Follow Up Freak Out
November 16, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Interview freak out: I'm concerned I may have hurt my chances with this job by being too aggressive with my follow-up. Any ideas to get me out of this hole?

I interviewed for a job recently. I feel the interview itself went well --- the guy specifically said I had done a good job and asked how much notice I'd need to come back for round two. However, he also noted that I was one of the first people he'd interviewed for the position. I mailed a thank you letter afterwards. It might be noted that I got the interview after ringing him up myself, having sent my resume in in response to a posting on a job board I frequent the week before.

I sent a follow-up email a week and a day after the interview, saying simply, I enjoyed meeting him, was wondering how the search was going, please let me know if there's anything further I can do. I heard nothing from this, and figuring that as I'd originally got a hold of him by phone, called later in the week. I spoke with the manger, he said he had been conducting interviews and would be making a decision soon, but would be out of the office much of the next week.

I let that week pass, and called again to touch base today. I reached him, and he said this was his first day back in the office, and that he'd hadn't made a decision yet. He sounded a bit annoyed, I apologized, saying it hadn't been my intention to bother him, I just wanted to touch base as I and had understood from our previous conversation that he would be coming to a decision about this time.

Question: Is there anything I can do at this point to improve our relationship? After the initial interview, I felt stongly that it had gone well, and we parted warmly. Certainly, he might since have seen other candidates whose previous experience better suited them to the job. While this is a job where being aggressive and on the ball in terms of following up with people would likely be virtues, I certainly don't want to leave him with the impression that I'm pushy and obnoxious. And I'm worried that I might have done so.

Do you think an email would be too much? I'm having flashbacks to that scene in Swingers with Jon Favreau where he stumbles all over himself leaving the message. But on the other hand, he didn't say I was out of the running, and as long as I am I'd like to do all I can to tip the balance in my favor. Would a brief, polite email touching on some of the specifics about the positon that we had discussed, my enthusiasm for it, and regret if that enthusiasm came across as undue pressue help or hurt?
posted by Diablevert to Work & Money (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Three contacts in three weeks doesn't doing aggressive. But at some point you will need to let it go if you don't hear anything.

The last thing you want to do is appear desperate, no matter how desperate you think you may be.
posted by dfriedman at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2009

If in doubt send him a quick email about how you appreciate the chance to interview and if you seemed to be over doing it, it was just because you we're so excited by the prospect of getting a job with company X.
posted by bitdamaged at 1:14 PM on November 16, 2009

(and then leave it unless they contact you)
posted by bitdamaged at 1:14 PM on November 16, 2009

Really? In worrying about contacting the employer too much, you're considering contacting him again to fix it? I'd say you're maybe a touch borderline, but I don't think you're obviously being too pushy so far. I wouldn't drop him another email today though. Sit on it for a week.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just leave it. Don't contact again. What you did so far isn't going to hurt you, I don't think, but if you try to "fix" it by calling or emailing again, it will be like that scene in Swingers, and it will go from "a little over eager" to "anxious and tactless". Good luck with the job
posted by crabintheocean at 1:18 PM on November 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

If it's his first day back in the office after a vacation or prolonged business trip, he has a stack of stuff in front of him a foot tall that's been piling up since the day he left. I'd wager that was the source of his irritation -- not that you've contacted him too much in some absolute sense, but that he's crunched for time right now.

Given that, I wouldn't email or call again for a few days at least. I think seeing your name in his inbox might result in a little hit of further irritation right now. Give him time to rinse the dust out of his coffee mug and answer some week-old emails.
posted by palliser at 1:20 PM on November 16, 2009

Any ideas to get me out of this hole?

Stop digging.
posted by dnesan at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2009 [9 favorites]

And as someone who has done plenty of interviewing and hiring - a little follow up is good to show that you're confident and want the job, but really, "can I send you any more information" is generally a polite fiction. They got what they needed from the interview, and pushing it too hard either looks like you don't trust their interviewing skills, or think you came over badly and want to fix it. Follow up to say how excited you are sure, but let the interview stand by itself!
posted by crabintheocean at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2009

It doesn't sound to me like you were being pushy and obnoxious either--it sounds more like he was busy, and your call probably reminded him of yet one more thing on a lengthy to-do list.

So, I would follow up with a polite email, tomorrow or the next day. Don't be overly apologetic, and don't introduce the idea that you were obnoxious or pushy because he may not have thought of that, and you don't want to be the one who leads him toward this possible interpretation. Just say you're really optimistic about the possibility of working with him, ask if there's any other info you can provide to him, and that you're looking forward to hearing from him.

On preview, what palliser said.
posted by gubenuj at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2009

Leave it alone.

If someone contacted me 3 times within 3 weeks when I specifically already told you that I'm in the midst of making a decision, it tells me several things.

1) You don't LISTEN.
2) You are desperate and needy.

If you were on the top of my list, your resume will start drifting to the bottom of the pile. Why? Because I suddenly don't see you as an aggressive, pro-active candidate, but someone who has become an annoying buzz in my ear when I'm juggling 3,847 other duties in my office.
posted by HeyAllie at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

What dnesan said. Leave the poor guy alone.
posted by kestrel251 at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you knew for a fact that he was somewhat bothered by the calls and that it was imperiling your prospects, you could send a letter that acknowledges this but reiterates how this will help you in this, your ideal job. Unfortunately, if he was just thinking how much he likes your assertiveness, doing so may lower his opinion of you (you're a guy who won't stick to his convictions).

The problem is that you have two variables here: you don't know where he stands (or stood) in terms of hiring you and you don't know how he feels about your assertiveness/aggressiveness. You can, however, make a reasonable guess about how he may respond to another call or the lack thereof.

Here's what I would do. Create a simple matrix that shows each scenario (he's planning to hire you but he's annoyed with the calls, he's not planning to hire you and he's not annoyed) and how he's most likely to respond with another contact or not. Then, based on your gut feel, evaluate how likely each one is and see which action on your part seems the surest bet.

Good luck.
posted by robverb at 1:34 PM on November 16, 2009

At this point anything active you try to do will only make matters worse. Don't contact them again.
posted by grouse at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2009

"Just say you're really optimistic about the possibility of working with him, ask if there's any other info you can provide to him..."

If you do this you are providing other info to him! As HeyAllie said, it's the info that you don't listen and are desperate and needy!
posted by crabintheocean at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

An e-mail, a phone call, and another phone call to his manager after your interview?

Stop it.
posted by rokusan at 1:49 PM on November 16, 2009

Use this energy to apply for other jobs.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:56 PM on November 16, 2009

If it makes you feel better, when I was going through the application process for my current job, I contacted my manager several times. It did take her some time to get back to me (my position was one that she didn't have an urgent need to fill), but later after I got the job she said my persistence impressed her.

I don't think you have been too aggressive so far, but at this point I would stop contacting him. Three times is definitely enough, if they want to hire you then that's enough for them to know that you are very motivated. Any more than that will just seem desperate and turn them off. If they don't want to hire you then there's nothing you can do about it and more contacts are not going to help. I think sometimes waiting is so frustrating we just want to do something, but this is a case where you have to sit tight. BobbyDigital has good advice: apply for other jobs, that will diffuse your focus.
posted by weesha at 2:36 PM on November 16, 2009

If anything, you should be annoyed that this guy did a round of interviews and then left for three weeks and gave you no idea of when you'd be hearing from them. I always ask what's the next step. Sometimes the next step is that they're deciding within the week, and if you don't hear from them it means you didn't get the job.

Don't contact him, unless it's to say you have another job offer but would prefer to work for them if they can extend an offer.
posted by xammerboy at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2009

Thanks, all. It stings a little, having to mark some of these, but I believe you have saved me from making the problem any worse. It just sucks, is all. My instinct was that I had fucked up, and it sucks worse feeling that there's nothing I can do at this point to fix it. But if there ain't there ain't.
posted by Diablevert at 2:43 PM on November 16, 2009

You're thinking about it a LOT more than the people doing the interviews are. I'm at a company that is starting up the hiring process for a few positions and I am more involved than I have been in the past but not running things. And I am chomping at the damn bit, because every time in the past I've applied for a job I've been in your shoes WEEKS have gone by between resume submission and final answer and it's killer.

But on the we're-the-ones-hiring side, patience is the winning play. First off, scheduling first round interviews is kind of a pain. They want to make sure that they don't miss any good opportunities so if someone isn't available this week but has potential, well schedule them for next week.

If someone who is fundamental to the hiring process needs to be involved in the second round then there's a whole other raft of meeting-scheduling dodgeball that needs to be played before even contacting candidates to see what their availability is like.

We're in a similar situation here, though only at the resume collection stage. Various people have much too much work (which is why we're hiring) but taking the time to filter the resumes is hard. Plus one of the people fundamental to the hiring process has been gone for the better part of the two weeks since we first posted the job because of a new baby, and the chance of him actually being able to schedule any time this week is basically nil.

I don't think you've crossed any lines yet. Three direct points of contact (plus the additional call) is still on the "really interested" part of the spectrum, not the "won't goddamn shut up" side.
posted by cCranium at 3:20 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

They called me back a couple weeks ago for a second interview, and I ended up getting the gig. Cheers, all.
posted by Diablevert at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yay! Strong work!
posted by palliser at 2:08 PM on December 19, 2009

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