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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

March 31, 2016
Question

Should you pull the plug when an employer blows off your job interview?

answer
Julie Q. Brush

You’ve checked your calendar, booked the time, taken off work and maneuvered your life for that day, for that period of time…for that interview. You’ve prepared, practiced, preened and pumped yourself up – and as you wait for the interview gong to sound, it never does. Silence. Confusion. Panic. And then the realization that you have just been forgotten.

Like candidates, employers tell you most everything you need to know about them by how they act in the job interview process. So for the candidate who’s just been “blown off”, s/he must assess how telling this dis is and what it might…or might not mean. The vast majority of missed/forgotten interviews are honest mistakes that are not indicative of major warning signs. But this isn’t always the case. In order to determine whether a situation merits a run for the hills, a candidate should assess the following:

Employer Reaction To The Missed Interview.

If you’ve experienced an overlooked phone interview, chances are you have emailed the employer or recruiter to re-confirm the call or alert them that the employer has missed the call. Following your ping, assess the following: How quickly did the employer respond to your email or follow up call? Were they apologetic? Did they provide a reason? Was it sincere? Did they try and schedule another call immediately? If the answers to these questions involve one or more negatives, there are some issues to explore further. If an in person interview has gone awry, how were you treated by the people receiving you? What was the reason for the interviewer’s absence? Were people apologetic? Did anyone care? Did others try and come to the rescue or were you just left dangling? Did anyone follow up via email or phone after you left the building? Did the interviewer him/herself reach out? What did s/he they say? How genuine was the apology and/or reason?

An employer’s reaction to a forgotten interview speaks volumes and will provide you with the clues you need to determine whether to move forward or move past the opportunity.

Examine Your Experience Leading Up To Interview.

Look back on your experience with the job application process since it began. If there is a pattern of bad behavior, unresponsiveness, or unreliable/schizophrenic interactions, the missed interview is another indicator of a problematic culture. So beware. If everything has been hunky-dory, the likelihood is that this is an isolated event.

Have There Been Prior Missed Appointments?

Repeated blow offs are red flags and cause for major concern. Something just ain’t right – and you’ll likely dodge a bullet if you walk away now.

What Do Employee Reviews Say About The Employer’s Culture?

Glassdoor, Jobadvisor and Jobeehive are a few websites that cater to anonymous employee feedback on their employers. There are others dedicated to company and law firm dirt as well. Review these sites and read what employees have to say about the organization, the culture and the overall environment. If the comments are tracking with your negative experience, it’s time to pull the plug.

How Compelling Is The Opportunity vs. The Potential Downside?

Candidates are more tolerant of bad employer behavior in a job interview process the more compelling a job opportunity is. Before you go a step further, take inventory of what this prospect could mean for you and your career – and whether the trade-offs for a questionable culture would be worth it. In some instances, it might be. In others…not a chance. Either way, working through this analysis will highlight the pros and cons of the situation in front of you and reinforce that choosing to move forward is in fact…a choice. By knowing the trade-offs upfront, there will be fewer illusions when you walk in the door.

The job interview process is far from perfect – for either candidate or employer. People are stressed and people are busy. And sometimes mistakes are made along the way. A missed interview can be a cringe worthy event or business as usual depending on the employer. As a candidate, it should not be an immediate DQ, but it also should not be taken lightly until a closer look has been paid to better understand the “tells”.

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