One of the most frustrating aspects of the job search process is the waiting game AFTER the interview. You can be on point and do everything right, but you have no control over what the company is doing – or how much time they are taking – following this important meeting. You may wonder what is happening and if there is any post-interview advice on how to stay top of mind or even speed up the process.
First of all, don’t assume that no news is bad news. The hiring process takes time, and often more time than expected. And, while most recruiters and hiring managers know that ongoing communication is key to successful recruiting efforts as well as their employment brand, sadly, radio silence is not uncommon (though completely unacceptable!). So, consider the following situations that may be at play at the organization with which you interviewed:
The company may still be interviewing candidates. It’s not uncommon for a company to meet with five to ten candidates, and the scheduling/interviewing of this number of people takes time. And, this doesn’t take into account assessments and/or follow-up interviews or meetings that the company may desire.
Hiring is a critical business function; however, general business operations must go on after the interview. Challenges, crises, business travel, vacations, etc. are generally not put on hold because of a position vacancy. Accordingly, the hiring process can sometimes get pushed to the back burner while more important, uncontrollable, or time-sensitive matters are given priority.
Change is a constant in every business today. The position may have been put on hold due to a company or departmental reorganization, or perhaps the job is being modified due to changing business needs. Alternatively, there may be an internal candidate interested in the position, the position has been put on hold, or a determination has been made that the company will not fill the position at the current time.
Interviews may have been completed, but the company still needs to decide on the best candidate for the job. This can be an informal process, for example, where the hiring manager sends an email to those who participated in the hiring process soliciting their opinions. Or, the process may be more formalized, where each interviewer completes candidate evaluation forms assessing candidates against the established knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies needed for the job, and then a formal meeting is scheduled to make a decision. Then, once a candidate has been selected, the company needs to determine what the offer will look like.
After the interview and prior to extending job offers, many employers conduct checks into your background to verify past employers, positions, salary, education, and credentials along with a full criminal background check (you likely authorized this when you completed the job application). Further, the company may also be contacting the references that you provided and conducting a check of your social media presence. This step can take several days to a week or longer.
It’s possible that the company has decided to make an offer to another candidate. While this isn’t the optimal situation, the good news is that you haven’t been told that you’re out of the running. Perhaps you are the number two choice – if the company’s first choice declines the offer, the job may be as good as yours!
Don’t assume the worst if you haven’t heard back from an interview yet. Consider the scenarios above, read up on the latest interview tips and post-interview advice, and follow up strategically to further position yourself as a strong candidate.