I don’t want to interview a candidate who took 5 days to respond

A reader writes:

We posted a job opening on Indeed and emailed a potential candidate to send us days and times available for an interview. We did not hear from this candidate for five days! This is not acceptable to us as prompt communication is essential in our line of work. There was no explanation from the candidate for the delayed response.

We no longer wish to interview this candidate. How would an employer politely respond or rescind the interview?

Someone taking five days to respond to an interview invitation doesn’t indicate that they wouldn’t be appropriately responsive if you hired them. They could have been on vacation, sick, in a time crunch at work, dealing with a family crisis, or all sorts of other things. You’re extrapolating from something you shouldn’t extrapolate from.

This candidate doesn’t work for you right now, and so you can’t expect them to prioritize you the way you’d expect if they did work for you. Certainly if you saw a pattern of unresponsiveness as they moved through your interview process, that would be something to pay attention to. But that’s not the case right now.

If you really don’t want to interview them, you could say, “Unfortunately, since we didn’t hear back from you, we’ve moved on with other candidates but wish you the best in your search.” But if they’re a strong candidate and you still have interview slots available, I’d urge you to not to reject them just on principle … it would be the wrong principle!

{ 343 comments… read them below }

  1. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    The number of employers who have gotten back to me in 5 or more days while job searching: all of them! What a double standard.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I’ve had response times to my application ranging from half an hour to like, two months. I agree that this is a huge double standard, especially if a weekend was involved.

        1. ThatGirl*

          eh, I could see them sending it Monday morning and not getting a response until Friday and counting that as five days. but regardless.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Sometimes when I was job hunting I ONLY did it on weekends because weekday schedules were WHY I was job hunting!

        3. GammaGirl1908*

          I definitely want to know *which* five days we’re talking about. If it actually was five business days, then LW has a point. A weak one, but still.

          If the message went out on Thursday, and the candidate got back to them on Monday, then the candidate is the one who might be dodging a bullet here.

          1. Mad Harry Crewe*

            Nah, the interviewer (and you, my friend) still don’t know what’s going on. Maybe this candidate works 60-80 hour weeks and just doesn’t have the bandwidth to check personal email and respond on weekdays. Maybe this person was camping and didn’t have access to the internet. They’re a candidate. They don’t owe the interviewer an explanation at all, and definitely not for a turnaround of less than a week. If it was three weeks or a month, then sure – an explanation would be important. Not because it’s *owed* but because at that point hiring has potentially moved on, and the candidate would be wise to acknowledge that and explain what they hope to get out of the outreach, because the original job might not be available anymore.

            1. GammaGirl1908*

              I don’t disagree. The employer has no obligation to get back to the applicant in any case, or can rule out applicants for whatever reason they want, and so for that reason I have to hold my nose and agree with LW: They don’t have to select an applicant for any reason they deem appropriate, including this one.

              We’re just all saying that THIS is a craptacular reason to rule out the applicant. The applicant not getting back to LW in a timely manner is not great, but five days is not yet “not timely.” Above, I was just quibbling about whether it was five days or five business days!

        4. Emily P*

          Talent Acquisition professional here! The email could have gone to spam! That happens to me ALL THE TIME. I usually give the candidate five days to respond via email before I call to ensure they received my email. Indeed often doesn’t phone numbers for a blind reach out but definitely need to show some grace in this labor market.

          1. Zephy*

            I basically don’t get emails from human beings anymore – to the point that it seems like I’ve inadvertently trained my gmail algorithm to filter out legitimate communication. The email with the link to the HR onboarding packet/background check consent form got filtered and actually sent straight to the trash folder when I was in the hiring process for the job I have now. I spent all day refreshing my inbox after being told to watch for the new-hire packet, happened to check the trash folder and there it was. I hadn’t deleted anything, it was part of the same email chain I’d been on with the hiring manager, it just got auto-deleted for no apparent reason.

            1. BasketcaseNZ*

              When we were buying our new house, I was back and forwarding with the agent about paperwork, and those emails were landing in my inbox.
              However, the pre-filled in form that I needed to get the lawyer to read, and us to sign? That was filed into a random folder by gmail. I cant even remember where. Despite being from the same person.

              At the moment, gmails fun thing to do is assign random emails to my self-created “Travel” folder. I have literally ZERO rules to auto send anything there, but randomly it will assign all sorts to it.

            1. AG*

              A few years ago, I’d applied for a few faculty positions. One of them, can’t remember 100% which, emailed me 2 years later, saying that the search was called off without a hire.
              From my end, it’s ridiculous of course, who can still be available for a job 2 years after applying (a lot of faculty candidates, actually)? However, I appreciated them telling me. And I felt for them for the faculty search dragging on for 2 years and still failing.
              In my experience, faculty positions much more consistently send rejections than companies, but after a super long time. I’ve received several 1-2 years after applying.

            2. Ridiculous Penguin*

              I received an email that literally started out “I acknowledge that you work here.” It was the weirdest rejection letter I’ve ever received (both in academia and out).

              Context: I held a three-year visiting position and had applied for a permanent one. (When I left, literally no one except my office mate even acknowledged I was leaving. The IT person I returned my computer to showed more emotion and concern than anyone in my entire department. Academia sucks.)

            3. AFac*

              I didn’t appreciate being left hanging, but I honestly was more depressed when they did send rejection letters.

              If you asked me to rank my favorite days, throwing out a 5 inch thick folder of rejection letters when I finally did get a position would be really high on the list.

          1. Pippa K*

            In about 2004 I applied for a faculty position. The phone interview went really well and they concluded it by saying they wanted to bring me to campus for the in-person interviews. They asked which days was I free to fly out and said they’d be in touch to confirm travel booking details.

            I never heard from them again. I assume they were booking the tickets by phone and they’re still on hold.

            1. Nightengale*

              that beats the in-person interview I had for a position as a physician in March 2014. They said they would get back to me by a date in June 2014 to let me know about a second interview, either way. “We don’t want to leave you hanging” they said.

              Still waiting.

          2. Poppy*

            I drove HOURS to another state, paid for my own hotel room in a sketchy part of Miami where my door lock didn’t work and did an all day working interview. Never heard a word from them again.

          3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Yup, I did a demo lesson at a school in 2008 – so they were clearly serious about me as a candidate! – and never heard back from them. When I got offered another position, I called them to say “hey, I have to give this other school an answer, but I’d rather work for you” (they were a much more convenient location). They told me they’d call me back within a day. Still waiting for that call.

          4. Artemesia*

            When I recruited for faculty positions I was hampered by ridiculous rules. Because of internal politics among colleges I could not actually make clear exactly what I was looking for. So out of 300 applicants, 150 would be very well qualified people whose qualifications just didn’t match what we needed. Then there would be 50 loons. So 200 I could easily have sent rejections to immediately BUT I was required to not send any rejections until the position was filled which took weeks or months. It was a stupid policy but I was stuck with it.

            After a few years I was able to get permission to send those early rejections, but we still had to wait for the final pool to be dismissed when we had filled the positions. For those we actually phone interviewed or had come in person, I gave very personal rejection emails, but I felt bad not being able to send all but the last 3 or so much more quickly.

          5. Luna*

            The number of applications I have been ghosted on… I never counted, but now brainstorming, I recall several that never came back past the automated response. Kinda hilarious.

        1. Johnny Karate*

          I kind of love this. I’m still (facetiously) waiting on a rejection for a job I interviewed for in 2012.

        2. many bells down*

          I got ghosted by a job after two interviews, and a year later they sent me an email asking me to rate their services. Which I had not ever used.

        3. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

          I got a LinkedIn notification the other day that an application I submitted in 2016 was opened and viewed.

        4. Ama*

          I recently got rejected for a job I hadn’t applied for so maybe I’m stealing other people’s rejections!

        5. Mother of all Raccoons*

          In February of 2015 I applied for an (unpaid) summer internship. They got back to me in January of 2016 to see if I was still interested.

        6. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I wonder if these employers are just going through their old job searches and formally closing the ones that have been, in actual fact, closed for years, and then the program sends an automated rejection letter. Our campus IT has been closing old tickets recently, so I’ve been getting notifications that the AV Prep appointment has been closed for faculty candidate presentations from 2019. Some of those people have been hired, didn’t like us, and have left since then — from tenure-track appointments! Mostly it’s because we’re in a primarily rural area of the south, and we get a lot of young new faculty who think they can handle that for a tenure-track position, but they just can’t; they end up leaving for more diverse urban areas.

    2. Antilles*

      Honestly, it crossed my mind to go a step further and wonder whether OP’s company themselves get back to every single applicant within 5 days without fail.

      No waiting till a full batch of applications comes in. Never any emergencies come up and delay timely replies. Never a situation where “we’ll get back to you by Friday” turns into mid-next week. Never a case where an application or interview is substandard so you ghost the candidate. No communication glitches, ever. Just that same “Prompt communication is essential in our line of work and anything short of that is a failure” standard that OP is trying to apply to candidates.

    3. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I’m still waiting for a callback from that VP who told me two weeks ago that he’d call me the next day.

    4. Decidedly Me*

      To be fair, it’s only a double standard is this particular company doesn’t get back to candidates within 5 days. Maybe they do.

      However, I still think it’s unreasonable to punish an applicant for not getting back what most would consider a reasonable time frame.

    5. Wendy Darling*

      Employers still out there acting like unemployment isn’t at an all-time low, expecting applicants to drop everything and organize their entire lives around the job application process.

      Meanwhile, I was job searching for the last six months and had multiple employers fully ghost me after multiple interviews. A friend referred me for a job at his employer and I found out I was out of the running after MULTIPLE interviews when they changed the status in Jobvite. Didn’t even get an email. I’m just lucky Jobvite actually lets you see your application status, because most ATS do not.

    6. Moira Rose*

      I really hate this expectation that everyone must be available 24/7 to answer their email. I’m willing to bet that the “5 days” included a weekend (possibly even labor day weekend!) LW said it all when they mentioned that this would be unacceptable for someone who worked for them. Glad Allison pointed out that this person does not, in fact, work for them! Employers need to stop feeling entitled to candidates prioritizing them as if they are already on the payroll, it’s ridiculous. Especially given that I have had some instance where an email from a potential employer has gone to my spam folder (because they of course never actually say in the application what email will be sending notifications so that you can add them to your address book to prevent this exact scenario.)

    7. Caroline+Bowman*

      Agree!! Very occasionally they might call sooner for one reason or another, but whenever they happen to get in touch, there is zero explanation or apology (neither should there be) for the time taken, because… that’s how it works?

      The candidate could have been really sick, on holiday, busy at their actual job or any number of things. Why would you get into a snit and not want to meet them?

    8. Fussy Tuxedo Kitten*

      I just had one contact me after two months and then tell me, “we want to move really quickly.”

  2. KHB*

    I sure hope you told candidates in your initial emails to them about this need for prompt communication (e.g., “please let us know by X date…”) Otherwise, you’re not just rejecting people for failure to promptly communicate – you’re rejecting them for failing to read your mind.

    1. Rayray*

      I agree with this. People have lives and get busy. If a very prompt response is critical, it should be indicated.

    2. Radical Edward*

      I once got a response from an employer that said ‘the speed with which you reply will also factor into our consideration’… but they didn’t clarify what counted as too slow! Was I meant to reply within minutes, hours, or just the same business day? Needless to say, I didn’t get the job but I wasn’t broken up about it.

      1. Zee*

        Also – I could potentially see a company saying replying too fast is a bad sign. I.e., why are you checking your personal email during the workday?

        1. Luna*

          I have responded to an email asking to call for an interview date within 5 minutes of the email being received by me, meaning the boss wasn’t even mentally ready to have the phone conversation yet. And given that I was unemployed at the time, yes, a lot of time was spent on the computer, so I did see the email immediately.

          Though any place that says the speed at which I respond will be factored into potentially being hired, I would *so* want to give them my response email, and indicate that their speed of response and decision-making will also be factored into if I’ll agree to work with them. I think employers just need more reminders that interviewing is a two-way street.

    3. SpecialSpecialist*


      It’s fine to have a quick turnaround time, but you really have to let them know what the expectations are up front.

      “Hey, we want to interview you. Unfortunately because of a tight schedule, we need to hear back from you within 48 hours from this email to schedule your interview. If we don’t hear from you within that timeframe, please know that we’ve moved on.”

    4. blood orange*

      This is a great point. I don’t normally do that in my first email to candidates (it feels too pushy for me), but if I don’t hear back within a few days I’ll send a “Hey are you still interested…” email with a request for response time. Something like “If we don’t hear back by X, we’ll be moving on with other candidates. Thanks for your time either way”.

      1. KHB*

        I’m not sure it has to be pushy-sounding? “We’d like to start putting our interview schedule together by X date, so please get back to me before then if possible.”

        Heck, some of your candidates might even be relieved to hear that you’re not expecting a reply within the hour (or that if they didn’t see the email until a day or two later, they haven’t already missed the boat).

    5. Former Young Lady*


      Hiring managers who rely on passive-aggressive “secret tests of character” are in for a rude awakening in this market. High time, if you ask me.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        Agreed. Aside from “were you a jerk to our receptionist?” I think there’s very little place for these kinds of tests.

        1. Moira Rose*

          Yes! These types of tests also, all too often, are basically thinly-veiled racism/sexism. It ensures that only the “right people” with the privileged information on all of these secret “professional” codes have access to said job roles. If a candidate is a first-generation college-grad without professional mentors to tell them all of these secret “codes,” they aren’t let into the “club.”

    6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Hell, I got back from 1.5 weeks out in an area with no internet or cell service. If I had applied for a job before that trip and they got back to me during it it could have been up to 12 days before they heard from me. Of course, if I was job hunting, I would have an automatic reply, but that would only be if I was traveling.

    7. Moira Rose*

      Also, if the hiring process is particularly urgent (like you really need to fill this position yesterday) then why not indicate that in the job listing so that applicants can expect communication quickly?

    8. NotAnotherManager!*

      Yep. One of the things that I love most about my current HR director is that she feels very strongly about treating candidates with respect – communicating clearly and thoroughly, checking in with anyone who’s interviewed timely, and explicitly stating expectations/not making people guess. One of my peers in another department wanted to put one of those dumb “test” instructions in their job description, and she shut that down immediately.

    1. Siege*

      Yeah, this was my thought. PLEASE reject the candidate so they can get a job with people who understand things like illnesses, emergencies, spam filters, and that we’re not all perfect communicators all the time.

      1. Unaccountably*

        Or even just an email saying “Hey, are you still interested? What’s your time frame for getting back to us?”

        That’s still pushy and would make me side-eye them, but it’s better than “You did not respond within our undisclosed time frame so you are clearly a terrible employee and we don’t want you.”

      2. Ellen*

        yeah, I’d regard this as red flags 1 and 2. I would not want to work for a company that set arbitrary deadlines, didn’t tell me about them. and then wrote me off for not meeting imaginary, entirely psychic dependant deadlines

        1. Rayray*

          It almost feels like they are wanting to be vindictive because the applicant didn’t meet this deadline that the company failed to tell them about.

    2. Summer*

      Absolutely! This whole post rubbed me the wrong way and I feel like the LW would be doing that person a favor by rejecting them. They seem overly rigid and demanding; I certainly wouldn’t want to work for them if this is how they treat people.

  3. UKgreen*

    Wow. I’d be genuinely shocked if a prospective employer deigned to reply to an application or query within five days.

    The double standards here stink, OP, and I hope the applicant is reading this…

    1. Rayray*

      A double standard for sure. If I hear back from a human being at a company I’ve applied at within the week, it’s shocking.

  4. toolittletoolate*

    I so appreciate the answer to this question. We have a rule that we give applicants a week to respond, which includes a weekend (since that’s when many of them have time to check personal emails).

      1. TechWorker*

        Yes, I think they’re saying ‘I agree with Alison, 5 days is a reasonable timeframe’.
        Tbh even a week might be rigid for a great candidate, but if you have a lot of applicants or need to hire quickly, then fair enough.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          If that’s a real exigency of the job, well then okay, but it shouldn’t be framed as a failure of the candidate.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      And you make that clear in the communication to them? Because they need to know that is your requirement.

      1. Mid*

        That’s the key. Having a tight timeline is perfectly reasonable in many cases, but having a *secret* timeline isn’t.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      That is silly and overly rigid. What about people who:
      – are on vacation
      – are ill
      – are attending to family issues
      – are traveling for business and unable / unwilling to check personal email on company computers
      – simply didn’t get the message as it went into their spam folder
      – have other priorities besides your message about a potential job – let’s face it, your potential job isn’t the centre of a stellar candidate’s life. They’re living their stellar life and your company and opportunity have to be worth their attention.

      1. Nesprin*

        -Have a work email and a personal email and don’t check the personal email during the workweek.
        -Work long hours

  5. toolittletoolate*

    I should clarify “a minimum of a week” and we let them know that info at the start of the process.

    1. Kella*

      Wait, what? Do you mean a maximum of a week? Because having a rule requiring they get back to you in a *minimum* of a week means you don’t want to them to respond until at least 7 days have passed.

  6. T. Boone Pickens*

    Indeed is a pretty terrible method of communicating with candidates and messages often get lost in the shuffle especially with folks applying for multiple jobs. Plus the interface leaves a lot to be desired. While waiting for an email response, I’m assuming you also reached out via phone to set up an interview right? If not, I’d….do that like yesterday.

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings**

      Yes — OP, please note that if you are using an Indeed generated email (as opposed to providing your own email) then that often causes delays with replies.

  7. CheesePlease*

    Sometimes emails get in a junk folder. If you emailed them Thursday afternoon (day 1) and they responded Tuesday (day 6) that response time isn’t out of the ordinary for someone who doesn’t check email over the weekend.

    In the future, as KHB responded above, I would indicate a deadline for response if that is crucial to your hiring process. “Please send your availability for an interview by tomorrow 5pm” is unreasonably strict IMO but if that is how you want to identify candidates that meet your standards, I would certainly include it in your initial email.

    1. lilsheba*

      If you’re looking for work, why wouldn’t someone be checking emails over the weekend? Or in general for that matter? I check every single day of the week.

      1. Kelly L.*

        It partly depends on if you’re looking for work because you’re unemployed and really need any job at all, vs. if you’re fairly content in your existing job but casting around to see if something better is out there.

        1. Lacey*

          Yup. When I was unemployed, yeah, I checked my email 10 times a day, every day. They would have heard back within a couple of hours.

          But when job searching while employed it’s much more laid back and even though I usually do check my email over the weekend, things happen.

          I was seriously job searching and missed out on an interview because of a family crisis.
          I didn’t see the email for several weeks because I was so busy handling other things.

      2. Unaccountably*

        Because most employers for office jobs don’t work over the weekend and therefore would not be sending emails then? Saying that people should be checking emails over the weekend when HR almost certainly isn’t working smacks of Gumption.

        1. Willow Pillow*

          I would even say it’s a red flag in most circumstances if you’re getting emails from would-be employers on the weekend… Poor workplace balance and poor organization.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Or flexibility – we have tried to be super flexible with people who need schedule accommodations for child/elder care, medical issues, school events, they’re not a morning person, etc. This means some people may work four hours on a week day and then handle some things evenings/weekends of their choosing. Not everyone works white collar office hours.

            I know my recruiter emails a lot over the weekend, in part because she says she knows people have job that, in our industry, tend to be M-F/9-5, so she’d rather email at a time they’re not trying to juggle responding to her with their regular job and generally finds that this gets better responses (more timely, less rushed).

            1. Willow Pillow*

              There are certainly exceptions (which is why I included “in most circumstances”)… but even flexible hours have been abused enough to be a red flag for me.

              1. Willow Pillow*

                “There’s a theory called passion exploitation, where a passion for work enables us to exploit ourselves, but also for others to exploit us. If you look at the data, you see those attitudes about passion across a lot of occupations, and across countries as well. That’s when it becomes a problem. It’s not only a select few that have this issue. It’s a much wider phenomenon.”


      3. CheesePlease*

        Some people have boundaries around email, technology etc and don’t check email or social media over the weekend, or in the evenings after 5pm. Or any number of things. We don’t know the applicant’s personal life.

        Maybe OP would have appreciated some explanation, but often applicants try not to disclose too much about themselves before an interview. It sounds like “I don’t check my personal email on a daily basis” would have been an inadequate response to this hiring manager – even if that were the truth.

        1. Everything Bagel*

          Absolutely! I live in the US and was recently in Canada on vacation. My cell phone reception was terrible and would often go offline without me even realizing it or knowing when it occurred. The Wi-Fi and some of the places I stayed was even less reliable.

      4. Lizzianna*

        My family is very intentional about avoiding screens on Sundays, and Saturdays can sometimes get away from me.

        If I’m actively job searching, I check every day, but if I’m happy with my current job, and just putting feelers out there, I’m not going out of my way to check. Especially if I’d applied several weeks ago and the employer hasn’t gotten back to me in 5 days.

      5. Momma Bear*

        Or, like someone I know, is working massive OT in an understaffed department and while they really want to get out, are struggling to do much more than work and sleep right now. They check when they can (not everyone has a desk job) but it’s not daily.

      6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Because I am on remote travel for my current job and don’t have internet or cell service. Because I am happy at my current job and just applied because it looked interesting, but job searching isn’t a priority
        Because I got sick AF and was unable to move, much less deal with an e-mail
        Because I applied before going on vacation with the assumption that it would take some time to get back to me
        Because your e-mail hit my spam filter because you used Indeed/LinkedIn to reply

      7. Kella*

        Everyone has some kind of commitment or emergency that can preclude checking email for a few days. And not everyone needs a job so badly that they will try to prioritize potential job emails over those commitments or emergencies.

      8. Ariaflame*

        And it may also depend on how many months ago they submitted the application. Do you put your life on hold for a reply that may never (judging by the number of comments about ghosting) arrive?

  8. A Pinch of Salt*

    I assume you also planned to have a decision made and communicated 5 days after interviews?

    Hope the candidate sees your rejection as the red flag it is.

    1. Bob-White of the Glen*

      To be fair they are asking how to word it, so it hasn’t been sent yet. Maybe hearing (a lot of) other voices will change their mind on being so rigid and this rejection won’t get sent.

  9. tessa*

    I can see where ideally the person would briefly note why it took five days to respond, but to hold it against the person at this stage is a bit much. If the person looks good enough on paper to interview, conduct the interview, and at that point stress the importance of immediate communication in the role.

    1. High Score!*

      I’ve had employers contact me days or weeks or even months (hello IBM) after they said they would and never an excuse or reason. So, no, the applicant has no reason to explain what it took them that long. Ideally, the employer would realize that people have other things to do.

    2. Meep*

      Why? It is none of the company’s business what an employee does in their off-time. It is extra none of the company’s business what a non-employee does with their time.

      1. Kal*

        The explanations could also lead to introducing potential for discrimination into the hiring process. Say the reason was that their kid was sick, or their chronic illness flared up, or any number of other legitimate reasons that can then have an employer potentially factoring that into the hiring decision even though its illegal and discriminatory. Is the employee then expected to lie about the reason to avoid discrimination?

        Its easier for everyone to just not expect explanations from candidates like this since every explanation will boil down to “life happens”.

    1. idwtpaun*

      Honestly, yeah. It’s a big assumption, but I suspect the kind manager who reacts like this at the interview stage is also not reasonable in expectations to current employees.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I’m assuming there’s an “of” missing between “kind” and “manager” because this manager doesn’t exactly radiate kindness!

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Yup. This sounds like a company that would rescind an offer if the candidate didn’t accept it immediately.

      1. Lydia*

        It sounds like a company that has forgotten we’re still in a pandemic and people are still getting sick and are out of commission for days at a time.

      1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

        Browsing without glasses, I misread “bozos” in your comment as “bezos.” And now, I am going to refer to all jerks as bezos. *LOL* It’s not even inaccurate!

        P.S. Up yers, Jeffy B. :)

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      This would be a red flag for me. I have options and want to work for an employer that understands that people have lives outside of work, especially when they don’t yet work for you. We aren’t supplicants to the throne

  10. idwtpaun*

    I’m taken aback by how many interviewing/hiring people expect to be the number one priority in candidates’ lives. Has it always been like this, or is this something people started expecting in the modern age of instant communications and instant gratification? And, really, should it take an advice column to point out that you may have caught this person in the middle of vacation/surgery/family emergency? Life happens to everyone!

    1. Clobberin' Time*

      A lot of employers are still mentally stuck in the recession of 2008. That, or they mistakenly believed Grampa Gumption telling stories about how people these days ought to be grateful to have a job.

      1. Spearmint*

        Yep. Most of today’s middle managers started hiring in 2008-2017, when the job market was weak. Arguably the last truly strong job market for employees was in the late-90s, so few middle managers have any experience hiring in this kind of environment.

    2. Software Engineer*

      Or they’re just busy at their current job!! It could instead be taken as a good sign that they’re not spending all their work day job searching instead of doing the work they’re paid for!

      You can basically interpret things in a thousand ways if you want to

      1. Generic Name*

        Yes! OP, you want your employees to prioritize your job over job hunting, right? Your hiring expectations select for candidates that may short-change their current job for a potential next job. Is that what you want?

    3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      No it’s nothing new. I remember ToxicBoss1 (1998-2010) venting about an intern who didn’t wait for him to make up his mind and took an internship with another company. And an employee who he’d hired with a fixed-term contract due to end on 30 June, who took the liberty of booking a holiday in July and finding a better-paying job for August when he’d just assumed that she’d be begging to be taken on permanently (she did let me know, so I knew I’d be on my own as from July).

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        I will bet dollars to donuts that ToxicBoss1, if the situation were different and he intended to release them with a contract end date of June 30, had she not found a different job and skipped vacation, hoping for a move to full time or contract extension and he heard about it, would have thought she was “stupid” and “the term of the contract was through June, what did she expect!?”

        I bet this because I’ve seen the same person do both things with two different people. I’ve also watched someone string along a contractor with a promise of full time salary conversion for two years get upset when the contractor gave notice to take a position for full time salary with benefits.

        1. Cyn*

          Is the name a Agha Shahid Ali reference?

          I agree that people who are unreasonable bosses tend to be unreasonable bosses in many contradictory ways

    4. Old Cynic*

      It was certainly like this back in the 80s/90s. I’ve been self employed for 25+ years but when I was job hunting back in the day, an acceptance/rejection to a job offer was expected when the job offer was presented during a phone conversation. There was none of this “I’d like to think about it overnight” stuff. Job seekers were considered to be desperate therefore should be grateful for an offer and jump on it!


      1. Seconds*

        Really? In 1988 I was offered a job by phone. I was young and it was my first professional job offer. It was a job I’d wanted, but when they offered, I couldn’t bring myself to accept. Not because of any strategy, but because I couldn’t say yes, I said that I was happy to get the offer but I needed to think first. I felt weird about it, but the person making the offer acted like *of course* I would want time to think it over! I called back the next day and accepted.

    5. L-squared*

      I think a lot of companies (my current one is like this) both want people to be super excited about the chance to work for them, and also look at it like they are the ones with the power and are the only ones evaluating people. They don’t see it as a business transaction.

    6. Esmeralda*

      It’s always been like this, and I’m from the era where there was no voicemail and answering machines were non-existent and then when they existed, were expensive.

      Phoning, going in person…there’s a reason oldsters tell you to do this. (Not a good reason, mind you, but at one time it was imperative).

    7. Meep*

      I am pretty prompt with emails, but the person could also be doing their research on if they want to work for OP’s company. That takes time. And if OP replies in this manner, the candidate may write off the entire company.

    8. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      I think this is a very old school mentality employers have that if someone is searching for a job, they must be unemployed, and therefore that is the ONLY thing they ought to be doing with their time. It’s a terrible thought process. Maybe that used to be the case a long time ago, but not anymore.

    9. marvin*

      I suspect the kind of managers who expect to be candidates’ top priority would not be thrilled to find that current employees were prioritizing their own job searches.

    10. Yeah, nah*

      Eh, disagree. Checking email regularly is a basic communication skill if you’re applying to most desk jobs. You have other things going on in your life, but so does the hiring manager. You’re dealing with a person, not a faceless corporate entity. Expecting someone to respond within a business week isn’t “expecting to be the number one priority,” it’s expecting basic professional courtesy. Taking a week to respond to a basic “when are you free?” query without noting why (lack of email access, travel, shifting availability, etc.), is an indication that you don’t care. Which is fine! No one is required to care that deeply about a job application. But expecting normal communication isn’t all that wild.

      1. Pyjamas*

        Was this a job application? Or was OP making first contact after finding the individual on Indeed. OP is not clear about this. Nor does OP specify whether the five days were Monday – Friday or Thursday – Monday.

  11. Name name*

    “Hey XXXXX, this is Carter with COMPANY NAME (yes I’m a real person) & you applied for a job with us on 9/28/2018 in LOCATION. We manage TEAPOT campaigns for a variety of progressive TEAPOTS & causes. Can we ask you a few questions to see if you are eligible for an interview?” — a text message I received last week which is possibly relevant given the discussion of time frames for responses….

    1. Ann Ominous*

      Oh my goodness. I’d be so curious. Do you think this is a scam or someone digging up their old talent management files?

      1. Siege*

        I don’t know, but I literally got a query whether I was still interested for a job at a prominent scifi magazine something like ten years after I applied. I have always assumed they went through the applicants from the previous round, which I can understand if you’re talking about within the year, but the relationship that I was looking to relocate for was long over and I had developed a very different career path.

        1. Ann Ominous*

          Ha! That’s hilarious.

          I got a call from the VA in 2012 (Veteran’s Administration) to welcome me home from deployment, see if I had any medical concerns or issues getting enrolled into the VA, etc…I was SUPER impressed. I had only been home about 6 weeks from the Middle East and I was impressed that they had timed it so by then my end-of-tour leave had run out (so if I was jobless now would be the time for financial strain to hit) and given it time for any nagging medical issues to crop up. Genius timing, and I told them so.

          Then they asked to confirm the dates of my deployment, just to make sure they had everything captured correctly. Sure, of course I’m happy to verify. 2011-2012.

          Oh. You mean my previous deployment? 2004-2005. That one? You’re calling me 7 YEARS later? You have no record of this most recent one?

          I mean, better late than never… I guess? They still haven’t called me about the 2011-2012 deployment. Must be backlogged.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Oh my. I think if “Carter” really was a “Real person” they would have noted the 4 year delay!
      Or was it a typo by a time traveler and you’re GOING to apply 2 days from now?!?

    3. NeutralJanet*

      I got a phone call for a seasonal retail job I’d applied for three years prior. I’d applied because I was a college student looking for a summer job. I was now a college graduate with a full-time, non-retail job, and it was October. The caller seemed annoyed that I was no longer interested.

      1. Seconds*

        Well, naturally they were annoyed. Apparently they had already worked through three years worth of applications, and were sick of it!

    4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      oooh that reminds me of a call from an agency hoping to place a job with me, on a Friday night. I couldn’t remember ever contacting them, turned out the guy was sifting desperately through a heap of CVs. I’d sent mine probably ten years previous to that and wasn’t even freelancing right then.

      1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        Oh, yes, the placement agencies desperately trying to drum up business and reaching out to every old c.v. they have on file.

        One agency did this regularly over the years, even though they had never successfully placed me, temp or perm. And my last c.v. with them was from 2011 and most certainly not up to date. I finally told them I was not leaving my current employer for anything less than what I was current earning. They had nothing in that range. “Okay, so, you can remove me from your database.”

    5. Rain's Small Hands*

      Been there, not with that sort of lag. But applied for a job in say January, had a really strange phone interview that sounded like a screening call (like, they called me out of the blue with no appointment and we chatted because I was being polite and was currently bored) in maybe June. Got a job offer in February. Which was for half my salary requirement.

    6. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I get these all the time, and they always want me to download a different text-based chat app for the “interview” as well…

      1. Antilles*

        I hope you don’t download those apps because this is pinging all sorts of alarms – like the company’s personnel files got hacked and they’re trying to get you to download a fake app so they can hack your stuff too.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I do not. I block the senders and delete the messages. Unfortunately the company names they give don’t match any jobs I’ve actually applied to so I can’t even go back to indeed and report the job as a scam.

    7. middle name Danger*

      Since the “labor shortages” started, I’ve received a couple of emails and texts from retail or food service jobs I applied to in college. I’m now self employed after two years-long stints at office jobs. They’re desperate. I didn’t know they’d even keep applications that long!

    8. TechWorker*

      I got an email I think last year from a recruiting agency I’d signed up to briefly about 10 years ago. No I am infact not interested in entry level admit roles XD

    1. Smileyginger*

      getting awfully tired of dealing with employers like this. got a call in the middle of the day from an unknown number. with all the spam calls I get and given that I’m in the thick of an annual audit, I screen any unknown and frankly most KNOWN calls during the work day. caller left a message asking to see if I was still interested in a job I’d applied for. she also sent a text a bit later. I replied after work hours that day, telling her why I hadn’t answered immediately and said I was still interested. never heard back.
      Another one – applied. one month later get a call for interview the following week. one month after the interview get an offer (that was much lower than I told them I wanted anyway) but one of the start dates would have involved giving my employer like 6 days notice. really?
      news flash – I’m not sitting here with baited breath planning to jump at the glorious opportunity to work for your company.

  12. RunShaker*

    And employers wonder why they can’t find “good” candidates. I don’t see the applicant taking 5 days to respond as red flag. Alison is spot on. I also hope as noted above you all apply same rules & respond to candidates quickly, as in 5 days. I also encourage you to read the archives here.

  13. Ann Ominous*

    Man, this really irritated me. Allison is correct – don’t use this person’s responsiveness when you *don’t* pay them for their time, as an indicator of how they would be if you *did* pay them for their time.

    When I work FOR YOU, I will be responsive to you. I will organize my schedule in such a way to ensure my availability, and I will keep a communications device available to me so as to I can be reached during working hours or when I’m on call, and also you’ll have my personal cell, so if I’m away and it’s a true emergency you’ll still be able to reach me.

    I understand there’s some expectation that this hopeful employee-to-be will be mindful of how they come across to you, and will be aware that you’re probably scrutinizing their clothing and manner of speech and typos in emails, so responsiveness should be considered also.

    However, in this case, you don’t have enough information to show whether their responsiveness is an indicator of their work ethic. Alison gave some good examples of what else it could be (during a time where they don’t owe you their time because you aren’t paying for it).

    So if you’ve moved on because you’ve found other candidates, ok, fine. But like Alison said, if you’re doing this on principle, then it’s an unhelpful principle because you’d deprive yourselves of a good potential candidate for no valid reason.

    You also have an opportunity to review your own attitudes and processes – are you/your company pedantic, stodgy, or annoying in other ways, or was this a one-off?

  14. Just Another Zebra*

    “Potential Candidate”… maybe I’m reading too much into this, but is this someone who actually applied for the position, or is it someone Indeed suggested for you as a possible match? I have a separate email for when I’m applying to jobs (so that my real email isn’t full of spam from LinkedIn and Indeed) and I check it maybe once a week. 5 days seems… not that long?

    And as others have mentioned, there’s a strong double standard you’re operating on here.

    1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

      I don’t know how those emails to candidates work, but this is a thing I’m discovering Indeed does because I now work on the hiring side, not on the job searching side (for the first time, so I have no experience with how hiring has been in the past). If I were “invited” to apply for a job I didn’t actively seek out, I’d take at least a little time to read the job posting, do a little bit of research about the company, and mull it over. 5 days doesn’t seem that long to do that, especially if I’m prioritizing my own job search over jobs that I’m invited to apply to.

    2. Office Lobster DJ*

      Good catch on “potential candidate!” Have they even applied or expressed any interest? If the request to meet was unsolicited, LW is lucky to get an answer at all, let alone the person taking a few days to figure out if the message was legit and something they’d actually be interested in.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I think it’s a candidate and some people don’t realize the redundancy of the words “potential” and “candidate”.

    3. Mockingjay*

      Also, notifications depend on how you have your Indeed account set up. Weekly summary, immediate notification of any change/new post/email/search, no notifications…

      If OP wants quick candidate response, suggest they broaden their advertising: industry boards, job fairs, other job boards (Monster, etc.). List the desired time for response: “This position must be filled quickly; all applications are due Friday COB.”

      Five days is not unreasonable. I can see a scenario like this: recruiter reaches out, candidate reciprocates interest, but they still need time to research the company, review the job description, and tailor their resume before scheduling a formal interview. OP, a candidate’s livelihood is at stake when switching jobs. An intelligent, qualified employee is going to take time to ensure your position is in their best interests to pursue.

    4. ThatGirl*

      You know, re-reading it, I think this is someone Indeed suggested as a match – which means they didn’t formally apply so no wonder!

  15. Wants Green Things*

    Sucks when the shoe is on the other foot, doesn’t it? Not hearing back from someone when you thought you would, and then getting absolutely no reason for why? Where, oh where, have we seen this play out before?

    If you didn’t specify when you needed a reply by, it’s *entirely* on your head. Don’t expect candidates to magically know your little tests and know precisely when to reply – especially since most companies can’t be bothered to reply back at all.

  16. cardigarden*

    Hey, just because someone didn’t put a vacation responder on their personal email doesn’t mean they’re inconsiderate. Oy.

    1. Anonym*

      Yeah, vacation responses are not recommended for personal email (or professional email outside of your organization) for privacy and safety reasons. It may be a small risk, but someone finding out you’re traveling could lead to burglary, etc. Probably part of why it’s not super common.

      1. COHikerGirl*

        And my personal email is where I get newsletters. I’d get a whole bunch of bounced emails from my auto responder…I get a small handful at work as it is!

  17. Software Engineer*

    Did this candidate even apply directly or did Indeed show them to OP as a potential match? Does OP monitor their personal email like a hawk to reply to every recruiter from Indeed or LinkedIn or whatever other sites as quickly as possible and swing through all the garbage you get on those sites?

    Once contract has been properly initiated it’s reasonable to expect them to reply promptly because they are EXPECTING you to contact them so they are looking for it. But if this is your first contact with the candidate you can’t expect them to be waiting by the phone for you. Even if they directly applied for the job they’ve applied to many others and are expecting them to get in contact eventually but have no idea of the timeline. (I once had a job application email me a rejection 18 months later lol)

  18. Dallas Librarian*

    Semi-related but I just got a request to interview for a job I applied to last November, with a date set in early October: nearly a year after my initial application! This is for a librarian position at a community college and I know academia can take a while for hiring but not this long. I accepted the interview anyway but I’ve had a promotion and pay raise since I applied, so I’m unsure whether they can beat that now. Should I wait and ask about the delay at the interview or e-mail ahead of time?

    1. justanobody*

      Email…”I applied last November and was surprised to hear from you nearly a year later…” You can also ask about the pay range.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I wouldn’t do this if you are still interested in pursuing the job. Seems a bit rude, IMO. You can ask about the pay range, though. I think you could tell them that you have since gotten a promotion, or even send them an updated resume ahead of time, though.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Although maybe in an email you could ask about why the job is still open, or if it’s open again, or something like that. I think using the word “curious” is maybe a bit more appropriate than “surprised” in this situation. “I admit I am a bit curious as to why you are hiring for this position. I thought you’d hired for it last year; is the position open again or is this a different position?” Eh, maybe not, but that’s a possibility, I guess.

          1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

            In this case, I would reach out before the interview. Are the positions only for 1 year or something? That is pretty odd.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              Yes, I would probably ask the question when responding to the email, but I don’t think I would word it quite the way justanobody did.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      So, as someone who hires in higher ed, this is not uncommon. Sadly. My guess, if I had to guess, is that someone who was in charge of the hiring left and/or they had a budget issue and/or some people are only on 9month appointments and don’t work over the summer and/or… I could go on. If you’re still interested, proceed with it. Be polite and professional. Respond as though the delay didn’t happen, but feel free to ask at the interview or earlier if there is a phone screen. I would phrase it something like, “I was wondering if you could talk me through the hiring process and give me some insight into the timeline. I was a little surprised to be contacted about this position after so long.” And then see what they say.

    1. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Employers say that when people don’t want to work for an unlivable wage, get lied to, or otherwise demand to be treated like human beings.
      I have a neighbor who says this all the time. He owns a few fast food franchises. The signs outside say “Now hiring! $17/hour!” but he’s admitted to me that none of his employees, not even the managers, make that much and he always starts at minimum wage. Shocker that he’s having trouble with turnover and has had to cut the hours his restaurants are over. He blames it on “no one wants to work” and doesn’t see a problem with the bait and switch.
      “No one wants to work anymore” is code for “No one will let me walk all over them”

        1. CharlieBrown*

          I don’t think it’s illegal in the US, because it’s “depending on qualifications.”

          They just don’t tell you that those qualifications to get that $15/hr include having an MD, a PhD, a JD, and and also completing NASA spacewalk training.

      1. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

        “No one wants to work anymore” is code for “No one will let me walk all over them”


      2. CharlieBrown*

        Yeah, I read about a famous fast food restaurant that said $15/hour, but that was if you included the sign on bonus and the tuition assistance, both of which you had to jump through a lot of hoops to get. It’s basically just fancy lying, which is still lying.

      3. just another queer reader*

        Not quite as shady, but my employer advertises their hourly positions as paying “up to $X!” when the well-established starting wage is actually $X-5.

        Yes, you can earn $X in the position… once you’ve worked there for several years and gotten all your seniority raises.

        It’s not even a shabby starting wage! I wish they’d just be straightforward. Makes me ashamed of my employer tbh.

        1. Luna*

          Keywords here being “Up to”. Meaning, it’s probably gonna be (a lot) lower. Just like any sale sign you see in stores, “Up to 50% Off”. Gotta know how to read properly.

  19. NeutralJanet*

    Not only do candidates not owe you their immediate replies when they don’t work for you, particularly as it seems you may have reached out to them and not the other way around, I just wanted to point out that emails from Indeed often get filtered to my spam folder, which I only check once a week or so.

    1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Oh man, I didn’t even think of this. I get these a lot and I am not looking. I feel like the LinkedIn/Indeed version of an inactive dating profile

  20. Ginger Pet Lady*

    I am just SO over employers like this who seem to think that candidates should just be at their instant beck and call during the application process, and yet also very patient with a bazillion rounds of interviews and a hiring process that takes months. And often ends up with the candidate being ghosted.
    Get off your high horse and stop expecting what you won’t do. Candidates (and employees) do not have to serve you like a servant. This is a two way street, start treating people better.

  21. Rick*

    I’d be curious, are you one of those potential employers who never respond to people after an interview, yet want you potential emplyees to jump through hoops for you?

    Plus, if you’re that demanding for a quick reply (give them slack, could be an emergency) I wouldn’t want to eork for you. You’re likely too demanding to work for. I wouldn’t give you any chance.

  22. CatCat*

    This happened to me once when I was in my early 20s and I was confused about it (like… sorry, I had a family emergency out of state). I called to explain after they rescinded the interview request, but they just never responded. I felt bad about it at the time, but in retrospect, I think I dodged a bullet.

    1. Generic Name*

      That’s rich. They rescinded an interview over you not responding *quickly enough* but then they in turn didn’t respond to you when you reached out to them.

  23. RJ*

    I feel particularly angered by this employer reaction, given the lack of prompt responsiveness I’ve been receiving from employers in my own job search. I just had an employer reject my application because I was unable to upload my resume. The rejection came through at 11pm Sunday. The request was received at 1am Saturday.

    If you need a response within a certain number of days or by a certain date, state it. This type of jump up attitude is past it’s due date.

    1. Luna*

      Reminds me of a place that wanted a video interview via webcam through the software that was used on their wegpage. I tried several times, but no matter what settings and permissions I added for my webcam, it would not let my webcam work or my audio had issues to the point it flat out wouldn’t let it count as being able to be done.

      So, I sent an email asking if there was a different way to do an interview, due to the video interview just not working. They apparently took that as a resignation, instead of an obvious “There is a flaw in your way of interviewing, is it possible to find a workaround to this obvious issue?”

  24. Raven*

    Yeah, unless you gave them a clear deadline to respond by (and even then, 5 days is relatively short in hiring timelines) you have no reason to be this afronted by their ‘delayed’ response.
    You are not and will not be their only priority and you cannot extrapolate their entire character from a single data point. It’s ignorant and just bad practice.
    Also unless you respond to all applicants within 5 days with an explanation and an apology for any delay (which I highly doubt), you are a hypocrite.

  25. Reluctant Job Hunter*

    It sounds like this potential candidate didn’t even apply for the position, but rather the recruiter cold messaged them, which makes their expectation even more absurd.

    I’m actively looking, and my industry is hopping at the moment. I get 2-3 solid leads a week via LinkedIn and directly to my personal email, plus another 5+ completely irrelevant leads. I don’t always see these unexpected messages (or even have time to carefully read them!) right away. It’s not uncommon for me to take 2-3 business days to reply. If a sender got huffy that I didn’t drop everything else in my life to prioritize them, I’d see that as a huge red flag.

  26. L-squared*

    File this under “employers mad that applicants aren’t being deferential to me enough”

    From my experience, there is a good chance your took more than 5 days to respond to their initial application. There is also a good chance that after you interview them, it will take you more than 5 days to get back to them. But HOW DARE THEY not drop everything for you.

    I bet this is the type of employer who also balks at applicants treating this like a business arrangement that would be beneficial to both parties.

    Also, were some of these days weekends? If so, then I think those aren’t really fair to count.

    As Alison says, they could’ve been sick or on vacation. Or just enjoying their life and forgot to respond. That to me says nothing about how good of an employee they would be.

    If this was about the fact that you already had the employee you wanted to hire, and the question was did you have to still interview this person, I’d say not at all. But the fact that you essentially want to punish them out of spite says far more about you and your organization.

        1. COHikerGirl*

          Google (with the quotes) “hypothetical Stephen” ask a manager

          It’s a comment in the open thread from Sept 16ish (will lose things if I go find exactly it!). Once on the page, search the page for hypothetical Stephen. I’ll add the link in another comment.

    1. linger*

      For those who missed it, Hypothetical Stephen’s question was:

      My favorite candidate for a role politely but firmly removed themselves from consideration after I sent them two emails and left them two voicemails during a single workday. Should I blacklist them from further positions within the company?

      To which the overwhelming response was essentially: the candidate rightly saw your over-contact as a red flag, and blacklisting them would be, not only a wild overreaction on your part, but entirely moot at this stage.

  27. theguvnah*

    I’ve learned the hard way that very slow responses to interview invitations (and yes 5 days is VERY slow) absolutely correlates to slow work and communication. This is a perfectly valid reason to remove them from the candidate pool.

      1. L-squared*

        I’m willing to wager they don’t. But when THEY don’t respond equally fast, its valid because…. reasons. But if a potential employee doesn’t, then it says a lot about their character

        1. theguvnah*

          It’s not an even playing field though. When I am hiring and someone applies, I have something they want – sure, I want something too but I have 100+ applicants from which to choose. If I was doing anything in which someone has something I want (are they selling something unique? opening a spot in day camp for my kids?) it’s on me to respond quickly.

          But actually, I am very communicative when hiring and try to keep folks updated as much as possible (ie, expect to hear from me in 3 weeks).

          1. Rayray*

            It sounds like in this case though, the candidate also has something the employer wants – skills. I don’t think they’d be so salty about the situation if the candidate wasn’t desirable. It’s still a two way street.

          2. L-squared*

            So you expect less than 5 days, but will have them wait up to 3 weeks. And you think that is fair.

            If you want to look at this as a situation where you are doing them a favor because you have what they want, that is how you get bad or even just average employees. Good ones who know their worth aren’t going to play your silly games

            1. Just Another Zebra*

              “So you expect less than 5 days, but will have them wait up to 3 weeks. And you think that is fair.”

              THIS. If I’m actively job hunting, and you make me wait the better part of a month for a response… In this market, it’s likely I’ve already ruled you out and moved on.

          3. Willow Pillow*

            If you have that many applicants and continued issues with the people you hire, perhaps you’re not attracting the best candidate pool to begin with…

          4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            So? I’m not even looking and I am approached by companies to be a “potential candidate” 2-3 times a week. I have something they want, but they don’t have anything I want right now, so I get to them when I get to them, if I get to them at all

            1. Tom*

              Maybe I’m too used to working with the Feds, but three weeks sounds like a fantastic response time. Especially if you have a lot of candidates and have to interview all of them before you can make a decision.

          5. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

            Well, the playing field is leveling out a lot, and it might be time to adjust your perspective to the new reality. Because employers with that kind of attitude really are not offering something people want … which is an attitude that employees or candidates should be extremely grateful for your deigning to speak to them or offer them slave wages and lousy working conditions.

          6. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

            Also, this is a candidate the employer reached out to and emailed, not someone who had actively submitted an application.

    1. L-squared*

      Not really. I’m not saying your experiences aren’t true. But you know nothing about the person right now. I think your POV of expecting people to drop everything and respond is ridiculous

      1. Anonym*

        Yeah, I think you can get more info about an individual candidate before concluding this. It may be a trend, but it’s not likely 100%. Why not keep it in mind but still interview them? As Allison often points out here, a pattern is more meaningful that a single potential data point. If they continue to be slow to respond, or don’t have a sensible response when asked about it, then you can consider that valuable information.

        Also, it’s hard to know how much information to provide as a candidate. If I found an employer’s email in my spam folder a few days later, I’d be really unsure if sharing that fact would just come across as making excuses and make me sound less credible. I might not include that context for that reason.

    2. kiki*

      I think it’s a fair assessment if there’s a pattern in the application process (ie – taking 5 days to respond to every request), but there are so many valid reasons somebody wouldn’t respond to an interview request for 5 days that Alison detailed. I get that in a workplace context, 5 days is a very long time to respond to a simple email, but 5 days is also a relatively short vacation.

      1. My+Useless+2+Cents*

        It doesn’t even have to be a vacation or emergency. 5 days is not a long time, period.
        Monday: Rcvd email requesting interview, also stays late at work because… work
        Tuesday: School thing with Kid#1
        Wednesday: Various required errands
        Thursday: Sports thing with Kid#2
        Friday: (Day 5) Responds to request
        ^what about a schedule like this tells Company about candidate without, I don’t know, actually speaking with them first. Candidate has a life and will have things planned. Just because you have “something they want” doesn’t mean they need to drop everything because “Company they don’t even know they want to work at yet” tells them to jump.

    3. Unaccountably*

      I mean, sure, if your sole criterion for evaluating people is whether or not they’re available to you 24/7 and never take vacation or sick time. In that case, you certainly want people who will prioritize you and your communication even when you don’t pay them to do it, because they’re probably people who need a job right now and can’t afford to take their time and find a good place to work.

      On the other hand, the “Hey, I am SPEAKING to you!” type of employee/employer relationship exploits a power differential that doesn’t exist to nearly the same extent in the current job market, and shouldn’t exist in any job market. But do you, I guess.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      Maybe it correlates when you’re in active communication with the candidate – as in, you’ve engaged, phone screened them, and now are setting up an in-person or video interview with the hiring manager or a 2nd interview – but it definitely doesn’t correlate when you’re simply doing outreach to passive candidates or even responding to applicants.

      I mean, I’ve dropped candidates that expressed initial interest and who were impossible to schedule, but I don’t hold a delayed response against a candidate who I haven’t spoken with yet.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Typically when someone says they learned the hard way, the sample size is one. My sample size for reaching that conclusion is, in fact, greater than one.

    5. Luna*

      So, if someone has no means to access email or have any other number of reasons to not jump at a potential offer immediately, they are SOL in your eyes? Well, I hope no employee you ever look for has a life, then…

  28. CharlieBrown*

    I don’t’ think I’ve ever seen a comment section that was so full of well-earned shade.

    OP should buy themselves a grow light.

    1. Rayray*

      Find the article with the manager who wrote in about the employee who had two late paychecks. That was a good one.

      1. CatCat*

        And the one where the manager wrote in wondering how to go about chastising a former employee, who was the manager’s best employee and who quit when the manager denied the employee a few hours off to attend the employee’s own college graduation.

    2. PotsPansTeapots*

      Just wanted to say I’m planning on incorporating some version of the grow light comment into my personal vernacular.

  29. Been there*

    I have found that our applicant tracking system’s emails often go straight to gmail’s junk mail, and our interview invitations often aren’t seen. If I don’t hear back from a candidate within a week of sending the interview invitation, I re-send from my email to make sure they got it. If they don’t respond, then I assume they aren’t interested. I had a case last week where one candidate didn’t respond and we conducted some interviews and were going to fail the search, but the “missing” candidate contacted me at the end of the week and said they were still interested, but had been out of town without email access. That happens, right? So hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet with them because we thought they would be a great fit. I think it depends on the situation.

    1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Granted, it is rarer today to not have email access via your mobile phone and an email provider like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. However, it can still happen depending on where you are in the world.

      My friend delivers yachts for a living, and when at sea, there is no email, only texts if you happen to have a SatPhone. Might be the case in some countries too where your mobile doesn’t work. You never know.

      1. Middle name Danger*

        I work in music, and some festivals are in the middle of NOWHERE or are so congested that the cell towers are overwhelmed and nobody can get service. Plus long hours where I can’t touch my phone while working and just pass out as soon as I’m back at my camp/hotel.

        And yet it’s 100% expected you’ll just lose out on the opportunity if you don’t respond to a gig offer within hours. Oof.

      2. londonedit*

        There are plenty of rural areas in the UK where mobile phone and broadband coverage is patchy at best. My parents’ previous house was in one of them. You had to go to the top of the garden to make/receive a phone call – I was forever discovering voicemail notifications on my phone when I’d had absolutely no idea that it had rung! The wi-fi would also drop out on a regular basis.

    2. Middle name Danger*

      I mean…resending an email even the first one went to spam is just going to result in a second spam catch, yeah? Do you attempt to reach out another way?

      1. Purple Cat*

        Not necessarily. It sounds like the first one goes out from the “system” and the follow-up email gets sent from an individual email address. Enough of a change that it might go through.

  30. Kobra*

    I got a call from a part-time bakery position I applied to in college… years later. While just-above-minimum wage and free pastries sounded like a sweet (hah!) deal at the time, it did not when I was trying to launch a professional career!

  31. LadiDa*

    There have been an increasing number of letters asking if it is ok to punish job seekers for some sort of “rules” the hiring manager/recruiter seems to have made up. They all come across as bitter that job seekers have a bit more leverage than they have had in the past.

  32. Sleey*

    this only makes sense to me if they included in the email a request for applicants to respond within two days or something. otherwise, five days doesn’t seem unreasonable and I don’t see why they would explain unless they knew they needed to explain.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Also, and maybe I am misreading it, but it looks like OP posted a job posting and then emailed candidates to ask about interviews, like a recruiter. It did not sound like this person had actively applied when OP reached out to them. But I am wondering if I am reading that wrong, to be honest.

  33. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

    Lol, yes.

    I’m in the middle of 10 days of crickets from an employer after I sent in a completed writing assignment, so this delights me so.

  34. kiki*

    This makes me laugh because so often it’s the *employer* who takes a while for unknown reasons. It’s always going to be frustrating when you want to move quickly and other people don’t share your timeline, but that’s hiring.
    Before you hire them, job candidates aren’t on their potential employers’ schedules. There isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the same expectation of swift responses as there is from an actual employee you are paying. I’d also like to say a lot of the great employees are probably slower to respond because they’re prioritizing their current work obligations over potential new things.

  35. Cendol*

    Sometimes a question that comes in on AAM just makes you wince–like the written equivalent of swinging a baseball bat at a bee’s nest. I opened up the comments section like, oh no, please be gentle. So many good points here that I hope OP takes to heart!

  36. BoratVoiceMyWife*

    OP also fails to take into account how utterly shitty Indeed is as a platform for job-seekers, particularly the messaging system. over the course of my 18-month job search I periodically found messages in my Indeed inbox from recruiters that I never received a notification about.

    either way, pull your head out of your ass OP. five days of silence would be generous if it were coming from some recruiters.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Indeed seems strange on the Employer side, too. A friend is the main contact to deal with Indeed applications and he told me that once the application and resume is uploaded to their posting, a clock starts counting down where he’s got a limited time to review it. In general, that seems good, but, he said the time frame is 72 hours and if someone puts in their application on a Friday evening, he’s got to have reviewed it by first thing Monday to see if the resume should get elevated to the hiring manager/principals and given them some time to respond to him. So, he now has to set aside time every weekend to work on this.

      I haven’t looked at the settings to see if this is something he can change, but, that sounds like a high pressure default.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      LinkedIn has the same problem – I’ve sent messages to people and gotten replied back MONTHS later.

  37. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    This sounds like the kind of employer that would rescind an offer if a candidate doesn’t accept it on the spot. That’s a red flag for me.

  38. That Coworker's Coworker*

    Everybody’s being pretty harsh toward the OP – and I understand and think it’s warranted – BUT: in a way it’s a good thing for this company to cut off people who don’t respond to them instantaneously: it self-selects for people who would actually be able to tolerate these sorts of expectations.
    People who have priorities outside of work will be screened out by this employer behavior – and really that’s doing those no-longer-prospective-employees a favor, because people with lives outside of work will almost certainly be unhappy at this employer.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      “People who have priorities outside of work” is literally everybody.

      So you’re basically saying that OP wants to hire people who don’t have a life outside of work? In that case, yep, the applicant dodged a bullet.

      1. Unaccountably*

        It seems to me like an awful lot of employers still do, in fact, want employees who don’t have a life outside of work. Then when their recruitment and retention are terrible it’s “No one wants to work!”

    2. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      If this is really they case they need to move quickly they need to put this in their job listing and in the email that goes out for interview time requests.

      We are hiring on an accelerated basis. Please respond to the interview scheduling within 5 days as will be be moving on with candidates who schedule a time quickly.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Right. This limitation rules out entire groups of people. And if the limitation is not stated directly that adds in even more people that are excluded because of failing to mind read.

      So how is this working for you, OP? Are you making some great hires this way?

  39. Delta Delta*

    Wow. Applicant: bullet dodged.

    For real though, let’s suppose OP sent the notice on Thursday, and the applicant responded on Monday. That’s both 5 days and also not a long lapse of time. Unless there was notice that a response was needed in a certain amount of time, this isn’t unreasonable.

  40. AG*

    I kind of remember Alison saying something to the effect that it was a red flag for a candidate that is actively seeking a job to not get back to people in a couple of days, or at least 2 days being on the longer side as far as candidate responses go.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      Yep, and the job market is completely different now than it was then.

      And I agree, if you send in a resume, and they reach out to you, you should get back to them as quickly as possible. But this is not that situation. OP reached out to the “potential candidate”. Completely different.

      1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        That’s how I read it too, but I was doubting myself. But it did seem to me like OP was sending out the message to random candidates whose profiles looked right rather than to someone who had actively applied. But I am not that familiar with Indeed.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      It makes sense to be as prompt as possible, because employers will move on. But not being immediately available or responsive isn’t not something anyone should hold against a candidate, without understanding WHY the applicant didn’t respond, or without some indication that it is a pattern of unresponsiveness.

    3. AG*

      No, by couple, I meant 1-2 days, and I figure in that context it’d be business days, not calendar days.
      Thanks for reminding me what the context was in that other discussion. I figured the context would be different, or at least Alison might not be suggesting outright rejecting people.

  41. irene adler*

    Did you text these candidates to let them know they received an email from you?

    See, not everyone checks their email on a daily basis.
    I deal with people whom I must text in order to get them to read (and respond!) to any email I send them. And this is for a professional organization.

    Maybe text first?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      That was my very first thought. Did you back up that email with a second message through a non-email conveyance?

      Where I work people sometimes find it VERY important to talk to me about something. More and more I get messages through more than one medium. I’ll have a voice mail plus email. Or a letter plus a fax. (And combinations of these.) It does not bother me, I understand what they are doing and why. Typically everyone is polite and expresses thanks for a reply.

      OTOH, when I send out letters or emails I make sure I include when I need to hear back. (The time frames are usually generous and most people have very little problem.) OP, do people have more than one way to respond to you? Everyone here is saying, “What if your email got lost?” well that works both ways. What if her responding email to you got lost?
      Do you routinely NOT back up important communication, is that normal for your company?

      Of course you can handle things as you wish. But you see a strong consensus here that your rule of thumb is probably not fair.

  42. Knope Knope Knope.*

    I knew what Alison’s answer would be as soon as I read the headline. Some LWs are so ridiculous. The OP is probably doing this candidate a favor by passing.

  43. Professional Lurker*

    I’d consider this a bullet dodged as a “potential candidate”. This sounds like the kind of job that will send an email at 7pm and be upset that there wasn’t a response by 6am. And that may be necessary for this company, but I’m done being on call 24/7 for my boss.

  44. Bernice Clifton*

    Keep in mind a lot of candidates get spammed with employer messages for positions that would not be a good fit, or are an MLM or some type of scam. Maybe this candidate didn’t have time to research whether that was the case for 5 days.

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yeah, I get spammed by a couple of agencies that use some sort of horrible lead generating software, so I’m constantly getting pings for jobs:
      a) On site, and I only do remote
      b) In another state, on the other side of the country, on site
      c) Work of a type I haven’t done in well over a decade (help desk, file clerk, lab assistant.)
      d) Pay less than half of what I’m currently making

      I don’t know where they are finding decades old resumes but my current email, or what, but these jerks haven’t yet taken me off their list, no matter how many times I go to their site and unsubscribe, or tell them to take me off their list.

      At this point there are two agencies that I just mark as spam, because their leads are just so bad it’s beyond annoying.

  45. Esmeralda*

    This OP is getting whacked around quite deservedly…

    However, I don’t think “I only check my email once a week” is a legit reason for huffiness. When I’m applying for jobs, I check email every day, because I might get an email from a prospective employer. I check my voicemail messages daily too. (Because some years ago I lost out on an interview because I didn’t check my voicemail, ouch, it was a good job.) If I’m on vacation, I look at my email /voicemail daily for employer messages, when I’m job searching — but that’s me.

    OP, if you want a fast response, say so when you offer the interview. Otherwise, 5 days isn’t that unreasonable.

  46. Polecat*

    Oh my God that is rich. I would love to know if the OP lets every job candidate know within a reasonable amount of time that they aren’t getting hired. Does it take them more than five days to contact someone after an interview and say “thanks for coming in for the interview but we’ve decided to move forward with another candidate“. Or do they even send those emails at all?

    This sounds to me like the OP is used to A dynamic where job seekers are desperate and panting for the job and will Ask “how high” when the employer says “jump”. They don’t seem to like it when the shoe was on the other foot.

    I hope the OP can take this as an opportunity to examine how they view jobseekers and how they treat jobseekers, versus how they expect jobseekers to treat them.

  47. Baron*

    In my current position, I’ve been described as the best candidate they’ve hired since the ’70s. I’m achieving all kinds of amazing things, have won awards, have been asked to serve as president of my profession’s professional organization, have really turned around an organization that was in a lot of trouble.

    They hired me after I dropped off the face of the earth in the middle of the hiring process and it took me five days to respond to their request for a second interview. I was hospitalized and in critical condition with no access to e-mail or phone. You’d have passed on me.

    I’m not as hard on this LW as others. If you’re just looking for any warm body, it’s perfectly legitimate to hire the first warm body who answers you. But be aware that any restriction you add to the hiring process weeds out candidates who might be great at the job.

  48. Former Retail Lifer*

    Due to a lack of response from employers, I’ve been applying to an extraordinarily high number of jobs. On the rare occasion I receive a response, sometimes I do need to take some time to remind myself what the job description entails and what interested me about the company. Because I’m working full-time and also basically applying to jobs full-time, unless the company responding was one of my top choices, I’ll need some time to refresh my memory and respond appropriately. I aim to get back to companies within 24 hours, but sometimes life happens and I may miss an arbitrary, unknown deadline. And it’s not like anyone has ever had a goal of responding to ME within 24 hours, so…

  49. Middle name Danger*

    OP, if you do see the light and still offer to move forward, please list your expectations for a response this time.

    Once the back-and-forth starts it’s more reasonable to expect a prompt response, but “please let us know within 48 hours what your availability is in the next week for an interview” is also reasonable.

  50. leeapeea*

    I would like to know what this company is recruiting for that they have the luxury to cut an otherwise qualified candidate loose for such a normal timeline. Heck, I don’t get back to some of my colleagues before 5 days depending on where I have to prioritize my workload – everyone’s busy!!!. Any candidate qualified enough for me to reach out to once is worth a follow up if I don’t hear back, using a different contact method in case the first method failed.

  51. Hiring Mgr*

    This really doesn’t make any sense – if the timeliness is so crucial, this can’t be the first time a candidate didn’t respond right away – what did you do all those other times?

  52. voluptuousfire*

    OP needs a reality check. A candidate responding 5 days after you reached out out them is reasonable. I schedule interviews for a living and my rule of thumb is to follow up after a few business days (3-5, dependent on the strength of the candidate and current need for the role) with an inquiry directly from me vs. being sent through our ATS. Emails can get caught in spam folders or different inboxes if you have Gmail. I give them another few days and if no response, I close them out.

    If you want to be specific about needing a response by x time, include that in the emails to candidates. Don’t reject people because they don’t live up to your undocumented standards.

  53. H3llifIknow*

    I was 5000+ miles away attending my FIL’s funeral when a recruiter reached out to me. Yes, I have a smart phone and technically COULD have responded, but The LAST thing on my mind was “oooh job opportunity; let me disengage from family to take care of THIS!” I was gone for 9 days and I responded upon my return. Now, I DID say, “this arrived while I was out of pocket; if you’re still interested, I would be interested in moving forward” but that was out of being polite, not because I thought I had to justify my delayed response. And 5 days? That’s nothing. Did those 5 days include a weekend, for example? If you want this person, interview them, but personally, I wouldn’t want to work for an employer who’s so self-involved and petty that he would want to punish ME for a delay in responding to a LinkedIn email.

  54. I DK*

    As a hiring professional (who does contact every applicant whether they move forward or not) I can tell you that 5 days is nothing. Jeeze, just be glad for the response. Even if 5 days were egregious (it is not) then just move on to the next applicant. Not only can you not extrapolate the character of an applicant from one data point, you also can’t apply a trait to all applicants based on the actions of one individual (oh, these GenXers …, People just don’t want to work…, etc., but I digress.) If you expect applicants to live up to your unrealistic expectations, then maybe hiring isn’t for you.

  55. Sunflower*

    I hope the OP is not too scared of the comments to respond or let us know if they learned anything from them (for example, putting a “reply by” date in the email).

    Like others, I’d love to know their reply time to applicants and also the time frame of job offers or rejections after the interview (if they even send a rejection at all instead of just ghosting). Employers don’t necessary have the upper hand anymore and applicants are test/interviewing you as much as you are testing/interviewing them. Please learn to respect applicants and they will respect you.

  56. HufferWare*

    OP, unless you can determine that you never take more than 5 days to respond to a submitted application, you need to sit down. That said, you should reject this candidate because no one should have to work for someone who thinks this way.

  57. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

    Just realized I could have easily been this candidate. For my current job, I didn’t respond to the company recruiter’s initial request for almost a week because her email pinged something in Google’s filters, so it didn’t hit my inbox at all until I happened to search for “interview” in my gmail account. I was extremely apologetic about the situation, but I’m still glad I didn’t get automatically rejected over it, or I would still be stuck at my last job which was quickly becoming a poor fit for me.

    1. Anona*

      I think the difference (and to be clear I would interview this candidate and think the OP should) is that you recognized the delay and apologized. I think most of the time non-flaky candidates who are genuinely interested in the job will do that.

  58. El+l*

    OP, would you have preferred it if instead the candidate had given you a prompt bunch of play-by-play waffle? “Well, I have this unimportant meeting Tuesday, so I could cancel that but will need a boss approval, and Wednesday is only good from 9-10 AM because of my kid, so…”

    Because a lot of times, when it takes a while for an email to responded…it’s because there’s no point till the other person has had a chance to do some legwork. General observation, not just in hiring.

    Look, the best advice for job applicants is to not overthink the employer’s hiring process: “Their process is their process, be patient.” Well, looks like a bit of that should go on the other foot, too.

  59. DramaQ*

    I had one reach out to me in 2020 then never respond because I took 14 days. Guess what I had? Sorry but I wasn’t going to be doing an interview with you during that time period regardless. I reached out explaining but never heard back. Think I dodged a bullet there if you can’t give more than a three day reply window in the middle of a pandemic.

  60. glitter writer*

    I just went through a very long interview process where the time between me submitting my application and me having my six-person half-day interview panel as one of the two finalists for the position took about three months. The folks on the hiring and recruiting end routinely took literal weeks to respond to suggested times for meetings; against that kind of timeline, I feel that a candidate taking a few days — especially if a weekend was included, and it was only a couple of work days — to respond is really not terribly out of line.

  61. Risha*

    LW, I think you should do the job applicant a favor and not interview them. Personally I would not want to work for your company. Like Alison said, they do not work for you right now, so they cannot be expected to drop everything and get back to you.

    Do you know this applicant personally? Do you know why it may have taken them 5 days to respond? It’s very possible they were dealing with a sickness or a sick family member. If they would have told you that, you probably would have though TMI and still not want to proceed further with them.

    Also, I hope you ALWAYS respond to job applicants within 5 days. If not, why. After a person interviews with you, do you always send an acceptance or rejection within 5 days? If not, why. You’re expecting a job applicant to drop everything for you, do you do the same? Rules for thee but not for me. It gotta be rough working at your company. You are showing applicants what they’ll be getting themselves into if they work for you.

    Employers really need to stop acting like this. People do have a choice now and demanding employers no longer have the upper hand.

  62. Sarita*

    I didn’t respond to my current employer for a week. I had my former boss send my resume to a few of his connections. When it landed in the right hands and they wanted to talk to me, I was moving cross-country (hence the need for a new job). When I got back to them, I just apologized for the delay. They interviewed me and I’ve been there for almost 4 years now. I’m not normally unresponsive, I just had a lot going on.

  63. Anona*

    So to be clear I wouldn’t and haven’t removed a candidate from a pool for this. But I think the outrage is probably a little out of proportion here. In my experience, it is vanishingly rare that a good candidate who is actually interested in the job and isn’t flaky later in takes that long to reply. And I’m willing to bet that virtually nobody here routinely takes that long to rely to interview invites for jobs you actually want. Of course anything could happen – which is why I would not remove someone from the interview pool for this – but practically speaking unless you’re in the hospital or unless you have an unusual spam filter situation – you will check your email regularly for a job you want and then respond immediately. And if you’re in the hospital or it got sent to spam, you’ll say so. If you just take five days to respond you probably really don’t care and it’ll show up later in the process.

    And while it may of course take more than five days to review resumes and make a decision, I don’t think it’s ever taken me more than 48 hours to respond to a candidate email with a question or inquiry unless I have an OOO up because it is just polite to answer business communication quicker than that.

    1. Anona*

      I should say that I’ve always been hiring for white collar office positions that involve computer use as part of the job. I’m sure there are different considerations in other types of jobs so I’m just speaking to my type of work.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I agree with all of this. I’m hiring right now. I likely wouldn’t remove someone from the process if they didn’t respond within five business days, but I wouldn’t be waiting for them, either. I’d be moving along with other candidates so I can keep the process going.

    3. CharlieBrown*

      Except that OP reached out to them, a potential candidate. This isn’t the situation you are describing.

      1. Anona*

        Oh if that’s how people are reading it I understand the disconnect. I took OP’s use of “potential candidate” as meaning the person had applied in response to the job posting but they weren’t considering them an official candidate until the interview was scheduled. I agree if it’s a cold email it’s a totally different situation.

    4. Ginger Pet Lady*

      But would you cold message someone on Indeed (not someone who applied and is a candidate, and also not through email) and expect rapid turnaround?
      That’s key here.
      OP reached out to someone **who did not apply yet** through a notoriously buggy messaging system people don’t check daily, and is acting like this.

    5. Merrie*

      I agree with this comment. I’ve done a lot of hiring, and people who act flaky or weird during the hiring process don’t magically get better later. Odds are this person is not that invested and I’d definitely move forward with that in the back of my mind. But it is smart to stay tuned just in case they are in the middle of some weird emergency and they act differently from now on.

  64. voyager1*

    If you called (and left a VM) and emailed them. Then I think 5 business days is a long time to get with an employer. I definitely would move on.

  65. Bandit*

    Kind of sounds like the candidate in question is dodging a bullet here… I’d reevaluate your hiring practices.

  66. Jane*

    And this is why employees hate employers. It is amazing how poorly employers and potential employers treat employees and prospective employees. The callousness and thoughtlessness are unnecessary and cruel and just wrong.

    1. Nope from me*

      I’m suspecting it is a smaller company/team where everyone knows everyone and maybe even refer to each other as “family”. I can’t imagine in a large corporation having this unreasonable deadline. There are meetings, approvals, travel, scheduling conflicts, etc. The candidate definitely dodged the bullet.

  67. Compassion is a strength*

    In addition to all the great points that folks have brought up, I have to ask, does the OP know that we’re still in a pandemic? The candidate could have had COVID, which can knock people out for at least a week, if not longer.

    1. Nancy*

      That would fall under ‘sick,’ since people can be out for all sorts of illnesses.

      LW, just say you have moved to other candidates.

  68. Caleb (he/they)*

    I’ve applied for jobs and not heard back for 5+ *weeks.* It’s honestly really frustrating to me that as a candidate, I just have to accept not hearing back for months while also knowing that if I don’t respond within a few days I run the risk of offending the hiring manager if they happen to think like this LW.

  69. Audiophile*

    Meanwhile, I’m still chasing a recruiter down who I initially heard from in August. At this point, I’m giving up since it’s been so long.

    While I normally respond within a day of receiving a request, I had emergency surgery recently and was out of it for a few days. If you caught me during that period, it would have taken me a few business days to reply to you. I debated explaining the situation as I caught up on emails, but it felt like it fell into the oversharing territory.

    I feel like this person is really overreacting. Anything could have happened to this candidate in that 5-day span.

  70. 2 Cents*

    OP, did you reach out to this person initially or hey applied first? It was nebulous from the letter. I’ve had employers reach out on Indeed and, frankly, if I’m not actively looking, I may take my time to respond.

  71. MissM*

    Such a bizarre moment; I hope the LW feels vindicated either way about their decision to put someone on blast by inveigling Alison into their reindeer games

  72. Luna*

    I find this post a little ironic because I have applied to a lot of places, and it took weeks or even months to get a response past the automated “We have received your application and ask for some patience during the initial selection phase” email.

    A workplace taking days, weeks, or even months to respond to your initial interest is alright, but if a candidate has the audacity to not be at your jump, beck and call within 24 hours of you contacting them, suddenly you think they are no longer employee material.
    That is ironic, which makes it hilarious.

    Remember, LW. The interview process goes both ways.
    You are interviewing the candidate. The candidate is interviewing you.
    And this being your response to someone not answering immediately? Does not particularly paint you (and, to an extent, your employer) as a very good place to work in.

    PS: I am not joking about the months thing. Many years ago, I applied to Starbucks and I did not get a response, a rejection, from them until 7 months after my application.

  73. Obleighvious*

    There are still people who don’t have fast at-home internet, who may have to go to their local libraries to get computer/Internet access. Maybe their library isn’t open at convenient times (so many cutbacks recently) as a hotspot, and they had to wait to respond. Heck, I recently lost Internet for two days in an affluent area due to thunderstorm damage! You may be being classist by requiring such a fast response, too.

  74. Wanderland*

    There could be a myriad of reasons why they didn’t respond. Companies do this to job seekers all the time. You’ll probably miss out on good candidates with this hard line approach.

  75. Mewtwo*

    Dude, chill out. It’s only 5 days! And you’re not obligated to interview this person – as the hiring manager you call the shots. Not sure why this is even an issue.

    1. Mewtwo*

      I should mention that I regularly hire interns plus have been on the hiring committee of full time candidates and we give candidates a full week to respond to an interview request. 5 days is nothing.

  76. Spam123*

    I had one email request go to SPAM! So it was an interview request just sitting there. So don’t count them out.

  77. Former Employee*

    This place sounds very rigid. I wonder if they would find it unacceptable to celebrate someone’s birthday on an annual basis if they happened to be born on February 29th.

  78. Rae*

    I work as a community employment specialist, and I have people who only access their Indeed or email with my assistance due to not having a computer or an email capable phone or internet or because they need help due to their abilities. However, they are usually meeting with me once a week so they don’t always respond right away.

  79. OhBehave!*

    I think this potential employee dodged a bullet with your company! You are representing yourself and your company as unreasonable and unable to think critically. Move on and extend grace to the next person.

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