Have you interviewed for a position, and then fallen into a black hole, never to hear from the company again?
Frustrating, isn’t it?
And no, we’re not talking about the applicant who has sent in a resume or completed an online application along with tens or hundreds of other applicants. We’re speaking of a strong job candidate who has passed through the initial screenings, been recommended by the recruiter and has been invited by the company to an on site interview.
Let’s talk about Sam. Although fictional, Sam represents thousands of job candidates today. He’s had fifteen years in his profession and strong career advancement. He is articulate, well dressed, has strong communication skills and always had positive relationships with his management, his peers and his team.
Sam spends hours preparing for an interview for a Vice President role. He is familiar with the industry. He does research on the company and the individuals he’ll be meeting with. He has anticipated and prepared for an assortment of interview questions. Sam is fortunate. The company is making flight arrangements for him to travel and putting him up in a hotel the night before. He knows that’s a luxury in this economy. And he’s thankful the company recognizes his potential.
The day of the interview arrives. Sam meets with eight different individuals within the company. He meets the executive team and has lunch with the Senior Vice President the position reports to. He meets several other key individuals within the organization. He spends hours answering questions, sharing work examples and responding to specifics about his experience.
When the interview concludes, Sam is drained. But all seems to have gone well. Discussions were positive and a strong rapport was established. He had some engaging discussions and felt his experience and personality was a good fit for the organization. Two of the interviewers told him his background was exactly what the company was looking for. Lunch was an in-depth and honest discussion on the challenges the company was facing. He’s been told he’s one of three candidates and a final decision will be made in the next week. All in all it was a very positive day and Sam is hopeful. He feels confident as he makes his way home. His flight arrives back in his hometown at 11:30 p.m. that night.
The next morning Sam carefully crafts personal thank you letters to each of the individuals involved in the interviews, reiterating how his experience aligns with what that individual was looking for. Those personalized messages take time, but it’s the polite thing to do. And it confirms his interest and experience to all involved.
Sam expects he may get a call any day. The interviews had gone so well, and the discussions so positive, that his confidence is high. Although he does acknowledge the other two candidates are likely very strong too.
One day goes by. Then several more. He waits. And waits. And waits.
It’s been a week. Sam has not heard a thing. He follows up. Calls the recruiter. Gets voicemail. Leaves a pleasant message asking for the status. After a couple days he calls the recruiter again. No response. Oh oh. Things are not looking good.
Although Sam is waiting for an update from the recruiter, he also knows the hiring manager had indicated he should contact him directly if he didn’t hear back within a week. Sam constructs a very pleasant and brief e-mail, indicating he has not heard anything further, and asking if he can get an update on the status or provide additional information. No response. After four days he leaves a pleasant voicemail for the hiring manager, and one more for the recruiter. He’s trying to be optimistic. He had felt so positive two weeks ago. But not anymore.
No response from anyone. A month goes by. Then two. Then three. He’s clearly out of the running. He recognizes there were two other finalists. Obviously one of them was a stronger fit for the position. Or maybe the position got put on hold. He’s seen that happen before.
But something is not right here. And it frustrates him more than anything else. The lack of response by either the recruiter or the hiring manager is frustrating to say the least. Ignore a job finalist who was obviously respected enough to be invited to the company? Who was obviously qualified enough to be meet with senior leaders of your organization? A candidate whom you spent hundreds of dollars on travel arrangements and with whom you openly shared business challenges with during lunch? One who was polite enough to do all the relevant follow ups and thank you notes? You couldn’t even send a generic e-mail thanking Sam for his time and letting him know the status of the position? For real?
Sadly enough, Sam’s situation is not unique. It’s become the norm. But why? Whatever happened to Common Courtesy?