You’re a job seeker and who’s put forth your best effort in researching the positions and companies before interviews. You feel you’ve performed well in the plethora of interviews employers have dragged you through. But you haven’t received the feedback on the progress of your candidacy.
The silence you’re experience could be for a number of reasons. Firstly, the hiring authorities don’t have time to respond. Secondly, they haven’t made a decision. Thirdly, they don’t have the authority to provide feedback. And lastly, as harsh as it may sound, they simply don’t want to answer your inquiries.
For whichever reason you’re experiencing radio silence, it isn’t right. It isn’t good business. But there are times when giving hiring authorities some slack is in order. The first of the four reasons is one that is often out of their control.
Don’t have time
Many recruiters have a hard time managing their day job, let alone walk the dog. They make multiple calls a week to source candidates, read numerous resumes, interview a ton of candidates, or they perform a combination of all of these responsibilities.
One recruiter I spoke with says she does her best to get back to her candidates, but if she gets so many applicants at once for just one requisition she “basically triages who will get contacted first and when.” Eventually she responds to her candidates.
Personnel in large HR departments also suffer from lack of time. They conduct multiple rounds of interviews, including phone and in-person screenings. Even though HR isn’t the final decision maker, their role of screening up to 40 or more applicants for a role is vital in the hiring process.
If you think hiring managers have the time to conduct interviews and send you an email on why you didn’t get the role, you’re sadly mistaken. In addition to their hectic schedule, they might sit in on up to 10 interviews for four candidates. Multiply 40 interviews by at least an hour, that’s a whole week of interviews.
Don’t know what the next step is
It’s quite possible that the employer doesn’t have its act together. In other words, they have the time to answer your email or phone call but can’t because they’re trying to decide between you and one, two, or three other people.
Another reason for not replying to your inquiry is that the hiring manager is waiting for an answer from a candidate to whom they’ve made an offer. With the job market being in better shape than it’s been in a while, job seekers have two or more offers from which to choose.
One of my clients recently landed a job. She had two companies courting her, which means there were at least two people waiting in the wings for the companies to make their decisions. In this case the companies didn’t want to muddy the waters explaining to the runners-up how the process was evolving.
Lastly, their hands are tied. They want to offer you the position but the requisition hasn’t been approved by HR or legal. This conundrum is beyond their control and, again, they don’t want to explain the mechanics behind the scene.
How many job seekers have heard apologies from employers for these reasons? More than a few of my clients have.
Don’t have the authority
The hiring manager might have authority to up date you on the hiring process, but very few of them will. The chance of being sued for discrimination is slim to none, but it only takes one candidate to scream ageism, or any other ism, to ruin their week. It’s not worth it.
One of my clients wanted me to reach out to the hiring committee on his behalf, as he was getting no love from them. I sent an email to one of them and never heard back. Responding to an email from a rejected candidate is particularly risky for any hiring authority. No one I know in this position would put an answer in writing.
Recruiters and HR don’t have the authority to respond to your request for an answer. As the go-between people, they must have the blessing from the hiring manager. However, the hiring manager might not be able to respond to your inquiry because of company policy. Again, the chance of being sued it too great.
When my clients attempt to get an answer from hiring authorities, they usually get a pat answer, “you’re not the right fit” which leaves them deflated because it’s basically no answer.
Don’t want to
I can honestly say there have been times when I receive a request for free help, and I don’t respond because the requester asks in such a way that turns me off. Sure, it could be a matter of time. But usually it’s because of the way in which the inquiry is posed.
I’ve received queries similar to this: “Hello, I would like a resume remake. Why should I hire you to do it?” I could have responded like this, “Hello, I would do a great job remaking your resume, but whey should I help you?” But I have better manners.
Do you get what I’m saying? Sometimes it’s a matter of how you ask for an answer to how you did in the interview.
As a career coach, I tell my clients to follow up on the process. Some hiring authorities might say that it’s futile to do this or that it will anger them and result in you not being considered for the position. Hogwash! No employer would disqualify you for performing your due diligence.
What you should do
It would be unfair of me to explain the reasons why you’re not hearing back from hiring authorities without providing solutions for you.
The obvious solution is to apply diplomacy in sending an email to the decision maker/s. I don’t suggest that you boldly ask how the hiring process is going. Rather, boost their ego.
The header of the email should read like: “Thank you very much for interviewing me.”
Because you’ve sent a thank-you note in which you’ve reiterated why you’re the best person for the job, you don’t need to repeat this. Instead, offer the hiring authorities who interviewed you something of value. I encourage an email be sent to each person who interviewed you.
For example, you write to one of the interviewers: During our conversation, you indicated you are an avid skier. Here is a list of the best kept secrets in the Boulder, CO, area. This has nothing to do with the position, but it keeps you top of mind.
The next question is how often should you follow up? I have recommended in the past that three times is the limit. I now recommend two times. After that, no answer is your answer.