Meet the One Who Hung Up on Me

Meet the One Who Hung Up on Me

by Kerry Scott on 27 November 2009


I always start my phone interview by telling the candidate what we’ll be doing.  I let them know how long the interview will take, and that I’ll be typing in their answers as we talk (that way they don’t think I’m writing emails or something while they’re talking).  I let them know that I’ll be asking a few basic questions about their background, and then a few questions about their experience as it relates to this specific job, and then I’ll give them an opportunity to ask questions.  Most candidate are nervous at the beginning of a phone interview, so I like to let them know exactly what to expect.  It also gives them a moment to breathe and collect themselves before we get started.

So I went through this whole little spiel with a candidate for an account manager position.

Then I asked the first question, which was, “Are you still working at XYZ Company?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “And you’ve been there since1998?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “And why are you looking for a new position?”

And she hung up on me.

At first, I thought we’d just been disconnected.  That happens.  So I called her back, and said something like, “I’m sorry, we must have been disconnected.”

And she said, “I guess so.”

So I said, “Okay, let’s continue.  I think we were on this question:  Why have you decided to look for a new position?”

And she hung up on me again.

Now, at this point, it seemed unlikely that it was a coincidence…but I tried calling her back anyway, because maybe there was just a problem with the phone line or something.  Her answering machine picked up.  I left a message.  Then I also emailed her, on the off chance that it really was a phone problem (although phone problems don’t normally affect the old-school type of answering machines…but whatever).

I never heard from her again.

Tales of the Cluefree appear pretty much every Friday. Past stories are here.

Photo by embolden photography!

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Sabrina November 27, 2009 at 9:53 am

Wow. What the heck? That’s a common question. Why are you leaving or why did you leave? Sometimes it’s nice when they show the crazy up front.
.-= Sabrina´s last blog ..Hamburger Review: Applebee’s =-.

Ask a Manager November 27, 2009 at 10:29 am

I’m betting extreme nerves. She wanted to go through with it but her nerves got the better of her and she freaked out. But I would love to know for sure!
.-= Ask a Manager´s last blog ..should I include an audio clip with my resume? =-.

Carla November 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I’ve been extremely nervous during phone interviews (its much more difficult for me when I cant see the person on the other end), but I’ve never hung up. I did stutter very badly to the point I wasnt able to talk. Maybe it would have been better if I did hang up!

Emily November 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I bet she was at work, and didn’t want to be overheard about how much she thought the job sucked, or that she was looking for a new job at all.

Still stupid, though.

Marsha Keeffer November 30, 2009 at 2:17 am

Anything can – and does – happen during interviews. This is a mind-blower. Phone interviews are actually very enjoyable, but I’m sure your candidate wouldn’t agree with me!

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