employer time vs. candidate time – which time zone do you live in?

A reader writes:

Last week I received an email from a prospective employer asking me if their pay range was OK with me and if I was still interested. The pay is lower than what I noted or “desired” on my application. I replied back saying that I was still very interested in the position and that I was looking forward to speaking with them in person. That was last Thursday and I haven’t heard from them. Is it too soon to expect them to call me for an interview? Did I say something wrong? Should I send them another email?

P.S. Their max yearly pay is about 20% less than what I used to earn but I’m changing industries (from advertising to non-profit) and living in a city where the cost of living is much less expensive – so I think it evens out. I explained my desire to change industries in my cover letter – I’m going from an ad agency to a museum, I hope.

That was Thursday, and this is Monday. That means that only two business days have gone by.

In the last two business days, I haven’t even glanced at most of the applications that have landed on my desk. I haven’t even thought about glancing at them yet. I’d like to — but, like most hiring managers, I’ve got a bunch of other things clamoring for my attention. I am someone who generally moves really fast in the hiring process, but even for me, two days is nothing.

I know that when you’re job searching, time feels like it moves incredibly slowly. And then you get contacted by someone, and time starts moving even more slowly while you wait for the next step. Why haven’t they responded yet? What does it mean? What could they be doing all this time? For the love of god, WHAT IS GOING ON?

I know.

But you must chill out.

The only way to preserve your sanity in this situation is to make a note to yourself to check in with them in a week and then put it out of your mind until then. If they call you before then, great, it’s a bonus. But you will only drive yourself crazy otherwise.

I know there’s a dating analogy in here somewhere, but I’m too tired to find it.

Breathe, relax, put it out of your mind.

{ 13 comments… read them below }

  1. Jonathan*

    Yup. It's just like Swingers; If memory serves, T and Sue were going to wait 7 days before calling the women they had met.

    I'm tempted to suggest that everything you need to know about life you can learn from Vince Vaughn, but I'm not sure I could back that up.

  2. Adam*

    Yeah, this one will drive you nuts. Even though I understand full well that for many managers hiring is usually a "back-burner" type task when you're on the other end waiting is maddening, and every day that goes by it gets more and more discouraging. Patience is a virtue, but oh lord is it not a fun one.

  3. Natalie*

    Oh man! Ii have been in this situation many a time. I agree that taking a meditative breath….calming down and chill out. Ii also agree with Jonathon…they is much to learn from Swingers and Vince Vaughn is truly a genius ;)

  4. Anonymous*

    I've been like this for a year non-stop. Honestly I'm excited when I get an automated rejection e-mail from a potential employer.

  5. Jab2010*

    I applied for a job at Chase bank recently and did a follow up call and had an interview the following Tuesday and was given business cards by each of the managers I interviewed with and was told to “feel free to give us a call if you have any questions”. I sent a thank- you email following my email . I received no response from the email I sent and it has been a week . Should I do a follow up call to gain an update on the hiring process or wait for them to respond ? Advice Needed!!!!!!!!!

      1. Jab2010*

        I have followed up by an email and have yet to receive a response I have applied for other jobs and I am going to interviews but this job is at the top of my list and I just want to know should I just give this job a “no” or keep waiting ?

  6. Nancy Liao*

    Dear Ms. Green: I have got a lot of inspiration from your blog. I have a question to ask. Do you think a headhunter commission reduces the desirability of a candidate? I applied for a job advertised on a newspaper, but a headhunter had submitted my CV to the employer before. Now the headhunter has left his firm and he told me the employer would not have to pay him the commission if they hire me. Do I have to let the employer know about this?

    I applied for a director level job and I think the book I translated would prove to them that I have a set of skills they are looking for other my finance jib experience. When I applied for the job, I wrote to the division head directly but never got her email address. When I called to follow, her secretary gave me someone’s email address in the HR so that I can send my application to her and not get buried in the hundreds of applications they received. So should I write a snail mail to the hiring manager explaining this or should I just email the HR lady?

    Thanks and regards


    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nancy, thanks so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it.

      Can I ask you to email this question to me instead, since I try to keep the comment threads focused on the topic of the post? Emailing me will get this in my queue. Thanks!

  7. Mez*

    My contract is not renewed by my current employer. It hurts so much. They treated me very bad and the whole thing was unfair.
    I have been applying for jobs and I got this interview last week. next day I called the recruiter to inform him that interview went well per his request. He said he hasn’t heard anything back and he said he will contact me if they were positive. He called me later at the end of the day and asked for my references. He contacted my references in 2 days and since haven’t heard anything. I called to follow up but he was not around and I called again and left my details for him to get back to me. I don’t think I should call again as I might look desperate. What do you think? It is hard to wait :'(

  8. Jessica*

    I went through an extensive interview. Each time I interviews with this person, it took the hiring manager several days to get back to me. My last interview was Thursday, and on the way out the door she said “We have been waiting all week to talk to you! Thanks for coming in, I will try and make my decision today”

    I hear nothing Friday, and today is Monday. I am unsure if I should call and ask if a decision has been made regarding the job or if that would be too eager? It is very frustrating, and at this point a NO is better than nothing.

  9. Adam*

    I have had this happen on several occasions now, everything goes great and then nothing. I guess it is not common to at least send an
    Interviewed a no or someone more qualified. I even had an employer give me six hrs or testing, two phone interviews and three office interviews not not get back to me. After six weeks and 2 weeks past deadline I told em forget it, in to many words. It did make me feel better, funny they said they still have not made decision and would let me know either way, that was 3 weeks ago and still nothing.
    Better to just keep applying until you have offer forget about last interview, btw not trying to seem like I am so eager to work for employer anymore. Two way street. Thanks for the venting

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