Sofia, Bulgaria – Here are few tips on politely declining an interview invitation, and why this is important.
All employers have experienced the situation where they invite a candidate for an interview, a date and time are set, but nobody shows up at the scheduled time. In most cases, the employer calls the candidate to find out what is going on, but there is no answer. A very frustrating situation, indeed.
As a headhunter for senior managerial positions, I rarely encounter such cases these days. Usually, I invite candidates for a specific project, and they accept a meeting with a recruiter out of pure curiosity.
Until recently, I only had second-hand complaints of this nature – for example, out of ten prospective interviewees for one position, only four showed up, and in one extreme case, none of the invited interviewees attended the scheduled interview, or even announced that they were not coming. However, I saw situations like these personally, when helping a couple of clients with their job announcements. Approximately 60% of the invited for a job interview did not attend, did not call and did not respond to a follow-up call. This is very high and disturbing rate for the labour market, and I get the impression that the issue is constantly escalating. This is not only a problem for employers, but is likely to become one for candidates too, as failing to attend an interview causes a very poor impression and burns bridges that you may need in the future. While it is fine to cancel an interview, make sure you do it properly.
Here are few practical tips for different situations:
- You are actively looking for a job and have responded to several advertisements. You are invited for an in-person or Skype interview in a company which is not your preferred employer, and you may even have forgotten about it. Call the employer to politely cancel the meeting, as it does not make sense to waste everybody’s time by confirming the appointment and creating false expectations. I would also recommend that you make a list of which interviews you have declined, with whom and for what reason. If you later on apply for another job at the same company (or through the same intermediary), you are unlikely to remember the interview you declined.
- You are expecting an offer from a particular company in which you are interested, but you are suddenly invited for an interview from another firm. You accept, but in the meantime the offer arrives, and it meets your expectations. This is great news – congratulations! However, do not forget to politely decline the interview at the other company by email or phone. There is no need to beat about the bush – simply say that you have already accepted a job offer, and thank them again.
- After receiving the invitation, you do some preliminary research. The facts and your intuition tell you that this job is not for you. Make sure you call or send a polite cancellation.
- You accept a job interview, you prepare yourself, and you set off to the company to meet your interviewers. Due to unpredicted circumstances or bad time management, you are more than fifteen minutes late. Call the company to inform them about the delay. If you don’t have your invitee’s phone number to hand, it’s very easy these days to look the company up online, and inform the receptionist or switchboard operator about your delay.
Obviously, these tips do not cover all situations, but the take-home message is very clear and simple. It is critical to inform the company if you will not be attending the meeting, or if you are delayed for any reason. It is important to keep the door open for you as a professional in the future, and it would not be pleasant for you to leave a negative impression.
Have you ever experienced a no-show interviewee? What is your advice in this situation?
Have you ever been a no-show interviewee? What reasons did you have?
Irena Bushandrova has been the Country Manager for Bulgaria at Pedersen & Partners since 2009. Ms. Bushandrova brings a wealth of senior management experience in the financial services sector having worked in key management roles at ING Bank in Bulgaria for 11 years. Most recently, as Head of Corporate Lending at ING, Ms. Bushandrova oversaw ING’s credit portfolio, managed a team of relationship managers, and actively supported other profit-centers in the bank via product cross-selling. Before joining ING in 1997, she was part of the lending team at the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund for three years.
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