When do you re-express interest in a job interview?
March 27, 2015 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I received an email from a job I'd applied to a couple of months ago requesting my availability for a phone interview. I responded via email (per their request) the same day with my limited availability. As a healthcare provider, it seems that tight schedules are the norm, but I haven't heard back, four days later. When, if ever, is it appropriate to send a follow-up email?

I received the email four days ago and replied the same day. I gave my schedule for the rest of the weekdays: two days on call, when I couldn't guarantee phone availability, and one day off. I had several appointments scheduled in a small block on my day off, so said I would be free for most of that day, excepting a 3 hour block. I didn't mention anything about the weekend, as the email was from an HR person, and it seemed to be an initial phone interview for screening purposes.

Because it's extremely rare for me to have a weekday off, I couldn't reschedule the appointments I'd made until June. Again, it's not uncommon in my field to have a demanding schedule, so I thought it would be helpful to be explicit in my availability.

However, I am thinking that they took my limited availability as being too high-maintenance or simply not interested in the job. But I am very interested, and wondering if I misstepped in my communication with them. If so, how can I fix it?
posted by stillmoving to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It took them months to get back to you on your initial application? You probably won't get an answer back on your email for days, maybe even weeks.

Some places are just like this. They stink at working with applicants. Unless you really want this particular job, consider it a huge red flag of a dysfunctional organization and find another opening somewhere else.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Send them another email with your availability over the next two weeks. Tell them you are looking forward to speaking with them. If you can get a phone number for the person that emailed, later next week, call them. Open with, "I am not sure you received my email."
posted by 724A at 5:48 PM on March 27, 2015

What probably happened is they went with someone else, went through the following rounds, and for whatever reason that person declined the offer. Now the employer needs to reach out to other candidates.

Maybe after a week from your initial e-mail you can gently ping them, but I'd leave it at one follow-up if they don't respond. Hiring takes a humongous amount of time and events like the first candidate bailing at the last minute waste everyone's time. There can be internal holdups in getting the authorization from above to increase headcount or whatever. It's also why employers tend to be non-communicative - because imagine if they had just rejected everyone else outright in the beginning, now they would be back to square one and need to put up a job posting and conduct a search again.
posted by karakumy at 5:55 PM on March 27, 2015

Recruiters, in my experience, are doing a lot at once and it can be an entry-level position so they aren't always the most organized either. I would be surprised if they looked at your schedule and thought it was a problem. I mean, you are currently employed and they realize you need to squeeze in interviews around work. I imagine the recruiter just has other balls in the air and hasn't looked at scheduling it yet. Four days with no response isn't that unusual to me. If your availability covered the next week or so, I would wait until after that and then reach out again.

In my experience also, the first step phone screen and dealings with the recruiter aren't necessarily reflective of the organization as a whole. It's only reflective of how well that one person does his or her job. Wait to interview one of the people you'd actually be working with before you write off an entire company.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:30 PM on March 27, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. I have a bit of inside knowledge about the company and the job: when applied, it was after they had made a couple of inside hires already, and they just now re-posted the search for outside hires--this is the position I am being considered for.
posted by stillmoving at 9:08 PM on March 27, 2015

Don't know much about your industry, but when I was younger I got several jobs solely because I was the person who was coming around the most often and reminding them of my existence. They could tell I was really interested, and I was the easiest person to hire, so they gave the job to me. So there could definitely be advantages to sticking your neck out and making sure folks are still thinking about you.
posted by sam_harms at 3:20 AM on March 28, 2015

One week.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:54 AM on March 29, 2015

Given how long it's been since you asked, this may no longer be relevant but I had a similar experience earlier this year. I had applied for a job in January on the recommendation of a friend who has a family member working in the organization (it's in Education, if that matters). Two weeks later, found out that the job had been filled (but it was still on the website).

Two months later (March) I got an email about an anticipated opening, they wanted to do a phone interview. Each time I responded within 24 hours (often less) with my availability. In my case, I was only working part-time (20 hours/week) so I had a fairly open schedule. All-in-all, it took about three weeks to schedule the first phone interview.

I did a second interview about a two weeks later (this was now in April), only this interview was on-site. A week after the interview a hiring decision was made. I received another email to schedule another phone call, where an offer was made. I accepted and started the first week of May. I realize that this is purely anecdotal, but I think cautious optimism is called for in these situations.

I did not really do anything special for follow-up, except to include something like this in the second email with availability: "if none of these times work for you, please let me know when you are available so that I may try to work around your schedule" (e.g. schedule a break/lunch or potentially trade shifts with someone). I think this shows that you are genuinely interest in the position and your willingness to be a team player.

TL;DR version It may not have been something that you did. It could just be that there's something going which prevents them from responding right away. I would suggest remaining cautiously optimistic about the job, but don't let that stop you from applying for other equally appealing positions.
posted by initiavit at 10:07 AM on May 26, 2015

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