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I had an video call interview that was scheduled for a specific time.

5 minutes before the interview I got an email from them saying that they were cancelling my interview because there were many other candidates also waiting for the same post.

This is not fair. I took holiday from my current job for this interview.

What should I do in this case?

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  • 2
    "No work for you! NEXT!" In the spirit of the Soup Nazi, don't proceed with these people. If something important like that is cancelled last minute rather than rescheduled for shortly after, you move onto the next (hopefully more competent) employer. – insidesin Feb 15 at 6:53
  • Life is not fair. – Jnthndjgr Feb 15 at 11:12
182

Short answer is... not a lot.

There's nothing you can really do if a potentially employer cancels your interview, whether it be last minute or way in advanced.

This is not fair.

Correct. Sometimes these things happen.

  • 24
    I would add that this could have also happend on the other end: OP could have canceled the interview. Without consequences for him. – Mayou36 Feb 13 at 16:12
  • @Mayou36 On his end, it might have had the consequence of dropping out of the race for the job. Yup, not fair. – Annatar Feb 14 at 13:21
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    @Annatar yes of course, that's my point. But see it from a different perspective: it's not just the OP who is looking for a job, it's also the company which is looking for workers. If a workers cancels an interview shorthand and retracts it's application, then it's also "not fair" for the company (they have a time schedule and invited candidates, now they will have a 30 min break to fill and a candidate less) – Mayou36 Feb 14 at 14:17
  • @Mayou36 given that OP had to arrange a holiday to attend the interview, it hard to imagine that anything short of force majeure could have lead to them canceling. – Andrew Savinykh Feb 14 at 20:13
  • 1
    The employer doesn't know about the holiday, they're just boors to cancel with such short notice. But OP it could be worse, they could have wasted your time interviewing you, and then not given you the job.. – user90842 Feb 14 at 21:58
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Welcome to StackExchange and life!

Unfortunately not much you can do, if they decided to cancel your interview at least they won't waste your time with further interviews and no offer. Last year I used a big portion of my holiday on interviews as the company I was working for was possibly going under.

Instead of taking a day off, try and arrange for "working from home" with current employer, or longer lunch breaks, leaving early and working the hours. This will help you if your current employer is flexible enough, that will definitely save you some of your holiday.

Other than that, just enjoy your day off, take your time applying for better positions with the time you have off.


Edit on the "working from home":

Most places I've worked at if you required to work from home because of personal reasons or otherwise, you would be given a task or goal to try to achieve. You would be required to participate in meetings through skype and so on (when possible).

This allowed the use of some time during the day for the interview that you could make up the same day by working extra hours at the end and still achieve the deliverable you had set up as a goal.

  • If you're "working from home" with your current employer, you should really be working, not interviewing with other companies. – user2259438 Feb 13 at 13:16
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    @user2259438 Unless you have a workplace that permits breaks. – gerrit Feb 13 at 13:20
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    It's unclear if this answer is suggesting to try and switch from "day off" to "working from home" in this case, or suggesting to "work from home" to conduct remote interviews in general. The former is very reasonable. The latter is questionable. – Bobson Feb 13 at 14:30
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    if you have a deliverable that needs to be carried out and you need 8h to finish it and needs to be ready before tomorrow and you have an interview which takes 1h lunch +1h of your worktime, you can simply work an hour longer to finish this. In previous role I worked as app support, which I was only needed when things went wrong and daily checks, while I was doing interviews on my working from home days I carried my laptop with me in case I was needed. It depends on the flexibility of your boss on what you work. I'm not suggesting unethically skipping work but finding a flexible compromise – fireshark519 Feb 13 at 14:43
  • @Bobson - Edit to clarify your concerns – fireshark519 Feb 13 at 15:02
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You should definitely post your experience to glassdoor.com. This will allow others to understand the unprofessional nature of the company before they get to involved. Your review may not carry much weight but if they have a history of unprofessional behavior then their record will show that in time.

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    Would it be more professional to not cancel the interview after a decission was made and waste OP's and their own time with a "fake" interview? – Gerhardh Feb 13 at 15:31
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    @Gerhardh That would probably be better, because the company would then be unable to do what caused this problem, which is schedule more interviews than they had staff-hours to conduct them. It sounds like they casually, habitually arrange more interviews than they are able or willing to do. – user56reinstatemonica8 Feb 13 at 15:49
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    @Gerhardh Perhaps not, but it is telling that they went ahead and set up an interview, and then got more applications. Maybe OP got the bad luck of being the victim of their one-time poor planning, but if this is a consistent thing, it can at least warn others on GlassDoor that this company does this at times, so don't get your hopes up just because you have an interview scheduled. – zr00 Feb 13 at 15:50
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    @Gerhardh: the OP doesn’t say the company has hired someone else, but rather that they have enough in person applicants that they don’t need to consider remote. Which is totally irrelevant AFTER they have scheduled an interview. They should have held the interview. – jmoreno Feb 14 at 11:37
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    @Gerhardh In my opinion, what would have been more professional is to wait some reasonable period of time to get a good batch of resumes in, go through them all, and interview only people that you think would be a good fit. It sounds to me like they set up interviews too quickly and then found "better" candidates later and cancelled the earlier interview. That's just bad process which leads to situations like this and "bad press." This unprofessional behavior will get out and discourage future applicants from applying to this company, in the end hurting them (as it should). – JeffC Feb 14 at 14:17
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What should I do in this case?

Learn.

Any interview process involves a large amount of trust from both sides on all sorts of aspects, one of the most important of which is that the other party is serious and committed to seeing the process through.

The truth is that in the vast majority of recruitment processes, both sides are evaluating many options simultaneously. When one option results in an acceptable offer, they cancel all the other processes in the interests of saving everyone's time.

When you go into interview processes, you have to know this and plan around it. It does happen. The odds of it happening depend on the company's recruiting strategy, and here you've come across a particularly extreme case where they did cast a wide net, weren't particularly committed to seeing the process through with you, and didn't mind wasting your time. The 5 min cancellation is particularly annoying and unfair, yes, though at least they were honest about it!

So, what's the lesson?

You will always fundamentally need to trust the company when interviewing, but in future you should take steps to build and validate this trust before you make commitments like taking holidays to accommodate the interview process.

A few things you can do

  • Ask plainly in initial communication what the process will be, what specifically will happen and when. Don't begin the process until this has been explained.
  • If it's not already part of the official process, ask for a quick introductory call with the Hiring Manager before beginning it. 15 minutes is enough. Introduce yourselves and talk about the role. You can usually get a decent signal on if the other party is serious based on this.
  • Be more casual and flexible about early stages in the process. Especially if it's a call, ask if it can be done before or after your usual working hours so you don't have to take holiday.
  • Confirm 24 hours in advance, and then a couple of hours in advance, of the interview, that it's still going ahead. These two time periods give them two easy 'get out' opportunities and if they do need to cancel really late on, at least you can somewhat salvage your schedule with a bit more notice.

All of the above will be looked on positively by anyone serious. If you get cold or negative reactions to any of them, it's a red flag and you should be the one withdrawing from the process at that point.

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    I strongly disagree with "All of the above will be looked on positively by anyone serious". I would not look positively on someone calling me again & again to reconfirm the interview, or asking for additional "introductory calls". This is extra hassle for the interviewer and would probably have you dismissed from the list at most of the places I have worked. – Dragonel Feb 13 at 18:12
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    Well that's kind of my point. If a potential employer views these things as too much hassle it means they're probably not that interested in recruiting you specifically, i.e. there is a large chance the process will be a waste of your time. Commitment has to come from both sides. – davnicwil Feb 13 at 19:40
  • I'm not sure how giving them an "easy get out" two hours before the interview would help the asker. It seems that they would already have taken the day off at that stage. In the vast majority of cases a company is not trying to recruit you specifically. They are looking for the best candidate out of a random selection of people with the required abilities. Making multiple contacts to get confirmation and asking for pre-interview introductory calls would cause me to wonder if this sort of thing would be an ongoing issue after you were hired. – Eric Nolan Feb 14 at 11:03
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    This isn't about resolving this situation, it's about trying to avoid it in the future. They're just things they could do to help establish trust, not to be followed to the letter - apply as appropriate for the situation. To your point about you personally seeing things like these as issues, again to reiterate, that might serve as a red flag depending on what the candidate is looking for. To flip it around, if you see them wanting to chat briefly before committing to a process as an issue, it might cause them to wonder if this sort of thing would be an ongoing issue after they're hired.. – davnicwil Feb 14 at 11:35
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You could call your manager and ask if he's happy that you cancel your holiday; or make it a half day depending on the time left. This way you can recover some or all of your holiday, and I don't know any managers that will care about this odd day going wrong.

While it might seem harsh, at least they called to cancel rather than just not tell you.

1

Unless they asked you to take a holiday (in which case you might be able to get some compensation - ask a lawyer in your locale, potentially one in the prospective employers' country too), I don't see what you could do except tell them just that and maybe ask for a reimbursement.

Unfortunately you missed your ideal time window right when you had the interview lined up (they might have reconsidered and went on with the interview).

I assume they decided against you anyways after seeing other candidates applications. But this and other possibilities are pure speculation, so

Move on
...and enjoy your "holiday"

This is not fair.

Sadly life is not fair, welcome to the world.

  • @JoeStrazzere in that case OP might be entitled to compensation.They'd have to ask a lawyer in their locale,potentially one in the prospective employers country as well. – DigitalBlade969 Feb 13 at 12:50
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    IANAL but I highly doubt any compensation will be paid. The interviewee has an option to take a holiday, the prospective employer would simply make a recommendation on taking a holiday. – Twyxz Feb 13 at 14:28
  • @Twyxz IANAL as well and I doubt it too. However, there might be a chance depending on the lawyer, the country and judge...sometimes even the threat of a lawsuit is enough...it's also questionable if it wouldbe even admissable or make sense considering the probably low amount – DigitalBlade969 Feb 13 at 14:31
  • Involving lawyers and threatening with lawsuits would also burn the bridges. – Erbureth says Reinstate Monica Feb 14 at 13:55
  • Is the OP necessarily concerned about burning some bridges? It sounds like they would be pretty happy to do so if it did a bit of damage. – P. Hopkinson Feb 14 at 15:33

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