General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

How long should I wait?

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I applied to a job I found on an online board. A month later, (two days ago,) I received a call from a woman representing the company who left a message. When I came back inside (I had taken a walk) I checked the message and called her back right away - about 15 minutes after she called.

It went to voicemail, so I left a message with my phone number. She called back the next day (yesterday) and when she did, the first thing she said was "I have a missed call from this number. Who is this?" I told her who I was and then she said "I just got out of the dentist's office and have no way to write anything down. Can you call me back at this number for a phone interview tomorrow at 2:30? I agreed.

So at 2:30 today I called her at the appointed time, and again I got voicemail. I left a message indicating I was calling her for our scheduled phone meeting, etc.

My etiquette question is: how long should I wait for her to call me back? Personally, I think it's unprofessional to miss a scheduled meeting like this. In rare instances when I have to miss or cancel a meeting (even if it's just a phone appointment) I contact them as soon as I know I have to change plans. I rarely do this, as I try very hard (and am proud) to be very diligent about keeping appointments and being on time. I am very annoyed about this, and, frankly, have second thoughts about working at a place like this (I probably will not be pursuing employment with them further as I think flakiness like this is a big red flag, personally) so the question is technically moot, but I am curious from a hypothetical standpoint: if someone has a scheduled meeting and the other party doesn't show up, how long should one wait (or make themselves available by the phone) for the other party, who may be running late?

I vote 15 minutes. After that, I consider it a missed/canceled meeting. What are your thoughts? And, do you think I'm over-reacting and should give it a second chance, or do you think it is wise to consider this a red-flag? I'm so strung out with stress from my job search that I worry I'm not thinking things through as thoroughly as I should. Thank you for any advice or your thoughts on this. I am so stressed out.  :o

The whole "who is this?"/dentist's office thing would be, perhaps not a red flag, but a bit of a warning sign for me. Missing your appointment would also be an issue.

Because you are the one looking for a job, I would probably advise remaining available during the time the phone conversation would have taken (so, 30 minutes or so). Just because it's a "buyer's market", so to speak, right now.

Personally? I probably would not spend more time on these people, unless it was a job I *really* wanted.

While I think you're right that you'd not be rude to leave after 15 minutes, I'd stick around longer if you really are serious about the job search.  A missed connection would be their fault, not yours, but you have the larger incentive to actually make sure you get to talk.

That said, I don't think she's all *that* rude, either.  Maybe 2 out of 10?  The initial month wait could be because they had another candidate who didn't work out (not rude).  You called back and got voicemail (again, not rude - not everyone is near the phone all day).  She returned your call within 24 hours (faster would be better, but still not rude).  And she didn't have a way to take down your info because she didn't realize it was work-related, I assume - she just saw a number on her cell and called.  Which is a bit rude - I hate when people do that without checking their voicemail first - but not really that big a deal.  So really that just leaves her not being there at 2:30, and given that she had no way to write down your info yesterday, she might not have been able to write down the 2:30 time either.  Without knowing the details of her job - how often she's at her desk, whether she might have been stuck in a meeting or on the phone with someone else - I'm not going to cast her into eHell just yet.

She does sound flaky and unprofessional. I think I'd also give it about 15 minutes and then figure she forgot all about the appointment, likely won't check that message either, and plan to ignore it if she calls back. I bet you get another "Who is this?" call later. I'd probably say "Sorry, wrong number."  :P

I think you pretty much dropped the ball if you called once at 2:30 and that's it. Personally I think you should have waited 10 minutes and tried calling her back - she might have gotten held up or something, and she might have a set time set aside to check VM, not just every time one comes in.


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