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July 09, 2011


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I do not agree with this advice. We need to keep in mind that the hiring managers are over-worked and have a lot of things going on (since companies have reduced their workforce over the years). Also remember, with high unemployment rate, many qualified folks are looking for work.

There are times when the interviewer is genuinely late, but that should not be a reason for the interviewee to 'artificially' blow them off.

Being readily available and flexible is a good characteristic. These are not the times for show of ego!

I don't think I could say, "I took an international call" with a staight face. Laying a foundation of untruths just wouldn't set well for me.

Why not answer the phone and talk to the interviewer if they are late and let them know you need to reschedule due to something that sounds important. If you don't answer it looks like you went back to bed or something.

This is advice for losers. Perhaps it applied once upon a time when everyone was tied to a landline with a secretary taking phone messages but not with modern communications technology in a jobless recovery. Prospective employers don't want liars or to waste time with childish games. Honesty is the best policy, proceed with the interview or reschedule when time permits.

I somewhat agree with the idea of this "15 minute rule". I don't see any harm in requesting a reschedule when the hiring manager is late on their side. If they were interested enough to schedule a phone interview, they're interested enough to reschedule when THEY are late. Further, if they're over 15 min late calling you, chances are that your interview will get compressed to make up the time and you probably won't get a fair shake. Not sure I agree with the lying "international call" bit, but don't be afraid to simple indicate you are indisposed and need to reschedule, even for later that day.

I agree with this rule. Best to stand up early rather than later

I recently did two back to back phone interviews with potential candidates based outside US, who had already been pre-screened by our recruiters. One of the candidate's was supposed to call into a teleconference bridge and that call went off as planned. For the second call, I was supposed to call the applicant. The tel # was correct, but I was getting a strange busy tone, that almost sounded like an out of order beep. While the # was correct, when you call a foreign country you often don't need some of the prefix #'s. By time I figured out the problems, it was 10 minutes later than the scheduled start time. I would have preferred to use a toll free teleconference bridge for all of these second round phone interviews and highly recommend that candidates ask for that option when going through an interview process.
If I hadn't been able to reach the candidate, I wouldn't have recommended that he go on to the next stage, because we had a lot of applicants and there were at least 20 others that would have been good candidates.

Yeah, the whole international call thing sounds like something Barney Stinson would say...I do however think it's perfectly reasonable to reschedule with someone who is late for a call or informs you they will be late for a meeting. It's just common courtesy to respect people's time.

You have to ask yourself "Who's in the driver's seat"? Is it the person that has a job that needs filling or is the person that needs a job? In the current environment of 9.2% unemployment and a long dry stretch ahead the answer should be obvious unless you happen to be a rare individual that happens to be highly sought after by several great companies. If you are not then you should stop acting like a conceited, bigheaded ass, and instead accept the call gratefully, courteously and truthfully.

Personally I don't see any value in playing hard to get as a job seeker.

I really don't see a problem with taking a call that is late. Making up lies about international phone calls is certainly not something I think people should be doing. IF you have a legitimate conflict then of course its OK to ask to reschedule after the interviewer is late. But if they're 15 minutes late then shouldn't you have set aside 30-60 minutes (or whatever) for the interview to begin with? So I don't see how theres a situation where you'd have a legitimate reason to reschedule after 15 minutes or act like you are busy when you aren't. I mean were you really going to be somewhere else in 16 minutes?? I don't think so. If I was doing that interview I would be put off by something like that. I'd prefer people who are interested enough in jobs to make sure they clear adequate time for an interview. If I caught you lying for no good reason then you sure wouldn't get a job.

I completely agree with Jim's point that a person should have devoted more than 15 minutes since the call would normally take longer than that. I completely disagree with the author about lying especially with a ridiculous excuse as taking an "International call". If you are available I think you should take the call even if it is 2 hours later than the schedule time. If not, the hiring manager will probably just call another applicant and you will be out of luck.

I usually send an e-mail to the person letting him know I was available for the call and can reschedule. If I'm around when a late call comes, I take it but also end it before my next scheduled meeting.

Bad advice. Jim put it perfectly. I've hired plenty of people, if somebody does this, s/he would lose a lot of points with me.

This is extremely bad advice. I agree with both Jim and Old Limey. If I called 15 minutes late I would feel bad about it but would assume you would still be available. If you actually told me that you took an international call and I believed you I would assume you thought that call was more important than this job. I would get the message that you don't take this interview, or this job offer very seriously. Unless you were spectacular, you would have dropped to the bottom of the heap of candidates for being arrogant and thinking that this job offer was something you could treat casually. You will probably treat the job the same way.

A book that offers advice on getting a job that involves playing coy games as if you are trying to play hard to get to give an impression that you are worth getting sounds more like advice for a cheesy dating book than for a serious job searching book.

I agree with Apex, this sounds like dating advice, not job hunting advice. Sheesh, this is the worst advice ever. It advocates lying to a potential employer???

I say just be honest, if you have nowhere to be, then just wait around for the call. If you have an obligation then e-mail the interviewer asking to reschedule, or if they call, say something like "I have an appointment at 2pm but I can talk until that time".

My current job was landed because of my honesty. My current employer called and wanted to schedule a same-day interview with me (called in the morning, wanted me there in the afternoon). I was honest and said I could, but I was dressed casually and would be showing up in a polo and jeans. They said no problem, admired my honesty, and I got the job.

Bad advice. If the interview is scheduled to start at 1:00 pm and you haven't received a call by 1:20, call or email the interviewer (or whoever you have been in contact with) to see what happened and reschedule. If you can't do it later that day, fine, but no need to lie. If it's a job you want, be proactive about setting up another time to talk.

Chiming to agree that this is terrible advice. In my industry, when someone is interviewing you it is often for an immediate opening and they are likely scrambling to keep up with the current workload while looking for the new, extra set of hands. Odds are they will run late. If you haven't connected within 10 minutes, it is perfectly acceptable to email the interviewer to confirm the call/time/number, just in case wires have crossed or they will no longer be able to make it. Better to be proactive, as Walden mentioned above.

Case in point: my husband works as a recruiter and had a candidate lose a job opportunity because the candidate employed the advice in this post (NOT what my husband would ever advise). The interviewer had some sort of connection issue and called a few minutes late (maybe just shy of 15 minutes); when the interviewer resolved the issue and got through, the candidate did not pick up (though available)--instead, the candidate listened to the voicemail and called back an hour later. The candidate appeared not to care, and not to be a problem solver--costing him the job.

I agree with the most of the other posters. This is bad advice. I would maybe mention to them that I was expecting them to call a half hour ago. But, I would not make a big deal of it... just let them know I noticed. Beyond that I would be cheerful and interested.... like I wanted the job.

I think this advice is dangerous. If you're really that busy, great. But for an early career candidate pulling something like this, especially in this economy, would likely ruin your chances of getting the job.

Playing hard to get with an interviewer, eh? Well, if it works in love, it might as well work in business. Seriously, though, I think this is pretty valid advice. While I might not necessarily say "I was on an international call" (which just seems a little bit over the top, borderline boastful, look how important I am, type of a thing), I think letting the interviewer know that you weren't just waiting by the phone, makes you a more desirable candidate. (Even if you really were!)

Would it be appropriate to call the interviewer if they are late?

I haven't had any experience with phone interviews but during my last employment, we had many conference calls with clients who needed to give us specifications on the products they wanted us to build. Usually our group would sit in the conference room waiting for their call, and if they were even 5 minutes late, we would call them using whatever number we had.

Usually, it would turn out to be a problem with their phone systems not making outgoing calls, or they lost our number, or they thought we were calling them. No one was ever bothered that we broke the original agreement of who called whom. But I am wondering if it considered wrong during an employment interview.

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