should you return a missed call from an interviewer who didn’t leave a message?

A reader writes:

I had an interview, which went splendidly, and was contacted the next week by my interviewer. She said that I would be recieving an email or phone call from a third individual, a man I have not yet spoken to, about moving forward in the process and discussing other aspects of the job that we didn’t get to in the interview.

This is all fine and dandy with me, but my question is this:  If I receive a call from this person’s phone number, but he does not leave a message, do I call back? I’m leaning towards no, because it seems stalkerish to say, “Hi, I have a missed call from you, and am hoping that did indeed mean to call me? What did you want?” However, in a world where everyone uses cell phones and everyone knows that cell phones display missed calls, I don’t want him to be waiting on me to call him. I’m getting conflicting advice from my friends!

Is this purely speculative, or has it actually happened? It’s sounds like it hasn’t actually happened, and if that’s the case, you probably don’t even need to worry about it, because he’ll probably leave a message, at least if he has any appreciation for efficiency.

However, if he does indeed call you, doesn’t reach you, and doesn’t leave a message, no, do not call him back. If he wants you to call him back, he will leave you a message saying that. He is not going to assume that simply seeing a number in your missed calls list is a sufficient signal to call him back. That really only works among friends and sometimes relatives — it’s not the way the work world generally works, and it’s definitely not the way hiring works.

And yes, calling and saying “I have a missed call from you” is kind of obnoxious — because, again, if he wanted you to call back, he would have left a message saying that.

There are all kinds of reasons why he might not have left a message — he was going to spend the rest of his afternoon in a meeting so would be unreachable and figured he’d try you tomorrow, or someone walked into his office as your voicemail started playing and he hung up to talk to them, or all kinds of other possible reasons — but one of those reasons is not that he assumed that seeing a potentially unrecognized number in your missed call list would alert you to call him back.

But really, stop worrying about this. It hasn’t happened and is unlikely to.

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