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First Responder, First Hired: Why Dithering About The Date And Time Of A PR Job Interview Can Cost You The Opportunity

Ever had a friend who was hard to pin down for a lunch or dinner date? After several attempts to connect, most people would stop trying, either because they lose patience or interest. Recruiters experience the same loss of excitement over candidates who are late in responding to requests for an interview, or who reschedule the job interview more than once.

As a communications recruiter, I take special notice of people who are tardy responders, because the nature of the communications business requires a proactive attitude to all facets of work. Communications professionals must react quickly and decisively on a daily basis to numerous challenges. If their company’s plant has a potentially dangerous chemical spill, the communications team must spring into action immediately to ensure the word gets out to media, key government officials and the local community, so that people are aware of the situation and the health and safety of citizens can be protected.

In a communications agency, the level of urgent response can be even greater, because consultants are working on more than one file at a time. There may be three or four pressing matters to address, all of which require instantaneous action. Being able to prioritize and juggle tasks quickly and effectively is part of the job.

I’ve heard some interesting excuses as to why candidates were unable to get back to me in a timely manner, or why they needed to reschedule an interview. Some of the most common include insect bites, sprained body parts, chipped or infected teeth, or lost or stolen cell phones. My all-time favourite was the gentleman who was apparently stuck in Europe without his wallet or passport following a bad breakup with his girlfriend. I actually felt sorry for the guy when he called several weeks later to apologize, as his voice registered real concern. Needless to say, he didn’t get a second chance because we’d already hired the person we needed.

Whatever the reason, dithering doesn’t help when seeking employment in communications. Unsolicited resumes frequently arrive in my Inbox. Candidates should be aware that I will be in touch to discuss a potential interview if their credentials are good, and I will expect a quick reply.
Sandra Upeslacis is the Manager of Talent Retention and Acquisition at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s largest public relations firm with 300 employees in nine offices across Canada, in London and New York. NATIONAL has experience in assisting clients with the recruitment of communications professionals, in review and configuration of communications departments, and in training new and existing staff. www.national.ca Email, [email protected]


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