What is the delay on this interview process?
September 12, 2019 9:39 AM   Subscribe

What could cause a delay in job offer/not offer after all of your references have been contacted and praised you highly?

I interviewed on Friday and was told that the process would be fast, and that a candidate would be chosen within a week. On Tuesday they had their board meeting and immediately after that, I heard from all three of my references that they had been contacted. Since then (48 hours ago): nothing. What gives? I've never had this long of a gap between reference check and job offer, and I can't imagine what's going on behind the scenes.

This is a job working for a library/county government, if that matters.
posted by missrachael to Work & Money (11 answers total)
They may have other candidates they are considering and are awaiting their references to make a final decision. Or, they're planning to make you an offer but need to have a meeting to finalize the details of your offer.
posted by waving at 9:45 AM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Could be absolutely anything!
A key decision maker might be out of office, a sign-off has been delayed, HR department might release offers on only on Thursdays afternoons.
Also, are they doing any federal checks on you? Are they setting up fingerprinting appointments or medical screenings?

Don't stress-- a week long process is actually lightening quick in County hiring, IME.
posted by calgirl at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2019 [9 favorites]

So, one unfortunate possibility is that they have offered the position to a different candidate and are waiting for them to officially accept before giving you the bad news.

THAT SAID, even for a position where folks are motivated and the process is moving fast, 48 hours is not that long to wait for the decision-making process, especially in a government setting. It can easily take that long just to schedule a hiring committee meeting, much less have the meeting, in my experience working for a state academic library.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2019 [11 favorites]

In personal experience, I often want to drive processes quickly b/c we're very understaffed, but fall behind in the admin steps to hire for exactly the same reason.
posted by mercredi at 10:00 AM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

48 hours? I have worked for local/state governments for most of my life, including four county library systems, and I've never had that little time elapse between a reference check and offer. Government hiring is just slow. Don't sweat it.
posted by xylothek at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2019 [9 favorites]

Thanks, guys. I guess I've just been lucky - reference check has happened the same day as all of my other job offers. I feel better.
posted by missrachael at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2019

I work in county government. Reference checks are often required as part of the hiring process, not just as a confirmation of hiring. When I've done reference checks, we've had to write them up and send them to our division HR person, who then has to send them to main department HR, who then has to generate an offer letter, which then has to be signed by the division director, when then has to be scanned to the hiring manager, who can then send it out to the applicant. (Assuming it's correct. I once had to do that whole process twice because the offered salary was incorrect.)

"Fast" in government hiring is not the same as "fast" in private hiring!
posted by lazuli at 11:26 AM on September 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

When in doubt, suspect bureaucracy.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:15 PM on September 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

I once experienced a long gap of time during a hiring process (at a library-adjacent job, for what that's worth), and it turns out it was because someone on the hiring committee, my now-manager, had a baby in the middle of it.

+1 to it could be something totally unrelated to the job. I wouldn't sweat it yet.
posted by witchen at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

literally anything. the hiring process is completely opaque by design. short of having the governor intervene, there is nothing to be done until they contact you. put an application in somewhere else. good practice and it will take your mind off this one.
posted by lescour at 6:28 PM on September 12, 2019

Yeah I've never heard of such a fast turnaround between interview and reference check—where I am this process can take six months or more.

Another one which has happened to me more than once is application, aptitude test, interview, reference check, then for budgetary reasons the position is abolished.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

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