A reader writes:
I recently interviewed for a job, and didn’t get it. A few weeks later, though, the person I interviewed with contacted me out of the blue to ask me if I’d like to interview for a similar position, which was unposted. I went to the interview, met with four different people, toured the office–it took a whole afternoon! I sent off my thank-you notes, and one of my interviewers even responded by saying that she thought I should hear something soon. I felt like it was a lock.
Then, nothing. At first I thought, it’s the holidays, people are gone, it’s understandable that I haven’t heard anything. Then, a couple days after New Year’s, the job is posted as being open on their website. I responded by emailing the hiring manager, politely reiterating my interest in the position: nothing.
So, shall I give up? All I want at this point is closure. There’s this small part of me hanging on, thinking, “They’re just posting the job to cover their bases, and I haven’t heard from them because they’re putting an offer together. But I know it’s far more likely that they’ve simply moved on, don’t want me for the position, and won’t get back to me because they’re too busy.
Could you please tell me what you think is going on? If I’m out of the running, that’s fine. I just want to move on with my life!
Well, they certainly wouldn’t be the first employer to never bother to get back to candidates after interviewing them. It’s incredibly rude and inconsiderate, but it does happen all the time.
However, I don’t think we have enough reason to conclude that’s happening here, at least not yet. Hiring often takes longer than candidates think it will. And when you emailed the hiring manager, you didn’t actually ask for an update on timeline; you just reiterated your interest. To get real information, you need to directly ask about their timeline. Say something like this: “I hoped to get an update from you on your timeline for next steps and/or a hiring decision. I understand hiring takes time, of course, but can you give me a sense of when I’m likely to hear back from you?”
Ideally, you’d always ask this question at the end of an interview, so that you’re armed with information rather than sitting around wondering. Plus, then, if the timeline passes without word from them, you have a logical reason to check back in.
The fact that the job was posted after your interview may or may not mean anything. They might have reasonably concluded, “This guy seems good, but we’d be silly not to open up the candidate pool to make sure he really is the best person for the job.”
As a side note, I think you probably did yourself a disservice by feeling “it was a lock” after your interview. It’s never a lock, not until you have an official offer in hand. They may have thought you were a strong candidate but someone else ended up being stronger, or the job description may have changed in some way, or they may have hit any of a number of snags. Don’t assume it’s a lock, no matter how positive things seem.
Anyway, contact them, ask about their timeline, and see what happens. Good luck!