Why haven’t they called me back?

Q:  I had a positive interview and the company told me that they were going to make an offer last week, but the head hunter hasn’t got back to me.  What is going on?

A:  Waiting for the telephone to ring can be dreadful.  If you are like most of my clients, you are replaying in your head what they said and how you replied and, in the process, your actions descend from “I nailed it” to “Maybe I blew it.”  Ugh.  Don’t get lost and start making stuff up about your behavior. Remember that most organizations are deeply involved in year-end human resources activities—succession planning, promotions—and hiring decisions can get sidetracked. 

Be patient, stay grounded and stick to the reality—you interviewed and you had an expectation and maybe a promise that they would contact you last week and they did not. Your recruiter should have their finger on the pulse of the organization and be able to help you sort through the following questions:

  • Did the person who said “you have the job” have the authority to make the job offer?
  • Working with a head hunter, what was the process to secure an offer? What is the
    formal process?

And, most important:

  • Did you discuss a specific date or was it “we will get back to you”?

Typically, in the excitement of a positive interview and on the brink of an offer, it is easy to assume that a decision has been made —“I got this,” and that the process is moving swiftly.  The reality is that there are more moving parts in the hiring process, especially when you go through a head hunter.  The communications chain can be more complex and as a result more time consuming:  The hiring manager or hiring team will need to get back to human resources, and HR will have to talk to the head hunter. The head hunter has his or her own chain of command to inform before contacting you.  

A final question:  Do you have a good relationship with your search firm and have your communications up to now have been frequent and instructive? The answer should be an overwhelming yes. If not, start communicating now!

Good luck.  Let me know the outcome.

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