Emergency on Interview Day. Really, how about growing a pair?

by Rich DeMatteo on November 20, 2009 · 8 comments

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Since starting Corn On The Job I’ve read stories from job seekers trashing employers, recruiters, and hiring managers.  I’ve sat back and watched, and I have wrote about and agreed with comments regarding how long an interview process can take, the rudeness of a recruiter or manager, and also how completely idiotic certain interview questions are for selection.  You’ve all made great points, and many organizations and recruiters are surely at fault, but it’s about time the recruiters and organizations fire back.  This surely won’t be my most popular post, but I’ll be damned if I’m not the one to finally say …

Job Seekers:  It’s time to grow a pair, and stop making excuses

As recruiters, we’ve learned that scheduling an interview doesn’t necessarily mean our candidate is going to show up.  In our early years, we may have experienced a bit of shock and some anger at your lack of consideration, but over the years we just come to realize that it’s all part of the job.  We’ve heard every excuse in the book, two or three times over.  Here are some of the most common:

  • Car broke down
  • Cat/Dog is sick
  • Son/Daughter is sick
  • I’m sick
  • Alarm never went off 
  • Couldn’t find the office

There are others that fall a bit on the ridiculous side, and I’m sure my recruiting buddies can share some hilarious excuses they’ve heard.    No matter what the excuse is, its hard for a recruiter to buy it.  As a recruiter, we naturally begin to question how bad you want the job, if at all.  We may give you another shot at rescheduling, but we’ll hold our doubts.  

In a situation where you have changed your mind or decide the job isn’t for you, just call us!  Even a simple e-mail will do.  Give us plenty of time before the scheduled interview so we can inform anyone actively involved with the interview process.  Canceling the day of is incredibly frustrating for everyone involved, and at times can embarrass the recruiter.  You can also damage a recruiters reputation, especially those on the staffing agency side.  Just do us a favor and call us plenty of time before the scheduled interview if your feet start dropping in temperature.

Are you a victim of “Boy Cried Wolf” syndrome

We do understand that sometimes your cat, Buttons, really is sick, or maybe you really have had stomach problems the morning of the interview (stay off Taco Bell and Chipotle the night before).  Even though you really might have an emergency on interview day, we aren’t going to believe you.  Luckily, in most situations you’ll be granted a chance to reschedule.  This is your opportunity for redemption, and to be successful you must follow these critical steps:

When you must cancel, but really do want the job:

  1. Notify your recruiter immediately when unable to make an interview
  2. Apologize with sincerity, and beg/plead for a chance to reschedule
  3. Schedule a time that you can make, at all costs
  4. Thank the recruiter and apologize again at the end
  5. Show up extra early (30 minutes) or so to prove that you are excited and do want the job
  6. Thank your recruiter, interviewer, and interviewing team for rescheduling and apologize again for missing the first scheduled interview

When you burn us once, you need to come at us three times as strong the second time.  Failure to show up on the second attempt results in crossing your name off of our list.  Do as I say, and those suffering from “Boy Cried Wolf” syndrome will redeemed.

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8 comments
pigbitinmad
pigbitinmad

Well, I think I belong in a record book because my car has broken down, stalled/refused to start a total of three times for three completely separate job interviews.  This is with two different cars and absolutely no warning whatsoever.  I googled this because it happened again with my new car with only 26,000 miles on it.  I feel so stupid because of people like you who insist we are lying.  Anyway, I did reschedule the interview but have probably blown it anyway.  It certainly does not help.  I am still upset.  It has destroyed my entire day and my weekend too and it is only thursday.  I want to take that car and smash it with a hammer.

JosephFechter
JosephFechter

Hey, yeah I have been a Supervisor at jobs in the past and have dealt with people calling out and not showing up for the first day of work, etc.  So I understand how important making the first interview is.  Especially now when I really need a job, though I will not be able to make an interview at 10:00 am today.  The business I have the interview at won't even have anyone there until probably 8:00 am.  I had an emergency last night, my wife was really sick and she cannot be left alone at all for at least a day or more, and there is no one else available to be with her today besides of course myself.  I was not able to notify anyone in advance as this was totally unexpected.  I do plan to of course call the place my interview was scheduled at as far in advance as I can, which unfortunately may only be 2 hours.  I know this may look bad, so all I can do is apologize for not being able to make the interview right?  And plead with them to reschedule if at all possible?

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Lindsey, thanks for your comment. It's quite OK to be nervous, and its even OK to sweat a bit. The interviewers job is to find a way to take intimidation and fear out of the candidate. Some are really good at it, and others are not so good.

Lindsey
Lindsey

Great tips Rich! I try not to let my normal pre-interview nausea get in the way of arriving on time. Instead, I usually arrive way too early, sit in the waiting room trembling, sweating and feeling like I'm going to throw up. The most embarrassing part is sweating during the interview. Even if you know you're qualified, you can't always prevent your bodies natural reaction to nerves! Anyway, great post!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Great comment Jonathan. Thanks for sharing your possible "boy cried wolf" story. Shit most certainly happens, and recruiters know that. They just are taught to never believe something until they see it. You handled it perfectly, and they gave you respect for it. Thanks for the comment!

Jonathan Hyland
Jonathan Hyland

I remember an interview that I was going for in NYC, and the train I was taking in was delayed - I felt so incredibly mortified! Fortunately, I still managed to make it and the team there was incredibly accommodating - and I even made it to the second round of interviews. I have to say what helped me is that I was indeed incredibly sincere - and when it came to the second round interview, I was fortunately in NYC again that day and immediately found time in my schedule to go uptown to meet with the HR Director. Great advice, Rich!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Thanks for the comment Marty! It's funny to look back, but it sure was/is frustrating when it's happened.

Marty McDonald
Marty McDonald

Amazing how many cats, dogs, grandparents, fish, hampsters died by me scheduling an interview for that day... it was equally amazing how many cars, pipes, alarm clocks also broke on interview day... OH and forget swine flue recruiters might be the single cause of illlness on interview day.... Ok so maybe that is an exaggeration but it is a amazing how often it comes up at all levels. Keep up the good work