coworkers complained that I’m not fast enough, coordinating a work trip with my spouse’s trip, and more

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

1. My coworkers complained I’m not working fast enough

I work from home in data entry, and recently had a 1:1 with my boss, who I quite like. During this meeting she revealed to me that some of my coworkers (I do not know who) track how quickly I work in our shared spreadsheets and will complain to her if I am not going as quickly as they think I should be. I do have days where I am a little slower but that is due to an ADA accommodation that I already have in place. My boss knows of this and has said she’s going to start telling them to essentially keep their eyes on their own paper.

On one hand, I’m glad to know my boss thinks my work is good and is pleased with how I’m doing things and does not think I am too slow, but on the other hand now I’m side-eyeing my coworkers a bit since I do finish my assigned tasks during my shift. I also find it really ridiculous since the shared spreadsheets we work in are so large and unless they scroll down to my section and stare at it, they have no idea what I’m doing, just as I don’t look at what they are doing. My boss thinks it’s weird as well.

Should I just continue on my way doing what I’m doing since I know my boss is okay with everything or is there something else I should consider? I AM getting the work done and my boss is fine with my speed.

I’m side-eyeing your boss a little for why she decided to tell you about this, if there’s not anything she thinks you need to be doing differently. Why didn’t she just tell your coworkers to mind their own business and leave it at that?

It does sound like you should just continue what you’ve been doing since she says your work is fine. But it might be worth going back to her and explicitly asking that — as in, “I’ve been thinking about our conversation and realized I wasn’t sure if you were telling me because there was something you felt I should be doing differently.”

Read updates to this letter here and here.

2. Can I coordinate a work trip with my spouse’s trip?

I started a new remote position in March 2020. At the time, the understanding was that I’d take a few trips a year to the city where most of the team was located. That hasn’t materialized for the obvious reason. Now, my manager is discussing a trip to come meet the team.

As an interesting coincidence, my husband was invited to a conference in the relevant city later this year, as part of his job in a different company. Would it be weird to attempt to coordinate dual work trips at the same time so we could share a hotel and hang out in the evenings? Of course we’d keep expenses separate for each person. I know that sometimes people bring spouses on work trips, but my understanding is that generally the spouse is sightseeing and not also working.

As long as you don’t inconvenience your employer in the process, it should be fine. That would mean (a) don’t pick less-than-ideal dates just so you can make the dates line up with your husband’s trip and (b) be available for occasional evening things if that seems to be part of the expectations on the trip (or at least don’t turn them down just so you can hang out with your husband). Basically, ensure that your employer doesn’t get short shrift because your husband is along.

3. Am I hiring wrong?

I am a founder of a small marketing agency in a niche space and am fortunate enough to be adding roles to support our growth. When I post roles on sites (primarily LinkedIn) I always request at the end of the description that people send a resume and a quick blurb to a specific email address. I don’t make it clear that I want this instead of the “easy apply” button, but I do make it clear that candidates should read the full job description before applying in the first paragraph of my job posting. The reason I do this is because our space requires that level of attention to detail across all roles and honestly because we are small so hiring still falls on me. Going through 500+ resumes sounds impossible. Does trying to make it easier for myself make me an asshole? Am I missing out on talent? Any guidance would be helpful. I’m probably overthinking this.

It doesn’t make you an asshole. You might be missing out on talent though. Lots of people don’t read every line of a job description but can still be strong candidates. The amount of attention to detail that someone puts into deciding whether to apply to a job — a job they might never hear anything back from — doesn’t necessarily correlate to the amount of attention to detail they’ll have on the job. I’d rather see you test for attention to detail in more accurate ways once you’ve done some initial screening of your candidates (like with an exercise as part of the interview).

On the other hand, if you’re happy with the applicants you get, this might be working fine for you. There’s no rule that says you absolutely must ensure you don’t miss out on other talented candidates if you’re finding plenty of talented ones as it is.

4. Should I try to call the hiring manager before applying for a job?

I am currently preparing to apply for a job, with the deadline just less than two weeks away. The application process includes sending a resume, a cover letter, and an outline of steps I would take to be successful in the role.

The role itself is very clearly defined in the job description, the application process is clear, and I don’t require any special accommodations, so in my mind there is no need to reach out to the hiring manager prior to submitting an application. However, my partner thinks that doing so would put me on their radar, and provide a chance to explain why I have been unemployed since January (although my resume does show that I have been volunteering in this time). I also currently live abroad and will be returning to my home country where this role is based, but that will be explained in my cover letter.

Is there a benefit to trying to arrange a phone call with the hiring manager? Or would they see it as an annoyance when they just want to receive applications by email?

No, that’s not a thing! At least it’s not a thing in the U.S.; people tell me it can be in other places. In the U.S., the vast, vast majority of hiring managers don’t want you to call them before applying; if you’re interested, you show that by applying. If you try to call first, most hiring managers will just direct you back to their standard application process and many of them will be irritated that you didn’t follow instructions.

From a hiring manager’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense to invest time in talking with you before they’ve looked at your materials and decided if they want to move you to an interview; that’s what the point of the application is. Trying to arrange a call beforehand is like trying to schedule an interview before you’ve been invited to; it’s jumping the gun and circumventing the process they’ve laid out for you to follow.

5. Wording for an out-of-office message

I will be leaving for a two-week European tour with my husband soon. Neither of us plan to check our work email while we’re away, which is unusual for us. I work for a small private school, and although school is out for the summer, my position is 12 months and I am responsible for much of the planning and scheduling for the following school year. I don’t have much backup and some of those colleagues will also be away. Basically, anyone who emails me is probably going to just have to wait until I get back for an answer or any action on their request. The likelihood of something needing immediate action at this time of year is low.

What is the best way to word my away message? I don’t really want to advertise that I’m out of the country for two weeks. I’m torn between saying I’ll be “offline” until X date, or I’ll be “away and not checking email” until that date. I guess I’m leaning toward “offline.”

My husband has already put a notice above his email signature — in red — stating that he will be out of the office for the two weeks that we’re gone, in an attempt to try to head off last-minute “urgent” requests. He favors the “away” wording. However, in today’s world I don’t think “away” automatically implies, “I’m not reading emails. Don’t expect an answer.”

Either of your options is fine, but if you’re forcing me to pick between them, I’d go with “away and not checking email” because it’s more explicit and spelling things out is always safer.

{ 398 comments… read them below }

  1. learnedthehardway*

    OP#4 – definitely DO NOT call the hiring manager before applying. You’ll only harm your chances of being considered.

    If your application is a strong fit for the role, the recruitment staff will contact you, set up a screening call, and arrange an interview if you’re a good fit. The hiring manager won’t even be involved with candidates until after this point, and trying to do an end run around the process is going to come off very oddly, if not annoy people. The processes exist for a reason – and are designed to PREVENT people from directly contacting the hiring manager, simply because if every candidate did so, it would prevent them from doing their actual job.

    It’s a bit of a flag when candidates think that the rules/processes don’t apply to them.

    If you’re concerned that you might get passed over because you’ve been out of the workforce, address this in your cover letter – eg. by pointing out that your role was eliminated for whatever reason, that you’ve taken the opportunity to volunteer for a worthy cause, and are looking forward to resuming your career, refreshed and reinvigorated by your time off. More importantly, point out how your experience is relevant to the role and the company, showing your knowledge of the industry, etc. etc.

    Best of luck with your application!

    1. Reluctant Manager*

      Yes yes yes. Someone who wants to talk to me on the phone has singled themselves out as needy and unwilling to follow directions. I would put their resume on the very bottom of the pile.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes. They have put themselves on your radar–but not in the good way where they want to hire you. In the way where you duck down behind someone in a large hat and sidle right out of the Starbucks so they can’t corner you.

        I’d go so far as to suggest that as with other “how to make your resume stand out–glitter!!!” advice, this is the sort of move that pushes a neutral application toward the ‘no’ pile–just because the tactic is so associated with lower tier candidates.

      2. starfox*

        I wish I had known this when I was in college and my mom was insisting I call or visit everywhere I’d applied! I finally got hired at McDonald’s, but I applied to dozens of places without hearing back. It was a bit of a blow to my ego, but maybe it was because I was calling all of them!

    2. CutenessCentral*

      This! I’m the office manager of a busy small business that like many is running short handed. We have a hiring process that involves a recruiter because we literally do not have time to screen candidates or answer their questions regarding open postitions via random phone calls or drop ins during the day. If you call us directly or just drop in you are taking time away from our ability to give our clients the best service. You will stand out not as a strong candidate, but as an interruption and someone who can’t follow instructions.

    3. Moo*

      In my sector, in a European country, often a job ad will list a person to contact with informal enquiries. In this case it is ok to contact beforehand if you have questions. Generally if I was very interested in a role I would contact this person and ask a specific question if the job spect was unclear and/or ask general questions like the structure of the organisation. You can only do this before you apply and not after being selected for interview. You won’t always get the chance to actually talk to them, but I have found it has often increased my understanding of the role which helped to hone my application materials, or in some cases to decide not to apply.

      I have also been on the informal enquiries person side and what you do is give the same information to anyone who asks. Because its listed on the job ad, it is an open option for everyone, although of course not everyone will make contact.

      I’m just commenting here because this is an explicit exception to the general rule of don’t call them before applying!!

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, and it used to be the advice in Germany, like, 20 years ago, to always contact them in advance to “stand out” or out yourself on their radar or whatever. However, I have definitely found that has changed (if it was ever actually the case or just bad advice, I don’t know).
        I think the understanding now is if you actually have questions that you need answered (like, an unclear deadline, format, whatever) or mayyybe if something is super unclear about the position itself and there is a contact given, sure, go ahead and ask. In all other cases, don’t. And most definitely don’t make up reasons (like OP’s partner appears to be suggesting). Nobody does that.

      2. Smithy*

        In the spirit of being explicit – though not exactly the same situation – in the US if you happen to know the hiring manager or its a case where the hiring manager is in your LinkedIn network and has posted the job with a comment like “send good people my way” , then reaching out in advance is ok.

        If that person is more on the periphery of your LinkedIn network, they may just say “great you’re interested – please apply!” – and not be open to further engagement. In which case you let that approach go and apply through traditional channels. However, they may be open to chat prior to you completing your application materials. And in my experience, that can help clarify the spirit of the job description as well as putting you on their radar.

        But that is the primary large exception.

        1. Rain's Small Hands*

          And even then its often better to have your mutual (one contact away) contact forward your resume with “Audrey is awesome, she’s submitted her resume through your portal, but I wanted to make sure it hit your desk.” And even then, it only works if your mutual contact actually knows both of you and isn’t some guy you spoke to once at a conference who is connected to the hiring manager because they once sat next to each other on a plane.

          But assume hiring managers are hiring because they are short staffed and need someone – and are in the catch 22 of not having time to hire someone – its usually true – and there is a reason that HR has recruiters who screen.

          1. Artemesia*

            An imp0rtant person in my field was hired to run a research institute where my entire department had been laid off in a merger. I send a brief letter outlining my credentials which were a good match to his work and asked if there were going to be opportunities at the institute.

            I asked another important person in the field whom I knew well and had worked with to also contact him.

            A week or so later I received two letters from him the same day. The first was Dear Dr. Artemesia, (and basically we’ll certainly keep your information on file.). The second letter was. Dear Artemesia, Important guy contacted me and I am delighted to know your are available. I would love to have you work with me to get the new institute off the ground. Please call my secretary at XXXX and arrange to meet with me; I am arriving in Faircity next week. That lead to a 45 year long professional career after the agony of losing the first appointment in the merger after 3 years. I got a part time job at the institute, killed on the first task assigned and was on my way. It helped that the guy I worked for was himself tapped for an important leadership position in the larger institution a couple of months after I started work with him.

            So that convinced me that the most effective way to raise visibility is with a referral from someone in their network. Note that there were not jobs posted or processes here, but if there had been, this would still have probably been the right approach.

          2. pancakes*

            Right – it’s more valuable to have someone in their network (or adjacent, etc.) send a message saying something like, “here’s a great person I worked with,” than to send one saying something like “I’m a great person for this job.” Hopefully most if not all of the candidates think of themselves as great people for the job. Saying so on one’s own behalf generally won’t count for much.

      3. Kelly L.*

        It’s one thing if you have an actual question. But some gumptiony types will make up a “question” just for an excuse to call, because they think the act of calling, in itself, will give them extra brownie points.

        1. binge eating cereal*

          Yeah, this. I pretty regularly have questions about the position before I put in the work of applying (I’m applying to mid to upper-level management positions), so I’ll contact the recruiter – who sometimes puts me in contact with the hiring manager. But I wouldn’t dare waste their time just to “get on their radar.”

        2. irene adler*

          There are some job search advice out there that recommends doing exactly this to get on the hiring manager’s radar (“they’ll remember you!”). 100% gumption.

        3. Hannah Lee*

          This also comes up with candidates *after* they’ve applied, in that some seem to think frequent follow-up to check on status conveys their interest and makes them stand out. It can be a bit of a grey area, in that at times if you’ve had radio silence after an interview, it does make sense to reach out and say “hey, I’m still interested, can you give me a sense of the timeline when you might be doing xyz?”
          But if we’ve already given info on the recruiting process, whether it’s “thanks for applying, we’re reviewing applications and will contact you to schedule an interview if you look like a good fit” or “it was really nice meeting you and getting a chance to talk about the position and your qualifications. We are meeting with other applicants and expect to make a decision in four weeks” and an applicant calls 4 days later to check in and see if we’ve made a decision, it doesn’t come off as “eager” and “what a great potential employee!” it comes across as “this person doesn’t listen or follow simple instructions”. It might not take them out of the running, but it can be a factor if they are neck and neck with another candidate, because one of the things I’m weighing is how this person is going to be to work with or manage.

          If someone’s calling to clarify something that was discussed, or because they are interested but have another offer coming and want us to know in case we can move up our timeline to hire them, that’s one thing. But just “checking in” really doesn’t add any value or move the candidate up on the list.

          1. Kelly L.*

            There was a belief, in the days of paper applications, that every time you called, they’d have to pull yours out of the stack to check that it was there, and then when they’d put it back, they’d stick it on top of the stack instead of in the middle or bottom. So people thought it would literally put them on top of the pile and thus more visible to the hiring manager. Who knows, it might have worked then, but it sure doesn’t work when everything is electronic, and it also doesn’t work when they call someone who’s not actually part of the decision-making process at all. Like…I can’t make them hire you. I can’t make them not hire you either. I can just tell you they’re still reviewing applications and send you on your way. I guess I should be keeping a scorecard of how many times everyone calls, and report to my boss that Jane Smith has a score of 6 gumptions so they should hire her.

    4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I’m thinking after the past 2 years we have had, pandemic and all, a long absence from the workforce needs less explanation than it would have in 2019. If I was reading a resume and see a chunk of time in 2020-present where the person didn’t have a job for pay I’d probably assume the reason was pandemic related (e.g. layoff, business closure, industry disruption due to pandemic, got sick, someone(s) in family got sick, kids didn’t have care) and not even ask, especially if they included volunteering.

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        The other day I had a phone screen where they asked about a gap from 2013. Good lord.

        1. quill*

          I had one some years back, they were looking for someone with three years experience, they asked about my employment prior to 2012… two years before I graduated college.

          Fortunately once they twigged to the fact that I probably didn’t have experience related to my degree field during the first year of my degree it didn’t seem to count against me.

          1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

            I don’t understand this obsession with gaps. Like, I gave notice at my previous job (that I’d been at 3 years), did something else for awhile, got a new job (that I’ve been at for 5 years). Now I’m looking to move on from that job; Why does it matter what I was doing in between? “What were you doing between Company A and Company B” if the answer is “I was at Company C” that’s okay, but if it’s “I was in school and working as a personal trainer to make ends meet” that’s bad? Why? what difference does it make? I get they want to screen out job hoppers, but this isn’t that.

        2. Hannah Lee*

          I’ll ask about gaps routinely. It’s not that I view gaps as inherently bad – people have lives and work tangents, there are many reasons why a really good employee might have months, years between jobs – and particularly in the last couple of years I presume it’s pandemic related/adjacent.

          But if I’m trying to get an understanding of work history, progression, skills training, education, and how the candidate sees their career path, if there’s a year (or multi-year) gap, how the candidate describes it can tell me a lot about a variety of things. IME the *what* they were doing during the gap, or why they had one may or may not be relevant to the hiring decision, but HOW they talk about it often gives me information that’s useful.

          Just the other day I asked a candidate about a gap between 2013-2015. When their immediate response – to a question about their work history in a job interview – was an eyeroll(!) and a mini-rant about “you know … Obama! he really did a number on the economy” with no clear answer to the question I’d asked, I got a lot of insight into that candidate that I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t asked. (the quickness to launch a political rant in a job interview, the lack of professionalism and job focus in the response, the handwaving blame of “bad economy” referencing a time when in our area jobs in their line of work were booming) I did spend a bit of time afterwards sitting with whether part of the negative impression they left was because of their particular political slant or because they were mis-remembering the economic environment – would it have landing differently if I agreed with their take? But I’m pretty sure any flavor of “eyeroll, politician = bad guy, ruined my career for years” in response to a pretty straightforward, not surprising question in a first round interview would not make anyone a more appealing candidate.

          The responses I get to questions about work gaps aren’t usually that dramatic. And I won’t typically ask about gaps over 10 years ago unless there’s something else about their work, life history that would make it potentially relevant. But sometimes some insights come out of the 1-2 minutes talking about what they did in between the dates they put on their resume.

          1. EmmaPoet*

            Yikes. It sounds like asking a simple question got you the answer you needed about whether to move someone forward.

    5. Junior Assistant Peon*

      It’s okay to contact the hiring manager only if the position is especially niche. Definitely do not do this for entry-level positions.

    6. Hillia*

      Regarding the email ‘out of office’ message: in my organization, the common wording is ‘with no access to email’, which can mean anything from ‘I’m backpacking through the Andes’ to ‘I plan to forget this place even exists for two weeks’.

      1. SeluciaMD*

        Exactly. I always use “I will be out from ____ to _____ with no access to email or voicemail during this time.” Then I direct them to an appropriate person at my organization who can triage emergencies and/ or put them in touch with the right person in my absence. It’s always worked as intended.

        Have a great (work and email free) trip!

    7. HumbleOnion*

      When I was a hiring manager, one of the things I looked for was did the applicant follow the directions. Going around the process isn’t as clever as the OP’s partner thinks – I guarantee that a bunch of other people have the same idea.

    8. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      I’m always surprised that there are places where the hiring manager doesn’t see most applications! We’re hiring, my boss is the hiring manager, I’m on the hiring committee, and the applications came straight to us and we read every one. Granted, “every one” was under two dozen–it’s a somewhat niche and not entry level position that is at the lower end of the market rate.
      It’s not that we’re not busy, but I wouldn’t expect HR to have any real understanding of what we need in a candidate.
      But still, contacting the hiring manager directly before we contacted you about your application would have been a Red Flag and would have absolutely counted against you. It would come across as out of touch and also as entitled–why should you, specifically, get to bypass the application process vs the other qualified people who are also interested? (Not saying that you, OP, are entitled at all! Probably a lot of people who do this kind of thing are just taking advice from trusted friends/relatives. Those trusted friends/relatives also are probably not, individually, entitled! They are just trying to help someone they care about and THEY know the person and that the person deserves the job…but the hiring manager does not have that context. The hiring manager needs to consider candidates equally.)

      1. Artemesia*

        This was my experience as well. We often had 300 or so applicants and I often was in charge of the search. I would screen and sort the applicants — at least two thirds were obvious rejects without any close reading. And then narrow it down to the top 25 at most to share with the other people involved in the process. Sometimes I might go with the top ten — we usually phone screened 6 and then invited 3 to interview (it was expensive as these were national searches). But we saw them all.

        I was on the committee to hire a high level position in the larger organization and they had the committee look at all the applicants. This was actually sort of ridiculous as there were some extremely bizarre applications that should have been sorted out. One had a photo of a very unattractive man on the front of the application rimmed in scrolling with. X Organizations new COO under it. I thought it was a dissertation study to see if applications with an ugly white guy, a black woman, a young white woman, an Hispanic man etc would have different hit rates. But no. Also had one on a card written in a spiral so you have to turn the card repeatedly to read the cover letter. No glitter.

        1. pancakes*

          Your first paragraph is consistent with what I’d expect and what I’ve seen. Lol at the self-designated new COO.

      2. pancakes*

        Getting two dozen applicants seems way low to me. I would not expect that to be the case for most people involved in hiring, outside of small towns or very niche roles. I would think it’s more common to have a couple (or even a few) hundred resumes winnowed down to a dozen or so candidates to short-list, and moving on from there.

    9. Common_Tater*

      LW1, I once had a friendly, personable manager who told me I was doing great – but to watch out for a couple of co-workers who complained about mistakes I made. Which I didn’t make. I was incensed and very distrustful… and they were cold and snarky to me, too.

      As it turns out, they never complained about anything. And they were told that *I* had complained about *them* (which never happened).

      Watch your boss.

    10. Willow Pillow*

      I find cold calls in general to be very outdated advice. I was a nonprofit manager for a while and I remember the following call…

      Me: Hello, [nonprofit].
      Caller: This is [name]. Can I speak to the hiring manager?
      Me: I’m sorry, what manager are you looking for?
      Caller: Are you hiring right now?
      Me: No, we’re not. You can follow our social media for job postings.

      I was laid off in mid-2020 and sought job placement help since the industry I left was going to have a lot of trouble bouncing back… And the job coach there told me I should cold call. I get that change is hard, but online postings have been the norm for at least a decade!

    11. starfox*

      Having flashbacks to little 19-year-old me taking my mom’s advice and calling managers of the retail places I applied to…. or worse, showing up in person! My mom always told me I’d never get a job if I didn’t take the initiative.

      People absolutely did NOT appreciate me trying to do that! I finally got hired at McDonald’s.

      1. Anonomite*

        The ONLY place this *might* still work is in the trades, but even those jobs are modernizing their hiring processes and might not appreciate drop ins.

    12. It's me, OP #3*

      OP #3 here!

      I feel like I should clarify that the job I am applying for is in the UK, as there does seem to be a split in the comments so far where in Europe it seems more common and acceptable than it does in the US.

      For extra additional content, if it matters, this is a small company and I don’t think they’re using an external recruiter, so my guess is the application will be forwarded directly to the hiring manager once it gets sent in. The position is also what I suppose you’d call mid-level; it doesn’t involve any line management but a significant amount of experience and responsibility is required (I have 10+ years in the field).

      As some people have mentioned, in the UK you do sometimes see a contact listed if you have any questions about the job posting; this was the case with my partner for the job he has recently secured, and in his case that initial call went very well, so I can definitely see why he thinks it could help me. But he had genuine questions to ask, which to me makes a difference…

      Thank you for all your advice so far!

      1. Thegreatprevaricator*

        I agree with your take (also in UK). Fine if you have questions, but I don’t think it gives you a particular advantage. That said, I did get the job when I contacted the hiring manager to ask about whether a p/t position could be f/t. (Answer was no, long story short I ended up becoming f/t after 6 months). But that was because the job and I were a great fit and I scored well in interview – they are public sector and very by the book process wise.

        I did also once hand deliver an application as I was working in the building and wanted them to connect name to face. It was 20 years ago though. I got that job too so it didn’t do me any harm. But I suspect there was no real advantage.

  2. Loulou*

    Not sure I agree with #3. Sure, people might put more effort into their jobs than the job application…but reading and understanding the “please send resumes to blah blah blah” is so basic that it’s a stretch to say it requires any effort or attention to detail at all! It might sound harsh, but I’d be pretty comfortable concluding that a candidate who cannot follow extremely basic and explicit instructions like OP describes is probably not the cream of the crop.

    1. Lurker*

      Yeah, I don’t agree with the response for #3. Who doesn’t read every line of a job description? And the application (and interview) are supposed to be when you’re trying to make your best impression, so why wouldn’t you put in *more* attention to detail?

      Maybe if you’re applying to hundreds of jobs or they’re like – I don’t know – super entry level or something that just needs a warm body, but even then not being able to follow the basics would be a deal breaker from my perspective.

      1. Andi*

        I’ve been successful in a career that requires high levels of attention to detail and (editing). I skim job ads and could easily miss something like this. Statistically, most of the time I don’t gain anything by a careful line reading that I don’t get by skimming…so I skim. I assume managers skim my resume and I skim their ads. I pay more attention once there’s been an expression of interest.

        1. Be kind, rewind*

          Exactly. I skim just enough to figure out if I want to apply, and then go back for a close read if I have to interview.

        2. BRR*

          I skim job ads because in my field they’re 99% the same. And part of the reason is because as Alison commented earlier this week, a lot of job ads are poorly written.

          1. pancakes*

            Yeah. It’s not as if a close reading is often rewarding. Sometimes trying that leads to more questions than answers.

      2. pcake*

        I’m surprised to learn people do read every line of a job description. Maybe your field is different but job descriptions in my field tend to be dense and text heavy. I read enough to get the gist and then I apply. If I’m reading the ad on LinkedIn, I would use the apply button there because that’s normally what you do on LinkedIn.

        I was given the highest possible rating on attention to detail on my performance review in January. I don’t think the correlation you’re proposing is there.

        1. Lurker*

          I not only read every line, I also check to make sure I’ve addressed in some way the key of requirements/qualifications lists in either my cover letter or resume. I can’t imagine applying to a job where I didn’t read the entire description. In my experience, it does correlate. (I’ve done a lot of hiring, and am also in a role that requires high level attention to detail.) If you can’t be bothered to follow instructions or pay attention to details when applying, why should I expect you’d do that if I hired you?

          1. pcake*

            When you hire me I’ve agreed to perform work for hire and the job is my priority. When I’m applying for a job, you might not ever even reply to me and the relationship isn’t the same, I don’t even know how interested I might be. What you are saying is akin to saying that if an interviewer can’t bother to remember the details on my resume, how can I trust them to pay attention to me if they hire me (when lots of commenters agreed yesterday that it’s unrealistic to expect interviewers to retain that).

          2. metadata minion*

            One issue that I would have with this sort of job posting is that I might well meticulously read every line, but then I would make notes and go away and work on my application and tailor my resume. Unless I made sure to leave myself lots of reminders that this person wanted the application emailed instead of submitted using the convenient button, I will probably forget, and if I’m applying to lots of jobs, it’s hard to flag unusual requirements for one.

            Frankly, that sort of “gotcha” makes me think I won’t enjoy working there. If you want me to do something nonstandard in terms of application for actual practical reasons, say it three times and make sure I see it. If you want to test my attention to detail, give me an exercise to do that matches the things I’m going to be paying attention to in the job.

          3. Yellow*

            I’ve seen job descriptions/adverts extend to several pages. I never read all that. I read the details of what I have to do (required, desirable, selection criteria) and the highlights of the job (level, pay, location).

            If you have an apply button next to the ad I would assume you want me to use it. Email instead of applying through the platform you’re advertising on is weird.

            1. darlingpants*

              Yeah LinkedIn has jobs that don’t have the EasyApply button and instead links you out to the company website. When I was job searching I assumed that jobs that had EasyApply set up were fine with getting getting applications though that portal!

              I get that you’re using this as a screen for detail-oriented, but I want to turn that back on you: what does it say about your level of detail orientation that you set up your job postings wrong? If you think it doesn’t mean anything then… it’s probably not a good proxy!

            2. Daisy-dog*

              I do the exact same process except I also skim the company description to see if I get any indication of a toxic culture. If there is an Easy Apply button, then I will use it.

              I would also question the instruction on sending an email because I know spam filters catch Gmail accounts, so I’m not sure if I would apply at all if I did see the instruction to send an email.

          4. Observer*

            If you can’t be bothered to follow instructions or pay attention to details when applying, why should I expect you’d do that if I hired you?

            People have given you some good answers. But I’d also point out that there are very good and solid reasons to actually NOT take the entire job description too seriously for most people. A number of people have pointed out that a lot of job descriptions are trash. One way in which they are trash is that often the list of requirements are not very good. This ranges from impossible (eg 10 years of experience with a product that has only been on the market for 5 – and yes, this happens!), to being aspirational (ie this is what we want, but we’ll take people who have 50% of that list, if they have the right 50%) t0 just being poorly thought out (eg they are using the description they used 8 years ago, which is no longer accurate.)

            I haven’t covered all of the ways in which the list in a job posting may not be all that accurate. But given that reality, good candidates often will ignore chunks of it. Remember, *applying* does not signify a commitment to doing those things. Accepting a job signifies a commitment to doing the things listed in the job offering. VERY different thing.

        2. Emmy Noether*

          Mh, I think just skimming before *deciding* whether or not to apply is fine and efficient – that way one can excude a lot of offers quickly.

          Once I’ve decided to apply though, and am taking the time to tailor my CV and cover letter to that ad, I’ll be sure to read it through not just once, but about half a dozen times. Copying keywords, making sure the required experience is highlighted, looking up the hiring manager on LinkedIn, etc.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, I’m doing it the same way as you. I know that we’re from the same place, though, and I’m so astounded by not everyone operating at least loosely the same way that now I’m wondering whether a) we’re somehow imagining a different processor b) our job ads look drastically different from American ones. In all my years of reading AAM, I’ve never had the impression of either but the comments are making me wonder.

            1. Emmy Noether*

              I’m wondering if it’s about the type of job as well. My work and qualifications are highly specialized and if I search for jobs, I expect to apply to 1 or 2 per week max (because those are the only ones that fit). I take the time for each to write a customized letter and adjust my CV (and from the other side, it shows when someone doesn’t), and I’ll spend a good hour or two on it to get it juuuust right. Spending 10 minutes to read the ad in detail is a small part of that.

              Maybe in fields and locations where there are a lot more offers, or things move more quickly, it makes more sense to do a lot of applications quickly and see what sticks?

              1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

                USian. Fairly specialized field that requires Master’s or higher to apply, quite technical and detail oriented field and also probably only 1-2 positions open in any given month in my location. I’m going to admit that I don’t spend a whole lot of time tailoring my resume to a job unless I am super, super excited about it. If it just a, “Huh, looks interesting, I’ll apply and find out more”. I might miss the e-mail vs. button thing for those jobs, which might be perfectly fine for the LW. As Alison said, if this is working and they are getting good candidates, then does it really matter?

              2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

                There’s definitely an industry/type of job challenge going on here. My “Job Hunting” process for the last 10-12 years as a senior Linux systems person has been:

                Update resume on one or two job sites, with plans to do more updates and/or apply for some jobs the next day

                Wake up to 10284648373 emails from recruiters who got notification of recent resume update.

                Never wind up actually updating more sites or applying for anything because I’m too busy scheduling/going to interviews.

                Get job

                I don’t even have a useful cover letter format anymore. No one has asked for one in years. Meanwhile I know plenty of people who spend months on a perfect resume, and hours or days customizing their cover letter and resume for each position they apply to.

            2. bamcheeks*

              (UK rather than Germany but)– the impression I get from AAM is that the difference is:

              US– low effort expected for initial expression of interest (short, relatively generic CV & cover letter), extended post-application process (phone screen, multiple rounds of interview)

              UK (maybe rest of Europe?)– high effort application process (pre-application discussion, extensive application form / carefully tailored CV and cover letter) , simpler post-application process (single interview, maybe a test/presentation.)

              There are the far ends in each country– there are obviously sectors in the US where the application process is extensive (academia) and sectors in the UK where the application process is more casual (sales, agency work). But both systems make sense if you think about them as putting the energy/effort in at different stages of the process.

              1. amoeba*

                Makes sense – but then Alison always puts a lot of weight on tailored cover letters? I just can’t see how you’d write one of those without even reading the job description (and at least quickly looking up the company on google, etc.)

                Otherwise, I’ve had similar experiences as Emmy Noether – definitely not more than 1 or 2 per week, sometimes nothing at all interesting for weeks, so definitely tailoring and spending quite some time on each.

                1. bamcheeks*

                  Yeah, I agree, but I also think LinkedIn does encourage the very low-value “click here to express interest with no particular tailoring going on”– presumably it counts for engagement for them. That’s true in the UK too — not all ads have it so it’s presumably possible to turn it off, but I’ve never seen it from the employer side so I don’t know whether it’s available to everyone or just to paid accounts or what.

                  I think it’s very legit for employers NOT to want applications coming through that “eh, maybe, why not” route, and to discourage it, simply to reduce the number of low-value applications. It’s just about being clear whether your goal is to maximise applications of whatever quality/relevance or to restrict to a smaller but (hopefully) more focussed pool and what strategy will best achieve that.

                2. As per Elaine*

                  I’m in IT in a major US city, and if the market is hot and I’m seriously job hunting, I might be sending out five our ten applications a day. Not every day; maybe 1-3 times a week. (Of course there are occasional weeks where there isn’t that much interesting stuff to apply to.) I do tailor things, but usually in the sense of “Which of the three to five already written types of cover letter am I going to use here?” and then tweaking wording here and there to highlight things that seem important to that particular role, and mention the specific company. I probably spend ten minutes on the cover letter, assuming it’s similar enough to roles I’ve already applied to that I don’t need to write a new one from scratch. If it’s a job I’m kind of meh about, I might not even do that, just stick in the name of the company and give it a quick once-over to make sure there’s nothing that egregiously shows I wrote it with a different company in mind.

                  This probably is less tailoring than Alison has in mind, but a lot of the job postings in my field are kind of same-y, and there’s only so much one can do there.

                  In my last job search, in late 2020, this approach (and a moderately strong resume/good writing skills) was getting me a bite every one-three weeks. In the current market with my current skills, there would probably be a somewhat better hit rate.

                  As a data point, if you’re on unemployment benefits in the US, you’re expected to do at least three job-search-related things a week to remain eligible. It’s possible to use “worked on my resume” or “had an informational interview,” but in areas where jobs are plentiful, most people fulfill that by applying to at least three job postings a week.

              2. Emmy Noether*

                That’s an interesting perspective, and it fits with a lot of the other differences I’ve observed.

                For example, here, you’re expected to include letters of reference and copies of diplomas with your initial application material. Usually no phone references or background checks later. CVs are often multi-page and quite detailed. There is a lot of info upfront in the application material. A lot of the decisions is made at that stage and there are generally few people invited to interview.

                1. Former Retail Lifer*

                  I’ve been in the workforce for 20+ years and have never shown anyone my diploma or degree. I’m sure in some fields it’s a thing, but even in my position, which requires a Bachelor’s degree, no one has ever asked for proof that I had one.

                2. londonedit*

                  Same (UK, book publishing). No one has ever asked to see my degree certificate (I think it’s somewhere at my parents’ house…) or checked that I have the degree I say I do, and no one has ever done any sort of background check beyond contacting the two references I provide when I get a job offer.

                3. Myrin*

                  @FRL and londonedit, well, yeah, but it’s the absolute standard for basically every position in Germany, where Emmy and I are from.
                  (This reads as weirdly adversarial which is not my intent at all, but I don’t know how else to phrase it because I didn’t quite understand what your replies are getting at – Emmy is describing a cultural practice for those who don’t know and might be interested in further facets of the differences in job searches, not saying that other countries should be doing the same thing.)

                4. RVMan*

                  US here. My wife had to provide a copy of her diploma for a job, after she got the offer. (This was back in the ’90s sometime, I think.) It was an adventure. Our mutual alma mater’s diplomas were at the time an 18 inch by 24 inch (slightly more than 45×60 cm, roughly) sheepskin. (They switched to 17 inch by 24 inch archival quality card stock in the early 2010s because a) they couldn’t get the sheepskin anymore and b) they couldn’t get the parts to the large-format printers they used for the 18×24 version.) No one had a scanner that big, and this was slightly before digital cameras were ubiquitous, so just photographing and uploading it wasn’t possible. I don’t remember what they ended up doing, but it was more time consuming than the whole application to offer process was up to that point.

                5. Emmy Noether*

                  Oh, the extent to which it’s done here is absolutely nothing to emulate. People look at high-school grades for PhDs with 5 years experience *eyeroll*.

                6. pancakes*

                  I’m in the US, and wouldn’t mind sending things like references and copies of my diplomas earlier in the process if we had the data protection and privacy laws people elsewhere have! Particularly people in the EU and Switzerland. There is more protection for personally identifying information than we tend to have here.

                  With regard to diplomas it seems better for employers to check by contacting the schools of the top few candidates towards the end of the process – that’s more difficult to fake, and results in less circulation of sensitive information in terms of the number of people potentially affected by a breach of privacy.

            3. BethDH*

              I’m in the US and can’t imagine not reading every line and paying close attention, but I do think you might be right about it being a sector thing (and possibly whether you’re urban or not).
              But it would be a very unusual week if more than a few jobs in my field were posted nationwide, and the practice is that you will spend a long time on your application and that they will actually read all of it in detail when you submit.

              1. Jack Bruce*

                Yes, in my field (libraries) there aren’t a ton of positions for my line of work and the postings are all slightly different combinations of duties. Plus, addressing why you’re interested in working at a specific institution is very important since they can vary so much.

                1. Loulou*

                  Same to all this, so maybe I’m biased by my field. But also, I’ve never applied for a job on LinkedIn and would consider a posting that let you apply through a site like that sort of low-grade or scammy (which perhaps is another bias of my field? Not sure)

          2. Loulou*

            Agreed! Also the point of skimming is to pull out important/key details while disregarding filler…I’d put “how to apply” in the former category!

          3. Anonomite*

            Yes, this. If I’m going to take the time to apply, I want to make sure I know exactly what I have to do. Otherwise I have wasted my energy and effort and can only blame myself for that.

        3. pancakes*

          That’s not often a thing in my field, the long and dense job description that goes on and on, but I’ve definitely seen it in others.

      3. Tinkerbell*

        I think it depends how how much personalization the job wants, though. Like, if you say “send resume by email DO NOT USE THE FORM ON THIS SITE” that’s fine, I know what to do. If you want me to attach a 500-word essay about why I want to work there, or you want my resume in this highly specific format in a specific font with 1.25 line spacing and a photocopy of my high school report card just to prove that I read your directions, I may very well shuffle that application to the bottom of the stack for when I have time later and focus on other applications first.

        1. PotentialOverthinker*

          My ask is 2-3 sentences describing a recent successful campaign and a resume! No green ink purple paper bs though I’ve certainly applied for jobs like that in a past life.

        2. BethDH*

          Good point and I agree. I’m happy to follow reasonable rules that are designed to streamline the process, which the OP’s do in this case. In fact, I love it when they seem to have anticipated questions and answer them in the posting. Tell me you prefer submissions by email and who to address them to, don’t just put an email in there by itself and leave me to wonder if that’s where to submit or just a contact for questions. Tell me whether you want the cover letter as an attachment or just in the body of the email. That’s helpful, not a test; putting it at the end means I won’t waste time reading those details unless I do want the job based on the description.

      4. Sillysaurus*

        Reading every line of a job description would be a waste of time in my field. I’m a hiring manager and if I knew a candidate did that, I’d worry about their efficiency and ability to prioritize. But this may be very dependent on the field. In my field these are long job descriptions with content that predictably matches the specific license needed for the job. Think, like, ophthalmologist.

      5. Tyler Rowe Price*

        Maybe we are in different industries, but all the job postings I see are filled with boiler plate stuff about the company and its “values” and the some disclaimer-y stuff at the bottom. If I saw a line about how to apply I would assume it was there because it was posted on multiple job boards that don’t all have the same options or that the writer wasn’t aware of the functionality of the job board.

        1. Daisy-dog*

          Yes, I would also question why they weren’t using the job board features that are clearly in use and assume it was meant for something else. (Unless explicitly stated.)

        2. Cringing 24/7*

          Same. I assume that if your job is posted on LinkedIn, then you’re open to receiving an application via LinkedIn (or wherever). Quite literally every single job description in my industry is boilerplate and to read every word and every line would be an absolute waste of time, and hiding your important special instructions for applying somewhere in the block of words (or at least not putting them front and center) feels like it’s wasting people’s time that you’re even using that job posting platform.

      6. Jora Malli*

        Who doesn’t read every line of a job description?

        People who have applied for six jobs already this week and have waded through different variations of the same job duties for several hours. Things blend together and your eyes glaze over.

        I’ve been searching for a new job for months now and the thing I hate the most is when people put the most important line of the job description all the way at the end. If it’s important enough that you’ll disqualify applicants over it, make it the first line of the job description and save us all a lot of stress.

        1. Daisy-dog*

          Yes, I recently came across a job that perfectly fit my qualifications until I saw that it was required to be fluent in Spanish. Lead with that.

      7. Artemesia*

        I was on a committee to hire the COO of a large institution. One of the finalists chosen by the committee over my objections misspelled the name of the institutions throughout his application. I suggested that this was a real red flag; the others said ‘but hey look at his experience.’ He was a total flake and didn’t get hired and we wasted a very expensive interview slot — flying candidate in, wining and dining etc — on him.

        1. Anonomite*

          I mean, I wouldn’t attribute a direct link to the misspelling and that person as a candidate, but I genuinely think if you’re not paying attention to things like that, you’re probably missing other important things.

      8. Observer*

        Who doesn’t read every line of a job description?

        Most people, I would guess. Because most job descriptions in these kinds of posting are garbage. And even those that are not absolute garbage have a ton of extra cruft an nonsense. And it’s not like the OP is doing such a great job of making their needs clear. They write that they ask for a “quick blurb” on the one hand and do not make it clear that they do want people to NOT use the “easy apply” and that they should ONLY send their materials to that particular address.

        What’s happening here is not that people are ignoring important details. It’s that the OP is not actually providing the kinds of details they should.

      9. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yeah, it’s like if you’re hiring for a writing role, you’ll look at how the cover letter is written. If it’s riddled with mistakes you chuck it out. You’re not going to say “let’s give them a chance to show that they do know how to use the spell check”.

        I’ve recounted this before, but at the agency I worked at, a freelance translator didn’t read his PO to the end and missed the bit highlighted in yellow that said “please only translate the parts highlighted in yellow” – those parts only amounting to about a tenth of the text at most. So the translator translated all ten pages instead of just the one.

        The boss was shocked that he then escalated to her demanding payment. So she ran a little experiment. All POs issued over the next month (December) would end with “if you read this far, congratulations, please call and we’ll give you a bottle of champagne”.
        Only two out of over a hundred translators called. Some may have not believed it would be true of course.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      If the direction is at the beginning of the job ad, it’s reasonable to expect people to pay attention and follow the direction. If it is at the end – a lot of people are going to skim and just hit “apply” by that point.

      1. Loulou*

        I think it’s reasonable to expect people to read the instructions carefully when they’re at the end, especially since this is a very common place for instructions on applying to be! It just seems like if you’re someone who skims a text to the point of missing instructions, you are not who OP is looking for.

        1. Loulou*

          (I’m not disagreeing that a lot of people will skim — I’m sure they will! Sharp people with strong attention to detail won’t)

          1. NZT-48*

            Manager with lots of experience hiring checking in. I strongly disagree with you and I agree with Alison. The strongest hire I made last year messed up a similar detail in their application. They’re meticulous at work. I can see how what you’re saying sounds right in theory but it’s not been borne out in my hiring experience.

            1. PotentialOverthinker*

              Thank you. This is why I asked the question. I am happy with my previous hires but am open to hearing this and appreciate your perspective.

          2. Hiring Mgr*

            Maybe, but if you’re looking for people with attention to detail, having conflicting instructions in the first interaction with them might be off putting

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              In addition, some folks are probably going to have a bit of judgement towards your organization because to me it would look like you didn’t really pay attention to detail when setting it up and left these conflicting instructions. I’d probably assume the person posting didn’t really know how to use the LinkedIn interface. We don’t advertise there, so I haven’t seen the backend, and would guess someone forgot to turn off the “Apply Now” feature.

              1. Aitch Arr*

                Agreed, and I am a heavy user of LinkedIn Recruiter.

                You have two choices when posting a job: use LinkedIn Easy Apply and get resumes/applications sent directly to an email address that you enter in or; include a link to an external site (e.g., the company’s career site).

                So by keeping Easy Apply on and then in the job posting saying “email this address”, you are contradicting yourself.

        2. Cambridge Comma*

          The ‘apply’ button is also text on the page giving instructions, so as an applicant I wouldn’t feel wrong in following that instruction. Until now I thought companies could choose whether that button is shown so would have put it down to a mistake on their part.

          1. L-squared*

            Yeah, I think they can choose that, because, at least when I was last looking, you couldn’t apply to all jobs with Easy Apply. So I feel like its a gotcha if its giving them that option, but then expecting them not to take it.

            1. starfox*

              I would assume they copied and pasted the instructions from a different site that didn’t have the Easy Apply button… not that they were purposefully laying a trap to catch people who aren’t detail oriented enough.

            2. Curmudgeon in California*

              This. In my last job search, lasting three months, I applied to over a dozen companies a week. All of the companies in my field have a multi-session process, including technical screenings, tests and sometimes homework that takes from two to five *hours*. You had better believe I skim.

              If you set it up to use “Easy Apply” on LinkedIn, that is what I’ll use. I assume that if you want a different process you will instead have a link/button to your ATS, or even your email, not an “Easy Apply” button.

              If you have “Easy Apply” then have some wildly different method buried in the text at the bottom of your JD, I’ll assume that you like playing gotcha games with your applicants, and it will be worse as an employee.

          2. Susie*

            Yeah, I fell into that trap with a job a few years ago. It sounded like a great fit and I saw the easy apply button, so I just clicked it.

            Then I got an email from the org sharing the website with the actual process and asking me to apply there. It was an incredibly extensive process and I ended not applying. I was so confused why they left the easy apply button on. There were not instructions in the job description about applying via their website.

            1. Curmudgeon in California*

              Yeah, I would have noped out after that. I often abandon ATSs that require you to re-type 90% of your resume, ask additional details that they should not need and make you spend a half an hour setting up a “profile” for a simple job application.

              Lots of these things assume that you have unlimited time and attention for that one, single company. Sorry, but no company is that special. Applying for jobs is still a numbers game. I resent spending up to an hour in a janky ATS just to get a form email back saying “No Thanks”.

          3. LinuxSystemsGuy*

            I agree, to me as an applicant, I would feel that there are conflicting instructions, and likely neither option is “wrong”. I might go with the email option, on the theory that if you forgot to take that link out, you’ll probably still get the email, whereas if you forgot to uncheck the Easy Apply option you might not see that I did. On the other hand I might pick the button, on the theory that it’s all going the same place anyway most likely. Anytime you have conflicting instructions, you’re going to get a subset of otherwise intelligent and capable people that pick the “wrong” option.

            Before you say that there are no conflicting instructions, there absolutely are. Unless you explicitly say in your job description “do not use the easy apply button, I left that there as a test,” from an applicant standpoint there’s the set of instructions you left in the description, and the equally if not more obvious instructions to “click here to apply”. Just because you didn’t write that bit doesn’t make it any less of an instructions.

        3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          The end is where they put the filler though! We are EEOC blah blah blah, corporate values blah blah blah, position requires sitting and standing blah blah blah. I always skim that part; it adds absolutely nothing to my knowledge of the job.

          Really, I mostly read the duties and qualification sections. There is a whole log of corporate hogwash liberally sloshed all over job ads and it all sounds pretty much the same.

          1. Yorick*

            Right, most people probably read the duties and qualification sections more carefully and skim the rest. Those sections are the ones with information you need to tailor your cover letter and resume to the job.

        4. Jora Malli*

          Almost every job description I’ve looked at in recent months ends with “XYZ Corp is an equal opportunity employer” and a list of benefits. I always scroll down to the bottom just in case, but it’s mostly just the standard non discrimination disclaimer and I would understand if someone who had been applying a lot got to that part and thought “okay, that’s the end of the job description.”

          OP, I think if you’re going to ask for something outside the norm that’s very important to you, put it at the top.

          1. quill*

            Not to mention: sometimes that stuff gets cut off, whether by formatting of website (are people using an obscure browser on their phone?) by sites scraping job ads, by word count limits. Put the most relevant info first.

        5. Elsajeni*

          On the other hand, I do note that the OP says “I don’t make it clear that I want this instead of the ‘easy apply’ button” — I assume what they mean by that is just that they don’t explicitly say “DO NOT use Easy Apply, apply by EMAIL ONLY” and not that they are actually, like, trying to obfuscate their instructions, but it sounds like they’re aware that it’s a part of the job description that a reasonable person might miss. Basically, it sounds like a bit of a deliberate “gotcha” to me.

          That said… if this process is working for the OP, then it’s working! I don’t think there’s a particularly urgent need to change it. But I do think it’s worth considering whether this is really testing for what they think it’s testing for — I am reminded of a seminar on writing multiple-choice tests, where a couple of professors argued vociferously against some of the advice against “tricky” questions, because students should know to read very closely and pay very close attention!! Which is fine if your goal is to test students’ reading comprehension, focus, and attention to detail — but if the exam you’re writing is for CHEM 101, isn’t the higher priority to find out whether they know anything about chemistry?

      2. PotentialOverthinker*

        LW3 here! Direction to read the whole JD is within the first 3 sentences. Email and small ask for “2-3 sentences on a recent success” or similar is at the very end. I do reply to every person who emails (or have our amazing PM set up time). Usually descriptions are less than a page as a whole as I’d rather focus on the key things vs a laundry list.

        1. Tinkerbell*

          This doesn’t sound unreasonable! If you do change anything, I’d suggest adding something about “[Following this request] demonstrates that you read this thoroughly before applying” so candidates know it’s something you’re paying attention to :-)

        2. Knope Knope Knope.*

          Might I suggest cutting the line about reading the whole JD and moving the line with application instructions to the top? It’s implied that you want people to read the whole JD simply by the fact you wrote it. But if getting people to follow your process is important, lead with that. On the other hand, if close attention to detail and reading the whole JD are deal breakers for you just leave the line at the bottom and assume anyone who hit quick apply didn’t read the whole JD or pay attention to details and screen them out from the start guilt free.

          1. Loulou*

            I agree, including a line saying “please read the whole job description” comes off as condescending to me. Then again, that’s because it seems unnecessary because of course I would, which apparently is not universal!

            1. Artemesia*

              it reminds me of the elementary school things where the teacher gives you a list of 25 things to do, tells you to follow instructions and the last one is ‘ignore the first 24, sign your name and turn the paper over.’ And then there are people leaping to their feet and shouting ‘bing bong I got to number 18’ etc and feeling like fools when the point of it all was ‘read the instructions and follow them.’ Not a good look for a job ad.

          2. Jaydee*

            Also, is there a way to make it stand out? Bold, all caps, framed with asterisks? I don’t do hiring, but a large part of my job is reviewing applications for our program’s services, and my form emails with instructions for how to complete an application have gotten far more direct and have added bold as it became clear people were missing or ignoring a crucial requirement.

            Of course it probably depends on whether emailing you the resume versus using the “easy apply” button is really a requirement (for example, because that’s an easier way for you to track applications as they come in) or whether you’re using that requirement primarily as a test of their thoroughness of reading and attention to detail. If it’s a test, go ahead and keep it less obvious. But if you truly want resumes emailed to you, make it stand out.

        3. L-squared*

          As someone else said, why not just put at the top “Please do not use Easy Apply”

          1. quill*

            Yeah. The problem is that people are using a standard tool of the site and it doesn’t work, not that they’re bad candidates because they assumed that a standard procedure would work.

        4. Green tea*

          Question for you: why do you select to allow candidates to easy apply? Many job listings don’t have that turned on, so I think it would be reasonable for a candidate to believe that if you have easy apply turned on, that this is also an acceptable way for them to apply.

          1. Observer*

            That’s a good question. And that’s what make it feel like the OP is planting a gotcha here.

        5. Tyler Rowe Price*

          It seems like you are using a weird “gotcha” gimmick to filter employee’s, but if you read what we have put in the comments here this goes against experienced job seekers logic with this process. You might just be filtering out candidates that think you are confused.

        6. Oakwood*

          Yea, but the whole JD includes the easy-apply button.

          In a world where it’s common for job descriptions to demand 5 years experience in a software package that has only been out for 2, it’s easy to think HR made a mistake or tagged some boilerplate text onto the end of the job description.

          • Job ad contains easy-apply button
          • Statement at end that requesting resume and blurb be sent to email address

          I would assume the end statement was just boilerplate thrown in by HR and that you actually want people to apply via the easy-apply button. After all, you don’t tell people NOT to use the easy-apply button and you have the easy-apply button active.

          And, I can make that decision while paying perfect attention to the details.

          You’re like a traffic signal flashing red and green and the same time. Then you wonder why people don’t understand you really mean green.

          Remove the easy-apply button if you don’t want people to use it.

        7. starfox*

          I would assume that the instructions were copy/pasted from another site that doesn’t have Easy Apply, because why would you turn on the Easy Apply feature if you don’t want people to use it? Most people don’t expect you to be intentionally setting a trap for them. Actually, this reminds me of a little exercise we did in second grade… The first sentence says to read all the instructions before doing anything, and there are all kinds of instructions, but then the last instruction is to just write your name on the paper and disregard every other instruction.

          I think it’s fine that you screen people this way so you don’t have to read a ton of resumes, but I don’t think it’s a particularly good method of finding people who are detail oriented. There are plenty of reasons people might hit Easy Apply, and not just because they didn’t read the whole posting.

      3. Surprised and settling*

        While I agree, we have this in our application instructions and almost no one does it. It’s odd to me too. I do note when someone takes the extra efforts, but I see good candidates just submitting through indeed rather than emailing a cover letter and resume.

        1. PotentialOverthinker*

          Thanks for your feedback. I notice less than 5% of applicants follow up in any form which sparked my question.

          1. Gnome*

            If I submit a resume, the ball is in your court. What is there to follow up on? As Alison points out repeatedly, you applied, which showed interest. If the company reciprocates the feeling, they’ll let you know. Unless I have some technical issues (like my email server crashed), I’m going to assume you have no interest until you contact me.

          2. Cascadia*

            I’m really confused as to why you are leaving the ‘easy apply’ button on if you don’t intend to review applications that way. I’ve never posted a job on linkedin, but what the other commenters are saying makes it seem like it’s a choice you have when posting the job. You state the reason you do not use the ‘easy apply’ button in your original question is because you don’t have time to go through all those responses. Why not just turn it off then? The fact that you are choosing to have it on, but then also writing ‘send in application via email’ are conflicting instructions. As someone else brilliantly pointed out – they are both text instructions, neither one discounts the other. Unless you say ‘Do not apply via linkedin’ then the candidates ARE following the directions on the website. It seems you are using this as a test, and if so, it’s a really poor test! As a teacher – here’s how I look at it. If one kid fails the test – that’s on them. If most of the kids fail the test – that’s on me. Either I taught the material poorly, or I wrote a bad test. If only 5% of applicants are following up with you, I think you can assume you wrote a poor test.

          3. Unaccountably*

            I can see people missing the 2-3 sentence email request and just never reading it. However, I can also see people thinking “I literally just sent you a resume and cover letter that highlighted my accomplishments. Asking me to pick one of those and send it to you through a medium that will not be attached to my resume and cover letter is weird and redundant. I’m not going to lose any sleep if I don’t hear back from this company.”

            1. Curmudgeon in California*

              Seriously. If I’ve already sent you stuff by “Easy Apply” I’m not going to set it to you again by email.

          4. Observer*

            I notice less than 5% of applicants follow up in any form which sparked my question.

            Why are you expecting ANY applicants to follow up once they have submitted their application?

    3. Willis*

      I don’t think the instruction of where to send resumes/blurbs at the end of a job ad is weird, but the OP specifically says “I don’t make it clear that I want this instead of the ‘easy apply’ button.” So, why not just make that clear? There’s probably some applicants who figure that’s an option since the ad is posted with the button and plenty of companies accept applications through multiple routes. A simple sentence like “Applications received through LinkedIn will not be considered” would clear it up. There’s a difference between poor attention to detail and lack of clarity in instructions.

      1. Cj*

        Exactly this. The way the letter reads, they aren’t explicitly saying this on purpose as a test for the applicant. Their comment posted here saying they like this idea is reassuring, because I would probably read it as an option, not a requirement.

        1. PotentialOverthinker*

          Thanks for your comment about it seeming optional. That would not have occurred to me but I appreciate this feedback and will be making some adjustments.

      2. PollyQ*

        My thought exactly! And this strikes me as a case where it’s important to remember that the candidate is evaluating the employer as much as the other way around. Why wouldn’t you want to present yourself as a strong communicator who clearly states requirements for job success?

      3. Catherine*

        Maybe this is a regional setting but in my country (Japan), companies that don’t want you to use Easy Apply can turn it off, and the “Apply” button will reroute me to the official JD or hiring page on their website. Is this not a thing on American LinkedIn? Because it seems to me that the cleanest way to solve this is by turning off Easy Apply entirely.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, I think almost no jobs I’ve applied to in the past had easy apply (mostly the kind of shitty ones, to be honest!)
          Normally the “apply” button just leads to the company application portal. Could just go to a page with instructions and mail address instead, I guess?

      4. LilyP*

        Yeah the “I don’t make it clear” bit stuck out to me as well. In the kindest possible way, it reminded me a bit of this old xkcd: You’re not just expecting people to read all the details, you’re also expecting them to interpret unclear/ambiguous instructions in the way you’ve decided is correct, and I think even people who DID read and understand the line about emailing might be guessing wrong about the next steps.

    4. Raboot*

      In that situation I’d read to the end and think the company is the one not paying attention to detail – “oh look, they have a paragraph in their ad that’s clearly meant for other job sites without an application button, they must have copy and pasted and forgot to remove it from the linkedin ad.” It would not occur to me that they’d discount applications from the site they chose to advertise on.

      1. LilyP*

        +1, or “the person writing the job description isn’t the same person posting it to multiple different sites, and nobody customized the text to different site-specific application methods”. If the easy apply option is not turned off then I’d assume you accept applications that way, and whoever managed the LinkedIn will just forward to the hiring manager or something.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      If you’re getting enough qualified candidates with what you’re doing, then this sort of informal screen for attention to detail and ability to follow instructions is fine.

      If you’re not getting enough, then drop this loosely correlated screening and use a more targeted test later in the process.

    6. calvin blick*

      Given the low odds of a response, I can’t emphasize enough how little effort I put into reading job postings. If it looks like a decent fit, sure, whatever, I’ll send a resume. Obviously I spend more time on jobs I think are really, really good fits, but overall I’m not going to spend a ton of time jumping through hoops in order for no one to ever get back to me.

      Same goes for those Taleo job sites where it takes three times as long as needed to input all the information that is already on your resume. I do like the LinkedIn screens that ask if you have certain experience before letting you finish the application.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Ugh. Taleo and WorkDay are horrible ATSs. They make you set up profiles for each and every submission, they barely parse your resume then ask for additional details that are none of their business (like the name of a manager I had at a job ten years ago where I had seven different managers in under two years), and then they wonder why you abandon the application as too much hassle? Or the ones that want the actual *date*, not just the month and year, for the start and end of every job you’ve had in the last 15 years? No thanks.

    7. anonymous73*

      As someone who is very organized and detail oriented, I’m not putting any extra effort into a job application. If they’ve interviewed me and are interested in moving forward and then want me to take some sort of “test” that’s one thing, but I’m not doing it at the application stage. And yes a “blurb” doesn’t sound too major of an effort, but job hunting is time consuming so I would probably pass it by.

      1. Noddy*

        Yep. Job applications are already such a pain in the ass, and job-hunting is already such a slog– if you make your initial application process of just expressing interest even just a little bit more of pain in the ass than your competitors, that listing is going to the bottom of the pile.

    8. Generic Name*

      I have the same thoughts. I guess maybe if the role is a “generic” role where there are hundreds of openings and hundreds of qualified applicants across all industries where an applicant might reasonably apply to dozens of roles it makes sense to assume even the best candidates might not read the whole job description. But in my industry/role where part of my job is responding to requests for proposals where an otherwise excellent proposal will be thrown out if you don’t follow all instructions, I think it is absolutely relevant that a candidate have attention to detail when responding to a job posting. During my last job hunt, I applied to a total of six jobs (I was very picky at what I applied to), so it wasn’t burdensome to read a two page listing and follow instructions.

    9. starfox*

      Granted, I haven’t had to job search for about a decade because I was in grad school and then ended up working for someone I know… but I remember back in the days of desperately applying to dozens of places daily (that’s a lot of alliteration!). There’s no way I could read every line of every job description I applied for, and they all ran together by the end of it, anyway. It’s very hard to ignore the colorful button that “easy apply” or “submit here” or whatever. It has absolutely no bearing on how well I’d perform on the job. I have ADHD so I can hyperfocus very well on the job, but the process of applying for jobs is nothing like any job I’ve ever had.

      I think it might be different if you’re in a field with fewer options so that you spend more time on each application, but if it’s anything like my history of job searching, by the end of it, I barely knew what my own name was!

      That said, I don’t fault the LW at all for thinking of this as an easy way to weed out resumes, but I disagree that it has any bearing on how well someone will perform. You are especially going to weed out people with ADHD, who might actually make great employees, because it doesn’t even matter if we’ve read the whole description and know you are supposed to submit it a different way… that brightly-colored “submit here” button is just too clickable!

    10. Erik*

      People can set up these kinds of “tests” and “tricks” in ads but they’re doing themselves a disservice in their own hiring. Why is it so bad to just let a job ad be a job ad?

      Most job ad posts are entirely too long and include way too much non-information, which has led to most people skimming. Hiring managers and HR teams are entirely too precious about this copy, and the result has been as attention spans naturally get shorter, these ads get longer and longer! Hence, you will find most job seekers won’t bother to read every single line until someone calls them back and says, “Wanna chat?”

      Second, if the platform you’re posting to has an “easy button” and that’s the behavior people are trained into using on that platform, then you might logically expect that people will use the “easy button” every time. You can’t write around an interface, you have to lean into it. If the process is working for LW #3, fine, but I’d argue LW #3 is missing a lot of good people trying to buck the system with a subliminal test buried at the end of an ad, which, if you look at most ads, includes boiler plate that is totally throw-away for 99% of job seekers (and is often CYA and search engine optimization text for HR–meaning no one reads it).

      If your system is working, go forth and prosper. But Alison’s advice is spot on.

    11. Ann Nonymous*

      I worked at a photography studio that was hard to find, but we gave explicit instructions to job candidates. We only considered candidates who could follow the directions on their own; anyone who got lost or phoned us for clarification was eliminated. It actually was a great screening tool for us.

    12. tamarack and fireweed*

      I’m a little bit on the opposite side here. If someone posts a job ad on a site that adds an “apply here!” button then it doesn’t make sense to me that applications via this button are unwelcome or sub-standard – because why would they choose a platform that does this if the don’t want that. So if the hiring manager uses the platform to post a job ad then to me they’re sending the signal that the platform’s features are to be used. That’s different if the posting comes from some recruitment middleman (internal or external) of course.

      But I’ve heard enough of the LinkedIn “Easy Apply” buttons that the general advice seems to be “never use it”. I’ve also never applied to a job I found posted on LinkedIn. On the other hand, I *have* seen ads that say “email xyz for more information / questions” and if you do send email to the address, they just direct you to apply and you get the feeling you committed a mild faux-pas.

      My bottom line would be mild irritation if the ad said “do X” but was posted in a platform that gave different instructions. My opinion of the hiring team would get a notch down. This said, my general proceeding is to find ads on the most company-affiliated site and apply *there* whenever possible and by whatever means I learn about a posting.

  3. On vacation!*

    5. Wording for an out-of-office message:

    I like to use the phrase “I will be out of office without access to email.” and list a backup if I have one.

    1. I Wore Pants Today*

      I use the same wording, and include my return date. “I am out of the office without access to email, returning at 8 am Wednesday, July 6. For urgent matters, please use my team’s group email,”

      1. CatMom*

        I do this as well. Out of office/away from desk/away from email, start date/end date, will not be able to respond, please contact X, Y, and Z for assistance during this time.

      2. Rain's Small Hands*

        I avoid the specific time “returning Wednesday, July 6” – no time. Because people are idiots who have little understanding of time (and an inbox with 400 messages in it from vacation) and I don’t want to deal with the 8:05 “why haven’t you gotten around to responding to my email yet?” query.

        Speaking of, even when I’m “offline” if I can check email to delete or file messages that are informational a few times during vacation, it can turn 400 messages on Wednesday down to 200 I have to deal with.

        1. JustaTech*

          That’s why I usually say that I will return on X date and I will try to respond to emails by EOB on X+1 (or X+2 if I was gone a long time).

          Hopefully when you set expectations clearly you can head off the 8:05 people at the pass.

    2. Middle Name Danger*

      Same. I’ll give another person’s email “urgent” follow ups but make it clear that until I return, I can’t and won’t look at anything no matter how important the emailer thinks it is.

      1. SavageSavage*

        Out of office message example I have found to be professional but clear on boundaries;
        I will be out of the office until from DATE to DATE. I will not have access email during this time and my response will be delayed until DAY YOU WILL START CHECKING.
        If you have an urgent need, please contact

        I appreciate leaving someone to go to if needed and not leaving things completely hanging for a person that does really need something.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I always listed a backup person back when I needed to worry about out of office emails (my current job doesn’t use them except for management level, which I’m not yet).

      OP5, the odds on it are presumably low with a school during summer months – but not zero. While you’ve got time I’d talk with your supervisor about who should the the urgent inquiry back-up.

    4. nodramalama*

      yeah, ill always provide an alternative email even if its a general inbox. it is very frustrating when you need to speak to someone and their OOO is on and theres no alternative method of contact provided

    5. Cj*

      I like this. Saying you are offline makes sense to me if you are working (especially remotely) but aren’t checking e-mail and aren’t logged into your instant messaging system. What she actually means in this case is that she is out of the office and unavailable by any method.

      And your should *always* go be contact info for someone who can help them, especially when you are gone for this long.

    6. GammaGirl1908*

      Agree. I’m not as picky about what wording you use to indicate that you are not working, versus on the clock somehow but not available. I wouldn’t draw any distinction for my purposes as the customer between out of the office, where are you are on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and offline, where you are at an all-day training or on a plane or at a work retreat or something.

      In fact, I think I use the terms interchangeably. I often say that I’ll be offline today as of 2:30 because of an appointment, or whatever. When I had surgery last year, I didn’t think anything of saying that I would be offline as of X date until my expected return, but in my OoO message, it said I was out of the office on medical leave.

      Either way, you are not checking email, which is the information I need. All I care about is that you get that point across, and you let me know who to contact. “I am out of the office without access to email until October 30. Please send urgent requests to [colleague].” is fine.

    7. Bagpuss*

      I put something along the lines of
      “I will be away from the office until [date] and this inbox will not be monitored. If your enquiry is urgent, please contact [name & email] otherwise I will respond to your message as soon as possible following my return”

      1. londonedit*

        This is what I do. It’s pretty normal where I am for people to take two weeks’ holiday at some point in the year, and all you need to do is say ‘I’m now out of the office [on annual leave] until [date] and will not be checking emails while I’m away. If you have an urgent query, please contact [name]’. If it’s something like Christmas then I’ll add ‘please note the [company] offices will be closed from December 24th until January 3rd’, just so people know not to expect a response from anyone between Christmas and New Year.

      2. Madame Arcati*

        That’s what I came here to suggest. No access to email (so don’t expect a reply) but I will deal when I get back (you are not being ignored because I am a professional person).
        Very common certainly in my world – nice and clear, sets accurate expectations and a pleasant tone.
        (And have fun on your trip – you could post in the weekend non-work chat thread if you like and get all sorts of handy tips and recommendations for whichever countries you are visiting; I’m sure we have a few covered!)

      3. Lynca*

        I do a variation of this because I have to deal with phone calls. I add in that I won’t be returning voicemails until the return date along with emails.

        I also make sure to include that I won’t be returning voicemails until I return on X date in my voicemail greeting.

    8. Katie*

      Hard agree with this. “I am out of office with no access to email and will respond to you after my return on XX”. I have no back-up when I’m out, but nothing I deal with is life or death so frankly anybody looking for me can wait. If I’m gone for longer than a couple of weeks I’ll sometimes add a day or two additional onto my expected return date for my external out of office. It gives me a little bit of breathing space when I’m back to catch up on things.

      Caveat: I’m European based, so nobody cares about lengthy out of offices here. If it’s a true emergency they can call the office’s general line.

      1. Phryne*

        European and working in education and frankly, I don’t think anyone expects to be able to reach anyone during summer break here and it is a pleasant surprise if you do. There are always people manning the phones in the general office for (potential) students to reach and there is at least one manager/director on call in case of emergencies and we list those in our autoreply, but between half July and half August, you just will have to wait for an answer (and you could have expected that to be the case.)

      2. Sloanicota*

        +1. I use the wording “out of the office until X date and will reply to emails at that time” (although it does light a fire under me to actually get through and reply to all emails on my very first day back, but I don’t think that’s unreasonable for my role) and then yes, please list some sort of alternate follow up options in case someone has a time sensitive request.

    9. Teapot Wrangler*

      Exactly – I’d go with:

      I am out of the office on annual leave without access to email until DATE and then either ‘and I will respond to all emails on my return’ or ‘for urgent queries please contact DETAILS’

      I generally put if it is annual leave v. a conference or similar as there’s less expectation of a response if I’m off at a work thing but it sounds like that isn’t the case in the US so maybe skip the annual leave bit!

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Maybe I’m in a minority but I like reading “on vacation”/ “on holiday” in a response. Clear & unambiguous and I can quickly resend to someone else if it is urgent.

      1. ecnaseener*

        But this LW usually checks work email while on vacation, so not unambiguous in this case. I think they do need to specify they’re not checking email this time.

    11. amoeba*

      Yep, that’s what most people here use as well. Although here it’s also completely accepted to write “on vacation” because well, that’s what people do in the summer and nobody will think twice about it! But generally, “out of office” is a great catch-all.

      I’ll also adapt the second part, depending on whether or not I will be checking emails occasionally or not – either “with (very) limited access to email” or “without (any) access to email”.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I never say “on vacation” personally, although everyone should do whatever they like. I prefer “out of the office.” And then I can clarify “with limited access to email” or “without access to email.” But I have a general policy of never revealing more personal info than necessary in the work world, after a couple … weird encounters.

    12. My heart is a fish*

      Yep, that’s the standard at my job too. No one needs to know where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing, just that you won’t be reachable.

    13. Just J.*

      I also like your husband’s use of an alert for the days leading up to your trip. Giving people advance notice that you will be out *should* help clear out last minute requests. It also – obviously – gives advance warning to anyone with whom you are in regular contact that you indeed will be out.

    14. kittycontractor*

      Personally I prefer the “offline” verbage with a return date and a backup named. It’s been my experience that determined (aka annoying people w/slight boundary issues) will try to reach you in other ways if they think their issue is urgent enough. The though being “oh, she can’t check emails due to service issues but I can probably text her or call her real quick”. And offline doesn’t come off as overly harsh or aggressive at all (and I’m normally pretty quick to use “soft fillers” in my messages).

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yep this is part of it – people in my office *will* text “real quick” if they don’t get what they need from email. Sigh. I understand their question is quick but I really want to not think about work AT ALL if I can help it.

    15. Beth*

      YES. “I will not have access to email” if you aren’t going to check at all; “I will have only limited access to email” if you’re planning on doing occasional checking. Don’t worry if the “no access” is actually “I’m not going to open my email”.

      And good for you for unplugging all the way! That can be really, really hard.

    16. MsClaw*

      Agreed. If you’re not checking email/messages, just say so. The fewer details and words the better.

    17. tamarack and fireweed*

      I usually state it positively. “I ([name]) am currently out of the office with no access to email. I will attend to your message after [return date].”

  4. Cat*

    #3, If I understand correctly, you are advertising on LinkedIn but don’t want people to use LinkedIn’s application function. If I find a job posting on any website that has a method of submitting an application, I would assume that it would be acceptable to use it.

    Also, what is a “quick blurb”? Is that the language you are actually using? Do you mean a cover letter, a mini cover letter, or something else?

    1. Cmdrshpard*

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with what OP3 is doing if they are happy with the results.

      Sure they might miss out on the best candidates, honestly not everyone can hire the best candidates mathematically impossible. But more importantly I don’t think most companies actually need the best candidates, a lot of companies really only need good/great candidates. Sure most companies want to think they need the best but they really don’t.

      1. Cat*

        But it sounds like OP isn’t happy with the results. It sounds like she’s annoyed that people submitting applications the regular way instead of the alternative way.

          1. Willis*

            I think the only way for you to really know what you’re missing would be to look at some of the applications you’re disregarding.

            In my experience, this is the type of thing where our most interesting candidates are usually the ones that follow application instructions (submit cover letter and resume), but it’s not true that all interesting candidates do. We’ve definitely seen, interviewed, and hired good candidates that just submitted their resume via Indeed. I’d guess, like Alison said, you probably are missing out on some good people, but if you already have a deep pool to choose from, maybe that doesn’t matter.

            1. Tinkerbell*

              I think it’s important to remember that to your best candidates, you may not be THEIR best potential employer. I’m sure I’m not alone in being willing to put extra effort into jobs I’m really excited about… but I’ll apply to others too, even others that may not pay as well or I may not be as sure they’re a good fit for me. If those others require a lot of mental exertion to apply, though, I might well not get around to bothering. That’s fine if we really weren’t a good fit, but it’s unfortunately for them if I was better than most of their candidate pool :-P

              1. Reluctant Manager*

                Hah! I had someone “apply” on Linked In with a form letter saying I could get whatever I needed from her profile and she wasn’t going to bother with a resume because she didn’t need to work for me. I may not have been her best potential employer, but she was definitely my worst potential candidate.

              2. Cj*

                I don’t see how it is any more work to send a resume to an e-mail address that submit it through Indeed or LinkedIn. Unless you are using a resume created on indeed or LI and don’t have another one ready to go. But if you are job hunting you should.

                1. ecnaseener*

                  LinkedIn’s “easy apply” button is literally like two clicks – it generates a resume from your profile or includes one you’ve already uploaded, and that’s it. Much less effort than sending an email. (Not all LinkedIn postings have this button, but LW says theirs does.)

                2. Emmy Noether*

                  I think this supports our theory above that it depends on whether or not it’s expected for the CV to be tailored to the job. Because if it is, and it needs to be changed, then uploaded to LinkedIn, then sent, that’s not less work than email. If the same CV can be reused, it’s more convenient.

            2. PotentialOverthinker*

              My new plan is to dig through this round of LinkedIn applicants and see what I may be missing! Thanks for replying; looking for some new perspective as we continue to grow.

    2. PotentialOverthinker*

      Great question. I specifically ask for 2-3 sentences on a recent successful marketing campaign and their resume via email. Instructions to read the full job post are early on and the entire JD is less than a page long.

      1. Wings*

        I would actually be put off by the kind of language (“please read the full post”) that suggests I need to be handheld like an elementary school pupil. I would expect to be micromanaged and wouldn’t probably apply at all.

        1. STLBlues*

          Same. I’d honestly probably stop reading at “please read the whole JD” because… yea, I’m an adult looking for a job. I’ll read it.

          Unless I was really desperate or the job was unusually perfect, I wouldn’t apply. Either way, that would be red flag #1 for me about this employer/manager.

          1. Trawna*

            This. It’s an odd way to evaluate people you want creative thinking from. Conversely, it’s also odd to spend time “fighting” a standard way of applying for a job.

      2. Venus*

        I think it might be fair to say “Specific instructions on how to apply are at the bottom of the description”. As others have mentioned, instructions to read the full job post feels wrong.

    3. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      I can see how it might make things more streamlined for reviewing applications. If the OP is advertising on several platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, etc., I could see how it would be better to have them all just send their info to an email. Plus you wouldn’t have to worry that the site missed something. I’ve never applied through Linked In before but if its similar to other platforms you probably have to repeat info that is already in your cover letter and resume. I don’t think having applicants email the OP is any different than if a company has its own site that is linked in the job description and that’s where people upload and apply.

      1. Observer*

        The issue is not that they want people to email. The issue is that they are leaving the “easy apply” button enables and not really making it clear that they want people to email instead of using that button.

  5. Turanga Leela*

    OP 5: When you’re giving your return date, you can pad it by a day or two so that you aren’t bombarded by emails and calls on the day you get back. So if you’ll be back to work July 5, you can say something like, “I am out of the office and will not be checking email. I will be available again starting on July 6.”

    When I’m away, I also update my voicemail message and set my voicemail not to accept messages. I don’t mind getting emails when I’m away from work, but something about unheard voicemails makes me anxious.

    1. LawBee*

      I never thought to do this but what a great idea. Every time I take a day off, I get three new assignments the next week and getting those started takes up all my catch up time.

    2. Skytext*

      I like both those ideas. Especially turning off voicemail. I know when I’m trying to reach someone and I leave a VM, I assume I will hear back eventually and put whatever “it” is on the back burner. But if I can’t leave a VM I know I have to pursue other avenues and don’t waste time waiting around. Or I’ll know to wait to try to reach that person when they are back.

  6. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    For OP5, my go to in the past has been the following:

    “I am out of the office and unable to reply to emails from to . I will reply to you as soon as possible upon my return, but if your matter is urgent please reach out to at . Thank you.

    And as somebody else above said, I always padded my ending date by a day so that I’d have time to read through emails and get caught up on anything that came in while I was away.

    Enjoy the true break from work!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Okay – that got all messed up – let me try again.

      “I am out of the office and unable to reply to emails from (date) to (date). I will reply to you as soon as possible upon my return, but if your matter is urgent please reach out to (designated substitute) at (their email address). Thank you.”

      1. ShysterB*

        I’ve learned that there are some people who, for some reason, think the statement “I am unable to reply to emails …” means that I may in fact be reading them, and they then assume that I will either (a) make arrangements to pass along their inquiry to my backup or (b) actually realize their inquiry is important enough for me to reply. So I expressly state, “I will [not be checking / be unable] to read any emails, nor listen or respond to any voicemails, from [date] to [date].”

        I include a “if you need a response before I return, please contact [x],” because as a lawyer and counsel of record on court dockets, I need to have a back-up in place.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        My go to is:

        “I am out of the office from $Date to $Date with [limited/no] access to email or phone. If you need urgent assistance, please contact $Boss or $OtherCoworker”

        Limited access means I might get to you between those dates because I can get to my email but there is going to be a delay. No access means you are not going to hear from me until I am back. Luckily most of the people who email me realize when I say “No access” it means “There is no internet or cell service here” because of the nature of our work, but we occasionally get someone who doesn’t understand. In those cases, they usually contact someone else and, if they complain about my lack of availability, my boss/coworker explain that I’m off the grid (figuratively or literally)

    2. Tinkerbell*

      Also helpful: is there someone you can designate to de-escalate if there really is a crisis (or someone thinks there’s a crisis)? This may not apply to you, OP5, but sometimes it can be useful to have a line about “If your issue cannot wait for an answer until August 6th, please contact Cynthia at the front office at [number].” Cynthia doesn’t have to necessarily be able to fix things, but it’s good if she has the authority to say “yeah, not an emergency” or “ooh, OP5 won’t be back in time to solve that, but I think we need to take this to [other coworker] for immediate attention.”

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, this is extremely normal where I am. There will always be someone else in the department whose name can go on your OOO to field any queries people really do think are urgent – even if it’s just to say ‘Thank you for your email; londonedit will need to deal with this when she gets back but I’ll make sure she’s aware of the situation’ or to send it on to someone who can help or whatever. And most of the time you’ll have someone vaguely covering your work – not doing all of it, of course, but you’ll leave notes for a colleague/colleagues and they’ll keep things ticking over by sorting out/forwarding on anything that can’t wait until you get back. And when they’re on holiday, you’ll do the same.

      2. turquoisecow*

        Yeah for me that’s usually my boss, who can then delegate the task if it’s urgent, tell them to wait, or just make sure I know about it when I’m back.

    3. Screen Porch Office*

      OP here, a bit late because I’m on my trip! I went with “offline” because the school (my employer) was remote for a time, so “away from the office” doesn’t necessarily mean “not working.” Well, to ME it means not working, but my main concern was the students and parents who request things from me. They may misconstrue “away from the office” to be “working from home.”

      As to “padding the end” so I’m not expected to respond the second I return, I definitely did that. I’m due home July 3rd and said I’d respond “after the July 4th holiday.” The school is actually fully closed – no staff, no front desk – for the week of July 4th. (It’s paid time off for us and doesn’t count against our PTO, which is great). I actually do plan to work that week and am using it as reverse comp time to get back some of the PTO I used for this trip. But most people probably won’t expect to hear from me until the following week.

  7. fhqwhgads*

    I hope the boss’s point in #1 was something like “I’m telling them to mind their own business but if they do/have said something to you directly, don’t stress about it.” Would it have been 10x better if boss explicitly said that in the first place. Still it’s the only not crappy reason for brining this up I can think of.

    1. Hekko*

      I thought maybe the boss was fishing for information about other possible weird behaviour of those coworkers – maybe she was concerned they are doing other weird stuff as well and wanted to highlight the possibility to LW?

    2. Sometimes supervisor*

      Have been here and agreed this is probably what it is. Basically, we won a contract to do some work for a company which had previously been done in-house. In-house team really didn’t want to let it go – apparently, the sour grapes were served daily to our contact at the client. She let us know in a “just to let you know, they’re not pleased but I’m happy with the work you’re doing” sort of way – kind of an “FYI, some of this might come your way but just ignore it”. I’ve long since left the company doing the work but I believe they still have the contract!

    3. Spooncake*

      I had that exact situation in a previous job- my boss was like “I already told them to mind their own business, but I’m telling you this because I want you to know you can come to me if this escalates” and asked if I’d want things handled differently. It’s fine to raise it when that’s the intention, but managers do need to be clear about why they’re doing so.

    4. Squidlet*

      I also thought that the boss might have done this in case those nasty co-workers said something directly to OP

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Yup. All of this. Inexperienced manager who wanted the LW to hear it from them (rather than the grapevine) and handled it poorly was my guess.

    5. Lynca*

      I could 100% see someone inexperienced or someone with poor communication telling OP about this as a “heads up” in case the co-workers are harassing the OP. Since they’re outright telling the boss they think OP is slow (!!!) I would honestly start to wonder if they’ve been bothering OP about this.

      Being direct about why you need to bring it up would have been better because it would frame it as about the other people’s behaviors and not anything the OP has done. Something like “I want to make sure you knew about this in case they’ve been bothering you about it or anything else. If they have, it needs to stop. So let me know if they’ve been bothering you about your work speed or anything else so that it’s included in the conversation I am going to have with them.”

    6. RuralGirl*

      I find it odd that the boss would bring this up. However, there are times when I say something to an employee only to realize too late that it wasn’t useful to share. I am not perfect, certainly, and I try to give my boss and other boss’s the benefit of the doubt that they had a good reason internally that just didn’t translate. I agree that hopefully the boss was worried OP #1 already heard this feedback and wanted to make sure she knew it didn’t resonate with the boss. But surely it would be better to tell the tattletales to mind their own business. If they have time to scroll, they have time for more work, surely.

    7. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have a co-irker in my office who frequently likes to complain to you about things you are doing that he doesn’t like. If you’ve been in our department more than two months, you know that’s just his style and roll with it (mumbled “mmmm” is sort of the standard response), but the manager does have a tendency to tell new hires that “we have one person who complains a lot, if you are concerned about one you get please bring it directly to me” so that manager can address or calm any of your complaints.

      Oh, mr complainer is still employeed because he’s adequate – and hasn’t been able to find another department to accept his transfer request. He really likes the benefits at our job, so wants to transfer instead of leaving outright (but the complaints seem to be preventing that transfer, and have also kept him at part time status in our department).

    8. Migraine Month*

      Without any context of why they’re bringing it up, it feels weirdly like gossip. (“Guess what so-and-so is saying behind your back!”)

    9. Meep*

      Me too. But I have had a boss who would say these things to sow discontent and make herself look like the savior. Typically, the person never even thought about this, either. It was HER who held that opinion out of no other basis then you must be doing something wrong. No facts or tangible evidence allowed.

      Not saying this is OP1 case, but it was running through my mind when the boss shared the info.

  8. Kate in NZ*

    I like potential applicants to contact me when I’m hiring as it does make them stand out to me but it seems this is a cultural difference. I make time for a coffee for most who contact me. But I am hiring for senior roles (not many applicants) and also in my field and my country most applicants will be 1 or, at most, 2 degrees of separation from me. We will *definitely* at least have a mutual friend. The coffees are worth it because I will most probably come across those candidates again in some way and it’s worth making the connection.

    1. Rebeck*

      It’s always seemed to me that Australia expects contact pre-application. If you’re in NZ with a similar approach that would tend to suggest that it’s cultural.

      Personally I hate doing it and I have used Alison’s position on this as a security blanket that it’s fine that I don’t like calling the contact person in an ad before applying but I do think that my not doing so has worked against me over the years.

        1. Dennis Feinstein*

          Yeah nah.
          Another Aussie here.
          I certainly wouldn’t contact the hiring manager before submitting a job application. And, back when I was hiring people, that would’ve annoyed me and their application would’ve gone straight on the “yeah nah” pile.

        2. Inkhorn*

          Agreed. I’m Australian and on the very rare occasions when anyone calls before applying, it’s for things like asking about the potential to work part-time or remote.

    2. Felis alwayshungryis*

      Yeah, I think this is role-dependent. I’m also in NZ and I don’t think you’d do this for a lower-level position that would attract a lot of applicants, but I’ve definitely written ads for higher-level roles that explicitly stated that they were open to having coffee with people who were genuinely interested.

      1. knittedviolin*

        I’m in Aus, but agree.

        I think, generally speaking, if there is a reason that more context is needed (the role is very senior, a candidate is potentially relocating etc) than I am happy to chat with applicants, and have asked this from hiring managers in my own searches.

        But, if you are just calling to ‘get noticed’ not because you actually have anything to ask or discuss… then yeah nahh not cool!

        1. Rebeck*

          Then how come every time I’ve been in a team with a vacancy we get excited reports of the number of inquiries HR has had as an indication of how much interest there has been in the position?

          1. ecnaseener*

            I mean, that *does* indicate a lot of people are interested, which can be exciting. I don’t understand your question – are you asking why your HR staff isn’t annoyed by this but some hiring managers within the same country are annoyed?

            1. Rebeck*

              I was asking why people are telling me that what I’ve observed didn’t actually happen.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          If you are just calling to ‘get noticed’ not because you actually have anything to ask or discuss…

          This does not make you look like a future coworker I want to have meetings with.

  9. thisgirlhere*

    OP #1: She shouldn’t have told you and you shouldn’t worry about it. But you can also try working offline and then sync or upload at the end of your shift. Otherwise, it might be in the back of your mind constantly (which ironically will probably slow you down or would for me).

    1. morethanbeingtired*

      I came into the comments to recommend this – download a copy of the spreadsheet, do your work, then paste your completed work into the online shared doc. It’s nuts anyone would watch someone else in a shared doc like this.

    2. Recovering Chef*

      I absolutely do not recommend this approach. This could create all kinds of versioning issues, which would be a real problem for the team, including overwriting a full day of other people’s work. If you’ve been told to work in the live, shared document, then that’s where you should be working.

  10. Nodramalama*

    At my work people can see what is being done on a shared spreadsheet because Excel only let’s one person edit the documentat a time, so if you want to do something you have to wait for them to close the document. Could that be what’s causing some of the frustration?

    1. OP #1*

      I say excel, but it’s really the google version of excel that can have multiple people in the sheet working at the same time.

      1. Susie*

        your co-workers are obnoxious. And I am also giving your boss side-eye.

        There are so many opportunities to give you the benefit of the doubt especially since you meet your deliverables. Google may be lagging. You may be taking a break while they’re watching to see what you type…and so on.

        I hope you do have that conversation with your manager that Alison suggests. But I hate that you’re having to be the more professional person in this situation.

        1. pancakes*

          Yeah. I started side-eyeing them when I got to, “I do finish my assigned tasks during my shift.” Micro-scrutinizing how you get there isn’t their beeswax.

          Not the main point, but fwiw, Nodramalama, if your office used Sharepoint you could have multiple people working in an Excel without stepping on one another’s toes.

      2. Shirley Keeldar*

        Maybe as you’re working you can occasionally type stuff like, “Hi, Janet, hope you’re having a nice day!” or “Hey, Joe, how was your weekend?” just in cast they’re in there counting your keystrokes per minute.

    2. Cj*

      If that is the case, that is soooo annoying. We had some shared spreadsheets like that it my last job, but they were things you only had to be in for 10 or 15 minutes, as they were checklists, workflow, etc. But people would forget to close them when they were done in it, and some coworkers got pretty upset about it.

    3. Phryne*

      Office 365 lets more than one person edit an excel/word at the same time if it is saved eg. sharepoint or teams. We use it in teams all the time at my work.

      1. OP #1*

        I’d also like to explain that these spreadsheets are more of a ‘to do’ list full of links to actionable items that get sorted in a different program and then marked on the sheet as completed. So None of us are actually IN that sheet constantly in order to do the work, and it can take time to research the specific task we are doing before we can complete it.

        1. Sally*

          Then I think your coworkers have to much time on their hands! Why do they care what you do?

        2. Phryne*

          Agree with Sally that this makes the comments of your co-workers even weirder. Personally, even when I have time on my hands at work, I can think of 10 things from the top of my head that I would prefer doing over monitoring my coworkers. Just really weird behavior.

  11. SwiftSunrise*

    #1, if it helps, keep in mind that speed isn’t always an asset!

    One of my former co-workers had only one operating speed: INSANELY FAST. This meant he got a lot done very quickly, which was great … but he also made a BUNCH of careless errors, that we then had to spend more time and money fixing, and that could have been avoided if he was capable of slowing down even a little bit. Which he wasn’t. He was a one-speed-only dude. I wasn’t as quick, but I also screwed up a lot less. Things evened out.

    Also, your co-workers need to mind their beeswax – that sounds really annoying.

    1. Pennyworth*

      My daughters first job was data entry and she was worried because she was slow. He boss reassured her that her speed was fine because she was careful and accurate.

    2. allathian*

      I did the same thing early on in my current job. It was probably caused by my anxiety, and I realize that it must have been really annoying for my then-coworker to keep fixing my errors all the time, especially when I continued to make the same mistakes over and over. I eventually learned, and overcorrected in that I kept working on the same job for too long, and was over-invested in getting a perfect result, when good enough would suffice.

      Now I think that I’ve finally got it about right. Some essential jobs need to be perfect, and for those I pull out all the stops and ask my coworker for feedback (we help each other on these when necessary), but for the rest I trust that my 95% is good enough and let it go when I’m done.

      1. Cat Tree*

        In my freshman English class in college, my teacher had that approach. We had a couple big papers that were graded the standard way, but our smaller weekly assignments were either “excellent”, “good enough”, or “not good enough”. Excellent and good enough both got full credit, but she did want to recognize especially good work. (Not good enough allowed the student to redo the work.) Her philosophy is that 90% of the time your work just has to be good enough. That still sticks with me 20 years later.

        1. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          Good Enough is my team’s philosophy. We have formatting standards and there are deadlines and a lot of work to do and it’s too easy to fuss over small details in our documentation and formatting. But if it *looks* good enough where the users of our documents won’t notice, it’s good enough and we’ll catch it next time.

          And we do catch it next time. This philosophy reduces a lot of stress!

        2. BethDH*

          This has gotten even more traction lately as “specs grading.” Meet the list of specifications, get full credit. I love it because I spend less time justifying why someone got a grade and more time writing comments about the ideas in their work or suggestions for how to tackle problem areas.
          I’ve found it affecting the way I manage since most of my job is not teaching. And even the way I handle my own perfectionism! At the beginning of a project I write myself a list of what is required for the project to pass. I can adjust it a bit, but mostly it helps me keep away from spiraling anxiety or scope creep.

          1. pancakes*

            I think of that as having a rubric to work with, but yes, that approach makes a lot of sense. Making one for yourself on a project is a great idea I’m going to keep in mind.

      2. turquoisecow*

        Yeah I think people sometimes overestimate how difficult data entry can be. We had had trouble hiring for it at my last job because it required someone who was okay doing fairly mundane tasks but also someone who understood the data they were entering enough to flag it when something seemed off and go back to confirm it was correct (because the people who were sending the data to be entered were notoriously not detail oriented and were doing this along with a hundred other tasks). We ended up with people who just mindlessly entered data even though it was obviously wrong, or people who followed up and corrected incorrect data but then quickly left the job because it was mind-numbingly boring.

        As a data entry person myself it’s hard to find the right balance between speed and accuracy also. I think it’s helpful to have people review each other’s work.

    3. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      I had a coworker like this and I eventually believed it was because she hated having things due and a to-do list so she rushed to get the not-done things done. I don’t even think she was aware of this anxiety in her and the push to get-it-done!

      And did many mistakes. And to link to my post below, it also wasn’t good enough.

    4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Hey! He is me. Especially for routine tasks/data entry, once I know what I am doing I tend to lose focus and make careless errors. I may finish fast, but I know myself well enough that I have to go back and fix things because I will make mistakes. My brain and rote tasks are not a great combo

    5. irene adler*

      My sister’s entire job became fixing these errors created by the fast people.
      Fortunately, this task was something perfectly tailored to her interest and abilities.

    6. Florida Fan 15*

      I have one of these and I am constantly having to tell him to slow down. Unfortunately, I also have a slow as frozen molasses person who can’t stop tinkering with her assignments, even when they’re horribly overdue. If only there was a potion or spell or something that would blend them together, I’d have a Just Right employee.

    7. pancakes*

      I worked with a guy like that. Eventually the team was pared down and some of us moved on to the quality control phase of reviewing what we’d done so far. Maybe half of the mistakes out of team of fifteen or so people working overtime were his! Maybe more. It was a bit ridiculous. The benefit of his work methods, to the limited extent there was one, was entirely to his own impulses, by way of not deviating from what he’s comfortable with. I’m comfortable with a glass of champagne by my side but that doesn’t mean I work with one!

  12. Nodramalama*

    Lw #5 why can’t you just say I am out of the office until x date. If your matter is urgent contact XX (and if there isn’t an alternate contact) , I will respond once I return.

    1. John Smith*

      That’s the format I use and see the most. Don’t use what my last manager put in his OOO: “I’m on holiday and won’t respond until I’m back”. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t very popular.

      1. bamcheeks*

        I had to email two colleagues back in 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull erupted and European airspace got closed, and they’d both got stranded outside the UK. Neither of them had secure internet access but they’d both updated their autoreplies. One autoreply sounded incredibly panicked and was all, “BUT I’m trying every possible route to get back and will hopefully be at my desk by Thursday morning at the latest, many apologies for the inconvenience.” The other just said, “Stranded in Italy. Weather lovely. See you when I see you.”

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        That sounds like my ex coworker. “I am out of the country from X until Y. Please do not email me during this time because I came back to about 250 last time and reading these takes up the time I have left before I retire.” Some people thought that was funny. The senior manager who got that response to a staff communication? Not so much. He was talked to when he got back.

        But yes, the norm would usually be along the lines of “I am out of the office from X until Y, if your query is urgent please contact Dean Winchester on XXXXX, otherwise I will respond when I return.”

        We’re discouraged from saying we’ve actually gone away somewhere – years ago, they tried to stop us having an OOO for external people because it was considered a risk of burglary if people got the message that “John Winchester has gone on a hunting trip” and wasn’t at home. People tried to argue that John could use wording that didn’t say he was away on a hunting trip, and that people would rather be aware that he wasn’t going to have access to emails between X and Y, that they could contact Dean if they needed to, and then be able to make a judgement call about whether they did need to. The rule was eventually changed so we could use OOO for external people.

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        Honestly I wish more people would put messages like this! Why is it bad to admit you go on vacations and don’t want to check email while you are away? I really like my company but a lot of people have terrible work/life boundaries here and I’m working very hard to keep mine. I wish it were normal to have an out of office message that just said “I will be on vacation in Europe for two weeks and will not be checking email until I return.”

        1. Antilles*

          Especially since he’s a manager and therefore his behavior is often taken as an indication of the team culture. By clearly stating that he’s not going to respond while on vacation, he’s setting the example that you can completely disconnect from work while using your allocated PTO.

        2. John Smith*

          People do say that, just more politely. “On vacation without access to email until X” is perfectly fine. Saying “I won’t be checking email” comes across as hostile.

          1. Gumby*

            Eh, I theoretically have access to email, but I just won’t be checking. I am not ignoring my email *at* you. I am just on vacation. Part of being on vacation is getting a mental rest which means not thinking about work at all which means not checking email. It doesn’t seem at all rude to me. Given the number of people who do check email while on vacation, it seems like a good idea to set expectations.

          2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            In what way is it hostile to take a proper break? I mean, at my last job I couldn’t access my work email anywhere but on my office desktop – we’re good at taking proper breaks in Europe! Then we come back refreshed, ready to tackle the next challenge. It’s actually against the law to expect people to be checking their email out of office hours.
            Now that I’m a freelancer I do check my emails but I am free to answer as I will, refusing work or scheduling it for my return. The freedom to answer as I will means that it’s not an imposition in any way.

      4. vegan velociraptor*

        Sorry, I’m really struggling to see what’s wrong with this OOO – it’s straightforward, to the point, and doesn’t read as rude to me.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I think the main thing is that there’s no indication of whether he’s on holiday until the day after tomorrow, two weeks from now or six weeks from now. Most of the time that’s useful information to know whether you can just wait a couple of days or need to raise the query with someone else.

          1. vegan velociraptor*

            Ah, that makes sense – thank you. I thought it was to do with a) explicitly referring to being on holiday or b) saying he wouldn’t reply to emails.

        2. metadata minion*

          Same here. It’s nice to include a “if you need X, contact Y”, but in an ideal situation everyone already knows to contact Y anyway.

    2. MapleHill*

      #5, yep, pretty much agree with this, but I’d add something about emails. i usually use, I’m out of the office until X date with no access to email. I will follow up to emails upon my return. And if you do have any backup or emergency contacts, you can include those.
      They don’t need to know that your lack of access to email is because you don’t want to check them :)

  13. A Pound of Obscure*

    LW #5: I often include the phrase “…with no access to email” in my out-of-office message. In the part of the country where I live (mountainous), a short camping trip could indeed be out of range or off grid. Even if that’s not the case for you, it’s nobody’s business where you’ll be and whether you’ll be accessible.

    1. Bagpuss*

      I normally just say ‘this inbox won’t be accessed / won’t be checked” – it”s irrelevant whether or not you have internet access, you’re on leave so won’t be checking work mails!

    2. Koyeah fSharp*

      Same here. There’s a huge culture of “always available for questions” in my company, so I like to either take vacations that are “away and out of wifi range” OR just say that I am away and out of wifi range.

    3. Llama Wrangler*

      Agree – I usually say “I will be out of office [dates], and will not have access to phone or email during that time. I look forward to responding to your message when I am back in the office.” (And then add alternative contact people where applicable.)

    4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I always put “no access” unless I am 100% sure I will check e-mail at some point, then I will put “limited access”. Vacations always get “no access” labels even if I really am vacationing on the grid. There may be connectivity, but my work brain is offline.

    5. Echo*

      Yep, here’s my template: “Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office without access to email until DATE. If you have an urgent question, please contact my colleague NAME at EMAIL. Otherwise, I look forward to being in touch when I return.”

  14. John Smith*

    #4. It’s very common in the UK for job adverts (at least in the public sector) to include some phrase which invites applicants to contact the employer to discuss the job further (or sometimes a helpline number if experiencing difficulties with the application process). I just assumed this was common practice everywhere but obviously it’s not which I think is a shame. I was looking at a job advert recently that was slightly ambiguous in a particular requirement of experience for candidates but a quick phone call to the listed contact saved me (and the employer) from what would have been a waste of time in applying.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, the same thing is true in Finland. Often it’s someone in HR, but if the expected applicant pool isn’t huge, it can be the hiring manager. I’m in a bit of a niche job, and when we hired a coworker for me, something like 20 people showed interest in the job by calling my then-manager, about 10 people sent in applications, and all of those mentioned the call in their cover letter, and half of those were invited to interview. This was done by e-mail, with a link to a scheduling program.

      The call essentially worked as a phone screen, but it was initiated by the candidate rather than the employer.

      In cases where the expected number of candidates is larger, usually someone from HR answers the phone calls.

    2. londonedit*

      It’s about 50/50 in my industry (publishing) in my experience. I’ve certainly seen job adverts that include a line like ‘Should you have any questions about the position or the application process, please contact [name & email/phone number]’ but it’s not standard across the board. We don’t really tend to use online applications, you’ll usually have a direct contact name and the advert will say to submit a CV and cover letter to that person, so it’s a bit easier to also direct people to contact that person with any questions.

    3. Bagpuss*

      We (UK, small business) have wording like that on our website (we have a section of the site where we advertise any roles, and job ads elsewhere direct people to the site to apply)

    4. I should really pick a name*

      I’m curious what percentage of applicants take that opportunity.

    5. aubrey*

      If only there was a way to limit it to people who actually had a real question. It could be a cultural difference, but the one time I tried this I was bombarded with so many people who either asked something that was clearly stated in the job description, or thought that if they could just keep me on the phone long enough they could convince me to give them the job on the spot. Just hours and hours of wasted time on people I would never consider hiring. And this was for a small company, I can’t even imagine if it was for a job that got hundreds of applicants. It does really suck for applicants if you have something you really do need clarified, but it seems unmanageable here unless it’s a very niche or high level position.

  15. Emmy Noether*

    #4 regarding the cultural differences Alison mentioned: I’m in Germany and usually there’s an HR contact (not hiring manager) in the ad. I’ve noticed (personal anecdata here) that if I invent some question to call and be my most charming self on the phone, my chances of getting an interview go up significantly. Ghosting goes way down.

    Now I’m on the other side of hiring, I’ve noticed that sometimes HR will put a note in the file “talked on phone, seemed nice”, so I did not just imagine that.

    I dislike it, because I hate the phone, and I hate wasting people’s time with questions I don’t need to ask, but if those are the rules of the game, I’ll do it.

    1. allathian*

      Mmm yeah. I dislike the phone too, but only when I’m the recipient of an unscheduled phone call when I don’t know who’s calling because I don’t have the person’s name in my contact list. Calling other people is not a problem, thanks to working in a call center for outgoing phone calls (market research).

      1. Emmy Noether*

        Interesting, the thing I dislike most is cold-calling people I don’t know to ask for something (so exactly this case). Practice has made it much better, but I’d still rather not. You’re the person on the other end of my call who dislikes being cold-called by me, so we’re both hating that call :-D

        Apparently HR as a profession attracts people who like the phone, so I’m playing to their preference.

    2. Rainbow*

      I’m in the UK in a field where many people know each other. I would quite often know the hiring manager either personally or by reputation, and it’s not really a reach that they might know me. I often chat to them first, just to get a feel for what the job and environment is like and whether I’m really the type they’re looking for. I have never imagined it being a negative before. I probably wouldn’t do this if I didn’t know anything about the manager though.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        I think if you know the person, that changes things and won’t be seen as a negative, even in cultures where it otherwise would be. If everyone in your field knows each other, it probably also means that it’s small enough that there aren’t hundreds of applicants per post, which also makes it more reasonable.

  16. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP5 – I’d also add instructions on what to do if it is urgent – both to give them a way to deal and underline that it won’t be you!

    After saying you’re away and won’t be on email (whichever wording) something like “For urgent queries which need a response before (date), please contact (person covering/main office).”

  17. Rainbow*

    If I saw both “send your resume to this address” and an “easy apply” button on the same job and, I would assume that the ad had been copypasta’d from a company website or something, and the easy apply button was actually the better option from LinkedIn. So many job ads in my field are just copypasta’d poorly by HR.

    1. kittycontractor*

      Oh this is a good point and I think you’re right. I’d probably think that as well.

    2. Just a thought*

      This is a good point. I’ve seen postings on Indeed that must be old/incorrect because they have an hourly rate in them that are LESS than the current minimum wage in the state.

    3. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yeah, this would probably be my assumption as well.

      My most charitable take would be that a busy HR person did copy-paste and the email thing was accidentally included.

  18. KR*

    #3, I know if I saw that in your job listing, I would assume you just copied and pasted the whole description from multiple places the job is listed, and that you want applications to come through the “easy apply” button. Maybe if you noted explicitly, don’t apply through LinkedIn, apply via email, I would take it differently. At the most, maybe I would apply both methods if I saw an ad like yours because I wasn’t sure which way was the right one

    1. Other Alice*

      Agreed, if you provide two methods for applying I will use the one most convenient to me. If LW doesn’t want candidates to use Easy Apply they should remove it. It’s not a case that the applicants are not detail oriented, it’s just LW being not very tech savvy.

  19. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    A few years ago, one of my colleagues was called for Jury Service.

    We suggested that her out of office message should read:

    “I will be at xxxx Crown Court on Monday xxth xxxx. I am not sure when I will be back”.

    Oddly enough, she didn’t take up our suggestion!!

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      But it’s true! I was called for jury duty once and because I had been called for county court, I was just dismissed and told to go home, but the people called for state court were there for jury selection in a high profile murder case and were told to expect that just jury selection was expected to take at least two weeks.

      1. After 33 years ...*

        In our place, professors are exempt from jury duty (until retirement). I don’t know if we’re considered “essential workers” or simply unreliable potential jurors.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I wonder whether it’s thought that professors would be viewed with respect and therefore that their opinion would be given more weight that that of other jurors.

          I belive that beforethe law changed, the rationale for not allowing lawyers and judgs to sit on juries was that if our profession was known to the other jurors, they might give more weight to our opinions rather than making their own mind up. I imagine that there was also a concern, particualrly when courts were less centralised and more lawyers were generalists, that the lawyer would laos know the Judge or lawyers in the case.

          We are now allowed to be on a jury, but I have never been called.

          1. Anonforthis*

            Yes I used to be ineligible for jury service because I am “concerned with the administration of justice” – the theory being that we would be biased in favour of the prosecution. But they changed that, and the eligibility of some other sectors, a few years back. Possibly because they realised they were ruling out a good chunk of intelligent professionals from the potential pool.

          2. metadata minion*

            Many years ago, it made local news when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court got called for jury duty. He was not empaneled. :-b

          3. McS*

            I had heard that lawyers don’t like PhD holders on juries and figured they were worried we would be harder to convince. When I got dismissed so much faster than some others who seemed questionable to me, it was obvious they were worried I would convince other jurors.

          4. pancakes*

            I have, and I wasn’t working on anything super-urgent at the time and was curious to see the process from a juror’s perspective. The case was a personal injury one, which I don’t know much at all about as a field, but it settled just before the trial started.

            In NYC at least having jury duty is a chance to get a great lunch near the courthouses downtown. There are some good restaurants near the courthouse in Brooklyn too. “Jury duty lunch” is a richly promising phrase.

      2. STLBlues*

        I think the joke was that the out of office said they’d be at Crown Court… but not whether they were there for service or as a criminal to be on trial. (“I am not sure when I will be back.” equating to “I don’t know if I’ll be found guilty or what my sentence would be.”)

        1. Madame Arcati*

          Yes I assumed that too. “I’ll be at the Old Bailey for a fortnight. Fingers crossed I’ll get off, but if not, after that you can contact me at Belmarsh…”

      3. tamarack and fireweed*

        In a country where jury duty is a widespread thing I’ve definitely seen “Please note that I have currently reduced availability due to serving jury duty. In urgent cases / for escalations regarding X department / [whatever] please contact [co-worker] at [address, phone number] / open a ticket for action by emailing [address].”

    2. t-vex*

      I’m in our chamber of commerce’s leadership development program where we tour & learn about various institutions in our community. Last month was Criminal Justice day and I was very excited to add “I’m in jail today!” to my OOO message. (Of course I explained why and also said “but don’t worry I’ll be back in the office tomorrow.”) I found the whole thing very entertaining but who knows if anyone else did.

      1. Pisces*

        Another civilian and I did a “Ride-Along”with our local police department. After the shift briefing, everyone left the room except AC, me and our respective officers.

        Then the lieutenant came back and enthusiastically asked AC, “Have you ever been to County Jail?” After we all stopped laughing, the lieutenant explained they had an arrestee going to the jail. So they assigned AC’s ofiicer to the transport, and AC got to see something interesting.

    3. Anon all day*

      I once had a coworker say in their OOO that they were participating in a medical study!

  20. June*

    I’m also side-eyeing boss bc I think boss MAY have a problem with productivity and is blaming mentioning it on the coworkers. If Boss TRULY had no concerns I don’t think Boss would have brought it up. There’s more going on. Also does OPs delay on filling in the spreadsheet affect other’s ability to finish their job? Not sure how ADA accommodation comes into play here.

    1. Coffee and muffins*

      I was thinking this as well, we have heard this before on here where the boss doesn’t want to say something so blames it on one or more unnamed co-workers that are complaining.

      The job is data entry so unless they need your piece to finish theirs I’m not sure why they would care, other than incentive or bonus stuff that wasn’t mentioned.

      1. London Calling*

        It’s useless information because what is OP supposed to do? she presumably hasn’t been given any KPIs about how much work she should be completing in a given time. OP has said colleague *will complain to her if I am not going as quickly as they think I should be* then perhaps the manager needs to talk to disgruntled colleague and ask what the exact problem is rather than stressing the OP out with useless ‘feedback.’

      2. EPLawyer*

        They care because some people are busybodies who clearly don’t have enough of their own work to do. If they are going through the effort of checking OPs status on her work and KEEPING TRACK, they are just being PITAS.

        Manager should only have mentioned it as a heads up and I’ve already told them to knock it off. That it is not their job to track their colleague’s productivity.

    2. anonymous73*

      Hard disagree. Manager could be new and inexperienced. Manager could be bad at her job. I can think of many other possibilities, but jumping to “she really has a problem with your work but is using the others to place blame on” is neither a given nor helpful to the OP since she’s already worried about there being an issue. Unless there have been other instances where OP has questioned the motives of Manager, there’s no reason to think that’s the problem here.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I agree that pointing out the possibility of the manager saying it to displace the blame (or stir up trouble along the lines of divide and rule) might be anxiety-inducing for the OP. We have seen instances of such behaviour here though. I would say that OP needs to be wary of everyone. It’s an unpleasant situation to be in. Alison’s advice to circle back to the manager to check whether there was anything actionable does still offer an opportunity to clear the matter up and hopefully set OP’s mind at rest.

        OPs have often updated saying some commenters guessed right and they were grateful for having the guess pointed out to them. Forewarned is forearmed after all .

    3. HigherEdAdminista*

      The paranoid part of me wondered if this was the case as well. If the boss is generally direct and accommodating, than this is probably not the case but I’ve known more than a few people who communicate their displeasure with something by projecting it onto other people. This way the boss gets to put it in LW’s mind to work faster without actually having to own up to their request and the unreasonableness of it.

      I like Alison’s advice because if they were trying to communicate indirectly, this sort of puts it back on them.

    4. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

      Indeed. I had a horrible manager who always played the “people are saying” card. I’m getting strong vibes of that here.

  21. Foley*

    LW 5 – I have a child in a LA private school (think potentially very demanding parents). What I thought was ODD was that I got two different emails from administrators in the last couple of days asking me questions and to schedule meetings – followed up by – but I’ll be out of the office for all of July.

    Honestly, I don’t much care if they’re out of the office. Obviously for a school summer is likely the best time to take vacation. What was weird were all the requests from parents which are not going to get a matching response from the administrator.

    The out-of-office message contents don’t so much matter – but please don’t ask open-ended questions days before you leave and can’t respond.

  22. xtinerat*

    For #3, if the ad provides the “easy apply” option but gives different application instructions in the description, I assume the employer isn’t very tech savvy, doesn’t really know how to use LinkedIn, or is lacking attention to detail. All red flags that would keep me from applying unless the job sounds downright amazing.

    1. Cat*

      I agree. I think OP is forgetting that from the applicants perspective, we come across a lot of crappy job ads that have obvious mistakes. Not following the instructions isn’t necessarily a sign that the applicant doesn’t have attention to detail, it may mean they are assuming that whoever posted the ad doesn’t have attention to detail.

  23. HBL*

    #4 I’m in UK and over 15yr career & never been told you should contact unless genuine question BUT I just failed an interview with test where manager said I would have know what was wanted if I spoke pre application. But there was no must contact just usual if you want to blah ….

  24. FashionablyEvil*

    #2–I would also be prepared that after two years of the pandemic, there might be more evening activities and work dinners than you’d normally expect. Making up for lost time and all that.

    (Also, after two years of the pandemic, I want to see less of my husband—who I adore!—but obviously YMMV.)

    1. Anya Last Nerve*

      Haha, I’m with you. The time my husband was going to be in town would be the time I absolutely would not want to go! In addition, it sounds like this OP has never met her coworkers in person. Even if there are not officially scheduled work dinners, I would proactively reach out to coworkers to schedule after work drinks or dinners to make the most of my time in town. I know many commenters on this board seem to hate the idea of developing personal connections with coworkers, but I have made some close friends at work and having a cordial relationship with coworkers only benefits one’s career.

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      And, if the husband is also traveling for a work conference that will probably be true for both of you. Actually for all my back to in-person conference folks, solo travel or no, remember you don’t have to go to EVERYTHING just because you haven’t seen folks face to face. Just like in the before times, pick the number of events that your mental bandwidth can handle. For me, in a 1 week conference, I can handle 2 large group dinners and 1 social hour or 1 large group dinner and 2 social hours maximum, no matter if I have anyone to meet up with after or not. Personally, I love joint work travel way more than 1 person touristing and one working because everyone is in work mode and probably on approximately the same schedule. It is just more relaxing in my head. YMMV

      1. Antilles*

        I was thinking about it from the husband’s side too.
        If you’ve never been to a business conference, you might think “oh once the sessions for the day are over, that’s that”, but in my experience, that’s never been true. There’s always stuff do to in the evenings – meeting with friends from other companies, catching up with former co-workers, dinners/drinks with potential clients, the conference itself might have an organized Happy Hour, etc.
        It’s not required to do everything, but you do want to do at least some of it; this sort of networking is part of the conference’s value – both to you individually (networking) and for your company overall (marketing).

    3. Smithy*

      I agree with this – if the job initially had the idea that you’d visit this office a “few” times a year and you’ve never been – after work dinners/pre-work breakfasts….be ready. After two years on the job, I finally got to meet my team in person at our headquarters and all of that was on the agenda. And then the first night I had to myself, I basically had a window for dinner before getting back online for some other work emails.

      You know your job and it may not be quite that intense, but going together may be more of a case of sharing the room with your husband but not much time. If the city in question is one that is particularly exciting or interesting, then I think the value might be to still plan to take time together but stay later to enjoy the city together.

    4. anonymous73*

      Yep. Unless OP knows the full schedule of both her and her husband, I don’t know that I’d bother trying to coordinate it. My husband does events for work and I’ve gone to Nashville a few times with him and paid for a spouse conference pass because there were performers and interesting panels to attend. I’ve also gone to Vegas with him, but he was only working during the day so we spent the evenings in the city together. But I was never working so I could adjust what I did around his schedule. There may be little benefit to travelling at the same time.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Yep. It really depends what the LW’s and husband’s schedules entail and what they want from the time they have together. I love trips where Mr. Gumption and I both have work. It just makes coming back to the hotel room so much more fun because we get to talk about our days, deal with the joys of driving/flying together (including getting stranded together), etc.. Obviously getting to do tourist stuff is nice if we can fit it in, but usually for that we tag on an extra day before or after. I tend to think of it as less of a vacation together and more a work week in a new place where we don’t have to get up early to do pet care

  25. Gnome*


    A thought based on reading some earlier comments – if someone is actively job seeking they may be pouring over what you want and doing things in detail. However, if some is less actively looking they may find the job interesting and even be excited about it, but be less intense about the application itself (e.g. someone looking hard to leave a toxic place or someone unemployed vs someone who is kinda getting ready to move on but isn’t in a particular hurry). I think the suggestions you’ve already seen will help, but it might also be worth considering folks who miss it if they otherwise look like a strong candidate.

    Two other thoughts. Can you not have the Easy Apply button if you don’t want people to use it? Can you set up an email account ( and have an auto-reply that says something like “Thank you for your interest in our position. If you did not include X, please resubmit with that information as we use it to screen candidates.” You can still see who followed the directions (the folks who didn’t will have a version without), and you are more likely to get what you want for screening purposes.

    One more thing, if you aren’t getting a good enough candidate pool, consider posting in places beyond just LinkedIn.

    1. Smithy*

      This is dead on. I am currently not looking but getting hit up by a lot of recruiters. I am seeing some jobs that make me curious, but then when I read what is wanted – it’s like “meh, too much work”.

      For someone running all of the hiring and with no HR, this may not be a consideration they are able to account for. And likely a major pitch that recruiting firms can make, that they can do more work to get initially ambivalent/busy candidates more interested to engage in the position to apply.

  26. Redaktorin*

    OP3, it is possible to turn Easy Apply on and off. If your ad has it on, I assume you did that on purpose and will send materials that way.

    It’s very strange to me that someone would make a basic error like this in using LinkedIn and then treat it as candidates’ mistake.

    1. Ari*

      Yep. If you don’t want me to use Easy Apply, don’t have it turned on. Having it available but with small print in the job ad telling people not to use it just feels like a gotcha. I would actually assume the employer had poor attention to detail and/or poor tech skills if I saw this and it would be a major red flag!

      1. irene adler*

        My understanding is that Easy Apply is the default. So the one setting this up is still at fault here; for whatever reason they are not aware of this being a default. Or don’t know to address this option when setting up the ad.

  27. Testerbert*

    LW5: “I am currently on annual leave until , with no access to my emails. If your request requires urgent attention, please contact or .”

    You can if you so choose then add a note about responding upon your return, but that can open the door to some people expecting a response on the date of your return (forgetting you may have many many emails to deal with). Some places even allow for staff to put notes saying that any emails sent in their time off *won’t* be replied to (on the basis that if it is important, you’ll send it to whoever you listed, and if it isn’t important, you don’t need a response), but that depends on the nature of your workload.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I would tend to put something like:

      “I am out of the office from (date) to (date) inclusive, and will have no access to email until my return. If your message is urgent, please resend to (colleague, by prior agreement) or (main office contact address).”

      The nature of my work means that things are very time sensitive but tend to have long deadlines, and I’m in Europe where two-week vacations are common. It is therefore very rare that anyone actually resends anything, but they’re warned not to hold their breath for my acknowledgement, let alone response.

  28. Bookworm*

    #3: FWIW, I feel a little more comfortable sending to a specific address and not having to go through the middle thing of LinkedIn (data harvesting and all that). It also tells me that it’s a little more personal, and it’s not possibly a fake recruiting thingy (I’m not saying that’s been the case but I’m just cautious about using social media sites like LinkedIn).

    If it works, it works. Agree that maybe you’re missing out on talent but if it’s important to you that people read the whole description, that’s what you’re hiring for.

  29. Decidedly Me*

    OP4 – in the US, please do not call the hiring manager when applying (or before). It’s really annoying and when it happens, it greatly reduces any potential interest I may have had in that candidate.

    Also, don’t bother their staff or use a support form, chat, etc to try and reach them either. And especially do not be rude to said staff. You’d think that last one should go without saying, but a person applying for a support role recently came into support chat and insulted a potential future coworker while asking about their application and to talk to the hiring manager….

  30. Hiring Mgr*

    The issue with #3 is that on LinkedIn candidates can search for jobs with “Easy Apply” as an option, so there’s chance that someone coming to your application was specifically looking for jobs with that choice (and probably less inclined to read the entire listing)

    I think your strategy would be more effective if you removed the Easy Apply option for your postings..

  31. L-squared*

    #3. Would I call you an asshole? No. At the same time, I feel like you are being purposely difficult as a test that isn’t really testing what you think it is. My understanding of LinkedIn is that you have to choose to have easy apply as an option, since (at least when I was last job hunting a couple of years ago) all postings didn’t have that. So if you are making that an option, but then wanting to weed out people who don’t take that option based on a little sentence you sneak in, it just seems kind of being difficult for the sake of being difficult. I get wanting an attention to detail. But, as Alison said, you are expecting people to have a specific attention to detail for a job that they don’t even know that they’ll ever hear back from, when its likely they are applying for multiple roles.

    You seem to want to simplify YOUR life, but don’t really care about simplifying things for your candidates.

  32. Spicy Tuna*

    #1, I once worked in an office where everyone hated me except my grand boss. We had casual Fridays where people could wear jeans to the office. One Friday, I wore a denim skirt. It was below my knees; a similar length to a suit skirt. My grand boss called me in to his office to tell me that someone or someones had complained. I asked him if I needed to go home and change (and if so, I would not be coming back until Monday). He said no, the complaint was ridiculous, but he wanted me to know that people in the office were trying to undermine me. I knew that (I suspect that the dress code complainer was the same person who made a formal complaint about the way I placed files on her desk), but I still appreciated that he was giving me the head’s up.

    #2, I would just caution that you should make it abundantly clear that your spouse is also in the same city on business and his job is paying for his expenses. Otherwise the optics could look off – like your company is paying for your spouse to come with you.

    1. Esmeralda*

      Spicy Tuna — yes, I went thru something similar. Grandboss would not say who it was, but said very pointedly that someone I thought was a friend was not my friend.

      Eventually figured out who, a person who was by then known as “the snake.”

  33. anonymous73*

    #1 I agree with Alison. If your boss is happy with your work production there was absolutely no reason to tell you anything. Keep doing what you’re doing and if your manager brings it up again I would ask her why she’s telling you these things if she’s happy with your output.
    #2 I am very organized and detail oriented, but if a job application required me to put in more effort than filling out an application (which in itself is annoying because I’m basically just re-entering the same crap that’s on my resume), I wouldn’t bother applying. Job hunting is tedious and takes a lot of time, and I’m not spending extra time on a task unless I know a company is interested in me as a potential candidate.
    #4 Don’t do this. Some may not mind, but I would guess that most would find it annoying and it would count negatively against you.
    #5 I’m starting my vacation tomorrow. I always go with this…”I will be out of the office from X date to X date with no access to email. For any urgent issues, please contact X. Otherwise I will get back to you upon my return.” If you have no backup, you can eliminate that part, or if you have multiple backups, you can name the type of issue and the person who can handle it. And then if you have access to work email on your phone or any device you will take with you, with turn off notifications or remove it from your devices so you’re not tempted to look at them. You deserve a break and the world will not burn if you don’t answer an email while you’re away.

  34. urbnplnr*

    OP#4 – I do a lot of hiring and I don’t mind when applicants reach out in advance. I work in government so our interviews are very structured and fairly rigid. Talking to a candidate outside of that process let’s me have a more open and casual conversation and get a sense of their interests, style, and background in a way that’s hard to do through our formal hiring process. It also gives me a chance to talk more about the role and team than I would have time for in an interview. Especially with junior candidates, this makes them better able to prep for the interview. I don’t always have time or bandwidth for a pre-interview chat, but, as a hiring manager, I have found them useful.

  35. WFH with Cat*

    OP #3 – If you really don’t want people using the “easy apply” button, you should probably state that at the top/beginning of the job posting, not the end. “Please note: We will not be reviewing any applications that are sent thru this website’s “easy application” process. All job candidates must email their resume and cover letter to [email address]. We look forward to reviewing all emailed applications. Thank you.”

    1. anonymous73*

      You can remove the Easy Apply button. If I saw that in a job description, I would move right along. Don’t provide me with a way to apply, and then tell me not to apply that way.

  36. Michelle Smith*

    OP3: Use the functionality to turn Easy Apply off. Most job postings I’ve applied to on the site did not have Easy Apply available. Problem solved. I can confirm for you that if there is an option to apply online, I take the email option as a suggestion and disregard it. I will spend time looking on the website career page and googling the posting on other job boards to see if there is any option for applying online before I consider sending an email.

    And if you are going to require a direct email with attachments to an online posting (super annoying as a candidate btw), PLEASE either confirm with an automatic reply or an individual email to let people know that you received their application and at a minimum will contact them if selected for an interview (it’s better to get back to everyone either way, but since you’re already talking about how overwhelmed you’re going to be, at least say something like the big orgs who actually receive hundreds of apps per posting do). There are so many emails I’ve sent that just went into black holes, it felt like, whereas applying online on a job board I almost always at least got a confirmation screen or automated email confirming my application was received.

    Just make sure your prioritization of ease for you doesn’t overly compromise the candidate experience–after all it is a two-way street and you want people to want to come work for you.

  37. Esmeralda*

    OP #4, your husband is right: it will put you on the hiring manager’s radar. But not in a good way.

    Unless this is an entry level position and you *just*graduated from college last month (in which case, I’d cut you slack for inexperience), do not do this.

  38. Darkwing Duck*

    OP#5 – Something like this should do.
    I will be out of office from DATEX through DATEY.  I will be back on FIRSTDAYINOFFICE during normal business hours.  I will return all e-mail when I am back in the office. If you need urgent assistance please email my team at or my manager

  39. MicroManagered*


    “Thank you for your message. I will be out of the office from X date to Y date, returning on Z date. During this time, I will not have access to email or voicemail. If your request is urgent please forward it to Backup’s Name at …”

  40. That One Person*

    #5 – It’s comforting to see someone worry about something like this since I have before. Basically though just keep it simple like you’ve outlined – nobody needs the details beyond the fact you are completely incommunicado during your expressed time away. As Alison said mention that email won’t be checked so people at least have that expectation written clear and loud, and at most you can maybe attach someone as an alternate contact to reach out to for emergencies/questions if there’s someone willing and available. Other than that enjoy your trip!

  41. DrSalty*

    LW5 – this is the text I use for OOO auto-replies, which I think pretty explicitly gets the message across that I’m not replying until I return: “Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from DATE to DATE, and will reply when I return on DATE. For urgent matters, please contact COWORKER (coworker’s email).”

    1. Schnapps*

      This. Most email programs let you set up a different OOO for internal vs. external. My internal one has a list of people to contact about various subjects. My external one has the main contact number for the org.

      “Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office and will return on DATE. If your email requires a reply before my return please contact ____ at EMAIL or call NUMBER”

      1. KarateSaw*

        I take a VERY firm line on my internal OOO, because they tend to be the ones who think I might be checking in on vacation (and because my office is making a genuine and concerted effort to change the culture in the interest of talent retention.) My external is plain and polite “I’m out these dates. If you need urgent assistance before I am back online XX/XX, please reach out to backup.” My internal is “I am on PTO these dates. I do not check email or Teams when I am on PTO. Reach out to [my teammates] if you must have a reply before XX/XX. I’ll catch up with your message when I’m back online XX/XX.” It’s pretty non-negotiable, but the only colleagues who have ever mentioned it have admired it.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I would be cautious of saying “I will respond when I return” because you’ll get some jerk blowing up your inbox at 9.01am on your return date because you haven’t replied to his email yet.

  42. CLC*

    Some people think calling the hiring manager before an interview is not only a thing, but a necessary thing! My skip level boss at a large company will not even consider anyone if they do not call them to tell them they are interested in the job and ask to be considered. Someone tried to tell them this isn’t a thing most people do (most people would try to find a contact on the team or within the company for an info call, but not the hiring manager), they scolded them and told them they were clueless about how business is conducted. They made it clear that they expect both internal and external candidates to do this. It is very strange and seems borderline inappropriate.

    1. El l*

      I think this is another example of, “This impressed bosses back in the old days.”

      But not any more.

  43. Adam807*

    #5: I’ve started ending my out of office messages with “Thanks for your patience!” Which I suppose is a little passive-aggressive but I do mean it and to me it communicates “No, really, I’m not checking my email.” (Or if I’m traveling for work and I am checking my email but not chained to my desk like I usually am — I’ve created very fast expectations and it’s good to let people know that won’t be happening this week!)

  44. Purple Loves Snow*

    To OP #5:

    This is how I do my out of office, it may need to be tweaked for your specifics as I am in a role that is very invoice heavy and they tend to come via email. I do also bold & underline that emails will not be checked in my absence. You may want to note that you will not be checking emails or voicemails in your absence. My company uses out of offices for any time you are away, ie vacation, sick leave, training, etc.

    “I am out of the office and will return on Tuesday, June 28 2022.

    Emails will not be checked in my absence.

    If you are wanting to submit any urgent documents, please fax them to XXX-XXX-XXXX.

    Full Name”

  45. LK*

    OP#5: I always set my away message to say I’m away without access to email (or with limited access to email). Sometimes the reason I don’t have access is because I’m deliberately not opening my email while on vacation, but *it’s my vacation* so that’s entirely my own business.

  46. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    #5 – I was just away to Europe myself for 3 weeks and did what your husband did (essentially, warned everyone for a whole month before my departure) and my OOO message said “I will be OOO until X date, without access to email or phone.” I live in Florida, so many workers take cruises and access to email/phone is not possible – or you make it not possible ;-)

    My message also directed people to different tools they could use in my absence (I’m in HR, so I gave them the phone numbers to their benefits and so on – you’d be surprised how many times they call me to solve an issue that they can more easily solve themselves) or who to contact for emergencies. It doesn’t sound like you have emergencies in your line of work, so you can skip that part.

    In reality, I did have access, but I didn’t check anything. My boss knew she had to text me if there was anything urgent, but otherwise I remained blissfully unaware of the goings-on. I hope you have a wonderful time!!

  47. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    #1 managers who do this are jerks or at the very least don’t think about how it affects the employee. Unfortunatly , I had the same thing happen to me at my old job. Similarly I had some medical stuff going on (which I was working on getting FMLA for) and I was out the Monday after a planned vacation on Thursday and Friday. When I returned my 1-on-1 with my manager she brought up that my teammates had brought “concerns” to her that I always call off on the Monday after having a vacation day or a long weekend. She said she told them to mind their own business but that “I should be aware because of optics.” I actually looked back through all of my time off for the 3 years I had been there. I had only been out a Monday twice. One of which was for a funeral so was somewhat planned that happened right after I started. There was just one other time I had called out on a Monday.

    I don’t know what managers expect in this situation. It’s not like you can work any faster. And you shouldn’t have to disclose something to your co-workers so they get off your back.
    I bet this happens more with folx who have accommodations than others who don’t. I have way wonde

  48. Veryanon*

    Out of office email: I use “I will be away from the office from X to Y and will not have access to email or voice mail during this time. I will respond to all messages upon my return on [date].” I also make sure to give stakeholders I frequently work with the heads up that I’ll be away, so that they aren’t taken by surprise.

  49. PinkCandyfloss*

    LW #5 – this is common in my company. We always say: I will be away from the office and not checking emails. If the matter is time critical and cannot wait for a reply until I return the week of X date, please contact [emergency backup person name here].

  50. toolittletoolate*

    #1 I sure wish we could hear from the manager–why are they sharing this info? Did they ask the complainer–why are you complaining about this? Is it affecting your work? Why is this important to you? I really want managers to manage, and it seems that more and more managers are baffled about how to do this effectively. It seems that the people who need managing are the complainers, not the OP.

  51. Lobsterman*

    LW3, I average 200 job applications to one successful job interview. If there is some verbiage about sending an email but there is an “Apply Now” button, I would assume that there was a copy/paste error and use the “apply now” button. My 2c

  52. Tacotsunami*

    OP 5, I always put something like “I am out of the office from x date, returning on x date, and will have limited or no access to email during that time. For urgent requests, please contact (relevant person). I will respond to all other inquiries when I return.” I also typically leave word with my boss and colleagues that in case the building is burning down, here’s how they can reach me (but this only works if you know your colleagues actually have really good judgement about when to disturb you).

  53. Kari from UpNorth*

    #5 – This was my OOO (internal) email when I went on a three week tour of Europe with my daughter. I got a lot of emails: “I was told to email you to see your OOO!” Have a fantastic trip!

    I am out of the office, July 18th – August 6th. I do not plan to read any emails during that time. No need to despair, though!

    Assistant (****) and Intern (****), (she’ll be answering my phone and checking voicemail) will be around to help.
    If your request for laminating or a folder delivery is urgent, there’s no use letting it sit idly in my inbox. Please call a volunteer at the East Desk (5549) and they will gladly help you.

    If you super, duper need to contact me, you can find me on Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #i’mgonnaruinyourvacation

    I’ll be back in the office on August 7th and if all of the stars are in alignment, I’ll respond to this email before Labor Day.

  54. More than one way*

    LW1 – I don’t know how complex the spreadsheets are that you are working on. Is it possible to download a copy, do the data entry, and then copy and paste your data into the shared spreadsheet? You can’t just upload your copy because you would overwrite your co-workers entries, but I personally cannot stand working in a shared environment when more than one person is editing a document or spreadsheet. Whenever it’s reasonable, I will download, work offline, and then insert my work into the shared file.

    1. OP #1*

      No, it isn’t possible. They are large lists of links to tasks outside of the spreadsheet that then get marked off as completed on the spreadsheet.

  55. Policy Wonk*

    LW1 – are your co-workers also remote? If not, I am wondering if this was a subtle dig along the lines of whether WFH people are actually working, and an effort to undermine you.

    That was my first thought, though close behind was the issue of a shared document that only allows one person to work on it at a time. If they have to wait until you finish, you might want to see if there is prep work you can do off-line that lessens your time in the document.

    Sorry you are going through this.

    1. OP #1*

      Yes, we are all remote, so that’s not the problem.

      The spreadsheet is google’s version of excel so multiple people can work it in at a time, and it functions more as a checklist than an intensely heavy sheet of work so nothing I do has any effect on my coworkers work.

  56. Allison*

    #4, the only time it makes sense to contact the hiring manager before or immediately after applying for a role, is if you already know them. And I don’t just mean you’re following them on LinkedIn, I mean you’ve worked together, or know each other socially, or you’ve met at a professional conference and established some kind of connection that way (beyond just a handshake and a brief introduction). And even then, I’d still just email them, send them a message on LinkedIn, or maybe text them, I wouldn’t call.

    And even then, simply knowing the hiring manager doesn’t always help. In one case, the hiring manager was a friend of mine, but she knew that my background wasn’t quite a match for what they were looking for.

    1. Orange+You+Glad*

      Agreed. I volunteer with a group at my former university and always tell the members if they are applying anywhere at my company to send me a heads-up message. Since they are students/recent graduates I try to talk to them outside of the interview process to make sure they are a good fit before I recommend them internally. I have a good reputation at my current employer so I do think my recommendations hold some weight.

      I had one member of that group that I really didn’t know/work directly with who put me down as an internal reference and talked to all her interviewers about how she knew me. If she had just sent me a message beforehand as a heads up, I probably would have done a lot more for her to help her get the job. Instead, when our company recruiter contacted me about her, I was confused and explained I didn’t know her (I really didn’t recognize the name at the time and had to do some research to find our connection).

  57. Lobsterman*

    OP #1, your boss shouldn’t have told you, so act as though she didn’t. Coworkers should not be wasting their time tracking other coworkers’ work according to arbitrary and uncommunicated metrics.

  58. Lizzo*

    LW3: Just curious, when you post on LinkedIn, are you posting via your company’s site, or on your personal page? If the latter, is the network of people you’re connected with a diverse group (across all definitions of diversity)?

    I don’t think you’re wrong to want to make things a bit easier on yourself as far as reviewing applicants, but please consider how your outreach strategies affect the equity of your hiring practices.

  59. Hello From NY*

    LW #1: I’m wondering if your boss previously thought your work pace was “fine”. Then someone complained and now the boss is beginning to question if it really is “fine”. Be prepared because that might mean your boss starts to expect more from you. Imagine that Bob can produce one widget in 45 minutes, and you take 60 minutes. Well now the bar has been raised and you will be expected to match the 45 minutes. I’m not saying it’s right, but that is something that definitely happens.

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      I see where you are coming from but the OP states she has accommodations and it also sounds like it’s not all the time that she works slower. So really the boss cannot expect the OP to match their coworker’s speed just because. As long as the accommodations are not causing problems, which the boss says they arent, then there isn’t anything that can be done.

  60. Elan Morin Tedronai*

    #1 – I’m a pretty high-context person, so the reason I’d be telling my subordinate this is a message for her to be aware that I like her work, she has a target painted on her back, I have an eye on all my staff, and to come to me if/when they start other bullying tactics. I will not tell her this directly because I have no hard evidence to go on, but I am expecting the worst while hoping my intervention would be unnecessary. It reeks of politics, I know, but I’m in a pretty nasty workplace myself.

    #5 –
    Thanks for your email. I am away on holiday/vacation from [date] to [date] and will be unable to access my inbox during this time. Please contact my colleagues for the following matters:
    “[Matter 1]: Mr Smith (email)
    [Matter 2]: Mr Schmidt (email)
    “Appreciate your understanding.”

  61. Observer*

    OP, you are not a jerk for trying to make your life easier. I’d go further and say that anything that makes it easier to *effectively* screen candidates is a good thing.

    The problem with what you are doing is that it does not actually effectively screen for anything useful to you. Putting trick tasks and hidden tests into your application process doesn’t do anything to tell you about someone’s ability to be detail oriented.

    If you state clearly “Please send a description of yourself and your resume to Please do not use the easy apply button” and they still use the easy apply button, that’s useful information. Not parsing out the implications of something that shows up at the end of a post could be a lot of things that have nothing to do with lack of detail orientedness.

    My point is that you shouldn’t be framing this as a matter of “good” or not, but a matter of being effective. So if what you are doing brings you a robust pool of good candidates and lets you make good hires in a reasonable amount of time, I don’t see that really need to change anything. But if what you are getting is not what you want, then it’s worth changing how you do this.

  62. DeeJay*

    RE #5, I always say something along the lines of: Hello, I will be out of the office from X to Y date, returning on Z date. I will respond to your email upon my return. In the event of an emergency/If you require immediate assistance, please contact Constance Johnson at


  63. Monday*

    #5, I am curious why you don’t want to advertise that you’ll be out of the country for 2 weeks. A home or work security concern, the culture at your workplace, something else? I kind of feel the same way and I suppose it comes down to “I’m a private person and it’s none of their business!”

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