why do companies wait so long to contact candidates for interviews?

by Ask a Manager on April 9, 2012

A reader writes:

Why do companies wait so long to contact candidates for interviews? I applied for a job in a month and a half ago and just received a request for a phone interview today. It seems like waiting so long would result in the loss of a lot of good candidates. Personally, unless the job description lists a closing date, I assume I am not moving forward if I haven’t heard anything 3-4 weeks after applying.

I’ve come to believe that there are two different time zones in job-seeking: employer time and candidate time. You’re in candidate time.

Hiring often takes a lot longer than candidates expect it to, for all kinds of reasons.

For instance, some employers set up application periods for four or more weeks, and don’t make decisions about who to bring in for interviews until that period is up. That means that if you apply early in the application period, you’re not going to hear anything for at least four to five weeks and possibly longer, depending on how quickly they review resumes once that period is over.

Other times, other work is simply a higher priority. While it shouldn’t get bumped out the way by other work, the reality is that hiring is often low on the list of busy employers.

Or, something may have come up that the employer needs to figure out before they move forward: a budget question needs to be ironed out, or there’s a question about whether to change the job description, or they’re considering moving an internal candidate into the role instead of hiring from the outside. Or maybe Bob just announced he’s retiring, which means that Jane will move into his role, so now they’ve got to figure out if they should reconfigure Jane’s position and what that will mean for the job you applied for. Who knows. Job seekers tend to assume that hiring goes smoothly and quickly on the employer’s side, when in reality it can often be fairly messy.

Or, sure, maybe you are indeed out of the running and they haven’t bothered to tell you (which is rude and inconsiderate, but common). But you don’t really have reason to assume that until time has gone by.

Do they risk losing good candidates by waiting so long?  Yes. Do they care in this market? Generally not. It’s frustrating, but your best bet is to simply assume that every step of the hiring process will take a lot longer than you think it should (from setting up interviews to making decisions after that to extending an actual offer). Meanwhile, put the job out of your head and move forward with other ones — there’s no point in agonizing over what their silence means or whether you should have heard from them by now.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Cara Carroll April 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I like the time zone comparison! And yes, AAM is spot on, don’t assume that you are out if the running simply because you haven’t heard anything. A number of things might be going on at a company to delay the hiring process. Also, company size and/or structure can determine how quickly you will get a response. I tend to think smaller companies with less red tape will have quicker response times then say a large corporation, where communication follows a more complicated path.

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Long Time Admin April 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

“And yes, AAM is spot on, don’t assume that you are out if the running simply because you haven’t heard anything.”

But don’t stop looking elsewhere, either. Apply, move on. Apply, move on. Over and over and over until you find a job. Don’t stop looking until the day you’re actually sitting at the desk (or wherever you’re going to work).

BTW, from my observations, most companies are disorganized and incompetent, and they drag their feet slower than the Walking Dead. Remember: If they don’t care about you during the whole application/hiring process, they’re not going to care about you as an employee. It’s another thing you can judge them by.

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Jamie April 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree with the advice to apply and move on – but some places with lousy hiring systems can be good places to work in all other respects.

I don’t know why it is, but even some companies where most things are efficient and buttoned up still have the hurry up and wait mentality when it comes to hiring – and it’s frustrating for the hiring managers as well when they want to fill the open slots but it’s hung up in waiting for bureaucratic approval.

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Chris Walker April 10, 2012 at 9:27 am

Don’t stop looking even when you are sitting at your new desk. I know you don’t want to think about job search ever again, but you can’t afford to do that. Median service in a job is around 4 years, so even if you’re 55 the job you get today probably isn’t your last job. Any number of things can happen that impact your employment. I love my job, but a reminder pops up on my home computer the 1st of every month asking me if my resume is up to date.

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Jamie April 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

I’ve heard this before, about the median being 4-5 years – but that’s taking all workers into account. Entry level jobs with super high turnover skew this somewhat, imo.

I’m very interested in the stats on this – I’d love to see a breakdown of the average time at one company for established professionals.

ITA with always keeping your resume up to date…you never know when an awesome opportunity will present itself, even if you aren’t looking, and you want to be ready.

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Anonymous April 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

It would skew the mean much more than the median, the latter being quite a robust statistic, whereas the former is subject to the whims of the assumption that “all the world’s a gaussian.”

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Jamie April 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

Your name shouldn’t be annonymous, it should be awesomeness just for the gaussian reference!

I can see that it wouldn’t skew the median as much if you were going by position – i.e. a fast food cashier with an average of 10 years. It’s a 1:1.

I don’t know why I assumed they were looking at the data as position per person. I.e. the CFO could have had 5 short term jobs in college and one professional position which would be 5:1 – which would weight the entry level category.

The first law of stats is know what data was compiled and how it’s classified – which I totally ignored :).

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Jamie April 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

“i.e. a fast food cashier with an average of 10 years. It’s a 1:1″ should have read:

i.e. a fast food cashier with an average of 10 years. It’s a 1:1.

Proofing before submitting is a good thing, I should remember that.

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Anonymous April 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Except of course that the usefulness of the mean is actually dependent on the symmetry of the distribution, rather than it specifically being a gaussian. However the general point is still valid (that said, I have read that when it comes to the financial markets, it appears that assumption has made reality when it comes to gaussian distributions and the Black-Scholes equation).

The issue of whether the stats are sliced over the ‘career of a typical person’ or ‘tenure in a particular job title’ is certainly an additional issue.

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Chris Walker April 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

Jamie-Here’s a link on the topic of employee tenure from the BLS: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm

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krzystoff April 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

I’ve had the same experience on numerous occasions, and it happens more often with smaller firms (5-15 employees).
once they realise they are under-resourced, it takes a brief management chat and a short phonecall/email to start the ball rolling, then it falls in the lap of the office manager/receptionist/PA/etc to find the time to follow it through with sifting replies and CVs to the advertising, and reponding. that is in the middle of other workload they will have, and smaller firms lack the structure to prioritize this and for managers to make themselves available for interviews.
this play-by-ear attitude works… just, but the candidates will have identified a flaw with this business from the getgo and it won’t suit all comers. in this case, it would be wise to use the skills of a recruiter, but often this can have a prohibitive overhead, especially in lean times.
I have also encountered many times when this was merely the company waiting for that one big project to kick-off before committing to additional staff. they may have serious interest from potential clients, but without it they don’t have capacity to take on extra people. in a larger firm this would rarely be the case, as there is always room for moving staff around by increasing work turnover when there are slightly fewer projects.

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arrozbee May 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

“then it falls in the lap of the office manager/receptionist/PA/etc to find the time to follow it through with sifting replies and CVs to the advertising, and reponding. that is in the middle of other workload they will have, and smaller firms lack the structure to prioritize this and for managers to make themselves available for interviews.”

This. Exactly this. Its in my lap, and I simply don’t have the time to be super speedy about it.

I really wish I did, believe me.

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Nyxalinth April 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Sometimes they do rounds of interviews, where they interview everyone they like best for a position first, and if that didn’t work or there’s still slots open, they move on to their second choice people, and so on. Depending on how picky they are, they might also only go with the first choice, and if they run out of those, they’ll re-run the ad, rather than move on to the second choice. That’s a different issue, though.

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Chani April 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

We have been in the process of filling 3 positions on my team for about a year. I’m on the “hiring team” for each position. The reason is takes us so long to contact candidates is because my manager, who is officially in charge of hiring, likes to wait until he has a pool of candidates to choose from (about 4 or 5) and do back-to-back interviews. If it were up to me, I would interview as they apply. If I liked you, I would say, we’re interested but have some other candidates and may call you in for a second interview. If we don’t, I would tell you asap.

With his approach, you wait a while to hear back about an interview, but the turn-around time for a decision about you is quick – ideally. What actually happens is that he delays and deliberates and waits until the last second to notify anyone (does it sound like I have issues with him? Yes I do.), so not only does it take a few weeks to hear back about an interview, but it takes him a few weeks to even send a follow-up. My point is only to reinforce Alison’s – it’s messy behind the scenes and it depends not only on the business practices of the company but also the hiring process preferences of the person in charge.

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Ugh! April 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I hate this. Some places are fast – others? I applied for a job in February of 2010 and heard from the company in August 2010. Saw something else with them, applied in January and heard back in April. I have no idea how it took that long for them to make a decision, but it’s pretty frustrating on candidate time, especially when other opportunities come up in the meanwhile.

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Liz T April 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I once applied to a season-long position in March and heard back from them in April–of the NEXT YEAR. I’m glad they got my voicemail because I had no idea what the guy was talking about.

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Esra April 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm

That’s the best part, when they wait months and months to get back to you, and then expect you to know a/ who they are, and, b/ why they’re calling.

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Nyxalinth April 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I had an interview with a local telesales job (not exactly my dream job, but it’s work I like) in November 2008. Took them until JANUARY to get back to me! By then I’d found something else. It was just a rinky-dink, minimum wage base low bonuses, part time position, too.

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Chris Walker April 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Don’t waste your time and energy speculating about what is going on on the other side of the conversation that is the hiring process. You don’t know and you won’t know. Concentrate on what you can control. Employers/hiring managers/HR reps, they’re all just people: some competent, some not, some smart, some not so much, and on and on, just like the rest of the world we encounter every day. Take care of your business not theirs.

‘Meanwhile, put the job out of your head and move forward with other ones ‘ is great advice. I had a client call me some time ago to tell me he had gotten a job. When I congratulated him, he said that he had just’been ‘in the right place at the right time’. But everybody who gets a job is in the right place at the right time! The trick is to be in as many different places as possible at the same time, increasing your odds that one will be right.

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Kat April 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

This is so true – about putting the job out of your head. I applied for a job at the end of February and they quickly called me for an interview at the beginning of March. When I asked their timeline for hiring, she said ‘ASAP.’ Well ASAP turned into a full month later when I was offered the position (BIG FAT YAY!!), but by week two after a follow-up e-mail from me (and response from them), I put the job out of my head so I wouldn’t get depressed. I really wanted the job, it’s better hours, 5 mins. from home (vs. my current 30 mile each way commute) and full time (vs. my year and 4 month long term temporary job), but I also know how I can dwell on the negative (what did I do wrong, this sucks, I hate this company). What sucked though was everyone else who kept asking about it and putting it back into my head. Well last week I was offered the position and it was a pleasant surprise. So putting it of your head and moving forward with other applications definitely saves you, at least mentally.

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fposte April 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

See, a month seems pretty speedy to me. They have to interview all the candidates, a process that gets lengthy because of the conflicting schedules of the interviewers, of the applicants, and of the room availability. Then they need to talk to references–that’s three different people to hunt down, to wait for feedback from, from each applicant. Then they need to find a time to meet to decide who they’re offering the position to. (And then sometimes they’re waiting for the first candidate to decide whether or not s/he’s taking the position.) That’s like a week for each of those (and a week is pretty short for the interview time). Which gets you to a month right there.

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fposte April 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

In case it’s not obvious, I’m on employer time.

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Kat April 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

You’re right, a month in normal time is actually pretty quick. My candidate mind was in warpped speed because I am in a situation in my job where I need to get out of here, so every day that passed seemed like 10 and hearing that ASAP just made it seem like the decision would have been even faster :)

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Ellen M. April 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

“Meanwhile, put the job out of your head and move forward with other ones…”

Excellent advice – I tell this to job hunters all the time.

Keep careful records of when you applied and what you sent to the hiring manager (inc ase they do call later on), but keep yourself busy with (many) other applications, so busy you don’t have time to worry and wodner about any one in particular.

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Ellen M. April 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Please forgive spelling errors above. I realy due kno how too spel!

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Kelly O April 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I will say that sometimes, when it takes a very long time (months) to make a decision, it can give a job-seeker pause when thinking about whether or not ALL the decisions at the company take this long. Do they manage by committee? Does it go through nine bosses only to get vetoed by someone not even involved? Did it take this long because someone kept insisting there was a proverbial purple squirrel out there?

So, while I understand candidate time and employer time are different, at least giving an update to a still-in-the-game candidate might help alleviate some of the potential concern that might arise from this waiting game.

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Sophie April 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Yes please! I’m going through this right now. Interviewed for a great job at the end of December 2011 – good fit, great match for my skills, good pay, 5 minutes from my house – and they said that while they had offered the position to someone else by the time they interviewed me (I applied late…yes I know), they were going to create another position. Four months and some emails later (emails I initiated), they are still “very interested” but I have not heard a damn thing about actually moving forward with the job.

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Ask a Manager April 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

If you haven’t already, ask them this: “Can you give me an idea of your timeline for moving forward?”

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K. April 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Yeah, I’m going through this now. Had a first round, was told I would hear about next steps within a week, didn’t, emailed to follow up, and was told they hadn’t moved forward and would hear “this week.” “That week” went by, and nothing. So I’m just moving forward with other things and if they call me, they call me and I’ll deal with it then. (They posted the job at the beginning of a month and didn’t start the first round until the end, and it’s a month since then, so I think they just move really slowly.)

On the “we hired someone else but we won’t notify you” thing … dude, that’s so rude. It’s happened to me. One of my Facebook friends just posted about it. I get that companies can’t respond to each one of the mass influx of resumes they get when they post a new job. (I’m always pleasantly surprised to get a form “We received your application” email.) But you really should notify finalists – it’s what, four people? “While your qualifications are impressive, we extended an offer to another candidate.” Boom, done.

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Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I get that companies can’t respond to each one of the mass influx of resumes they get when they post a new job

If it’s an electronic submission, a lack of response is utterly incomprehensible, unless the company is staffed by rude and lazy fools.

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Kelly O April 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

I wouldn’t go so far as to say an entire company is “staffed by rude and lazy fools” – not every person in that organization has a say in the hiring process, even those who are actually part of the hiring process.

Yes, an electronic response is easy, but if you have a person in the position of making decisions about these things and who is particularly fearful of litigation, you might find a lack of openness to responding in any way. Or worse yet, a form full of legalese that gets the company out of any responsibility whatsoever.

I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just a possibility. And I also understand the need to vet a company as a job-seeker, but unless you have red flags waving at every turn, the lack of auto-response to an electronic resume does not mean doom and gloom for the whole company.

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Elizabeth West April 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

I don’t expect much in the way of response even to an auto-submission. But if they interview me and don’t get back to me, then I DO consider them rude and lazy. If I’ve gone to the trouble to dress up and go to an actual physical meeting or Skype them, I expect at least an email.

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Lindsay H. April 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I’d like to add a third time zone, as well. :) The Department Manager Time Zone. This time zone is filled with questions/statements like:
“Why haven’t you hired anyone yet?”
“We’re so short-staffed. We really need to get people, like, yesterday!!”
“I interviewed a great candidate two days ago. Why haven’t they started yet??”

Ahhh . . . maybe it is because there are hiring processed in place so we do not bring on any derelict from off the street.

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Liz T April 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Whereas I applied for a job Friday, and on Saturday night was offered an interview as soon as Tuesday. Crazy! I know they’re interviewing a lot of people–how could they have gone through the applications so quickly??? They’re doing multiple rounds, but surely they’d want to separate the wheat from the chaff a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing. Just surprising!

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Ask a Manager April 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Keep in mind that they didn’t need to go through all the applications in that amount of time — just enough of them that they got to yours.

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Liz T April 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

True. It was just surprising to get the email at 8:32 pm on a Saturday :)

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Elizabeth West April 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

That does kind of freak you out….I had a group meeting (read: screening with tests and stupid questions and everything) on Friday. Yesterday they called me for an interview today. I was really surprised because 80% of the test questions were math, which I basically had to skip.

But it’s another frigging receptionist position, and I have a lot of experience. *sigh* I hope someday I can get off the front desk. Maybe this will be that company, who knows.

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Liz April 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Job applicant time, indeed…. My favorite example of the last few months: Two people wrote emails or spoke personally to the hiring committee members handling the process for a particular job last November. The application period for the job closed the first week of December. And I received an email stating that they plan to move forward in the process without me last Friday – four months+ later. But when I checked LinkedIn, to see who might have been hired instead or if they just didn’t fill the position, I found someone who lists the job on her profile starting in January!

It’s just incredibly rough out there, at least for me. My resume has been passed to a hiring committee by someone I volunteer with or know socially 13 times in the last nine months without ever coming close to an offer. Only four of those committees bothered to contact me at all, but that’s way more consideration than I find in dealing with cold resume drops. Sigh.

“Just move on…” is the right advice, but it’s becoming more and more exhausting to put so much work into each application knowing the liklihood of any kind of response is so ridiculously low.

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Unknown Genius April 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Liz, I really feel you on this one. I have been in the same boat for 18 months, resume has been passed to “networks,” but all still the same result. I get random interview requests from time to time but no offers. Luckily I have two very good friends who keep lifting me up from time to time — sometimes I think about it too much that it gets into my head but the friends always bring me up!

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Rana April 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I was dealing with this phenomenon this year with regards to one of the first major, full-time non-academic jobs I’ve applied for. I’m used to the dilated time frame for academic hiring, but that’s because it’s coordinated with the cycle of job terms. That is, you’re usually applying for a job that won’t start until your current one ends (and since you’re teaching, you can’t quit midsemester). So waiting isn’t too much of a problem, because you’re locked into employment until the job offers go out in late spring, and the new position doesn’t tend to start until summer or fall. But with a non-academic job… it was really frustrating because I needed work right away and was faced with the choice of waiting hopefully without employment (fruitlessly, as it turned out) or taking a low-paying entry-level job (because those were all that were available) so I could pay the bills.

I honestly do not understand how this is supposed to work in the non-academic world, because it seems to me that dilly-dallying over the hiring process means that you miss out on good candidates because they have to take other offers or struggle to pay their bills. Do employers simply not think about this? Or do they assume that all candidates are already employed elsewhere, and can afford to wait?

(I have another related question about the “if your job sucks, go find another one” thing – does that actually work? I’ve never been in a position where finding new jobs that quickly or easily is even a possibility.)

(Yes, I’m aware that these are probably incredibly naive questions. There’s a reason I’m reading this blog, after all!)

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Ask a Manager April 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Smart employers do think about the fact that they risk losing good candidates by dilly-dallying. Sometimes they don’t have a choice though (because of some of the factors I listed above). And the not-smart employers honestly don’t get that the difference between a super-star and a decent employee can be huge, and that therefore hiring the right person is crucial. So they don’t really care that they might lose good people; they figure someone good enough will still be available. And someone “good enough” will be, but someone absolutely great might not be.

On your question about whether “if your job sucks, go find another one” works in practice, the answer is: It depends. It depends on your field, your geographic location, and your reputation. It’s one reason I’m always telling people to go above and beyond what their job requires; it’s not because I’m some pro-management-side shill, but rather because you will benefit from it in the long run.

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Kelly O April 10, 2012 at 10:10 am

I can add that “just finding another job” is not necessarily the simplest thing to do. I’ve been searching for a while – somewhat passively for six months, but the last eight weeks have been much more intensive.

I’ve only had three interviews, two with recruiting agencies (and the third through one agency.) I’ve applied through ATS on company websites, through emails directly to individuals, and even through Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder. So far, nothing concrete.

The bad part is, the interview that one recruiting agency sent me on didn’t even call them or me back to follow up despite all the interest they showed during my interview.

So, while you can and should put out feelers if you have a craptastic job, it’s important to understand it can take a while. (And if craptastic employer finds out about your job search, it can add a whole other level of pressure, especially when you’re told you live in the fourth largest city in the country so it shouldn’t be that hard.)

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Anonymous April 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

@Kelly O…who told you that living in the fourth largest city in the country that it shouldn’t be so hard to find a job? The person who told you that needs to be slapped upside the head.

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Amy April 11, 2012 at 12:17 am

Panty-hose, stockings, nylons: WEAR THEM!! If it’s business professional that is- Yes many places, especially for the warm seasons, let women not have to wear them…but going to an interview you absolutely should!! Women talk and I’ve also heard it’s unprofessional not to. Now once you get the job, they may say to you that it’s not required, but the interview is different. I think they make women look professional and put together. I also want to add, why not wear a pants suit, or pants and a fun blazer (still talking bus. prof. not bus. casual) you did write in it was for an interview, so it can’t be a uniform. If it’s warm, go with linen, looks great. Or a lighter color pants outfit. Now if it’s business casual, wear closed heels and maybe try very true to skin colored hose. Casual though can probably have more room to not wear them. I’m just pointing out options! Good luck!

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Catherine April 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

In a former job, my dept. hired a new person, and after she had been there a while and we had gotten to know each other, she asked me in a casual conversation why it had taken so long to hire her. She had been contacted for an interview something like 2 or 2 1/2 months after applying.

Well, first we weren’t in a big hurry because the end of the fiscal year was coming up and we thought we’d want the new person to start after that anyway. Then we had a really busy time with a major project, and everyone was too tied up with that. In addition, hiring tended to be done carefully by this employer–interviews lasted at least 2 1/2 hours and involved almost everyone in the (small) dept. for at least part of them. Not to mention meetings before and after to decide who to interview and who to hire. So, yes, the timing wasn’t ideal for the candidates, but I don’t think it could be blamed on lack of consideration or caring. They put a lot of resources into hiring the best person, and all those resources couldn’t be mustered at just any time.

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RP March 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

“They put a lot of resources into hiring the best person”

No. You put a lot of effort into hiring someone that when they were looking for a job, was still looking for one ten weeks later. Trust me, that person was not likely to be the “best person” from amongst those who originally applied. The best person was already working somewhere else by week 2.

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Anonymous April 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I work in academia, and we hire by search committee. Just to get 5-7 people all available at the same hour for a phone interview is a job in itself. Now, try doing that with up to 10 other candidates. I am the only person on the committee whose full time responsibility is recruitment-the other members have other job responsibilities, and to be honest, many of them view being on a search committee as a chore, not a responsibility to take seriously.

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a truth speaker April 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Or maybe its because you’re application never gets looked at in the first place. 80% of the time you’re applying online probably with about 500 other people with more experience than you and the computer plays a major role in determining which applications stay and go. Ever get that automated response, “after extensive review of your resume, we have determined that your skills are not a proper match…but we will keep your resume on file..” its funny how every employer uses the same language… or maybe once again its just a computer. You put your name on a resume but to them you’re another megabite. Something in this country is retiring its called logic.

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holiday07 July 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Sometimes, companies who hire so quickly can be a red flag. Here’s my experience. I transferred to a new city and received some interview invites after a week or so. I received a job offer from a company two days after my interview. Since there was a bigger and better company where I had my interview with (company B), I asked the first company if they can wait for me to get back to them after a week. However, due to timing and financial concerns, I can no longer wait for company B to come up with a decision, so I accepted the job offer with the first company and started right away after 4 days (that was April). It turned out that the company has very bad and rude managers so majority of my predecessors didn’t stay longer than 6 months! By the time I went for interview, the company has exhausted a lot of the people in the city skilled in that industry. Nobody wants to join them anymore. Sadly, company B called up months later (July), I was still employed with the first company where I needed to serve a 2-month notice. I left the first company after 8 months which was a record breaker for my position during that time.

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Chris | Polar Heart October 25, 2012 at 12:44 am

Thank you for putting up this post. I interviewed for a job about a week ago and the hiring manager told me that I should be hearing something that night. I have yet to hear anything! I sent my thank you letters and I am patiently waiting.

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Jenny November 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Can a bad phone interview with a recruiter stop the process – does it tick off recruiter if you use LinkedIn to contact folks in the practice area of interest who understand the substance – how much power does inhouse recruiter have at an a/c firm (national, but not big 4) – hard to gauge, phone screen 11/16 – any input appreciated

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Joe December 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm

The truth of the matter is that human resources employees have a ridiculously easy job and are too lazy to actually get back to potential candidates. Reading an e-mail along with a resume takes no more than 5 minutes.

Its pure laziness. To deny that one must be delusional.

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Waiting Patiently (I Guess) January 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I’m going through the same process. I live in, practically, the biggest city in the US and have applied to over 50 jobs at least and I have yet to hear back. I started applying before I graduated in October and still have yet to hear back from anyone about coming in for an interview and it’s 5 months later. Why does it take this long? Do recruiters think we’re sitting in a pile of money so we don’t NEED the job?? Because I definitely am not and I definitely need something. Spending so much money on tuition to not even get anything after I graduate is disappointing. Then there are people who didn’t even go to college and they’re making over 60K in salary and I can’t even get an offer to interview with my bachelor’s.

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Ask a Manager January 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Well, 10 jobs/month actually isn’t that much. You probably need to be doing a more active search.

But also, this may help:
http://www.askamanager.org/2012/12/if-youre-not-getting-interviews-read-this.html

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Josh May 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

I like the article, but this doesn’t change the fact that employers need to project more respect for the people they would like to bring in. For one, they are not that busy. I run a tech/education start up and assure you I’m not that busy; I have time to check every email, coordinate all of our operations, manage every financial projection up to the next 3 months in advance, and orchestrate all human capital -and I don’t see them or talk to them every day.

It’s time to stop making excuses for shitty operation. Should you hear something before the close date? No. Should you expect notification-whether positive or negative-within the first week after close? Yes. Technology allows us to automate so much, there really is no other assumption to make other than power trip addiction. Managers/CEOs/whatever like to feel like your life hangs in their decision making process-I am not kidding. The first time I experienced this it was at a local mixer. Three amazing candidates approached me and chatted me up, gave me their sob story, and left it at that. You could sense their desperation really. I felt so great; like I was their messiah or something. But like any drug there’s a period of bad feelings; this was no different. Neither was really qualified and although I entertained their conversation, the whole time I knew it was going nowhere, but I let them waste their time. Shame on me!

I’ve learned that a lot of owners and managers are addicted to this power trip that I experienced. They love feeling needed. Well…I say start your own work. I also say be honest with them. If you havent heard back, call them out!

“Hey, I’d appreciate a little respect on behalf of my candidacy. How exactly am I supposed to improve if iget no feedback?”

Another example:

“I actually do not appreciate your mowed over letter of declination. Can you explain what about my interview, resume, or otherwise didn’t work for your company? Perhaps something more constructive than knowing my names on file with a company that didn’t want me-for whatever reason. You know, if there were too many of us that applied, perhaps you should adjust the job description or qualifications. Or maybe I’m wasting my time communicating with you because obviously respect is not apart of your corporate culture. In that case, thank you for wasting my time!”

Don’t continue to let managers and employers enjoy the power trip ecstasy they take on a regular basis. Even if you don’t hear anything back from your assertiveness, you weren’t getting the job anyway and you can certainly assure they read every word of your comment. If anything, you’ve encouraged them to go to rehab and shape up professionally.

Start a business; it’s only an employers market because we allow it to happen. Once you don’t need a job, you get all confident and are the desire of everyone-professional or otherwise.

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Andii February 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

If hiring is such a low priority then why do it at all?

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