Q: I participated in two telephone interviews and three interviews at a company’s headquarters. The last interview was three weeks ago. I have not heard anything, despite my repeated emails and calls to the hiring manager, the HR representative at the company and the placement representative. Is this the norm? I am really disappointed as they used phrases like “you are ideal” and “your background is exactly what we need.” They even said that they “would like to talk about an offer.” I have heard of these types of stories from others but I thought they were exaggerating. Is this the new norm?
A: My gosh, I hope it is not the new norm. It is disappointing to hear that you were left hanging. I hate to admit it but I think that is the number one complaint that I hear from job seekers. I call it the “black hole.” It is one thing to submit a resume and never receive a response. It is even worse, after you have invested hours into the process.
We get feedback from candidates who are annoyed when we email them an update that tells them that they are not advancing in the process. A phone call is often better but, in the interest of time, sometimes an email is what time allows.
However, no response from the company or the placement representative is completely unprofessional. A number of events could have occurred. The company could have found a stronger candidate. The company could have decided to put the role on hold and not hire anyone for the role. It doesn’t matter though. What should have occurred is you should have received a quick email, letter or phone call explaining that they are pursuing another candidate or not filling the role. What sometimes happens, if you call a candidate with this news, is after a game of telephone tag, they ask for feedback and become angry or defensive about the process. And therefore, sometimes it is just easier to send a letter or an email.
I am sorry that this was your experience. If this is any consolation, it happens to us as a firm too. We have a few great meetings and develop a proposal. Then silence. Of course, we follow-up. More silence. If the company calls us back several months later, we often will decline to move forward. Basic manners are important. They are a sign of respect and I think they are a sign of the culture within the organization. An email takes less than a minute to send, even if the message may be “Thanks for meeting with us but we are moving in another direction.”