The Phone Screen Interviewer Was a No Show—Now What?

pong  woman watching phone

In the last few days, I have gotten calls from people saying they had a phone screen, but the interviewer never called.  They wondered why and what to do.  One person was so angry that she wanted to bill the company for her time.  I don’t think that is a good idea unless she wants to end her candidacy for the job.  So what is going on?

I have come up with some thoughts to share with you:

  1. Wait patiently.  Realize things happen.  People call in sick, have an unplanned meeting, or have a family emergency.  People forget things; they don’t put things in their calendar or don’t have someone managing their calendar.   Is your phone working correctly?  Do you know who was supposed to initiate the call?
  2. Check your email and phone messages.  Do you have the right time and the right day?  Did you receive an email or phone message that rescheduled the interview? 
  3. Plan your strategy before you do anything.  Prepare your thoughts and your mindset.  Write it down.  Then call the interviewer.  Whether you get the interviewer or voicemail, your message should include your name and the position you are interested in.  Explain you were expecting a phone screen interview, but didn’t receive a call and wanted to check in.  Offer to reschedule, be pleasant, not annoyed, and be flexible.
  4. Find someone else you can talk to.  If a third-party arranged the interview, call that person.  Find someone in Human Resources that can help you out.  If the person has an administrative assistant call that person.  If necessary, leave the same message you left the interviewer and in the same pleasant way.
  5. Follow up the next day.  You may not get a return call the day of the missed interview.  The next day, call the interviewer and if you get put into voicemail again, leave a similar message in calm and understanding voice.  Send another email.  Check in with the other people you contacted and leave voicemail then follow-up with an email if you don’t reach anyone.   Wait about 7 to 10 days and follow up again if you don’t hear from anyone.

Keep in mind that while this is a matter of life and death to you, to the interviewer and other company personnel, it’s just another item on the to-do list.  It isn’t personal.  But if and when you do get a chance to speak to someone, note their manner and the sincerity of the apology.  This is a red flag that you shouldn’t ignore.  Watch carefully the other interactions during the hiring process to see if you want to work there.

There is no way you can prevent this from happening, but you can take some steps that may prevent it.

  1. Confirm the time, the date, who will initiate the call.
  2. Find out the name and the contact information of the caller and that of any other people that might have a connection to the issue.  Someone in human resources, the administrative assistant, the recruiter from the agency.

How can I help you in your job search?

Image:   Pong

2 Comments to "The Phone Screen Interviewer Was a No Show—Now What?"

  1. Jeff Eichel's Gravatar Jeff Eichel
    June 15, 2014 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

    It is shameful, and appalling that these days employers think it’s acceptable to treat job seekers with less dignity than I would give to a bug crawling on my leg.

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