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How Long Should I Keep Waiting After A Job Interview?

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. Full bio

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com

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ride the waves SHRM LI March 2015
Many a promising job offer that  looked like a sure thing has fallen into the abyss. Many job-seekers have seen what looked like a 100% certain job offer disintegrate overnight. If that happens to you, you’ll be glad you never took yourself off the market mentally or emotionally!

I recommend that you ‘drip’ a message on your hiring manager once a week every week after your interview until you get sick of it or until they either tell you “No thanks” or re-start the conversation. Of course, if you’re working with a headhunter, he or she should do that follow-up for you.

We had a client who dripped 15 email messages and the same number of voicemail messages on his hiring manager before he finally got a callback and then a job offer. That means it was 15 weeks after his interview before he got the job. He was interviewing with a lot of other people but he really wanted to work for the manager he ended up with.

Our client, Ernie, had gotten one voicemail message from his manager Matt after the interview. On the voicemail message Matt said “Ernie, great visit and it looks like an incredible fit. Let’s talk very soon.” That was all. Then Ernie couldn’t get ahold of Matt again.

Is it grovelly and sheeplike to leave a guy 15 voicemail messages and 15 email messages? That is a personal decision. Ernie said “I know a lot of guys like Matt. He has a big job in a  growing company and he’s crazed.

“He’s in his own world. He said he’d get back to me in a month but actually three months have gone by. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just got too much going on. That’s why I’m willing to be patient and keep dripping messages on him. I doubt that the other candidates for the job are doing the same thing.”

If Ernie had been scooped up during those 15 weeks then Matt would have lost out, but everything worked out fine. I tell our clients that hiring managers live in Brigadoon, which is a magical village featured in a Broadway show and a movie of the same name, starring my idol Gene Kelly.

You have no force with the hiring manager except your ability to walk away, so there’s no point in berating the person.If you decide to do the same thing Ernie did, make sure that every voicemail message and every email message you send sounds positive and forward-looking.

There’s no sense writing to your hiring manager to say “I don’t what the heck your problem is – why haven’t you gotten back to me?”

Another client of ours, Annika, waited four weeks after her job interview. The company kept telling her “We’re waiting for the budgets to come out.” Annika didn’t have another offer but she called her hiring manager Beth anyway. She said “Beth, I understand that you’re waiting for budgets, but we need to talk or I need to drop out of this process.”

Beth called Annika right back and they talked about what Annika would need in a job offer. When the budgets came out a week later Annika got the offer.

Keep your mojo high, Garrett, and never let your job search engine idle! It’s going to be a lucky manager who gets you on his or her team.

All the best,

Liz

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