Interviews are done. Now what?
September 3, 2014 1:03 AM   Subscribe

When is it appropriate to follow-up with a hiring manager after interviews (and reference checks) have been completed? I did ask for a timeline during the interview and I was told that they would be in touch "soon". The posting stated that they wanted someone to start in early October, when the position becomes vacant.

I applied for a job via email about a month ago. Within 24 hours of sending my resume, I was contacted for an interview, which was held the very next day.

Just over 2 weeks after the first interview, I returned for second interview with the CEO, the hiring manager, and a staff member whom I would supervise in the role that I applied for. The role being filled is the role the hiring manager holds now, he was promoted to the CEO role.

I did ask for a timeline at the interview after being told that the hiring manager would be in touch "soon" and he wasn't able to be more specific than "soon". At that point, I was told that I was the first candidate to complete the second interview. The role will become vacant at the end of the month, so they were hoping to have the position filled by the end of September.

I sent a thank-you email to all three interviewers the day after the email and I got a positive response from the current CEO.

10 days after the interview, the hiring manager called my references, and he spoke to all 3 of them. I spoke directly to two of them and they stated that the calls were positive. I feel confident that all 3 would give positive references.

Now it has been 1 week since my references have been checked.

Do I still have a shot? This is a director-level position in a smaller non-profit agency. It's been awhile since I've looked for a new job and I've never experienced a delay this long after a reference check. As a hiring manager myself, I never check references for anyone other than the final candidate, but I know that is not always the case.

Would it be appropriate to follow-up with an email at this point?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes definitely an email or even a call. Just ask if there is any other information they require from you at this point as you are excited at the prospect of working with them. Something along those lines. They sound like a responsive group when they want to be, so maybe an email is all you need to send but if you don't get a reply within 24 hours then I would definitely call as well.

Are you sure the CEO has final say? Does the appointment have to be approved by a Board or stakeholders like funders or clients? That could be reason for the delay.

It could also be they have 2 or 3 good candidates and are still having trouble deciding amongst themselves who their preferred is. They could be going back and forth amongst themselves trying to come to a decision. That is no reason to keep you in the dark, however.

A worst case scenario is that you are not their preferred candidate at this point and they are waiting for a firm acceptance from the person who is before they give you the bad news. (I hope this is not the case but it is a possibility).

But you have every right to make contact after a week and at least get a progress report. "Soon" is vague and it's been more than soon.

Good luck! And make contact.
posted by evil_esto at 1:43 AM on September 3, 2014

Yes, you are still in the running. But I would wait, actually; at this point, you are either on the cusp of getting an offer, or not. Contacting them at this point without more information (like you have another job offer) might not hurt, but it's not going to help. They could be waiting for a response from candidate #1, they could be preparing paperwork for your offer, or they could be occupied with the business of running a nonprofit.

I recognize that it's hard to wait and it seems like a long time - in my experience as both a hiring manager and a candidate, the period between final interview and offer always takes longer than you think it will (for the job I have now at a small nonprofit, it was six weeks, for my previous job it was at least three - long enough that I had time to interview with another firm). When I hired, offer paperwork always took longer than I hoped because several people needed to sign off, and if they were out of town or in meetings, that was a sticking point.

The main reason I would wait is that much of the hiring process is confidential, so they won't have a lot of details to share with you. But they won't forget to contact you when they've made a decision. Good luck!
posted by deliriouscool at 3:10 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm with deliriouscool -- you already asked, they couldn't tell you, you already did the post-interview follow-up... there's practically nothing you can do now to help yourself and plenty you can do to hurt yourself. Being pushy will hurt.

If you have a reason to ask about the timeline other than "I want to know" (e.g., you have another offer), then call the hiring manager and tell him that. Otherwise, sit on your hands.
posted by Etrigan at 3:29 AM on September 3, 2014

I would just wait. You definitely could be still in the running.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:18 AM on September 3, 2014

You're making a classic job search mistake.

Let me explain.

Everything you described so far sounds like a very positive interview process with an increasing likelihood of getting an offer.


Not only that, but the advantage you have is that you actually know by when they're trying to fill the position, so it's very unlikely that they're going to draw out the process, especially in light of how quickly things have moved for you until now. And it seems like this and your lack of recent job search experience are combining to make you uneasy now that you haven't heard anything for a week and the clock is ticking.

So as others here are saying, yes, you should wait before reaching out again.

However - and I'm hoping that maybe you just left this part out of your description - you should NOT wait to continue job searching.

As positively as things are moving, there is still quite a good chance that you won't be working for them 6 months from now, and the reasons might very well be legitimate (not that it would matter).

The best thing you can do is to continue looking, to line up as many offers as you can get, since that will give you the most leverage in eventual negotiations, take away most of the pressure and increase your chances of getting the best job you can.
posted by jshare at 6:30 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yes, you still have a good shot. If they are checking references, you are very close. It's usually only done after a basic decision to hire is agreed upon.

No, you shouldn't do anything.

Try to be patient, as hard as it is.

The only reason to contact them again is if you have a competitive job offer on the table and want to let them know.

For my last job, the process from first talk to job offer was a six months.
posted by Argyle at 7:44 AM on September 3, 2014

It's been a holiday weekend so they might be catching up on things. I don't see any harm in emailing later next week to restate your enthusiasm for the position and ask if they need any additional information from you.

But they may not be able to update you. I mean, if they are planning to offer you the job but don't have the clearance to do so yet, then they probably won't say, "Yeah, we're going to offer you the job once our CFO approves the salary we want to offer you." They will just say they are still in the process of reviewing candidates or whatever. If they spoke to your references, it seems you are very close to an offer. Usually a reference check is the final step. HR just might have some formalities or they may be getting approval up the chain before extending a formal offer -- and these things tend to take as long as they take.

Either way, if you do opt to check in because you need to know logistically what's going on, I'm not sure I'd contact them this week. Seems a bit too soon after the reference check.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:42 PM on September 3, 2014

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