I applied to work at a grocery store. A recruitment manager just called me and said they have several shifts available with different hours per week and schedules. She asked which one I'm looking for and I said I needed sometime to think about it. She said she needed an answer to move onto the next step, so I gave her the best decision I could think of without having looked at my calendar. She put me on hold and came back a minute latter and told me yet another available shift. I asked again to have time to think about it and she said yes but couldn't guarantee it will be available when I call back.

I have now thought about it and made a decision. Whenever I call it says "all of our representatives are now busy". Is there anything I can do?

Was it wrong of me to ask for some time to think about the schedule and if I would take the job? She said no the first time but I asked again and then she said yes.


4 Answers 4


Is it wrong to ask for time to think about things? Generally no. However, it's good to consider the nature of the position when doing so. For jobs requiring specific qualifications, (relatively) low numbers of qualified applicants, and (hopefully) low turnover, being given some time to consider an offer is normal.

The job you described doesn't seem to be like what I just described. Lots of people probably apply, and many (I expect most) would be competent to do the tasks involved. While I've never worked in the grocery business, I've had friends and family who have. Also, I've had close family members who operated a similar retail business who have related their experiences as employers. From what I've heard, the manager is probably seeking to fill the shifts quickly and is likely willing to accept the first candidates she contacts who agree to take the shifts she needs to fill. She might consider asking for time to consider her offer as a sign of a potentially difficult employee. Under these circumstances, she probably moved on from you to another candidate. If you contact her before the shift you want is filled, you may still get the job, but I expect there is a high likelihood that you'll find she no longer has that shift open.

At this point, the best you can probably do is continue trying to contact this hiring manager. It seems to me you would have been given a direct telephone number to call her; that the number you were given responds as you describe may be a bad sign. If possible, I'd recommend visiting in person to say you want the shift you have decided on; if that's not possible, perhaps you can obtain another means of contacting her. Such a move could risk annoying her, so make sure to say that you had trouble contacting her using the telephone number you have. A counterbalance to the risk is that, she might consider such a move as showing initiative. Otherwise, it seems you have no other choice but to continue trying to call her with the number you have and hope to get through eventually.


One possible explanation for the phone message is that they have a phone number that goes directly to a manager when they have openings, but not when they don't.

It is quite likely that all the shifts have been filled. The manager never promised to hold an opening for you: "she said yes but couldn't guarantee it will be available when I call back".

I would put a reasonable effort into trying to contact her, in case they still have an opening, but don't make that your main job-hunting activity. Put most of your effort into other applications.

Meanwhile, work out and memorize your shift and schedule limits, so that you can accept or reject an offered schedule on the phone or during an interview.


Generally speaking grocery store employees come with a couple of understanding:

  1. They will have high turn overs. Nobody is expected to last more than 6 months.
  2. They also understand a lot of employees are students or younger worker who want to go to school. As such they are usually more flexible.

I don't think it's a bad thing to ask for time to decide especially if you are a student. If you say you are a student and you have schedule with the school, they are usually understanding of that and will allow different shifts depending on the semester's schedule. Just be sure to articulate this verbally and be sure to keep calling them.

Reasonably if you say you have to think it over for a day or two that is okay.


For shift work, you should have an idea of when you want to work when you apply. It's not a big issue, but it's a key aspect of the job.

Also, if the phone is busy, why not just go to the store directly and speak to someone?

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