A reader writes:
About two weeks ago, I received an email to schedule a phone interview with a large firm on the West Coast (they also have a branch on the East Coast, where I am located). This interview was supposed to happen a week ago on Friday. When our scheduled time arrived, I waited patiently for a call. I continued waiting patiently for ten minutes, after which I called to leave a voicemail. I had no response at all that day, so I sent off an email late Monday asking to reschedule. The HR contact had an autoreply saying that the person was away and that should there be an urgent message, to call him on his cell phone (number included).
Is this type of behavior normal? Should I expect any kind of closure from this quasi-interview?
Judging from my mail, it's more normal than it should be. It's obviously incredibly rude and inconsiderate, and it indicates that the employer is disorganized too.
You did the right thing by calling when they didn't call at the scheduled time, and then by following up in email. I would follow up a couple of more times reiterating your interest in rescheduling. However, brace yourself from not hearing back from them, as may happen if they are rude, which we already know they are, and have spoken with enough other candidates that they're now done with phone interviews. And for that matter, be braced for them calling you again two weeks later after you've already written them off. Because what you know about these people for sure is that they are going to be sloppy and unprofessional in the way they handle the hiring process.
Now, does that indicate that you shouldn't pursue a job with them if they do get back in touch? I'd love to say yes, but the reality is that job-seekers don't always have that luxury. It's also true that it's possible that this one person's incompetence isn't representative of the rest of the company. I wrote a couple of months ago about some options for handling this; you can read it here. Good luck!