I was supposed to have a phone interview yesterday with a high-level manager, and I had given my interviewer a list of times that were OK with me (he told me to do that, but looking back, I should have just said "call anytime").

We scheduled a time at the end of the day, but he called at midday. I was exercising and did not take the call; he left a voice message.

He said he may call today, but I'm afraid he wrote me off. I emailed saying sorry for the missed call, and that I am open to calls today 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. onward (because I'm expecting a another phone interview at 4:00 p.m. today).

Did I mess up about some phone interview-rule? Should I compensate by offering to meet him in person at his convenience? Again he's a high-level manager so I want to be safe.

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    'but looking back, I should have just said "call anytime"' - No. You shouldn't. Call anytime says you've got nothing better to do. Say, "I can free up [half an] hour in any of these periods -- please give me as much warning as you can, so I can arrange the rest of my day around it."
    – pdr
    Commented May 18, 2012 at 16:20
  • 5
    Could this have been a time zone issue? If he booked the appointment at 6:30 while in one time zone and then moved to another timezone, you could easily end up with your appointments out of sync.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 12:00
  • 1
    Yep, unless I'm dealing with someone I know is local, I always specify time zone when arranging phone calls.
    – James Adam
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 13:58
  • Unless the job was especially awesome or I needed it due to especially dire circumstances, this would be enough for me to discontinue interviewing with that particular firm.
    – user12818
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 16:16
  • I clarified the title to be more in line with what the question is actually asking. For the issue of the recruiter not calling at all (which the original title implied and duplicate voters on other posts assumed), see How should I deal with an employer who doesn't honor a phone interview time? Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 12:43

3 Answers 3


It sounds like the first call was not very well scheduled - it was one of many possible times. That could make it difficult for you to be available at all of those times - what if you need to use the washroom at some point? I'd be a little surprised if he'd completely written you off (especially if the vague scheduling was his idea).

In the future, I'd suggest scheduling more specific times to have these calls at so there's less risk of missing it while doing other chores.

Also, for this second call - you really can be 100% available from 8 AM to 4 PM? You don't need to eat? Use the washroom? Take out the garbage? And what do you do if the 4 PM call runs longer than an hour and the first caller tries to call you at 5 PM?

  • Good point, thanks! Actually he used outlook to schedule it initially at 6:30 PM but he called 1:15pm instead. Hmm I am maybe being ... nudged away by them. Commented May 18, 2012 at 15:50
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    @AdamHollinger: I would not think well of someone who made an appointment in Outlook to call me at 6:30 and then decided to call me 5 hours earlier without any warning. Of course you missed the call because you had no idea he would call at that time. This could be the shape of things to come if you get that job, so be careful... (or maybe not. I've been wrong before ;) Commented May 18, 2012 at 15:52

If you had scheduled a time to take the phone interview, and they decided to call another time, you did not mess up at all. The company messed up by calling you when you were not available.

If you are still interested in the company, I'd suggest choosing some one hour time-slots during the week that work well for you. Send these time slots to the interviewer, and ask him to reply with the time he will call you for the interview. Make sure the interviewer commits to a time so there is no confusion.

The whole thing seems kinda fishy. A "high-level" manager doesn't usually do phone interviews (HR or his staff handle this), and calling you out of the blue and then acting as if he may call you later is really unprofessional. Before trying to reschedule, Google this person and company and see what you find. I'd ask around my professional network as well. He may have just tipped you off this isn't a company you want to work for.

  • 1
    +1 for doing extra research on the company. That's something that should be done pre-interview anyway, but a little deeper digging won't hurt.
    – Brian
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 21:59
  • I used to be a Salesforce consultant. My last job doing it was a remote position. All interviews were done on the phone. There were three. One HR screening, one with immediate manager, and one with the delivery director (only answered to CEO). Company size of about 40. Not sure why you think it is fishy that a high level manager does phone interviews. This was for one of the most profitable SFDC consultancies out there Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 15:46
  • @BirdLawExpert - By itself, a phone interview from a high-level executive isn't that odd; but when taken with everything else, it makes me wonder if its a fly-by-night who made up a fancy title to impress people. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 22:16

Of course it depends on your situation: for example how many job interviews do you have lined up; how much do you want this particular job etc.

However when I have been interviewing I have always set a time for them to call me and I give them half an hour to be late. After this I'm inclined not to take the call and feed back to the recruitment agent that I have other interviews to do and they will now have to reschedule (which is usually the case).

I don't think it helps to be seen as always available to take their call - it gives the impression there are no other companies who are looking to hire you, and makes you seem less desirable.

In short - if you have a decent skillset don't take being messed around by companies. Offer them a chance to reschedule (it may be an honest mistake) but some people involved in recruitment can be quite arrogant and self-important.

  • FYI: This applies to dating as well ;) Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 21:17

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