Lousy Interviewer Etiquette and Networking

There is a lot of information out there about interview etiquette for applicants, but not for businesses.  I wonder why?  There are always horror stories about what interviewees said, did, or how they acted.  But what about interviewer etiquette?  I think there needs to be a crash course on what business professional behavior is from a business/employer perspective because they need to be reminded on what professional behavior is.

I have noticed a rather quick and sudden devolution in what is considered professional behavior from major companies in the last few years, which is LARGELY connected to the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008.

Example 1: A few years ago I applied for a position and received a call to schedule an interview.  After I called and scheduled the interview for Monday, I waited.  On Sunday,  I get voicemail asking for the interview to be rescheduled because of a potential snowstorm that would likely snarl up traffic.  She says she will call back with a new interview date.  I leave voicemail assenting and wait.  Monday comes around.  Nothing.  Tuesday. Nothing.  I call on Wednesday and leave voicemail.  I wait another week and leave voicemail.  At this point I know I have been given the brush off.  My question is what was the harm in letting me know that they would not be interviewing me because: a) they were no longer interested in filling the position, b) they decided to go another direction, c) the position no longer existed?  I don’t know which of these happened but the point is clear.  This is very unprofessional.  However, do not think it didn’t cross my mind that this woman may have also have lossed her job rather suddenly.

Example 2: A year and a half ago I applied for a very well known global financial services company.  I got through the initial interview and had the follow up, second interview.   I sent the standard thank you letter/email.  After two weeks, I send a follow up communication.  Crickets.  I discover some time later that this company is infamous for not responding to rejected candidates even AFTER interviews.  I told a coworker about what happened and she matter of factly said, they don’t communicate if you are not given the position.  HUH!? 

But this get’s me to the reason why I was inspired to write a post on this subject. 

Example 3: A month and a half ago, I receive a call to schedule an interview for a position at a major global company.  My dream company.  My dream industry.  The opportunity I had been been waiting for and cavalierly throwing aside OTHER career opportunities for to get this one chance.  Score!  Unfortunately, I had missed the call on Friday. The Friday before SANDY.  I call on Monday and leave voicemail unaware of the devastation that SANDY has caused.  I had avoided the news.  I leave voicemail a second time just reiterating my interest in the position and the interview for it.  Due to the crippled transportation system many offices were closed, as well as people having devastated homes in the near suburbs.  My contact had been out of the office for a week.  A week and a half later I reach her and we schedule an initial phone interview that she will initiate with a call.  She locks in a LARGE amount of time for the call.  The day comes, I wait for this specified time.  NOTHING. 

Since the designated call time was so close to the end of the business day, I wait ’til the next day to reach out to the interviewer.  I leave voicemail.  I call again a week later.  More voicemail tag.  At this point I know I have been given the brush off.  WTH?  Apparently, business professional behavior at major global companies now includes scheduling interviews and NOT following through and then NOT telling the interviewee you will not follow through.

UPDATE: You know, this has weighed on my mind for a while so I finally decided to give it one more shot to see if the internal recruiter would pick up my call, or let it go to voicemail.  She picked up the call and said they had given the position to an internal candidate and stopped the external interview process shortly after. Her tone suggested she was caught off guard and was embarrassed.  Hey – even though I knew I was already out of contention, official closure was nice.  Now, I am over it.  Officially. 

I am just shocked.  But then again – NOT.  Consider my earlier examples.  However, this says a lot about the current labor market and what global businesses are now getting away with as far as non-management candidates go.    I doubt this would have happened had I been a management level hire, or been “sponsored” by an internal member of senior or middle management.   This brings me to my next point.  In this market, based off of my experiences and observations of other former classmates and friends job search process…you really do need to be SPONSORED by someone high up in the company to get a job inside large corporate companies.   Short hand  – you need to know someone high up who can basically vouch for you.  I am not aware of a single person amongst my peers who was NOT offered the job after this happened.  Of course, at this point the interview is nothing more than a meet and greet to see if they like you. 

So, now I must get to meeting “new” people.  Preferably the kind that will say, “I like you!  Come on board!” I have never been much of a networker.  I am more a busy worker than the “hey everyone look at what I did! Aren’t I awesome” person.   But busy worker bees do not get noticed and do not get promoted and do not get great job opportunities.  The talkers, the socializers, the “lock on the most important person in the room with tractor beam efficiency” folks are the ones who get those opportunities.  Sigh, it really is about promoting yourself and your work.  Your work will never get noticed unless you make a point to “highlight” it any way you can.  So networking it is.  I am not going to get where I want to be unless I focus on making it very much a part of my daily habits and not a chore. 

Oh, let the adventures begin. 



  1. Aw so sorry you’ve had such lousy experiences with interviewers/potential interviewers :/ I think that great customer service is something that is sorely lacking in many businesses these days–in ALL levels. From corporate businesses to department store employees. I find that good customer service is becoming more and more rare–which is sad, because to me it’s the most important thing!

  2. You’re absolutely right about all points. Things have changed. It’s who you know. Networking is the new interviewing. For better or for worse here we are. I’m sorry about all these lousy experiences – they do seem to go over the top of what I’ve come to expect (no return calls, etc). Companies are just too inundated with job searchers to have the same courtesy they used to have – no excuse, but it’s the sad reality. I remember hearing one time that somebody posted a janitor position and received 700 applicants. But by the time a company is calling people for interviews they REALLY should be returning their calls. What happened to you seems out of the ordinary even for the “new” way of handling things – Yuck!.

    • This is why i was so shocked. I really had to ask myself if I had done or said something but there was nothing that was outside the boundaries of professionalism. What I did not have was an internal sponsor.

      • Nate and I’s weirdest job interview experience is just really wacky. He had an interview. On the way home, he got a message saying, “When can you come in again?” Enthusiasm. The night before the second interview, he got another email from the HR recruiter. “They loved you (speaking of the hiring managers). They are going to make an offer. I wanted you to be prepared.” He went to the interview. When he entered the room they said, “There is orientation just after this interview, so we scheduled it at the right time.” At the end of the interview, they said thank you. He went home. Nothing. He cannot think of anything weird that happened at the interview. Nate is very professional and has a very good job today. Mystery to this day.

      • Haha. I had an interview some years ago for Wenner Media publication and the woman who interviewed me acted like I HAD THE JOB. No uncertain terms she acted like she LOVED me. Basically said that the rest of my interview was a formality. Needless to say when i got the rejection letter very shortly after I was like huh? Even more amusing was the fact that we ended up sitting next to each other at a grad school group meet and greet a few years later. I knew she seemed familiar but I did not know why. We had instant rapport and she DID NOT recognize me but finally about 10 minutes I figured it out and was like “YOU INTERVIEWED ME!” and she immediately remembered who I was and she acted so EMBARRASSED and the first thing out of her mouth was why they went another direction. I wasn’t upset or had a bone to grind. I was amused. But she was obviosuly uncomfortable and I don’t think I saw her after that. Our paths did not cross again.

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