How much follow-up is too much after an interview?
November 27, 2018 1:04 PM   Subscribe

It's been a month and a half since they initially told me they'd let me know. When do I call it and know I didn't get the job, and should I send another follow-up?

I need a job! I also get very stressy about the job application process so I'm hoping you can help crafting my follow-up for this particular job. Here's the timeline:

Mid-September: Phone interview
Early October: First in-person interview
Third week of October: second in-person interview (the last interview in the process according to them). They say they'll let me know by the end of October. This was a really great interview.
First week of November: Hadn't heard back so I followed up. They say they loved meeting me, hiring is taking longer than expected, they'll let me know by the end of that week. Have not been in contact since.
Now: The last interview went so well that I kept thinking they were going to contact me and offer me the job, but that didn't happen so I'm mostly assuming I didn't get it. I haven't heard anything. Do I follow up again? I hate this open-endedness.

If I should follow up, what should I say? They've already gotten thank-you notes for each interview plus my follow-up email at the beginning of the month, so I don't have much to add. Haven't found a consensus on this on the Internet. I just want to check it off my mental list OR know I'll have a job soon!
posted by c'mon sea legs to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
November is a hell month, especially with the holiday being early this year. I'd say give them until the first/second week of December to get back to speed and reach out again if you haven't heard by then.
posted by General Malaise at 1:06 PM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think it's safe to assume you didn't get the job. Generally, if a company is interested in you, they will work quickly to get you an offer. Most companies also don't engage in telling candidates when they haven't gotten a role, because that could open up a lot of unnecessary further communication from the rejected candidate.

You could wait a week or two into December to hear back and then follow up, but I don't think that what you've described is a timeline typical for a chosen candidate.
posted by Everydayville at 1:10 PM on November 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

There's no hard-and fast rule. I once got a job offer almost an entire year after I'd last interviewed. But missing multiple deadlines they gave you is a sign that you're out of the running. I think some HR people think it's nicer or easier to string applicants along instead of telling them straight up that they didn't get the job, and it sounds to me like that's what they're doing to you. (I hope I'm wrong.)

It's been several weeks now. There's no harm in reaching out again. Specifically remind them that they missed the deadline. It's a real pet peeve of mine.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:11 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

> they'll let me know by the end of that week

That's corporate code for "if you don't hear from us by the end of the week, please reach out". Based on what you've said it's totally appropriate for you to reach out and say hello, what's up, etc.

Best case scenario is it fell through the cracks and they'll appreciate your ability to follow up on stuff. i.e. it reflects positively on you and you stand out if there's still a "who should we hire" decision to be made. Worst case is they weren't intending on hiring you and they -- still won't hire you? Or that they're unreasonable people who fly into a rage if someone contacts them so you -- dodged a bullet?

Don't be shy, say hello!
posted by alan at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

It's impossible to say, but in my experience the next thing I would expect to receive after this sequence of events would be an automated "we're hiring someone else" email from their HR system, after a few more weeks.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ask A Manager always says, in cases like this, just assume you didn't get it and keep job hunting. You've already followed up, they know you're waiting to hear from them. Could be they hired someone else and didn't let you know. Could be the process is just taking way longer than they expected. It sucks, but keep looking.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2018 [7 favorites]

Sorry you're dealing with that. I don't think you can interpret their silence either way--it's totally possible that they're behind because of the holidays, or they've made an offer to someone else who hasn't answered yet, etc. I do think it's not a great sign of how a company is run when they handle communication this way. I wouldn't follow up at this point. Just keep applying for other jobs.
posted by pinochiette at 1:28 PM on November 27, 2018

In my experience, this means that they've offered the job to somebody else, but they want to wait until the hire is official before they tell you no. Basically you're their second choice and they're stringing you along until they know for sure they don't need you. I would keep looking, and not bother following up with them!
posted by scalar_implicature at 1:30 PM on November 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

I agree that it doesn't sound great and I would assume I'm out of the running at this point, but I would still reach out one more time to make sure. I think now is actually the perfect time; you can say you hope they had a great holiday and wanted to follow up on their final decision for Job X.

I once came in second for a job I desperately wanted and the company took FOR-FREAKING-EVER to tell me the bad news, because they wanted the offer fully finalized with their first choice candidate before telling everyone else no. That could be happening here.

(As it turned out, their choice of hire ended up flaming out in spectacular fashion two weeks into the job and I ended up getting it instead. Ha! For that reason alone, I always keep a glimmer of hope alive and do consider it worth my time to keep following up and reiterating to the company how much I'd like to be kept in mind for future openings even if that particular one didn't work out. And then I force myself to move on with hunt.)
posted by anderjen at 1:36 PM on November 27, 2018 [13 favorites]

I'd reach out one more time, in mid-December. I agree that some places are just super slow, especially this time of year. What could it hurt?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:49 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am amazed at how many employers Just Don't Bother to let anyone know that they didn't get the job. It's hella rude and unacceptable. It makes me way more likely to treat employers as casually as they treat employees.

I would assume you didn't get the job and keep looking. And keep in mind that You Deserve Respect.
posted by theora55 at 2:16 PM on November 27, 2018 [7 favorites]

My employer has done this - interview someone and then get back to them 10-12 weeks later with an offer. Then they're surprised when the good candidates have found other jobs, because most people don't want to wait that long.

I agree that you might be second choice and they are waiting to make sure things work out with their first choice candidate. I don't think you have anything to lose by reaching out politely one more time, but in your shoes I would keep job hunting.
posted by beandip at 2:21 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

With my current job, which was pretty much mine to take from the beginning, it still took about 3 months from the time I was approached about it until I actually got the offer.

I also interviewed for one job in late October and didn't get the offer until January.

Now, both of those were jobs I got through networking situations so I understand this may be different. But I would keep moving forward -- looking and interviewing -- and if this one comes through, great.

(I feel like places have gotten better at saying no too many of places still don't. I've gone on so many interviews and then just never heard anything ever again.)
posted by darksong at 2:53 PM on November 27, 2018

If this is a biggish company, a month in the process is the equivalent of pocket change. It may mean a lot to you, but in the grand scheme of a large organization, its just a blip - multiple weeks can easily go just due to vacations, slow email responses, other priorities, trying to align decision makers, one person simply forgets to follow up on something, etc etc etc. Ideally they'd be organized enough to have processes in place to let you know, but, well... Also, this time of year is notoriously slow for hiring. Maybe ping them again early in the new year, just to let them know you're still available and interested.

At this point however, I would agree you should be actively continuing your hunt. In fact, I would hope you never stopped. If you hear back, its now a pleasant surprise.
posted by cgg at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd wait another week in case Thanksgiving threw them off again and then try again. I would keep looking for jobs and expect they have offered or are in the process of offering to another candidate, but I wouldn't just assume.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:43 AM on November 28, 2018

I agree with cgg, things can take forever. I wouldn't bother reaching out, though. The answer will either be "no" or "not decided yet" (if it were a "yes", you'd have heard) and in either case you'll keep job hunting, right? So...just keep job hunting instead.
posted by sunflower16 at 3:18 AM on November 28, 2018

I have gone through a few rounds of job hunting in the last 3 years and it is sadly very common for employers to just ghost. One place I had a great in-person interview after a phone interview and then never heard from them again. Another place I got a letter over a month later. I think if they were interested in making an offer you would be hearing some kind of update from them. Best case is you are their second choice and they are waiting to hear back from another candidate.

If I were you I would send another email this Thursday or Friday saying that you hope they had a nice holiday, and you are still very interested in the position and are looking forward to hearing from them.

Also keep applying to other jobs.
posted by apricot at 6:38 AM on November 28, 2018

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