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Disastrous Phone Interview


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Old 30th May 2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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Red face Disastrous Phone Interview

I had a phone interview for a promising position yesterday afternoon that started at 4 pm. I left work early and went to my son's daycare to prepare for it. I planned to have the 20 minute interview, then pick up my son from the daycare.

Ten minutes went by and I didn't get a call so I figured the interview was forgotten about. I went in and picked up my son. Then, at 4:20, as we are driving down the road I get a call. I parked at a gas station to talk.

Meanwhile, my son starts howling because he wants his favorite children's song to be played. I could barely hear the interviewer talking. I left the car and started pumping gas since we were low.

I did the technical assessment outside the car the best I could. I thought the interview was over with so I went back into the car. The interviewer wanted to know if I had any questions. I asked some questions that I usually ask to show interest. My son kept yelling. I stopped the interview and explained the situation about my son. I don't like to mention that I have a small child because I think it could hurt my chances at jobs.

The interviewer seemed OK with it and said I'd hear back if they wanted to proceed. They would contact my recruiter about further information.

I think the interview went really bad so I doubt I will hear back. I don't know what I could have done differently. The interviewer was late calling me so it messed up my plans. Maybe this is a sign that the hiring manager is very disorganized that he can't call people at the scheduled times.

Should I give up hope on this position?
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Old 30th May 2018, 10:19 AM   #2
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Well, a lot of people would have just let the call go to voicemail in that situation, so perhaps it signaled a willingness to multi-task and work under pressure. Keep the faith!
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Old 30th May 2018, 11:45 AM   #3
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I think you should assess if you want to work at a company that not only doesn't call you on time, but may dock you for having a child. They were in the wrong for calling you 20 mins late for an interview. Five mins? Okay, but not 20. You were well within your rights to tell them you needed to reschedule, even if it was enough time to just get home. Even a simple, "hey, I expected this call 20 mins ago, I'm on the road now and need to concentrate. Can you please call me back in 30 mins?" is totally legit. I know it feels like, when you're looking for work, you'll put up with any crappy behavior, but you don't have to.
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Old 30th May 2018, 11:49 AM   #4
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I think the interview went really bad so I doubt I will hear back. I don't know what I could have done differently. The interviewer was late calling me so it messed up my plans. Maybe this is a sign that the hiring manager is very disorganized that he can't call people at the scheduled times.
Personally, I would not have scheduled the interview on such a tight time frame. People do get held up or run late. It could be a sign that they are disorganized, or maybe it was just a fluke. I also would not have planned to do the interview from the car. If all was quiet, you probably could have gotten away with it, but you being at the gas station, your child crying, etc., just does not come across as you taking the interview very seriously.

I don't know....but who knows? You may hear from them -- I guess it depends what your competition looks like, how you rate against them technically, and how they handled their interview.
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Old 31st May 2018, 10:33 PM   #5
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Phone and video interviews have a high suckage rate. Technical problems, either on your end or theirs. They don't remember what you said; they remember the poor signal.
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Old 31st May 2018, 10:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Phone and video interviews have a high suckage rate. Technical problems, either on your end or theirs. They don't remember what you said; they remember the poor signal.
I just got a job last week with a 20 minute Facetime interview. I don't think this is universal advice. Rather, I think it's the wave of the future.
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Old 1st June 2018, 1:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by losangelena View Post
They were in the wrong for calling you 20 mins late for an interview. Five mins? Okay, but not 20. You were well within your rights to tell them you needed to reschedule, even if it was enough time to just get home. Even a simple, "hey, I expected this call 20 mins ago, I'm on the road now and need to concentrate. Can you please call me back in 30 mins?" is totally legit. I know it feels like, when you're looking for work, you'll put up with any crappy behavior, but you don't have to.
Totally agree with this. People have lives - if an interviewer calls late or early, they run the risk of running into some other commitment of the person they are calling. At that point you should be within your rights to negotiate a new time - if they dock you for doing that then it's not an organisation you should be working for.

It's good that you were honest about the reason for all the noise - you are still entitled to say that you had to pick your son up as it was getting a little late. Generally, interviewers are still people and they'll understand things like that.
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Old 6th June 2018, 9:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by newlywedder View Post
I had a phone interview for a promising position yesterday afternoon that started at 4 pm. I left work early and went to my son's daycare to prepare for it. I planned to have the 20 minute interview, then pick up my son from the daycare.

20 minutes is borderline. If I am really interested I give them an hour, would call after about 25-30 minutes to see if it is still on, and then after an hour would go about my day. At that point if they called I would explain the other obligation and ask to reschedule or agree to do it then if they understood I might have to deal with a screaming kid.


The interviewer may have been ok with your interview, but it certainly won't earn you any points. It sounds like you wanted the job, so you are at the mercy of and tasked with impressing the interviewer positively. Your situation might not hurt you but it wouldn't ever be a positive impression.


Next time get someone to pick up your kid, pay for them to stay late, get a baby sitter, whatever, but do whatever it takes to make sure you are prepared for the interview and have buffer time before and after so you don't run the risk of looking bad in future interviews.
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