A reader writes:
I am stumped about a telephone interview I had today. I did my homework and researched the company as it is in a major city 5-7 hrs away. The position is a professional position and I have the professional license for the position. In talking to the manager of the the division, he told me at the start that they had 40 applicants for the position.
We talked for around 45 minutes with him asking me questions about my work history, what kind of experience I have supervising others, how I have worked budgeting of a project and my philosophy about project managing. Here is the thing, during 45 minutes of talking to him, he never offered any additional information as to what the position was like, he never asked if I had any questions about the position, he did ask what I knew about the company but never fleshed out the company any to me. Basically I am sitting here with the same knowledge of them as I had beforehand. He said that the hiring system there is a process, and I think they did the telephone interview since I do live so far away (one state over).
Is it typical of a phone interview that they do not give you any details about them? He said they would be getting back with me about the next step in the process. Is this code for we like you or code for we are not interested, or am I just overanalyzing? How do I send a thank you note on an interview like this, I think “Thanks for letting me talk for 45 minutes” would come across all wrong, but I do not know how to word it as I cannot really say how I think this or that would be a great opportunity for growth as they never really told me about the job.
At a minimum, he should have asked you at the end of the conversation what questions you had for him. The fact that he didn’t probably indicates that he’s either an inexperienced or not especially thoughtful interviewer. In either case, it would have been fine for you to have said as he was signaling that the conversation was wrapping up, “Before we end, I was hoping to ask you a few questions about the position.”
As far as your thank-you note, I would simply say that you enjoyed the opportunity to speak with him, appreciated the chance to tell him more about your background, and look forward to learning more about the role in the next stage of the process.
And last, I wouldn’t read too much into his statement that he’ll get back to you about the next step in the process. I say that at the end of almost every interview, and it really means just that. The next step could be an interview, or it could be a decision that I won’t be advancing the person to an interview.
In any case, if you do move forward in their process, don’t be shy about asking your own questions in the next interview, whether they explicitly ask you to or not.