Question Proposed on LinkedIn: Is it acceptable for the Interviewer to be late, with no apology? Apparently a candidate was late and then proceeded to leave the interview without apologizing, so the hiring manager left the recruiter sitting there saying, “I don’t even want to see the remainder of your candidates.”

Others’ Responses:

– Wow, I have to say I have never heard of a candidate walking out due to a late interviewer. We always make sure there is someone who is monitoring the interview schedule and updating candidates appropriately if someone is running over. I definitely agree the interviewer should have apologized, candidate experience is so important for an interview. It is not just about the candidate selling themselves but the company/employees as well must sell the opportunity. It says alot about your company culture if they do not equally care about the time of the candidate as well as the other interviewers whose schedules will then be off due to their tardiness.

– I agree that this says a lot about the company you are interviewing with if the interviewer is late with no explanation or apology. I would probably continue on with the interview, but would be cautious about accepting an offer from the company. Walking out of an interview is unacceptable, as, like you said, it could jeopardize the relationship with the recruiter. There is no reason to stoop to the level of the tardy interviewer, but rather it is important to retain grace and professionalism even when others are lacking it.

– Totally unacceptable from either party. Respect and good manners go a long way. I have walked out on many people who have kept me waiting without informing the reception they are delayed.

–  I have had the same experience with an interview. In fact, there were a few tell-tale signs that this was not the right company for me – including the company not providing a receptionist or anyone to greet me when I came in. I feel that showing up late to an interview (candidate or interviewer) leads to a strike against you, but perhaps there’s a chance to redeem yourself. The whole interview was laughable as was, and I just decided to stay to see what the experience would provide me. I don’t believe in walking out on someone or not giving someone a chance to explain. Respect is so very important to me, so I was completely baffled by this interview that I will never forget it. I read another discussion about a candidate chewing gum in the interview which provides the same basis of disrespect. It does feel like there are some people who come from different planets sometimes. Yet, sometimes those are the folks that teach you the most.

– I must repeat here what I said within this group for further discussion:
The world will soon be nine billion people and we should work together and try new rules for civil life. I believe it is a good start to be courteous to others to promote empathy, knowledge and creativity. I believe that there is a behavior that affects everyone, in any environment or context: it is “respect”. The respect fosters a sense of empathy, a way to get in the shoes of the other, in some way is a form of creativity. But I think the respect is absolutely not a right but rather it should be earned every day. In people, the only quality which exists is that is perceived as such by others. Be felt, to be known, to like, get respect, it is a “duty” to themselves and to others, a clear personal responsibility. It is not enough to know how to do, and maybe even do, but to make it known. By the way, I do not think the company offers the candidate a good image, Just on the occasion of the first meeting. And we all know how important this is today, despite the employment crisis.

– Perhaps in your interview prep with future candidates you might talk about courtesy as a responsibility, not as a right. Your candidate failed to extend a courtesy, but was quick to demand a right. There could be any number of reasons a busy hiring manager would be 15 minutes late.

– Mr Art, I agree, this is certainly a good approach to get out of embarrassment. There is nothing wrong even if the delay is motivated by the amount of commitments of the company, so as to introduce the discourse on the availability of the candidate to face significant work loads. Or, again, for allowing a former candidate for the maximum willingness on the part of the interviewer, etc. In principle, one can find any “excuse” to justify the delay, which remains a venial sin. But if we go around to suggest candidates to the “good rules” to make a good impression in interviews, perhaps it is the company’s interest to give a positive image of themselves as well.

– Wether you are a candidate or a recruiter, being on time is a sign of professionality and respect toward the counterpart. It’s a little rule that unfortunately often is forgotten.

– Well, my first thought was “well done”; being the interviewer and knowing that the job market is awful, one cannot disrespect the candidate. On the other hand, first impression is always very important. So to my opinion this company might have shown that they do not respect their employees? How will meetings, agreements etc. be conducted in the future – 15 minutes late, keeping several employees waiting etc. etc.? This is very expensive for the company. Having said that, I would have stayed and just informed the recruitment agency afterwards that this company was not a good match.

– It is one of my biggest pet peaves when my managers or directors are late for their interviews, it is slightly hypocritical of us to expect that a candidate is to be early or at the latest on time for an interview but then we decide it is somehow fair for us to be late. I do understand that things happen beyond our control and that is fine, just make sure that the candidate is being handled and aware of any delays and then I would expect that out of simple courtesy the manager would apologize. I will say that I do not agree with anyone walking out on an interview, it is unprofessional and with the way people share information, it can cause a problem more for the candidate than the company.

– Maybe this was a deliberate tactic on the part of the interviewer to determine how candidates will react and used it as a screening tool. If they are “that kind” of manager/boss, they want to hire someone who is as brash, demanding, and unapologetic as they are. This candidate took it as a personal afront, and was weeded out as a result.

– While it is unprofessional to be late, it is even more unprofessional walking out of an interview. There may be a logical explanation for tardiness, but not for walking out. It’s a loss of opportunity due to a lack of communication. Did the candidate communicate this with the client, or with you while they were waiting?  I once waited a while for a client who was running late. What did I end up doing? I spent time talking with the secretary, read through brochures on the company, and followed up on emails. Waiting for someone doesn’t mean you hold off on being productive. When the client arrived I thanked the secretary, put the brochure in my bag, and followed along with my day. No burning bridges on that day!

– I agree that both parties owe the other an apology. I hate tardiness. But, this particular candidate certainly did put their recruiter in a bind and their reaction seems a bit over the top. However, from the employer’s perspective………their being late & then not saying anything about it may very well have been a “test.” They may have wanted to see how the candidate acted in any circumstances, especially under pressure. Perhaps the role the candidate is dealing with deals with a lot of unpleasant people throughout the work day. If this were a test, I guess the employer got their answer………the candidate didn’t handle situations like this well! The candidate did not display any grace under fire. From the candidate’s perspective…….they may consider this a test & roll with the punches. But, they may also consider that this is an environmental norm for this employer and, if they’re not happy with that kind of behavior, may think twice about accepting any job offer. In that case, if I were in the candidate’s shoes, and moved forward with other interviews, I’d keep track of how everything went…..was everyone late for everything there? I once worked for a company where being late for meetings was the norm, a political agenda and never apologized for. I’d prefer to never be subjected to that kind of environment again.

– Certainly unacceptable, Transparency in communication is needed before making such hasty decision in such cases. There is always a way to deal with situation positively. In your instance, the candidate could have called you before leaving from there. I had experienced same instances with many candidates who faced such issue, before hand i used to tell them if there is any kind of delay in interview more than 5 mins, drop me an sms and I would resolve and this really worked. Only when the candidate has some other urgency or priority, then would go after informing me as well as the client. Would further ask for rescheduling the interview as well. I guess lot of coordination, and trust to the candidate and client is to be created and this is what is required to make things work positively at both ends of the rope when you at the centre of it.

– I get what everyone is saying about the candidate walking out being just as unprofessional as the interviewer being late without explanation or apology, especially given that the recruiter’s relationship with the company was jeopardized. That said, we job seekers have to put up with so much and get so little for our effort. Only 1% of resumes are replied to with a request for an interview and it takes a lot of time and effort to get to that point. We’re also expected to follow a rather large laundry list of rules, one of the first being NEVER be late for a job interview. We also have to endure things like 6-step interview processes that can take MONTHS before we finally find out whether or not we’re going to be hired. While two wrongs don’t make a right, I really don’t think it’s too much to ask that if an interviewer can’t be on time, they apologize and have an explanation handy, even just something short and sweet like, “my previous interview went a little over the time limit.” Again, I acknowledge that two wrongs don’t make a right and it’s unfair for the recruiter to be caught in the middle of it all, but I really don’t blame the candidate for his actions.

– I had an interview where they made me wait for almost 2 hours. There were 2 interviewers and mine kept getting pulled into emergencies so I had to watch other candidates come in, get interviewed and leave. The receptionist kept apologizing but it was pretty ridiculous. Eventually I did interview and it was with a higher level manager who was more than a little hostile. It made me decide this was definately not the company for me, but I kept my integrity by going through it all. I think your candidate leaving for a 15 minute delay shows a great deal of arrogance and they would have probably been a bad employee in other ways. Everyone’s time is valuable, but business sometimes need to be dealt with immediately. An apology should be given as a courtesy, but showing no flexibility during an interview reflects badly on the candidate and, in this case, the agency. On the flip side, you might have dodged a major bullet. Imagine if your candidate had been hired on for a week and then threw a fit in the office. Bad candidates can be replaced (with an apology, of course), but bad employees are harder to come back from.

– I have experienced this situation first hand, as a potential candidate for a position. I arrived 15 minutes prior to the set interview time, set in the lobby with the security guard and found myself awaiting the interviewer for an additional 30 minutes.I was in utter dismay at the lack of professionalism of the interviewer and overall the company. After finally speaking with the interviewer and receiving an apology, I was not enthusiastic or no longer interested in the position. The interviewer was so focused on speaking about their personal life and failed to properly conduct an interview. I later received a job offer from the company for the position and declined to take it due to my experience with the interviewer. Considering I have my Masters Degree in Human Resources Management, I was flabbergasted at why the company would have someone represent them that was not qualified.

– We always apologize when we come late to interview candidates. It’s just good manners to apologize to keep someone waiting. We have to understand, yes, people need jobs, but at the end of the day they have a life that revolves around their jobs and their time is precious, they might have left a child with someone to come to the interview, or parked their car on a meter, or rented a suit by the hour etc. It’s always good to respect it in these terms. And in the end, its not just a job they are here for, its a life, somewhere down the road you will meet these people again and the little respect you have given to apologizing to them for being late would be something they will remember too. Because sometimes, the time you make them wait makes a big impact on them.

– I try not to judge what other people do, but if it were me – I would have finished with the interview. I would never walk out of an interview. Fifteen minutes for someone to be kept waiting is nothing. I had an interview one time in which the interviewer did the first part of the interview then had me sit for 1.5 hours while she attended to some tasks. I was livid inside, but she never knew it. Upon her return, I acted completely unruffled and I got the job. I wasn’t going to judge the whole company by what she did. What might be considered rudeness might actually be a test to see how you react when presented with uncertain situations or how strong is your perseverance. With that being said, It is always best to remember that when using a recruiter or staffing agency, you represent them as well as yourself so your actions will reflect on both parties.

My Response:

– Unacceptable. This might be your one chance to nab up something great that can affect your livelihood and your family’s life. Man up, set the alarm and avoid at all costs being late. I don’t care if you have to rent a hotel room and you only live 10 miles away. If there’s a snow storm coming and you clearly know it might be a risk to try to drive there in the morning, go at night and set yourself up right next to the interviewing office. That way, you can be there 15 minutes early and interview-ready. Even if you weren’t late, why make it even something you cut close? Hiring managers can see if you’re flustered and unfocused. CONTROL YOUR DESTINY!

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