Interview Wait Time – How Long is Long Enough?

Applicants are constantly told to turn up 5-10 minutes early to their interview to make a good impression and give them the time to collect their thoughts, view the office, meditate – whatever makes them ready. The employer on the other hand, is often late.

Now, whether this a purposeful scare tactic (put them under pressure, make them sweat, etc.) or simply because they are unorganised – neither reflect well. Whilst the candidate waits and waits, all the while they will be thinking: “Is this really how this company is run?”

An interview is to determine if an applicant is a possible fit for your organisation. Nothing else should be more important – and if there is something more important, contact the applicant and ask if you can reschedule (but try and do this with plenty of notice).

Employers often forget that candidate have other commitments. Every candidate would love to put a job interview above all else, but on the occasions where they cannot it is important for employers not to view this as non-commitment to the opportunity. This could be your applicants “dream job”, but they may have had to pull quite a few strings to clear the time for the interview (often excusing themselves from their current job) so making them wait unnecessarily will only make them feel like they have no choice but to leave. Not everyone has 3 hours to spare so they can wait in a conference room.

Candidates put a lot of time and effort and preparation into the interview process, so it is the employers responsibility to take their time seriously. It is never acceptable to make an applicant wait more than 30 minutes for the interview to take place.

When you’ve previously communicated a time on the original interview request, and then agreed on the time in the interview acceptance and interview confirmation there really is no excuse. Yes, you may end up on an important phone call, or a meeting may go on a bit longer than expected… but all it takes is a note to reception/admin requesting a phone call, text or email to inform your candidate.

“Can you please let my 9:00 appointment know that I’m running late, apologise on my behalf and ask if they can wait X minutes or see if they’d prefer to reschedule” could be all it takes to save an interview.


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