A reader writes:
Could you please give your advice on calling etiquette with a potential hiring manager?
I had scheduled via email a time to speak with the hiring manager to address a particular point that they’d asked for clarification on after my first interview. In this case, the hiring manager had responded saying she would be available between X and Y hours, and when should she call me? I’d suggested a time and stated my phone number. I didn’t hear back and when the stated time came, no call. I waited 20 minutes before calling her. It turns out she had been caught up in a last-minute meeting and we rescheduled, so all turned out fine this time.
However, this isn’t the first time I’ve been faced with such a situation, and I’m really interested to know what the suggested etiquette is in cases like this. Do I assume the hiring manager is simply running late and continue to wait for the call, or that I should be the one to call? If so, what’s a reasonable “waiting time” before I call?
Aggggh, it’s so rude when this happens. It would be one thing if it only happened for truly legitimate reasons — which I’m defining as a situation where they’d do the same thing to a colleague or a client* — but it happens way more frequently than that, and sometimes they don’t bother to get back to the candidate to reschedule at all. It’s hugely rude.
The tricky part, of course, is that when it happens to you, you don’t know whether you’re dealing with plain old rudeness or whether they really might be legitimately caught on a call with their boss that they’re trying to wrap up, or what.
In any case, though, it’s not reasonable for you to have to sit around waiting and wondering for some indefinite period of time, so wait 15-20 minutes and then call them. Say something like, “We had a 3:00 call scheduled and I’m checking in since I haven’t heard from you. Would you like to reschedule or is now a good time to talk?” If you get voicemail, change that last sentence to, “I’d love to talk with you; I’ll send you an email to see when we can reschedule.” (And then do.)
And seriously, everyone involved in hiring — recruiters, hiring managers, HR — stop doing this. It’s rude.
* I will note that plenty of us manage to never do this to colleagues or clients, so I don’t totally buy that there’s ever a legitimate reason to miss a scheduled call without advance warning to the other person. But enough other people do it that I’m willing to allow the possibility.