How to Handle a Phone Interview That is Late


June 30, 2021


Telephone interviews are becoming more common with companies who wish to vet initial job applicants or when a job applicant is not located in the same geographical area as the company. While most phone interviews are held as initially planned, some interviews can run late or interviewers/interviewees may not show up at all for the interview. In this article, we discuss what to do if your phone interview is late and how to ensure a prompt reschedule of the interview. We will also cover frequently asked questions related to the phone interview process.

Why do companies use phone interviews during the interview process?

Companies may use phone interviews during their interview process for several reasons. To begin with, a company may schedule telephone interviews with potential candidates before bringing them into the physical office to perform a screening of them related to how suited they are to the job. This allows companies to avoid wasting in-person time with candidates who do not possess the desired skills or experience needed for the position.

Businesses may also use phone interviews when interviewing candidates that are out of town. This can make an interview more convenient for both the company and the candidate and can reduce costs the company may incur about the interview process.

Related: 25 Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round (With Video)

Steps to take if your phone interview is late

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Most phone interviews are performed on time and in the manner that they are intended. However, you may experience a phone interview in which the interviewer is late to the agreed-upon appointment time. The following are steps you can take when dealing with a late phone interview:

  1. Double-check the interview date and time.
  2. Check to make sure your phone is properly turned on.
  3. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then attempt calling the interviewer.
  4. Send a follow-up email after calling the interviewer.
  5. Decide how long you are willing to wait.

1. Double-check the interview date and time

When you realize that your phone interview may be late, the first thing you should do is double-check the date and time that the interview was set to take place. Sometimes a simple misreading of the date or time may be the reason why you believe the interview was late. Or, you may have overlooked the time zone and realize that your interviewer is located in a different region than you. Ensuring that you have the right time and date is the first step to make sure that the phone interview is actually late.

Related: How to Prepare for 9 Interview Types

2. Check to make sure your phone is properly turned on

You should also ensure that your phone is properly turned on and able to receive calls. Make sure that your phone is not on silent or vibrate and that the volume is turned up.

3. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then attempt calling the interviewer

After 15 to 20 minutes have passed, you should give the interviewer a call at the number that was provided. While you may be tempted to simply email, it’s more professional to try to call first. This can allow you to immediately speak with the interviewer if they answer to either reschedule or begin the interview. It also shows that you take the interview seriously.

4. Send a follow-up email after calling the interviewer

After calling the interviewer, follow up with an email. In your email, you can inform the interviewer that you just tried to reach them via phone and confirm the interview time that had been agreed upon. If a new interview time was set, confirm that time. If the interviewer did not answer your phone call, ask about a time when it would best to call again or provide times in which you are available to speak to either perform the interview or set up a new interview date and time.

5. Decide how long you are willing to wait

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If you do not hear from the interviewer for more than 30 minutes, you can choose to continue to wait or to inform the interviewer that you are unable to wait any longer. For example, if you have another interview scheduled, you may be unable to wait to hear from the interviewer longer than 30 minutes. If you are unable to continue waiting, be sure to let the interviewer know either via phone or email.

Related: 15 Phone Interview Questions and Answers

Frequently asked questions about phone interviews

The following are frequently asked questions related to job phone interviews:

How long do phone interviews typically take?

Phone interviews are often shorter than in-person interviews as they are most commonly used for pre-screening candidates. Most phone interviews last 30 minutes or less, so you should set aside at least half an hour for your phone interview.

What are the questions that are commonly covered during phone interviews?

Phone interviews are commonly used to pre-screen if a candidate is a viable fit for the open position. This means that most phone interview questions will not be too in-depth or overly specific to the company. Common phone interview questions include:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How much experience do you have as it relates to the job position being applied for?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • Why are you interested in the open position with our company?
  • What makes you a good candidate for this job?
  • When can you start working?
  • Do you have any questions about the job?


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