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Hired on the Spot

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Drake: Hey Helen, can I have a job?
Helen: Sure, start tomorrow.
Drake & Josh, "Movie Job"

There's a lot of steps one usually takes when getting a job. Writing out a résumé and cover letter, filling out an application, taking employment tests to assess your abilities, and partaking in interviews. Along with that, you'll probably have to be competing for the position against other candidates. Because of that, the hiring process can be rather lengthy and tedious.

In fiction, however, getting hired can be as simple as walking up to an employer and asking for a job, no application or scheduling required. They might ask for a brief demonstration of the applicant's skill, but otherwise, one can be hired in mere minutes. The reason the process is depicted that way in fiction is usually due to The Law of Conservation of Detail — it's often important to the story that someone gets a job, but showing the hiring process is usually a superfluous detail. Sometimes a Very Fake Résumé is in play by the applicant. Sometimes it's justified as a result of Nepotism if the owner of the business hires somebody as a favor to a relative or friend.

This trope is also often done as a way to show just how desperate a business is for employees, typically due to their own bad business decisions. There's some Truth in Television to this. If a business is especially desperate for workers for whatever reason — it's peak season in a tourist area, they're abruptly understaffed, there's high turnover rates at the job — some may hire immediately after the interview and do processes such as onboarding or drug testing at a later date. However, this could be considered a red flag for the person being hired; if they're that desperate for workers, what's the job itself like?

This may overlap with Hired for Their Looks if the applicant in question is deemed highly attractive by the employer. Compare with Work Off the Debt, where the character is forced to take the job, though usually not permanently. See also Field Promotion, Unusual Hiring Practices, and Last Interviewee Wins.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: Naddy got hired as a teacher at Rentarou’s school by walking into the chairwoman’s office and Hahari accepting her because she thought she was cute.
  • Chobits: Hideki was accidentally press-ganged into helping out at a restaurant. When the manager realizes the mistake, he notes how useful Hideki had been, notes that the uniform looks good on him, and offers him a job on the spot, also paying him for the work he'd already done. Hideki quickly agrees.
  • While Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid usually averts this when it comes to jobs at larger companies (one chapter of Elma's spin-off has her sit in on an interview and the interviewee doesn't actually get the job for another 4 chapters), it does play it straight on a smaller scale.
    • Tohru shows up at a maid cafe in uniform because she views them as a threat to her role as the world's best maid, but gets hired on the spot because they mistook her for an especially enthusiastic interviewee.
    • Ilulu's "interview" for getting a job at the candy store consisted of nothing more than her asking for work, the owner thinking it over for about a minute, and then hiring her then and there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Enter the Eagles combines this with Bavarian Fire Drill. A thief named Lucy applies for a job as a cleaner. In order to get the dozen other applicants to leave, she pretends to be the head cleaner and claims that the museum employees need to understand the Mandarin language. When the other applicants all leave, the real head cleaner arrives and notices that Lucy is the only applicant around. As a result, Lucy is hired on the spot.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): Because of the sudden intense workload the Ghostbusters are facing, Winston Zeddemore is hired the instant Peter and Ray are introduced to him.
  • The Happiest Millionaire: John gets hired as a butler just for showing up, without any need for even an interview. Even the aunt who was visiting the residence decided to treat him as the de facto butler before John had ever met any of the family that actually lived in the house.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: Played for laughs, when Brian asks to join the anti-Roman People's Front of Judea (while he is selling Roman food).
    Brian: Can I join your group?
    Reg: Nah, piss off.
    Brian: I didn't want to sell this stuff, it's only a job! I hate the Romans as much as anybody!
    [Everybody shushes him.]
    Judith: Are you sure?
    Brian: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.
    Reg: Listen, if you want to join the PFJ, you'd have to really hate the Romans.
    Brian: I do!
    Reg: Oh, yeah? How much?
    Brian: A lot.
    Reg: [Beat] Right, you're in.

  • Adrian Mole: In Wilderness Years, Adrian Mole replies to an advertisement offering free accommodation in return for looking after children, and is astonished to be accepted there and then, showing the landlord's desperation. The phone call is written as a script:
    Dr. Palmer: Christian Palmer speaking.
    Adrian: My name is Adrian Mole. I've seen your advert.
    Dr. P: When can you start?
    Adrian: Start what?
    Dr. P: Looking after the bloody kids.
    Adrian: But you don't know me.
    Dr P: You sound okay, and you've proved you can use a telephone. So you can't be a total simpleton. Have you got all your faculties, i.e. four limbs, eyesight?
    Adrian: Yes.
    Dr. P: Ever been done for molesting kiddie-winkies?
    Adrian: No.
    Dr. P: Got any particularly nasty personal habits?
    Adrian: No.
    Dr. P: Good. So when can you start?
  • Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code: The hiring process for becoming one of Jon Spiro's hired thugs consists of one simple test: the applicant is presented with a walnut, and if they break its shell without any tools, they're hired on the spot. Out of 100 men tested this way, only 2 have passed; Pex spent several minutes shouting at the nut before crushing it with his giant palms, while Chips grabbed the interviewer by their ponytail and slammed the walnut with their forehead.
  • Candide: Candide is enlisted in the Bulgarian army, mere hours after meeting two recruiters who just asked him for his height.
  • Captain Underpants: In Book 3, after the old lunch ladies quit their jobs, Mr. Krupp has a brief interview with three aliens who have disguised themselves as lunch ladies.
    Mr. Krupp: Do you have any experience?
    Alien: No.
    Mr. Krupp: Do you have any credentials?
    Alien: No.
    Mr. Krupp: Do you have any references?
    Alien: No.
    Mr. Krupp: You're hired!
  • In The Country of Three Lands, Seamus hires Vitya as a servant the moment he meets him at the unemployment bureau. It turns out that Seamus intends to fetch the Stone of Mysteries, and Vitya, as the sole living descendant of Merlin, is the only one who can help him with the task.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: At one point in Intrigues, Mags is looking for work as a kitchen drudge. While it takes him a while to find a household that's hiring, once he does the hiring process consists of the cook asking Mags if he intends to run off, telling Mags he'll be expected to work hard, and telling Mags what the (minimal) pay will be. Once Mags agrees to the last bit, he's shoved at a sink of dirty dishes and told to get to work.
  • Paddington Bear: In one of the stories, Paddington is invited to a marmalade factory by its owner, but gets mistaken for someone seeking a job and is hired immediately as a menial worker.
  • Played for Laughs in Through the Looking Glass. Only a few minutes after meeting Alice, the White Queen offers her the position of a lady's maid simply because Alice helps her set her dress right and brushes her hair. The Queen mentions "jam every other day" (never today) as one of the perks of the job, Alice gets baffled, so the Queen tries to explain the looking-glass world to her, and the job offer is forgotten.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Memory contains a variation. After Miles sees and tastes the huge, delicious lunch his ImpSec guard's mother packed for her son he immediately asks the guard if his mother would like a job. Ma Kosti is the Vorkosigans' cook for the rest of the series, despite other Vor lords attempting to hire her away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Better Call Saul:
    • When Jimmy and Kim are interviewing for an office receptionist, Jimmy decides to hire the first applicant, former MDV (New Mexico's version of the DMV) worker Francesca Liddy, despite Kim's protests that they should interview more people and that Francesca has zero experience in the legal world. Jimmy counters that he needs someone on the spot and they should give her a test run, leaving the possibility of firing her later. She ends up being Jimmy/Saul's receptionist for years even through the events of Breaking Bad.
      Jimmy: Excel and Word? Wow (laughs), you had me at old people. Hey, here's a question; can you start today?
    • Jimmy interviews at a copier store and after giving an impassioned speech, the owners are so impressed they decide to hire him right then and there. Jimmy's response is to chew them out for being so naïve that they'd just hire him without vetting him, and he rejects the offer.
  • In Black Books, Bernard walks into a fast food restaurant and starts work there immediately, just because he didn't want to be outside in the rain.
  • Drake & Josh: In "Movie Job", after Josh accidentally makes an employee at The Premiere quit, he starts giving advice to moviegoers when they mistake him for an employee. Helen, impressed by this, asks him if he's unemployed and if he's sane, hiring Josh immediately when he confirms both of her questions. In the same episode, Drake is hired even quicker, with Helen nonchalantly hiring him on the spot when Drake simply asks for a job.
  • This happens all the time in British soaps like EastEnders or Coronation Street. Long lost relative just moved in? They'll have a job at the pub/cafe/factory within days.
  • Just Jordan: In "Get A Job", Jordan starts looking for another job as his grandfather refuses to pay him at the family diner. He comes across his grandfather's rival Mr. Chung, whose own grandson just quit for the same reason. In need of an employee, Chung simply has Jordan identify a few items at his Korean restaurant before hiring him.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of The King's Avatar has Ye Xiu apply at an internet cafe after being kicked off an esports team. During his first interview with the manager, Ye admits that he knows nothing about working with computers or anything technical, something that is important for the job, but tells her that the only thing he is good at is that he can play Glory well. He immediately gets the job.
  • Leverage: During "The Miracle Job'', Sophie traps a greedy neighborhood developer who suffers from claustrophobia on an elevator. He panics and takes some pills, which the team had previously switched out for caffeine-laced speed. They make him sweat profusely, scream loudly, and panic even more. Hearing reporters outside the shaft, the man begins to worry about his reputation. Sophie instructs him to carry her off the elevator while she pretends to have fainted, thus making him look like a hero. Immediately following the incident, the man hires her as his head PR agent.
  • The Midnight Beast: Series 2 of their TV show kicks off with them attempting to get a job to help fund their musical endeavors. After a musical Failure Montage of them failing to get one, they eventually succeed by simply walking up to East End matriarch Sylvia and asking, "Can you give us a job?", to which she responds, "Yeah, alright then".
  • NCIS: At the end of the pilot episode, Kate Todd tells Gibbs that she has resigned from her position as a Secret Service agent, after revealing that she's been breaking a couple of the Service's most important rules. Gibbs promptly offers her a job on his team at NCIS.
  • Seinfeld: Doubles with Hire the Critic when George, in the middle of a job interview for the New York Yankees, gives George Steinbrenner a hysterical "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how badly he's mismanaged the team. Steinbrenner's response: "Hire this man!"
  • Thunderbirds: The Cham Cham, when Lady Penelope and TinTin go undercover in the Paradise Peaks Hotel, Penelope is surprised when she finds out Parker is also there, having taken a job as a bartender. He explains that he saw an advertisement from the hotel when he dropped the ladies off, decided on the spot to apply, and since he's already working there now he evidently got the job pretty much immediately.
  • The Wire: On election day, after Spider who was handing out fliers leaves after an argument with Dennis, the campaign manager shoves the fliers to Randy, and later tasks him with posting fliers on doors in the neighborhood. Randy is eager to do the work but after his friends find out he was paid in advance, they just tell him to drop it, since he already got the money.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In the episode "New Employee", in order to spend more time together, Alex and Harper try to trick Alex's parents into hiring Harper as a new employee at their sandwich shop. While Alex's parents see through this, they decide to hire Harper anyway within minutes of the conversation, simply warning them about the responsibility of training an employee.

  • Adventures in Odyssey: Whit hires Connie almost as soon as she walked into his shop. Ironically, she was looking for another shop at a clothing boutique, but in the short time she was there, Whit had learned that she came from a broken home, her father still lived in California, she was trying to earn bus fare to return, and she'd worked as a waitress. He points to an ad in the paper for help wanted at an ice cream parlour, then told her it was his ad. She points out that she hasn't even filled out an application. Whit replies that he already knows everything he would want to know about her. She asks how much the job pays. He says he'll call the clothing boutique and find out what they're paying and match it. Tom Riley, a friend of Whit's who has been pressed into service, says it sounds like a fair deal to him and urges Connie, "Take the job!"

    Video Games 
  • Control has a mystical variation of this; Jesse Faden's 'interview' for the position of Director of the FBC consists of her picking up the Service Weapon and not dying as a result. Everyone in the Bureau knows who she is immediately after, and the portraits of the Director are changed to reflect her new position.
  • Dragalia Lost: Due to being an Idiot Hero and an All-Loving Hero, Prince Euden will frequently let people join his army with little to no prerequisites. Some of his top enforcers repeatedly try to convince him why that is a terrible idea, but Euden's idealism convinces himself that just about anyone who is willing to join their cause can't be all that bad. While Euden and friends have dodged a few bullets, it has, indeed, bitten them in the back a few times.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Beehive is in dire straits after the events of Shadowbringers, with its owners worrying that they'll have to close up shop now that business in Eulmore has dried up following Vauthry's fall. Kai-Shirr, desperate to prove himself and remain with his friends working there, offers his insights into the cause of the Beehive's woes. Mowen and the Queen Bee are so impressed by his acumen and enthusiasm that they hire Kai-Shirr as the general manager on the spot despite him lacking any business experience. He then enlists the help of the Warrior to help turn his ideas to restore the Beehive's prosperity into a reality.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 Portable, the Updated Re-release to the original game, has part-time jobs that either protagonist can be hired for and work for the day. These can not only earn the protagonist some extra money but also increase their social stats. These jobs were retained for its remake, Persona 3 Reload.
    • Persona 4 has various part-time jobs that the protagonist can take, which hire him over the phone basically instantly.
    • Persona 5 has four part-time jobs that Joker can undertake when he's not raiding Palaces, and again, these each hire him on the spot, despite him having an assault conviction on his record. One of the four owners gets to know Joker a bit before making the offer, while the others are clearly so desperate for any help that they basically only care that you're breathing.
  • In Quest for Glory V the country of Silmaria is a land in turmoil. The king has been assassinated, mercenaries are looting the surrounding islands, Atlantis is about to declare war on them, and there's a prophecy that someone will release a dragon that will destroy everything. Lots of people are evacuating including the Guildmaster of the Adventurer's Guild. As a result, he hands the guild over to the first adventurer that comes through the door, which happens to be Toro the Minotaur. At least Toro takes the job seriously, including helping out in the final battle against the dragon.
  • The Sims: In all of the games, sims can apply for a job via the newspaper or the online job finder and immediately get hired without needing to interview.
  • Starfield: To start the Ryujin Industries questline, you need to fill out a job application at one of their kiosks. Regardless of what you put, you'll be invited to interview for a position right away. As the interviewer's previous assistant has disappeared and someone needs to make a coffee run ahead of a leadership meeting, you'll be hired on the spot, regardless of your (most likely lack of) qualifications.

    Web Animation 
  • In Oops from Helluva Boss, Striker is hired when Crimson sees him lasso Blitzo and Fizzarolli from his headquarters. Crimson plans to use them as hostages.
  • Exaggerated in the Strong Bad Email "Pizza Joint", where Homestar shows up to order food at Strong Bad's fake pizza parlor, but somehow gets hired and into uniform during the 20 seconds that Strong Bad was on the phone with the King of Town.

  • Big Break (2019): In "Job Landed", bakery owner Yazmin immediately hires a Hunk named Joseph after taking a closer look at him, clearly attracted to him.
  • El Goonish Shive: Grace is hired by Justin's uncle after a single quick interview due to being vouched by Justin. Uncle Jim outright admits some nepotism is involved, but Justin's word is good and it saves him the trouble of going through the whole process of what it usually takes for a new employee to be hired.
  • Questionable Content
    • Coffee of Doom hires baristas very quickly; in particular, Penelope and Emily both separately got hired despite the fact that they weren't actually looking for a job.
      Emily: I just came in for a smoothie but sure!
    • Marten got his job at a college library by noticing they were hiring, and recognizing the application was written in iambic pentameter.
      Tai: Oh frabjous day, you passed the test! You're hired.
    • Wil, who dresses and talks like a 19th-century dandy, was hired the moment he inquired in person about a bartender opening at a Victorian-themed pub.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion: According to a 2014 report, 95 percent of American grandfathers claim they were hired on the spot after telling the proprietor they were the right man for the job. It's left ambiguous whether the grandfathers in the report don't know how the hiring process works nowadays or are just lying.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Betty Boop cartoon "Betty Boop's Big Boss", Betty goes to an office building to apply for a job and one song later, she gets hired; of course this is only because her new boss is attracted to her.
  • DuckTales (1987): In "Super Duck Tales", Scrooge wants to hire an accountant to keep track of his fortune when he's forced to move the Money Bin. One applicant, Fenton Crackshell, refuses to go away, even when Scrooge tries to pry him off the furniture or scare him by firing a gun into the air. When Fenton immediately lists the number of bullets used, Scrooge gives him a second test by throwing a handful of change into the air. He immediately tells the younger duck he's hired when Fenton correctly counts the change, down to the last penny.
  • Fairly OddParents: Justified in "Odd Jobs". After a Career Day presentation, Timmy's dad feels embarrassed about his boring office job, so Timmy has Cosmo and Wanda create a magical job-hunting website to help him find a cooler job. Said website, being magical, is able to instantly secure him careers as a race car driver, professional wrestler, and astronaut, despite him having absolutely no qualifications, experience, or (in the first two cases at least) actual talent.
  • Family Guy: In "Road to Rhode Island", Brian Griffin is immediately hired to be a crop dusting pilot after the last pilot was fired for impregnating the employer's daughter.
  • The Flintstones: In the episode "Moonlight & Maintenance" Fred Flintstone is hired for a janitorial job as soon as he sits down at the interview and says the words "I went to school."
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Bus The Two Of Us", Bloo and Mac stop at a pizzeria because Bloo needs to use the restroom. However, the only restroom available is exclusive to employees. As a result, Bloo takes a job as a pizza deliveryman for the restaurant in order to use the restroom. Quickly afterwards, Mac says that he needs to go now, the manager puts a company hat on Mac and welcomes him to the team as he enters the restroom.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Bendless Love", Bender Bending Rodriguez is forced to leave Planet Express after bending everything at the company. He finds a group of striking bending units at a factory that is hiring non-union scab workers. Bender pretends to be infuriated by the factory, only to walk in and be hired by the person running the factory in mere minutes.
    • In the first Season 5 film, Bender's Big Score, a version of Fry sends himself back into the year 2000, where he spots the news of the aquarium having taken in a rare tusked female Narwhal. When he demonstrates that he can work with her, the employer present is impressed, stating that he can start working tomorrow if he accepts minimum wage. Fry then offers to work below that to start working immediately, to which the employer accepts.
  • Gravity Falls: At the end of "Blendin's Game", it's revealed how Soos came to work at the Mystery Shack: when he was twelve, he found a screwdriver owned by the Shack and went to return it. He arrived just as Stan fired the handyman (who ran away). Stan saw Soos with the screwdriver, asked him if he could fix a golf cart, then told him he was hired before he could answer. Soos happily took the job and worked there for the next ten years.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Toy to the World", upon being underwhelmed with the mall toy store’s latest offering, the titular stepbrothers head to the Har D Har Toy Company’s corporate headquarters to pitch their own toy, the Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure, whereupon the president immediately puts them in charge and offers to double their salary.
    Phineas: Actually, we’ve never made a salary.
    President: Well then, I’ll triple it.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: In one "Mr. Know-It-All" short, Bullwinkle explains how to get into the movies without buying a ticket: apply for a job as an usher.
    Bullwinkle: Hello, Mr. Theater Manager. I should like to apply for a job as a usher.
    Boris Badenov: [as the theater manager] What experience you got?
    Bullwinkle: I've been in the dark most of my life.
    Boris Badenov: Is good enough.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Played with in "Arrgh!". Mr. Krabs tries to fire Patrick Star for punishing him in their board game, but Patrick replies he doesn't even work at the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs offers him a job, starting immediately, which Patrick accepts... so Mr. Krabs can fire him immediately.
    Mr. Krabs: Patrick, you're fired!
    Patrick: But I don't even work here!
    Mr. Krabs: Would you like a job, startin’ now? [puts a hat on Patrick's head]
    Patrick: Boy, would I?!
    Mr. Krabs: [takes the hat off Patrick's head] You're fired!
  • The Simpsons:
    • One time in "The Boys of Bummer", Homer rests on a mattress. The store owner approaches him to scold. Homer describes at length how comfy the mattress is, drawing a crowd over, then the Rich Texan, inspired by Homer, buys 5 mattresses, congratulating Homer for selling him on the bed. When Homer says he doesn't work here, the manager responds with "You do now. YOU'REEEEEEEE HIRRREEEDDD!"
    • In "Kill the Alligator and Run", the family take the help wanted signs out of a café. The lady who runs it decides she likes that and hires them.

    Real Life 
  • Geri Halliwell from Spice Girls writes in her autobiography that she was very late in replying to the advert that brought the Girls together, and when she did, she was added straight to the shortlist. She says that this gave her serious doubts about the professionalism of the original management team, but she was desperate for fame.


Video Example(s):


Will Abby Get the Job?

Birdie tries to make whether or not Abby got a job at the Brandenham into a cliffhanger to be resolved next time, only to stop himself and say she got it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ToBeContinuedRightNow

Media sources: