I have a missed call from an unknown number — was it an employer?

A reader writes:

I sent my application through email after seeing a job opening on the company’s website. Six days later, I missed a call from an unknown number (I don’t have Caller ID). I’m almost positive this was the company calling as I usually never receive calls on my cell phone, and I have not applied to any other jobs.

Now I’m panicking because I do not have a number to call and I’m worried they will not call back. I thought I would send an email apologizing for not taking the call and reinstating my interest in the position, however I’m scared this could backfire on me if it was not them calling. Do employers usually call back after a phone call isn’t answered? Or should I go ahead and send the email?

Don’t do this.

First of all, this call was from an unknown number. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the call was from the company you applied with. It could have been a wrong number or all sorts of other things.

If you call them and explain that you think they called and they in fact did not, you’re going to look odd.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that it wasn’t an unknown number and it was actually the company’s number. It still wouldn’t make sense to call them back, because if they wanted you to call, they would have left a message. That is what the message-leaving function is for.

Plus, if you called them, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the person who called you. You could get a main switchboard and end up talking to someone who has no idea who called you or what they wanted. This is annoying.

However, at least in that case, you’d know that it was them who called you, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to say, “I see I have a missed call from you. I’d love to talk with you about the position if you’re still interested in speaking.”

But when you don’t even know if it was them? I think you’ve got to chalk it up to wishful thinking and let it go.

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