After the Interview: What Happens Behind the Scenes?

Behind the scenesYou know the drill. You get the interview. You ace the interview. In fact, it was the best job interview you ever had!

You head home dreaming of the offer for the new job you’re pretty sure you just landed. And then…you wait. And you wait. And you wait some more until you just want to scream!

But before you decide the company is made up of former Guantanamo guards trained to torture you in some sick waiting game, take a deep breath and let me take you behind the scenes to learn more about the mysterious steps of the interview hiring process.

What goes on inside those secret rooms? Why you aren’t getting any feedbackeven though you send e-mails and call them hoping for even the tiniest clue? And why don’t you ever hear back when they say you will (“we’ll let you know by the end of the week”)?

Hard as it is to believe, sometimes there are good reasons – really! – why a company’s interview hiring process steps take so long – and why all too often you have to wait forever before you hear back from an employer after a job interview.

Here are just some of those reasons:

Intentional Communication Barriers

Sometimes HR controls all communication and that means people you write to are advised not to respond to individual candidates. Why? It could be a mandate from legal to prevent any miscommunication. (A poorly worded response from the company could be construed as an offer when none exists yet.) Or it could simply be HR wanting to call all the shots. It happens.

HR People Have Lives Too

Someone critical to the process may be sick or called away. Or maybe there was a vacation scheduled. Why not work around the person? You could, but sometimes the company prefers to wait for the sake of continuity — even if that means you wait too.

Priorities Change

Our maybe suddenly have been put on a top-priority project that’s taking all their time. Even if they said they want to hire quickly, the hiring process can get put on the back burner. I’ve seen this many times.

Businesses Change

Maybe your contact has been fired or quit and must be replaced before the hiring process can continue. Or, even more common in today’s economy, the HR department is going through a reorganization — again.

Requirements Change

The job is being rethought and possibly needs to wait for HR to approve a reclassification. Why? Sometimes they find a specific candidate (maybe you) whose skills are even more suited to their needs than their original concept. Or they find two people they like and decide to split the job into two different positions.

Bureaucracy Never Seems to Change

Hiring may require numerous people who did not interview you to sign off on various steps of the process. Meanwhile, you wait. Sometimes it simply takes weeks to find room on everyone’s calendar for the next round of interviews.

I hope by telling you about what goes on behind the scenes after the interview, you might be able to relax just a little more knowing one week, two weeks, even three weeks or more of waiting can be perfectly normal.

So if you’re stuck in the waiting game, try not to get caught up worrying about things you can’t control…like all the stuff behind closed doors. Instead know you’ve done your best (that’s all anyone can do), make sure you’ve sent a great thank you note and, after a couple weeks have passed, follow up with a polite e-mail and/or phone call saying you’re still interested and would love to know your status. You might even ask if they need anything else from you.

Meanwhile, do what you can to keep yourself busy and diverted so you aren’t obsessing about the wait. Also…keep looking! Not only does the action help you stay sane, but you may actually wind up finding an even better job in the process.


For this post YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!




About the Author: Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.



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