my interview was canceled because I was “rude and pushy”

A reader writes:

After an eight-month job search in a second language, I finally lined up a great interview with a great company. It took them four weeks from my application (and a follow-up email) to get the interview but, at 9:30 pm on a Monday night, they asked me to confirm one of two time slots on Thursday.

Time slot confirmed, I sat back to wait for details of where I had to be, or how the interview would take place. By Wednesday, I was a little twitchy and sent another email asking for some details. Thursday morning, two hours before the interview was to take place, I still knew nothing. So I sent a Google Meets link and asked if that worked for the interviewer.

Ten minutes later, I received an email telling me the interview, and my candidacy, were cancelled on account of me being “rude and pushy.” I thought I was showing initiative and enthusiasm. I called to clarify and make things right and was told it was “no big deal, as you were our weakest candidate.”

I’m not sure how else I was supposed to handle that situation, so … was I rude and pushy? And how should I have done it differently?

You weren’t rude but you were a little pushy.

But not horrifically so, and not in any way that justified rejecting you over it.

Generally it’s up to the interviewer to determine what meeting software will be used for the interview and to set it up and generate an invitation. This is more about convention than logic, but it is very much the convention. (Partly it’s because as the candidate you don’t necessarily know exactly who will be attending and thus needs the link, whether they have internal procedures they have to adhere to, etc. — but all those things are also true of, say, vendor meetings and yet the convention that party X will always issue the invitation isn’t nearly as strong there.) But convention carries a lot of power and, rightly or wrongly, flouting it can make you look pushy or out of touch with professional norms or other things that don’t help you when you’re interviewing.

Now, should they have sent details to you earlier than Thursday morning? Yes! It’s rude to leave a candidate waiting like that, making them wonder if the meeting is even going to happen. But at the same time, it’s not terribly uncommon for people to only send meeting links right before a meeting time. And if that’s their regular practice, having you send your own link came across as Too Much.

With interviews, you’ll generally do better if you accept that you don’t have total control. Maybe your interviewer will call when they say they’ll call, maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll send you the meeting link the night before, maybe they’ll send it 30 minutes before. All of this is nerve-wracking for candidates (and none of it is right or anything I’d advise employers to do, just very common) but you can’t control it. Setting up your own meeting link and sending it to them doesn’t make it any more or less likely that they’ll be at that meeting. Either they’re on top of their appointments or they’re not; if they’re not, your meeting link won’t change that. Because of that, I think your action was partly about self-soothing — “now there’s a meeting link so I can relax and won’t need to wait for theirs” — but it’s not aligned with that reality, and it came at the expense of annoying them.

But to the extent that your meeting link was Too Much, it was a small thing, not something to reject you over. They could have simply replied, “Apologies for the delay — we’ll be using Zoom and here’s the link.”

And then telling you it was “no big deal” because you were their weakest candidate? That’s a rude and snotty response, which amplifies the snottiness of their handling of the situation as a whole.

I’m hesitant to say “bullet dodged” based just on this one thing — maybe they’ve got one crappy HR person but the rest of the company is great — but it’s not an awesome sign about them.

{ 316 comments… read them below }

  1. Angie*

    It sounds like the LW didn’t even know if the interview was in person, phone, or virtual? I can see being very concerned if that was the case. But probably would have sent a less presumptuous message simply asking how the interview will take place. And done it Wednesday early afternoon, latest.

    1. darsynia*

      Yeah ‘bullet dodged’ feels appropriate if the place won’t even be clear if it’s in person or virtual by 2 hours beforehand. ‘Weakest candidate’ is just the icing on the cake– this is the weakest job opportunity that just saw itself out, IMO.

      1. bobosmom*

        Totally agree. Bullet dodged. The way a company treats candidates is a good indicator of how you will be treated as an employee.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I would say at that point it’s obvious they’re not expecting her to turn up at their head office in person.

        OP mentions “second language”, The whole story sounds totally like she’s from the US, looking for a job in some European country. Even if she’s applying to jobs run by people speaking another language but in the USA, she’s dealing with a different culture and a language she’s obviously less comfortable in, and she needs to adapt to them, not them to her.

        She may have been told it would be a virtual meeting but didn’t hear properly, or didn’t understand the term and didn’t ask for clarification because she was focussing on some other thing that had been said in the same breath. I have had this kind of problem dealing with Spanish people, because my Spanish is a whole lot more rudimentary than my French.

        The brash, pushy American is quite a cliché in Europe. In some parts of Europe people can be pretty laid-back about appointments, and if you’re told that it’ll be at midday, that means it might happen any time between 12.15 and … the time of the hiring manager’s More Important Appointment that the candidate won’t be privy to.

        I personally would find it very offputting, rather rude and incredibly pushy if a candidate sent a link for a meeting. When a client wants me to attend a meeting with them, I usually get a reminder about the meeting on the day before, telling me to expect a link just before the meeting. If I don’t get the reminder, I sit and wait, and only ask, very tentatively, if I see the meeting is supposed to be imminent. This even with people I’ve been working with for years. It would never occur to me to send my own link!

        I’m pretty sure the hiring manager would be worried that the candidate would act in a similar way with clients and scare them all off.

        It’s basically that good old gumption again!

        1. Disaster Diva*

          I also wondered about the second language part. This may have indeed come down to different cultures. In my time in the military and working with Coalition forces I can tell you as someone who is the antithesis of pushy, I was kindly informed by someone from a European country that I was coming across very bombastic and pushy. After my sheer mortification weared off, I took time to learn about the different cultures I was working with and did my best to tailor my approach. I wonder if OP could do something similar if they are going to continue job searching in that second language. Could be completely off base, just a thought.

    2. Festively Dressed Earl*

      LW sent an email on Wednesday without a response. At that point, I would have called on Thursday instead of generating a meeting link, but I’d also have been reconsidering working there. What else is the company flaky about?

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh interesting — I read it as not knowing if they were using Zoom/WebEx/etc. but on re-read, you’re right, it could be that they didn’t even know if it was virtual or not! If that were the case, it still didn’t make sense for the OP to send their own link, but in that case if I hadn’t gotten details by, say, Wednesday afternoon, then Wednesday evening I probably would have sent an email saying something like, “I’m assuming we’re not meeting in-person since the meeting is getting close; if we are, I’m running out of time to ensure that can happen. If we’re meeting virtually, just let me know by Thursday morning and I’ll be there. Otherwise I’m happy to reschedule.”

      1. Kevin Sours*

        Even if a candidate knows that it’s a virtual meeting I think it’s reasonable to expect to know in advance *what* system is being used. There are a lot of them and people may need to install software, set up accounts, or familiarize themselves with an interface they haven’t used before. I would want to do a test run to make sure my headset and camera are probably configured the day before. I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume a candidate is able to roll with whatever virtual meeting platform you use on half an hour’s notice.

        I would consider it a *huge* red flag for a company to bristle over a request for the basic details of interview logistics.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          I guess I consider this case no too different from a company that neglects to provide the address for an afternoon in person interview until the morning of and gets snotty when the candidate starts freaking out over not knowing where it’s going to be.

        2. HonorBox*

          Agree with this 100%. I’ve had several Zoom meetings that almost started late because software needed to reinstall or update. I find it really odd that a company would expect someone to just be sitting around waiting for a notification to pop up a few minutes before the interview was supposed to start.

          Red flag 1 – the company doesn’t respond to an inquiry the day before an interview about interview logistics.
          Red flag 2 – bristling when someone sends a message the day of the interview requesting information about interview logistics.

          1. AnonORama*

            Yeah, sending the link was a misstep, but the interviewer’s tone was just nasty. Never need personal insults in the workplace (or anywhere else, but it seems extra bizarre the way the person spoke to OP).

            Always possible that this one person is a jerk and everyone else is fantastic, but — OP, if you feel a breeze on your face, it’s likely from a huge bullet whistling by!

        3. ariel*

          Yes! Making sure the software is up to date, checking the sound and visuals out – if this org wants to set their candidates up for success, more information about their expectations and the meeting is essential. I wouldn’t email a meeting link – the ball is in the company’s court at this point and you can learn a lot about how they handle you – but I don’t blame the OP for being concerned that this interview wasn’t happening.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            It’s an unhelpful action to be sure. But I try to be forgiving of mildly unwise decisions made in a reasonable state of panic.

            1. Shirley Keeldar*

              I think “mildly unwise decisions made in a reasonable state of panic” pretty must describes my entire life.

        4. Michaela T*

          I agree – as someone who job hunted with only a Chromebook for a computer for awhile there’s a surprising amount of things that I needed to troubleshoot. I would have wanted to be sure everything was in working order and didn’t need Googling or some other kind of technical help well beforehand so I could spend the immediate time before focusing on mentally preparing for the interview.

        5. Cj*

          I think sending a meeting link themselves was a little much, but yeah, if I didn’t even know if I needed to physically be somewhere, I’d be freaking out.

        6. Alternative Person*

          This. The company dropped the ball big time. The turn around for interviews at my job can be quite short, but the interview link and details are baked into the process. There’s also informal grace time as the interview software can be fickle with non-company e-mails.

        7. Blue Mage*

          I agree and if I were in the interviewer’s position, I’d be apologizing for not having sent information in a timely manner. I’d also be looking at the LW’s sending of a meeting link as a positive characteristic in a candidate. I would want to hire people who go out of the way to make sure the job gets done.

      2. Oregonbird*

        Is this level of social expectation for workers, to tiptoe through a minefield before even gaining a first glimpse of a company’s culture, becoming a tool to cut workers down to size in general? We all know this scenario in it’s most classic form – a woman is told if only she had said the perfect words, at the perfect time, in the perfect tone, she wouldn’t have been abused. The reading here seems to handwave the interviewers’ responsibility to communicate in a clear and timely manner. All the expectations to foster a positive outcome have been laid on one side of the equation – the worker from whom vital information has been withheld, and who has no control over a situation in which their future hangs in the balance. While the blame is laid very gently, it’s clear there is a widening gap between worker and employer in the expectation of meeting unspoken standards. I admit this bothers me, especially as it comes from a source which has rightfully entrenched itself as an arbiter of good workplace standards.

        1. Czhorat*

          The fact is that the hiring company almost always sets the general schedule, platform, and type of meeting. In fact, once you apply it’s in their court whether there’s to be an interview at all.

          Is that how it should be? Maybe not. But it doesn’t hurt to offer a small measure of deference, especially if that’s the expectation. Otherwise you risk torpedoing your candidacy.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            On the one had yeah. On the other hand treating it as a state secret is kind of a problem.

            1. Czhorat*

              Oh, the hiring manager was absolutely in the wrong by NOT sending a calendar invite for either an in-person meeting or a Zoom/Teams/WebEx/Bluejeans/whatever call before the literal day of the interview.

              It’s simply that sending your own link is just not done (for good or ill).

              1. Hiring Mgr*

                If it’s not done, it’s because 99% of the time the link would be included far enough ahead of time that you wouldn’t need to send it, not because there’s anything intrinsically wrong with it.

                As someone who interviews people this wouldn’t even register as a minor faux pas

                1. Kevin Sours*

                  Yeah. I like to think that a reasonable interviewer would have the self awareness to react with “whoops my bad” to an understandable panic response rather than “how rude”.

                2. Rex Libris*

                  I’d find it mildly notable, simply from the standpoint that it would be more tactful and professional just to send an email (preferably the day before) mentioning that you haven’t received details for the meeting, and would like to get the information so you can be there prepared and on time.

                  It certainly wouldn’t tank the candidacy, but an email would have been more usual.

                3. Rex Libris*

                  …I should say I still think the company 100% dropped the ball, and their response was ridiculously over the top.

                4. Kevin Sours*

                  OP *did* send an email the day before
                  “By Wednesday, I was a little twitchy and sent another email asking for some details. Thursday morning, two hours before the interview was to take place, I still knew nothing.”

                5. Rex Libris*

                  Ah, missed that bit. My best guess then is the recruiter forgot to schedule the interview, freaked out about it, then used the OP’s response to cover their posterior by pretending they’d canceled it because of that.

                1. Cj*

                  okay, I just got to ask. I’m assuming this is some kind of Pop Culture reference, but what is escapes me.

              2. SheLooksFamiliar*

                The employer clearly was in the wrong in how they handled things with OP, and I don’t blame OP for getting nervous and antsy.

                But sending a link for an interview is like inviting someone to their own meeting. Like it or not, the employer issues the invitation to interview and chooses the medium. Call it standard protocol or whatever you like, but that’s how it works. I wouldn’t call it rude, just an overstep on OP’s part.

          2. amoeba*

            Eh, honestly, I see it more as “it’s the company’s job to take care of the interview logistics”. They invited me – I am kind of their guest. They organise who attends, the meeting room if it’s in person, the lunch table if a lunch is involved, they often even help with travel arrangements in my field. And of course they need to decide who should attend, e-mail addresses aren’t usually public, they might have hybrid meeting rooms that only work with a particular software, they might have specific requirements for security (my boyfriend isn’t even allowed to use Zoom at work)…

            I’d actually be super annoyed if they asked me to set up the meeting myself! Like, find a software, ask whom I should invite, find out the mail addresses of everybody involved, hope it doesn’t go wrong/crash because at that point I’d feel it’s my responsibility… nah, that’s just a lot of work and it makes sense for the company to do it. (Also, in my field, it’s often not even the hiring manager themselves who set this up, but a HR person or an assistant.)

        2. C.*

          I hear what you’re saying, and I agree, but—and assuming the “source” you refer to at the end is AAM—I don’t think Alison is condoning it, exactly. It seems to me that she wants people here to know that this type of thing, unfortunately, is not uncommon in hiring and to prepare yourself accordingly for it.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes, exactly. As I wrote in the post itself, companies that do this are wrong, but I’m not advising them here — I’m advising the LW, and job seekers in general get better outcomes for themselves when they realize the kinds of thing I talked about in the post. It’s not about whether it should or shouldn’t be that way (as I thought I wrote pretty explicitly, it shouldn’t be) but about what will actually help them get what they want.

                1. Pescadero*

                  Yeah, I guess at this point in capitalism we’re dealing with wishes and imagination to even consider a world where employers behave ethically.

              1. Gyne*

                Your option is to not behave that way yourself, and maybe someday when you’re the one conducting interviews and setting the culture, it’ll spread.

              1. Oregonbird*

                This is why that fact was not included included in my question to Alison – I did not wish to derail. This, of course, was an acknowledgement to another poster who found the dismissal to be in questionable taste.

        3. Colette*

          The problem is that the company didn’t write in. Yes, they should have been clearer – confirmed time, sent the info on how the interviw would happen. But that’s not in the OP’s control; all the OP can control is what she does.

        4. Smithy*

          I think there are two ways of reading this.

          The first is that this level of bending over backwards to donor whims is ridiculous, and if they’re unable to show reasonable professional courtesy to send a meeting invitation/guidance within 24-48 hours then you’ll withdraw from the process. Depending on your professional and financial realities, that may be an option you can take.

          However, the second option for those who really do need to find work or are desperate to leave current employers is to tease apart what is reasonable vs what isn’t. Had the OP written before emailing about how to phrase that email, including a meet-up link would not have been recommended but rather a follow-up email to confirm the meeting time and if the meeting is virtual, which platform to make sure that the most recent version was installed/updated.

          Genuinely, this type of power imbalance between worker and employer I don’t think is widening. It’s always been fairly extreme, and while the tools at play may be different (i.e. virtual interview etiquette vs how you’re supposed to snail mail a thank you note) – the looney employers regularly show themselves in the extreme.

          1. Oregonbird*

            I’d like to get your take on the amount of deference a worker should offer to a malfunctioning AI posing as actively engaged management. It looks like workers are going to need some new scripts to handle being functionally and socially of less worth than a software program.

        5. Zephy*

          I don’t think it’s a ~sign of the times~ or a weird test or anything like that, I think this is just a shitty company (or maybe even just a shitty hiring manager/HR person/recruiter, whoever OP was communicating with).

        6. Elizabeth West*

          For me, it’s a chance to self-select out. Even taking cultural differences into account, if a company can’t be arsed to send me even the most basic details of an interview, it seems like working for them would be even more exhausting and annoying. Someone else might be fine with that sort of pantsing, but I like to plan ahead so it wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

          The worst one for me was an online interview where the person provided a Google Meet link but then didn’t show up at all and no one ever answered my follow-up email. They went straight to the Hell No list.

      3. Kevin Sours*

        I think, regardless, it’s poor form to not specify who the interview will take place in advance. There are a lot of services out there and it’s not reasonable to expect that a candidate will be off handedly familiar with all of them. I would want to do a test run at a minimum the day before to ensure that I have everything I need installed and configured correctly so the interview goes smoothly. Trying to manage that on 30 minutes notice when I’d rather be focusing on getting into “interview mode” would be extremely stressful.

        I’d consider it a serious red flag if a company bristled at requests for the basic logistics of the interview.

      4. Quill*

        If they don’t even tell you if the interview is virtual or not… I have serious questions about the organization overall, in terms of, are they organized enough to do the actual hiring paperwork? Paying you on time? Assigning you your job duties?

      5. Rude and Pushy*

        This was the case. I had no idea if I had to be in the office, 25 miles away, or if the interview would be virtual.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, OK. In this case, that behaviour alone would be a pretty serious red flag and honestly, all the blame is on the company. I doubt you could have behaved in a way that would have saved this ridiculous situation,

        2. Insert Clever Name Here*

          Here is OP*/LW* for those who search those terms.

          I would have been freaking out too. Fingers crossed more interviews (with details! And that result in offers!) are headed your way.

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          That is truly wild I can see why you were so stressed about not having that information!

          While sending the link may have been an overstep, they were definitely more in the wrong! You’ll never know for sure, but like some other commenters I wondered whether someone on their end messed up by forgetting to actually set up the interview and their extremely rude response was either to cover their butt or just lashing out because they knew they messed up.

          Good luck on the job hunt!

      6. Arthenonyma*

        Oh I 100% assumed it was an in-person interview! I think that defaulting to an intial phone/video interview is pretty US-centric, actually? Obviously they should have replied to confirm the interview time, but I can easily see it being a case where from the company’s POV they have invited OP to interview at X time (in their office)… and then OP sends this meeting link 2 hours ahead of schedule, which looks like either OP is arbitrarily declaring this will be a video interview, or that OP is trying to sneak in a pre-interview conversation – both of which would absolutely be pushy and rude.

        I still think this is a bullet dodged, especially with the “weak candidate” comment (who does that??) but my non-US job interview experience is that a zoom interview would be a special case (due to the pandemic or to a long-distance candidate), not the default assumption.

    4. sacados*

      Yeah I was wondering that too! If it’s unclear whether it’s virtual or in-person (vs knowing it would be virtual and just not having a link yet) — that would stress me out so much!!!

      1. ferrina*

        Yes! I read this as OP not knowing if it would be in-person or not. Needing to commute on less than 2 hours notice would have been horrible!

        I don’t think the link was pushy, just unlikely to work. Someone that actually needed you to set up the meeting is not an HR you want to work with (even if you barely work with them, I’d be constantly worried about whether they set up my benefits correctly). I wouldn’t have sent a link because I’d have already written them off.

        1. Magenta Sky*

          Yeah, it might just be a bad HR person in an otherwise good company, but I question how good a company *can* be if they have *that* bad an HR person.

          And the comment about “weakest candidate” was rather ruder than anything LW did.

          1. juliebulie*

            Agreed, “weakest candidate” was extremely rude and uncalled for.
            And very possibly not even true.

    5. Phony Genius*

      I’m almost certain that’s the case since the LW said: “I sat back to wait for details of where I had to be, or how the interview would take place.”

      Since they didn’t know if the interview was even to be virtual, it made sending the link doubly-bad if it was indeed to be in person.

      1. Office Lobster DJ*

        I don’t know about doubly bad. The company lost any right to clutch their pearls over a link faux pas when it was down to two hours until meeting time and they hadn’t been bothered to tell someone if they had to travel.

      2. Jules*

        Wait, am I following this right? (This isn’t snarky. This is genuine.) You’re saying that the company’s failure to state if the meeting was in person or virtual made OP’s decision to send a Google Meet link two hours before the scheduled time even worse than it would have already been?


        1. Arthenonyma*

          I mentioned this above – if the company was fully expecting OP to turn up in person at the interview time, getting a meeting invite 2 hours ahead of that WOULD be even worse – it looks like OP’s trying to unilaterally change the format of the interview without even asking if it’s okay. I still agree that the company dropped the ball by not confirming anything, and their reply is way out of line, but if it had never even occured to them that OP might think “interview” meant anything except “come to the office” I can see how they would be put out.

          1. Blue Mage*

            If they had said that it was to be an in-person interview before that, sure. Based on the information presented, they didn’t do that and an in-person interview can be pretty hard to set up with only 2 hours notice based on a variety of factors. If they’re able to hold sending a link against the LW in the way you’re suggesting, this was definitely a dodged bullet.

      3. Lydia*

        That makes no sense. OP had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. If she had shown up in person and it was meant to be virtual, they would have given her the same rude response.

      4. amoeba*

        Honestly, at that point I’d just assume they either forgot about the interview or changed their mind and were trying to just ghost OP. Which would be horrible, but pretty in line with how they behaved…

    6. DaniCalifornia*

      This is how I read it. If it were 2 hours before the appointed meeting time and I’d heard nothing about how the interview would be conducted I would be frustrated. That’s not enough time to prepare for in person, and even with virtual meetings, sometimes time is needed to make sure appropriate software is installed or actually works with your device. We use Webex and always send the link ahead with the invite.

      1. Laura*

        Not the point of your comment (at least not directly) but if it’s Webex I’m going to need that link 5 business days in advance as something ALWAYS goes wrong for me with that. Every. Single. Time.

    7. Danish*

      Yes, Alison’s reply surprised me because I thought the company never got back to her at all with any confirmation, so hearing “that’s standard practice” was not what i expected!

      In any case, a company that can’t get it together to tell me yes you have an interview and here’s when before 2 hours prior to said interview is probably a… Hectic place to work.

    8. Anne Shirley*

      I also interpreted it that way and would be going out of my mind if that was the case. There would be countless things to consider and prepare for, depending on the OP’s location. Going to an unfamiliar location is incredibly stressful on its own for many people. If this is a major metropolitan area, it is unthinkable not to provide that info for the candidate. So bullet dodged if that was indeed the case.

    9. WantonSeedStitch*

      This. And then, if it was an hour before the interview and I hadn’t heard anything, I might have sent another email saying something like “I haven’t yet heard anything regarding how and where this 3 PM interview will take place, but I am happy to participate in a virtual interview at that time if you can send me a link. If you’d prefer an in-person interview, would it be possible to reschedule so I will have enough time to get to the interview site? Thank you!”

      1. SansSerif*

        I like that approach. You’re not providing them with the option of telling you that you’re supposed to be at their office in 30 minutes or something.

  2. Someone Else's Boss*

    On the one hand, I would be annoyed if a candidate kept emailing and then sent along their own link. On the other hand, I wouldn’t even confirm the interview until I was ready to send out the link info. I think it’s a bad and weird process to wait that long to share the specifics. Most importantly, telling a candidate that it was easy to go ahead and reject them since they were the weakest candidate is rude and out of line. It screams, “We know you’re desperate and we’re going to take advantage of that.” This is a privileged take, but I would not want to work for a company that behaves that way.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      In some cases, the link might be generated by a different person than the one who scheduled the interview time. However, in my organization, the confirmation of the schedule includes all the information about when to expect the next email, what it will contain, and what the person needs to know in the meantime. It’s actually a very clear process.

      1. HonorBox*

        Same with my org. Generally do we not only include the meeting invite/link, we also share information about who else will be in the meeting, just so the candidate isn’t taken aback if there are two people instead of one on a Zoom…or in a final step interview, that they’ll be meeting with a couple members of a given department as well as the direct manager.

        I don’t think it is too much work to share that kind of information well in advance (a day or two at the minimum) and it isn’t too much for a candidate to expect a little bit of information about meeting logistics.

      2. Alternative Person*

        At my job, the HR person handles comms and generates the link for the interviewers and candidate. The whole process is a bit byzantine, but it’s all done at least a day in advance.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        Yeah, it’s fine if you set a time and then email the candidate “you interview slot is scheduled for the 20th at 3pm. [platform link] will be sent 30′ before the interview time” or whatever it is that happens, so the candidate knows where and when to be. This is not that, and it’s at minimum highly disorganized, which is an orangey-red flag on its own.

    2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      There have been times when I had the time picked but still needed additional details or something internally before I was ready to do the whole proper invite. But in those cases I’ve always sent something like “Hold for interview — Jane Smith and Llamas, Co” with “Meeting will be via Zoom; link and agenda forthcoming” in the description.

    3. el l*

      That’s right – if the actual link didn’t go out with the confirmed time, it needed to go out as a priority, if only so that everyone internally could have it right away.

      Above all, both the rejection and the Weakest Link comment just scream an outfit that’s rash and lost perspective. Calling her rude bellows projection here.

  3. Lana Kane*

    “But at the same time, it’s not terribly uncommon for people to only send meeting links right before a meeting time. ”

    That’s suprising to hear – all meeting requests I send and receive have the link in the invitation. I don’t see a reason to add it so close to the wire, since it means having to remember to come back and add it. I’ve done it on Webex, Teams, and Zoom. I’d be so anoyed as the recipient if I had to wait like this to know what meeting software I needed to make sure I had. (ALso I’m not sure from the letter if the OP didn’t know if this would be in person or video).

    1. Elsewise*

      I’ve probably told this story here before, but I once had an interview that sent an email with the interview link as soon as we scheduled it, and a calendar invite with a DIFFERENT interview link about a day or so later. I didn’t realize they were different and went to the wrong one and wound up being like 15 minutes late to the interview. (Still got the job, though.)

      1. Smithy*

        I think the entire reason the OP is writing in is because of the response.

        If this were a wonky system that sent the meeting links thirty minutes before the meeting, then the reply should have been something along the lines of “Sorry for our delayed response, you’ll receive a meeting link 30 min before the interview with instructions around how to log-in. We appreciate your understanding and looking forward to speaking in two hours.”

        Even if the OP didn’t get further in the process, it would have been just a weird internal system that was corrected, and the interview moved forward. Ultimately, that response is rude and unnecessary, even if all the other candidates were wildly more qualified.

        1. Lydia*

          It’s especially weird since at no point did they say it was a virtual meeting and the link would be sent. At least if that had been the case, the OP could have only kept the panic to hoping she didn’t miss an email, not also panicking about where the interview was supposed to take place.

      2. Quill*

        I’ve done that too. Like, I know virtual meetings are not the easiest, but can we please communicate our expectations when we have all the necessary information and not just confuse people by firing off a bunch of contradictory info?

    2. Kay Tee*

      I’ve seen people send the link minutes before the meeting, but it’s thankfully somewhat rare, as I find it very annoying! Why keep us watching our inboxes in suspense instead of letting us just tap the calendar invite sent weeks ago?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        If I had to guess (and it’s just a guess) one reason might be some gross take on “keeping them on their toes;” that is, making sure the candidate can’t prep “too much” by focusing them on “is this even happening? When? Where?” and then getting a more “spontaneous” set of responses.

        I have no idea if this was the case here, and in any case I’d say it was rude, badly serves the candidate and the company, and is a red flag!

        1. ecnaseener*

          I kind of doubt it’s some kind of psychological warfare tactic in most cases lol. Probably simple disorganization and/or a function of the fact that the recruiter isn’t attending the meeting. If you want the meeting to be closed until the “host” starts it, then the hiring manager should be the host and the recruiter might not be able to set it up for them.

    3. Win*

      yeah, this is outdated. meeting links are sent when meetings are scheduled, so they can be added to calendars. it’s inefficient, and frankly, sloppy to send it out just before a meeting. I’d have asked about it as well.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        My case management company sends the link out about 10 minutes before the meeting. But 1, you know its coming then because you are told when you set up the meeting and 2 you know its virtual.

        Even with that I don’t like. I keep the email in my meeting link in my inbox so I have it as a visual reminder I have a meeting coming up. Not having it makes me anxious.

        1. Two Dog Night*

          Yeah, there’s a software company I work with that sends meeting links at the time of the meeting–but they tell you in advance that’s what’s going to happen. Not giving any info at all is just rude.

          1. Awkwardness*

            That’s what I wanted to add.
            I had it one time that the link was send the evening before the interview. But this had been communicated at the beginning when the time slot was confirmed.

        2. Kay Tee*

          Is there a (maybe misguided) security concern about sending them early? Ensuring that the link has very little time to be circulated by potential Zoom-bombers? Password protection is probably more effective, but your case-management context makes me wonder.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            Yeah but saying “We’ll be doing the meeting over Zoom and will send you the link 10 minutes before the meeting” is probably sufficient. And even that didn’t happen here.

            1. Jules*

              Right. Hording the link till the last second is weird, even if it’s still sometimes done. But then just say that’s what you’re doing! At the very, very least confirm the scheduled time! OP was left twisting in the wind, and I don’t blame them at all for how they handled this. It’s gotta sting because OP’s been searching such a long time, but this job was gonna suck.

      2. londonedit*

        Admittedly organising meetings isn’t a regular part of my job, but whenever I have to do it I always manage to forget to do it via the actual ‘Teams meeting’ button that automatically generates a link. If you set it up as a normal Outlook meeting, even if you specify that the location is Teams, it doesn’t generate a link. Normally I catch it myself when I’m sitting there 15 minutes before the meeting scrabbling to find the link – and then I send an apologetic email to whoever I’m meeting with a proper invitation complete with link. If I was on the other side of that, I’d definitely send a polite email saying ‘Looking forward to speaking at 11am; I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t yet received a link to join the meeting’.

    4. Spencer Hastings*

      At the very least, people will send a calendar invite with a note along the lines of “Zoom link to follow” and then send the link the morning of (kind of annoying, but whatever). Confirming only a time and not even telling the candidate if it’s in person or virtual seems bizarre to me.

      1. ferrina*

        Exactly this. And I can’t tell if the recruiter made contact once the OP had confirmed the time slot. Once the interviewee said “I want Time Slot A”, the recruiter should have responded with “Confirmed! We’ll send you a meeting link on Thursday morning”.

        And it’s pretty rude not to respond when an interviewee says “Is this virtual or in-person?” Even if you don’t have the meeting link, you can tell them that it’s virtual.

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          Right? I don’t think I’d have sent a meeting link, but I definitely would have been sending messages along the lines of “I just wanted to confirm, is this interview in person or virtual? I haven’t received a link, so I wanted to make sure something didn’t get caught in my spam filter*” and then possibly “Hi, are we still on for tomorrow at 10 am?”

          *I have had a few experiences where an email I was expecting never arrived (it didn’t even hit my spam folder, there was just nothing). It even happened with the DMV once…

      2. amoeba*

        The only possible explanation I can think of would be that that company never ever does virtual interviews and was actually expecting the OP to *of course* show up in person? As in, a pretty, erm, old-fashioned approach? Would only work if they only had one possible location that would be easily found on the internet/included in the job posting. In that case, sending a link to a virtual meeting would certainly seem weird…

        On the other hand, I’d still expect a confirmation email including details (even if it’s just “please meet us at our reception at XY am”), and at the very latest they had the possibility to reply when OP first wrote on Wednesday. So yeah, no, still way out of line on the company’s side.

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          And letting them know where they’ll be able to park…that could be a big one depending on where the office is located!

    5. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I found that odd too. They should at least have said if they were using zoom, webex, or another type of program when they confirmed the interview. The company might be using some obscure program that the other person doesn’t have and may need time to download software and troubleshoot.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Right! You want to make sure you have the software, that the camera and mic works properly. I met with my sister a few times before her interview, just so she could get some of the wrinkles worked out before her actual interview. She had used Zoom, but not Teams, and needed to get everything working. And it did NOT work properly at first. Why would you not let the interviewee work out some of those bugs?

    6. BellyButton*

      I was shocked the first time it happened to me. I was like LW and in a panic that it was morning of and I still had not received the link. I sent an email, and received a response only 30 minutes before the meeting with the link. When I was job hunting it happened 4 times total. I have no idea why anyone would do it this way, but it was annoying!

      1. Ama*

        There was a point a few years back at my company where if the person who created the calendar invite was not present to start the meeting in our virtual meeting software, no one else could actually start it (because they weren’t the user who set it up) — this was a problem a few times when the staff person that scheduled the meeting was sick or stuck in traffic for an early morning meeting and a new link had to be sent around at the last minute. I am not sure if our individual setup was the problem or if the software just didn’t have the functionality for anyone on staff to start a meeting until later versions (it hasn’t been a problem for a few years now). But I could see a set up like that causing a employer to wait to send a link until day of.

        That said, if we were still dealing with that problem I would have explained to any candidates that the link would be coming the morning of when the interview was scheduled.

        1. Industry Behemoth*

          I have the impression that was an early shortcoming of the initial versions of Teams and similar platforms.

        2. JustaTech*

          Yes, we had that problem with WebEx for a long time, and it was especially galling because 1) only senior people were allowed to have the access needed to set up meetings, so if the director is running late in another meeting we all have to sit around waiting, and 2) when they did broaden who had access to set up meetings, the one regular meeting I had with an outside vendor the person who set up the meeting was *always* late, making us look disorganized to our vendor who was 8 time zones away and ready to be done for the day.

    7. Warrior Princess Xena*

      The only time I’ve sent meeting invites without a link is when I’ve either confirmed that it’ll be in person or it’s far out enough (months ahead) that I have no idea if it’ll be personal or virtual but I want to block out the time on people’s calenders for a later followup.

    8. Magenta Sky*

      If they only send out the link just before the interview, they really need to explain that when they schedule the interview.

      And they *certainly* need to answer inquiries about it.

    9. cardigarden*

      I once got the meeting link 5 minutes ahead of an interview (after twice being scheduled for a time without checking to see if I was even available). The whole experience was a weird-@ss trip– including the interviewers!– and I was grateful not to have been in a position where I needed the job. I just cut my losses.

      This probably is a blessing in disguise for LW.

      1. Abundant Shrimp*

        The one interview I’ve had in my life where “the whole experience was a weird-@ss trip– including the interviewers!” started with me being late, because their recruiter, who was my only contact (and who, to be fair, did send me the location and directions to the interview, along with 6894789 email reminders to be 15 minutes early), was not there to meet me on the day of and was not answering his phone. Their front door led into a kind of a lobby with no windows or glass walls, just a room where no one could see me, that only had a door leading inside the office that you could only open with a keycard, and a landline phone randomly hanging on a wall. I finally got into my interview after, out of desperation, I dialed zero on the landline phone and someone picked up. My contact appeared an hour later. He’d been at lunch the whole time. I think LW’s situation was worse. Either they would’ve sent her the directions at the last minute and then penalized her for being late, or not sent them at all and penalized her for no-showing. Either way, a red flag.

    10. DramaQ*

      I was surprised too. I usually get them in advance along with instructions on how to access the software and what I might need to do in case it’s not working such as making sure my pop up blocker is turned off.

      That gives me time to make sure everything works so we’re not all left hanging when the interview starts.

      I would also be annoyed if I didn’t get the link till hours/minutes beforehand. That’s leaving me to look incompetent when I suddenly find out my computer isn’t compatible and now I have to scramble to either use a different one or my phone. It would raise a red flag for me that this place is either disorganized or takes pride in keeping people off guard/on edge because they think that makes you a better performer.

  4. FricketyFrack*

    I cannot imagine a scenario where I would *ever* tell a candidate they were my weakest candidate like that. That’s such a blatantly rude response that I’d be tempted to forward it to that person’s boss as an FYI (definitely not in a “please still hire me” way because hard pass at that point). I mean, sure, creating a meeting link is a little weird, but not sending someone interview information until the last second is way worse, imo, and the reaction was way over the line.

    1. Lilo*

      Yeah, that’s just not good. If you’ve actually interviewed people you will also know there can be a huge difference in vibes you get from a resume to an interview.

      People also act anxiously around interviews and that’s absolutely normal. Someone getting a little paranoid and wanting extra confirmation is pretty normal in my experience as an interviewer. I’ve voted yes on people who were slightly weird because they were nervous and to my knowledge they all turned out fine.

      1. FricketyFrack*

        Seriously – our most recent hire was literally shaking for the first few minutes of the interview because she was so nervous. Someone asking for information about how/where the interview even is would be A) totally expected if we didn’t give it or B) very normal even if we had and they just wanted to be extra sure.

    2. Lana Kane*

      Right? This person sounds like someone with a short fuse who has the freedom to act independently (so no one aorund to check them).

    3. Yellow sports car*

      Old company had the expectation that it was our job as interviewers to ensure that our candidates left the interview with a positive experience and positive opinion of us, even if wet didn’t want to hire them.

      We never knew who they speak to, or if in future they would be our preferred candidate.

      The only time I can imagine telling them they were the weakest candidate would be if you wanted them for another role and had good cause to be very frank about things. And I probably still wouldn’t stay weakest.

    4. Okay*

      In the last big search I did, the two low scoring candidates who screened in were 1) a disaster in the first interview and 2) our clear front runner from about 5 minutes into it through selection. What a dumb, and mean, thing to say.

  5. Yorick*

    It sounds like LW hadn’t even been told whether the interview would be virtual or in-person. If that’s the case, I think they were even less pushy and the interviewers were even more off-base than is reflected in Alison’s answer.

  6. Kay Tee*

    Was it clear that this would be a virtual interview? From my reading, I thought OP was unsure whether this was happening in-person at the company or virtually–that makes the lack of details from the company much more egregious.

    1. The Original K.*

      Right – you can’t tell someone that an interview is in person right before it. They can’t leave at 2 PM for an interview at 2 PM.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Unless the entire interview is at Stark Industries and the only criteria is “show us your time/space transport build.” Even then–rude!

    2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      I don’t want to cut this employer slack because yikes, but my guess is they assumed it was obvious the interview would be virtual so it didn’t even occur to them that the candidate was wondering if they had to travel. To them it was just waiting until meeting time to send the link.

      1. amoeba*

        Well, or they assumed it was obvious it would be in person and just expected OP to be at their offices at the appointed time! (Not that uncommon in my part of Europe – some fields don’t have virtual interviews at all!)

        Either way, they should have replied to the original inquiry from Wednesday, even if it was just to say “Will be on Zoom, you’ll receive the link 30 mins before the time”. People need time to check their tech setup!

  7. king of the pond*

    Yeah, the letter reads like OP didn’t know whether the interview was virtual or not (judging by “where I had to be”). Sending your own link still might not have been the best solution, but I absolutely 100% understand the antsy-ness.

  8. Essentially Cheesy*

    The whole situation seems strange. Getting called at 9:30 p.m. to schedule an interview with no other details (such as phone, in person, or virtual interview) would be odd enough for me to lose interest.

      1. Dulcinea47*

        it’s not clear if it was a 9:30 pm email or phone call. I’m inclined to think it was an email as that seems to be how they were communicating.

        1. Arctic Tern*

          Had they mentioned that the first interview would be virtual?

          The follow up email you mentioned, was that to follow up on the job application?

          1. Rude and Pushy*

            The follow up e-mail was in regard to a test assignment they’d asked me to complete that took a whole day of research and writing. I kept the tone light, even though my thoughts were that if you can ask me to work a whole day unpaid you can send me an e-mail acknowledging that you botrhered to read it.

            The invitation for interview said only “I can offer you an interview on Thursday at 11am or 3pm, best regards HR Drone Number 3”

  9. Yorick*

    I agree with everyone else – it sounds like LW didn’t even know whether the meeting would be virtual or in-person. And even if I knew it were a virtual meeting, I might be a little stressed to not know which meeting software would be used. What if I need to install and learn how to use it? But if I knew which software and was just waiting for a link, I wouldn’t worry about it until right before the meeting was supposed to start.

    1. ferrina*

      Yeah, it’s always a good idea to send a link so the person can install it. The last virtual interview I had was on a platform that I don’t use and had to download. My computer took 15 minutes to download the app. That would have been a waste of interview time.

      1. LCH*

        reminds me of the time that Zoom decided to update when i clicked on the link to connect to an interview even though i’d logged into Zoom earlier to do a video test. because i didn’t realize there was a specific place to install updates. i knew after that!!

        1. Rex Libris*

          Zoom always has to run updates for me at exactly the time I’m late for a meeting. I think it checks my calendar and system clock…

    2. Ticotac*

      Also the amount of times I would click on a Zoom link and Zoom would take two minutes to update… (thankfully I always click on the link early for this exact reason but still)

  10. Project Maniac-ger*

    I don’t hesitate to say bullet dodged. If OP is the type of person who needs logistics details reasonably in advance (not an uncommon preference), they probably shouldn’t work for this company since they showed that they are send link/format right before the meeting people. That would drive me insane. Cultural mismatch.

  11. Wendy T*

    “Because of that, I think your action was partly about self-soothing — “now there’s a meeting link so I can relax and won’t need to wait for theirs” — but it’s not aligned with that reality, and it came at the expense of annoying them.”

    I appreciate this level of insight in your responses Alison! This plus the other letter about ghosting their annoying boss (then word-vomiting a letter 3 years later) shows that a lot of us make poor decisions in the face of anxiety and it’s helpful to point it out, within ourselves and towards other people

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      Agree about the prior letter, but do you really think the LW here made a poor decision? They were just trying to confirm a meeting time. I can’t imagine a rational person getting bothered by that

      1. Lana Kane*

        Agreed. I wouldn’t have sent my own link, but I absolutely understand the OP being anxious when 2 hours (!) before the interview, they have no idea how it’s going to happen and have not been replied to when they asked.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        I do. Sending a link was a poor decision, but as was acknowledged in the original advice, certainly not pushy enough to be a dealbreaker.

        1. cindylouwho*

          I think characterizing sending a link as a “poor decision” is a little bit harsh. They were doing the best that they could with a somewhat unusual/unprecedented (for many people) situation. They didn’t even know if they needed to go in person somewhere.

          1. Spencer Hastings*

            Yeah. Based on my own experiences, it *seems* like an unforced error, but that’s just me. The LW says they were interviewing in their second language, so who knows what country they might be in? There are any number of cultural issues that could be at play. We’ve learned in past comment threads that even within the US, some company cultures view sending a calendar invite as something that the higher-ranking person does, and others see it as something for the lower-ranking person to do. Maybe sending a Zoom link is a normal(-ish) thing to do in an industry or company where the LW has worked, but not this one. Who knows?

      3. Three Flowers*

        Yeah, I would have done exactly what they did, sans link, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to be the meeting host!

      4. Wendy T*

        My point is that unchecked anxiety can lead us to over think and rush into unnecessary actions that hurt more than help. I appreciate that Alison specifically names and reframes that unhelpful narrative.

  12. Hiring Mgr*

    I disagree that the OP did anything even remotely off. If I was interviewing someone and the morning of the interview they hadn’t received all the relevant info for the call, that’s on me and the company, not the candidate.

    If I didn’t want to use the link they sent, I’d just thank them let them know that it’s fine, or if not we can use xyz link instead.

    Wouldn’t seem pushy to me at all – just prepared!

    1. RaginMiner*

      I agree with you. It appears that OP was not told if this was virtual/phone/in person, and not receiving any guidance at all when one might have to travel is a really huge red flag. Minus the virtual meeting link, I probably would have done the same things as OP.

    2. ferrina*

      Also agree. I’ve had candidates send me meeting links when they confirm the time- that’s a little off, but it’s usually just the mark of an early career professional who is trying to cover their bases. I just gently correct them that we’ll be using X link instead, and move forward.

      And that’s without the company waiting until 2 hours before interview time to say anything! I agree with others that it sounds like OP didn’t even know if it would be in-person or virtual, so I can totally understand OP sending a link. Not what I would have done- I would have written off the company because I’d assume they either don’t want to interview me or are too incompetent to set up an interview, and I don’t want to get involved with either of those scenarios.

    3. C.*

      Exactly. While there might be somewhat of a small pushiness element here with the OP, I read it more as “overeager,” and understandably so given what they describe here. I think generating a meeting link is a tad much, but I don’t at all think of it as a cardinal offense. It’s borne more out of wanting to help, whereas the response from the HR person is intended to cut the OP down. Their response is actually shocking, and I’m sorry the OP was on the other end of it.

  13. BRR*

    This was a journey for me. “Oh a typical unresponsive employer” -> “Ooh LW that was a bit much” -> “Wow, the employer is a jerk considering they’re in the wrong” -> “Oh no LW, you shouldn’t call” -> “Ok the employer is awful, I don’t care what the LW did anymore and I hope the employee steps on a lego”

    1. Lana Kane*

      Steps on a Lego… in the middle of the night while stumbling on the way to the bathroom with a full bladder.
      (happened to…a friend of mine)

  14. Roeslein*

    I say bullet dodged! There is a very big company in my fairly niche field whose recruiters have been after me for 6+ years. As in, throughout this time, I have received at least one email / call a month from their recruiters (often more), except for the first 6 months or so after starting a new job. I always declined until last year, when I agree to speak to them about a senior role that looked like it could potentially be a good fit. Lo and behold, they cancelled the interview a few hours before it was going to happen, without any explanation! They also never replied to my email enquiring about whether they were planning to reschedule. This is in an industry where hiring is notoriously difficult. If that is how they treat candidates, it certainly explains why they need so many recruiters…

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      Man, that’s a “too many cooks” situation if I ever heard one! Bet a dollar one set of recruiters booked your meeting time and didn’t let your set know until too late, or similar Three Stooges tomfoolery.

  15. Angie S.*

    When I entered the workforce more than 10 years ago, I was taught by the school councilors to ways “follow up” with the hiring managers, and it was to show initiative. Correct me if I’m wrong, I feel that nowadays the act of following up would annoy the hell out of the hiring managers and it could backfire.

    Still, I think OP is better off not working for that company. It sounds like they are highly unorganized.

    1. TrueTalesFromHR*

      I find that the vast majority of applicants who send follow up messages after applying are those who don’t meet the basic qualifications. I’ve stopped replying because I’ve had too many experiences in which a person thinks they can argue or guilt themselves into consideration.

    2. Anon in Canada*

      When I finished high school (2006), we got job hunting lessons from the local career center. The trainer told us that after applying to a posted job, making a follow-up phone call was mandatory, and that if we don’t make one we’ll never be considered for the job because we don’t look interested. Only a phone call was deemed acceptable, email was not.

      They also insisted that “80% of jobs are unlisted” and that we should send unsolicited resumes to companies to “get the jobs before they were posted”, because (in addition to family connections) that was how 80% of jobs were obtained.

      To be fair, this was a rural area – therefore somewhere where jobs get fewer applicants and the pace of technological change is slower.

      I continued applying this advice until early 2014. I wonder if that ever knocked me out of the running for some jobs…

      Career centers hired to provide such advice to impressionable teenagers should really stress that job hunting conventions change rapidly (and can vary by field and urban/rural region), that whatever advice they provide now may quickly become outdated or be incorrect in different areas (especially urban/rural split), and that people should keep up to date on how the job hunting process changes. Job-hunting advice from 2024 will probably be totally outdated by 2034.

      1. Anon in Canada*

        Also, that same career center insisted that a cover letter not addressed to the name of the hiring manager would result in an automatically discarded application, and that if the name of the hiring manager wasn’t listed in the ad, we had to call the company to ask for it.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Now I finally understand why job postings say “no phone calls.” I’ve always wondered who would be calling to ask questions instead of just sending their application if they were interested.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Some places have stopped putting phone numbers on job listings altogether to avoid this!

      3. Helen Waite*

        Job hunting classes were telling us the same advice, and same 80% statistic, in the 80s and 90s. They even went one further – you had to state explicitly that you want the job during the interview. Almost as if you didn’t, you weren’t really serious about applying.

        I’d gotten it from the tech school I graduated from as well as the unemployment office’s mandatory job hunting classes.

        1. Anon in Canada*

          One has to wonder where that 80% statistic came from, whether the “gumption” advice was ever true, and whether unemployment centers actually want people to stay unemployed!

          1. Helen Waite*

            My experience with the unemployment office classes was in the 90s, and the number of in-person mandatory classes took more hours than working the full-time job I’d gotten laid off from.

          2. Prexit*

            The paradox of job-hunting advice is that the people who are successful at it rarely have to do it!

          3. GreyjoyGardens*

            Just from personal experience, I think that gumptioneering and especially the “hidden job market” were a thing pre-Internet, and especially before LinkedIn and every business pretty much having a website.

            In the 80’s and 90’s, employers had to advertise job openings, which meant paying to put an ad in the paper or a trade publication (which could sometimes be big bucks). So if a candidate came along at the right time, asking for a job, and was at least an okay fit, employers would often be fine with going for the bird in the hand; not only was filling a job more of a slog before the Internet, the pool was much more limited, except for “dream jobs” and dream companies. “Jane is here, she’s interested, she’s got the qualifications, a quick reference check passed, we might as well hire her now and save us a lot of trouble.”

            Needless to say it does not work that way anymore. Gumption doesn’t work and the job market is no longer hidden.

            Though I do not think that unemployment centers actually want people to stay unemployed! That smacks of conspiracy thinking. I believe that there are a lot of *incompetent* or just clueless unemployment offices and career centers, but not deliberately sabotaging ones.

            1. HG*

              I think this hits the nail on the head. I also think the advice to look super interested by following up on your application, especially if you’re entry-level, comes from the assumption that companies are basically doing you a favor and giving you a foot in the door by hiring you, and the only differentiator you probably have is your eagerness and enthusiasm.

              Basically it’s assumed that hiring managers want you to suck up and “ask for the job” because they have power over you and understandably want a chance to flex it. Plus getting a job is just like selling a used car so of course the same advice applies.

            2. Banana Pyjamas*

              From personal experience, I can say that Anon in Canada is correct that location and field absolutely play a role. Gumptioneering and hidden job market still exist in my field to different degrees. I suspect this will remain true for quite a while in certain places.

              For example, in the upper Midwest state I live in, many places don’t have access to broadband internet, or any reliable internet access at all. Internet access is very much a Democratic platform, and most people vote Republican. It will probably be decades before most people here have access to reliable internet. My BIL lives 45 minutes from a major city, and his area only got high speed internet infrastructure installed last year.

            3. OdHat*

              Also, companies are putting more effort into broadening the candidate pools outside traditional skills and backgrounds. In other words, there’s some acknowledgment that there are different paths to being a good employee. To encourage this, there are more steps than in the past. Sure it could happen, but it happens a lot less often than these centers imply.

        2. Kelly L.*

          I’ve heard that “ask for the job” thing before, and I’ve never even been sure how I’d work that into the conversation. Like do you just go “I want this job pls!” at the end? Used car salesy like “What can I do to get me in this job today?” Lol.

          I’ve had an interview or two that convinced me I really didn’t want the job after all, but in general, I’d say applying for the job and going to the interview expresses interest in the job!

          1. Czhorat*

            Yeah. I kinda assume that the fact that I showed up for an interview implies interest in the job. Otherwise I’d be doing something else with my time.

            Nobody takes job interviews for fun.

            Ionically, I’ve seen the opposite advice – don’t appear desperate.

    3. ferrina*

      Yeah, unless you have a good reason to reach out (like “my kid made unauthorized edits to my resume, please use this version”) or already have a personal connection, just don’t. It’s not going to move you to the top of the pile, it will just waste the other person’s time. Wasting people’s time doesn’t build good will.

      Plus you don’t always know who the hiring manager is. I’ve gotten LinkedIn messages about positions that I had no say over. It’s always annoying.

    4. Magenta Sky*

      From what I’ve seen on this very blog, I’d say that school councilors are not particularly known for having any clue at all how job seeking works in the real world.

      1. Rex Libris*

        Mine was convinced I should become an airline pilot, based on some random test score or other. I hate, and have always hated flying.

        1. Texan In Exile*

          The spatial relations questions on the Iowa Basic Skills test! Could you figure out what a box looks like unfolded?

          I still remember those question because they are the ones I got wrong. :) (And I ended up working for a company that makes boxes and I sometimes saw what boxes looked like unfolded.)

    5. Snow Globe*

      I don’t think it’s just “nowadays”. It’s always been the kind of bad advice that school career services give out, but it should be obvious if you think about it that too much “initiative” may be annoying—companies have their processes and they don’t want candidates trying to circumvent those processes. (I’m not referring to the OP here, because there was a pretty clear piece of information missing.)

      1. Anon in Canada*

        Teenagers without much work experience (and whose work experience is likely in retail and food service, where until very recently applications were almost always done in person) are going to believe it when someone presented as an “expert” in job-hunting says that “those who get the jobs are those who circumvented the official hiring process”, or that “80% of jobs are unlisted and you have to send unsolicited resumes”.

        Several so-called experts with huge online followings (not going to name them here…) also say similar things.

        Providing such horrible advice to teenagers is professional malpractice.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          And with retail and food service, there is both high demand and high churn, so that someone walking in and asking for a job might well succeed.

          I also think the old chestnut about “hidden job markets” was much more of a thing before the Internet, Linked In, and most companies having a website where they can post job openings. It’s much easier for job-seekers and employers to connect now. The job market is no longer hidden, though I think a lot of people do have success with temp-to-hire type placements – which are not *hidden,* but among other things, they allow people who are good workers but poor interviewers to shine. And since the agency does all the grunt work of screening, that’s one less step for the employer.

          But even the best schools give really awful career advice. I don’t know if it’s the insular nature of academia, or what, but I have found them to not be useful at all. I think a *good* county employment development department is far, far more helpful; they are staffed by people who actually know *something* about the job market and whose whole goal is to put people in jobs.

          1. Anon in Canada*

            Insular nature of academia seems like a good way to explain it. Just look at the endless instances on this blog of academics being flabbergasted that private sector employers won’t consider long-distance candidates (which is said to be a total non-issue in academia), or being shocked that some companies have scrapped cover letters in the ATSs, or, for that matter, not being horrified at the idea of sharing hotel rooms with coworkers (a thing in academia that those working in the corporate world can’t fathom).

            People who work in academia are not qualified to provide job-hunting advice for non-academic jobs.

            1. amoeba*

              Not to derail too much, but I’d say the long-distance thing is field-related, not academia vs. private sector! I’m one of the flabbergasted ones and I’ve left academia years ago. Big pharma, tech, etc. here in Europe etc. definitely hire internationally. I’d say, probably the more specialised the role is, the more likely it’s normal because there are fewer candidates as well as fewer positions, so moving for the job is seen as normal? (Academia being, of course, an extreme example of that – but by no means the only one)

              1. Anon in Canada*

                I remember you commenting on this in another post, and someone said that corporate science is an “academia-adjacent” field.

                Company size and whether the company regularly hires out-of-area candidates probably play a role too. Big Tech in Silicon Valley is an example – the workplaces are big, and so many people move for those jobs that it’s easy for newcomers to integrate and make friends. Everyone is in the same boat!

                A smaller workplace where the vast majority of employees are home-grown will be far more reluctant to being in people from other areas – they have heard stories of, or experienced first-hand, people who moved there for a job who quit within the year and return to their hometown because they couldn’t make friends and the loneliness crushed them.

                So the moment there is even one suitable local candidate (which, in big cities, there will always be), they will default to that candidate. Or if the job is rural and there is not a single good local candidate, they’ll go for the one that’s 3 hours away rather than the one that’s 20 hours away. It just makes sense for them.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          I doubt it. I think they are sincerely bad at giving advice. School career departments are staffed by academics, and academia is a whole other world than the corporate or even nonprofit work world. Because “their” world is different from a prospective student’s world, they give out Bad Parent type advice.

          Poor kids *do* lose out, not through deliberate sabotage – after all, what university does not want to boast about the child of poor parents who Made It Good because of their degree from Prestigious U? – but because they are more reliant on school career centers than kids whose parents have professional jobs. If you’re a first generation college student, and your parents, family, neighbors, etc. don’t really know what kind of jobs are out there or how to find one, you’re kind of stuck with the college career center, especially if you feel awkward approaching professionals you dont’ know.

      2. Bast*

        I remember my high school career counselor giving the unrealistic advice that “anything is possible if you really want it.” While maybe technically true, I would say that while many things are possible, they are not probable. Applying to music schools with the idea that you’re going to be the next Bach or Britney Spears probably isn’t a realistic goal (which was a goal for a friend of mine, who was convinced she was going to make it big as a pop star). The same being said for students wanting to enter high cost schools with no real plan on how to pay it. In my district, plenty of families straddled the poverty line and might get SOME financial aid, but not enough to cover “any school you want” as the career counselor would advise. “You can make it work” is not good career advice. A more realistic approach as to the financial aspects of paying for college and the current job market would have been much more helpful.

        We were also encouraged to carry around these stupid binders with a bunch of personality assessments and our best papers and such for employers. No one cared. No one really cared about my (unimpressive) resume as an 18 year old applying to retail jobs either. We were also encouraged to just show up with these binders and resumes if it was something we really wanted to do because it “showed initiative.”

        It’s easy as a 30 something to look at this advice as a bunch of bunk, but what did I, or really, most 17/18 year old kids know about the “real world?” It wasn’t really obvious at the time to most of us and I don’t think it is to most teenagers with no real work experience.

        1. Anon in Canada*

          Yup, teenagers with no experience in the “real” working world (not retail or food service) will trust the “experts” providing such advice. This is professional malpractice.

          Similarly, when the high school career counselor says that those who go to trade school are low-lifes (well maybe not such crude words, but that’s what they mean), whereas if you get a history degree, you’ll get a historian job and that’s great… the teens will believe it.

          Then you have a labor shortage in many trades, and those who ignored the career counselor are making big bucks in their early 20s. At the same time, those who listened and got a humanities degree never find a job in their field, make much less than the tradespeople, and are saddled with non-dischargeable debt.

    6. A Simple Narwhal*

      To be “fair”, school councilors offer a lot of bad Gumption advice, and I don’t think that advice would have been very good ten years ago either!

  16. TechGuy*

    But at the same time, it’s not terribly uncommon for people to only send meeting links right before a meeting time. And if that’s their regular practice, having you send your own link came across as Too Much.

    Normally I’m in agreement with AAM, but I have to disagree here. I understand how a candidate sending their own link could come across as pushy, but if this is the regular practice, it should be communicated to all candidates at an appropriate time so that they know what to expect.

    That is, unless this really was a dodged bullet and they like playing mind games with potential employees. Then it would beg the question how they treat people once they actually work for the company.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      The thing to remember here is that the company isn’t writing in. If they were I’m sure it would be a very different response. But to actually help the LW, it is important to note that this is the particular action that was taken poorly. And she does also note that this HR person might suck – but if they do that doesn’t mean the job or company is automatically the same level of sucking. I err towards ‘bullet dodged’ but I think the lesson OP should take from the situation is addressed correctly.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah lol was the whole paragraph of “the company shouldn’t have done this but the reality is it’s common” really not enough to head these comments off?

        1. Lana Kane*

          But I don’t thinbk it’s truly all that common (at least not anymore, if it ever was). Not just in my experience, but lots of people here are also confused by that. If a link isn’t in there, the statement “link to follow” usually is.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            This is one of those things that could vary by a lot of different factors, but it’s not uncommon

      2. Magenta Sky*

        “And she does also note that this HR person might suck – but if they do that doesn’t mean the job or company is automatically the same level of sucking.”

        But it does mean that the company employs HR people who do suck. And HR people have a lot of influence on all levels of a company, to the point that one bad HR person can make for a pretty miserable, even toxic, work environment (as we’ve seen in a few letters here about HR people who ignore illegal harassment to the point of punishing people for reporting it, and other serious problems.)

        I’m pretty inclined to go with bullet dodging, too.

      3. Justin D*

        I agree that the LW erred slightly but I don’t think anyone should be under the impression that the employer acted normally either.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I feel like even if this is one bad gatekeeper, the company should be onto it. Such a poor level of communication must be driving away a lot of people who have better options, and even when people are content to ride out the anxiety of waiting, are they even getting enough information to be able to turn up reliably? This is someone who is very bad at their job; how can that be so invisible to their employer that it’s “common”?

  17. thelettermegan*

    It’s probably worth noting that while much interview advice that relies on gumption is information that worked very well for the greatest generation and boomers early on in their careers, but now-a-days, candidates should not expect to help recruiters stay organized and on top of stuff. They need to show that they are as serious as you are about the opportunity to work together.

  18. Dulcinea47*

    I’ve had interviews where they didn’t send me the link til half a hour beforehand, but they told me from the first communication that that’s what was going to happen, so I wasn’t worried about it at all. Thank goodness this place decided to show all it’s red flags…..

    1. ferrina*

      Ditto. When that happens, the recruiter is usually really clear “you’ll get a link 30/15 minutes before the interview”.

      In this case, it sounds like the interviewer didn’t even clarify if it was in person or virtual!

  19. Anon in Canada*

    It was wildly inappropriate for LW to send their own meeting link. The interviewer, not the candidate, gets to pick how a virtual interview will be conducted. But this is not something that should warrant rescinding an interview!

    Also, the interviewer should have been more responsive and confirmed exact details way more in advance. This should not be left to the day of.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      I think ‘wildly inappropriate’ is a bit much. I think it’s a misstep, but the hiring person set themselves up for that by not communicating sufficiently with OP.

    2. cindylouwho*

      “Wildly inappropriate” is way too much. This person sent a e-conference link. That could be used or not used. And when they hadn’t been given any info on how the employer were choosing to conduct the interview the night before the interview. You must not read AAM much if you think this is what qualifies as “wildly inappropriate” lol

      1. Anon in Canada*

        It’s very inappropriate for a candidate to presume that they can unilaterally choose how the interview will be conducted. Still not to the level that would warrant yanking the interview though.

        However, the employer was worse for not properly communicating this information in advance.

        1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

          I mean, you’re talking as though the rest of the letter didn’t happen. You can’t take that one part out of context. Mildly inappropriate, not “wildly”. Seriously – if you haven’t told me the interview is in person or virtual 2 hours before hand, *you* are the one unilaterally choosing how it will be conducted because I can’t bend space/time to get to you.

          They “presumed” that the employer didn’t have their shit together. So they tried to fix that. Turns out they were right. I will agree that you can’t force an incompetent company to get their shit together.

        2. HonorBox*

          Sure. If I offered someone an interview and they took it upon themselves to create a meeting link immediately, I’d find that to be way off. But if an interview is scheduled, details aren’t communicated, and there is no response to an inquiry, I don’t think it is wildly, or even very, inappropriate for someone to take it upon themselves to send a link. If I made the mistake of not sending a link and someone sent me one a couple hours before the interview, I’d reply with an apology and the preferred meeting link.

        3. Office Lobster DJ*

          But OP didn’t presume to unilaterally choose anything about the interview. They offered a link. If OP had sent out their own preferred link AFTER receiving the interview details, that would be inappropriate. But this? I can call it forward, I can see calling it a faux pas, but I can’t call it inappropriate.

        4. Kella*

          OP didn’t unilaterally choose for them. OP says in their letter, “So I sent a Google Meets link and asked if that worked for the interviewer.” They *asked* if that would work, which provides an opportunity for the interviewer to say “No, we’ll use X platform, here’s the link”. That is the opposite of choosing for them.

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      “Wildly” inappropriate? Maybe if the employer had been more on the ball with communicating, and the LW was just gumptioneering, but no. More like “mildly” inappropriate. Certainly not a huge, disqualifying mistake. The LW wanted to know what format the interview was in, and what software they would be using, and got crickets from the company. And the company’s response to an inquiry was a tantrum and name-calling.

      I really don’t think the LW was way out of line. More like a toe or two out of line. The company, however, *was* way out of line and treated the LW like dirt. Nobody wants an unpleasant last-minute surprise in the form of unfamiliar, fiddle software, or “hey we expect you to drive to our location two hours away and we’re telling you two and one half hours in advance. See ya!”

      LW dodged a great big bullet. I am sure this company would have been a nightmare to work for – not just because of the disorganization, but the way they treated the LW – “oh you were the worst candidate anyway! We have ninjas, jedis, and rockstars lining up to interview with fabulous wonderful Us!”

      1. Anon in Canada*

        Okay, “wildly inappropriate” was not the right choice of words – but LW was out of line. This was not a reason to rescind the interview, but was absolutely a data point that could have been used as part of the whole picture the company gets from the candidate.

        The company, however, displayed way more red flags.

        1. cindylouwho*

          They really weren’t even that out of line though. They were trying to fix a problem that the hiring people created by not sending any information about the interview in a reasonable amount of advance time.

  20. Heidi*

    I agree that the OP didn’t do anything egregious, but in retrospect, I can kind of see how this happened. The hiring committee/interviewer/HR or whatever in this case was clearly not on top of things in organizing this interview. If I weren’t on top of things, having repeated messages from an applicant reminding me that I wasn’t of top of things might seem…annoying? Definitely not “initiative and enthusiasm” as the OP intended. Not that their response in canceling everything and telling the OP they were the weakest candidate was justified – that was mean.

    1. Sneaky Squirrel*

      If LW had sent the google link after organizer had explicitly responded to LW’s asks for updates, then that would justify the interviewer feelings (though still be incredibly rude of interviewer). Interviewer doesn’t get to be annoyed at the candidate if they didn’t keep LW in the loop of what was happening. I don’t get to be annoyed at my colleagues when they can’t read my mind.

    2. beanie*

      The other thing that I can’t tell from this letter, is how pushy LW’s original email was, after they applied but before they got the interview.

      LW says “It took them four weeks from my application (and a follow-up email) to get the interview” – which I read as *potentially* – LW got impatient after applying and sent an email asking about an interview. Which some hiring folks can find quite annoying. Whether it was rude and pushy, or polite, really depends on the content of the email.

      Four weeks is maybe a little long, but not *that* long if a company has to post a job for x weeks, then takes a few weeks to review resumes, meet to decide who they are going to interview.

      1. Rude and Pushy*

        I work as a copywriter in my native language in a small country with multiple languages that are not that language (I’m still looking so trying not to identify myself too much).

        I know that I have a strong portfolio and that I put hours into the selection assignment they asked me to complete as part of the application process. Like I say, I really wanted that job.

        Maybe I should have let it lie, but I think that if you can expect candidates for a pretty niche role to put in hours, you can at least give them the courtesy of an email to say “thanks but no thanks”. The tone of my email was conversational and “just wondering”

    3. Ticotac*

      I agree with you, but I actually see that as even more proof that OP dodged a bullet.

      I definitely think that the hiring committee/whatever wasn’t on top of things, and I definitely think they were annoyed at OP for unintentionally reminding them they weren’t on top of things. The hiring committee/whatever overreacted because they didn’t do their job properly, which is a bad sign.

    4. Silence*

      I can see that having someone point out the lack of preparedness can be annoying / embarrassing but the correct response is to reply with something along the lines of ‘I am so sorry you weren’t informed this is going to be a virtual interview.
      link to follow by x date / time ‘
      Not lash out at the interviewee

  21. User12345*

    This whole thing is just bizarre. As someone who has had to hire people the idea of keeping a candidate dangling about where or when an interview is is just egregious. OP I see absolutely nothing wrong in what you did. I would fully expect to know precisely when and where and in what format an interview will be conducted several days before the event.
    These employers sound snotty and juvenile. I’m glad you aren’t working with them. You aren’t pushy, unless being pushy means being treated respectfully.

  22. You Can't Pronounce It*

    OP, I want you to know you are not alone in this process. My husband has been interviewing a lot lately and has had this happen several times where he is left hoping they call him at the designated time because there was terrible communication.

    For what it’s worth, I would have been stressed over this situation as well.

  23. Sneaky Squirrel*

    Wow! I agree that the link was a bit much but the interviewer is awful. It sounds like the interviewer couldn’t even give them a courtesy acknowledgement that they were working on the details which is extremely disrespectful of LW’s time. What was LW supposed to do? Sit around for hours not knowing if an interview was even going to still happen? To tell a candidate that they were rude is extreme, and blatantly telling them that they were the weakest candidate is just petty. I hope that LW goes all over glass door and puts that interviewer on blast.

  24. Ex-prof*

    I wonder if this was a 2nd language thing? People are often perceived as being rude or pushy when they’re speaking another language, and the reason is the level of politeness simply doesn’t translate identically across languages. For example, English speakers often perceive native German speakers as being rude in English, whereas native peakers of Farsi can come across as polite to the point of floweriness when speaking English. There are almost infinite variations of this depending on your first language, their first language, etc.

    (When I was learning Thai, I was warned that English speakers tend to come across as very, very blunt when speaking Thai, so I overcorrected and came across as very, very polite instead.)

    1. Ex-prof*

      Argh, “speakers” not “peakers. Anyway, point is, even people who are very proficient in their second language, as LW probably is, will still sometimes be misread in this way.

    2. borealis*

      This was my thought as well. Another example is that indirectness in requests (“my schedule is starting to fill up” rather than “please tell me when the meeting will be”) is considered polite in English and some other languages, but in e.g. Russian, being too indirect is in fact impolite, because indirectness is associated with insincerity. This does not mean, of course, that Russian is a less polite language, simply that politeness is expressed in other ways (that don’t necessarily come across as polite when translated into English!)

    3. A person abroad*

      Yes! My question would also be if the job or interviews are taking place in a culture different to the LW’s native one. I live abroad and the conventions are sometimes different here. Couple that with a possibly imperfect dexterity of language and you can come across really differently than you intend. No, I didn’t learn that the hard way….

    4. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      I’ve been thinking this, too. I’m surprised it wasn’t addressed in Alison’s response. I just feel like multiple details are missing.

  25. Czhorat*

    I wonder if there’s more to it than the LW is seeing. They said that the job search is in a second language. Is it possible that the tone or word choice in some of the communications hit differently than intended? If the LW hasn’t already they might want to have a native speaker take a look at some of their business communication and see if it fits norms.

    Even so, the emails would have to be shockingly rude to justify what was a genuinely hostile response from the hiring company.

    1. LegalEagle*

      This was my thought too! And I also wondered if the second language was one other than English, so maybe what they said would be considered less rude in another culture or comes across rude in translation?

      Either way OP, you’re doing a very difficult think by job hunting (already SO hard) in a second language. I hope you have some luck soon!

    2. Allonge*

      Indeed – and ‘showing initiative’ also comes acreoss as wildly different in different cultures – it could be seen as not trusting the process or something like that.

      OP, I don’t know – this would have been extremely annoying to me, so I am tempted to go bullet dodged. If it’s one incompetent person, that’s survivable, especially in a larger org, but inefficient processes are my hill to die on, especially if they include witholding information for no good reason. Sure, this may still be a good place to work otherwise, but… you will find something that works, hopefully soon.

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      That’s a good point. Different languages and cultures have different degrees of what is considered polite and what is rude, as well as directness, and something called “power distance” – how much deference people lower in a hierarchy are expected to show their “betters.” It’s possible that this is one of those situations where, culturally, or simply situationally, this company might not feel a job seeker is worth treating well, or maybe just an “outsider,” as LW might be, is not worth treating well.

      I still don’t think LW did anything especially wrong but that the company was super rude.

  26. Lily*

    Yeah, joining practically everyone to say you weren’t really pushy or rude given the circumstances, OP. It’s bizarre to me that they just let you book a time slot and then… that was it? I’m not in the US, so maybe it’s a cultural thing, but unlike what Alison says in her response, here it’s super unusual not to get the details days in advance, at least. Regardless of how they schedule meetings normally. It’s honestly very rude of them and if I hadn’t gotten any more information until Wednesday afternoon, I would’ve probably assumed the interview was not happening.

    Bullet dodged, definitely. So disorganized and disrespectful, of you and your time, and then they sent you a salty rejection? Come on!

    1. Cj*

      I don’t think it’s common in the US either. even if a link is to be sent a few minutes before the meeting, you’re told that when the interview is scheduled, not just left hanging.

  27. LCH*

    i would also have been twitchy since i wouldn’t know if maybe the details had been sent, but i didn’t receive them. so i would want to follow up some to alert them that, if they had sent me any info about this meeting, i didn’t have it!

    but sending them a meeting link was definitely overboard. and their response seems super rude by my country’s standards.

  28. Three Flowers*

    I really don’t think LW was pushy here. No joining information two hours before an interview?? In the age of many video platforms, some of which an interviewee might not have installed? I’d file that with a fly-out interview I had once where the interviewer called me *as I was on the way to the airport* to ask what time to pick me up. (Relevant that the airport was in another city 45 minutes away, so not an Uber-able situation.) I had already rented a car at my own expense (intentionally so). They called to arrange a pre-interview dinner, not previously scheduled, as I was trying to pick up said rental car, only about 90 minutes in advance. Thankfully I had brought two sets of interview clothes for a supposed one-day interview. It was all ultimately very nice, but I turned down the job in part because an employer who’s that seat-of-the-pants with a candidate is going to be capricious with an employee. The job I ultimately took gave me complete, clear expectations in writing in advance. It can still be chaotic, but at least we know where the chaos will be and at what time.

    LW dodged a major bullet and employers like this need to get it together.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      Sounds similar to a situation I was in. The company recommended that I stay 2 nights, so that I could see the area, but only picked up 1 night. I didn’t get the job and may have turned it down anyway due to that kind of scattered behavior.

      1. Three Flowers*

        Ugh. I had a different situation once where I was told “book your ticket, we’ll reimburse you,” and then they cancelled the interview and definitely did not reimburse me, despite saying they still would. (I used the ticket to visit family, but at 25 I didn’t think of incorporating a visit to small claims court.) “Stay two nights! Oops, actually we aren’t paying for that” sucks too.

  29. EC*

    I agree with the other posters that based on the LW saying they didn’t know where the interview would be, or what type, it sounds like they weren’t sure if it would even be virtual or in person. Not telling someone even the most basic details is so strange, and refusing to clarify when asked is even weirder.

    Sending their own meeting link was a mistake, but I don’t fault the LW for getting anxious when they were given no clue what was going on. That reflects more on the company than them.

  30. Former Red and Khaki*

    I’m sorry but nobody has time for this. A company/HR/one bad interviewer doesn’t want to be responsible for their side of the bargain and send out important information in a timely manner? And then call the candidate pushy for asking for it? Nah. Companies will have to get used to crying about how “no one wants to work” in that case. Treat candidates employees like human beings who deserve your respect, or sink. (As another commenter said, a privileged position if you can be choosy about your employer – but if you ARE in that position, you dodged a bullet, imo.)

  31. Michelle Smith*

    If it helps in the future, I had an interviewer who couldn’t be bothered to show up to the interview she sent me a link to. I tried calling her on the phone and got voicemail. We weren’t able to connect until the end of the half hour interview time, at which point she rescheduled for another day. When she didn’t show up to that call, again that she had scheduled and sent me a link for, I left after 10 minutes without bothering to contact her to see what happened. She emailed me a few days later, without acknowledging that she missed our interview, and said they were retooling the job description and I should reapply. I did not respond and considered it a bullet dodged that I only wasted 40 minutes of my time (plus the time/effort spent preparing).

    Bottom line? When an employer shows you that they are disorganized and unable to handle interview scheduling, that’s not something in your control but it definitely says more about them than about you. Also, even when they do provide adequate information for *you* to show up to the interview, they can still drop the ball and ghost you. There’s very little you can do to avoid this when the organization is dysfunctional. Took me 2 years to find a position from the time I started seriously looking. I wish you luck in your job search. Hopefully things turn around for you super soon and don’t take nearly that long.

    1. Sneaky Squirrel*

      I had an interviewer then didn’t bother to show up at the interview time. I got a call later from the recruiter telling me we needed to reschedule. In the rescheduled interview, the Interviewer lead with “I thought you were no longer interested in the job because it was so hard to get a hold of you”. He proceeded to ask me 0 questions about myself and allowed me no time to ask questions and unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job but I was “their 2nd choice”. I was so glad to not get that job offer.

    2. Penny Hartz*

      The exact same thing happened to me–from being blown off twice, to “we’re revamping the job description,” to never hearing back. The company the job was with has a reputation as being kind of cool and fun for the industry it’s in, but if that’s the way they treat job candidates …

  32. Elbe*

    I, too, read this as the LW not knowing if the interview was in person or not. Even if the LW’s handling of this wasn’t ideal, the company’s response seems really off.

    I think that they were probably not very enthusiastic about interviewing him and maybe even thinking of canceling (or ghosting). But, instead of understanding that THEY were the ones being vague and jerking him around, they just reacted badly to his attempts to get clarity. There’s no reason to tell someone they are the weakest candidate, especially over the phone whey they are on the spot. It just feels weird and personal.

  33. Timothy*

    I remember being rejected for being ‘too pushy’ at one location where I was taking a pre-interview test, along with a bunch of other candidates.

    The whole thing started off poorly: we were sitting in a waiting room, and a woman walked past the doorway without turning her head and said, “Follow me please.” We looked at each other and then followed her like a bunch of ducklings to a classroom. We wrote the test, then handed them in. I politely asked when we’d hear about the results, and that question was not well received. She took down my name, and I heard from the agency that I’d been dropped from consideration.

    I explained myself to the recruiter, and I could hear him shrug and issue the old “So it wasn’t a good fit” adage. A place where a simple question causes management to lose their heads? Another bullet dodged, I guess.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      Ah yes, a cattle call interview. That’s a “this will be a bad job” red flag right there.

  34. BecauseHigherEd*

    Because you said you were interviewing in “a second language,” I wonder if this company is based in a country different from the one you grew up in/live in. What you did is not appallingly rude in the US context, but in another country I could see that it might be. (And, who knows? If you’re interviewing in another language, it’s also possible that your wording came across as more aggressive/pushy in that context than it would in your first language.) If this is a different country and you plan to continue job searching with companies in that context, I recommend doing a deep dive on hiring practices, etiquette, and business language there. Rightly or wrongly, there could be a cultural miscommunication here.

    1. Cee S*

      I’m mentally filling in the part on “job search in a second language”, too!

      Even for native English speakers, folks from different countries perceive certain phrases and expressions quite differently. I live in Canada and work for an American company. I and my manager usually tone down the cooperate communication down a notch: Americans tend to exaggerate how good they’ve been.

      Some folks have been accustomed to talk louder, which is considered as rude in certain context. It takes someone who’s close to you to let you know what’s considered to be rude. Other folks such as the hiring manager rather not take the benefit of the doubt.

      1. amoeba*

        True. But not letting the interviewee know how and where the interview will take place until two hours before the time would surely be inappropriate in either place? Also, insulting them after cutting them out. I don’t think “you were our weakest candidate!” would be appropriate in any cultural context!

        1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

          Right? Honestly, whether I’m their weakest candidate is actually none of my business, so don’t tell me that! There’s no benefit to me knowing. It’s just about you wanting to “take me down a peg”.

    2. GreyjoyGardens*

      And another thing, sad to say, is that if LW is perceived as an outsider due to their interviewing in a second language, they might be on the receiving end of shabby treatment more often than someone who is thought of as a native to that culture or country. It’s not just that a mild faux pas at worst might be thought of as horrendously rude some where else, but there can be the mentality of “Alex isn’t from here. Our language isn’t their mother tongue. Therefore, we can get away with treating them much worse than we would someone From Here whose mother tongue is Our Language.”

      The LW can’t do much about that, but definitely use it as a way to spot red flags, if a company thinks that only some people are worthy of basic consideration.

    3. amoeba*

      Hm, I’d say the way the employer behaved would be impolite in basically any country I’ve ever heard of, I’d say!

      (Also, I’ve applied/interviewed for jobs all over Europe, at least, and the norms weren’t that different. At least, the employer’s behaviour would have been really weird and the OP’s quite normal in all of those places.)

      1. BecauseHigherEd*

        I think so, too, but also:
        -What OP did *could* be seen as rude in the context where they’re applying, so the interviewer’s reaction could be what they perceive as a response to a “rude” applicant, and (ex. in many countries it’s rude to flat out tell someone “No.” I was once organizing an event with individuals from many different countries, and rather than saying, “No, we can’t do that,” they would say, “Oh…I don’t know….we’ll see…….” or not reply. When I would push back and ask for a follow up, in my very American way, they would perceive that I was being aggressive and “not getting the hint,” so they would think they needed to respond aggressively, like “No! The answer is no! I’m sorry to tell you this way, but you must leave me alone!”)
        -It might reflect a degree of directness that is common in that cultural context OR it could be something that seems rude in English but isn’t in the other language. (ex. I’ve done a lot of work in Spanish. When talking to clients, they often would say, “Me entiendes?” It literally translates do, “Do you understand me?” and my gut feeling would be to think “They’re doubting my language abilities!” Really, it’s more like saying, “You know what I mean? Does that make sense?”)

  35. RJ*

    OP, I feel your pain on this one. I was judged as ‘not having enough enthusiasm’ for not taking the initiative to set up a Zoom meeting when faced with a similar situation. You dodged a bullet as I did and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. They are a weak employer.

  36. Ashley*

    Def agree that sending your own link comes across as pushy and potentially out of touch. Also def agree that wanting to know basic damn details is perfectly reasonable and that their response was eek.

  37. Just Thinkin' Here*

    I agree with others – I think the main concern was no one told them if it was in person or virtual. I would have clarified that during the call, but not unreasonable to expect that in the meeting invite either.

    I wish we would get past sending links out ‘minutes’ before virtual meetings. The healthcare industry does that for appointments and I’ve had so many instances where the links don’t work or the audio won’t connect. Especially if they are using a lesser known app than Zoom or Teams.

  38. Ugh!*

    I may be wrong, but “rude and pushy” is how women taking initiative are so often labelled, so I would imagine the OP is a woman and the person she contacted would not respond the same way if she were a man.

    The workplace is full of overt and unconscious sexism. When will it get better?

  39. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    Regardless of everything else, telling a candidate “it was no loss, you’re our weakest candidate” is so pathetic, even spiteful, that it far outstrips anything the LW has done.

    1. Elbe*

      Agreed. It’s especially bad since it seems like they told him that when he was on the phone and had to respond to it in the moment. Who does that? It seems like an intentional insult, which is making this situation way too personal.

    2. Cee S*

      The HR would be better off not telling the candidates that they’re “our weakest candidate”.

  40. Ticotac*

    On a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being “terrible,” 10 being “great,” and 5 being “neutral,” I would rate sending your own link to the interviewer either a 4 or a 5. It’s not helpful (there’s probably loads of reasons why the interviewer wouldn’t have been able to use that link) but it’s not damaging anything either, and it’s not significant enough to be a faux pas. It’s the sort of thing you can just ignore.

    The fact that the interviewer never told you where the interview was going to happen is definitely the bigger issue here. It’s not out of the ordinary to get a link to the interview hours, maybe minutes before the scheduled time, but it’s weird that they never clarified WHERE the meeting was happening! When they scheduled the time, they should also have said whether it was on – for example – Microsoft Team or Zoom. If they didn’t, then frankly they have no right to complain about you reaching out for clarifications.

    By the way, I am assuming that you were told the meeting was definitely going to happen online, but if you didn’t even know whether or not the interview was in person then you dodged a major bullet.

    The way I see it, they dropped the ball. They should have told you where the interview was going to be held, and they should have answered your first email with a polite and respectful “I am sorry we forgot to say that the interview will be on Microsoft Teams. We will send you a link on the day. Sorry for the confusion!” You sending them your own link after you got no answer is a blunder, but it would be a minor mistake in general and it’s insignificant in this specific case. They’re complaining your shoes are muddy after they caused a landslide.

  41. kiki*

    I think LW really did dodge a bullet here. It sounds like LW was asking for very basic, necessary information about their interview and then was called pushy in return. Maybe this is one bad hiring manager, but I’d be worried about the wider company culture. I worked somewhere kind of like this– somebody would ask for something very reasonable, like to be paid on time, and the leadership would act like the asker was super annoying. No! You are super annoying for not paying the employee on time!

  42. Gem-Like Flame*

    I wouldn’t say “bullet dodged” either: I’d say that the OP dodged a cannon ball! If that’s how they treat applicants, how on earth do they treat employees?! Ah, no…Just no!

  43. The Person from the Resume*

    You were not rude; it’s a bit presumptuous for you to select the virtual meeting tool.

    That said the employer was chaotic, unempathetic and rude. No doubt this was always a virtual interview (hence not giving in person meeting location in advance), but even if it’s always that way at the employer the person arranging the interviews needs to tell applicants that. The applicants won’t just know standard practice.

    I actually think it is very unusual to not send out the call dial in info well in advance with the meeting invite, but that’s because that’s how my company’s teleconferencing software works. Again if that’s this company’s standard practice they needed give applicants a heads up.

    The employer is in the wrong, but I am reminded of my first virtual job interview in 2011-ish where I dialed in a few minutes early, I was told they were finishing up another discussion and I proceeded to listen to them discuss another candidate (I don’t think it was for my same role). After being hired and learning the ins and outs of the teleconferencing system (early 2010s) I understood what happened (the panel was using one number for multiple interviews), but as a brand new potential employee it was so unusual, new, and disconcerting to me. I don’t think had ever used a dial in number/conference ID before so of course I was going to dial in 5-10 minutes early to be prepared for technical difficulty. My previous experience has been in rooms with teleconferencing software. Long story short: Applicants deserve way more empathy than the LW got because while conducting a job interview is just another day on the job, being the interviewee job hunting they have a lot more nerves and uncertainty.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      I think “presumptuous” is the wrong word here. They weren’t trying to “select” the tool, they were trying to propose a path forward in the face of uncertainty. Ppresumptuous implies a sense of entitlement that is entirely lacking.

      1. Anon in Canada*

        Presumptuous is a perfectly appropriate word for it.

        The candidate does not get to select the virtual meeting tool, and pretending that you can is presumptuous.

        1. HonorBox*

          But in the event that exactly zero details have been shared about the interview, it was finding a path forward like @Kevin Sours noted. Presumptuous would be a candidate sending their preferred link immediately when the interview was offered. The employer offered nothing and provided no clarity when asked.

  44. Cee S*

    I had a remote job interview in 2022 that had no meeting link attached to the calendar invite. When I realized that there’s no link a few minutes before the meeting, I emailed the recruiter for the position right away. The particular recruiter was 5 hours ahead of me and they were offline. The hiring manager realized the missing meeting link, found me on LinkedIn and sent me a zoom link for the meeting.

    Crisis adverted. :)

  45. HonorBox*

    Having conducted interviews using virtual platforms, I ensure those links are sent out as soon as possible (hot tip: letting candidates pick times on enables you to have the Zoom link sent immediately when they pick their time). The OP didn’t know basic information about the interview, other than the time. Was it to be virtual? Was it in-person? No clue. No one could be bothered to respond to an email the day before, and hearing nothing they offered a solution. That’s far from rude and pushy. A little weird? Maybe. But if for some reason I hadn’t communicated with a candidate with the most basic of information (where, what platform, etc.) and they sent me a link, I’d quickly send an apology to them for missing that VERY important detail and proceeded to send a corrected link, if we were using different software. Nothing that the OP did was rude. Everything that the employer did was, though. They sent an email to schedule the interview at 9:30 at night. I’d be giving a weak side eye. Maybe the recruiter/HR person was working late, but it still seems a little odd that the communication came at that time. They didn’t send any information for the interview. Side eye. They didn’t respond on Wednesday or early Thursday to provide information about the interview. Hard side eye. They removed the candidate from consideration for being rude and pushy when they sent their own link. Harder side eye. And the hardest side eye cherry on the top is the “weakest candidate” comment. OP, keep at it. You’re going to find yourself a position with a company that treats people far better than this company treated you.

  46. Dido*

    I feel bad for the LW… job searching is anxiety inducing enough, even moreso if you’re unemployed, and I understand the impulse to want to make sure everything’s all set… that said I’ve had a few meeting invites go to my spam inbox, I wonder if they did send an invite she didn’t see and that’s why they think it was rude and pushy for her to send out her own invite

  47. Kel*

    If I was an interviewer and the person I was going to interview sent me a google meet invite….

    I know it might be petty, but I’d be annoyed.

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      Would you be annoyed if it was just a couple of hours before the interview and the candidate hadn’t received the info yet?

      Is it that it would imply that the interviewer had forgtten, or dropped the ball, and that this is somehow “showing them up”?

      I’m truly trying to understand because this seems like such a minor thing to me.

  48. NotARealManager*

    Sending a link to the interviewer is a little odd, but given how little information you had, it’s not the worst thing. I would’ve tried to call the main office instead, but either way it’s not worth a disqualification of your candidacy and their reaction was way worse than anything you did.

    I often set up (in-person) emails at our company and once I forgot to send the candidate the address. When the candidate asked for it, I realized that was my bad, not theirs. I would never have said they were pushy asking for information that they needed and I didn’t provide.

  49. GreyjoyGardens*

    LW, you may have been some 10% in the wrong by sending the link, but the employer was 90% in the wrong by not giving you the necessary information, and THEN being nasty to you when you tried to find out! “Weakest employee” indeed! They can go step on Legos. Bullet dodged; you do not want to work for the kind of company that treats you like this.

    If this is the attitude they take towards job candidates – thinking that you are a peon who should feel honored to even be considered by them, not giving you any necessary information or time to prepare, and *then* being rude when you simply wanted to know what is going on – they probably treat their own employees like dirt, too.

    It’s not 2010 anymore, where employers held so much power that prospective employees were expected to bow and scrape like medieval serfs just for the privilege of an interview. There are better fish in the sea. (Also, if it’s getting down to the “will I be able to pay rent/mortgage and feed myself and any dependents” wire, consider temp work so that you have some stream of income while you are looking.)

  50. English Teacher*

    I don’t think OP did anything wrong re: trying to find out details, but I DO think they were a little pushy — earlier in the process!

    “It took them four weeks from my application (and a follow-up email) to get the interview”

    In most circumstances, four weeks from application to interview is not long at all. If I’m reading this right, that OP checked on the application after less than 4 weeks, that feels pushy to me. It may have given the interviewers a pre-conceived notion about OP. I don’t think that’s an ideal attitude for the interviewers to have, but first impressions do stick with people.

    1. Another Michael*

      Yep – this was my read too. The sending of the link could have been the second “too pushy” behavior that the interviewers were turned off by.

      To be clear, they don’t seem to be managing this process very effectively, or to be very kind, but I’d definitely be annoyed by this much contact initiated by a candidate before an interview.

  51. Heffalump*

    Even if you assume one crappy HR person in an otherwise good company, that doesn’t help the OP. Most Toyotas are well-made and reliable, but that doesn’t do me any good if my Toyota is a lemon.

  52. learnedthehardway*

    My guess – someone forgot to send the invitation and then threw you under the bus and claimed you were pushy and rude as a way to cover up that they had dropped the ball. Did you ever communicate with the hiring manager or just with HR/recruitment?

    If it was the hiring manager you had communicated with before this, then bullet dodged.

    If it was just HR / Recruitment, then I bet that what happened was that the hiring manager had said they wanted to interview you, but that the HR person forgot to send the invite / schedule the meeting on the HM’s calendar, despite confirming the time with you. So when you scheduled yourself, the HR person – instead of taking responsibility for the oversight – decided to tell the HM that you had been rude and pushy and had gone ahead and scheduled yourself.

    So, moral of the story – don’t schedule yourself in someone’s calendar unless have asked you to do so, when you are a job candidate. That said, given that it was within 1-2 hours of the interview time that had been confirmed with you, it wasn’t rude of you to do this. You would have been better served to have left a phone message telling the HR person that you had not received the invitation and so were unable to attend, and asking THEM to reschedule you.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      ETA – the smoking gun here is the rude response you received when you did follow up – telling someone that they were the weakest candidate and blaming someone for taking initiative when it’s really your own ball dropping – that’s really, really rude and defensive.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Yes, I was also thinking the rude rejection might be the HR bod covering their arse because they forgot to send an invitation.

  53. RVMan*

    Possibilities –

    a) the HR person who was tasked with setting up the meeting felt like you were showing him/her up by “doing their job”. They might even have gotten some negative feedback from the hiring manager about the meeting not be set up, and paid it forward to you. Ordinarily I don’t attribute malign motives, but the HR person negging you is weird.

    b) Keeping you guessing is part of the interview strategy (stress the candidate to see if they break and ‘reveal’ their true self) , and you are perceived as trying to ‘cut through’ that. If this is the case, I would anticipate a) the interview would be high pressure and b) the job is nothing you would want anything to do with. Again, malign, but again, negging.

    c) There was a miscommunication somewhere, and someone there was supposed to communicate that they would call you at the interview time.

    d) HR person there is just a disorganized mess. Someone has to get ‘that guy’. It doesn’t even mean the company as a whole is bad – they could have been called into their boss’s office 20 minutes after you talked to them and pinked slipped for all you know.

  54. SC*

    Organizations with horrible HR tend to be horrible employers, because good candidates will not put up with horrible HR, so only the bad candidates end up becoming employees. Bad employees and managers then do their jobs horribly, so I’d say it was a bullet dodged.

  55. Pyjamas*

    I think the company had already cancelled the interview and was going to ghost LW. The “pushy” business was petty and mean

  56. Rude and Pushy*

    Hi there, OP here. Thanks for your responses all, It seems I really did dodge a bullet… The company in question expanded rapidly through the pandemic and are now struggling with reduced workload. The way they have chosen to manage that is by pitting their people against each other in a Hunger Games style battle royale. I found out last week that the previous occupant of the position quit after being off work for 6 months with stress.

    Anyway I had a first and 2nd interview this week with a different company within 5 days of making an enquiry. They managed to tell me in both instances how the interview would be taking place. Now waiting on the CEO to call with an offer.

    Live and learn, I guess.

    1. amoeba*

      Nice, seems like everything worked out perfectly! Fingers crossed for the other position and thanks for the very quick update! :)

      1. Rude and Pushy*

        Reader, it was not outstanding.

        The CEO just called to let me know he’d decided after talking with the marketing manager that there was no business case for the role they’ve advertised. So, therefore, they’ve just wasted 2 days of my time and weeks of a recruiters time.

        It’s getting hard to stay optimistic, i must say.

          1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

            I’d say refreshing! If the CEO called you (that is, OP) personally to say the role is no longer moving forward, it means they valued your time as a candidate and think highly of you. As frustrating as it is to NOT get an offer (no matter the reason!), I would say this is a far better response than the other company!

  57. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    One thing nobody seems to be picking up on is that OP mentions looking for a job in a second language. From my European perspective, the whole story sounds totally like she’s from the US, looking for a job in some European country. Even if she’s applying to jobs run by people speaking another language but in the USA, she’s dealing with a different culture and a language she’s obviously less comfortable in, and she needs to adapt to them, not them to her.

    Two hours before the interview, I would say at that point it’s obvious they’re not expecting her to turn up at their head office in person. She may have been told it would be a virtual meeting but didn’t hear properly, or didn’t understand the term and didn’t ask for clarification because she was focussing on some other thing that had been said in the same breath. I have had this kind of problem dealing with Spanish people, because my Spanish is a whole lot more rudimentary than my French and they often seem to speak very fast.

    The brash, pushy American is quite a cliché in Europe. In some parts of Europe people can be pretty laid-back about appointments, and if you’re told that it’ll be at midday, that means it might happen any time between 12.15 and … the time of the hiring manager’s More Important Appointment that the candidate won’t be privy to.

    I personally would find it very offputting, rather rude and incredibly pushy if a candidate sent a link for a meeting. When a client wants me to attend a meeting with them, I usually get a reminder about the meeting on the day before, telling me to expect a link just before the meeting. If I don’t get the reminder, I sit and wait, and only ask, very tentatively, if I see the meeting is imminent. This even with people I’ve been working with for years. It would never occur to me to send my own link!

    I’m pretty sure the hiring manager would be worried that the candidate would act in a similar way with the company’s clients and scare them all off.

    What people here are seeing as the company being lackadaisical or badly organised, may simply have been a misunderstanding due to OP not having a good enough command of the language.

    1. Rude and Pushy*

      OP here, I’m British working in mainland Europe. I’ve been living and working in that second language for 10 years now. This is also one of those European countries where punctuality and “the rules” are the bedrock of society (for better or worse).

      This situation took place at the end of November, so I’m pretty well over it now. However, I can see that the link may have been a step over the line. I would point out however that the 3 interviews I’ve booked since have all managed to confirm my timeslot and explain the format and location of the meeting immediately.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        OK thanks for clarifying! So it was a surprisingly muddled company, in the land of orderliness, you did indeed dodge a bullet then! I do like being wrong in this kind of situation.

      2. amoeba*

        Hah, I feel like we’re in the same country now and yeah, if possible, that makes the employer’s behaviour even more out of line!

      3. Bruce*

        ‘punctuality and “the rules”‘ I think I was in a business meeting there last summer, had some very good beer :-) It sounds like you learned enough about this employer to be relieved that you aren’t working there, best wishes for the future!

  58. Cyber Chayse*

    When I read this submission, my understanding was that LW was not informed of the type of meeting that would occur (ie in-person or virtual). Sending their own link might have seemed pushy but, at least in my culture (commercial real estate in Texas, if that matters), it would have seemed understandable and even positive that they took the initiative to follow up. I realize this isn’t true for many jobs but I do feel like the company was much ruder than the LW in this scenario.

  59. Beth*

    My take: LW the weakest candidate and they had no interest in interviewing them at all. HR insisted for whatever reason and they were trying to get around that by not conf.

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