invited to interview but never heard back about a date and time

A reader writes:

I’m in a bit of a pickle. I was invited by email to interview with an organization that I really liked. They asked for my availability on two days, and I responded thanking them for the opportunity to interview and giving my availability (not free on the first day but free all day on the second). The invitation came a little short notice (received email Tuesday for interview on Wednesday or Thursday), and it is now Wednesday night and I haven’t heard back from them.

Should I write this off as a loss, and assume that in between when they invited me to interview and when I responded a couple hours later that they hired someone? Or is it possible that their timeline just got pushed back? Or maybe they are just a little scatter-brained (whatever the business equivalent of that is) and are going to let me know what time my interview is, on the day of the interview. Have you ever encountered this type of thing before?

Oh yes. Enough to officially call it a trend.

The two most likely explanations are:

* Their timeline got pushed back, and they’re not considerate enough to let you know that. They don’t have an immediate need to communicate with you on their side (they’re not ready to schedule these interviews quite as soon as they thought, and while normal people would feel compelled to get back to you to explain that, they’re rude and don’t care), so they’re leaving you hanging. Rude, rude, rude.

* Someone decided they had enough interviews scheduled, and they’re handling it rudely by not getting back to you.

It’s also possible that the explanation is more innocuous — such as that the person who emailed you suddenly went home sick and forget she had those loose ends to wrap up, or some other explanation that’s more about the normal bumps of life than deliberate rudeness. This explanation is less likely, but possible.

Regardless of the explanation, though, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll hear from them again. If you do, be alert for other signs of disorganization.

Meanwhile, though, go ahead and check back with them. Call this morning and say that you hadn’t heard back about a time for your interview and you’d love to nail down a time to meet. (And yes, this is one of the rare occasions where I recommend calling rather than emailing — because they reached out to you about interviewing today and you haven’t had anything confirmed.)

But brace yourself for the possibility that they’re going to basically fall off the face of the earth where communication is concerned. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

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