Next steps = Job offer?
January 2, 2013 11:09 PM   Subscribe

I went through four job interviews with one company last month. According to Human Resources the results for the latest interview with the COO were positive and he was just waiting for next steps -- that was two weeks ago. How and when should I follow up with regard to my job application, and do the "next steps" mean job offer, based on the feedback?

The weekend after my initial follow-up, the decision-maker with regard to my hiring (my possibly-soon-to-be superior, in this case) responded to my thank-you email (that had been nearly a month old by the time she responded) by saying that I should receive word from the HR associate regarding "next steps" within the next week.
However, on that week I still haven't heard anything from the company, and when I followed up with the HR associate again, he apologized by saying that he still hasn't received the next steps yet, and attributed it to "vacation mode" (this was just before Christmas break).

It's January now and I'm getting anxious... I got myself through Christmas break, thinking that they're just way too busy at the end of the year to think about new hires (but they were asking me how soon I could start, and they were hinting at early January). I don't know if I should follow up with the HR associate again or the hiring decision-maker, or when I should, because I think my multiple follow-ups might come across as a nuisance.

Bonus question:
What does it mean for me to have had an interview with a COO officer, considering that I was just applying for an entry-level position? Is that a good sign, or does it mean they might not have been too sure about me so they passed on my application to the next level?

Thanks all. I appreciate the advice.
posted by drea to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Two weeks ago was before Christmas and New Year's -- there might have been two or three business days in that span if you're lucky. It sounds like your contact is just waiting on paperwork; I'd say give them another week to work through the vacation backlog.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:55 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't put your eggs in one basket; don't stop looking/interviewing. For what it's worth, after four interviews it doesn't sound like anything about you is what's slowing this down, but that by no means says that you're a shoe-in if they get their stuff together. I once went through something similar with a fairly well-known company in my line of work and they wound up simply going silent and never actually telling me what was up. Keep your momentum up, keep applying and/or sending out resumes. Right now you're at your interviewing best.
posted by rhizome at 12:20 AM on January 3, 2013

It's January 3d. People have really only been back at work for one day at this point. Some may not even be back yet, given that New Year's fell on a Tuesday and many schools don't start until today. Most of corporate America basically shuts down between Thanksgiving and New Year's, as so many people are on vacation for so much of that time. I was offered an interview three weeks ago, but HR hasn't even gotten around to processing the job listing.

If you don't hear anything by next Wednesday, send a tickler email.

As to the bonus question: impossible to know. Different companies run their organizational structures differently. I had a job a few years ago where I worked an entry-level position but was about two steps removed from the president of the company and regularly attended meetings with most of the VPs. But I've also worked several jobs where I couldn't have picked anyone from the C-suite out of a lineup. And I know of a different company where the head of a particular department gets to be part of the hiring process for every job in the company, regardless of the position, because that department is viewed as being a defining part of the organizational ethos. Without knowing what company we're talking about--which is something you shouldn't reveal here--there's really no concrete advice that can be given.

I would say though that handing applications on to executives happens in one of two scenarios. Either they do it for everyone, or they do it for likely candidates. If they're not sure about someone, they're unlikely to pass that person's name up the chain.
posted by valkyryn at 2:12 AM on January 3, 2013

In my experience (as prospective employee and employer), repeated requests for updates come across as enthusiasm and not a nuisance.

In all likelihood, they want to get back to you and know they need to and feel guilty for not having done so. I would suggest a short note to say happy new year and you know they're busy but you look forward to hearing from them as soon as they have time to update you.

Good luck!!
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 6:20 AM on January 3, 2013

A company (6,000 employees), I worked for would often take about a month to actually hire the person for the position. This was when they really loved the person and was very anxious to fill the position. If they weren't in a hurry, the hiring process could take six weeks or more.

Hang in there, but keep your options open as advised above.
posted by JujuB at 8:50 AM on January 3, 2013

Almost everyone I work with was out from 12/21 until yesterday, and about 30% took this entire week off.
posted by salvia at 8:07 PM on January 3, 2013

Yeah, my limited experience is that this is not a good time of year for expediency in HR matters. I was in the same situation when I got my current job, and while I was pretty much assured to have the job and interviewed before Christmas, I didn't actually get a start date until Jan 18th.

Keep looking, if only to pass the time and hedge your bets, and just let them go through their process.

(As for the COO level interview- I doubt they would have a process where they pass on questionable candidates to higher levels of management. That seems like a waste of time and resources. It seems more normal to have candidates meet with higher levels of management only if they are good candidates. So I wouldn't worry about that as a bad sign.)
posted by gjc at 5:19 AM on January 4, 2013

« Older Seattle power?   |   Help get a damaged kiteboard kite back in the air Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.