A reader writes:
I’ve been out of work for 6 months and have been looking and there have been a few interviews. Two of the interviews were generated through staffing agencies. The first interview did not go well and I received no confirmation from the agency to confirm a rejection. I followed up with them a month later and they mentioned the company had decided to hire from within, which I felt was just a flat-out lie.
The second interview through a staffing firm was recent and the interview was very positive. I followed up with thank-you letters to both people I had met with and got a call 3 days later from the staffing agent, stating they desired a 2nd interview in a couple of days but she didn’t know the time. She said she would get back to me soon with more info. After that I heard nothing. 3 days went by and I called her office and did not receive a call back. I then called the hiring manager at the company and left him a very cordial and professional message asking about the status of the second interview, but had no response from either party. I waited until yesterday (3 business days after the phone calls ) and emailed the staffing woman requesting a reason why they had stopped everything in such an odd manner and how I might be able to improve anything on my end for upcoming opportunities. I received a response from her that they still wanted to meet with me, hopefully sometime next week, and the reason was they were quite busy, etc, etc. I thanked her for her help and mentioned I would follow up in a week if I didn’t hear anything by then. Then today I get a call from her and she tells me they decided to hire someone internally but they might be bringing me back in for a different position interview in a few weeks, “but no promises.”
What happened here? Truthfully, I don’t believe the staffing agent’s story and figured you might be able to decode this ridiculous turn of events.
I hate to tell you this, but I think you’re reading way too much into all this and being too suspicious.
Your staffing agency sounds like it might be mediocre, possibly disorganized and unresponsive. At a minimum, they don’t put a premium on keeping candidates in the loop in a timely way. But believe me, they are soooo not alone in that behavior; it’s very common, although obviously it shouldn’t be. I happen to believe that not getting back to candidates who took the time to interview is the height of rudeness, but plenty of companies operate that way.
But being slow to get back to you and not being responsive to your calls doesn’t indicate that they’re lying to you. People who hire for a living are used to having to dispense rejection; they don’t make up cover stores when it’s so easy to just tell the truth — “we went with another candidate,” “we didn’t feel you were the right match,” etc. I can almost guarantee you that unless you somehow stumbled upon the one staffing agency in the world that isn’t comfortable rejecting people, they’re not lying to you.
Job hunting is frustrating and even more so when your calls aren’t getting returned. But don’t leap from that to assuming there’s some kind of mysterious cover-up going on here.