The Case of the Disappearing Phone Interview

Here’s something that happened:

A few weeks ago, I applied for a job with a local nonprofit. The next day, Thursday, at lunchtime, I got an email from HR: “We’d like to schedule a phone interview next week. Please reply and let us know three time slots you have available from Monday to Thursday.” No length of time was specified, so I gave as broad a range as possible – a total of nine hours spread out over two days. I waited all afternoon, but got no response. No response the next day (Friday), either. Since interviews were going to start on Monday, I was a little concerned, but figured it was okay since the days I gave didn’t include Monday. And maybe the HR person was swamped and going to be working over the weekend. So I waited and sent a quick follow-up email on Sunday. Monday morning came and went, and still nothing. At 3:00 I called the HR person (his direct phone number was in his email signature). It went to voice mail, so I left a very polite, brief message. Tuesday came and went; no response. On Wednesday afternoon I called again, and left another brief, polite voice mail. I also sent another follow-up email.

No response. I gave up.

But I don’t get it. Why would you email someone to schedule an interview, but then not reply after that? One possibility: maybe they only took the first few people who responded. So everyone else must have been staring at their screens waiting, because I sent my response less than 30 minutes after receiving the email. Another possibility: the email was sent to me in error via some mix-up with the application screening software. I don’t think this is likely, since it was sent from an actual person and started with, “Dear Vashti,” but maybe there was some sort of disorganization on their end, and they never meant to email me.

But even if the email was sent in error, or if they were only going to take people who responded within 10 seconds of receiving the email, they at least owe me the courtesy of a response to my emails and voice mails. This leaves me with a really bad impression of the organization, and besides being bad karma, that’s bad business. If a situation should arise where I have the opportunity to work with them, I’m going to be very wary because of what I perceive as utter disorganization (at best) or disrespect (at worst).

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3 thoughts on “The Case of the Disappearing Phone Interview

  1. SKN says:

    A thing that happened to me is I went to three interviews, interviewing with a total of 6 people at a given organization, and then never heard from them again. My emails and attempts to at least get an official rejection from them went unanswered. People are monsters.

  2. Wow, that’s miserable. I had that happen to me after one (hour-long) phone interview, but I can’t imagine having it happen after 6 interviews. It makes me hope that karma is real.

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