I applied for a job but it didn't say the working hours on the description is there any harm emailing the employer to ask?

  • 2
    When is your interview? Is there any reason not to wait until then? Will learning the working hours change whether you continue the application or not? – David K Aug 29 '18 at 17:10
  • No I have applied but didn't say on job description haven't got one yet – Ruggersgirl Aug 29 '18 at 17:19
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    @Ruggersgirl you haven't applied for what? An interview? Your post says that you have indeed applied... I reiterate what David asked and will say Is there a reason for you not to wait for an interview to ask? Will knowing the hours affect your consideration of the job? – DarkCygnus Aug 29 '18 at 17:23

Wait until you're talking to a human, at least.

Not "we've received you're application and we'll get back to you" (even if that appears to have been written by a human specifically to you), but rather "we're interested, let's talk".

Before then, you're most probably still in a pool with a really large number of other candidates.

They will try to draw a conclusion about you using any bit of information they have available, which most definitely includes the questions you ask.

I might even suggest waiting until much later if it's more just idle curiosity than something that will actually affect whether or not you'll take the job (because there always at least some risk of being judged for asking this question too early).

This is not the type of question likely to make a good impression.

There are some really good questions one can ask, that could fast-track you to an interview, although these are typically about showing interest and excitement about what you'll be doing or the company, or (subtly) demonstrating your knowledge about the domain.

All this question tells them is that you care about the hours you work, which most people do. Although asking it too early might tell them you care about your working hours more than most, which may indicate future issues about your interest in the job, performance or flexibility when it comes to working hours.

Some companies offer flexible working hours, but that's common enough these days (at least in some industries) that you asking shouldn't really make them think you'd be a good match. If this is what you're looking for, specifically asking whether they have flexible working hours would be better here, but only marginally, and it would significantly count against you with companies that don't (which you may consider acceptable if you'd never accept a job at such a company).

This is not to say it's likely to make a bad impression, but there's a risk of that, and there isn't really any real upside for you to ask this question before you've actually gotten their attention.


I applied for a job but it didn't say the working hours on the description is there any harm emailing the employer to ask?

At best it would be awkward, but depends on the job. It might be worse for a standard office job than it would be for a retail job with potentially different shifts, for example. It would be very bad for an executive job or similar job where "the working hours" wouldn't be expected to be a primary factor in acceptance.

Instead of emailing, call the front desk and say something like "I'm thinking of applying for this job, but the listing doesn't mention the working hours. Could you find that out for me?" You don't need to leave your name, so you can avoid any awkward moments.


I applied for a job but it didnt say the working hours on the description is there any harm emailing the employer to ask?

I don't think there would be any harm in asking. A brief and polite follow-up email should suffice.

I suppose that you have been writing or applied by writing to the employer directly. However, if that is not the case, I'd suggest you address your email to the person you have been writing to.

However, in case you already have an interview scheduled I'd suggest you ask about working hours there, instead.


If the point of contacting them to find out the hours is just so you are contacting them, so they'll notice your name: that method will do no good for good employers. It might help with employers who hire by the seat of their pants. Good employers don't want or need extra contacts, and are quickly annoyed at people who use gimmicks to stand out. Your qualifications in your resume and cover letter should be what makes you stand out.

If you get an interview, that would be a good place to ask a question like that.

The only real reason to ask before an interview, is if you are not interested in the job at all, and won't even consider an interview, if the hours are not to your liking. If you suspect it is a night-shift job and are only looking for day-shift jobs, for instance. In that case, asking can save you and them time.


The earlier you are in the application process the easier it is for either side to casually drop the other. As a candidate, you've probably decided not to even apply at some companies because they give whatever bad smell you're averse too -- they sound like they micromanage, or their travel bullet point makes you think you're going to live on a plane, or their process sounds very different from what you want -- any thing like this can, to you, disqualify a company.

Companies do that too, and for positions that generate lots of applicants, they do it a lot. If a candidate gives off a smell (that isn't legally protected), they're likely to move on to another one. You want to avoid giving the impression that you might be a problem (e.g. "do you do random drug tests?"), and also questions that make you sound too fixated on what you get ("will I get a bonus?" when compensation hasn't yet been brought up).

With all that said, we come to your question. If the working hours are make-or-break for you, if the answer to that question would rule the company out for you even before you talk to them, then go ahead and ask. You might save everybody some time. If you're just curious, though, if it doesn't really matter -- then don't, because you risk causing them to rule you out for no good end.

If you do ask, I've fount it's better to supply some context. Instead of just asking what the working hours are, say something like: "I have some constraints at home that would make it hard for me to start before 8AM, but I can be very flexible at the end of the day. Could you tell me the expected working hours?"

I'm talking here about asking possibly-eliminating questions early. You can and should ask questions that affect your assessment of the company and position right up to the time you decide to accept or reject an offer. Timing is important, though; you want to avoid early elimination unless that would help you too. Besides, it's easier to ask this kind of question as part of an actual interactive discussion, where it can sound more like "oh by the way..." than "I want to start with my question". I have a constraint on departure time on Fridays, and I wait until I'm having a conversation with the hiring manager to bring it up, which I ideally do sometime after somebody there has mentioned flex-time.

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