A reader writes:
I applied for a job with an organization, passed the phone screen, and was given a second interview less than a week later. I interviewed with a panel of people and was told at the time there were several candidates interviewing for this position. In my opinion, the interview went well. After the interview, the recruiter also let me know that she heard really good things about me and that she would be traveling during the hiring process so there would be no activity while she was out.
After a couple of weeks passed, I emailed this recruiter to follow up with her and let her know that I was still interested in the position and wanted to know the status. She responded that she needed to reacquaint herself with any decisions made by the hiring manager in her absence and she would let me know the outcome as soon as possible.
Feeling a bit discouraged, I decided to check their job board again because their parent org posts all of their jobs on the same site, and I wanted to see if they had any openings in other areas. Well, lo and behold, I saw the job that I interviewed for re-listed on the site!
I have received no notice from this recruiter since our last contact mentioned about this job. I am assuming that neither I nor the other candidates were chosen for the position. Could we all have been that bad of a fit that none of us were suitable? Even if that is the case why not just let me know that I was not the right person for this job? Do you think they are trying to interview other candidates and keep us strung along? Should I email the recruiter and confront her that I saw the job posting re-listed?
Okay, let’s take these questions one at a time:
Could all the candidates have been such a bad fit that none were suitable? Yes, possibly. But it’s also possible that they simply keep jobs listed until they’re filled, or that they adjusted some small detail in the listing and that made it appear to have been posted all over again, or some other explanation that doesn’t indicate that they’ve decided to reject all their candidates. This is all like reading tea leaves — you can drive yourself crazy trying to interpret what little things like this mean, and there’s rarely a definitive way to know.
If they have rejected you, why not let you know that you were not chosen? Because employers increasingly don’t bother getting back to candidates to tell them they’re no longer under consideration, even in cases where candidates have invested significant amounts of time in the hiring process. It’s rude, inconsiderate, and indefensible, but it’s common.
Are they interviewing other candidates and keeping you strung along? Possibly. Again, we don’t really know. They might be seeing who else is out there, or they might have definitively rejected you in their minds without bothering to tell you, or they might just be really, really slow.
Should you confront the recruiter about the job being re-listed? “Confront” is too strong a word, but yes, you should follow up with her more assertively about your status (assuming more than a few days have passed since your last contact).
Email the recruiter, remind her that you haven’t yet heard back from her after she promised to let you know about the job, and tell her that since it’s now been ___ weeks since you interviewed and you haven’t heard anything, you’re going to assume that you’re out of the running and will be turning your attention to other opportunities. Ask her to let you know if you’re wrong. Be friendly and polite, but be clear and matter-of-fact.
There’s also this: Sometimes I think that the best thing you can do after interviewing for a job is to put it out of your mind altogether (aside from doing appropriate follow-up, like thank-you notes and, if the process drags out, occasional check-ins). The alternative is that you drive yourself insane wondering and worrying and trying to read various signals, and ultimately that stuff serves no practical purpose. They’re going to call you or not call you regardless of how much you stress and wonder and agonize. So for the sake of your quality of life, it might be better to mark some follow-up on your calendar and otherwise pretend it never happened. If a job offer comes in, fantastic — and if it doesn’t, well, you weren’t counting on it or stressing about it anyway, and you’ve been out there aggressively pursuing other opportunities and not getting sidetracked by one that might or might not pan out.
I know that’s frustrating. It’s also the reality of the job market right now, and it might be the best approach.