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An employer is late to interview you. How long do you wait?

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: I waited an hour and 15 minutes past the time I should have been interviewed for a job, then I left thinking, why would I work for a place that can’t even see me on time? How long would you have waited if it was the only interview you had?

Nick Corcodilos: After 15 minutes, I’d ask the receptionist, “I’m concerned — Is Mr. or Ms. Interviewer okay?”

The receptionist will ask what you mean.

Respond in all seriousness with a hint of alarm: “Well, our meeting was scheduled for a quarter of an hour ago — I’ve heard nothing, and I’m concerned whether something’s wrong? Is she okay?”

This is a deft display of respect for a busy manager who might miss a meeting only because of a serious problem. Ahem. It’s of course a bit of a ruse, but a respectful (and defensible) one.

If you are not given a satisfactory explanation (and apology) and no one comes out to interview you, I’d then say to the receptionist: “Could you please have someone from your HR office come out? I’d like to make sure my resume and job application are removed from your files. I’m not comfortable with my information in the hands of a company that can’t keep an appointment.”

I’m not kidding. If anyone tells you that saying and doing this is unprofessional or risky, tell them you plan to get hired by demonstrating high standards of conduct and by keeping your expectations of employers high, too. Then ask them whether it’s permissible to invite a guest to their home and then ignore them while they stand at the front door.

If I seem cynical and intolerant, perhaps it’s because I’ve seen employers disrespect job candidates too much. Life is too short to worry about people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do, and who don’t show up when they say they will.

We all need to get real. If the employer doesn’t apologize profusely after you’ve waited an hour and doesn’t act to correct their behavior, I’d forget about that job, but I’d tell all my friends how I was treated.

Human Resources managers are the first to tell us to mind our reputations. This cuts both ways.

Whether this is the only interview you’ve got, or one of 10, it doesn’t change the character of this particular employer, and it won’t change once you are an employee. Please think about that.

Here’s another example of interview missteps by employers: “Dissed By HR: Can you top this?”

Dear Readers: How long would you wait for an interviewer? Is an hour too long? How would you handle this situation?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2019 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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