Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

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Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:16 am

A (well-known) firm invited me to a screener 2 weeks ago and asked me for my availability over the next 2 weeks. I gave 3 days out of each week because 2 of my weekdays are fully devoted to a resume position for which I get no compensation or education credit. It might look good on my resume but it’s a purely volunteer position.

Deep into this 2nd week, the firm told me it had filled its need and cancelled the screener. Should I have given them full availability, all 5 days of each week, and just have told my “employer,” who’s giving me neither salary nor educational credit, “I gotta take this, you’re taking up 2/5ths of my week and that’s hurting my flexibility to do shit”?

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:18 am

Yes. But there's really not much you can do about that now.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:10 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Yes. But there's really not much you can do about that now.

Well the only thing that would've been different had I quit the volunteer gig would've been my being available to do the screener 2 additional days last week instead of just 3 days out of the week.

Now I'm back to Square 1 with no leads. Can I really tell my volunteer externship (fed gov/court) "I'm getting literally nothing from this, no substantive experience or anything, and it's severely constraining my schedule's flexibility; hence I'm gonna quit midway through"

Or just tough it out until Thanksgiving and cancel specific days as needed?

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby cron1834 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:12 pm

Probably. But on the other hand, if this is a large firm, there are probably a number of people who could have screened you. It's like 20 minutes. I've had (successful) screeners go less than that, even. If they couldn't be bothered to scrounge someone up for 15 minutes, it sounds like they were probably full regardless of whether you wanted to interview on Tuesday or Wednesday...

Either way, it's done now, and you'll probably never know. Move on.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:15 pm

Sorry, I answered quickly and I think my answer may have been unclear. I don't think you need to quit. I do think you need to say "As you may be aware, I am currently searching for a summer position with a law firm. I have an interview for such a position on [DAY X] and won't be able to come in that day. Apologies for any inconvenience."

Your internship isn't paying you and people are generally pretty understanding about the need to find a summer position. So long as you cancel respectfully, and as soon as you know, I wouldn't anticipate any problems.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:20 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Sorry, I answered quickly and I think my answer may have been unclear. I don't think you need to quit. I do think you need to say "As you may be aware, I am currently searching for a summer position with a law firm. I have an interview for such a position on [DAY X] and won't be able to come in that day. Apologies for any inconvenience."

Your internship isn't paying you and people are generally pretty understanding about the need to find a summer position. So long as you cancel respectfully, and as soon as you know, I wouldn't anticipate any problems.


In my reply to them about my availability, I told them "Xday & Yday don't work so well because, as my resume indicates, I have to go..."

Should I have told them (or any future leads): "I'm free 5days out of the week" and just cancel class/"workdays" on Xday or Yday if the employer says "how about Yday"?

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:22 pm

Hmmm. Perhaps it depends on the strength of your app/how much they want you. I told some firms, "I'm free on this Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning" and they made it work.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:31 pm

ArtistOfManliness wrote:Hmmm. Perhaps it depends on the strength of your app/how much they want you. I told some firms, "I'm free on this Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning" and they made it work.


I gave them 6-7 out of my next 2 weeks (at the time I replied). But I couldn't have said some of the earlier days in the week because that's when I have to report to comma-chasing duty.

All things being equal, aren't Mon/Tue better than "this Thurs/Fri or next Thurs/Fri" because the earlier I move, the less likely I'd run into shitshows like this, when I don't even get a screener because another candidate they were moving with in parallel might've been able to go on Mon/Tues?

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby trebekismyhero » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:35 pm

Don't quit, but going forward just say you're available anytime for an interview. You are working for free, the place you're at now should understand that you have to interview at other places for a job

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:49 pm

Going forward, say you are available every day of the week (and if they ask for weekends, you are available then to -- barring religious reasons). If it conflicts with the volunteer position/school/etc, skip that activity. Call out sick, do whatever you need to do.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:Sorry, I answered quickly and I think my answer may have been unclear. I don't think you need to quit. I do think you need to say "As you may be aware, I am currently searching for a summer position with a law firm. I have an interview for such a position on [DAY X] and won't be able to come in that day. Apologies for any inconvenience."

Your internship isn't paying you and people are generally pretty understanding about the need to find a summer position. So long as you cancel respectfully, and as soon as you know, I wouldn't anticipate any problems.


In my reply to them about my availability, I told them "Xday & Yday don't work so well because, as my resume indicates, I have to go..."

Should I have told them (or any future leads): "I'm free 5days out of the week" and just cancel class/"workdays" on Xday or Yday if the employer says "how about Yday"?


Yes, you can and should take this approach. Finding a summer job is more important than class, internships, etc. ATM

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:49 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Yes, you can and should take this approach. Finding a summer job is more important than class, internships, etc. ATM

Of course, I knew that when I composed my initial reply too. But do you think the fact that I didn't say I was available on those 2 additional days last week cost me the screener? (I guess, at this point, that that's just relevant to how much I should hate the gig for taking up 2/5ths of my week).

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:Yes, you can and should take this approach. Finding a summer job is more important than class, internships, etc. ATM

Of course, I knew that when I composed my initial reply too. But do you think the fact that I didn't say I was available on those 2 additional days last week cost me the screener? (I guess, at this point, that that's just relevant to how much I should hate the gig for taking up 2/5ths of my week).


No. The recruiting person was just trying to schedule screeners for lots of candidates. Hiring is done on a rolling basis. Someone got an offer and accepted before they even interviewed you.

However, in the future try to be as available as possible.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:20 pm

I think what you did is fine and I doubt anything would have been different if you had said you were free five days a week.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:23 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I think what you did is fine and I doubt anything would have been different if you had said you were free five days a week.

Yea this is probably right, it felt like the HR person was just stalling me while some candidate they had interviewed earlier either [1) made up his mind] or [2) went through screener-->CB-->Offer all in a week].

I still can't get over how constraining this paper-pushing volunteer gig is. To me, it's the same if I do it for 1 month or for 4--all it is is a resume line item and a few talking points of interview fodder. I guess I only have 5weeks to go before Thanksgiving. Should I just bite my tongue and keep it until then, especially since I have no leads ATM? I thought about leaving abruptly because I'm blaming myself for saying I wasn't available last Mon/Tue because I had to waste my time at a "job" I get nothing out of, but this is a fed gov/judge gig whose bridges I don't want to burn. And I wouldn't have a good explanation for leaving midway except "you're wasting 2/5ths of my week."

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby cron1834 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I think what you did is fine and I doubt anything would have been different if you had said you were free five days a week.

Yea this is probably right, it felt like the HR person was just stalling me while some candidate they had interviewed earlier either [1) made up his mind] or [2) went through screener-->CB-->Offer all in a week].

I still can't get over how constraining this paper-pushing volunteer gig is. To me, it's the same if I do it for 1 month or for 4--all it is is a resume line item and a few talking points of interview fodder. I guess I only have 5weeks to go before Thanksgiving. Should I just bite my tongue and keep it until then, especially since I have no leads ATM? I thought about leaving abruptly because I'm blaming myself for saying I wasn't available last Mon/Tue because I had to waste my time at a "job" I get nothing out of, but this is a fed gov/judge gig whose bridges I don't want to burn. And I wouldn't have a good explanation for leaving midway except "you're wasting 2/5ths of my week."

Looks pretty bad to quit halfway through, man. Especially since you don't have any actual interviews lined up. If you get one, there's a 99% chance your supervisor will let you take the day off. Tell whatever screener you get that you're so interested in the firm that you'd like the first possible interview slot, then tell your intern supervisor that it was really important you interviewed on particular day X. There's almost no chance they'll be upset with you.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:29 pm

Can I ask HR whether the 2 days last week would've worked?

I can't get over how a *^$#^#*@# shitgig limited my availability last week. The only reason I'm not describing it in harsher terms is that I wouldn't want the firm reading this to know I'm just doing it for resume padding when in reality it's a giant waste of my time and public transit fares.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can I ask HR whether the 2 days last week would've worked?

I can't get over how a *^$#^#*@# shitgig limited my availability last week. The only reason I'm not describing it in harsher terms is that I wouldn't want the firm reading this to know I'm just doing it for resume padding when in reality it's a giant waste of my time and public transit fares.

Absolutely not.

The volunteer gig is not the problem here. You need to chill.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:52 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can I ask HR whether the 2 days last week would've worked?

I can't get over how a *^$#^#*@# shitgig limited my availability last week. The only reason I'm not describing it in harsher terms is that I wouldn't want the firm reading this to know I'm just doing it for resume padding when in reality it's a giant waste of my time and public transit fares.

Absolutely not.

The volunteer gig is not the problem here. You need to chill.

OK what was the problem? Was it that I listed only 3 days/wk instead of including the 2 days wholly wasted at the volunteer gig? I mean I cancelled one of the 2 days during a preceding week for another conflict and if it wasn't for the guilt of cancelling "yet again," I would have listed those 2 days as well. Instead, those 2 days take up my entire day, 9-5.

I know I signed up for it but I never thought it could cost me in a situation like this.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:03 pm

The availability isn't the problem either. Someone the firm viewed as more competitive accepted an offer and the firm rounded out their class. You being more or less available for a screener had nothing to do with it. Even if you did screen, that other guy still would have accepted and you would have been cut at the CB stage.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can I ask HR whether the 2 days last week would've worked?

I can't get over how a *^$#^#*@# shitgig limited my availability last week. The only reason I'm not describing it in harsher terms is that I wouldn't want the firm reading this to know I'm just doing it for resume padding when in reality it's a giant waste of my time and public transit fares.

Absolutely not.

The volunteer gig is not the problem here. You need to chill.

OK what was the problem? Was it that I listed only 3 days/wk instead of including the 2 days wholly wasted at the volunteer gig? I mean I cancelled one of the 2 days during a preceding week for another conflict and if it wasn't for the guilt of cancelling "yet again," I would have listed those 2 days as well. Instead, those 2 days take up my entire day, 9-5.

I know I signed up for it but I never thought it could cost me in a situation like this.

You will never know what the problem was, but most likely it is that the firm decided to hire someone else and didn't need to interview you, whether or not you were available for an extra couple of days.

Edit - ^ what pancakes said

You seem to think that if you had gotten to go to this interview everything would be great. Chances are you were never going to get this job. It just wasn't going to happen.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Lettow » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:55 pm

OP, I'm confused why you think your "limited availability" had any impact on your chances with this firm. I'm equally confused by some responses here that are fueling OP's paranoia.

You need to let this go. You were never going to get this firm, because the person who got the offer was a better candidate for whatever reason.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:57 pm

You seem to think that if you had gotten to go to this interview everything would be great. Chances are you were never going to get this job. It just wasn't going to happen.

Well I'm not so arrogant to think that I was a sure thing if I had gotten past the interview stage. I agree that, with many candidates vying for a limited number of spots, odds were never that high.

But "it just wasn't going to happen"--is that because of applicant quality, or the fact that whichever candidate they ultimately offered simply applied/interviewed earlier?

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Lettow » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:19 pm

Applicant quality. They had your information (resume, etc.) on file. They could have waited to screen you.

It might be tempting to blame this volunteer position, but it really had nothing to do with you not getting the position.

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Re: Should I have quit/suspended my volunteering position to be more flexible re interview times?

Postby Offline » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:29 pm

For what it's worth, a V20 < firm called me for an interview and I gave them a shitty time slot because I was already working. A new offer at this bigger interviewing firm would have been sweet but I wasn't wholeheartedly looking for another gig. And before the interview I had to reschedule it once. They still interviewed me after accommodating the request.

If they want you, they will interview you.



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