what to say to a job candidate who no-shows for an interview

A reader writes:

What is the best way to follow up with a candidate who was a no-show for their second interview? I plan to follow up by email, but am unsure as to how to word the message or what exactly to say. I don’t want to sound overly accusatory, if something serious did happen, but I also am annoyed that they were a no-show with no call or even an email.

Also, how do you feel about sending “reminder” emails the morning of a meeting? Our Biz Dev Manager thinks I should send them, but to me it seems a little desperate and they should obviously be able to remember a scheduled meeting (in my opinion), if they are someone we want to seriously consider hiring.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 188 comments… read them below }

  1. The Rat-Catcher*

    “Rarely isn’t never” – I am one of those examples. My grandfather, with whom I was very close, died the night before an interview I had. I tried to get in touch with someone, but was unsuccessful. I came back to a voicemail later that went, “This is Jane from Teapots Inc. Since you didn’t bother to show up to your interview, I assume you’re no longer interested in the position. Bye.”

    Never, ever applying there again.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      And that also touches on another important consideration — how easy is it for the applicant to get in touch with someone before the interview? Since phone numbers are becoming more guarded information (to avoid deluges of calls from long-shot applicants) it seems perfectly possible that someone having a legitimate emergency would have tried to call and not been able to get through.

      1. Adam*

        Right? Even more mundane things like “my car died” or “my child is sick at school and I need to take them home” can totally derail your day. If you have no means of contacting your interviewer what then?

      2. Jesmlet*

        We send emailed confirmations for every interview that have our address and my direct number for them to call in case something comes up. No one’s ever really abused that information and I think it just makes things simpler for the 1 out of 100 who no shows or is very late because of a legitimate reason.

        1. ali*

          Yes, this makes sense to me – doesn’t have to be a REMINDER persay, but a confirmation with the details makes sense to me as I’ve had things come up/get rescheduled on the interviewers side as well

        2. Sydney*

          I love the confirmation emails! Then I also have the email address and the full names of people who are interviewing me. Along with address etc. Honestly it baffles me how many companies don’t do this.

          1. Jesmlet*

            Yes, it’s so simple, it’s pretty much a form email confirming details once we’ve set up a time and date, doesn’t require me to bring my business card to hand out during the actual interview, and it’s also in case either of us misheard anything that was said. This way, they also can’t use excuses like, oh I wrote the date down wrong, or oops I went to your other office, or crap like that.

            I literally give them permission to call me if they’re running late or need to reschedule so they don’t have to wonder what my impression would be if they did that. Stuff comes up for everyone once in a while and this just allows room for that IMO.

            1. jordanjay29*

              Considering it is SO EASY to mishear information in person/on the phone, or misremember it once you hang up or step away, having it written down is the perfect way to have a later reference with the correct information. And if something gets screwed up, the person who sent it has a copy in their outbox (or you can forward it back to them) so they can see it really was their fault and not yours for missing the time or going to the wrong place (rare, but happens).

          2. Jess*

            Exactly! Once I’ve scheduled an interview I’ll immediately send an email confirming all the time/date details, who they’re meeting with, location and parking, and if needed the application form and what they need to bring (some roles require the applicant to drive so we might need to sight a license etc.)

            1. Chaordic One*

              Thank you, Jess!

              This is so extremely helpful, thoughtful, professional and courteous. You are setting a good example for prospective employees and giving them behavior to model.

              1. Jess*

                I should admit that in my last role, when we did frequent recruiting for positions where we had a high proportion of no-shows I WOULD also follow up with a phone call the day before the interview. While it WAS a reminder and an attempt to gently nudge our applicants to actually turn up, I couched it as “I’m just calling to confirm that you got the email I sent you and have all the information you need and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!”

                And hey, I DID occasionally hit someone whose email had genuinely glitched and hadn’t been able to call us because my contact email would have been in the email.

          3. C.*

            I completely agree. With my last interview, the assistant of the person I was interviewing with was incredibly scatterbrained and kept changing days / times, not addressing my “meeting at X location, correct?” questions, etc. That was definitely a rare exception, but a final confirmation of the facts so that everyone is on the same page is enormously helpful.

      3. Artemesia*

        But surely a follow up email could have been sent. It might not get read timely but would at least be sitting in the mailbox. In the case of anything but the person themselves being hospitalized, I would think an email would be sent.

        1. JessaB*

          This presumes the interviewer or their scheduler had a working brain cell that day and actually sent some kind of confirmation that had an email on it and the only contact wasn’t by automated system or phone. As above, some people are not good at getting info on paper, or just think that “it won’t ever happen to me.” And aren’t able to get through properly.

        2. Jopper Jellybeans*

          If something big or critical happened – someone died, someone is sick or something urgent, people don’t always have the flexibility to hop on email. That being said – since it is a job interview, if they care at all about getting the job, they’d find a way to contact the company.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I’m so sorry—both for your loss and for what sounds like an awful and compounding experience.

    3. TootsNYC*

      But that’s an understandable reaction–would you not contact her to say, “I tried to get ahold of someone; my grandfather died. I’ll understand if you don’t want to move forward, but I wanted you to know that I didn’t just blow you off”?

      If only to manage your own reputation.

      1. Kitkat*

        It’s the “you didn’t bother to” that’s not reasonable. There’s no reason to snark in an email like that. In the case of a no show, usually I email something like ‘Hi Name, I hope all is well. Since you did not come to your interview today, I assume you are no longer interested in the position. Please let me know if that is not the case.”

        1. TootsNYC*

          I wouldn’t actually think you needed to add “please let me know…” verbiage. But I agree that snarking isn’t necessary.

        2. Jesmlet*

          For any of our no-shows, I just don’t bother reaching out at all. The ball is in their court so I’m not going to waste my time. If they call back in a timely manner with a legitimate and believable reason for why, that’s up to them. If not, I have my answer anyway. With that said, like I wrote above, everyone who interviews me has my physical address, email address and direct phone number, so no excuses if they don’t reach out.

        3. RobM*

          Indeed – if I were the applicant that would probably make me reply and explain what had happened, and also to mention that given _their_ attitude, they were certainly _now_ correct in assuming that I’m no longer interested in working for them.

      2. Jamey*

        I would probably reply like this just in an attempt to make them feel guilty. But that’s just me.

    4. Anons-y*

      Yes. We had a candidate no-show and when we called to check in learned that he passed in his sleep a few nights prior. His family understandably did not have informing us on their radar.

      1. sstabeler*

        to be fair, I do assume that means they are no longer interested in the job ;) but yeah, that IS another reason not to be snarky in your response to them not showing up.

        1. JessaB*

          And also to be fair you presume that their family knew that they had an interview with x person at x place with x contact info which I find out from this blog is not actually the case in a lot of places.

          I was completely shocked reading this blog about how many people really do not tell their housemates (whether relatives or friends,) where they intend to be and when they intend to be back. If I went away I always at least gave a phone number and that was BEFORE mobiles were normal when tracking someone down took Rodie Sanchez AND Joe Kenda to manage.

          If something happened to me, at least Mr B has all the phone numbers in my phone and a calendar on my computer that would say if he or I had an appointment somewhere. And there would be a computer sticky (it’s a really cool programme for free that’s actually called stickies) on my desktop that would have “Interview with Alison at Teapots Inc. address, phone, etc.”

          Heck car accidents happen, I’d never take an interview without having a contact point, but then I’ve been an admin back when we didn’t mind being called secretaries and getting the dry cleaning before the boss went to court because he spilt lunch on his suitcoat, was kinda normal. We get way more respect now and Mad Men is a TV show not our lives.

          And I’ve never taken a job nor has he or any member of my family going back to when I was a kid, where the info of “this is how you get in touch with mom, dad, husband, sister whatever,” in an emergency. I may have to use a crowbar to get that info out of Sister-in-law B but I’ll play the “I get scared, I do have panic disorder, you know this, and you’ll by gods at least call me when you get to “place half way back driving to Rhode Island” so I do not lose my mind here.”

          1. Jopper Jellybeans*

            Some of those don’t have housemates, and when I live with my parents going to university, my private life was none of their business. If there was something absolutely critical, I’d tell them but I am old enough to take care of myself and I wear a medical alert bracelet. I also have emergency contact information on my phone – which is what they’d look for if something did happen to me. I have a living will. My bases are covered but I don’t need my family knowing where I am – I go on trips 1000 miles away and most people have no clue where I am and it is perfectly fine with me. Everyone is different.

    5. Connie-Lynne*

      I just had this happen, with a happy ending. My husband went missing, and I found out he was dead on February 13; I had an interview scheduled on February 14.

      I sent them an email that morning when I remembered, and they responded in an extremely compassionate manner to reschedule. It was an excellent sign that this will be a good place to work.

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        Er. To be clear, the happy ending was the compassionate response, *not* my husband’s death. That part is terrible. I’m still somewhat bad about expressing myself in text right now.

        1. Partly Cloudy*

          I’m so sorry for your loss!

          I was waiting for the part where you found out that the information about his death was a mistake, thinking he was out of town or something. :(

        2. MoodyMoody*

          I’m so sorry about his death. It’s fine that you’re still reeling from it. I hope the job works out well for you, too.

        3. Mel*

          I think even considering possibly thinking about updating the potential employer is amazing considering the devastating loss you had. I’m so sorry and I hope you’re surviving.

        4. JessaB*

          Zen or Jedi hugs* if you want em. Plenty of tea in chocolate teacups (or your beverage of choice,) I am so sorry for your loss and yeh, it can be a pain when you’re on a blog you can’t edit posts on. I’m sure everyone thought that it was the interview and how kind they were rather than that. And yeh a response at that point in the conversation does kinda flag what a nice place that’d be to work.

          *the hugs I’d give you if you were here next to me, but you’re not, so I did anyway.

        1. FoodieFoodnerd*

          Just found this site, but wow, condolences and hugs! Sometimes life really kicks your @$$, it hitting Valentines Day. Eff you too, universe!

          So glad to read that you’re apparently landing at a quality place, that matches your values of compassion and humanity.
          Sometimes the tiniest things are mountains in their impact and return.

          And don’t forget to laugh today; it’s when it seems least plausible it’s most needed. :^D

      2. Myrin*

        Oh shit, Connie-Lynne, I’m so incredibly sorry! I hope you’re able to take great care of yourself!

      3. A Teacher*

        Very sorry for your loss. I’m sure it is a tough time.

        Best wishes on your upcoming job interview.

      4. tink*

        I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m glad the place you were scheduled to interview with was compassionate.

      5. SanguineAspect*

        So sorry for your loss, Connie-Lynne. I hope that this compassionate company turns out to be the right place for you, especially if they made you feel cared for at what must have been such a hard moment. Wishing you all of the absolute best from Boston.

      6. Connie-Lynne*

        Thank you everyone for your kind words.

        It’s very sweet of all of you to say nice things to me, a relative stranger on the internet. I do appreciate this community quite a bit. Lurking in AAM has been one of the things I do since then to just kind of have a touchstone to reality.

        Please know that I am being taken care of — my family rushed up here, and the various communities Erich and I were part of have rallied around us; I’ve had at least one (and often many) friends caring for me and food every night since he passed.

        1. OhBehave*

          So very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have a great support system in place.

          I admire your wherewithal to let the interviewer know what happened. We kind of go on autopilot when tragedy hits. That company sounds like a great place given their response.

    6. Hoorah*

      I’m sorry for your loss. It is incredibly frustrating when someone is a no show for interviews but snark is still unprofessional. Also there really should be an email contact available for emergency cancellations.

  2. Karo*

    Literally yesterday 5 hours before an interview I got an automated email telling me they were moving forward with other candidates. I already knew I was one of their top candidates so I followed up and was able to find out it was a glitch, but I don’t know what I would’ve done if they hadn’t responded. If it hadn’t been in error showing up anyway would’ve been awful.

    1. Morning Glory*

      Ugh, that’s happened to us, from the other side. We were hiring for two internships with the same title and hired the first one – HR sent out rejection letters to all of the candidates, including our top candidates for the other position. We had no idea until a candidate reached out to us.

      It’s always better to check!

      1. B*

        Truthfully, I would never even think to check. I would assume you rejected me and would look down on applying for your company again rejecting me just moments before my interview.

        1. Tara*

          You should check out this post from Alison.

          I get that you might not think to check, and that’s fine, but I don’t know if you ought to hesitate to apply to the company for letting you know you’re out of the running. If they know for certain that they won’t be hiring you no matter what happens during your interview, then its a good thing they’ve decided to not waste more of your time by having you sit through a conversation that has no chance of leading to anything for you.

          1. FoodieFoodnerd*

            I wouldn’t check (well, now I might!) after a rejection not because I’m offended, but how it would sound if it wasn’t sent in error.

            “Wow, don’t we have a high opinion of ourselves! Inferring any rejection of you must be some mistake?
            “Don’t flatter yourself, honey; you weren’t even on the short list. Buh-bye.”

          2. FoodieFoodnerd*

            And I would appreciate the cancelation even if rather short notice, especially the times when unemployed and self-employed, funds are short and I’m trying to conserve gas. (e.g., only shopping when driving by for business purposes.)

        2. Morning Glory*

          I’m not saying you’re in the wrong to do that, but it could mean you miss out on an opportunity. The department who makes the mistake is not always the department you’d be working for, so I don’t personally see it as a dodge a bullet situation (ok, I may be biased).

      2. MegaMoose, Esq*

        Do you really think it’s a good idea for job applicants to double-check every time they get a rejection letter? That seems like a good way to make a nuisance of yourself. Or do you just mean if there is something unusual about the letter, like it coming right before a scheduled interview?

        1. Newby*

          I think it is pretty unusual to reject someone with an automatted e-mail right before their interview. I wouldn’t check if it actually said that they were cancelling the interview or if it happened after the interview or before an interview was offered. It is easy enough to e-mail the person that scheduled the interview and say that you got this e-mail and does that mean that the interview is cancelled. There is really nothing to lose at that point.

          1. MegaMoose, Esq*

            I guess I read “It’s always better to check!” as potentially broader than that, since Morning Glory didn’t specify that this was an auto-rejection prior to an interview situation. I would agree that a follow-up under the circumstances you describe would make sense.

            1. Morning Glory*

              Well, since we didn’t know about the problem, any candidate we were interested in, we still would have reached out to – so the contact would have been on our side.

              I only meant, if the employer was already in contact with you, and the next step was on your end – to answer an email, go to an interview, provide references, etc. Then it’s better to check.

          2. JessaB*

            I guess the issue is why not call them? I know it’s hard to do things on the phone and people may be annoyed at the company, but cutting it close, you’re making a huge assumption that they’ll even SEE it. If I have an interview, I might not check my mail before leaving, simply because something as big as a last minute reschedule should be done by phone. Now, I know better reading this and I’d absolutely check for schedule changes in an email. I’m an old fogey, back even when email started you didn’t deliver major time critical information by email. Now it seems people do it all the time.

        2. Morning Glory*

          Yes, sorry! I meant only if an interview had been scheduled/was in the middle of being scheduled, and the rejection was automated.

        3. sstabeler*

          I’d say if the rejection came at an unusual time in the process- so just before your interview, and, for that matter, if you are negotiating things like salary, then receive a “we have found another candidate” email, it might be worth checking “I received this email- was this sent by mistake? I thought we were negotiating the salary for the position.” or similar.

    2. Beth*

      I recently applied to two similar positions at an organization, and received a rejection for one of them days before my interview. My heart kinda dropped, but thankfully I remembered the other position and double checked to see this was not the same position.

    3. JessaB*

      I’d chose to err on the side of going. It may make them uncomfortable but you knew you were in the running decently and since it was a decent chance of a glitch, I’d go and say what you said in the un responded to email.

  3. VX34*

    If someone was worthy of a second interview, they are worthy of a follow up that expresses concern over the meeting being missed, and a legitimate inquiry as to what happened. Leave the door open for rescheduling, understanding that life is messy sometimes and bad things can happen to good people, unexpectedly.

    Now, if the follow-up(s) go unanswered, then yeah, it might be time to move on.

    Really, even for a first interview this protocol should probably be followed. If your org feels like nothing short of 100% perfection is your preferred candidate, the person who had a loved one die, or got into a car accident, or whatever…might not want to work for your org anyway.

    Now, if you follow up and your BS detector goes off…proceed as would be professionally appropriate.

  4. The Optimizer*

    I had someone call 10 minutes early for a phone interview then not show up for a later in-person interview. She later emailed to tell me there had been an emergency and, though I was skeptical, it sounded legit so we rescheduled. She didn’t show up for that one either and I didn’t bother contacting her for an explanation.

  5. misplacedmidwesterner*

    Regarding the follow up morning emails – no. Don’t. I schedule the interview over the phone and send one confirmation email (usually with directions of how to get to the meeting room we are using, a reminder of any assignment/preparation we are asking of them, etc). This is because I know interviews are a two way street and I want them to know as a manager I give clear directions and follow up in writing when I say I will. I also don’t want any excuse that perhaps this candidate misheard me or I forgot to say x. I use the same (almost) email for everyone. But I wouldn’t do a follow up the same day. I need someone who can take instructions and go, not someone I have to baby through the process.

    1. Chalupa Batman*

      I know it might sound kind of harsh, and there are legitimate reasons to disagree, but I agree with you. I see so many people who complain that they didn’t receive a reminder about X meeting or Y opportunity, and I can’t help thinking, “Why didn’t you put it on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone like everyone else?” As someone who forgets things-a LOT- I know that it’s my responsibility to figure out how not to miss important things. People who don’t accept that responsibility are annoying to work with at best.

      1. Allison*

        Agreed, Chalupa Batman. I had a colleague in my last job who would very often forget about meetings and scheduled calls unless someone reminded her, and even then she was almost always running late (because she was soooooooo busy, you have nooooooo idea). Maybe it’s me, but reminding someone about meetings, calls, appointments, etc. is a job for a person’s assistant, and literally no one else – you can’t rely on your coworkers, even people junior to you, to help you manage your schedule and make it to your meetings. Nor can you just throw your hands up and go “Oop! I’m just a forgetful person! I forget things! I can’t help it! You just have to remind me!”

        ADA accommodations aside, manage your crap. Don’t expect others to do it for you, and don’t expect people to think your inability to manage your crap is some innocent, endearing little quirk they just have to tolerate.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          THIS! I am not always as timely as I aspire to be, but there is nothing cute, or charming, about being late. It doesn’t show me you’re so astonishingly artistic and creative that you couldn’t be bothered to be on time; it shows me you don’t manage your time well enough to respect the time of everyone else who got stuck waiting for you.

        2. FoodieFoodnerd*

          All of this is spot-on, but the last paragraph should be framed and hanging in every staff room, break room, etc.

          It’s the most basic level of respect for others; and utterly selfish and obnoxious to think so little of their time, expense and convenience as to repeatedly arrive late or no-show for scheduled commitments.

        3. JessaB*

          THIS majorly. I know I have issues and I used to schedule stuff for a living. I have a calendar on my computer that syncs with my phone. I have those sticky notes I keep mentioning, and I have actual sticky notes I put on the dashboard of my car. And a notebook in my purse. I am SO overkill on the remind me of important things (mostly because I am now memorykeeper of the family, Mr B has memory issues and I have to remember his stuff too, hello ADA at his job, they’re really good about emailing him and the one thing I’ve drilled into memory is forward all that stuff to me ASAP.)

          I also have a voice alarm on my phone with custom messages (take your medication, for instance.) Seriously if there is an ADA thing it’d likely be “put that meeting on Jessa’s calendar Wakeen.” AND I’d have a giant note in my cubicle or office (it’d be incredibly fancy on card stock and neat fonts and all,) that said “check your calendar every time you look at this sign.” And it could be, because some of my meds do mess with memory, but they keep me alive. But an ADA request would probably co-opt an assistant to SOMEONE not a coworker or subordinate, to remind people.

  6. Beth*

    Before I lived in my current city, I drove in from three hours away and had scheduled two interviews for the day, one at 9am and the other at 2pm. I had no idea until about an hour into the first interview that it was going to be an all day affair. I had no cell phone service where the interview took place, and of course, didn’t really have any breaks.. so I realized with horror I was going to miss the second interview. Thankfully, all-day-interview-company hired me, but I felt awful when I finally got out of the building around 4pm and saw that I had a voicemail demanding to know where I was when I didn’t show up. I considered following up with them to apologize, but I was so embarrassed, and knew I’d lost the job, I didn’t see the point.. not only that, but I wouldn’t have been able to easy reschedule as I was in from out of town.

    Of course, now that I’m job searching again, and saw that this company had some interesting positions listed, I realized the reason I should have followed up as soon as possible.. I could have apologized and saved face, especially if I wanted to apply in the future. I really like Allison’s suggested response: a polite email saying “We assumed you weren’t interested, but please tell us if that’s not the case.” That would have given me a chance to apologize (without fear of the — yes, justified–wrath I may have received over the phone) and certainly I would have added “I know that I’m out of the running for the job.”

    Again.. I certainly wouldn’t have expected something like this, but it may have made it easier for me to apologize.

    1. Chris W*

      That seems like a serious failure on the interviewing company’s part. If I showed up to an interview without a set end-time and it ended up going longer than an hour or two I’d be annoyed enough to start reconsidering how much I wanted to work for this company. It’s really on them to let you know that they expect you to be there the entire day.

      1. SarahTheEntwife*

        Agree! If I’d only had the one interview I probably would have only taken a half-day off of work, and it would look really sketchy to have to call in and say “er, my appointment turns out to be all day” if I wasn’t at the point of telling my current employer I was interviewing.

        1. jordanjay29*

          Just to make you feel better, I once had a routine doctor’s appointment which “ended” with “Do you have a few minutes to talk about this in a little more detail?” I was expecting 20 minutes, I got three hours worth of excruciating details. If I hadn’t been off for the day anyway, I wouldn’t have been fit to go back after drinking from that firehose.

          But yeah, even appointments can run over unexpectedly like that. Totally credible, if completely unusual.

      2. K.*

        Totally agree. People have lives! What if you hadn’t taken the whole day off, or had child care arranged that ended before the end of the day? That company dropped the ball, in my opinion.

      3. The Bimmer Guy*

        I’m going to play devil’s advocate and suggest that perhaps the company simply forgot to let you know the interview was all day–although I question the necessity of all-day interviews. It was still a lousy thing to do, but it would have a more benign tone if it weren’t done out of dishonesty.

        1. Beth*

          So I was curious, because my employer is really not THAT flaky typically when it comes to this stuff, and went through my (very) old email to see if perhaps they DID say something.. and in fact, there was a note in the confirmation email that the interview would go until 3:30! She hadn’t said that over the phone, which is why I apparently thought that it wasn’t made clear. I sure feel silly now..

          Well, now I know to do the following:
          -Confirm interview time/length
          -Don’t be afraid to call if I’m going to miss something else!

      4. Artemesia*

        Agreed. I would have kept the second interview and rescheduled the first for more the second day if necessary. And I would certainly have found a way to call the second if I had to cancel. I don’t see a downside of telling the first group that you have another interview at 2 and were not aware that the first was an all day affair.

    2. J.B.*

      I’m giving the side eye to the company that pulled the all day interview on you. I know that interviewing is stressful, but for future reference I would specifically ask to use one of their phones or reschedule. So sorry that happened!

    3. Mike B.*

      Why didn’t you ask the first company to give you a short break and the chance to privately make a personal call from their landline? If they didn’t communicate that they would be taking up your entire day, they owed you at least that much. (And while I don’t know what your experience at this place has been, I would have thought twice about a company that blithely assumed you had nothing else going on and didn’t think to make that offer to you proactively.)

      1. Beth*

        I suppose at the time, I thought it was uncouthe to ask to call another company that I was supposed to interview with, although now, I can’t really see that making me look bad — in fact, may have even made me look more appealing!

        To be fair, I knew it would go through lunch so maybe I should have just expected it to go longer, and I don’t completely fault them for just extending it. They knew I was driving in from 3 hours away (with a full time job and in grad school), so it was actually more of a courtesy to cram everything in rather than make me come back. Thankfully it hasn’t proven to be a terrible environment after this experience, it’s just time for me to move on.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I also want to say, you absolutely could / should have said to Company A: “I’m sorry–I have an appointment with another company at 2pm. I don’t want to behave unprofessionally with them. Could I come back for part of this? Or, at the very least, could I use a phone to call and see if they’re willing to reschedule?”

      Any company that would hold that against you is a company that won’t be reasonable to work for.

    5. JessaB*

      Honestly, as soon as I realised they intended a long day affair, I’d request a phone and say “I love your company but we have no idea if we’re a fit yet, and not knowing you wanted me all day I scheduled a 2pm. Please let me use your phone, because if you had been the 2pm you would want me to call.” If they balked I’d explain that “do you really want to hire someone who would set up an interview with you and not cancel it? And just no show?”

  7. Amber Rose*

    Semi off topic, but: Once upon a time, I asked to reschedule an interview, unfortunately after the interview time, because my mom had died. He asked if I could come in on X day, and I explained I was planning to visit family in another city that day, could I go the next day, and he agreed. When I got there and introduced myself, the guy at the counter said, “Oh, the one who went on vacation.” In this super mocking tone.

    I was floored, honestly, and didn’t recover very well after that. I bombed the interview and didn’t get the job. It would have been a terrible job for me to take anyway, but who hears “my mom died and I have family obligations” as “I can’t interview because I’m going on vacation.” And then apparently bad mouths them to their staff.

    1. OhNo*

      Probably a bullet dodged, to be honest. I’ve found that the people who assume the worst of others are more likely to commit those acts themselves. And if he doesn’t trust you at the interview, I’m going to bet he never would while you were working for him, either.

      1. Sas*

        I don’t know who you are. But, I need you to narrate my life. “girls finds friends, they turn out the worst friends one could ever meet.” And, that’s not even the beginning.

    2. LadyKelvin*

      It’s too bad that in situations like this it is often too shocking to have a coherent response, but the perfect thing to say would have been, (deadpan) “Yes, a vacation to my mother’s funeral.” And then let the awkward silence fill the room.

      1. jordanjay29*

        And her newly-commissioned gravesite.

        Some people make me want to wring their necks for being so inconsiderate. Mocking or joking about someone’s death in the family is pretty low. I agree with others, dodged a bullet.

  8. Lily in NYC*

    We had someone show up 20 minutes late with no apology (and she was wearing a mini-dress with a halter top for an interview at a govt. office). My boss asked why she was late and she said she had to go to kinko’s to print a copy of her resume. He refused to interview her and told her that he already knew everything he needed to know about her. Ouch!

      1. Artemesia*

        Yes, that he doesn’t waste his or her time when it is obvious she doesn’t meet the minimal requirements of enough sense to get in out of the rain.

      2. Lily in NYC*

        He was an excellent manager who won our large company’s “manager of the year” award two years in a row. By far the best boss I’ve ever had. She was blatantly dismissive about being late and her tone was very unprofessional for an interview. And who wears a mini-dress to an interview at a government office? He would have been fine if she had just said “sorry I’m late”.

        1. Lissa*

          Yeah, I was trying to figure out what bad thing she would have learned about him! That he expects punctuality and appropriate dress standards . . ? I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I would be so horrified and mortified if I were late to an interview that the idea of just brushing off being late like that is boggling to me . . ;

        2. jordanjay29*

          “And who wears a mini-dress to an interview at a government office?”

          She sounds like someone who doesn’t own a lot of conveniences. Maybe she lacks the formalwear for a proper business interview, and probably also a printer. She could have left early, but I also have to wonder if she had her own transportation to the interview or if she had to take public transit (and be married to their schedule and tardiness).

          She obviously didn’t know how to handle it well, and maybe needs some friends who could loan her a nice suit and some print time. But it sounds like it could be unintentional.

          1. JessaB*

            A lot of state job offices now have ties to work closet kind of groups where they give you a set of clothes to wear for things like that.

        3. Bananas*

          If he said ‘he knows everything he needs to know’ then he is rude at the least. Being in the right on a situation or encountering rudeness from others doesn’t make it good to be rude yourself.

          He could either have simply said they wouldn’t rearrange the interview because of her lateness, or expressed his concerns about her attire/tone and let her make a case for interviewing her (ie an attitude adjustment and/or a valid explanation). Snarking back at her just makes him look petty, and would tell me something about him- that if he’s clearly in the right over something, he isn’t above snarking.

    1. MicheleNYC*

      I had that happen with someone I interviewed. She was 20-30 minutes late and since our elevators in my old office building had a tendency to get stop and not move for no reason. We asked if she got stuck in elevator all she she said was no. That interview was the worst. I think she thought she could walk on water.

  9. MegaMoose, Esq*

    Yeah, I no-showed a first interview once. It was entirely my fault – I got my days mixed up and showed up 24-hours after I was supposed to. The director was nice enough to interview me anyhow, and a couple of years later I got another interview from that office so I guess they forgot or forgave.

    1. Tim W*

      I did roughly this in reverse once. Showed up a week early. I was baffled that they left me in the building lobby for 20 minutes past my scheduled interview time. When I went to send an “is this still a good time” email, I noticed my mistake. Talk about feeling foolish. On the upside, I showed up a week later (at the scheduled time) with calmer nerves and a good story.

    2. Cafe au Lait*

      I once lost the interviewing schedule for my library. I had given it to our office secretary so she could call the candidates, and she said she gave it back. I didn’t have it. After frantically retracting every step, and looking at every piece of paper on my desk, I couldn’t find it. Luckily we interview in morning or afternoon blocks, so I was able to recreate the schedule with minimal effort.

      One of the candidates no-showed for a morning interview, but then showed up the next day in the afternoon. My coworker was aghast and wanted to send her away. I had to remind her that the original schedule had been lost, and *we* could be the ones at fault.

  10. Jeannalola*

    If it is a second interview, I might want to know if there was something on my work place’s end to prompt the candidate to blow off a second interview without even an email? Could they give me some valuable info about the interviewer, per option of corporate culture, etc.?

    1. fposte*

      I really wouldn’t do that with a no-call no-show, though, unless there’s a pattern that indicates something is egregiously wrong in a way that people were afraid to articulate. No call no show for candidate reasons is a lot more common than first interview death threats.

      I might have it as part of my followup language for somebody who communicates that they’re withdrawing from the process though.

  11. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee*

    Related question: how do you feel about the candidate sending a reminder email? When I first moved to NYC a few months out of college, I was in the process of relocating and going back-and-forth a lot from my hometown more than 8 hours away. I had a second interview (the first had been via Skype) for a company three days out, so I booked a train ticket immediately and slept on the floor of my still-unfurnished apartment to get to the interview. When I showed up, the secretary had no idea who I was and the person I was scheduled with was “on vacation” that day. Aside from spending money I didn’t really have yet to just get to the interview, it made me never want to work with them again- when he emailed me more than two weeks later, I definitely didn’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt again.

    Ever since then, I try to send a “Just wanted to confirm that I’m meeting you at 10am and 123 XYZ Street tomorrow,” both for my own peace of mind and to make sure I’m not wasting my time either; is this crazy or do hiring managers see this as a pretty normal thing?

    1. OhNo*

      I’ve never sent a reminder email like that as a candidate, and when I’ve been on the hiring side I think I would have found it pretty weird. Not disqualifying, but still a bit odd.

      What I do usually do, however, is repeat everything back to the person scheduling the interview at least once. If they set it up via email, I respond with, “Look forward to seeing you XXday morning/afternoon!” If they set it up on the phone, I recite everything back “just to make sure I wrote it down correctly”. That’s usually enough to prompt them to double-check, too.

    2. Mike B.*

      I haven’t done that, but I did once arrive without being expected because someone (I never learned who) miscommunicated the time. The director I was supposed to meet was out of the country, and she offered the job to someone she already knew as soon as she returned; that person was working there within a week of my interview. I was upset but it was eventually clear that I had dodged a bullet.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m always mildly annoyed when I get those because I’m super organized and don’t like the implication that I need the reminder … but I also totally understand why a candidate might send those (because they have no way of knowing that about me) and I would never hold it against them.

      1. Lablizard*

        I feel that it is more than understandable/normal for someone who is traveling for the interview to confirm. The cost in time, effort, and money is high enough that it is reasonable to double check.

      2. Koko*

        Interestingly, it might just be my perception, but I’ve noticed a tendency to reconfirm among those who grew up with cell phones.

        I’m right on the cusp where I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 17 and driving. For most of my teenage years when I made plans with people to be at a place, at a time, I simply had to be there. As a result, that’s my default mode of operating – I assume people will be where they said they would be at the time they said they would be there.

        I don’t always keep close tabs on my phone when I’m busy with something at home, and on multiple occasions I’ve had mix-ups with younger friends (who grew up with cell phones from a very young age) who try to text or Facebook message me shortly before our plans to re-confirm. Meanwhile, I’m busy tidying and getting ready for their arrival and don’t think to check my phone until it’s 15 minutes past when they were supposed to be at my place, and then see that they haven’t even left yet because they were waiting on me to confirm that they should still come over.

        For their age group, cell phones have made it so easy to change plans on the fly that they seem to not consider plans to be as set in stone as I do. I assume that if the plan changed, they would let me know, but they assume that if they don’t hear from me I must have forgotten about the plans.

        1. TootsNYC*

          which is funny, bcs the cell phone also makes it really easy to never miss an appointment. I am much better at remembering random dr’s appts now that my cell phone is always with me.

        2. Lissa*

          We’re probably about the same age — I got a cell phone when I was 19. In high school people didn’t have cell phones except for 1 or 2 in the last year or so and that was a Big Deal! But yeah, saying that to confirm what you’ve said here. Though I’ve actually started confirming plans the day of just because I have so many flaky people in my life! But this isn’t my default mode.

        3. jordanjay29*

          I do this plenty of times with friends of mine, but I’ve never had a problem with businesses. I always seem to assume that if you make a business agreement with me, you’re going to honor it. If I’m interviewing with you, and you aren’t ready/there at the time and place we agreed, then you’re probably not someone I want to work for. Also, if there’s money exchanged, I expect the plan to be followed even closer to the letter, especially if it’s my money being spent (like if you don’t have something ready for pickup or ship it when you say you will, I’m going to be very annoyed).

          But my friends will still hit me up the day of and say “you still want to…?” and I think nothing of it.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I have roughly Alison’s reaction, but it doesn’t bother me if it’s sort of camouflaged behind a request for info, like, “Will I need an ID to get into the building?” or “Was there anything you needed me to bring?”

    4. Bonnie*

      I never send these, but once had a interviewer snarkily tell me I was an hour late to the interview. I was mortified and didn’t do very well. I went back and checked my email, nope. I was on time. I wish I had sent one in that case!

      1. Hey Nonnie*

        I had a phone interview with a recruiter who forgot to tell me she was in another time zone three hours behind me. Given that she initiated contact with me (via email) about the job, I assumed that 1. she knew which city I lived in (it’s on my resume), and 2. she was talking about a job in my city, since she never asked if I wanted to relocate.

        So I took my lunch break from work, found a quiet corner where I could talk/hear on the phone, and waited. Ten minutes before my lunch period was up, I called and left a message telling her that I had been expecting her call, and if she did want to talk I now only had ten minutes left because I wouldn’t be able to answer the phone while working. She left me voicemail a couple hours later, finally letting me know that she’d meant noon HER time (which would have been 3pm here).

        Turned out she was looking for a programmer anyway. I am a designer, and I have NO IDEA why hiring managers and recruiters think they’re the same thing!

    5. Government Worker*

      I used to send emails like that for a ton of the meetings on my boss’ calendar when I was an executive assistant, especially since he had a lot of one-on-one coffee and lunch meetings. I got no response a lot of the time, a quick confirmation back most of the time, and 5-10% of the time someone had mixed up the time, thought we had agreed on a different Starbucks, had something come up and asked to reschedule or to move the time or location, etc. It really cut down on the day-of problems. I’ve carried the habit through now that I’m at a point in my career where the meetings are for me and not my boss.

      If I was interviewing, it would depend on how long ago I’d set it up, how likely it was that there could be confusion about the location, how organized the interviewer seemed, etc. More than a week from someone who hadn’t sent clear information about the office location? Yep, I’d send a confirmation.

    6. PB*

      I’ve never done it, and don’t know if I would. As a hiring manager, it would feel odd to me to receive. However, I can understand why someone would.

      For example, the first job interview I went on after grad school. I had to travel out of town for it, and the HR rep had been in contact leading up to the trip to work out travel arrangements. Two days before, she’d sent a final confirmation email. I was supposed to meet with her on the afternoon of my interview day. A member of the search committee drops me off and points me to her office. I walk to her office, and there’s a sign on the door that she’s taken the day off to spend time with her daughter. She made no backup plans. As far as I can tell, she forgot I was coming.

      The desk staff was not helpful. They explained that the HR rep was out (yes, I realized that) and there was no one else I could meet with. Then, they said this other person, Jane, sometimes filled in for her. Jane was in a meeting in the Smith Building, so why didn’t I go there?

      So here I am, in a place I’d never been before, wandering through a campus I’d never seen, trying to find a person I didn’t know with whom I didn’t have a meeting. When I finally found someone else to ask, they were incredibly rude to me, as if this whole scenario were my fault.

      I didn’t get the job. And that’s fine with me.

      1. literateliz*

        Ha! This reminds me of what might be my worst interview experience… I showed up and the person who was supposed to interview me was out (sick or vacation, I don’t remember). After a bit of confusion, someone else in the office (who was very nice, and happened to be wearing sweatpants, since he hadn’t planned on interviewing anyone that day and who even knows what was going on there) stepped up to interview me instead, but was understandably a bit scattered and hadn’t looked at my resume or anything. He left me in a conference room and stepped out to get something. Another dude, wearing a suit, wandered in and was like “Who are you?” I told him I was there for an interview and my interviewer had stepped out. He asked who was interviewing me, and (I don’t know if I’d forgotten his name or if he hadn’t actually introduced himself in the confusion) I said “Oh, um, it’s the man… wearing… sweatpants?” The other guy snorted and was like “The guy in SWEATPANTS. GOD. TYPICAL.” and angrily stalked off. I’m cracking up remembering it… glad I didn’t end up working there!

    7. misplacedmidwesterner*

      I would be annoyed to get this one from a candidate now that I’m a hiring manager.

      However… when I was interviewing, I once had someone forget my interview (phone interview). When I finally got ahold of someone, he was vague and confused. I declined a reschedule in a follow up call. (By that point I had a second interview scheduled for a better job that ended up hiring me.) Years later I met the person who got the job that forgot my interview. She said she spent about 80% of her time interpreting the director’s foggy headedness. So bullet dodged!

    8. Recruit-o-rama*

      It doesn’t bother me when I get an email asking for confirmation from a candidate. I schedule a few dozen interviews every week for me and for other people so I get them once or twice a week. I get why people do it and I just respond, “yes, looking forward to it!” Or “yes, good luck with your meeting!”

    9. JR*

      Huh, interesting to read these replies. I typically confirm all meetings, not as a reminder but to make sure we’re on the same page with all the details, unless one of us put it on our calendars as a meeting invite (since then I know we have the same details). I wouldn’t do that if we had just set up the meeting in the previous few days, but for something we haven’t been in contact about for a week or two, absolutely.

      1. JR*

        Just to add – I do this with social activities, as well. It’s just so easy to send a quick text or email to confirm, and it’s also so easy for people to get the time/place/etc. mixed up.

  12. AK*

    Is it okay for the interviewee to check in a day or two before the interview to ask, “Are we still on for 3:00 pm on Thursday? Looking forward to meeting you.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I wouldn’t frame it that way — it sounds like you don’t consider the meeting a firm one yet. But it’s fine to do what the person commenting just above said.

      1. caryatis*

        This is how I used to feel when I was dating, and someone would text to say “Are we still on for tonight?” Yes, of course. If I agree to go out with you, I’m not going to ditch you at the last minute. That would be wrong, unless it’s an emergency. And frankly, it’s worrying that you would consider that normal behavior.

        1. J bird*

          Oh man, so unfortunately for a lot of person that is normal behavior. I make it a point to go to a first/early date even if I’m feeling pretty rough, or work got crazy that day and I’d REALLY prefer to just go to the gym at the end of the day or, hell, stay at work and keep working. But I’ve had several people (four at least) who I sent the “are we still on?” text to and… we weren’t.

          I’d rather find that out the morning of or even a few hours before than conclude after 30 minutes of sitting at the place. I wouldn’t say I expect people to be flakey as a default; I presume good faith on their part. But enough people have flaked that I would rather send that quick text and spare myself the potential waste of time.

          As an aside: I *think* all my flakes have been from Tinder or Bumble (with the exception of one guy I met IRL) and not from OKCupid, so I wonder if expectations around commitment to a first date have started to change with the way that we meet people. I’d be interested to hear other’s thoughts on that, but it’s probably more appropriate for the Sunday Free For All.

    2. Moonsaults*

      I would say it like “I’m calling to confirm my interview with Sally for Friday at 2:30.” If you want to confirm. Only so you are comparing notes.

      When you’re interviewing, it can be easy to screw up a calendar on either side.

      This is why I love Indeed, where you send them in writing and it pops it into my phone automatically.

  13. RAM*

    I was once told that I was supposed to have a phone interview at 2PM. Apparently, the hiring manager was told 12PM. They end up calling me at 12 (twice), but at that point I was having lunch, had my phone on silent and didn’t end up checking until an hour later. I call them back immediately and try to explain the mix up. They do allow me to have the interview but they’re very cold throughout the whole thing, I’m very flustered and also not sure if the whole thing was my fault, which is making me more flustered. This was my dream job, and I was very qualified for the position… but I don’t even make the next round. Oh, and I checked their confirmation email after the call – I was definitely told 2PM.

    OP – please make sure they were 100% told the right day and time first!

  14. Moonsaults*

    My story is from another side of a communication gap. I had a killer interview, they called my references, they called to talk salary and benefits. Then no offer letter. My heart broke and I was panicky to say the least.

    Then I got a call that explained my now boss had a death in the family and my offer letter was still in his inbox. He thought they had sent it, they thought he wanted to proof it first.

    Things happen so fast without a moments notice that even incredibly important things get dropped.

    I’ve learned that whenever approaching a situation where you don’t know what’s going on, it’s best to give the benefit of the doubt, even when your immediate response is to be irritated and write a near stranger off as just a flake.

    1. Rater Z*

      This is like I went thru 20 years ago. Right after I lost my job, an ad for a weigh & inspection guy popped up in the trade paper and I answered it. No response so I kept looking. A year later, I was still looking for work when I got a response wondering if I still was interested. Absolutely! So, we set up a date and time — it’s only a 200 mile drive for me from South Carolina to Atlanta where he was.

      I showed up for the interview and nobody knew I was coming. When they found out where I was from, the people were nice and set up an interview for me with the guy who was actually doing the work. He was due to start work in about 15 minutes so it was worth waiting for him. It did feel strange watching him walk across the parking lot, aware that he was walking into a situation where he would be conducting a job interview that he didn’t know he would be doing. It worked out great – he was a good guy to talk with and I spent much of the time calming him down. He showed me around and what I would be doing, which would be at a different location.

      The next morning, I got a phone call from Dave, who was the guy I was to meet. He explained that seven years before, his father had had an operation on his gall bladder, something went wrong and he went into a coma he never came out of. Fifteen minutes after I left the house for the 200 mile drive, Dave got the call his father had died and he ran out of the office never telling anyone I was coming. He offered to fly where I was for the interview, but I said no, I would make the drive back there. He also told me that he asked the guy who interviewed me if hire would hire me and the answer was yes. So, it wasn’t a wasted drive.

      I wound up being offered the job, first at their terminal in Toledo, Ohio (where I had some friends), then having it shifted to Dayton, Ohio (where I have a cousin). Then, as I was on my up to Dayton to look for a place to live, he had to get in touch with me to tell me he was told he could not hire me. He was so mad about he said he would to quit his job. I told him not to do that, that he needed the job.

      The good part was that two months later, I landed a job in Indiana where the people there knew about me (informally) from a previous job. My first day on the job, the credit manager stuck her head in the door to tell me that John from two jobs before, said to tell me hello.

  15. Kat A.*

    I never used to send reminder emails, just the initial confirmation email for the interview, because I wanted to see if the person was on top of things. That all changed when I took a job over an hour away where I telecommuted about half the time. I always had to come into the office to interview people even if it was on a day I’d normally work from home. Driving all the way in and back only to have a no-show because someone forgot or got the day wrong was aggravating.

    I know some of you may think we dodged a bullet, but these were entry-level positions where we train people and always give second chances, so I would’ve rather have had the person show up after a reminder than be a no-show.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nope. Although all my columns for Inc. are reprints of questions from years ago, so if you were in the archives, you might have seen the original one.

  16. Jeff*

    A few years ago when I was interviewing around for a position after I’d been laid off, I got approached to do a phone interview. I went through the HR phone screen first and then set up time with the manager for a phone interview with him.

    He messed up the time and called while I was interviewing for the position I’m currently in. Not a problem, I call back after my interview and reschedule the interview with him. He never called back at the time he’d rescheduled to. Then finally I talked to the HR person and they’d set up a third try. Never got that call back.

    Eh, c’est la vie. I’m ecstatic where I am.

  17. PK*

    I no-showed once on a single interview because it was at 6AM and I overslept. Poor planning to be sure and I apologized for wasting their time when I did wake up. I’m lucky that they offered to interview again though (and within normal 8-5 hours).

  18. Delta Delta*

    I had someone ghost on an interview once. It was very odd because it was for an admin position, and the applicant was someone I already knew in her capacity as an admin at an agency I regularly contacted. she’s someone who I generally like and would not consider flaky. I didn’t say anything to her next time I saw her, and neither did she, which makes me wonder what actually happened.

    1. De Minimis*

      We’ve sometimes had people cancel the day of [or maybe the night before.] I don’t know if we’ve had people just completely ghost, though.

  19. soupmonger*

    I have a really simple solution to this one – I never follow up on no-shows for interview. I’ve had those, and also had no-shows for trial shifts. Again, I don’t bother following up. If a no-show re-applied for a subsequent vacancy, I’d let them know that I’m not considering their application as they didn’t show for a scheduled interview.

    And sending reminders for the interview? If someone can’t remember an interview dare and time, I don’t want to hire them. I’m planning to be their boss, not their mother – and I’ve never wanted children!

    1. Partly Cloudy*

      I never follow up on no-shows either; it happens fairly often for the positions I hire for, so I don’t have time to track down every wayward applicant. I’ve had one or two no-show for their first day of work, too. I had one who stopped showing up to work after a couple of weeks and I did call and leave a message basically saying “I hope everything is okay” but never heard back.

    2. Brett*

      Just make sure you have the times right.
      I nearly no-showed on an interview for my current position, because what I was told was an 8am interview was actually an 8pm interview on the interviewers calendar.
      I called HR to find out what happened, and they said it was fixed and scheduled for 10am.
      10am comes around, and no call. Again, HR says it will be fixed….

      And the original interviewer calls me at 8 pm from a number I don’t know! Fortunately it occurred to me that maybe his calendar was still wrong and I picked up.

        1. Brett*

          Yep, exact same time zone.
          Made sense to the interviewer, because he figured I would want to do the interview outside of normal work hours and after dinner. Now that I know him better, wedging an 8 am or 10 am interview into his schedule would have been difficult, so I am sure he was happy to see an easy to fit in interview.

          1. Rater Z*

            I did a 7 pm interview one time with the two owners of the company. If I remember right, I was upfront when I called and let them know I was losing my job at the end of the week. My background was enough to interest them, so they talked with me on Wed., let me know I had the job on Friday and started the new job on Monday without missing any time between jobs.

            That was the year I had a company shut down under me, moved six hundred miles for the next job, let go from that job and transitioned right into a third job (that lasted nine years) and was out of work for only three weeks. Plus, I worked part-time for three weeks during the second job.

    3. Marisol*

      Life moves fast and people are busy at work. I think deciding not to follow up with no-shows is a good way to prioritize.

  20. De Minimis*

    Just anecdotal, but we ended up passing on a student worker because we could never get them to respond to e-mails or to confirm that they would be able to interview at a certain time!

    And on the HR side now, I’m noticing more people not replying to e-mails for whatever reason, even when it’s a position in which they’re very interested! I don’t get it. I’ll need to confirm a few details, and sometimes it’s pulling teeth to get a response.

    1. Chaordic One*

      I find it hard to imagine someone not responding. I wonder if your emails are going into their spam folder or something?

      OTOH, there are probably a lot of job-seekers who are jerks.

      1. blackcat*

        I have encountered A LOT of students who just don’t check their email regularly. They don’t use it to communicate with peers (they use text/messaging apps for that), and announcements for classes are posted on an website that encompasses all of their classes.

        1. dawbs*

          With students, you also have ‘what email are you using?’ issues.
          The school tends to default to the school email, there tends to be the professional email they give out (Jane.Doe at gmail.com), and the email they ACTUALLY use (that, all to often, they do still use professionally, to my chagrin-that is something, if it’s tame, like RareRumpRoast69 at Smoochy dot com).
          So when they give me the jane.doe option, I do try to remind them to actually CHECK that email for a while.
          (and I’m guilty of it myself. My MissDawbsProfessional email doesn’t get checked as often as my dawbsdawbsterdabest at yahoo that I’ve had for 47 gazillion years)

          1. De Minimis*

            The thing about this is that we contact them at the e -mail they gave out when they applied to the job, which I assume would be their e-mail of choice….

      2. De Minimis*

        I called to follow up and they said, “Yeah, I got the e-mail…” They said they had class during some of the potential timeframes and I guess they assumed that meant they couldn’t interview at all even though I’d made it clear I wanted to come up with a time that would work….

        I think it was a case of a student who maybe had a poor sense of professional norms regarding e-mail. Since e-mail was going to be a big part of the job, we decided to just let it go after they didn’t respond to further attempts to set up an interview.

  21. Temperance*

    I’m not super proud of this, but I no-showed on an interview right after I finished college. I applied for a job that was looking for people with editorial experience, and then after I accepted the interview, I received an email from the company that explained that I would be doing telephone sales and writing ad copy was a tiny part of the job.

    I was so dejected trying to break in to my field by this point that I didn’t even bother to cancel, because I felt tricked and taken advantage of. I had a good phone interview, and at no point was I told that it was going to be a call center sales job.

    1. Justme*

      I honestly don’t blame you for no-showing for that. Still crappy, but understandable.

    2. Hey Nonnie*

      Yeah, anyone who baits-and-switches a job description has forfeited any right to courtesy. You gotta give it to get it.

  22. Not Karen*

    One time I showed up for a college internship-type interview at 3. The interviewer had previously informed me that she had another interview at 2:30. At the end of interview, I find out she thought I was the 2:30 person. Except she hadn’t said anything about “me” showing up 30 minutes late… A few days later I find out she hired that person……

  23. Windchime*

    Such good advice, Alison. At my current workplace, they tell a story about a candidate who sailed through the phone interview and was scheduled for an in-person interview the following week. The candidate was visiting from out-of-town and had been here for several days. He got lost on the way to the interview, but didn’t call to explain. Finally my manager called him, and he said he was lost but would be there in a few minutes. Another hour goes by and he calls again — still lost and wants to reschedule. My boss said, “No thanks”. She wasn’t interested in hiring someone who couldn’t be bothered to find the place and get there on time. (We aren’t in the boondocks — downtown in a major city, right next to a freeway exit with plenty of parking garages).

    1. the gold digger*

      When I was new to my city, I always did a practice run for interviews! I didn’t know my way around and I was terrified of getting lost and being late. (My People Are Not Late. Ever.)

      1. De Minimis*

        Always a good idea. Crazy things can happen, and it really helps if it isn’t the very first time you’ve been somewhere.

        When I’m sending e-mail confirmation with directions, I always tell people to call me if they are having trouble finding us or if they will be late.

        1. JessaB*

          Oh yes, I had to take a friend to an appointment downtown, and I hadn’t driven downtown in awhile, so I did a test drive and OMG the amount of streets labelled “no left turn during business hours,” in an attempt to break gridlock. She’d have been insanely late if I hadn’t driven around and checked. Google maps does not bother to mention that half these streets cannot be turned onto, and given the plethora of mostly one way streets you really get boxed in.

      2. Delta Delta*

        I love doing a dry run. That way I know where to go and what things look like before I get there.

    2. Hoorah*

      If someone is lost and already knows they aren’t going to be there on time, it’s courteous to call ahead and let the other person know. Just like we have staff who might have unavoidable delays in arriving to work, but if that happens, we need them to contact their manager as early as possible so we can a rearrange shift cover etc.

      When an applicant is late without any notice I automatically know to decline them.

  24. Hoorah*

    I am another hiring manager who doesn’t bother following up with no shows. If the applicant had a genuine emergency but was still interested in the job, they would contact us.

    Otherwise it’s not worth my time emailing someone who has shown they are unreliable and inconsiderate. I also decline people who leave it to last minute to cancel an interview when they knew earlier they weren’t going to make it. That is also unprofessional.

    1. Artemesia*

      If they have confirmed the time i.e. you know there has been communication then I’m with you here. For any emergency you would expect the candidate to at least email after the fact to let you know what happened.

      In my experience unreliable people whom I have bent over backwards to accommodate during interviews for jobs or programs, have proven unreliable once selected. People who have genuine emergencies at least follow up to let you know.

  25. Drago cucina*

    I don’t follow up with no-shows. I do use calendly.com to schedule interviews. I send an email to the top choices with the schedule link. So much better than phone tag. We both get confirmation emails, it’s added to my Google calendar, and we both get reminder emails. If they no-show I know I’ve done what I could to remind them.

  26. Oscar Madisoy*

    I work in Civil Service. The Bureau of Teapot Handles sent me a canvas letter (availability inquiry) for a Teapot Handle Assistant position. I responded that I was interested in the position. Heard nothing from them for a while. Finally I received a letter, sent via USPS Express Mail, saying something to the effect of ‘you did not show up for your interview but if you are still interested we have rescheduled it for X-date, please call us at this number.’

    The odd thing is that I had never received any communication from them about an interview. The fact that they sent an Express Mail letter should have been a red flag, because they had my telephone number on my original response and could have telephoned me instead of incurring the $10+ it cost them to send that letter Express Mail. (No return receipt or other form of delivery confirmation was requested.) And, in fact, the day I had the ‘rescheduled’ interview, the original letter advising me of the original interview showed up! (Another applicant also received a similar letter via Express Mail.)

    I got the job, but it didn’t work out well. They fired me after 2-3 months*. This was a union position, and my title was represented by the Teapot Officers’ Union – who, as it turned out, was happy to collect dues from Teapot Handle Assistants like myself but didn’t want to do anything for them. I didn’t think it fair that I didn’t get a whole year probation, and whereas a good union would at least say “Hey, you can’t do that!”, these guys only went so far as to say “Can you do this?”

    * “Fired,” in this case, being a relative term. Since this was a Civil Service job and at the time I already had seven years of service, I wasn’t actually fired as in “you’re outta here” but instead I was returned to my previous title of Teapot Handle Office Assistant.

  27. Kem11088*

    This letter reminds me of my worst interview experience. I had an interview in October for a position that would have been a HUGE step career and money wise.

    I took an entire day off. My train was delayed getting into the city and then my uber driver got lost. I was only 5 minutes late but couldn’t find numbers ANYWHERE on how to contact anyone. So I show up only to find out they had no idea I was coming. Their HR girl had put me on a calendar for the week before (even though we had established on the phone I couldn’t do that); so they figured I was a no call/no show. I had NO IDEA.

    The only people around to interview me were entry level (which is fine; and everyone around me was so apologetic I gave them the benefit of the doubt).

    They then reached out to schedule a second interview with the people I was originally supposed to interview with but told me that the first people who had interviewed me didn’t think I was experienced enough for the position I applied for so I was going to be considered for a different role. I took ANOTHER day off of work and when I met with the woman I was originally supposed to meet with she texted and emailed through a presentation i was giving and asked me about my hobbies. She wasn’t crazy about me being a long distance runner who puts in time to you know…train.

    Needless to say, I didn’t get the job and they cited me not showing up for that first interview as the reason. Lack of organizational skills. Oddly enough, the glass door reviews are overwhelmingly positive on this place. Not one negative word!

  28. Audiophile*

    A few years ago, I was interviewing for a job with a college, I had left early to arrive on time and got stuck on the subway. I decided to get off the subway and take a cab. I managed to find the one cab driver who did not know how to get to this college. He asked, at least 4 times, for the address and nearby streets. By the time I got to the interview, about 10 minutes late, I was told they left me a voicemail wondering where I was, but that I could ignore it since I managed to show up. I got the impression that people often just no call, no showed.

    As a candidate, I’ve often had interviewers say they were going to email to confirm and provide all the pertinent information (address, if there’s a security step, etc) and rarely do they actually do that. I certainly understand there busy, but as a potential employee this makes me wonder what it will be like to work under them. Lately I’ve been calling, if this was the original way we communicated, to confirm. I only do this because I’ve had people forget that I was coming in and then scramble to find someone.

    I once had a potential employer, it was retail establishment and this was during college, schedule an interview on Christmas Eve. Of course when I got there, there person I’d communicated with was not there and no one else was expecting my arrival. They scrambled to find someone to interview me, this poor person had’t read my resume and was just someone they seemingly pulled off the floor. Lesson learned.

  29. Katie A*

    Happened to me once. I later found out the candidate had been taken to hospital earlier that day. So, I guess I wouldn’t make any assumptions…

  30. Elsadora*

    What? Send an email reminder before an interview? What are we toddlers who need to be reminded to go potty? If the applicant needs to be sent a reminder for a simple interview, how do you think they will fare once they are on the job? It is up to the applicant to ask for the pertinent details when they are setting up the interview. And it up to the applicant to set up reminders, saying hey, I got an interview with x on x day. I understand about sometimes misunderstanding someone on the phone. That is why I repeat everything back to them to make sure I heard them right. If I have any other questions, I will reach out to them via email myself. It is called time management and follow through.

  31. Chris*

    I did this once as well, back in the spring of 2016. And I am not necessarily proud of it, but I had to do it for my own safety.

    At the time, I was 27 years old and just moved to California a little less then a year ago, so I was basically in a new area. I lived with my aunt rent free, so that helped my situation, but being an unemployed adult in your late 20s is not fun. So when I got an invite for a job interview near San Jose, I was excited, even though it paid next-to-nothing ($16/hr). I just figured that any job is better than no job.

    First interview, I was given a tour of the facility and it began well. Then the red flags started to appear very quickly. He asked me personal questions, including if I was gay, whether I wanted to get married, etc – first red flag. Second red flag? He offered me a beer and I stupidly accepted. The interview lasted well over an hour past its schedule and he gave me a sinister smile – third and fourth red flag. However, desperate for a job, I accepted the second interview.

    Second interview took place a week later. He dove right back in in personal questions, some of which were illegal – fifth red flag. But I was acting like a naive 5-year-old that just wanted his candy because I felt like an unemployed loser and that I just wanted a job ASAP. He then offered me a third round interview – at a restaurant! He was essentially asking to go on a date with me! Now, an interview at a restaurant would be normal if this were for a higher level management position, granted if it were with a few people. But this position was at or below an entry level position with only ONE PERSON, so the sixth red flag was there. But once again, I stupidly accepted. Even typing this makes me cringe to see how blind I was by this.

    Then my parents came to visit a short time later, before my third round “interview”. I told my mother the details, and she instantly tried to talk me out of it because she told me that it was not normal at all. My other aunt from the east coast also gave me a horror story of when she was looking for a job back in the 1970s, only to have an interview take place at a brothel! This is no joke. Both my mom and my aunt gave me a wake-up call that I was potentially being lured into danger and I came to my senses. I quickly switched the Google invite calendar from “yes” to “no”. Days later, he must have seen me switch my response and he, sounding disappointed, asked why I was backing out. I did not reply. A week later, he emailed me a rejection letter saying that I wasn’t a good fit. Again, I did not reply.

    When I think about it now, I could have gotten myself in trouble if I had gone for the third round. Lesson learned.

  32. Wendy Wright*

    I had someone that didn’t who up. I called them several times and no answer. The next day they called and left a voicemail and said that they were in the hospital for a sprained ankle and that they would be on crutches for 4-6 weeks. With what the job entails we can’t start a new hire out on crutches. It’s too labor instensive. Should I just interview them to say I did or not waste my time? I know, I know, I need to be courteous and fair but it’s not off to a good start and we have other candidates that already made it to the next level of interviewing.

    How would you handle?

    Thank you.

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