How can I get this seemingly interested employer to actually hire me?
December 21, 2013 12:46 PM   Subscribe

How can I get this seemingly interested employer to actually hire me?

One of my jobs is as an audiobook narrator. I've been doing it for several years. In the past couple of years, however, work has gotten scarcer and wages have gone down. I feel I need to make a move now to up my earnings; we've had a rough year financially and have had to burn through a good deal of our savings, and because I feel I need to look honestly now at whether or not I can rely on this as a career after my son's out of diapers and into school.

Anyway, I sent some current demo tracks and an updated resume last month to a major producing studio and got an interview. I can make at this studio in three months what it normally takes me a year to earn. This is the second time I've interviewed with this particular studio, actually; the first time, a friend of mine recommended me to the hiring manager/senior producer (the same person), I was called in, and they were very enthusiastic about my work. They told me in the interview that they had work for me and to be on the lookout for a call. They told my friend that day that the interview had gone well and that they had work for me. I was told to follow-up if I hadn't heard from them in a couple of weeks. Well, long story short, nothing came of it. I followed up three times in the six months following the interview and was finally sent a terse, one-line reply from said hiring manager: "if I have work for you, i'll call you".

So I let it go and kept working with other folks.

Well, because of our rough year, I decided to bite the bullet and try again with this studio. I figured I have nothing to lose. I've tripled the number of titles on my resume since I initially interviewed with them and won some awards, this kind of thing. So, as I said, I sent my materials, got the call, and went for the interview.

The interview goes well; the same hiring manager gushes over me, "Where have you been?!", etc. They seem to have no recollection of our previous meeting at all or, at least, behave as if they do not. They go into great detail about how their studio works, what they have to offer, what kind of work they see me doing, what kind of money they have to offer, what kind of schedule they could do to accommodate my childcare needs, just on and on. There is mention made of benefits and perks. The meeting is reminiscent of the first meeting I had with them of a couple of years back in terms of overall tone, but different in that specifics that I would expect an employer to discuss with a new hire are put on the table. The hiring manager walks me out and says he'll call within the week. Says to follow-up if I haven't heard from him that week. I leave feeling guardedly optimistic but encouraged.

I hear nothing.

I drop the hiring manager a cordial e-mail ten days later. No response.

So. What do you think? Are the holidays to blame? Or have I been mislead? And what do I do, if anything? Let's say you're me, it's the second week of January, and you still haven't heard from these people. Do you send a New Year's note? Do you call? Do you write an e-mail? If you do reach out, what do you say? Or do you go back to the drawing board?

posted by TryTheTilapia to Work & Money (5 answers total)
The holidays could definitely be a factor. On 10 Jan, I would drop the guy a note reminding him of the great meeting you had, the fact that he had been impressed with (insert your 2-3main selling points here) and saying that you are available and excited about the prospect of working with his company.

But, I would also keep on looking,since this kind of treatment of a potential employee is a yellow flag at best. The guy could just be a huge flake.
posted by rpfields at 12:58 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is someone who doesn't know how to manage telling someone they would love to hire but just can't. It's a skill that some business owners have to learn, in the meantime they act super enthusiastic and cordial to people looking for work and get people's hopes up unnecessarily. I would take this with a grain of salt, maybe something will pan out, maybe not. Definitely keep looking for other work.

Reach out Monday, January 6th and ask for a deadline by Friday, January 10th for a yes/no, say you have another offer on the table and need to know by the 10th or you'll accept the other offer.

Based on your experiences I do not think they will be forthright with a definite no. If you hear nothing back it's a no. If you hear back a wishy washy maybe, it's a no. If you hear back a yes without an actual hire date it's a no. If you get an offer letter to sign its a maybe until you start and get an actual paycheck.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:10 PM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

An interview (and interviewer) like that is how my husband and I moved out of state for a radio gig that didn't actually exist. Despite being told that it was there and he could start work within a week of our arrival. I suspect there is no real desire to hire you.
posted by PussKillian at 2:17 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've done some freelance work and this kind of interview filled with enthusiasm and "Oh, we need people!" attitude is immediately contrasted with...crickets. Either they found someone else who was simply more convenient, cheaper, something like that. Or the work they thought they were getting actually dried up, and hence no reason to call you. Or maybe they're just flakes, and in the interview just do a blanket schmooze-fest with every applicant to get potential employees excited about working there (or something).

I always have to get into a mantra in my head while interviewing: "this person may be nice and friendly, but s/he is not a friend." In other words, I try not to get too excited about interviews that go well, because a good -- or even great -- interview can be meaningless in and of itself.
posted by zardoz at 4:53 PM on December 21, 2013

Based on your conversation and how specific it was, I would call. You sent an email already, so maybe you can wait until after the holidays, but I would try to speak to that person again and be direct in asking about a decision time frame. It's fair to want to know how long it will take so they don't jerk you around, and it makes you sound serious about the negotiations too. If you think you can get away with lying and saying you have other gigs in the hopper and you need to know within x amount of time, you can do that. It might force them to pull the trigger. I just wouldn't say that if they will be able to find out it blatantly was never true. But this studio does sound flaky, which is why asking directly and speaking with them seems preferable to just sitting around and hoping to hear back from an easily-ignored email.

Is it possible they do hiring on a rolling per-gig basis? Or is it a typical, "you got the job" or "you didn't" scenario? If it's the former, I'd be careful about closing the door on them reaching out in the future by making it sound like you'll have other obligations that would prevent you from doing contract work with them. So just consider that, maybe. If it's a typical hiring scenario, seems you want to nudge them toward bringing you on board and be done with it.

I'd also be a little suspicious of how poorly they are communicating with you -- maybe it's different once you're on board, but it might be exactly how things go there, which will be frustrating, You have a great resume, so keep networking and looking around. And what an interesting job to have, I must say. I bet it's a conversation starter at parties, haha.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:42 PM on December 21, 2013

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