Ignored After that Interview? Don’t Do This!

WorkCoachCafeThe Work Coach Cafe community is very active with a great number of comments on the WorkCoachCafe.com blog (over 10,000, so far!). And many are from job seekers who are – or who feel they are – being ignored and/or mistreated by potential employers.  

Yes, too frequently, job seekers are ignored and treated rudely.  Particularly after an interview, when some sort of face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice, connection has presumably been made, an acknowledgement of the event and the job seeker’s standing in the process should be made but might not happen.

This can be enormously discouraging and disheartening for job seekers.  And, some run out of patience with the whole situation.  One WorkCoachCafe.com reader, obviously at the end of her rope, described in a comment how she really dumped on the hiring manager when she finally got the hiring manager on the phone.

“I may regret it later but I feel good now. I stood up to an unprofessional hiring manager who gave me a waste-of-time interview.  I gave her a piece of my mind…  I just hung up. I feel good though! I struck a blow for all frustrated job seekers.”

Yes! We can all understand that feeling, and cheer this job seeker who was able to do some much-deserved venting.

In general, however, assuming that someone is incompetent, stupid, and/or evil is not productive.  Believe me, plenty of job seekers seem incompetent, stupid, and/or evil when you are observing their behavior from the employer’s side of the process.

I’m sure it was satisfying, at least for a while, for the job seeker to have told off that hiring manager. And although those feelings are VERY understandable, it was not a good idea.

What could possibly be the consequences of telling off that hiring manager?

1.)  This bridge is burned.

Unless this employer was extremely large, this job seeker would probably not want to risk running into that hiring manager again.  Even if her dream job materializes with this employer, applying for it – and interviewing for it – would likely be very stressful (when will that dissed hiring manager appear?).  And, if everything went very well through the whole interview dance process, an offer could get shot down at the last moment by this hiring manager. 

2.)  This hiring manager may be even less interested in interacting with job seekers in the future.

Perhaps the next job seeker will be treated more professionally, which was this job seeker’s hope, but I doubt it.  Because the hiring manager may be trying to avoid similar unpleasant conversations, job seekers in the future may receive less feedback and attention than this job seeker received.

What would have been a better reaction?

1.)  Be patient.

Naturally, the job seeker had visibility on only one side of the process – her side.  The hiring manager who” misbehaved” was a senior executive in this company, most likely someone with a great deal of work and other issues to handle.  And, while the hiring process is naturally THE most important task to the job seeker, it is often not as critical for the people who are involved in the hiring process.  They are being paid to do their jobs, and their bosses (or customers, etc.) expect that work to be completed.  So, in addition to hiring someone, the people involved in the hiring also have their regular work to do, and may even have more work to do until the job is filled with someone competent.

It’s also possible that the hiring manager may have been dealing with a business crisis, busy working with less than a complete team, on business travel, out sick, handling a personal problem (e.g., death in the family), etc.  She may also have been  new in her job and just plain swamped.  We have no idea what else was going on.

Guessing at motivation is difficult or impossible even inside families.  So, it’s a mistake to assume that you “know” what is going on with a group of strangers.

2.)  Keep looking.

It is so tempting to stop job search efforts when the perfect opportunity appears.  Resist that temptation with all your energy.  If you keep looking, you know you have other opportunities “in the pipeline” so you are less likely to obsess over one that isn’t happening quickly enough.  And, hopefully, you’ll be too busy to worry about any one of them.  The more good leads you have, the less important any one of them is to you.

3.)  Write down all your gripes, and see what you can learn.

“Dump your bucket” as my Mother used to say.  Write it down – get it all out: the anger, the frustration, the hurt feelings, everything negative about the situation and the people involved.  The process may take days.  Resist the temptation to send it to the alleged evil-doer.

After a few days, read your list of complaints and gripes again.  Is there anything you can do differently in the future to avoid or short-cut a problem?  Turning a negative into a positive can help you feel more in control of the whole process, too, which is good for your confidence and attitude – and your job search, of course. 

When you have a job, make sure that you never allow job seekers to be ignored or abused.

Let the bad treatment of job seekers stop now!  When you land your new job (you will!), and when you become part of the group that interviews and hires new employees, be sure to remember how painful and endless the wait is for those job seekers.  And, don’t let them be badly treated, too!

For a little more along these lines:

After the Job Interview: What Is Taking SO Long?

How to Work with Internal Recruiters

How to work with External Recruiters

Not Hired? 10 Possible Reasons Outside of Your Control

Not Hired? 10 Possible Reasons You Can Control

10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

 

© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.

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About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org.  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .

Comments

  1. Lisa2012 says:

    Hi,
    I had an face to face interview a few weeks back, and was told I’d know by 18th May (last Friday) as to the outcome. It is now the Monday after- should I call them and ask for an update, or wait a few days? I’ve already had to call the HR person once before regarding whether I had passed the inital phone interview, as again I was made to wait a week longer than I was originally told. After the interview I sent a standard thank you letter, but received no reply, hence am a bit worried about contacting the HR team if they are still busy. What would you suggest?
    Thanks in advance!

    • chandlee says:

      Lisa,

      When I worked as a recruiter, hiring always took longer than I suspected that it would. I recommend that you wait until next week to follow-up (as hard as that sounds). In the interim, keep up with your job search. I want you to have all possible opportunities that are appealing to you.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  2. Nikki P says:

    While I still do not regret my actions because I have absolutely no sympathy for this person because I know the background, I do not recommend this for everybody. My situation is unique and probably would make a great book when its done LOL! The activist in me however wishes more people would demand respect from employers. Its horrible how this game of hiring is played. My mother has colleague that resigned from her previous position as VP of HR for a well known company. She left after 20 years in HR because she was unable to stomach the unethical demands of hiring managers. They didn’t want the resumes of the qualified because they didn’t want competition. If a candidate came in that they felt was too attractive they didn’t want them. So its cut throat out here! When do job seekers demand a fair shake? Not every hiring manager is overworked. Some just don’t give a damn. When you’re trying to get a job, any job, being on the receiving end of person that dongive a damn don’t feel good. What we sacrifice for gas, nice clothes, and grooming for an interview in these hard times should be respected by at least sending or responding to an email. I apologize for possibly motivating others to do something that may be detrimental to their particular situation because I do love thissite and appreciate the commentary ad advice provided. Also forgive the typos. I’m doing this from my phone and this a lot to type on such a small device lol

  3. Susan,
    Just wanted to stick my head in to let you know that I received an email apology and invitation to interview again from that hiring manager. She asked me to come in and interview a second time because they have had to repost the job. I thanked her but declined…nicely…
    I told her I am in another state and no longer seeking employment in her city but told her I would keep the lines of communication open in case things changed. 🙂

    • chandlee says:

      Nikki,

      I’m writing on behalf of Susan. So glad you got the apology you deserved.

      Keep us posted, and good luck with your overall search.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

    • I’m going through this right now…

      After the “promise” to contact me in “a day or so”, I actually waited 11 days. I then contacted the CEO and the TAS to let them know the situation could have been more tactfully. Of course within minutes of me simultaneously hitting send to both, the TAS emails AND the manager of the department I would have been under emailed me; the latter actually wrote that I was getting another interview to prove I’m the right person for the job, as well as left a voice message. I couldn’t believe they had the gall. In the email I clearly “ended” the process. I don’t want to work there thinking about being sabotaged and/or fired, etc.

  4. Thanks Chandlee. As human beings we deserve basic respect. Its such a simple concept that its difficult to many. The job search is draining enough, as rejection can eat away at one’s confidence. As a job seeker, no, as a human being, I make it a priority to let anybody (regardless of position) that I deserve the same respect I have given you. My time is just as valuable as yours if not more so because I’m paying for gas to get her from my unemployment benefits of $170 a week. You’re going to respect me and my sacrifice whether or not you offer me a job. Job seekers have to stop acting like beggers at the door of the king holding a cup. Job seekers are also consumers and customers. Companies, big and small, better recognize that

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Nikki,

      Take heart…I think many companies are having to look at this issue of how they treat candidates very seriously — especially since social media mentions when they don’t follow up are embarrassing to the companies.

      I agree with you that the job search process is draining enough as it is…On the whole, employers should do a better job of following up with candidates.

      All the best and keep us posted,
      Chandlee

    • @ Nikki P.

      You are so right! I told family member recently that job searching has made me a little ‘hostile”. I have started voicing my opinion too, through email, however I can. It’s like some of these people think they’re beyond ending up in this position (unemployed)…

  5. I had a job interview on Wednesday and they asked me if I applied for other jobs. I told them I did and just went for their interview. They asked me which I prefer and I told them while the other job has better employee benefits, this job has a better prospect. They then asked if I’m the kind who will ‘jump’ whenever I get a better offer. I said no. They told me they’ll get back to me by Friday and asked if the other company offered me the job before Friday, would I accept it without waiting for their call? I said I wouldn’t. At the end of the interview, the also asked if I am keen about this job and I said yes. It’s Friday night in my country already and I have yet to receive a call or email from them. Do you think I should have told them about going to the other job interview? Did that ruin my chances and give them the impression that I’m not keen? 🙁

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Miranda,

      When companies know you are applying for more than one job at a time, it’s a dance — you want to emphasize your interest in working for the employer that you are with to not take yourself out of the running. I doubt you’ve taken yourself out of consideration, but recommend that you do follow-up with them and let them know of your continued interest.

      If you get the offer from the other company, ask for time to make your decision — and then let the company that you are most interested in know that you have an offer.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  6. Could this be a legal thing? I heard a rumor that hiring managers are afraid to tell a candidate “no” because of a fear the candidate might sue. Is that true?

    • Brand,

      I think companies are well aware that telling a candidate an offer is pending — before getting approval to hire or the final “yes” from a search committee — can potentially expose them to litigation if they do not later extend an offer. As I am not a lawyer and this site does not provide legal advice, I cannot advise further.

      Best,
      Chandlee

  7. Chandlee, it’s not about if an offer is pending, but what is the answer is NO?

    • Brand,

      If the answer is no, you can ask for feedback and reiterate your interest in working for the company moving forward. I actually GOT HIRED using this approach with one company — 12 months after I got turned down. Remember that companies generally only hire one person at a time — and often another candidate will be selected because they have more experience, etc. Try not to take it personally…

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  8. Sheesh. Let me try to explain this one more time, O.K.?

    Here’s an example:
    A company interviews 20 candidates for a position. They select one of the candidates and give that person an offer, which the candidate accepts.

    The remaining 19 candidates are ignored. No phone calls, no emails, no “thank you for interviewing”. They have no idea that the position has been filled. The reason, as I’ve explained here, is that the company is afraid that if they actually give a “no”, one of the 19 candidates will sue for whatever reason. Follow-up emails and phone calls are ignored. If one of the 19 candidates does reach someone on the phone, they are told someone will get back to them, and no one does.

    This is an alternate reason why someone is ignored after an interview.

    • Dear Brand,

      If you want to feel better about employment and the interviewing process, you may want to research “The Candidate Experience Awards.” Many companies are trying to do a better job of this.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  9. I’m constantly surprised by how many HR departments / hiring managers / companies Just Don’t Get It when it comes to the way recruitment actually works today. I’m not talking about recruiting for McJobs or junior administrative positions here: you’ll get away with treating candidates badly in those scenarios, even though you shouldn’t. I’m talking about hiring for professional positions, where there are few people with the right skills.

    In this day and age, we professionals do talk to our peers more than ever before. I work as a software developer, and whilst most companies that you take the time to interview with at least have the common sense to conclude matters professionally, some don’t. Would you consider employing someone without checking out their references with past employers? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that we geeks with hard-to-find skills know our worth, and wouldn’t consider working for someone unless we’ve checked out their background with their former employees, whom we know from all manner of online discussion fora such as Stack Exchange, etc. If we have to, we’ll use LinkedIn to identify your departing employees and simply Inmail them to ask their opinion of what you were like to work for. Most of the time we don’t even have to take that step: we’ll already know someone that’s worked for you and whose opinion we trust. If we find out that you’ve no manners or are terrible to work for, don’t be surprised if all you’re left to choose from are people that couldn’t programme tenner out of a cash machine. It’s that simple: poison the well that your candidates come from and your business will go bust through lack of new talent. It’s up to you; listen to the wisdom of that advice or don’t.

    • Rachel,

      Check out the Candidate Experience Awards, a list of organizations — many of which are global, that have been recognized for how they treat candidates. These organizations think like you do and recognize that it is important to treat candidates as customers.

      Sincerely,
      Chandlee

  10. Hi,
    I was hoping I could share my own story and maybe get some feedback. I had an interview on December 13th, and apparently, they need to hire a whole team for a new divsion (so there are 4-5 positions). It was a panel interview, and afterwards, the senior interviewer came and told me I did well and that he had no reason not to hire me. He also said that I can be certain that HR will at the very least call me in again for a “breifing” and told me a bit about the second interview and a possible tour.

    Now, I waited till after the holidays, and I followed up once with the interviewer, and once with the HR person, and once with the HR assistant. None of them got back to me. Does this mean that I am out of the running now ? I have to admit I followed up with both the HR person and the assistant within this week but I did not contact either of them more than once. I am beginning to think that had they wanted me, they would have at least gotten back to me by now in some way. If you have any opinion on this and what on earth might be going on here, I would love to know. Oh, and the position is still on the company website.

    • Adam,

      Holiday hiring is always complicated because so many people are out of the office, there’s a lot of wrap-up before the end of the year, and work kicks up quickly in January.

      I would not read to much into this and not having heard back from it.

      I can’t tell you what has happened as I don’t work inside the company.

      I can tell you that in my experience, one of the best ways to address the experience is to move forward by seeking out and applying for other opportunities as you wait to hear back. You don’t need to follow-up again. Best case scenario: you’ll have more than one option.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  11. Hi,

    I applied at a big telecommunications company in November 2012 and was called in for an interview early February 2012. A week later, I received an email from requesting consent to do background and reference checks. After a few I followed up and was told things were a bit hectic, but they want me to completed a psychometric assessment. Then two weeks after, I completed the assessment, and since then, I have not heard from them. I tried to follow up again, and the HR lady told me she will revert back to me the following day, which she did not. Now it’s been a week and I’m close to letting go. Can they just leave me hanging like that after all this time of doing checks and asking me to do the psychometric testing?

    Thanks and Regards

  12. I recently went through two interviews and completed a take-home compatibility test for a paid summer internship. The first interview, with the owner/president, went extremely well. He then brought in the HR VP to continue the interview. I left with a take-home test to complete and return, which I did (the interview was on a Friday, and I scanned the completed test in to my computer and sent them as PDFs Sunday night). On Monday, I received an e-mail thanking me for quickly returning the test. On Friday, I was called to for a second interview on Monday. Monday’s interview went extremely well. I spent time with the department head and his employee, the owner/president and the VP of HR. The owner/president told me I had absolutely crushed the test, which they have very strong belief in as an indicator, and that I was not only someone they would like to hire, but also a strong candidate with the potential to promote. The VP of HR then said that they would like to hire me and she would have an offer to me soon, as well as explaining the process of background check and signing non-compete agreements, etc. At this point, all indications pointed to having secured the position. At home, I sent a thank-you to HR as well as the department head. The department head and his underling also e-mailed me with more information about the position and asked for clarification about my current schedule (currently I am in school two days a week until finals next week. They implied interest in starting me part-time until the end of the semester, going full-time through the summer and part-time when I resume class in the fall). Those conversations (via e-mail) occurred within a day or two of the second interview. The rest of the week came and went, hearing nothing. Monday, after having had a full week had pass since the second interview, I began to get anxious. I began doing research on the internet, asking family, friends and professors when I should follow up. Everyone’s advice was different, ranging from a few days after the interview to over two weeks, as well as the method of following up (e-mail/telephone, HR or Department head). Eventually I e-mailed HR asking for a status update and restating my interest. It is now Friday, 9 business days after the second interview, and I have heard nothing.

    I am wondering what to do. Should I call? If they have decided not to hire me, what is the likelihood of them notifying me. This is definitely a potential possibility, because I have been convicted of a DUI and driving on a suspended license, even though that is not relevant to the position and I was not asked to disclose the information at any point. If that is the case, I can understand that, and even if they do not cite that as a reason for passing on me, I would like to know if I am still in consideration or not.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi P.W.,

      Well, regardless of whether or not you were asked to disclose your DUI and driving on a suspended license, chances are pretty good that these are the issue. They would be a large red flag for most employers, even if driving is not part of the job description.

      Yes, call to see what is going on – if you are still under consideration. If not, ask what happened since it seemed so promising. Perhaps you can do some damage control in this situation, assuming the DUI and driving on a suspended license were discovered. You could possibly tell them that it was an unfortunate mistake you made as a “kid” and you have matured since then and don’t do that now – or whatever is accurate for you.

      This situation may be recoverable, but it may not. Being trustworthy is a very important part of any employer’s list of job requirements, even though it usually goes unstated.

      You may need to start with an internship with less responsibility where you will have a chance to prove that you are trustworthy and a good, reliable employee. Maybe with this employer, or, probably more likely, with a different employer.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  13. I am in the market for a position in HR. I have over 20 years of senior-level experience. I say that…to say…I am extremely amazed at how companies conduc their initial interviews and the information they ask for. First, there is no need to ask an interviewee for their social security number or age information at the first interview. This information is only needed when the person is HIRED. I had an interview last week and the recruiter for the company brings me three papers to complete and sign. One had something to do with a criminal background check – which is fine – but I DONT WORK THERE nor have I been offered a job! The form required that I divulge my age and my social security number. Why is this necessary on a first interview? Certainly, if or when I am offered a position, I would be more than happy to complete whatever information is necessary. Also…asking for this information BEFORE someone has been offered a position can lead to claims of age discrimination. I have to say that I do not look my age (58) and do not want to provide this information prior to being offered a position – particularly in a youth oriented work environment. Secondly, I was in the interview with 4 staff members (not the person I would report to) for almost 2 hours. Two of the interviewers were people this position would manage and the other two would be peers at some level. I did not think that interviewing with people I would potentially manage was appropriate at all. Interviews are used to glean the experience, expertise and the ability to do the job. How would someone at much lower levels be able to assess that and why should they be allowed. Certainly personality and other soft skills are important as well…but sitting in an interview for almost two hours with individuals who have limited expertise in my field is almost a waste of valuable time. I was pleasant and answered the questions posed….thanked all of my interviewers and was told by the recruiter that the person I would be reporting to was not available – but she (recruiter) would be in touch. As soon as I got home, I emailed a thank you for the interview letter to the recruiter. (I did not receive business cards from any of the individuals with whom I interviewed. I was able to find the recruiter’s email). It’s been two weeks and haven’t heard anything. I don’t necessary want the job – but would like the courtesy of a response of any kind. It is sheer common courtesy and respect. A candidate spends time and money to go on an interview and the company doesn’t even take 10 seconds to respond in any way. As a senior HR professional, I have always told my staff…if a candidate comes in for an interview…the least that we can do is to respond back after the interview or keep them advised of the process…especially when we said we would. To disregard the person’s time and effort is unacceptable….whether you want to hire them or not. Also… I would never – ever – ask someone to provide age or social security information if a job offer has not been extended. It could lead to legal issues.

    Ok…thank you for providing this forum for me to vent!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Liz,

      Yes, it is a pretty ugly process at most employers these days. My hope is that they will pay a price in terms of their reputation as employers that will negatively impact their profitability at some point. But, it won’t happen any time soon.

      Meanwhile, parts of the HR and recruiting industry have come together to create the Candidate Experience Awards which surveys job seekers on their experiences with company recruiting processes. Here is the website – http://www.thecandidateexperienceawards.org/

      The 2012 Candidate Experience award winners include:

      Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
      Achievers
      adidas Group
      AT&T
      Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
      Boston Scientific
      Business & Technology Resource Group
      Capital One
      Case-Mate Inc.
      CH2M HILL
      Cliffs Natural Resources
      Deloitte
      Deluxe Corporation
      H-E-B
      Herman Miller, Inc.
      Hill Holliday
      Hyatt Corporation
      InfoReliance Corporation
      Informatica
      Intel Corporation
      Intuit Inc.
      Mayo Clinic
      Midmark Corporation
      Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
      PepsiCo
      Providge Consulting
      Rex Healthcare
      Risk Management Solutions
      Sage North America
      Sapient
      Stryker Corporation
      The Bozzuto Group
      The RiverWoods Company
      W. L. Gore & Associates
      Wal-Mart Canada Corp
      Wall Street Services
      Weatherby Healthcare

      Perhaps a few of these companies are on your list of target employers (if not, you might want to add appropriate ones) and you will have a much better experience looking for employment with them.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  14. Hi I had an interview already at a store &its in a process right now I’ve done my interview &background check but there’s still a few more tasks I have to do on the computer before paid orientation because they told me I got the job.I didn’t get the schedule yet and a different store called me to come to an interview today what should I do?go to it,not go to it im just curious because what happens if I do get it but I haven’t got my first schedule it could possibly mess things up unless I tell them I found a partime but dont have my schedule yet I don’t know please help what’s your opinion???

  15. Hi i had an interview with one of the telecommunication public company in bay area ,i applied to this position on September 2014,i got a call from manager and other senior team member had couple of phone rounds with them and on December 10th they called me onsite had have 4 hours with 4-5 people in team including manager,as per me I answered all questions and manager also informed me that he will have to offer entry level engineer position for me since i have only 2 years experience

    After interview manager told me he has to get feedback from his team member ,either him or recruiter will reach back to me about feedback,today is dec 19th,none reached out to me back yet

    I tried reaching out to company’s recruiter by sending thank you email,but he is not replying me at all
    in my case manager directly called me (later recruiter cam into picture)

    would it be possible that since its holiday season they are delaying or they have really moved on and trying to ignore me

    This is kind of frustrating any thoughts about my situation

    Regards,
    Kru

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