inviting an ex-coworker to a holiday lunch, new meds make me burp, and more

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

1. Should I not have invited an ex-coworker to a holiday lunch?

This happened a couple years ago but has bothered me ever since. A well-loved employee of eight years left the company after a major change in leadership. A terrible change in leadership, which she was not happy with, so her leaving was somewhat fraught with emotion (we were shocked she left!). She resigned and finished her work while our city was still in lockdown, so her farewell was over Zoom. About a month later, we were set free and had our team’s Christmas lunch at a local pub. We were still friends, so I mentioned it while we were chatting about things. I suggested to her that she should pop in once the event was officially over (outside of work hours) so we could say a proper goodbye as her Zoom farewell was not so fabulous.

She did in fact pop in — well after the event had ended, when most of us were just hanging about, finishing drinks which we had self purchased. She was warmly received, with loads of hugs and well wishes, with nothing but people happy to see her. As we sat there, someone turned to me and drama whispered, “OMG do you know who invited her?!” and I responded that yes, in fact, I had. This employee said to me, “You’d better call in sick tomorrow. There’s going to be a major witch hunt to find out who would do this.” A couple more people also warned me that I’d “get in trouble.” Turns out, because this person had left in an unhappy way, management had kind of “disowned” her, and had apparently treated her as persona non grata in her final weeks. Apparently they were going to have a hissy fit that she was “allowed” to come to this event and my head was going to be on the chopping block.

I don’t get it. She showed up to a public place, after an event, to see some ex-work-mates. Did I do something wrong here?

For the record, I showed up to work the next day. Nobody said anything to me, but when I too resigned a few weeks later (because I found a great new role), management also treated me as though I had the plague for my final weeks. Apparently this was their thing? No matter who you were, if you resigned, you were immediately hated and they talked shit about you.

The idea of a “major witch hunt” because a former employee dropped in toward the end of an out-of-office social event is indeed ridiculous. But I will also point out that it didn’t happen — your coworkers warned you that it would, but it didn’t. To me, that says that your management had created a deeply dysfunctional environment where people anticipated blowback based on the amount of vitriol that had already been circulating, which is itself a problem; your coworkers just misjudged exactly how it would play out in this situation.

That said, there are situations where inviting a former employee who’s known to be persona non grata with your management would affect you politically. It’s not the same as your situation, but if you’d invited someone who had, I don’t know, stolen the firm’s client list or screamed “fuck you” at everyone on the way out the door — or even this person — your management might rightly take issue with that, and it could affect how people saw your judgment and your trustworthiness.

Even in a situation like yours, when management was wrong to be upset with the ex-employee, inviting that person to a social event that’s been organized for employees could still have political implications for you. You might decide you don’t care on principle, but you’d still want to be aware that it was something that could blow back on you and make your decisions accordingly.

2. New meds make me burp constantly

I am on some new meds, and the two worst side effects are nausea and belching. They are mostly little, but I am burping constantly. I’ve told my team about it, lest they think I’m suddenly disgustingly rude, and they understand (we’re too close with too many boundaries crossed, so this was just a little thing to say).

But we’re merging companies and I’m going to be in charge of more people who I don’t know and don’t have the same relationship with. It’s not something I want to share with everyone just because we cross paths, and I am hoping that a new influx of people will help move my group to a more professional attitude, so I don’t want to necessarily share from that aspect, either. A boss shouldn’t generally say these things to their employees.

We’re in an open office plan, and not everyone will hear every burp, but everyone is going to have to deal with it sooner or later and to some extent. Of course I say “excuse me,” but it’d honestly be easier for me and a lot faster to just pretend it didn’t happen, or I’m saying “excuse me” all day long!

So, do I tell my new staff? Do I just pretend it’s not happening after the first “excuse me”? Do I just say “excuse me” 700 times a day? (And no, Pepto doesn’t help!)

I mean, I wouldn’t open with “I burp a lot” when you’re first introduced, but it’s fine to explain it at some point relatively soon after starting to work together. For example: “Excuse me, a medication I’m on causes belching. I find it’s less disruptive if I don’t say ‘excuse me’ every time, so please consider this a blanket ‘excuse me.’” There’s nothing inherently inappropriate about saying that to employees, and people are generally more patient and accommodating with stuff that’s been acknowledged and explained.

3. Why do recruiters ask for MY impression of an interview first?

I need help with a job hunting pet peeve.

I realize that recruiters are humans just trying to do their job in the way they’ve been taught to do it, I know that being rude or hostile to a recruiter would be a Very Bad Move, I always try to be externally warm and polite even when I’m internally screaming “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

That being said, when recruiters set me up with an interview, the first thing they do after is call me and ask how I think it went. Which is okay if it’s just an introductory call where we’re both evaluating each other, but they also do this for technical screenings where the hiring team is evaluating my skills. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME HOW IT WENT? My opinion isn’t the one that matters here! I’m probably already really stressed about it, the last thing I want is to rehash it with a stranger. Why don’t they just ask the hiring team first? Then they could tell me how I did.

I realize that I’m having an outsized emotional reaction that has more to do with the stress of job hunting than recruiter behavior, but I could use some generic, noncommittal scripts to make these interactions easier.

Recruiters are, at the core, salespeople and they are trying to sell you to their client, the employer. They want to talk to you first so that they know if you think you bombed the interview, or if you’re not very interested in the job anymore, or if something weird happened that they’ll need to smooth over, or if you don’t want to move forward without clarity on issue X, and on and on. They feel more in control if they gather info like that from you first, so that they’re not flying blind when they talk to their client.

It might be more intuitive if you imagine, say, sending a junior team member to meet with a VIP. Afterwards, you’d probably prefer to check in with the junior team member before you talk to the VIP in case anything happened that you’ll need to manage on your end, and so you have some info before you go into your conversation with the higher-stakes person.

It’s also not true that your opinion doesn’t matter; you could decide you don’t want the job, and it’s in the recruiter’s interests to know that early on if so.

4. I can’t get anyone to acknowledge my resignation

Earlier this year I took a second job as a fitness instructor, and … I hate it. The location is one of many in a large chain, and ever since my onboarding I have felt quite alone and things have been very disorganized. I recently found out that I wasn’t even trained properly. So I decided to quit teaching this particular class. The problem is that my immediate supervisor also resigned about a month ago, and a replacement hasn’t been hired yet. I sent a resignation email to the site leader (my grandboss), and I have heard nothing back. It’s been almost a week.

I realize that it isn’t technically my problem, but being an instructor is customer-facing and continuing to be on the schedule and “no-showing” would look really bad, especially to the members who I’ve developed a rapport with. I also teach at another location in the chain that has a much better culture, and I don’t want to do anything to burn that bridge. I was planning to follow up at the beginning of the final week of my notice period, but is there something else that I should do here?

I wrote back and asked, “Any reason not to call them today?”

I’ve never even met him and couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, so this didn’t occur to me. Duh. I suppose I could try that. And if I just get voicemail?

Yep, call him! If you get voicemail, leave a message explaining the situation — something like, “I want to make sure you received the resignation I emailed you on (date). I hadn’t heard anything back and wanted to confirm you’ve seen it. I’ll need to be taken off the schedule after (date). Please let me know you’ve received this so I don’t keep trying to reach you!”

Whenever your need to reach someone is time-sensitive and you haven’t heard back via email, try calling. Even if you’ve never met the person or spoken to them before. When one method isn’t working and time matters, always try another. (Within reason, obviously — don’t resort to showing up at their house. But a phone call should always be fairly high on the list of things to try.)

{ 252 comments… read them below }

  1. JR17*

    OP #4, does the grand boss make the class schedule? If not, can you go to whoever does to confirm they aren’t planning to schedule you after your last day?

    1. Mark*

      Yup, coming on to say the same thing. Tell whoever sets the schedule to take you off as you have resigned and your last day will be x

      1. AngryOctopus*

        Exactly. Tell them “I sent in my resignation/left a voicemail confirming my last day with X but haven’t heard back, so I wanted to make sure you knew I can’t be on the schedule after [date].”

    2. OP #4*

      The grandboss is in charge of the class schedule while this program leader position is open. However, I did find a program leader for a different area who was sympathetic to the situation and offered to take the class off the schedule for me if I don’t hear anything back.

    3. Applesauced*

      I go to a group fitness gym (rhymes with smorange) and it’s normal for coaches to make announcements at the end of class.
      Would you be comfortable telling members “I won’t be at location X after date, but I hope to see you at location Y” ?

      At least that way the people you’ve been seeing won’t think you vanished.

      1. OP #4*

        Someone suggested that below as well, and I was planning to do that too. It definitely helps with the regulars and saves those relationships. I am also really concerned about anyone showing up expecting a class and there not being an instructor. It looks bad for the site, but it’s also still my name attached to it whether I’m there or not.

        1. Zephy*

          FWIW in regards to your last point, if I showed up for a group exercise class and there was no instructor, my beef would be with the gym, not the instructor.

    1. Artemesia*

      the issue here is that while management may do this, it is not appropriate for employees to invite ex employees to an office event without authorization.

      1. MK*

        And also, this is someone who didn’t leave on good terms, no matter whose fault it was. I find OP’s surprise about how it might have been a bad idea either naive or disingenuous; even in perfectly functional workplaces, this has the potential to be awkward. And when you find yourself providing a list of justifications about why it’s ok (the event was basically over, everyone had drinks they paid for, etc), you should know it’s not as clear cut as that.

        1. Allonge*

          Yes – honestly, for our team: two people left recently, noticably not on good terms with management. Even if relations with the rest of the team were/are good, it would be really unwise to invite either of them to the company outings.

        2. engie*

          Wow, really? That’s so wild. It seemed so utterly normal to me, given the context of “local pub”, “after work hours”, and of course because nowhere it was said that she didn’t leave on good terms. It was just that her leaving was “somewhat fraught with emotion” (possibly because she had been there for a while, was loved by coworkers, and people did not see her leaving coming). That is not the same as “not leaving on good terms”. Of course it can be, but we really do not have enough information to jump to that conclusion. Immediately jumping to conclusions that this must be either disingeneous or naive is such a negative way to see other people, so quick to judge, especially when you do not know the particulars of the situation at all.

          1. KateM*

            It’s still weird for a peer not a manager to ask her, and to keep it secret from others.

            1. Erma*

              Was it a secret or just not shared? Why imply sneaky intent when she just invited her coworker friend?

          2. Ellis Bell*

            Yeah I wouldn’t classify this as bad blood, or awkward, in any way at all and would think nothing of inviting a beloved and professional ex employee to come join us at a public place after an event. At a proper event? Sure you’d get a proper invitation sorted out, but people not explicitly invited by a manager aren’t allowed to go the pub? What? I’m not saying there aren’t bosses who would be infuriated by people who had the temerity to leave a company, but they’re not doing things right or properly.

          3. doreen*

            That’s so wild. It seemed so utterly normal to me, given the context of “local pub”, “after work hours”, and of course because nowhere it was said that she didn’t leave on good terms.

            I think that depends a lot on exactly what “local pub” means – are we talking about a situation where all the employees live in a small area, and this pub was one where any of them might be hanging out on a Saturday night or is it local to the office and the employees might live anywhere within a 50 mile radius? It would be completely normal to run into a former co-worker in the former situation but not so much in the second. Which doesn’t really mean anything other than someone obviously told her about the event , and there was nothing actually wrong with that – but it does seem a bit naive to be surprised that there might be negative implications for inviting someone who left because she wasn’t happy with the change in leadership. It’s fine not to care about any negative implications – but being surprised there might be any is another story.

        3. Katie A*

          Those justifications are exactly why it was okay and why the expected drama (that didn’t happen) was surprising. She literally wasn’t invited to the actual event and no company money was spent on her.

          Not to mention it turned out it wasn’t a problem at all, so it isn’t weird or naive for the LW to think it would be fine. It was normal and perceptive.

          I’m a little surprised at some of the reactions to this post. I’m guessing the inaccurate headline (the ex-employee wasn’t actually invited to a company event) is coloring people’s perceptions. I wonder if that’s how LW1 actually described it or if it’s just an accidentally incorrect summary added by AAM.

          If that is how they describe it, they should shift their thinking to see it as what it actually was: Inviting someone to a pub where a bunch of coworkers would be hanging out.

          1. Lusara*

            Yeah, she was invited to hang out with former coworkers in a public bar after the company event was over. She was not invited to the holiday lunch as the headline says.

          2. Abundant Shrimp*

            I’m a little surprised myself. Every place I’ve worked with, we’ve always invited some of the former coworkers to happy hours and were happy if they showed up. At that point, it was essentially a happy hour. The company-sponsored event was over.

          3. Annie*

            Just echoing what you say here – I don’t find the idea of inviting a beloved ex-coworker to the post-work event drinks to be at all inappropriate.

        4. Lexi Vipond*

          I don’t know, I do think it depends on the setting. At my current work, the Christmas lunch is subsidised, and held in a place which does catered meals, and it’s arranged by the department, so you have to sign up with them, and only current employees can. But afterwards most people pile into one of the pubs on the other side of the road, and I would find it pretty weird if the department tried to say that someone else couldn’t come along to that pub on their own time, spending their own money.

          At my previous job it was arranged by the admin/IT/technical staff specifically for those staff (we did let two academics come one year, after a lot of pleading and debate, because they knew we had the best party), and held in the dining room of a local hotel – so since it already had a lounge with a bar (and there wasn’t much else around) we just moved through there.

          That’s more like the OP’s setting, but does it mean that the department (who hadn’t been involved in the organisation except to give us a free afternoon off) should have been able to control who came into the public spaces of the hotel, just because we didn’t move buildings?

          (To be fair, that one was more anarchic anyway – I don’t think we’d have taken kindly to anyone trying to control who could come to the lunch. It’s possible that what the department was really giving us was an afternoon when we were in charge!)

      2. JSPA*

        this was an office gathering in a public space, after the space had reverted to general use. There were more work people there than would otherwise be the case, but they were not eating work-provided food, drinking work-provided drinks, or using a space paid for work or still reserved for company employees. It’s darn close to penalizing someone for continuing to carpool, or continuing to come by a public ballfield for a pick-up game after the work-based “employees vs management” game is over.

        Someone’s actions would have to have been heinous or dangerous (not just sad or burnt out or cranky or inconvenient or a bit too honest) to justify that sort of “contagion” response.

      3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        She was not invited to an office event, she was invited to stop by a public place where her former co-workers would be after an office event (probably, it’s also possible the team organized it themselves and self-paid).

      4. fhqwhgads*

        I think the letter situation is a little different though, in that the invite was specifically to come after the event’s scheduled hours had ended, but to the same location. So it was less inviting the ex-employee to the event and more inviting the ex-employee to meet with them personally at a location they’d already be at due to an earlier work event. I know it may seem splitting hairs, but I do think it makes a difference here. You know? Like work event is 2-5 at Place. Meet me at Place at 6; I’ll still be there with some folks. I don’t really see how that’s inappropriate.

      5. Anonymel*

        But the employee did NOT invite the ex employee to the event; she made it clear that the corporate portion of the event was over and people were now on their own time, paying for their own drinks/food/whatever and just hanging out. IMO this is no different if she had invited her to come to a post Friday happy hour with them.

    2. Earlk*

      I think it makes sense to invite her but its also a bit strange that the LW didn’t mention it to anyone else.

      1. Thank someone I no longer work there*

        The not mentioning it is a really odd part to me. When I left a job about 5 years ago I was asked if there were any former employees I wanted invited. I would think it would be a good idea to ask the party organizer “could we ask”.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          that’s kind of where I landed – if you don’t think it would be an issue, then why would you keep it a secret.

          1. Everything Bagel*

            Was it really kept a secret or did the OP just not think to mention it? Maybe she didn’t know for sure if her friend would even come. And why does she have to get permission to tell a friend hey I’m going to be at this pub for a work party, so why don’t you meet me there after to see me and some of the old gang? The idea that someone should have to ask permission for this is a bit ridiculous.

            1. Anonymel*

              Yeah I’m with you; also she may have thought it’d be a nice surprise for the other colleagues since it sounds like they all liked the ex employee, as well. Or maybe she didn’t really have much of an opportunity between the invite and the event, but the idea that she KNEW it’d be trouble so kept it secret is silly to me, especially since she immediately said, “yeah me” when asked if she knew who’d invited her. I think the others not knowing ahead of time is a big nothing burger.

        2. Saturday*

          But ex-employee wasn’t invited to the party, so I think it would be odd to tell the organizer.

          1. Ellis Bell*

            I agree, plus…it was just a pub lunch anyway? A pub lunch which would have taken minimal “party organisation” and which was over before she got there. I think people are imagining velvet ropes and doormen, and someone gatecrashing the bar of an exclusive club. Why on earth would you need the okay to invite someone to a public place?

    3. Bunny Girl*

      Yeah I’ve been enthusiastically invited to several events from my previous employers. I left on a good note, and even thought it left them in a bit of a lurch, I wasn’t treated like a war criminal.

    4. Turquoisecow*

      Management at my company invites retirees to the summer barbecue (where they hand out service awards for line people who’ve been there 5,10, etc years) as well as the Christmas party. I don’t know if they include departed employees who’ve resigned. I haven’t seen any at the ones I’ve attended but it’s possible that none chose to attend.

  2. Heidi*

    I remember a time when the phone was the primary way to reach someone whether you knew them or not. I got in the habit of structuring my messages in the same way so that I don’t freeze at the prompt: “Hello, this is a message for [Prudence Snooter]. This is [Heidi], and I’m returning your message regarding [your offer to donate $15 million to our theater program]. When you get a chance, please call me back at [phone number]. Thank you!” Some people tell you what time they’re calling, but usually the voicemail will keep track of that.

    Also, if phoning isn’t going to work for some reason, see if the grandboss has a physical office or an inbox of some kind on the premises where you can drop off or mail the resignation letter.

      1. Annie*

        I think Alison needs to make a list of all of these AAM lore items and link to their stories! (haha, making more work for Alison, who does an amazing job already!)

      2. MigraineMonth*

        We, the commentariat, cannot allow such a name to languish forgotten in the archives.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      As an official Old, I am intrigued by how picking up the phone and calling someone has dropped out of general consciousness among the Youngs. A few years back we saw discussions about anxiety at the idea. Now it just never occurs to them.

      1. BluRae*

        It’s at least partially because, in customer service contexts at least, a lot of places don’t WANT you to call. They want you to email or use the chatbot.

        Trying to find a phone number for some companies is like a scavenger hunt now, if it even exists at all.

          1. Flor*

            Interspersed with reminders that you can find the answer to your query on the website.

            I hate phone conversations. If I’m phoning, it’s because I’ve spent half an hour going through the labyrinthine FAQ hellscape on your website and couldn’t find the answer!

            1. Knighthope*

              Exactly! Also annoying when you’ve tried resolving the issue on the website first, and you’ve been directed to call instead!

              1. BluRae*

                There should be a button you can push to turn off the automated “You can solve most problems on our website.”

                *Presses 3* Not this one, robot voice.

                I had to call the IRS to verify my identity one tax year and was unable to do so through the site and having to repeatedly listen to the recorded message telling me that it would be faster to do it through the website almost gave me a rage aneurysm.

                1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

                  Yeah. Trust me, robot, the phone is a last resort. If I could solve this problem on your website I wouldn’t be listening to you.

            2. LateRiser*

              Ugh, my dentist is the worst for this. The hold music is literally interrupted by one message after 6 seconds, then another after 8 seconds. I was so livid I timed it. And you can’t cancel appointments online, so I had to call.

            3. Trillian*

              And then there’s phoning your ISP for an outage and being told brightly, “You can find the answers to many questions on our website!”. If they’re recording during hold, I’m sure they have a recording of me growling, “Yes, I could, if my INTERNET was working.”

              1. Elitist Semicolon*

                That’s right up there with helpdesks at cell providers saying to call them from a device other than the one you’re calling about. A lot of people only have a cell phone and I’m betting the number of folks who don’t have a land line but who also have a second cell to call from is…minimal.

                (I tried calling via VoIP from my iPad once and the automated voice told me it couldn’t find the number I was calling from and then hung up on me.)

            4. WeirdChemist*

              Gah, there’s a website that I need to get documentation of certain materials from for work, and occasionally the documents won’t be on their website. So on the page that says “document not found” I will click on the link for an electronic request for the document. And every time they send it, the email includes a blurb of “Did you know all of this information is easily accessible on our website?”

              IF I COULD FIND IT ON YOUR WEBSITE I WOULDN’T HAVE SENT THE REQUEST. Do they think I really wanted to wait an extra 3 days to get the documents?? Plus the only way to access the link for the document request is through trying and failing to find the document on their website??? Grinds my gears every time lol

        1. Deejay*

          While others absolutely insist on only communicating by phone even when my hard-of-hearing father begs to be allowed to take it to email.

          I’ve had many three-way conversations where I’ve had to be his ears because of this.

          1. ScruffyInternHerder*

            Granted, it’s probably the industry I’m in, but if someone is insisting on phone only, I’m assuming that they’re trying to pull something “not in writing”.

            1. Clementine*

              >>pull something “not in writing”.
              This is definitely how some operate, especially with sensitive legal issues. If you are in this situation, then you’ll know when it’s appropriate to use phone only.

              If they are just trying to be weasel-ish about deliverables, then be sure to state upfront that you’ll be summarizing the call in an email afterwards.

            2. JustaTech*

              When my father in law ran his small business he hated to write emails, mostly because he can barely type (he’s from back when “typing is for girls”).
              So he sent a lot of emails that said “call me”.
              Which is all fine until someone wants to sue you and can use all those “call me” emails to claim that you were hiding things when really you just think better verbally rather than typing.

        2. Applesauced*

          This is very true and reminds me of the letter writer earlier this week who assembled the Rolodex of direct numbers and contacts.

          This context (forever hold and bots on the phone) makes that info seem more valuable.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          I personally love the “For troubleshooting help, visit our website” message when my PC won’t connect with the internet.

      2. KateM*

        Back when you (and I) were young, calling meant calling a landline. You could pretty well assume that if you happen to call outside business hours or when the person is busy, your call will go unanswered and skin off of nobody’s nose. Now it is mobile phones and I always wonder if I am not calling during an unsuitable time. Should I call them during work hours? But maybe I should call them AFTER work hours? Are they not driving? As a recipient, as there were no fast-but-asynchronous ways of contact back then, once could always think that the call is not that urgent and not answer – but now that there are other ways, calling is for when email or text is not fast enough, and that means emergency, so I would pretty much always answer a call (or call back at first possibility). So even though I am Old like you, my attitude towards calling has definitely changed.

        1. Erma*

          I never answer calls, especially if I don’t know the number. I’m not adverse to calls, there just so much spam to sift through. If you just paid your taxes or bought a house, lord and butter, the spam doesn’t stop.

          But I will call back, especially if a message is left. (I think that puts me in a tiny minority — wanting the voicemail.)

          But my phone is on silent almost always anyway, so I will not see your email/text/call/Instagram DM for a few hours.

          1. Baunilha*

            I’ve been getting a lot of spam recently even in my voicemail.
            But even if I’m expecting a call or recognize the number calling, there’s a good chance I won’t pick up because I’m driving, or in a meeting, or something like that. So I totally understand not resorting to calling first.

          2. Bee*

            Right, this is why I don’t think of calling people I don’t know well to solve problems: no one answers the phone anymore, because (with rare exceptions for people with jobs like real estate) 90% of the calls coming in are spam.

            I’m also one of the weirdos who wants a voicemail! I’m only going to call you back if I know who you are.

          3. Communication*

            It’s amazing how many people don’t leave voice messages and even with work there was an issue of Reps calling but not leaving a message. Having a proof I called and left Voicemails has saved my but from people who blame IT for their problems issues but never pick up the phone or answer emails, IM, or carrier pigeons. I would try Smoke signals but HR says it’s a fire hazard.

          4. Modesty Poncho*

            I’m the same way – if you don’t leave a voicemail, I assume it was spam or unimportant. If you leave one, I’ll listen to it and call you back. But I don’t answer unknown numbers anymore.

        2. Antilles*

          I don’t think you need to worry about “unsuitable times”. Even though it’s a mobile phone, if you’re calling for business purposes and they list their phone as a means of contact, then it’s reasonable to call them during normal business hours. If they happen to be driving or in a meeting or whatever, then that’s on them to not pick up the phone.

          This is especially true in OP’s case because well, OP already tried email and boss didn’t respond. If you didn’t want a call on your phone, well, that one’s your own darn fault for not checking your email / taking 30 seconds to send a “okay, we’ll remove you from schedule, thanks” reply.

        3. Lusara*

          I disagree, although it’s likely because of the number of calls I get in a typical day. Very few of them are actually urgent, and I don’t answer if it’s inconvenient.

          What I really hate is the expectation of “you saw my call so you’ll call back, I don’t need to leave a message.” Nope. Maybe with close friends/family, but anyone else, especially numbers not in my contacts (which are a lot of my calls), I don’t call back if you don’t leave a message, or send a text in lieu of a VM.

          I also hate when I leave a VM for someone with whatever info I need to tell them so they don’t need to call back, and they don’t listen to it and just call back because they see the missed call. It’s such a waste of my time.

          But what I hate most of all is when I don’t answer a call and the person calls back a second or even a third time thinking that will show how urgent it is and I’ll answer. Nope, if I couldn’t answer it the first time, I’m still too busy to answer the second or third one. And I’m not going to answer the second or third one just on general principle. If you can’t bother to leave a VM telling me what’s so effing urgent, then I’m going to take my time calling you back.

          1. Observer*

            But what I hate most of all is when I don’t answer a call and the person calls back a second or even a third time thinking that will show how urgent it is and I’ll answer

            That’s not as stupid as it sounds. Many phones can be set to allows people to break through DND if they call twice in a row. I have my phone set that way, because while I have a *short* list people’s numbers, I have a situation or two where someone else could be calling on behalf of someone that I need to answer or someone winds up calling from someone else’s phone.

            1. Lusara*

              These are people calling me for work issues during the day when there there is no reason to think I would have do not disturb on.

          2. Orv*

            With my family if they called and didn’t leave voice mail I’d assume it was a butt dial. But people in my family universally hate the phone. My mom hates it most of all, and she grew up in the phone era.

          3. Aqyaphor*

            “ But what I hate most of all is when I don’t answer a call and the person calls back a second or even a third time thinking that will show how urgent it is and I’ll answer.”

            I’ve had some very pushy recruiters do this and it irks the heck out of me. They’re legit recruiters but they’re hellbent on these old-school, pushy car salesmen techniques for some reason. And they don’t care if you tell them that this maybe isn’t the best way to go about business. So now I just try to avoid any and all recruiters because I can’t tell anymore which ones are legitimate, which ones are legitimate but scuzzy like the above example, and which are just outright scammers.

        4. Daisy-dog*

          I think if someone has given you their cell number in a business context, you can assume they have set some type of limitations in place to ensure they are not talking at the wrong times. Sure, there are people who don’t, but that is on *them* for not doing that rather than you, the person using a phone number that was provided to you. Maybe don’t call in the middle of the night just to be safe though.

          Now, if someone else has given you someone’s cell number, take more caution. Maybe try texting.

        5. Peach Parfaits Pls*

          It doesn’t matter when you call; if it’s an unsuitable time they will not answer. If you leave a voicemail they’ll know it’s legit and call back.

      3. DJ Abbott*

        I’m old too and I had plenty of anxiety around phone calls back then. As a young adult dealing with abusive parents and chronic health issues, I was afraid to answer the phone or call a stranger because I might get yelled at. Or worse, there were obscene phone calls from predators. I never took a job where I had to call strangers because I not only didn’t have the skills, I couldn’t handle it emotionally. This was before caller ID, and it was terrifying. As well as the fact that anyone could look up your name in a book and see where you lived.
        Texting is so much easier! My sibling and I text almost every day, and we don’t have to think about whether the other person is available to talk in the moment. We just do it whenever the mood strikes us.

        1. Snoodence Pruter*

          Yep, another old here and I have hated phone calls my entire life. Living in the future with text-based communication is great, I don’t even care that I never got my flying car.

          1. starsaphire*

            I’m an Old too, and, saaaame. I associate the phone with two things:

            1) Being yelled at
            2) Being stalked

            All my friends and family know to never call me. I never answer, and my voicemail is deliberately disabled. And I would rather have an un-anaesthetized root canal than spend another five minutes in a call center.

            (And yes, I’m the generation of Old that remembers how exciting it was when the household phone could be mounted – get this – on the WALL instead of sitting on a table in the living room!!!)

            1. DJ Abbott*

              Yes, wall phones so exciting! :D And in pretty colors like pink!
              I thought they were so cool, but my parents were never willing to get one.
              Speaking of being stalked, I had a couple of calls recently from the health insurance marketplace, which I last looked at in 2021. I had to block their number-which we couldn’t do in the old days.
              Around that time I accidentally put my number in an insurance site and got 20 calls in a few seconds. It was horrifying. If young people have had experiences like that, they’re fully justified in being afraid of the phone.
              And don’t get me started on politicians that spam phones. Even back in the 90s I never gave my number out, and I have been fully justified in that too.

            2. Lbd*

              I was confused by wall mounted as an improvement on sitting on a table, because I remember our old heavy black phone attached to the wall in the hallway, and standing next to it to talk. Phones in colour that allowed use in a comfortable position came much later!
              I really like the Abba song “Ring Ring Ring”, simply for the line “I stare at the phone on the wall”, at which point I laugh and picture a cell phone taped onto a wall and a confused group of young’uns standing around staring at it!

        2. Bitte Meddler*

          Another Old here. I was fine calling people on the phone until late into my IT sales career. The first 15 years I was out in the field and only calling people to set up face-to-face meeting times.

          But the last almost 10 years I was an inside sales person and spent 7+ hours a day on the phone.

          Here’s how much I loathe the phone now: I bought something for $27 and the post office misdelivered it and can’t get it back. I was able to handle that part online and via email. But now I need to contact the company I bought the thing from and get a refund and –I swear — *not* calling them is worth $27 to me.

      4. OP #4*

        I am actually an Old, but I get anxious around phones and will go out of my way to avoid cold calls. That’s probably why it didn’t occur to me to call (also, I checked, and the phone number in his signature is the general site number, so there’s no direct line). He does have a physical office, but it was dark and closed the last time I walked by it.

        1. Lusara*

          What would have happened if you called and asked the receptionist or whoever answered to speak to him? They would probably put you into his VM. Or maybe they are able to transfer to his cell, I work with a lot of places that do that because people are working out in the field.

      5. Justme, The OG*

        I’m an Old and I would rather an unmedicated root canal than call someone most of the time.

        1. Kivrin*

          I have a theory that my attention is already so divided because of the way we live/ work now with so many screens/ sources of incoming info that I find it harder to switch gears into whatever the phonecaller might want than I did years ago. (I’m almost 60). At any given moment while I’m working I might have incoming notifications from whatsapp, texts, Slack, my calendar or email (or zoom chat) — I’m already triaging those plus trying to, you know, think. So if the phone actually rings, I’m mentally trying to decide if I NEED to answer it (could my doc be calling me back? is it about the car I brought in to service?) or whether it’s going to be another blocked number that is actually a scam. So my focus is already on shaky ground — if you are now calling to talk about something that I wasn’t mentally prepared to switch gears to, you are not going to get my best self, so I likely won’t answer.

        2. I Have RBF*

          Me too.

          I used to love to talk to my friends on the phone, and though nothing of just calling them up. But cold calls? After having worked an outbound call center hell job? Please, just do the root canal.

      6. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Well, besides the personal preference for email or other text messages over phone calls, if I call and leave a voicemail or even reach a person, I have no record of that. If I can email or text, I have a record of what I said and when. Even if I’m filling out a web form, I’ll copy the text before I submit it 1) for my records, and 2) because I’ve had one too many forms reject a field and blank other fields when giving me an error, or something similar. So while I will do it when I have to, I really have to be driven by circumstances to make a phone call.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          I make a lot of calls in my job and always make a note “Left VM [date]”. This is good for internal records, and my understanding is notes like these can also be used for legal purposes.

      7. History Nerd*

        I now use different types of communication based on things like what I want to convey, how urgent it is, and whether it’s “on the record” or not, but it took me years to learn the nuances. Even growing up in the pre-Internet era, I didn’t always know that it could be more efficient to just call someone. This should be a part of training, especially for jobs where those differences really matter.

      8. Bossy*

        Yes, it’s quite hilarious. The act like calling someone is the same as showing up on the doorstep unannounced. Which it is not, just to be clear lol.

          1. Allonge*

            Every single way of making contact is intrusive – if someone does not respond on one channel, others will be used.

            1. Clisby*

              And there’s no obligation to answer a phone call (or a knock on the door). I want to go back to upper-middle-class Victorian times when my butler could just tell visitors I wasn’t at home, and everybody understood that I might or might not have been physically at home – but I was not receiving visitors.

      9. FG*

        Same. I’m an introvert & love my text & email & web chat (with a live person). But there are times when a phone call is really what’s needed. It is a point of puzzlement & amusement that it is so far out of the norm for The Youth that it isn’t even considered an option. It’s not that big a deal, people! You might not prefer it and it might cause anxiety but that’s because you never do it! Like any other unfamiliar task, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

        What amuses me is when there’s some trend or techbro “brilliant idea” where they figure out how to use a messaging program or something for voice comms. And what do you think Face Time, Teams, etc. are? Phone calls with pictures!

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I made a living calling up random strangers out of the blue, trying to get people who had never heard of me to talk to me, and most people are cool with it; you just need to be polite and respectful and consider what’s in it for them. People’s concerns about “cold calling” are valid but there’s ways to address these fears and still get a much needed phone call done:
          1) If you think people might prefer a text or email by all means try that first. You can mention that you might try calling so they can expect the call.
          2) Don’t call super early or super late, but in general let people be in charge of when they want to accept calls.
          3) Leave a voicemail if you can’t get through (write out your message and practice if you’re not great at them.) 4) Don’t call back repeatedly, give them a chance to check their voicemail and try to call from a number that shows up and looks legit 5) When you get through, apologize for bothering them, summarise why you need to call and ask if they have a minute to chat. It will probably be fine!!

          1. Clisby*

            And (6) when I politely answer, “Sorry, my phone is only for personal calls” and hang up, do not call me back to tell me I was rude. If by chance you are fundraising, your organization will never get a penny from me. This is a job for the postal service.

      10. Anonymel*

        My son is 34. I’ll occasionally call him about something and almost invariably at the end of our call, he’ll say, “Y’know you could’ve just texted this to me.”

        1. I Have RBF*

          My mother is 82. She will call me when she needs something because she is going blind and has a hard time with text. She was also vaccinated with a phonograph needle, and it’s a miracle if I can get her off the phone in under an hour. But her number is in my contacts, so I know it’s her.

      11. Lydia*

        I, too, am an Official Old and I will always email/text before calling. Calling is my absolute last-ditch effort to get a hold of someone.

    2. Nonanon*

      I think part of the “generation gap” between calls and emails is related to the prevalence of spam callers as well. I work remote and use my cell phone instead of a “real phone;” if a client were to call me and not leave a message, I would assume they’re a spam caller. Similarly, if a client calls our HQ, requests a callback, and their request gets redirected to me, the caller ID won’t show up as Snooter Foundation for the Arts, so there’s a chance the client will assume it’s a spam call (I do at least leave a message).

      There also may be fewer people dedicated to being on the phone in general; I had to call my doctor’s office to discuss an atypical side effect of a medication I’m on (I’m PROBABLY fine, but it’s one of those just left of center things they advised checking on) to find out that there were FIFTEEN callers ahead of me… because there was ONE front desk worker, who was in charge of scheduling, redirecting calls, and checking patients in/answering their questions. (This was AFTER a message to the patient portal confirmed I needed an as soon as possible in-person visit; if the portal had said “fine” or gave me other options to exhaust, those would have been my first steps)

  3. Adam*

    I’m job hunting right now and #3 is so so common. Pro tip, though: you can just say no. I just tell recruiters I don’t want to meet after the intro call and then I don’t meet with them. One of them in particular is very annoyed at this, but they can’t force me to meet them.

    1. Allonge*


      It’s also ok to say you cannot talk right after the interview, or simply not to pick up the phone. Remember, recruiters don’t work for you, so you don’t owe them unlimited time, certainly not on their timeline.

    2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      OP3, listen to this. Interviewing is a 2-way street. It’s not you auditioning to take any job available, even if you hate it. Your opinion matters.

      Separately, I perceive your stress about job-hunting is overwhelming you. This type of question from a recruiter is a standard part of the process. If this is setting you off, please consider what other normal parts of recruiting are doing the same. You don’t want this negative emotionality to impact your communications with those who can hire you.

      1. OP3*

        Yes! I am incredibly stressed about this entire process all the time! It was obviously set up by and for extroverts, and I am very much not one. I can intellectually recognize that things like “wanting to chat more than necessary over the phone” is actually a sign of respect in their culture, but it still makes my skin crawl.

        1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

          I get it. I’m actually an introvert and took years to learn. One thing to bear in mind is that in most organizations, extroversion tends to be more prevalent as you rise up in the hierarchy. You don’t need to be an extrovert, but understand that most systems are set up by them. If you can learn a few “tricks” (e.g., always start with a nice greeting, learn to say one positive thing when asked, and above all, smile), that’s usually enough to get by. In this case, just say “thanks for asking; I thought it went well”. That’s often enough.

        2. Allonge*

          I would not take this as about culture or introversion / extroversion.

          The recruiter wants something from you for their job: in this moment it’s information on how the interview went which can hint at how close they are to selling you to this place.

          None of this is your problem. It really is ok to leave the call unanswered. You are not getting any useful info out of them at this point – you have the latest piece of the puzzle. Text them that you cannot speak for the next [time period, e.g. 3 hours]. Take what time you need to get back to normal breathing patterns and calm-ish thoughts. They will call you back later.

          1. grump*

            lol @ the idea that extroverts like interviewing! Showing up to get surprised with questions and then judged by an entire panel of people on your answers is not fun for *anyone*

            While I’m at it, no one just walks into a networking event where they know no one, and has a blast! These things are hard for introverts because they’re hard for (basically) everyone.

            I’m not sure why these ideas bug me so much, but they sure do.

        3. Obnoxious Recruiter*

          As a recruiter, I ask candidates how they feel about interviews for a number of reasons. Did you like the hiring manager? Did you get a good sense of team/company culture? With the additional context you’ve gotten from the interview does the job still seem like a good fit? Did the interviewer say anything weird or inappropriate (because that occasionally happens and I want to know)? Do you have any lingering questions or concerns?

          Recruiting is a lot like matchmaking. I’m not going to place someone in a role they’re on the fence about. There’s a high likelihood they’ll leave quickly, and that damages my relationship with both a client and a candidate I presumably want to work with again. And, believe it or not, plenty of recruiters actually care about the candidate experience. Everyone complains about the lack of communication from recruiters, which is totally valid. But is following up for a basic pulse check also wrong?

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I wish the recruiters I’ve worked with were like you. Only one of them ever got me an interview, and it was for a sketchy place offering 10k below the lower end of my salary band and requiring regular overnight on-call shifts. She pressured me to do an interview with them despite this, then got angry with me when I declined their offer.

            I’m still amazed the place made me an offer after I asked them about all the fraud and racial discrimination lawsuits they’d lost and how they’d changed their business practices to be less of a scam (spoiler: not at all!).

          2. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and one fell out*

            I wish the recruiters I’ve worked with were like you. The last recruiter I worked with got mad at me when I accepted another offer, which we all know is just normal business. He tried to use my answers to the “how did it go” question in the letter to convince me to take the offer he’d brokered. But in a self-defeating, accusatory way. “What about all that stuff you said about wanting to learn new things? I thought you said you liked the teammates?” etc. in an incredulous tone.

          3. Recruitee*

            I’ve worked with recruiters in the past and have had wonderful experiences. A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold. I have especially found them helpful as someone with severe imposter syndrome. They put me forward for roles that I wouldn’t consider myself qualified for and are able to pitch to me companies in a different light than I would probably pitch myself. The key to a good working relationship with your recruiter is trust. Understanding their motivations (yes, this is a business transaction, but it’s bad for all parties involved if they push for me to get hired to a role that’s a bad fit) helped me build that trust.

            As someone who landed the absolute perfect job through the help of a recruiter (a job I never would have considered myself qualified for and a job which I absolutely love and thrive in), I want to thank Obnoxious Recruiter for what they do. Matchmaking is a great comparison and I’m glad I had guidance and someone who wasn’t a family member or friend to talk through the entire journey.

          1. Clisby*

            I don’t think so, either. I’m an introvert and I’d expect a recruiter to ask followup questions about how an interview went.

        4. RagingADHD*

          Getting jobs and having successful interviews has nothing to do with being an introvert or an extrovert. Plenty of introverts can excel in an interview situation, and plenty of extroverts have crippling social or performance anxiety.

          It also has nothing to do with performative “signs of respect.” The recruiters need information from you in order to do their jobs, and part of the information most people need in this context includes nonverbal cues that don’t come through over text.

          By the way, reading nonverbal cues has nothing to do with introversion or extroversion either. Many introverts are excellent at it, because they observe people and are sensitive to subtle changes in tone or expression.

          I think you have a lot of very fixed narratives in your mind about who you are and what you are capable of because of X or Y immutable quality. I’m sure you’re correct about your preferences or traits, but the idea that they make it impossible for you to adapt or thrive is false, and I encourage you to stop beating yourself over the head with a self-limiting narrative that taking necessary actions to improve your life (like job hunting) must forever be torture because of these labels you put on yourself.

        5. $20000 on a hammer*

          For OP3:
          Plus 10 points for recognizing that you’re reading too much into this because you’re worried about job hunting. We’ve all been there and it’s important to realize when those feelings can make us turn molehills into mountains.

          But MINUS 20 points for super cliched (to the point of “you really should know better by now”) trope of not actually know the definitions of “extrovert” and “introvert.” Honey, no. Come on, now. Framing these interviews (and the whole job hunt process) like this is not going to help especially when you’re acting like “wanting to chat over the phone” is some huge, torturous ask that you need medication for. Like, damn.

        6. Lucia Pacciola*

          That might be anxiety. I’m plenty introverted, but I can still be social. It’s just draining for me, and I need alone time to recharge. My sister is the opposite, she needs social interaction to recharge.

          What makes my skin crawl in social situations is anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication helps me take a phone call or present a status report without panicking, but I still need alone time to recharge. One of the most liberating things I’ve learned about myself in the past ten years or so is that being an introvert doesn’t mean being socially cursed.

        7. Trick or Treatment*

          As a fellow introvert – you can learn to be convincingly communicative in your work life through practice, and it doesn’t mean you have to change who you are. So don’t let this freak you out too much. It’s an uncomfortable situation for anyone to be job-seeking!

          As for your situation: you know, I also get this from internal (not third-party) recruiters, and I think it’s just their way of getting a feel for your thoughts on the job, the interviewers, the process. Try to brush it off mentally, and don’t feel pressured to say too much. Honestly, I just say one or two sentences like “Oh, I think it went well and I really liked what the interviewers told me about the role. Hope it works out.” or even “I was a bit nervous and I hope that didn’t show negatively, because I’d like the role” – this has always satisfied these questions for me.

          Personal experience last week: I had a final interview on a Thursday and they had told me they would make a decision early next week. On Friday the recruiter calls me to ask how I felt about it, so I gave a general positive response with a “hope they felt the same way” vibe, and then she launched into verbally confirming they’d like to offer me the role. I know she was just trying to get my feel if I’d still be interested, but of course in my head it was more “Why didn’t you lead with that??”

          Bottom line is – try to not take it too seriously, it’s their casual way to get a vibe chat, and you don’t have to get too deep and personal.

    3. ThatGirl*

      That seems a smidge rude to me, depending on the recruiter, but it’s certainly your prerogative. I tend to stick to emails as much as possible.

      That said, it absolutely is a two-way street. I recently got recruited for a role, after two interviews I decided I wasn’t ready to leave my current job, and let the recruiter know. The whole point was for me to decide as much as for them.

    4. Golden*

      I feel like recruiting has gotten really “high touch” recently, or maybe it’s just because I’m at a higher level now? I’m in three interview streams right now, two of which started with video calls with the recruiter instead of just a phone call. Calling before and after the interviews seems standard, and one has been texting me “you go girl” type messages before each interview. Is this a new thing?

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        Not new, no.

        I don’t even let them phone call me until I know more about the job, btw. Let’s get the super-basic stuff out of the way, like location & rate & remote-or-not. We can do that in 2 minutes each via email but it would take at least 10 minutes on the phone.

  4. Forrest*

    LW3, “how do you think it went?” is always my first question if I’m reviewing someone or giving feedback. But that’s because I’ll about to give formative feedback, and irs useful for me to know whether their impressions match mine and what particular areas they want feedback on! It’s not necessary in a situation where “pass/fail” is at stake, you’re waiting for that information, and you don’t want to risk saying something that might tip the conversation towards “fail”.

    I think interviewers do it because they feel it should be part of the question, but I hate it too because it’s not a situation where you can answer honestly, and you just want to get through that as quickly as possible to find out YES or NO. It’s really ridiculous!

    1. sparkle emoji*

      Yeah, as someone w/ experience on the recruiter side, one reason they ask is because its important to know if the client and the candidate are a complete mismatch on how they think it went. If you want to do that check in through email or text, ask for that.

    2. Daisy-dog*

      It really does make sense in most situations.

      Though I once had a situation where I was immediately rejected after walking out of an interview. The recruiter called me and opened by asking how I thought it went. I said I thought it went pretty good and I was interested in learning more. That’s when she got to tell me, “They actually decided to go another way….” (It’s fine, I ended up with a company that was really good for me! But man was that a bummer. Especially because it was the morning and I still had to go to work.)

  5. Roeslein*

    I’m confused about #3. You might no longer be interested after the conversation, and surely the recruiter would want to know that before they speak to their client? I am hiring currently and plenty of people drop of out the interview process after finding out more about the role (say, it involves more sales than they were hoping for, despite stating these clearly in the ad.). These days I find even interviews where no recruiter is involved tend to end with “let us know if you still want to move forward” as opposed to “we’ll discuss and let you know” – which makes sense to me (as some who has been on both sides of the tables) since why should managers spend time meeting to discuss next steps if the candidate is not interested.

    1. Catwhisperer*

      I get it, because it’s asking the candidate to put more time and energy into the process that they might not have bandwidth for. Interviews are stressful, I always need a break to decompress afterwards. And when that’s done I usually have to go straight back to work.

      I think it’s also important that OP mentions it’s happening after technical interviews, which are usually an on-screen test to judge the candidate’s skill level at using code to solve specific issues. I’ve done a few and the last thing you want to do right after is get on the phone and talk to another person about it, because unless you completely failed there’s not really a good way to assess if you’ve done well. There’s also usually no time to ask questions, so it’s not like you’re getting information as a candidate that could help you determine whether you want to move forward.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        But even technical interviews include non-technical components. When I conduct them, I want to know if the candidate feels comfortable, can handle a tough question under stress, can take the next step on their own, etc. It’s still valid for the candidate to reflect on how the interview went.

          1. bamcheeks*

            Yes, this is the thing. If ability to self-reflect is one of the things you’re actually recruiting for, that’s valid and useful but you should have a formal structure for that, whether it’s a debrief conversation with the recruiter / interviewer or a written answer. It should be done within the context of the test, not whilst the candidate is waiting to find out whether they’ve been moved to the next stage. Proper self-reflection requires time, trust and rapport, and it’s not something anyone can do on the fly when they’re distracted by waiting to hear whether they’re going to be moved forward. You’re going to get a bland, “oh, not too bad, I thought maybe I should have said a bit more about my experience with llama training but um”, because the candidate wants to move the conversation forward to the critical part.

          2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

            Yes—because the recruiter influences how the employer thinks. The recruiter can help the candidacy by saying the candidate felt positive or found the interview interesting. All feedback impacts the decision—not just what happens in a 30-60 minute conversation. This is part of the process.

            Here’s an example: two candidates perform equally well in a technical interview. The recruiter for one says their candidate had no further feedback. The recruiter for the second says their candidate found the second question to be particularly interesting since they faced that situation before. Candidate #2 is probably now ahead of candidate #1.

            1. Catwhisperer*

              I am glad that I usually respond with no further feedback in most cases, then, because I would not want to work for an employer that expected me to be that emotionally invested in a job. If that’s your priority, seems like you’re screening for candidates who tell you what you want to hear instead of candidates who can do the job well.

              1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

                Sorry to disagree, but hearing someone finds a potential work situation interesting is not, to me, being emotionally invested. It can be a sign of whether someone will stick around the job for a while because they find it engaging.

                1. Catwhisperer*

                  Then why are you not asking them that directly in the interview itself, instead of expecting them to intuit that you want them to tell that to the recruiter? When you don’t make your expectations clear up-front and instead rely on candidates just knowing things, you’re likely screening out people whose background don’t match yours via unconsious bias. And I don’t think I’ve ever read any piece of advice to jobseekers that recommends the level of transparency you seem to want. Why would a candidate shoot themselves in the foot during an interview process if they’re not feeling 100% confident? We all need to work to eat.

                  Looking at the post comments overall, it seems like hiring managers are in favor of this question because it gives them more information but jobseekers are against it because it requires more investment in a job that’s not even paying them. I think it’s worth examining the power dynamics at play here and how they uphold the status quo.

                2. bamcheeks*

                  I think this is a valid thing to screen for, but if you’re serious about it, then telling candidates that you’ll have a debrief session after the technical interview to go over their performance and how they found the test *and that this will constitute part of the assessment* is going to get you better results. What you’re currently screening for is “people who are extroverted enough to process that stuff out loud”, which is probably not what you want. Lots of people won’t give that kind of feedback not because they’re not thinking it but because they are task-focussed, nervous and /or trying not to babble.

                3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

                  Then you should screen for that *in the interview* rather than relying on a third party to relay the information.

            2. Allonge*

              Can it wait like 3 hours after the interview though? I personally don’t have my thoughts together right after one in any case!

      2. Ess Ess*

        I can easily understand asking after a technical interview. That’s when OP would find out that they are expecting different levels of skill than OP expected, or completely different skills than originally discussed in the earlier interviews. Or something about the people OP interacted with had soured OP on working for that company.

        Talking to the recruiter first, they can raise questions with the company if something went less smoothly than expected during the technical interview.

    2. Analyst*

      Yikes. If you want to know or get a candidates self assessment after a technical interview, ask the candidate directly. I had a job where I’d done a tech exercise and submitted it before an interview, and they just…asked for my assessment of how I’d done during the interview.

      Don’t conduct your interview via an intermediate, talk to the candidate.

      Also, stop expecting candidates to spend so much time and energy telling you how awesome your job is and how interested they are (presumably they did this during the interview, now you want another meeting right after? When you might be cutting them anyhow?). You’re not employing them and may never, they’re applying to dozens of jobs and they’re not committed to you at this stage. Stop expecting candidate to perform enthusiasm.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Job seekers may not feel they can be fully candid with an interviewer, or they may need time to reflect for a minute. You can tell the recruiter “I thought the hiring manager was a little aggressive” or “I didn’t get good vibes from HR” or other things you may not want to say directly to someone interviewing you!

        In my experience this mostly happens with third-party recruiters who are helping manage the process, and they genuinely want to know if a candidate is still interested and invested in the job. Knowing how the candidate really felt and translating that for them can help companies determine whether someone is a good fit. I don’t really understand why having enthusiasm for a job is a bad thing; if you don’t have any, then it’s probably not the right job!

        1. Orv*

          Really? I always assumed anything I said to a recruiter was likely to get back to the employer. That’s who they’re working for, after all.

      2. Lydia*

        I think a lot of folk spend a lot more emotional energy on wanting things to be just so than they would answering a recruiter’s normal question.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      I think the open-ended question “how do you think it went?” lands very differently from, say “are you still interested after that?”
      To the interviewee in the letter, they’re interpreting the question as “tell me how you think you did at this interview where the purpose was for someone else to evaluate you.” Lands wrong and irks the LW.
      If the recruiter instead asked “do you have any concerns about the position at this point? are you still interested?” then the LW would know the point of the question was the two-way-street aspect of interviews, not asking them to guess at what other people thought of them.

  6. Brain the Brian*

    To be fair, LW2, I’m not sure excessive belching would even register with me. I have a good friend with pretty severe GERD, and it’s so normal to me. I’m not everyone, of course, but your new staff are not going to mind if you’re just up front about your situation with them (and if they do mind, that’s on them — not you). Don’t overthink it.

    1. jane's nemesis*

      ha, it’s me, I’m the friend with the severe GERD (not your friend, just a friend in general) and I’m so relieved to hear it may not register with people – I feel terrible that if I’m having a GERD flare, I’m always burping at people! (No matter how hard I try to quiet it, there’s still usually an audible internal rumble.)

      1. I Would Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        Mine is worst at night when I am trying to sleep. Luckily for my colleagues, unluckily for my partner.

    2. BPT*

      Yeah as long as people are keeping their mouth closed to burp so it isn’t a huge bellowing sound every few minutes, I wouldn’t even notice.

    3. LW2*

      Thanks, that’s helpful! I have never been much of a burper at all, unless I chugged a soda, so this is all new to me. I just sit at my desk and belch quietly all day long, so it’s good to know that most people probably won’t register it. However, I will also be mid-sentence and have to stop for a minute – “am I going to vomit?” I think to myself. “Deep breath in, deep breath out… nope, just a burp.”

      1. Observer*

        Yeah. Just let people know that you have a medical issue that’s being handled, but for the foreseeable future this is likely to happen. But do it organically – you don’t need to make an announcement, more like it happens in a conversation, you say “excuse me” then at the end of the conversation you use a script like Alison’s. And you’re good.

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Gas-X (OTC anti-gas medication) works extremely well for me when I’m burping, FWIW. Different mechanism from antacids.

        1. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and one fell out*

          Does gas-x work for noisy intestines? I was in a 1 PM meeting recently and I was worried people couldn’t hear each other over my digestion noises. Everyone just pretended it wasn’t happening, which I believe is the proper etiquette.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            I’m sure no one noticed (or cared, if they did). We all have intestines, and ours each sound way louder to us than even someone sitting right next to us.

        2. Brain the Brian*

          FWIW, this may be on the list of conflicting meds with whatever the LW is taking. Only they know that, of course, but just a flag.

      3. Christina*

        If it’s similar to the med I’m on (once a week injectable) the side effects will also go down as your body gets used to the dose–when I first started I was taking gas-x, pepto bismol, zofran, etc daily, and now I haven’t needed any of them in well over a month. Definitely recommend gas-x though, it does help and the slight minty flavor is soothing

      4. Brain the Brian*

        That pause in a sentence is that natural time to bring it up for the first time. After it passes: “Sorry about that! I’m taking some temporary medication that makes me have to burp a lot. This’ll be my blanket ‘excuse me’ so I don’t waste our time saying it over and over. Now, back to [topic at hand].” Simple, breezy, matter of fact.

    4. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah if it’s a quiet thing I probably wouldn’t notice unless like I was sitting right next to them and it was super quiet and I wasn’t focused on my own work. I’m assuming it’s not a huge BBUUUUURRRPP, Barney Gumble style (or louder) that rattles the windows and shakes my monitor. That would certainly be more distracting.

      1. Elitist Semicolon*

        That Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin belches and when his mother chastises him with “what do you say?” he goes “must be a barge coming through!”

      2. Brain the Brian*

        My friend’s GERD belched often are of the window-rattling type, but I’m so used to them now that it doesn’t register. Whatever variety the LW’s are, I’m sure their new employees will get similarly used to them. Truly, it will not be a big deal.

  7. Rosacolleti*

    #3 this question baffles me. As soon as I’ve finished interviewing someone, the first thing I do is to call the agent and ask for the candidates feedback! If the candidate didn’t speak to the recruiter straight after I’d assume they had little interest in the role.

    My advice would to be open about how you actually felt it went. Did you feel you performed to the best of your ability? If not, was there a reason you’d like taken into consideration?
    Also say whether you had good vibes about the org/ role – all this can have a huge impact on the decision of who gets a second interview.
    And don’t forget, the recruiter might have you in mind for other roles so even if that one doesn’t ring your bell, the more info they have on you the better.

    1. Catwhisperer*

      RE: Not speaking the recruiter right away = not being interested, I’m wondering if that’s a common perception amongst hiring managers? Since most people are interviewing while also working full time, it doesn’t seem fair to expect candidates to take extra time on interview days to follow up with the recruiter. Personally, I also wouldn’t want to set the expectation with an employer that their needs supersede my other obligations. Reaching out to the recruiter for immediate updates also goes against advice that Alison has given to candidates, specifically that candidates should wait a week or two to hear back before following up.

    2. ecnaseener*

      If the candidate didn’t speak to the recruiter straight after I’d assume they had little interest in the role.

      Oh, please don’t do that. Maybe the candidate has something else in their schedule right after the interview. Maybe they just want to collect their thoughts before talking to the recruiter.

    3. KateM*

      “As soon as I’ve finished interviewing someone, the first thing I do is to call the agent and ask for the candidates feedback! If the candidate didn’t speak to the recruiter straight after I’d assume they had little interest in the role.”

      You mean, if you were faster calling the agent than the person you interviewed? You are calling as soon as you have finished…

    4. OP3*

      TBH, usually after technical interviews I’m so sure I’ve bombed that I feel like it would come off as un-self-aware to talk about moving forward, which would hurt my chances with that recruiter. (Which is why it would be REALLY GREAT if they could start by telling me what THEY thought of ME)

      1. ecnaseener*

        Since you asked for scripts in your original letter, what I would say to the recruiter in that situation is “it was difficult! I’m sure I didn’t do perfect, we’ll just have to wait and see I guess!”

        But I don’t think it’ll come across as un-self-aware to talk about next steps if the recruiter wants to talk about them.

          1. Gnome*

            I wouldn’t say that. It would come off as off putting and as if you aren’t up for the job. Maybe go with, “It was challenging, but I was able to utilize the skills I have to finish the task. I look forward to hearing the interviewer thoughts and next steps.” Don’t ever put yourself down or make yourself sound as if you aren’t confident (even if you aren’t).

        1. Florence Reece*

          Hmm. I’m not a recruiter so I could be off-base here. But upthread there are folks pretty explicitly giving preference to candidates who are confident and talk up the test, and other folks confirming that the conversation afterwards is part of their assessment of the candidate. It seems like this script would have the opposite effect, at least for those recruiters/interviewers.

          1. Florence Reece*

            Meant to add: it sounds like OP3 isn’t actually bombing the technical interviews, they just feel anxious immediately afterwards. I get like that too despite pretty consistent high performance — the adrenaline from being nervous in the interview itself crashes sharply right afterwards, and I have a brief catastrophizing episode before I get myself back to neutral.

            It’s not exactly the same, but when I moved industries I took a qualifying pre-assessment that all candidates to the field have to take. My interviewers asked me how I felt the assessment had gone and I said something similar (“it was hard, I’m sure I made some mistakes, we’ll see!”). I did ultimately get the job, but they were visibly surprised by my answer and I later found out that I was one of the top scorers out of ~100 candidates.

            My perception of how well I’ve done in a high-pressure test is not at all linked to my ability to gauge my performance in an actual job! But I know there are hiring managers who would ding me for it on that basis…so it’s nerve-wracking. It feels like there’s no right answer lol.

          2. ecnaseener*

            Yeah, that’s why I wouldn’t say anything more extreme than “I’m sure I didn’t do perfect.”

            I’m not a recruiter so it’s possible I’m off-base, but I would think there is some danger in saying “oh yeah it went great!” if the hiring manager is going to talk to the recruiter and say “this candidate clearly has some technical weaknesses, but as long as they’re aware of those and prepared for a steep learning curve, I’m okay with that — is that the sense you got from them?”

            1. Consonance*

              I don’t think I’d go with this exact script, but would say something like “You know, I always think I do terribly on any test, regardless of how it went! I’m always over critical of myself in these situations, so I’m looking forward to getting a more objective assessment from the team.” It’s honest, it lets them know where you’re at, but it also doesn’t scream “I did badly!”

      2. sparkle emoji*

        Recruiter experience here- If you need time to reflect or want to do it over email/text, tell the recruiter that before the interview. Most should be fine with that, the check in is important, the phone call format is not.

        1. sparkle emoji*

          And if you have specific concerns over a question, raise those. If it’s just text anxiety and you rationally know you probably did well, you can explain that too but I’d be cautious to say you think you did poorly if that’s not true.

      3. SnickerdoodleSandwich*

        I feel this way after technical interviews too. What can help me is to do a self-debrief after the call.

        Basically for the questions I run through:
        * what did I have a solid understanding of and was able to answer?
        * what did I understand but not do my best answering in the moment?
        * what did I have knowledge gaps around and how did I handle that?

        I write it down then use that to prepare for future interviews, but it also gives a nice script for talking to the recruiter factually.
        ‘I think it went [well | ok | not great], I was prepared for their questions about X, but wasn’t as strong about Y’

      4. All het up about it*

        First, do you feel like you bombed it, because you are actually bombing all these skills tests, or because anxiety is telling screaming in your head you bombed all these skills tests? If it’s door two, I’d highly recommend work to let go of the negative self-talk / spiraling / catastrophizing. Given that you’ve said several times you are so stressed about the process in general, I’m thinking that could be the case? It’s hard, i know – but could really help you with the process.

        Now I’m not in a technical field, so take this with a grain of salt, but if you remove your possibly catastrophizing that you bombed the skills test, can you find a way to talk about how it went without saying “that was easy – I completely aced it” or “So difficult. I’m a failure, I’m sure they are kicking me out of the pool immediately.”

        Perhaps – “They put together a good skills test. It really reflected the skills they said they wanted in this position. It was challenging, but doable.” or “These were the type of problems/queries I’ve seen before in past roles/other skills tests, so I felt comfortable with them.”

        If you are not catastrophizing and the skills test really was far more advanced than you were expecting maybe something like “This was a more challenging skills test than I expected. If this is reflective of the daily problems in this role, I might not be the best fit, but I’m not sure what their expectations were with test.” Because I’ve heard from friends in technical roles that sometimes it’s not about getting things right, but just seeing how you problem solve. (Might not be applicable to you and your search.)

        Also – maybe just a bit of honesty with the recruiter, when they ask, how do you think it went. “Honestly – I don’t know. I’ve found that when it comes to skills tests I tend to be my harshest critic, so I rarely have a clear picture of my own performance on these types of tests.”

    5. Observer*

      As soon as I’ve finished interviewing someone, the first thing I do is to call the agent and ask for the candidates feedback! If the candidate didn’t speak to the recruiter straight after I’d assume they had little interest in the role.

      Do you only hire people who have absolutely nothing else going on in their lives? If someone took an interview on their lunch hour, or moved stuff around to get to the interview, it’s highly likely that they are not going to have time to speak to the recruiter right away, much less the the SECOND they finish with you, and they would have to do that to get to the recruiter before you did.

  8. Alanis*

    I see LW3 has never run into a technical test they were woefully unqualified to take. I have and it’s good info to let the recruiter know you absolutely bombed and that it wasn’t a good match.

  9. Czhorat*

    While the level of drama was unwarranted, I do think that LW1 misstepped a bit. “I just invited her to a public place with no connection to the company whatsoever” is a bit disingenuous; it isn’t a happy hour you organized on your own, but the de facto after party for an official event. “they showed up after the open bar wasn’t paid for anymore” might mean you didn’t *officially* invite her to the event, but you did invite her to an extension of it; that will still feel connected to the company.

    It’s not terrible behavior, but a little odd. I think the feigned innocence as if this wasn’t really attached to an official event is what rubs me a little bit the wrong way; it feels like hewing to the letter rather than the spirit of the law. What LW might need to realize is that most people won’t see that the former employee was *technically* not invited to the event, but that it feels as if they were invited to it.

      1. Magpie*

        Exactly, if the LW had thought it was completely fine and other people would be happy to see her, she would have mentioned to SOMEONE during the course of the party that she might stop by later. The fact that she kept it to herself says she thought there was a decent chance it wouldn’t be well received and didn’t want people knowing she was responsible if things went sideways.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Not necessarily. She could have thought it was such a nothing that it wasn’t worth mentioning. She promptly said she’d invited the former co-worker after all.

          It’s really not a big deal – they didn’t have a private room, many people had left, etc. A pub is a “public house”– even strangers are allowed.

        2. Katie A*

          That’s not inherently true, though. Maybe LW1 didn’t want to get people’s hopes up or maybe it just didn’t seem important or maybe they just didn’t just because. There’s no reason to think it’s because they secretly agree with you that it was a fraught idea and lied about it and misrepresented their true feelings in the letter.

          I know these are very inconsistently applied, but this is a pretty good example of violating the “believe LWs about their own situations” and “be kind to LWs, including giving people the benefit of the doubt” rules.

          1. Czhorat*

            Perhaps, but there also should be space for letter writers to reevaluate their assumptions.

            “Disingenuous” might have been too strong a word, but it could very easily be perceived as a backdoor invitation to a company event rather than an actual spntaneoous or otherwise unconnected meeting.

            If it were me, I’d probably check if the departed person would be welcome before inviting them. That a coworker saw this as a potential issue and LW didn’t either means that the co-worker was way off base or that the LW wasn’t as clued in to the office politics as they could have been.

            1. Saturday*

              But she was welcome by the people who were hanging out afterwards. Asking management if she’d be welcome would seem strange to me because she wasn’t being invited to the actual event.

        3. Saturday*

          That seems like an odd read on the situation to me. I think she didn’t mention it because it didn’t seem like a big deal, not because of some plot to keep it secret. Especially because when someone asked, she immediately said she invited the ex-coworker.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      Yeah, like I get that there’s plausible deniability in the whole “it was post-event and the work festivities were over” but also I can see why people might think it was weird. If I worked there, I’d definitely still consider to be lingering party-related activity.

    2. Katie A*

      The LW isn’t feigning innocence. That’s an uncharitable interpretation. It’s actually that they see themselves as innocent because they are. There was no invitation to come to the event. They invited the ex-coworker to come to the pub after the event ended because there would still be some people from the company there.

      They’re surprised because that seems like a pretty normal and unproblematic thing to do and, in fact, it was unproblematic, so they were right.

    3. Hyaline*

      I don’t know that I’d go as far as saying the LW was disingenuous, but it’s clear this wasn’t two people happening to bump into each other in a public place; it wasn’t even her arranging to meet up one on one. She kinda dragged a lot of other people into a meeting that they felt might cause drama or perhaps reflect poorly on them—albeit for very stupid and dysfunctional management reasons. The only thing I think she did wrong is not running this plan past others who could be affected by it; if management had been irrationally upset about it, her coworkers would be justified in being annoyed that they got dragged in. (Even though management had no reason in any functional work environment to be pissy, if that’s not the reality you live in, you have to kinda consider it.)

    4. Tippy*

      Agree with the disingenuous part. Sure it’s not part of the “official work event” but it is adjacent to it. The work event is literally why they are all there.

      Interestingly I’ve been in this exact situation, on both sides. I still get invited to after hour work socials from my former workplace and have always been told something like “oh yay, you came. Mike said you might stop by…”. I’ve also been the the inviter and it was pretty natural to mention to coworkers “yeah I saw Leslie the other day and mentioned event X to her. She may swing by for a little bit”. So yeah, radio silence about it seems weird to me.

    5. Nonanon*

      Multiple readings of this are both correct and incorrect. While it may not have been a SMART move, there’s nothing intrinsically HARMFUL about (especially one who left on relatively good terms). In the absence of any additional detail, I personally don’t see it that different from coworkers who used to be friendly wanting to reconnect after one taking a new job, and one mentioning they’d be off early and hanging around the pub after company party. It WASN’T an invite to a company-only event, but rather the “unofficial after party” (surely no one would find it odd if someone’s spouse came to pick them up and hung out for a beverage beforehand, or if ex-employee HAPPENED to be there at the same time and came up to say hi). There could very well be more than one thing going on, but to say the LW is being “disingenous” or “feigning innocence” seems like a more severe read; I would say clueless at worst.

  10. Thank someone I no longer work there*

    LW2…Im on a medication that has a side effect of causing coughing. Really fun during covid, though when restaurants first opened I told the server “medication not covid” and it turned out her 13 year old was on the same dose of the same medication. My doctor didn’t want to change it because I was otherwise doing so well on it and that class of meds can be tricky. She said it gets better and it did…I still get an occasional episode but they are weeks apart now. In the end, Id just say something like “new medication” and move on.

    1. Analyst*

      Ugh sorry. The fun problem with that kind of symptom is like allergies, you may not be aware of when you now do in fact have a cold or something. So please understand when people aren’t thrilled or willing to take your word for that. I’m immunocompromised and that’s just not a chance I can take.

    2. LW2*

      Thanks! I’ve been on the meds about 8 months now, but this just hasn’t stopped. Like I said in my letter, my team tends to be unprofessional around each other, so while I hate burping constantly in an open office, it wasn’t really “a problem.” But finding out we’re acquiring another company and I’m going to be managing more people, who I don’t know – well, first things first, fix the culture so it is a professional workplace! — oh no, how do I do that when I’m belching 17 times an hour? But I guess I’m still just going to have to tell people, and I’ll have to practice my spiel ahead of time so it seems natural!

      1. Turquoisecow*

        If this is a known side effect maybe the doctor can recommend something like gas x or other medication to help deal with it? Or there might be an online discussion with other patients and maybe some of them have advice? I don’t think it’s really a huge workplace issue but it sounds like it’s a common side effect so it’s possible other people have come up with ways to deal with it.

      2. sbc*

        This is one of the downsides of an open office. Is there any way you could ask a supervisor or HR if there’s a desk available somewhere more soundproof so you don’t disturb others? You shouldn’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but if it were me I’d prefer a more private location anyway and this could be a good way to get one! And if I were your coworkers I’d be glad you got one (maybe a tiny bit jealous, but also happy that I didn’t have to hear you burping).

  11. EvilQueenRegina*

    Years ago, when my old manager Umbridge was still here, we had an employee “Luna” with us temporarily. Umbridge and Luna were two personalities that really didn’t mesh, but there was a lot more to it (Umbridge had wanted to hire her own employee, but as Luna’s old manager felt she needed to be redeployed to another position, and Luna met the criteria for Umbridge’s vacancy, policy was that Umbridge had to take her. Umbridge couldn’t see past that and was pretty vile to Luna, and I still think there was something dodgy about the way Umbridge ended the contract. Luna also only found out the new role was effectively a demotion when she got her new ID badge. So, quite a bit of context here.)

    About two years after Luna left, another coworker “Padma” was transferring to another team, and we had a leaving meal arranged for her. Our other coworker “Marietta” was making plans to meet up with Luna to do something else, and had invited Luna to Padma’s leaving do. As this conversation was publicly on one of their Facebook pages, the team found out that way.

    There was a bit of discussion about how Marietta had issued the invitation without checking with “Parvati” who was arranging and would have needed to book her a seat (apparently Marietta thought she was inviting Luna for drinks before the meal, but there had never been any plan to do that). Then Padma and Parvati thought about it, remembered all the history between Luna and Umbridge, and were concerned about the atmosphere if both were present (Umbridge had confirmed).

    They suggested that maybe Marietta should uninvite Luna, and Marietta felt awkward and was a bit upset about it. (I’m not sure now how aware Umbridge ever was of it). Luna didn’t go in the end; I’m not sure if that was because anyone did uninvite her or whether she just made her own decision that she didn’t want to see Umbridge.

    1. YerAWizardPotta*

      I can only see harry potter characters. Totally lost what was being said and just kept reading to see which other characters would come up in the story.

  12. Megan*

    On the ex-employee at the holiday party — yeah, this situation was bananas for you and you theoretically did nothing wrong. However, you don’t always know the full terms of everyone leaving all the time, so I would be weary of inviting ex-employees to work-sanctioned events.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I invited a former coworker who had left our company a few weeks earlier to be my “date” to our holiday party last year. I was pretty confident that it would be all good and well when her former boss was excited to hear she was coming. She (the former coworker) was actually the one who had spent months planning the party for us and I wanted her to get the benefit of her hard work.
      I think a big difference in my situation was that the company she went to is still connected to our business dealings and many people had talked about how glad they were that we’d still get to see her often. We were sad to see her leave, but glad she wasn’t going far. Plus, I’ve never seen leadership freeze anyone out…
      It was a great party and a great night! I’m so glad she felt comfortable to come and we got to have one last hoorah.
      To your point, I think you’re right that context and considering what you might not know is a good reason to be cautious. Her former boss had made me feel like it wasn’t a big deal, so I’m glad I had mentioned the invitation beforehand.

  13. Catwhisperer*

    OP#3 I feel the same way, unless there’s major red flags I want to have all the information I can get from interviews before I decide if a job is a good fit. And asking that question after a technical interview is particularly obnoxious, since you don’t know how you did unless you completely bombed it.

    As another commenter mentioned above you can decide not to answer the phone when the recruiter calls and/or let them know ahead of time if you want to keep your communications strictly to e-mail. Since you asked for scripts, here’s some I use via e-mail when a recruiter asks that question:

    “Thanks for asking, ______! I think it went all right, looking forward to continuing in the process.”

    “Appreciate the follow-up. I have a couple questions we didn’t get to, any chance you could pass those along to the interviewer?”

    The first I use for pretty much all interviews where I feel neutral or positive about, while the second is what I use if I have concerns but still want to continue the process. If there’s a bunch of red flags and I want to drop out of the interview process, I’ll say that directly.

  14. Kippu*

    OP2, I sympathize so much. One of my medications gives me hiccoughs.

    Not little “hic” hiccoughs. Sudden, loud, “HEEECK” noises that randomly interrupt my work.

    1. LW2*

      When I started the meds, I had hiccoughs – they were the little “hics” but for 3-5 minutes several times a day. Then one day, I stopped hiccoughing and started burping! I was just thinking last night – which is worse? (I still don’t know the answer.)

    2. Polaris*

      This would be my worst fear. I loathe, detest, and utterly cannot stand hiccups. They’re painful to me, and typically degenerate into “great now we’re going to have an asthma attack because nothing can calm itself down…”

  15. Clementine*

    If you don’t care about getting the job, then for sure be as unavailable to recruiters as you like. If you do want the job, then you have to play their game. I’m sure some candidates are so outstanding that recruiters will overlook their unwillingness to engage, but that’s not the reality in today’s job market. The recruiter will likely tell the client that this candidate is not willing to engage, and for most jobs, that would be a red flag.

    It is an awkward question, that I’ve had many times, about how the interview went. I just try for a neutral to positive response, where I mention something interesting I learned and how I enjoyed meeting the team members. Perhaps it’s wrong of me, but I don’t want to be overconfident that I completely aced the interview, so I never say that.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      You don’t even have to say “oh I think I aced it”. They’re looking for things like “it went well but I think the job involves more X than I thought so I’m not very interested” or “it was good and I think the job would be a good fit if they want to move forward”, things like that. They want to know that people were nice to you, that you got your questions answered, and if you’re still interested in the job.

  16. HonorBox*

    OP4 – I saw your comment above about grandboss being in charge of scheduling. I think it makes sense to call and leave a very specific voicemail if you don’t get to speak to them directly. Inform them that you’ve sent the resignation and the last day you can be on the schedule is X/X/24. If you want to note that to someone else who is also looking at the schedules, that’ll help ensure that a class isn’t uncovered by an instructor. But you’ve done all that you can do once you’ve reached out. I wouldn’t sweat it (pun not intended) any farther than that.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      If grandboss doesn’t acknowledge my resignation a day or two before I know the schedule will come out for after I’m gone, I’d also let the front desk know. “I resigned to grandboss as of [date] but did not hear back, so I wanted to make sure you knew in case I’m accidentally put on the schedule” is fine. That way they can note it and take whatever action they need to if you show up on the schedule.

  17. Hyaline*

    OP4: if you teach these classes regularly and will teach them before your end date, you can also announce that “the schedule may not reflect this yet, but my final class with you is X.” If necessary you can add “If you have questions about the schedule, you can ask Dan in the member services office” or whatever. That would handle any customer facing concerns you have about regulars you’ve developed a rapport with (who might follow you to other locations or run into you again later).

    1. OP #4*

      I was planning to announce that X/X will be the final class, but adding that the schedule might not reflect it right away is a good addition. Thank you.

  18. I should really pick a name*

    Even if the work event was officially over, this was still a work thing. None of you would have been there if not for the work event, and your purpose in inviting your co-worker was to say goodbye, still a work-related thing.
    The best approach would have been to speak to the organizer beforehand and ask “is it okay if Tangerina drops by”.

    All that being said, this was at worst a faux pas, and your coworkers’ catastrophizing was ridiculous.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Also, to be clear, I’m not saying this is how things should be, but this is what will probably get the best outcome for you.

  19. RagingADHD*

    OP#3, if you aren’t sure whether your technical skills are a match for what the hiring manager is looking for, say that! That’s very useful feedback! The job listing and the interviewer should be more clear about the job requirements.

    Here’s a script for when you don’t know how to assess how well you did objectively, and you are too stressed to want to talk about the vibe or the interpersonal dynamic in the room:

    “I wasn’t entirely clear on the level of technical expertise they’re looking for, so I’m not sure whether my skills are a match. But I’d like to keep talking to them about the role if they are interested.”

  20. Trout 'Waver*

    OP#1, I think it is wise to treat “unofficial post-official work events” as “official work events”. Error on the side of caution on this one. The “unofficial” portions of these things are often much more important for networking and connections than the official portions.

    If you want to have an after-the-fact going away party for someone, organize it outside of an official event.

  21. theletter*

    so for the follow-up calls from technical phone screenings, you could treat it as more of a check-in than an official part of the interview process. If, as far as you know, nothing went wrong on your end, and you answered all the questions, that’s all you need to say. It’s more about whether you think it could be a bad fit based on any red flags you noticed.

    I’ve had a few technical interviews that did not go as planned, not because I didn’t know the answers, but because the hiring managers planned poorly and asked about techniques that were not part of the job I thought I was interviewing for, or the technical questions were necessarily technical, or revealed that the manager actually had no idea what they were talking about.

    These are helpful things for a recruiter to know before they talk to the client – perhaps they want to be ready to clarify any misunderstandings, with their own questions such as ‘why were you asking about teapot design when the position is for a llama groomer? What’s going on over there?”

    If that’s not the case, you can just say ‘I feel confident about my abilities to perform the job duties, and nothing jumped out at me as a problematic.’

  22. weorio3u24*

    Maybe it’s just me, but is the word “belching” significantly more unpleasant than “burping” to others’ ears, as well? Curious the perception. If I were in LW #2’s shoes, I would never use the word “belching” to attempt to minimize the concerns/attention drawn to my medication-induced condition.

    1. Glasses*

      For some reason burping is the bodily function with the most unpleasant name to me – all the variations ick me out.

      If it were me, with my unique ick, I’d probably just after a burp, put my hand on my chest and say a variation of Alison’s script: “So sorry, I’m on a medication that causes this regularly. Please pardon me in advance.”

      1. Snoodence Pruter*

        Same! All the words for burping horrify me much more than, say, ‘fart’ does. But it’s a big misophonia trigger for me and I think that association has expanded to the words as well. (LW2, I still wouldn’t judge or hold it against you that you had this problem! But I might have to have earbuds in if my desk was near yours.)

    2. Hlao-roo*

      You’re not the only one. To me, a “burp” could be anywhere from quiet to loud and a “belch” is loud. I also think the script would be better if “belching” were changed to “burping.”

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      Yes, same! It’s something about the “elch” letter combo — I don’t especially love “squelch” either! Burp grosses me out far less because it feels like a normal bodily function, e.g. babies have to be burped, whereas a belch feels deliberate, loud, and purposely meant to draw attention.

    4. Hyaline*

      Yes I think so! Honestly I’d default to “this med causes gas” and avoid burp, belch, etc altogether. If you say it following a display of said gas people know what you mean.

        1. Hyaline*

          Not if you burp and follow with “excuse me, I’m on a medication that causes this sort of gas” hence why I said “following an example”

    5. K8T*

      Agreed, “belching” makes me queasy. I get it’s the more technical term but I’d use “burping” instead.

    6. vulturestalker*

      Oh my gosh I had the same reaction! To me, a belch is much more loud and dramatic and out of the norm than a burp.

      Linguistically, I’m interested in how the usage of these words seems to have diverged. I suspect that “belch” is a more technical term and has therefore been given more weight in (some of) our heads, to be used for exceptional situations. Going to read more on this now…

    7. doreen*

      It’s not just you – I might use “burp” to describe any expulsion of air, but I would only use “belch” for a loud, lengthy one.

    8. fhqwhgads*

      I don’t think it’s the word to the ear per se. I think the words have different connotations and aren’t pure synonyms. So if belching sounds worse, it’s supposed to. It implies a much louder sort of burp. Akin to the difference between “say” and “shout”.

  23. Bunny Girl*

    #4 – I actually had this same thing happen to me. I worked for a storage company who had several locations. I had never met the “Big Boss” and had no idea what her phone number was. I ended up quitting shortly after I started because of safety concerns. I only gave them a few days notice because I had been threatened twice at their locations and was like this isn’t worth it. So I emailed the boss and said I was going to finish out my week and then wasn’t coming back. They had previously been very responsive to their email, but I didn’t hear back from them for a while. So I re-emailed them on my last day and said Hey you know I’m leaving right? I got a very terse email back about them being disappointed. I sent back “Well stop letting your customers threaten to physically assault your staff and you won’t have this problem!”

    1. OP #4*

      Thanks for sharing your story, Bunny Girl. I’m glad you got out. Thankfully, mine isn’t safety concerns but just generally “I really am not liking this at all, so why should I continue doing it when I don’t have to?” I actually have to give this site credit for not feeling like I need to martyr myself for a job out of some sense of duty or commitment!

    2. Observer*

      I got a very terse email back about them being disappointed.

      Assuming that you had explained why you were leaving, I find this pretty ridiculous. I mean, I can understand (though fundamentally disagree with!) the idea of being disappointed that you couldn’t retain someone even though they don’t deal with safety. But I would have thought that they would have enough sense to not SAY that. I guess they have even more warped norms than just not caring about safety.

  24. Dandylions*

    #2 I’ll take your word that the boundaries in the office are messed up because you giving your group a heads up about your medication side effects is not a sign of bad boundaries at all. I’d actually say it’s a sign of a well functioning team that you can share this without worry.

  25. Dust Bunny*

    OP2 I don’t think you need to say “excuse me” constantly, and obviously medications/ailments can cause physical symptoms we can’t really control, but there was another thread awhile back from a burpy person and, just to check–make sure you’re not making the burping noises worse. A lot of people tend to tense up and force the burp out to get rid of the pressure, and it’s actually a lot less noticeable if you relax and let it, uh, slip out? There were some good pointers here about burping more quietly.

    1. Observer*

      Also, that LW was apparently pretty loudly – and farting enough to create an odor problem.

      That’s a whole different level of issue, that doesn’t sound like today’s LW has to deal with.

  26. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – like Allison says, the recruiter is trying to get information that helps them manage the process. When I ask a candidate how things went, I need to get their real opinion – unbiased by the hiring manager’s feedback. Were there issues with the role, company or interviewers that the candidate flagged? Did they have the same opinion of their interview performance as the hiring manager? Did they flag that they would have a learning curve in an area? etc. etc.

    If I tell the candidate that the hiring manager was really positive about the interview and wants to schedule another one, then the candidate is less likely to flag any concerns they have — and in the long run, that can derail a successful hire.

    Also, I want to know if the candidate has a realistic appraisal of their interview performance. This is part of the assessment process – I’m looking for whether the candidate has self-insight and if they are realistic about their qualifications for the role. Someone who thinks they aced an interview where the hiring manager flagged an issue – that’s a real concern for whether the person will be successful in the role. Conversely, if the person recognizes that they lack something, they can show how they would address that gap. Bonus points if the person recognizes a soft skill area they need to work on. That can help me to manage the hiring manager’s decision on whether to move forward or not. Telling the hiring manager that the candidate realizes they would need to invest some time in learning advanced widgets or that they would have to work on their skills in influence management – that can tip the scales between the hiring manager moving forward or rejecting the candidate.

    So, there is a benefit to you as the candidate in providing your realistic feedback, and it does need to be unbiased by the hiring manager’s response to your interview. Hope that helps!

  27. Nicki Name*

    On #3, it’s also an opportunity to gain brownie points with the recruiter if you think you bombed the interview due to a mismatch or some kind of weirdness on the company side, because that’s information they can use to prepare the next candidate better.

  28. MicroManagered*

    I don’t want to necessarily share from that aspect, either. A boss shouldn’t generally say these things to their employees.

    OP2, I disagree. It’s totally normal to offer up some kind of explanation so people understand you’re not just ignoring the rules of polite behavior. It would be really strange to me if my new boss just burped all day long and said nothing — I would think she thought it was normal, which would be really off-putting. Especially if you are talking about “sulfur burps” that have a smell to them.

  29. SusieQQ*

    > inviting that person to a social event that’s been organized for employees

    But she didn’t invite the ex-employee to the event. She invited her to the same (public) space the event had been held in after the event for employees was officially over. It seems like the same thing could have happened by chance.

    I mean, does it just not make a difference that the event was over by the time the ex-employee showed up? I get there can still be political blowback, but to me that makes a big difference.

  30. Aspirational Yogurt*

    #4 is like the opposite of the episode of Seinfeld where George’s company can’t fire him due to his contract, so they try to force him to resign and he just…doesn’t.

  31. Holly.*

    I’m in the same boat currently.
    I’ve found a quick short email to the recruiter straight afterwards usually stops them ringing me – they are busy people too!
    I tell them if it went well, or if there were significant delays/tech problems.
    How long I was there for, and if I’m still interested.
    And what the timescale/next steps are, if I’ve been told that. (If I haven’t been told that, that’s also something the recruiter will want to know.)

  32. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    LW#2 – I bet we are on the same medication, and yes burping is a thing – as is the nausea. I have been quite open with everyone about it. “I am on a new medication that makes me burp a lot. I apologize in advance for this. I am not trying to be rude.” Everyone has been great about it that I work with!

  33. kupo*

    Can someone explain to me why having a human body with sometimes uncontrollable body functions is considered rude? I don’t understand it.

    1. SusieQQ*

      I don’t think burping/belching is rude per se, but I think it’s rude to not make efforts to minimize disruption.

      When I was in college one of my professors took great offense to anybody yawning in his class, and it always frustrated me. Like, it’s involuntary. It’d be one thing if people did it loudly or made a big show out of yawning, but even if he noticed you stifling a yawn he would call you out on it in front of the entire class.

  34. DJ*

    LW#1 I guess it depends on who is paying for the work event.
    With not for profit and govt jobs the staff pay for their own meals and drinks so it’s ok to invite past staff. Indeed it’s tradition to invite those who have worked for the organisation within the last year.

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