Bad Idea to Call Potential Employer on Weekend

Q. Thank you so much for an interesting article about tricky questions on the interview. I have a question that is not really about interviewing itself, but I guess it still matters if you want to get a job.

Is it appropriate to call your [potential] employer on Saturday to apply for a job (if you do have their cell phone number)?

Thank you!

Naira

A. Mobile technology has made it possible for us to work every day, day and night, and has expanded job-hunting into an around-the-clock activity.

Many of us, I am sure, have found ourselves browsing job listings in the middle of the night and submitting applications on weekends. We do it because technology lets us and because we know that openings can appear and disappear in the wink of an eye.

But calling a potential employer’s cell phone on a Saturday can be a bad idea. I would not do it unless you know the person very well and know that she welcomes such calls.

It is OK to e-mail an application on the weekend. The hiring manager is free to read it and respond, to read it and wait to respond later, or to just ignore it. Saturday e-mails do not intrude on our personal time unless we choose to look at them.

But a call to a cell phone is a different issue.

True, the person you call can decide to ignore it, but a ring or vibration can be an unwelcome intrusion that says, “My business is urgent. Stop whatever you are doing and talk to me.”

An e-mail will wait. Choose the less intrusive option.

I would be less concerned about an employer or recruiter who makes calls on a Saturday, though I recognize this is a double standard; it may imply that the candidate’s personal time is less important or that the expectation is that people will always be on call.

You can call me rude; I am going to call it the law of supply and demand, which heavily favors the people who have jobs to offer.

Coming Tuesday: A live chat at 3 p.m. ET on how to get the things you’re afraid to ask for when negotiating for a job.

Do you have a question about managing your career? E-mail Joe for an answer.

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