an employer invited me to interview but never responded to my reply

A reader writes:

I submitted a cover letter and resume a couple weeks ago for a job. Four days ago, the hiring manager’s assistant emailed to ask if I was available for an interview with the hiring manager on a specific date and time next week. She only gave me one option, and unfortunately I had a very important conflict. So I emailed back that day expressing enthusiasm for the job and said I was glad to hear from her, but asked if it would be possible to do another day. I gave her four alternative dates and times.

I waited two days and she hadn’t responded to my response, so I emailed again today saying I was just circling back to confirm the date and time. It’s only been a day since my follow-up email, so I know there is still a good chance she will respond to my follow-up. But I’m concerned — what if she doesn’t? What is my next move? I’ve not encountered this situation before. I don’t like the idea of sending a second follow-up, and contacting the hiring manager directly seems tattle-tale-y. But do I have any other options, other than forgetting about it and praying they get back to me eventually? This is the least appealing option. I am lucky to currently have a good job so I’m not desperate, but I prefer to be proactive in my job search whenever possible.

I should also add that this is a dream job for me. It is a stretch job, but I am very ambitious and have been applying for it at different organizations for months. I was very excited to get the news that they wanted an interview, and it’s pretty crushing to feel it slipping away and not know why and feel like there’s nothing I can do.

This is one of the most frustrating things about job hunting: that ultimately it’s the employer’s call whether to interview you, and that remains true even in a situation where they’ve initially expressed interest but then disappear … and that ultimately there’s not much you can do to nudge them if they’re not contacting you to do that.

Of course, it’s possible that the assistant will still get back to you and this will be moot.

But if she doesn’t, the most likely scenario is that they’ve moved forward with other candidates and she’s (rudely) neglected to explain that to you. That is a thing that happens — some employers will not bother interviewing people who don’t make it really easy to schedule an interview, meaning that if you turn down the first offered date, you may not hear from them again.

To be clear, for most jobs that’s really poor practice. Candidates aren’t interchangeable and you won’t make the best hires by eliminating people who aren’t available on a particular day and time. But there are plenty of employers who don’t care about making the absolute best hire and instead just care about “good enough” — and when that’s the case, and they’ve already scheduled three or four of those “good enough” candidates, they won’t always bother getting back to the person who didn’t easily fit in the original schedule. You also see this happen when a manager has identified one or two top candidates who they’re most interested in — they may offer interviews to a couple of others, but the initial times don’t work for that latter group, they may decide it’s not worth it to pursue them.

Or, of course, if the hiring manager’s assistant doesn’t get back to you, it’s possible that she has dropped the ball and that her boss would have wanted her to get back to you to find another time. That happens less often, though, than the other scenarios.

This tends to be very unsettling to job seekers, because it makes them feel like they need to make themselves available at whatever initial date and time an employer offers, lest they lose the opportunity to interview altogether. The reality is that sometimes that’s really the case. But it’s rarely the case with good employers. Good employers want to hire the best people, and if they’ve asked you to interview, they’re going to try to find a time that works on both sides. (There are some exceptions to this. For example, sometimes the schedules of everyone involved in the process are so hard to coordinate that they have three days they can all be available and can’t offer any others. Or sometimes they need to do the interview this week, because they’re going to lose a top candidate if they delay the process any longer. Or sometimes they might being willing to delay things for a truly superb candidate, but not for a borderline one. But in general, good employers will try to work with you on scheduling and will explain why if they can’t.)

So, where does that leave you? Unfortunately, right about where you already are.  You’ve followed up once, so they know that you’re interested and at this point it’s in their court. At most, you could try calling the assistant for one final follow-up; that risks being annoying, but she’s lost the standing to be too annoyed by that since she’s ignored your emails. After that, though, there’s nothing else to do other than accept that it may or may not pan out — that’s just how this stuff goes. (And you’re right that contacting the hiring manager isn’t the way to go; you’d seem like you were trying to circumvent their process.)

As is usually the case when you’re waiting and wondering if an employer will contact you, the best thing to do is to tell yourself that they must have decided to focus on other candidates, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do get back to you. I know that may seem defeatist, but it doesn’t change any actions you’d take; it just ends the waiting and agonizing, which is better for your peace of mind.

{ 65 comments… read them below }

  1. Recruit-o-rama*

    It’s a terrible hiring practice. I push back on my hiring managers all the time on this; I will tell them if they are being unreasonable; people have lives and commitments. It may be that she is waiting for her boss to get back to her in a reshuffle of scheduling (although she should have told you that, Instead of leaving you hanging) so cross your fingers, follow up one more time in a few days and the move on.

    1. I-dont-care-about-your-on-staff-chefs*

      I had a very large tech company do this to me in the early 2000s. They offered a date, I emailed back saying I couldn’t do that date, but offered 3 other times… and I never heard back from them again. To this day I won’t take a job with them and I have told their recruiters the last 2 times they contacted me this. People have memories and there are other jobs; if you don’t treat candidates with respect they will stay away.

      1. Steph B*

        Yeah, I had a company that actually brought me in for a full day interview (where I prepared and led a journal club / hour long presentation) that I… never received an update on afterwards. It was an awful experience, and I like to think I wouldn’t have accepted the offer if I was given one, but still. I followed up with the contacts I was given and was met with silence. A full day of my time, plus the hours that went into prep for the presentation, and no one thought it was worthy of sending an update on. Months later, I received an automated message about how the position was filled.

        I will never apply for a job there again, nor will I recommend that others do.

  2. Jabes*

    I do a LOT of meeting coordination involving folks both inside and outside of our organization. Sometimes nailing down a meeting time takes way more than 24 hours. Or more than a couple of days. Obviously, ideally the assistant would have given you a “we are coordinating our schedules to see if we can make any of those alternative times work” but it also can just be this much of a hassle to schedule a meeting.

  3. Acespade*

    Letter Writer here – Thank you Alison for the thorough and helpful response! I do have an update. The assistant got back to me right after I sent my inquiry to you, and it appears that she is genuinely trying to get an interview scheduled, so that is a relief! It seems she is just not super responsive. Knowing our industry, it’s not surprising that her and the hiring manager have very demanding schedules. I agree that poor communication at the onset can be a sign of a less-than-desirable employer. But for now I’m just going to chalk it up to her being very busy and unable to respond right away to candidates, not necessarily a sign that they are not that interested in me or that it’s an undesirable employer in a larger sense. We’ll see!

    But lesson learned for next time, if my dream job offers one date and time for an interview, do everything in my power to accept it so I don’t risk this happening again. It was a very important conflict, as I said, so I don’t know that I could have moved it if I tried. But, next time (if there is one) I’ll at least try.

    1. Clever Name*

      Honestly, employers that are good to work for don’t expect their candidates to drop everything to attend an interview slot. Yes, it does make the hiring process take longer, but I think a company gets better candidates if they are flexible in scheduling interviews. You are allowed to have a life while job searching, and I suspect that the companies that don’t care about this also don’t care about their employees in general.

      1. Acespade*

        I know, right? And they only offered me one date and time, and with only a week’s notice! And it was posed as a question, ‘are you available’? I’m in this industry, too, and I figured they would understand that and be willing to be somewhat flexible. You never know what is going on with a potential employer, but it seemed beyond the pale that simply asking for another date (and giving lots of options) would put me out of the running. Alison’s explanation is super helpful in terms of considering many potential causes for the delay.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think initially offering just one slot is a big deal as long as they make it clear they can find others if that one doesn’t work for you. Sometimes people’s schedules are so hard to coordinate (especially if there’s more than one interviewer) that sometimes it makes sense to say “any chance you could do Tuesday at 12?” rather than laying out a bunch of options.

          1. OwnedByTheCat*

            I definitely do this when I’m trying to schedule meetings with more than one Director. It’s often “This Tuesday at 12 or a few other options three weeks from now,” so why not start with a slot I *know* will work?

            1. Lil fidget*

              I would use the phrasing suggested though – “any chance X date and time work?” with the understanding that it might not. Especially if it’s within a week or two!

              1. OwnedByTheCat*

                Yes, agreed – and luckily in my case most of the meetings I am scheduling are with people I know and have relationships with so I can be a little more laid back than if I were scheduling an interview or any other type of first time meeting.

          2. Acespade*

            That’s a good point. But if it were me I would then be responsive. I think there’s a good chance, based on the assistant’s delayed follow up, that I am still in the running but schedules are just super packed. And I think it’s definitely true that I am a borderline candidate so they are not going to go out of their way. Here’s hoping I can woo them in person. :)

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I think it’s important to reconsider this from the assistant’s point of view. First, I don’t think offering one time was a problem. She probably has a list of “available” times and is doing her best to slot people, and her life is infinitely easier if she restricts the options she provides each candidate (as Alison noted). The reason she asked if you were available is because she genuinely wanted to know if you were available—it’s not an indicator of enthusiasm.

              When you responded with alternative times, I can almost guarantee you that those times are not on her list of already-available times. The fact that she’s still trying to schedule you indicates she’s now juggling the schedules for the hiring manager and anyone else in the interviews to accommodate you. That seems like a good thing because it indicates they’re still interested (but doesn’t really tell you how interested).

              I would try not to read too much into the amount of time it’s taking to follow-up; it honestly can take me a week to get a bunch of busy people to make time. And her lack of responsiveness is probably her trying to make sure she can get people to commit before getting back to you with a time and then having to cancel or reschedule. Breathe deep, OP! :)

          3. TootsNYC*

            also, the whole back-and-forth of picking dates is VERY inefficient.

            It’s probably most efficient to propose one specific time and date. And then that gives a starting point to negotiate from.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Really? Huh. I find the most efficient option is to offer 2-3 dates and times – offering just one holds up the process because it’s not super likely that they can make that exact time, which then requires an additional back and forth. Offering two or three makes it most likely to get locked down in one email exchange (although the busy important people might end up losing slots before we get one locked in, FML).

              1. Huddled over tea*

                I do a huge amount of scheduling for interviews, and if you have even 5/6 candidates and you offer each of them 2/3 slots, that’s 15ish slots.

                You have to book meeting rooms in advance and block all the times out in the hiring manager’s diary so they don’t book something over it and then I get hiring managers complaining that there’s no space in their diaries, and people moaning about me hogging the rooms – and then multiply this by the 15 other roles I’m usually working on that the same time?

                Logistical nightmare.

          4. Safetykats*

            I second the difficulty scheduling interviews based in the interviewers schedules! What happens A LOT is that the person responsible for scheduling with the applicant is give some number of days/times that will work for the interviewers, and the first applicants called therefore potentially have several backup options. If I had three potential dates/times and you were the third applicant I called, them there is no other option. And yes, I’m then at the mercy of the various people on the interview team as to how long it’s going to take for me to get back to you with another option.

            Factor in that, if you’re communicating with someone in HR, they may be trying to coordinate interviews for multiple positions as well. My company currently has 30 open positions, and will likely interview 4 – 6 applicants for each. We are also in the middle of benefits open enrollment (for around 1600 staff). We have, I think, 4 HR people. You can do the math.

        2. Drama Llama*

          I only offer one time slot when scheduling interviews, too. If I offer several slots I have to keep all those sessions free until the applicant responds (sometimes they don’t). If scheduling interviews with multiple people for multiple jobs it’s not practical to keep all those sessions open, particularly as some people take awhile to reply.

      2. Lil Fidget*

        True, it’s not that much to ask for them to provide at least two slots, even if they don’t have the time / patience for a long series of round-and-round scheduling emails.

        1. Acespade*

          I’ve done some hiring and it would not occur to me to ghost someone because they couldn’t agree to one date and time. But I’d probably offer several slots to begin with, which just seems like a professional best practice.

          1. Drama Llama*

            Yeah that’s fine if you’re scheduling an appointment with just one person and you otherwise have a free calendar all week long. But hiring managers have dozens of other people to meet, not just you.

            1. synchrojo*

              Eh, when I was scheduling interviews for my very busy program director (we had a ton of turnover in a short period of time, so I got a lot of practice with this) I didn’t have a problem finding enough time on her or her hiring committee’s calendar to do interviews for 5-6 candidates over a couple of days. She made it clear that finding good people was a real priority for her, and that other things could be moved around or postponed to make room for interviews.

              I would email every candidate with a list of (# of candidates plus 1 or 2) time slots that I knew worked for my boss (and put a hold on them in her pretty crazy schedule) and ask them to tell me if they were unavailable for any of them by a given deadline– usually about a day or so later. Then I could sort through the prompt responses and schedule interviews based on unavailability. People who responded promptly and offered a preference for a specific time usually got it, people who were less prompt got whatever was left that they were available for. I rarely had to go back and forth with candidates about scheduling, since most were eager to be as available as possible.

      3. designbot*

        I feel like this is a little unfair as it assumes an intention on the employer’s part that may not be present. Another possibility would be that while trying to figure out how to schedule you, they found someone they liked better anyway and either decided not to interview you at all, or just that it wouldn’t make much sense to rearrange schedules for you until they saw how it went with other candidate(s). If that was the case, it wouldn’t make sense to close the loop with the original candidate until after the other interview(s) because unless someone’s awful you don’t want to reject them until you’ve lined up someone better.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      > But lesson learned for next time, if my dream job offers one date and time for an interview, do everything in my power to accept it so I don’t risk this happening again.

      I don’t think that’s the lesson Alison wanted you to learn. Partly because she always says there’s no such thing as a dream job. There may be such a thing as a dream job description, but jobs *always* involve stuff outside the job description (eg: coworkers), and those things can make a huge difference.

      I think the lesson is “don’t doubt yourself based on how hiring companies react to you” because most of the time it’s not actually about you, it’s about their internal realities.

      (Remember that job hunting really is like dating, and you get to judge them just as much as they get to judge you. Me, I don’t want to work with people who are so inflexible that they offer only one time, unless of course they own that upfront and apologize for it, based on reasons. That shows that they understand reasonable norms.)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, that is definitely NOT the lesson I wanted you to take away, OP! (See my third-to-last paragraph.) And totally agree with Jennifer re: there not being any such thing as a dream job, at least not that you can spot before you’re actually working in it.

  4. Clever Name*

    This happened to me. I got an email that said, “we’re scheduling phone interviews and yours is Date/time. I was unavailable then, so I emailed back with a list of when I would be available. Never heard another word from them ever again. Turns out, I dodged a bullet; the company was well-known among workers in my industry to have a “sweatshop” mentality and they pay low and treat their workers like crap. So I wouldn’t get too hung up on them ghosting you. But I know it sucks.

    1. Triplestep*

      Same thing happened to me, too, just a few weeks ago. In my case I knew it was all due to the unprofessional recruiter who didn’t want to do the extra work to find an agreeable time. I had a contact who knew the Hiring Manager and he reached out to me himself. But alas, they could not get it together and I accepted an offer from another organization.

      I was really shocked. I have been ghosted after interviews, but never after initial contact!

    2. Rachel in NYC*

      I got a call once- “can you come this afternoon for an interview?” My only response was No, I had work. They offered the next day, as an alternative. While I was trying to figure out if it would work- it came out that they were looking for someone to start working the following Monday (I think this call was on a Wednesday) and when I politely explained that I would have to give my current job two weeks notice- it may have been retail but they treated me really well plus I babysit in the morning for child so plans needed to be organized- they told me it wouldn’t work for them.

      My feeling was that if you can’t wait for me to give someplace two weeks notice, it wasn’t going to work for me either since you’d have wanted that from me.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Yeah, the only consolation is they probably weren’t a very good place to work, with unreasonable expectations like that!

    3. Julianne*

      I had a similar experience! At the time, it was a huge bummer; I’d been sending out dozens of resumes but not getting many bites. I don’t know if the issues the place had would have been obvious during an interview, or if I would have been savvy enough to sniff them out (probably not).

  5. Bookworm*

    I’m sorry. I’ve had variations of this happen to me. From my own experience I’d urge you to move on and not wait on this one anymore since you’ve already responded.

    I could very well be wrong! But in the past an “answer” like this tells me they aren’t organized (proven true further in the process) or they weren’t that interested in you in the first place. There’s always the chance that they really can’t move the date and may be holding off on telling you in case 1) a slot opens up or 2) they are waiting to see how their pool goes and are leaving you as part of the secondary/tertiary candidate pool. In one case it didn’t end too well: the hiring guy got mad I wouldn’t change (*after* we had confirmed the date and I had other obligations). He emailed me a few months later under the guise of setting up another interview but I think he only wanted a pool of people he could “reject” and I would have ticked a few boxes.

    Here’s to hoping that this is simply a scheduling thing on their end and they will see you! Good luck!!

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I’ve only had this happen to me when it was clear they weren’t super interested in me – they gave me one window and it was “take it or leave it.” I suspect if I’d been their top candidate, they would have made more accommodations – but they were kind of only interviewing me as a formality, so they weren’t going to go out of their way for my scheduling needs. Guess what, I didn’t get that job anyway.

    2. Breda*

      Ugh, the time this happened to me I got a call to schedule an interview. They called on a Wednesday and asked me to come in that Friday. I had a part-time job and was living outside the city – I would have to spend $30 and four hours to get to the interview, and I had a flexible but paid gig lined up for Friday. I said I had an obligation and could they fit me in next week instead, and he said he could schedule me for then but the job might be filled by then. So I rescheduled the other gig and went in.

      Surprise: I never heard from them after the interview, and I have never heard good things about that boss since. Myself, I’d want someone who upholds commitments as an assistant.

  6. Peggy*

    Not exactly the same situation, but I was told in July I was on the shortlist for a job, but that the search was on hold until September. After not hearing anything for most of the month, I wrote back to check in, and was told that they’d interviewed candidates and made a hire. Why on earth tell me I’m on the shortlist if you don’t plan to interview me?! It was very disappointing.

  7. OwnedByTheCat*

    I always agree with Alison’s advice to mentally move on from a job once you’ve applied, and not to pester interviewers.

    I did this with my last job search and was INCREDIBLY surprised when:
    -One job with whom I’d had an initial phone screen and had ghosted called me to say they’d intended to schedule an interview, their assistant had dropped the ball and never reached out, and omg could I come in for an interview ASAP?

    -Second job whom I simply never heard back from called a day or two later and had gotten so bogged down in their search they’d hired an executive search firm to take over the process, and they were calling me to schedule an interview.

    It was also literally all the same week I’d accepted a different position!

    I don’t know if I would have done anything differently had I known what was going on. I might have sent one follow up email to the first job after their stated deadline had come and gone, but it felt so normal to hear nothing that I was pretty shocked to hear back from both of them with a very tardy interview request!

  8. You're Not My Supervisor*

    I hate to admit it, but we have a similar practice at my job, and I used to do the interview scheduling. Basically, 5 different people, all with incredibly packed schedules, need to be in the interview. Also, we have the potential to lose funding for the position if we do not fill it that week (government contractor). So I would identify a precious few half-hour time slots that worked for everyone to offer to candidates. If someone had a really compelling reason why they couldn’t make it, I could try to talk my bosses into coming in early or staying late, but our teams are huge- hundreds of people- so we are interviewing for one position or another most of the time. If I went to bat to get my bosses to come in early for every candidate with a conflict, my bosses would hate me

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Well, at least you offered more than one, though! I think it’s fairly common to say “here are the options, can you make it yes/no” – with the implication that if you can’t make any of them, they might move on with other candidates – but to only offer ONE seems a little rough.

  9. kitryan*

    I had one experience where I emailed ny acceptance of a phone interview time and did not hear back. I did not necessarily expect a reply so I waited for the call at the appropriate time. No call came. I was disappointed and went to my previously scheduled therapy appointment. When I told the therapist, he shooed me out of the office and insisted I call them right then (it was only about an hour after the appointment time).
    Turns out that my email was caught in their spam filter, so I did the phone interview right then while sitting on the lawn outside the office. I did not get the job but at least technological issues didn’t keep me out of the running.

  10. B*

    Been there and done that as well. I had one a few years ago who offered me a time on Yom Kippur. I very nicely explained to them I would not be able to do that and offered them four other dates that were completely wide-open. They said they would check schedules and get back to me but I never heard from them again.

    I consider it a bullet dodged if they do not understand why I would not be able to interview on what is considered one of the holiest days. What this company and others do not seem to gather is that there reputation has now taken a direct hit with me and when I tell others this story, including those who are not Jewish, they are aghast and think of them in that same bad light.

  11. Chupalupe*

    A similar thing happened to me. They *had* a date and time, which I was available for. Then the interviewers couldn’t make it….and I tried to reschedule, they said they’d get back to me within the week and I never heard from them again.

    It was a dream job, and I’m still bummed out a couple of months later.

  12. Rookie Manager*

    From reading AAM for a while now I can see American and British hiring practices are pretty different. The way my current organisation works (and others too) is that we give an interview date in the job advert – if you know that won’t work for you write that in the covering letter. Then our HR system sends interview invites out to the shortlisted applicants and they can pick one of the available options.

    Last time I hired I knew a top applicamt was unavailable on the main interview date so I added another date, in total there were 2 more slots than applicants. Everyone shortlisted was able to make one of the slots. From an applicant perspective I’ve always appreciated this method as expectations are set early and I feel I have choice about the interview time.

  13. Emma Harte*

    I coordinate schedules for interviews and sometimes we are just very limited with what we can offer. We do try to open up more than one day though.

    But honestly, if you can’t make it to our first round of interviews and we interview a great candidate, we will likely not schedule any additional interviews.

  14. Drama Llama*

    Another possible situation is that your resume was in the maybe pile? They wanted to meet with other applicants first before deciding to go ahead with your application or decline it. When an employer has an amazing candidate they will make it a priority to see them.

  15. Acespade*

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, I appreciate all the solid advice and personal anecdotes. As I mention, this is a stretch job for me and one I really want, so I’m probably feeling a bit insecure. I gave in to over-analyzing and stressing out which, as you know, is pointless in hiring and dating. :) I think it is very likely that I am a “maybe” for them and they are seriously considering other, more (technically) qualified applicants. Which is perfectly fine of course. Thankfully she did reach back out to me, so hopefully all goes well from here and I’m able to wow them in person. Thanks Alison!

    1. The Office Plant*

      As someone involved in the hiring process, I prefer getting followup e-mails, not phone calls. Calls means I have to stop whatever I’m doing to deal with the call. I can deal with e-mails when it’s convenient for me.

  16. Anon because this review is on Glassdoor*

    I seriously wonder if this person applied to the same company I applied to a year back, and/or is dealing with the same recruiter. It was slightly more bizarre: they didn’t get back to me and I waited a week before I followed up. The recruiter responded right away to my follow-up email asking me if I would be available to interview in two days. I agreed to a time and strategically planned my lunch hour that day to await the recruiter’s call…that never came. I e-mailed her asking if the call was still happening or if I should reschedule. I didn’t get a response until the following week with the recruiter asking me if I would be available to interview the very next day. At this point, I decided I didn’t want the job so I emailed her back canceling my application. The next day I got a call I didn’t expect “for my phone interview.” This call came 3 weeks since the recruiter’s initial interview invitation. I’m pretty positive they had already moved forward with other candidates by then but still felt they had to interview me for some reason, except it was a giant waste of time.

    1. Brandy in TN*

      I hate it when they waste my time. I once had a recruiter contact me to come in for an interview after a great phone interview with her. We set up a time and she said she’d call me back with the directions. She didn’t. I googled the place and went in and was just given some paperwork to fill out, that they could’ve emailed me. It was busy work and then they said she wasn’t there. I was furious. I didn’t want to go at all really but needed the job at the time. Just be up fromt with people. I had the gas to do but some people aren’t in great positions and it was a waste for me. I HATE ghosting. HATE it. Just be upfront. What can I do to you thru the phone. Quit being a wimp.

  17. Get a Haircut*

    Something similar happened to me a couple of times:
    Expensive sporting goods retailer- would not proceed with the first interview if I wasn’t available on X day later- the date of my partner’s milestone Bday party that I was planning and paying for. I went ahead and went to the cattle call-group interview- it was horrid. I don’t shop there anymore.

    Went on what seemed to be a good interview. Guy says to email if I don’t hear back. I emailed. Ghosted. Will not patronize. Will not connect. Do not want to work there.

  18. Jumpy-cat*

    Long time reader, first time commenter (always wanted to say that)

    Something similar happened to me twice in the last 3 weeks. I had two recruiters reach out to me to see if I’m interested in an opportunity. I responded yes to both and even had a phone screen with one who said she’d set something up with the hiring manager asap. And then dead silence since.

    I realize if they don’t want to/can’t proceed after all, then they either are too busy to respond or simply don’t like sending bad news. But I still didn’t get a response after following up. Makes me feel rather slighted.

  19. always in email jail*

    From the hiring side, sometimes I really do only have that specific day available for interviews. I usually have people from outside organizations on my panel, who are doing me a favor, and we’ve picked an interview date before the job announcement even closed to ensure everyone’s calendar was free that day. I may be willing to attempt to coordinate an alternate day if a VERY strong candidate truly can’t make it, but realistically it’s often 2 weeks or so before there’s another day everyone is free (and we’re required to use identical panels for all candidates) and sometimes I can’t afford to hold up our (already slow, because government) hiring process like that, especially since it increases the risk of my other candidates moving on.
    That being said, I would have responded back and let you know that unfortunately that was the only day the panel was available for interviews.

    1. always in email jail*

      To clarify, the day is usually set but I allow candidates to choose from time slots on a first-come first-serve basis. However, if I’ve reached out to you as a “tier 2” candidate because some of the top tier turned down interviews, many of the slots might be booked up and you might not have as many to choose from (or there might be only one left)

    2. Acespade*

      Right, if I had known it was the only option I may have considered moving my other (very important) prior commitment. But the way it was posed as a simple question, the interview seemed to be with only one person, and the context of our industry in general, lead me to believe that inquiring about another date would not be fatal. (Sorry I know I’m being vague, I’m just conservative with online privacy.) Also, I gave her five alternate days, saying the whole days were free for me. That was my thought process at the time. But I can definitely see now that there may have been a lot more going on on her side than I anticipated. Anyway, nothing I can do about this one now (and fortunately it looks like I’m going to get an interview so the original question is moot.) It’s all good to know for next time though – and also helpful information for next time I hire someone.

  20. Aeth*

    I once was invited back to a phone interview after the previously successful applicant ‘didn’t work out’. I arranged a time to call the manager but when I called, her assistant told me she wasn’t available. I wondered if I’d had the timeslot wrong so called back a couple of times over the next week or two but never did have a response again. I was convinced that I’d messed up the time of the appointment somehow and they didn’t think I was right after all based on that.

    A few months later I noticed that the company had gone bankrupt and closed down.

    I guess sometimes there are other reasons within the company for not continuing the hiring process… but it’s still quite rude to not let the applicant know.

  21. LoiraSafada*

    This has happened to me 3-4 times over the last ~2.5 years, with another 4-5 people blowing off invitations for coffee or less formal meet-ups THAT THEY INITIATED. Incredibly rude.

  22. AnonImust*

    I had a couple strong candidates for a role that we needed to fill immediately for various reasons, one of which was the possibility of losing the headcount if it went vacant too long. We worked with one candidate (A) who was local and were able to arrange a relatively quick interview. Another finalist (B) lived far away and wanted to push the interview out 3 weeks to plan a trip to our area to check it out. While B’s request wasn’t unreasonable, we were under great pressure to hire. Because everyone loved A we decided to go with him and not risk the 3+ week delay.While we were operating in good faith with B. there were legitimate business reasons to go ahead with A and not wait, so sometimes it can be risky to try to reschedule.

  23. The Sassy Vulcan*

    I had to reschedule an interview. I was halfway through the “test” portion of the interview when I heard the woman in charge in the next office call someone and offer them the job I was sitting there interviewing for. I was furious—it was a complete waste of my time and was really embarrassing. They should have just told me that they were going to fill the position so I could move on.

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