The last time I went shopping for a vehicle, one thing stood out for me about the experience. We weren't in dire need of a new drive. We were just looking around to see what options were out there. As we were going to different dealerships, getting prices, test driving, and talking with the sales person, at some point, they would collect our contact information. It wouldn't be long until the calls would start coming. "Have you made a decision?" "Why don't you come back to take a look again." "What can we do to get you behind the steering wheel?"
Some dealerships would contact once or twice in a week. Others were closer to once or twice a day. Some were pleasant calls. Others were ones you couldn't wait to end. Some were high pressure, others were laid back. It all depended on the sales person and their personality, style, and circumstances.
One thing they all were doing right was not letting me forget them. The thing many did wrong, however, was making me remember the bad impression I had with them on that follow up call. Just as there's a good way and bad way to follow-up for a sale, there's also a good way and bad way to follow up after an interview.
As a Recruiter, if you do any sort of follow-up after an interview, you're miles ahead of what everyone else is doing. I'm not sure if it's because so many people passively apply to jobs online that they become more passive in the whole hiring process or if it's some other reason. Regardless, I would say 8 out of 10 people never contacted me at all after an interview when I was recruiting. Most of them became out of sight and out of mind.
Don't let this happen to you. Follow up, but make sure you do it the right way.
What's a Reasonable Expectation for Their Decision?
The answer to that question is, "It depends." Some positions are quick to fill, others take a while. Some openings have tons of candidates and others have very few. Some Hiring Managers make quick decisions while others hem and haw before pulling the trigger.
Generally speaking, the average time to fill a position is usually between 30 to 40 days from the day the job was opened. However, when it's a job with very specific needs or special skills required, the time to fill can sometimes go upwards to two to three months. To get a sense about how long this may take, it's perfectly acceptable to ask the person you're interviewing with how long they think it might be to hear from them about their decision. While it won't be to the day and hour, you'll at least know if this is going to be a while or not.
The takeaway here is that even if you think it's taking too long to hear back from an employer, it may be normal. What you want to do is make sure you aren't being forgotten in the meantime.
The Thank You Note
After any interview, whether it be with the Recruiter, the Hiring Manager, or anyone else on the hiring team, you should send each person a thank you note stating your appreciation for their time, what has you excited about the opportunity, and how you can meet their needs as a new addition to the company. If you feel like you flubbed up on a question, you can also use the thank you note as an opportunity to provide clarification on what you meant to say.
While an email is becoming the more common practice, we recommend actually mailing a thank you card to those you spoke with. Just think about your own email. How many times do you skip over reading an email over another, more urgent email? It happens all the time. Now, consider if you're emailing a manager or higher. Their day consists of putting out fires for the most part. How likely will it be that they ever have time to read your thank you email?
For this reason and for the fact that you will stand out among the others emailing, we suggest doing it the old-fashioned way. Buy some professional thank you cards, write your note by hand (legibly), and send it by mail. It's a personal touch that will get you noticed.
Keep in Front of Them, But Don't Be a Stalker
You may not realize it, but when you are searching for a new job, your job in the time being is to be a salesperson for yourself. And like all good salespeople, you want to make sure that you don't get forgotten. To avoid this, you need to insert yourself from time to time while you're waiting for an offer. A good rule of thumb is to email or call the Hiring Manager and/or the Recruiter once every one to two weeks. We'd even recommend alternating between calling and emailing, this way you won't appear to be inundating them.
While you want to stay top-of-mind, you don't want to overdo it. I had one candidate who, for two weeks straight, called me every day. We hadn't made a decision and he was still in the running, but it got the point where I recognized his phone number and would send his calls to voicemail. I knew what he was calling about and I didn't have any more to tell him than I did the previous day. This gave me a bad impression of him. This is not what you want to do.
Likewise, I've had folks whom I've interviewed, that right after the call ended, would send a LinkedIn connection request. I can appreciate their eagerness, but it seems a bit presumptuous. We'd recommend waiting until you've been hired or until the other person wants to connect with you - which is always a good sign that you impressed the person you spoke with.
Build Bridges, Don't Burn Them
We can understand that a person who has been searching for a new job can get frustrated. It's also natural to be annoyed that it's taking the employer so long to give you word, one way or the other. That being said, never, ever, say it out loud to the employer! You may have just ended your chances of getting an offer forever with that Recruiter or Hiring Manager.
Instead, be happy to be considered, be excited about the opportunity, and be eager to start. Keep mentioning how your going to be the best employee they've ever had, and give them specific reasons for why you believe this. Talk about how you're going to address their biggest pains. Be persistent, but don't be a pest. Here's an example of the type of things you could say:
Hi! I'm sorry to interrupt your day. This is Brian Young. I had applied for your Recruiter opening and did an interview with you. I was just calling to see if there's any update on when a decision might be made.
They give an answer.
That's great. Thank you for letting me know and I wanted to say how excited I am about the opportunity. After we spoke and I learned more about the position and your team, I know I can make a great contribution there due to the wide variety of recruiting experience I've had for different companies and departments. I'm sure I can hit the ground running there.
It was nice speaking with you again and I look forward to getting some good news from you soon!
The best way to keep this attitude is to smile while you're talking to them on the phone or even when you're writing them an email. Smiling releases endorphins to your brain, which make you naturally happier and the person on the receiving end of the conversation can hear your cheer.
During those times when you are upset and just feel like you need to vent, you could take a page from Abraham Lincoln. In the dark years of the war, when he was angry with the failure of his generals and received waves of criticism from certain legislators and journalists, he would write a letter to them. Then he folded it neatly and placed it into a desk drawer. He would never send these letters out. He just needed to get his frustrations off his chest.
If Honest Abe could keep his cool under enormous pressure, you can too. Stay positive. Don't let the stress of the situation get the better of you. And if all else fails, have some chocolate. That always works, 100% guaranteed.
About RockIt Career Consultation Services
At RockIt Career Consultation Services, our mission is to help you discover your true strengths and use these strengths to set your course to something more rewarding and exciting in your career.
We will guide you on what job or career best suits you and then help you market yourself through your resume, your networking strategies, your interview skills, and your negotiation to ensure that you are doing something you love and are maximizing your earning potential. Throughout, we will be there to keep you motivated and determined.
We'd love to help you launch your career and encourage you to learn more about the services we can provide you on your path to a more prosperous future. With our help, you will become the applicant every company wants to hire!