A few weeks ago I interviewed for a job. I’ve had two interviews so far and both of them seemed to go really well. But that was three weeks ago. I sent a thank you note after meeting HR and the hiring manager, and I haven’t heard anything since. Should I sit and wait to hear back from them, or should I call or email? I really want to know what’s happening.
Anxiously Waiting, thanks for the question and I’m sorry to hear you haven’t heard anything back. I get this question a LOT and it disappoints me when employers leave candidates in the dark. Interviewing takes time and effort and candidates deserve an answer, even if it’s not what they want to hear.
That said, employers get distracted by urgent business needs easily, causing hiring to move to the back burner. Candidates however want, and in many cases, need to know whether to expect an offer. Timing is often critical in terms of knowing what to say to other potential employers, and not to mention impacts to family and personal life. When you reach out, keep in mind that your priorities may not be aligned with those of your potential new employer.
My advice is to reach out by email rather than by phone. Keep the tone light and upbeat, remind them of something during the interview where there was a commonality, or something that made you both laugh. Emphasize how interested you are in working for the company and that any update they provide would be greatly appreciated. Reinforce that you’re open to their feedback on your interview (in other words demonstrate you’re okay with bad news too). Hiring managers are people and it’s often the case that we don’t like to deliver bad news, so they may be holding back hoping you’ll just move on or avoid a difficult discussion.
At any time when you reach out, avoid making your problems their problems, unless it’s a situation that involves having to make a decision regarding another job offer and you have been presented with a deadline. If an employer is really interested in you, they’ll flex to your timeline. Potential employers normally understand candidates will have an imposed timeline to respond to other offers. I urge you to be truthful and not to mention another job offer in order to call their bluff. The reason? It’s something you can’t take back, and it could make things awkward if they’re simply slow to move and want to reconnect with you in a couple weeks. Trying to explain why you’re not in the new role you mentioned could be a red flag for them.
Just like when you’re dating, it can help to have a few irons in the fire so you’re not hanging on to one potential opportunity and feeling desperate. Even if you’re feeling great about a potential role, stay out there looking for other opportunities and continue to network - always continue to network!
Amy Davies is Founding Partner of the Firefly Group of Companies. She is a writer, professional speaker, insights expert and corporate trainer at Livingroom Learning. Amy lives in Toronto, Canada with her children and partner.