Etiquette regarding followups after an interview? Found an awesome job, but don't want to seem pushy.
February 1, 2012 7:36 AM   Subscribe

I found a job that I would really like to get, but the company is being slow in making a decision.

I was interviewed a month ago via phone for a job that I am (honestly) not 100% qualified for, but I think I could rock it given the chance.

I live in southern California, an hour or so away from where the job is located.

My main two detractors (as I see it) are: a) the job involves some cold call selling, which I only have some limited experience with, b) I don't live near the job. However, I do have eight years of other sales experience (including over the phone, but not cold call specific) and am willing to relocate if I get this. I know the products the company is selling, have a track record of being an excellent employee, and I'm a quick learner.

I also tried to communicate these things in my cover letter.

I was told after the phone interview (with the head of sales) that they'd try to get back to me within the week. This didn't happen so I wrote a (polite) follow up e-mail. When I didn't get a response to that after a few days, I made a phone call. I was told then that my resume was with HR and that they were still collecting potential applicants, but that they'd be in touch if anything changed.

That was a week ago. I sent a thank you card expressing my gratitude for the interview & further consideration as well as for his time on the phone and in our e-mails.

My question is: do I keep following up? If so, how & how often? Or should I let things happen? I would love to have this job & want to continue to show my interest, but I don't want to seem needy* or turn them off to me.

Thank you in advance for any helpful advice!

*I am going on 2 years unemployed, out of unemployment benefits, and running out of money. So, it's hard not to stress out about this kind of thing.
posted by digitaldraco to Work & Money (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, it sounds like you did not get the job and they're just making sure they have a Plan B in place.

That being said, unless they specifically asked you to not contact them, regular follow-ups have never cost someone a job. Not following up has. In fact, I've known a few employers -- whose quality I can't attest to, but still -- who wouldn't hire someone who did not take the initiative to repeatedly ask for updates.
posted by griphus at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: A month is not an unusually long time for a company to take in making a hiring decision. It sucks for the candidates, but if they have a ton of applications and are busy, this simply isn't their highest priority, and so it gets delayed. It's not nice of them to promise you a response and then not have one, but it's also not unusual for companies to underestimate how long the hiring process will take. You've already done all of the right things, and if you do much more, you risk being labeled as annoying or pushy, which will hurt your chances of getting the job. You may not get this job, and it's never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. Keep applying for other jobs, and if you hear back from this one, it'll be a nice surprise at some unspecified time in the future.
posted by decathecting at 7:42 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sorry for your predicament. I was out for 6 months, and can imagine how hard it is on you at this moment. But you definitely want to pull back and not be needy, or appear desperate (even though I know you are!). In difference to griphus - 'regular follow ups' needs to be defined... weekly is going to be annoying. Getting in touch with your original HR or headhunter contact every couple of weeks, though, wouldn't be *too* bad depending on the feedback you get.

there could be many things going on, but you'll never know for sure. It could be a brush-off, it could be they had a hiring freeze, it could be they are just slow.

Do you know *anyone* in the company personally? Or anyone who deals with the company as a client? Those are paths you could pursue, asking them to inquire on your behalf in a "Hey, my buddy interviewed here and said he hadn't heard anything back. You know what's going on?" adding; I'd totally buy from him (if a client) or I'd totally recommend him ( if a friend).
posted by rich at 7:44 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

In difference to griphus - 'regular follow ups' needs to be defined... weekly is going to be annoying.

Just to clarify, by "regularly" I meant "weekly at most."
posted by griphus at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2012

Anecdata: The last job I got, I called every few days to "check on my application." One day, I called after another interview, and said that I'd just interviewed at X, but I'd really prefer to work at Z. They asked me to come in right then and gave me a job offer.

I think it's worth calling them again.
posted by ThisKindNepenthe at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2012

A month is not a particularly long time. If it were only up to the hiring manager, sure, but the wheels of administration can move sloooowwwwllllllllly.

Try to follow up with the hiring manager.
posted by desuetude at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

the job involves some cold call selling, which I only have some limited experience with

an hour or so away from where the job is located

While some companies do move slowly in their hiring process, these two elements probably go the furthest to explain why you haven't felt more love from these folks.
posted by John Borrowman at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: The answer is a question of balance...

-Show the chutzpah to stay top of mind and remind them that you are a persistent, tenacious mofo who will treat potential victims/targets/leads the same way
-Show the restraint that respects that these people have other things going on (just as your future leads will) but remind them how important it is to bring on quality talent (or buy your wares)

Once a week is not terribly unreasonable. But not "I am poor and waiting for you, my only hope to give me pity employment"... rather "I am checking in to see if there is anything else you need or want to make progress on this decision."

Top of mind but not a pain in the ass. If they are truly busy, you will be the one that keeps bubbling to the top when all the worried and timid people are waiting their month. Even if you get a "no" (which will not be caused by this behavior) at least you will have more time and mental bandwidth to work on something else.

Good luck!
posted by milqman at 12:09 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

milqman hits the nail on the head.

By the way, in some sales oriented environments (Wall Street comes to mind), it is routine to treat potential sales hires with a bit of rudeness. They will, as a matter of course, tell prospects that they'll call them in a week, or whatever, and then fail to do so. They do this because they are used to treating subordinates (and other people they think they control) this way. They also do it to see how much chutzpah the prospects have. A call per week is not too much: it demonstrates interest and persistence. Calling every day, well, that would turn most -- but not all -- off. I recommend a call once a week.
posted by cool breeze at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2012

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