One of the most common frustrations for job seekers: wondering why they haven’t heard anything from the employer well past the stated hiring decision date. After all, the recruiter/HR person/hiring manager said they’d make a decision before the end of last week.
Job seekers seem to assume that the process works perfectly and smoothly on the employer’s side. That assumption is totally wrong. The reason you haven’t heard from them could have nothing to do with you… or it could have everything to do with you. And… you may never know which is happening.
SO many things can disrupt the plan for hiring while you’re waiting, particularly in large organizations. Here are just a few:
At the start of the process…
1. Someone Necessary to the Process Is MIA
Hiring someone usually involves more than one person, and someone necessary to the process might be missing – out of the office (vacation, illness, death in the family, business travel) or on high-priority assignment. Until they are available, the process goes on hold.
2. The Other Interviews Are Taking More Time Than Expected
If you were the first candidate interviewed, it may be a long wait for you, as they talk with the other candidates.
3. They Are Getting Ready for the Next Round
Then, they may be scheduling a second (or third or fourth) round of interviews for the people who did well on the early round(s), after they determine who made it to the next round (which also takes time to figure out).
After a round (or two) of interviews...
If you’ve been through multiple rounds of interviews, and are still waiting to hear, other things can get in the way:
4. They Are Working Their Process, Tying Up All the Loose Ends
They are checking references and running background checks on all the finalists, and waiting for results before they make their decision.
5. Someone Is MIA, Again
Again, someone critical to the process may be unavailable, and nothing goes forward until they rejoin the process.
6. They May Be Restructuring the Job
Someone(s) is holding out for the “perfect candidate” (who didn’t apply), so they may be discussing re-posting the job or re-structuring it to fit the best candidate they have.
When it is finally time to make an offer…
If they told you the interview process is complete, all drug tests, background checks, and everything else is done, and a decision will be made by last week (or even last month), it may still take longer because:
7. More MIA Decision-makers, Higher Up the Chain
Yet again, someone important in the decision-making may be out of the office or unavailable for some reason. The right people need to approve new hires, often in very specific order up the organization’s management chain, and decisions wait until the appropriate approval is received so the paperwork can passed on up to the next level.
8. Business Has Changed Unexpectedly, and They’re Waiting for the Dust to Settle
So budgets are being juggled because of an unexpected increase (or drop) in business, and they won’t contact anyone until they know they can afford to fill the job.
9. Definitely restructuring that job. Probably… Maybe… Or, maybe NOT!
Again, they haven’t found the perfect candidate, so they are reconsidering the structure of the job. When they are done, it may be a perfect fit for you, or not. They won’t know until they’re done making the changes, and, of course, you won’t know until after they do.
Maybe they will decide, in the end, that it’s too time-consuming and expensive to re-post and go through the whole interviewing process again, so they’ll go with the best candidate they’ve got. Which could be you, IF you are still available (don’t wait, though!).
10. Waiting for a Decision from Candidate #1 (You’re Candidate #2)
They could have offered the job to someone else and are waiting for that person to accept (or not). Or are in the process of negotiating the job offer with the person. It ain’t over until the person starts the job (sometimes not then, either). If that person doesn’t accept the job – or doesn’t stay very long – you might be next in line!
Or, you may be completely out of the running, and they don’t contact you because they don’t have the time, technology, or manners necessary. Or they are afraid of hurting your feelings or getting sued.
Try not to assume the worst until you know for sure, or until several months have passed with no word and no responses to your efforts to get an answer from them.
If it doesn’t work out this time…
Perhaps you felt a “connection” with one or more of the people there and would be interested in that employer if another opportunity developed, ask those folks to connect on LinkedIn (what do you have to lose?), and stay in touch. Perhaps, send them a thank note for the opportunity to meet them and to learn more about the organization. It can work!
If you worked with a recruiter, send the recruiter an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Most recruiters welcome all connections, and connecting with them makes you more visible to them and to the recruiters and employers they are connected to as well.
Despite all this anxiety… don’t discard an opportunity too soon. It almost always takes employers more time to fill a job than they believe it will take. Particularly if it has only been few days or a week past the date the employer said they’d get back to you, don’t give up!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.