even applying.
        The intent is that it helps everyone – the hiring manager can really get an honest and detailed discussion of your strengths and weaknesses to help you move into places you’ll really thrive. It also helps you retain talent because if the situation is working properly, employees feel empowered to move around and grow within the company.
        Where this theory goes off the rails is when managers start blocking internal transfers out of their own self-interest, which basically guarantees that people will get frustrated and straight up leave the company. Which means the manager is in the same spot as if they’d allowed the transfer (hole on the team gotta replace) but the company doesn’t even reap any benefit. The real problem is that it’s very hard to detect this kind of problem, because in most cases employees (often correctly) feel there’s no benefit and lots of risks to being honest about “yeah, I’m leaving because Bob Badmanager blocked my transfer request”.

  60. animaniactoo*

    OP1, I imagine 200 people have made this point already, but I can’t help myself.

    Dear god, do you realize that you are thinking they should skip out on things that affect their very ability to graduate???? You think that your POSSIBLE job is more important than making sure they graduate to them? You think this is just “finishing strong”? And even if we take it a finishing strong – one of the strongest things a new graduate can show to employers is their GPA. So you want them to risk this essential credential… to work around your schedule? Do you hear yourself?

    Yeah, they are college students. That does not mean that their needs right now are not equally and even more important than yours. Do not expect them to toss them out the window for your convenience. Doing that is a patronizing and condescending way to view new workers, and human beings in general.

  61. AltAcProf*

    LW1: Prof here. I’m never going to penalize a student for going to a job interview, not in this economy. I allow it as an excused absence and this semester I even let one student take their midterm at a later date. But please note that 1) not all professors are as flexible as I am and 2) it inconveniences me and creates issues for the student as well as for their classmates (in ways that aren’t immediately apparent to you, such as having to create more than one pool of exam questions, delaying grading, causing the student who is asking additional stress). If you are hiring students please note that they are, first and foremost, students. And like others have noted, your best workers will be the students who take their obligations–such as exams, and showing up for class–seriously. You should be flexible on that point because it will make things better for you in the long run (and, not that you probably care, it will make life easier for the student, the professor, and the classmates).

  62. nora*

    I finished a graduate program in 2016 with extremely strict attendance policies. More than one absence per class – for ANY reason – meant automatically failing the class and more than likely being dismissed from the program. In the second half of my last semester, my father had a stroke (he recovered). I truly had to decide whether to risk dismissal from the program if I needed to go be with him. My instructors were empathetic and did allow me to reschedule a couple of presentations but I still couldn’t miss class. That was for a life-threatening emergency. They would not have been so kind about a job interview.

  63. Sunflower Sea Star*

    #2 just REEKS of an employer who thinks – even before they’ve hired someone – that they are entitled to be MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY in someone’s life at all times. The arrogance!
    Hard, hard pass on that kind of employer.

  64. Allypopx*

    OP #4 I COMPLETELY get the urge to step in and do something when you see this kind of unethical behavior, but you have to respect that your sister is an adult and needs to fight these battles on her own. You can absolutely coach her or give advice, if she wants that, but her career decisions are hers, and it sounds like she made a good choice in the end.

  65. Lisa Large*

    What kind of employer would expect a student to jeopardize their graduation by attending a ‘maybe’ interview over their exams/presentations? Receiving their degree is of the utmost importance and should be respected by any potential employer. LW thinks to much of himself and his company, potential employees are better off not working for them.

  66. BlueVeste*


    As a someone who wll be graduating this December myself, I’ll say that this question is pretty context dependent. In my experience, if the exam is announced before the interview, the students are entirely right to request a different interview date. However, in my field of study (engineering), if a student were to accept an interview before the exam date was confirmed, the expectation of the faculty would be that the student makes up the exam and heads to the interview as planned. This could be different for different fields/schools/departments, but I know my department is very supportive of students attending already arranged interviews and making up exams at a later date. I’ve actually taken exams early/submitted essays in lieu of taking an exam due to conflicts with interviews. In general, I would let the students be the final word on whether or not they can attend an interview, as they’ll be the ones in contact with their professors, but it’s completely normal in my experience to rearrange the time a student will take an exam if they will be attending an interview (especially a final round, in-person interview).

    1. Elitist Semicolon*

      I definitely work in a different type of institution. Not only do our faculty expect students to be at the exam no matter what, they also have a habit (against university policy) of scheduling exams for their classes during other course blocks so as not to lose lecture time. Every semester, I had two or three students tell me they had to miss my class for another professor’s exam.

      I didn’t teach a course with exams but always let students reschedule presentations for interviews (hell, I once suggested someone reschedule because he came in prepared to go but looking so tired I thought he was going to cry). They’d skip the presentation anyway if they thought it would impress an employer, and my rule for myself was that if I couldn’t make students’ lives easier, I should at least not make them harder.

  67. ORLY?*

    Re: Question #3: For some people, if you let them know you’ll be reporting them for [whatever] they will try to get in a complaint about you, possibly even before you are able to report them. Then they can frame your report on them as retaliatory.

  68. Ralph Wiggum*

    OP 1

    When I went to grad school, I took a senior-level class. I remember the professor mentioning the number of class absences he expected from students specifically due to interviewing. I was floored. Skipping class for interviews would never have flown at my undergraduate school. So some of this is cultural, by school.

    But exams/presentations are a different thing than classes. Even apart from the exams themselves, students are very busy during exam time working on final projects, studying, packing, etc. My advice is to check each school’s calendar, and avoid scheduling anything during exam week.

  69. learningToCode*

    Re #1: There’s the headquarters of a national bank in my city, and my city has a ton of colleges. In order to be considered for an internship, you have to attend a week-long networking event / seminar / interview. The entire week-long interview process was during the day during *my finals week*. Yeah, no.

    A recruiter of theirs just contacted me on Linkedin a week ago (some 5 years or so after I graduated) with the specific hour of my phone screening… during the first conversation. Like, they messaged me with job title and a time. Yeah, they haven’t changed — what are the odds I’m available that time during Thanksgiving week even if I’m interested in the position?

  70. The Happy Intern*

    OP1, think of it this way: these students are paying tens of thousands of dollars for their degree, they deserve to be able to go to their final exams/presentations far more than an interview for a job they may not even get. And if they’re in the final year, those classes are what matter if they ever decide to go to grad school and other such options that rely on grades and it is no way worth jeopardizing that for – again – an interview for a job they may not even get.

    If someone were to tell you they had a family emergency and had to reschedule, I’m sure you would accommodate that – these people at least know ahead of time their availability are are simply asking for your accommodation on something they spent literal YEARS working towards and which will determine further academic opportunities. Frankly, the fact that you’re setting your hiring timeframe within the universal be-all-end-all time for students and are actively seeking students out to hire puts it on you to accommodate them.

  71. Snarkastic*

    If your sister is your grandmother’s primary caretaker, something tells me she is more mature than you think.

    Her manager was a Grade A jerk. Just be supportive and ask if she ever needs a day off,

    1. Observer*

      That’s a REALLY good point. Being a primary caretaker for someone in frail health makes for very quick growth.

  72. Kylie*

    Conversely—I had a day of interviews set up in NYC, where I was moving after I graduated college in Rhode Island. I had to miss one class and my professor gave me major issues around it, despite: 1) It was the second to last class of the semester and I hadn’t missed any other classes. 2) I had already turned in my final paper and we were done with text assignments. 3) She cancelled class last minute all. the. time. As in, my classmates and I would head to class at the appropriate time and there’d be a note on the door that class was cancelled. No email or head’s up. This was a twice weekly class and this happened at least once ever two weeks, often more.
    I got one of the jobs I interviewed for and obviously did not regret going ahead with my plans. I am still sour at how rude this professor was, though, and it’s been eight years.

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