Why no updates after job interview?

Q. I have been out of work now for nearly four months. I have had many interviews and great leads through networking. Still nothing has panned out.

Given this economy, and with so many people being out of work searching for jobs, I find it frustrating when the HR rep/hiring manager does not get back to you with updates on the interviewing progress. I have had to call or e-mail (numerous times) to get updates, many only met with silence. Is it too much to ask for status updates from HR without solicitation? I know we are all busy, but I really believe that is an important practice now-a-days. I find it bad practice if an organization does not communicate any status when unemployed people need that information to move on. You think you are still in the running, to only find out an offer was made weeks ago to another candidate.


Do I long for the days of the rejection letters in the US mail? At least it was closure.

A. The job search is not tennis. In a really nice (maybe not so competitive) well-played match, everyone knows their turn, they know the boundaries, they understand you are not supposed to ignore a ball hit your way, and you are supposed to try and get it back to the person who sent it to you – or at least to the other side! Sounds good, but as I said, the job search is not tennis.

Having said that, let me say in the case you describe, I agree with you – except for the part about “without solicitation.” I am a believer in equalizing effort. What that means is if you have interviewed with a company, then they have invested time and energy in you, and you have invested time and energy with them. At this point, it is the right thing to keep the interaction going to the point of offer, or the point of actual closure – which may mean rejection.
Human resources people are busy, and e-mail has made it all too easy for job seekers to “pretend” they are looking for a job. Here is an actual email I received:
“I am interested in your company, could you please contact me regarding potential future employment? Thank you.”
He must be kidding, right? How much effort was put into this job search activity? Next to none, and if a human resources person received this, I can bet they’ll do what I did: Nothing. So the job seeker might complain that they never heard back – but did they deserve to?
I feel the same about sending unsolicited resumes. Pull out the scale. How much effort went into sending one? The whole batch doesn’t count – one reader gets only one. So not much effort yields not much response.
If you make phone calls or send e-mails with referrals from a person who encouraged you to get in touch, you show effort – and you are rewarded more often than not.
You have been dong this and have been rewarded with great leads, as well as interviews. So why don’t human resources people get back to you? Delays can come from a variety of reasons, such as the position being put on hold, or general indecision about what the company really needs in the role. Often delays come when you are not the No. 1 choice. An offer may have been made to another candidate, and they need to wait until that person decides. They don’t want to reject you because you might be the strong No. 2, but they don’t want to call and tell you that and make you less interested in their opportunity.
Is it frustrating? Yes. So what do you do? Back to the tennis analogy: You climb over the net, or you run around it, and hit the ball back! You call, or send an e-mail and reinforce your interest in the position, and why you are the right choice. You don’t complain about the delay, and you let them know the times you may be available to receive a call about where they are “in the process”.
And human resource people can try and keep the conversation going – but only in equal levels of effort. No response is needed for e-mails – there are way too many of those coming in. No response is needed for unsolicited resumes. But if job seekers have interviewed with your company, I believe they deserve a call, or an e-mail keeping them informed.
Have a question? E-mail us at [email protected], or use the form on the right.

Jump To Comments