if you can’t remember the phone interview, I doubt you can do the job

Guess what? When a prospective employer schedules a phone interview with you, you are supposed to answer the phone at the scheduled time. You are not supposed to call back half an hour later sounding like you just woke up and ask if you can do it now, as we had two recent candidates do.

If for some reason you miss a scheduled phone interview, the only correct response is to contact the employer immediately and express your extreme mortification. You must apologize profusely, and ideally you must offer an understandable excuse. (“A meeting with my boss ran over” is reasonable; “I wrote down the wrong time” is not.)

From the moment you make contact with the company, you are being evaluated. The “interview” isn’t just the hour you might spend being asked questions; it’s every email you send, every contact you handle, the way you treat the assistant, how prompt you are to respond when you’re called about scheduling an interview — it’s all of it. Throw up red flags at any of those stages and you will either be out of the running or at least facing serious skepticism.

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. The Engineer*

    The recent change in the economy is about to introduce Generation Y to the concept of a “buyers” market in labor. It is going to be painful for those raised on the idea that workers are largely working as a “favor” to the employer. Real interview skills are not the only thing underdeveloped these days.

  2. Special Projector*

    What a sad state of affairs…I cannot imagine what goes through the minds of applicants…

  3. The Office Newb*

    I can top this!

    I recently had a candidate not show up for an IN-PERSON, scheduled interview. No call, no email–nothing. We just never heard from this guy again.

    You can bet his name is now on our permanent “No Hire” list.

  4. Rose*

    I was gonna do my phone interview, but then I got high…

    I was gonna wake up and find my phone, but then I got high…

    Now I’m unemployed, and I know whyyyyy…because I got high, because I got high, because I got high, do do do do do do….

  5. Anonymous*

    What about an EMPLOYER not showing up for a scheduled phone interview?

    After the phone interview got postponed by the company twice, a new phone interview was scheduled. Then the company never called me at that time. 3 Hours later I got an email: “Sorry, can we postpone?”.

    This company is now on my permanent ‘don’t get hired from this company’ list.

  6. Jacob Johansen*

    I just had an employer stand me up on an interview twice as well.

    It’s unfortunate that people sometimes can be flaky and not keep their appointments.

    But let’s face it, it’s no more flaky than the redonkulous hiring processes at most major corporations. Talk about a roller coaster ride!

    Let’s not forget that I am interviewing the employer as much as they are interviewing me. And my time is just as valuable!

    @The Engineer

    I’m one of those Gen Y’rs, and while I strive to remain humble and ambitious in my career endeavors, my eight years working for a Fortune 500 has taught me there’s no shortage of stupid people in the workplace.

    Younger generations continue to adopt technology at lightening speed, so what they may lack in business maturity they will make up for with new ideas and innovation.

    I know of no one more entitled than an employee who’s been with a company for thirty-years, parked in a cubicle like a piece of furniture engrossed with some boondoggle.

    So yeah, by and large, young people continue to do corporations the favor of brining new ideas that make the money!

  7. The Serial Candidate*

    @Anonymous at 3:21…

    I certainly can’t top 3 hours for an in-person interview; but a prospective client was 30 minutes late with their phone interview. I was less than impressed and they never apologized for their tardiness, but I proceeded with the interview as per normal. I didn’t get the position, but have since black-balled this organization indefinitely for their lack of organization.

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