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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers


Playing the Post-Interview Waiting Game

14 Feb 2011 4:12 PM | Anonymous

By Stephanie Clark

You’ve had your interview, which you think went well. The recruiter said that management wants a new recruit in place within two weeks, and that you’d receive a call, either way. Two weeks later, you are still waiting. All that waiting seems to demand action; after all, we are often urged to be pro-active. “What if I called to inquire? Would that help show my interest?” wonders the impatient job hunter. So what is the best way to handle all that silent waiting? It all depends. There are many approaches; a few are listed below. Depending on a person’s character, strength of verbal communications, rapport established with the interview team, indications given about how soon a decision will be made or when the chosen candidate will ideally be starting, a candidate may elect to wait patiently, or to follow up.

At the end of the interview, ask “May I give you a call to follow up on the selection process?” Most people feel comfortable sending (and receiving) two, perhaps three, follow-up emails. After that it starts to feel desperate, which is a job offer deal-breaker. If you elect to communicate via email rather than phone, stop after two or three.

Keep track of who you call or email, what was said, who you’ve not yet reached, to make sure that you don’t feel foolish for having forgotten, and that you don’t overdo the attempt to solicit a reply. If it is outside your comfort zone to follow up, you might choose to say so. “I apologize for adding yet another email to your Inbox. I am compelled to write, though, as I am just so sure that I have precisely the skills, attitude and experience to succeed in the position of (insert).”

Instead of an email try a postcard or short hand-written note, snail-mailed. Sometimes choosing “the road less traveled,” so to speak, is enough to spark a reply.

Call, but rather than leaving a message, keep calling until you reach a real live person. Best bet for getting through to the hiring manager is to call very early, or quite late in the day, when it is less likely that his or her calls are being screened.

Send a last-ditch letter. Be frank. Tell the person that they indicated a decision would be made by this time, and that whether it’s positive news or not, you would like to know. It is a sad truth that not all interviewers, recruiters, or HR personnel follow through on their promise to call either way.  Although everyone deserves the courtesy of knowing, it’s also true that lots of folks have trouble delivering bad news.

One last idea:  Never give up. Even if you didn’t land that job, send an email two months or so down the road, thanking them again for a great interview, sharing that, although you are exploring a few possibilities you are still available. Suggest that if they know of a suitable position, in their company or another, you would be very grateful for a referral or more information. And continue to stay in touch with professional, non-demanding messages. Silence is relative, and possible reactions vary according to many variables. Ultimately it is up to each job hunter to determine what tactics he or she is comfortable using.

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