You were flown in for an in-person job interview, where you had the chance to meet and get to know the team. It went great… Or so you thought. It’s now been over a month since you’ve heard from the hiring manager. The job posting is still “open,” and HR said they’d get back to you within two weeks. WTF happened?
From your point of view, it sure seems like the company might have ghosted you. But the radio silence may actually be a flurry of tasks for the hiring manager to complete before they can offer you the position. Read on to understand some common reasons why you haven’t heard back, and what to do about it.
It’s not you—it’s me
Perhaps your soon-to-be-supervisor squeezed in your interview just before going on vacation. It’s super-convenient for the manager, but it’s not so convenient for you. Once the manager returns from their travels, they’ll trudge through all the email from the last few weeks, until they get to the swath of HR messages that say, “We still need a decision on this person.”
Or there’s been unclear internal communications. What does that look like? Say the hiring manager has decided they would like to extend an offer to you, that manager needs to contact HR. Or was it HR that was supposed to follow-up? Did anyone in HR send out an email to clarify? These situations happen easily in a busy company environment.
If you think the interview went great and were expecting the offer, trust your gut. It could be internal red tape and emails that haven’t connected. Be confident, and stay positive.
Fess up, did you embellish a little? (A lot?)
Senior executives at Hewlett-Packard have suggested that women will apply for a job when they meet most, if not all, of the requirements of a job posting. Meanwhile, men are comfortable applying at much lower levels of qualification. In my experience, both men and women who feel lacking in a specific area will find ways to make one relevant detail in their resumés the core of their entire application.
On paper a job candidate can skate to the next round using this tactic. But in person you may be required to discuss this topic at length and describe how you would use that experience to propel the company forward. You may be willing to learn the skills you need, but if the manager suspects that your resumé is a lie, they won’t hire you.
You’re better off with honesty. If you only meet 60% of the qualifications and requirements of a job posting, the hiring manager will focus on the reasons why you think you are a good fit for the job. They will also ask whether you would be open to learning the skills that the job requires.
You’re not quite what we’re looking for
As the manager of a versatile team, I select unique candidates who are somehow different from the rest of my team. But this kind of team-building can mean that—despite an outstanding resumé and a stellar interview—I might think that your education and experience are too similar to the background of another team member. When a recruiter says, “Your personality wasn’t a good fit,” a team dynamic like this could be at play.
Time to take action
Where do you go from here? If it’s been a month and you still want to be a member of this team, go email your HR contact. Two weeks is enough time for most companies to make a decision, so check in.
Make it a brief note: “Thank you again for your time during my interview on [DATE]. If you’ve had a chance to touch base with [hiring manager], I would appreciate knowing if they have come to a decision, or if they have any further questions.” If you have a phone number, use it! You might get a real person to answer the phone. Remember that it’s better knowing the job position status than not hearing back at all—and hiring managers appreciate persistence. Be prepared and polite, and check any impatience at the door. We’re crossing our fingers for you.
Author’s Note: This manager, and the entire HR department of Brewer Science, Inc., follow best practices for hiring candidates, including ethical standards, diversity and inclusion, and all Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) federal guidelines.
This article by Amanda Riojas originally appeared on Fairygodboss.