There’s a common theme in the recruiting process that gives job seekers cold sweats and anxiety. It’s not sending out resumes or even preparing for the interview. It’s what happens afterward.
You probably know the feeling. You’ve just had a great interview, and you’re elated. You were well prepared, and it showed. They seemed to like you and even asked key questions like “when could you start?” Everything feels like it’s going your way as you high-step back to your car and head home. You remembered to get the hiring manager’s card when you interviewed and you sent a professional thank you note the day after the interview. At this point, you’re certain you’re going to hear from the company very soon.
But then you don’t. Instead, uninterrupted radio silence ensues for days or weeks (sometimes longer), and you start to doubt yourself. You begin to wonder what to do next.
Don’t stress. This article is for you. Here are the four things to keep in mind next time you find yourself in interview limbo.
Five Key Things to Remember After the Interview:
- Whatever you do; don’t panic
- Be polite, enthusiastic, and positive
- Recognize that hiring managers are busy
- Keep up your job search
- You might be a good match, but not a perfect fit
Hiring managers can sense self-doubt and fear. Desperation is not a good negotiation tactic, and when you sound stressed or frazzled, it won’t make a good impression. Instead of panicking, remind yourself of how well the interview went and then keep your mind occupied with whatever distracts and relaxes you. Put your energies into reinforcing that positive image you projected during the interview instead.
There is a really good chance that the delay has nothing to do with you exactly and instead is being driven by business factors and management decisions inside the company.
Stay Positive and Friendly
Remember how you felt when you had just left the interview? Channel that upbeat and positive feeling into polite, professional follow-ups. It’s ok to leave a voicemail or send an email once a week. But that’s about it. Don’t overdo it, no matter how polite or enthusiastic you are.
Use language like:
“I’m just calling to check on the status…”
“I’m still very excited about the opportunity…”
“I know you’re busy and appreciate your time…”
Don’t say things like:
“I have left several messages already…”
“I expected a decision by now…”
Recognize that Hiring is Not the Manager’s Only Job
It can feel like the only important aspect of a hiring manager’s job is to hire people (and by that, we mean immediately call and recruit top candidates), but it’s not. Hiring managers have a great many duties, and even when it comes to recruiting there are usually multiple steps.
Try to remember that your interviewer may be busy doing any number of important things like reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and probably covering for some of the responsibilities that you are hoping to cover. The company is probably hiring because they are short staffed in some way, so that might put a strain on everyone in the department including the manager.
Keep up with your job search and interviewing
Not only should you never put all your eggs in one basket, but there are positive psychological and functional reasons for pursuing other opportunities, even if this was your ‘dream job’. You might find an even better job in the process, but in any case, the interviewing practice will benefit you in the long run.
If you do get another offer in the meantime, but you still prefer this first job, you might be able to TACTFULLY use it to move the process along. Don’t ever do this if you don’t have another offer. You can call or email the hiring manager to let them know that you are still very interested in their position, but that want to give them a heads up that you have another offer that you are considering right now. Don’t overtly try to ‘put the squeeze on them’, but if they are interested and have the ability to move forward, this should at least restart the conversation.
You Might Not be a Perfect Fit (but You May Be Able to Overcome It)
This last one is a little tricky. It might be a case of the truth hurts, but it doesn’t have to mean the door is closed. Companies frequently hire people who are a good fit, but not quite a great fit. And why do they decide to pull the trigger? Usually, it’s because that person shows them that they are capable of filling the position and adding value to the team, even if they aren’t an ideal match.
If you find yourself in this predicament and facing objections from an employer that you really want to work for, put in a little effort.
For example, if it’s a sales job, put together a sales presentation and pitch them. Or send a technical article based on something you discussed during the interview and try to weave a friendly conversation around it (to show that you’re always learning and advancing). Or, select key points from your resume that are a perfect fit for the position and expand on them in a brief email and sell why those skills do, in fact, make you a great fit (even if they can’t see it yet). Just remember to be polite and upbeat and not argumentative.