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am I supposed to confirm interviews the day before?

A reader writes:

Over the past few years, I have noticed that when I have been notified by email for a interview, it tends to ask for me to confirm my attendance (“please email back by X date to let us know you’re able to attend”). I do this, but I don’t seem to ever get any reply back. I would feel less worried about this, but there have been at least two times when I have gone to where the interview is being held, only to find it’s been cancelled.

One time it was being held at a separate location, and no one was there. I tried to call a few times, finally getting through later that afternoon. The lady who answered the phone was very curt, telling me I should have called them the day before my interview, and because I hadn’t, it had been cancelled. (I re-read the email I got, and it only mentioned replying back to the email, nothing about calling the day before.)

As these have all been lower level roles, I assumed that just following the directions given to me was all that was needed. What’s the go, Alison? Should companies be acknowledging my confirmation? Should I be calling up?

Yeah, this is not how it is supposed to work. If you agree to an appointment at a specific day and time and both sides confirm it, there’s no rule that it’s off unless someone confirms again the day before. The assumption is generally that you’re both responsible people capable of keeping track of your commitments.

I note, too, that the person you spoke with conveniently put all the responsibility on you. Why were you the one in charge of confirming? If they still wanted to interview you and believe in this non-existent “must confirm the day before rule,” then why didn’t they try it themselves? They didn’t, because there’s no such rule, and because what she really meant was “we’re disorganized and forgot we had this appointment, and if you wanted to keep it, you should have reminded us.”

That said … irritating as this is, there’s no harm in confirming the day before, especially if more than a week has passed since the interview was originally scheduled. You shouldn’t have to, but since you’ve encountered this twice now, you might as well start doing that. I wouldn’t confirm by phone, though, since that’s going to be annoying to most people. Use email instead (but send it early in the day so the person has time to respond).

am I supposed to confirm interviews the day before? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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