A story about a job candidate who “got up and left” after waiting 20 minutes for an interview has gone viral.
In a post shared a week ago on Reddit’s antiwork subforum, user Wytch7 wrote that they’re an educator in Florida with 15 years of experience who was scheduled for a 10 a.m. interview with a school. The poster arrived on time and “waited and waited” for the interview, which did not begin as scheduled.
“So after a good twenty minutes I got up and told the receptionist I was no longer interested in the position. And I left,” Wytch7 wrote.
Did this job candidate make the right call, or were they overreacting? Career and leadership coach Darcy Eikenberg told Newsweek that this job seeker should not have “left in a huff.”
However, Natasha Bowman, a human resources and workplace expert, told Newsweek that the poster was “right in their instinct” to leave, as “this may be a potentially toxic work environment.”
The latest viral post comes in the age of “quiet quitting” and “rage applying,” with only 51 percent of Americans “extremely or very satisfied” with their job overall, based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February.
The job candidate in the Reddit post wrote that they were contacted for this position after the school saw their resume posted on the Indeed job website. “I didn’t seek them out.” They had a phone interview a week earlier and the assistant principal seemed “super excited about my skill set and what I could bring to the classroom,” they added.
The poster wrote that, on the day of the interview, “the place was practically empty, but I could hear people talking from offices behind the reception area.
The job candidate added: “This isn’t a f****** doctor’s visit or a blind date. Someone could have let me know, ‘Hey sorry we are running behind, thank you for waiting!’ or whatever.
“I emailed them when I got home. They apologized and said they were in a meeting with another teacher. They could have let me know that tho. It was clear they didn’t value my time,” the poster wrote in a later comment.
‘Toxic Work Environment’
Bowman is the author of Crazy AF: How to Go From Being Burned Out, Unmotivated & Unhappy to Reclaiming Your Mental Health at Work!. She said: “The fact that the interview didn’t start on time isn’t the biggest issue. Stuff happens. But the lack of acknowledgment indicates this may be a potentially toxic work environment.”
If the company can’t manage “simple logistics,” such as notifying candidates about unexpected delays, “it raises questions about their ability to handle more significant challenges and maintain a well-structured work environment,” Bowman said.
Career and leadership coach Ayanna E. Jackson told Newsweek that, if the job candidate had been 20 minutes late to the interview, the employer would have “unequivocally dismissed” them as a potential hire. “This candidate was just showing that same rule of thumb.”
‘Seek First to Understand’
Eikenberg is the author of Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job. She said the job candidate in the latest post missed “the first rule of good workplace communication: seek first to understand.”
Eikenberg added: “Should the job seeker have left in a huff? No. But, after asking and waiting, they could have assumed positive intent instead of assuming they were a victim of bad leadership.”
The author said the poster could have checked in with the receptionist and stated: “I’m assuming something important came up, and I now need to move on to my next appointment. Please let the assistant principal know that I was here and to call me if they want to talk further.”
Deb Harrison is a change/growth consultant and coach who has worked with various business organizations. She told Newsweek: “I agree that someone could have acknowledged that they were running behind when the poster arrived or while sitting there.”
However, “it is also highly possible that something pressing had come up unexpectedly and was being discussed behind the closed doors that the receptionist was unaware of and the individuals behind the closed door were addressing,” Harrison said.
‘I Don’t Blame You for Walking Out’
Several Reddit users sided with the original poster.
Exciting_Aardvark_45 wrote: “SOMEONE should have at least let you know the reason for the delay while you’re waiting. I don’t blame you for walking out.”
Shinagami091 posted: “Employers need to realize that the interview process isn’t just for you, it’s for them too. If they don’t show up on time that tells you what you already know.”
Crom_Committee commented: “What they communicated is that they’re either toxic or inconsiderate slobs who expect you to pick up after their mistakes, which is also toxic.”
IXISIXI wrote: “Yep, if they aren’t going to value your time as an applicant, be prepared for how they will value your time once you’re an employee.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment via the Reddit messaging system.
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