Why have I not been hired? Or at least told I wont be...
May 19, 2008 1:34 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to handle an internship or job situation where you have applied, interviewed 2 or more times for the position, then do not get a call back from the company? Catch, I have not been rejected, their HR staff is simply not on the ball, they have hired nobody for this position as of yet.

I am a college student, looking for relevant job experience before I graduate. At a career fair a couple months ago, I ran across this company that is hiring for 2 separate positions.

The first was a competitive and more valuable experience-wise internship in my field of interest. The second was more a data entry, scanning, computer job where they were hiring multiple people and it was on the fringes of my field of interest.

I initiated the interview process with the clear intention of applying for the better internship, then dropping down to the data entry position if I did not make it. It was competitive after all.

I went through two rounds of interviews and ended up speaking with four different managers/employees after an entire afternoon spent at the company.

Fast forward over 2 weeks later (11 business days) and I have heard zero from the company since I sent a followup email thanking them for seeing me.

I heard through a friend that works there they hired someone for the competitive internship and did not let me know, but the data entry job is unfilled and I am an extremely qualified candidate. It seems the person in charge of hiring is notoriously lazy and has not gotten around to either letting me know I did not make the first internship OR hiring me or anyone else for the data entry job.

What I would like to know is what is the best way to email her and tell her to get off her ass. Ideally it would seem gently reminding but I would certainly like there to be some reproachful context.

If I had any other leads or opportunities for work this summer I would have written this whole deal off long ago, but unfortunately economic and other factors have lead to a dearth of available options.

What do you think mefi, how can I get through to her to both goad her into hiring someone, anyone, and also maybe make her feel like she should not be doing this to people in the future.

Thank you so much in advance!
posted by atlman to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In the recnet past I've had a long wait for a reply from a potential employer after an email, followed by them emailing me annoyed that I hadn't contacted them, and apparently *everyone* sends a follow up interview after an email, so it is possible that they are waiting for you.

* In the end I didn't take that job, in part because I found the whole "why didn't you contact us?" thing a little weird and demanding, as well as other tip-offs that they might be a little flakey.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on May 19, 2008

Call 'em!

"Hi, this is atlman. I interviewed for Yadda Yadda position a couple of weeks ago. Wanted to know if you've made a decision on the position. Thanks."

That kind of nudge is far from uncommon in job-hunting.

Don't try to be reproachful.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:44 PM on May 19, 2008

what is the best way to email her and tell her to get off her ass.

There's really no best way to do this. If she's overloaded, your email becomes just another item in the inbox to be dealt with, and you risk being branded a pest rather than waiting for the next contact to come from them.

Another possibility is that they have, in fact, selected a candidate and are in the process of communication over making an offer, negotiating, and perhaps even moving to the next candidate if the first didn't pan out. That can always take up a few days.

Finally, though it is of course the best practice after having had an interview, not every company will send rejection letters all the time.

But you can write if you really need to know (don't call, it could be awkward and could interrupt the person at the wrong time). I'd try phrasing it very simply:

"Dear HR Person:
I very much enjoyed interviewing at your company on the 8th and am still very interested in the position. If possible, can you please let me know when I might expect to hear about the outcome of the interview? I'd be very happy to speak with you again or forward additional information if it would be helpful. Thank you very much for your time."

Good luck. If you can identify other options you might want to start cultivating them now so you aren't beholden to this one person's actions.
posted by Miko at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2008

Whenever I leave an interview, I always ask "When can I expect to hear from you next?" If they say "In about a week" and I don't hear from them for 10 or more days, I call.

In this situation, I think it's ok to contact the person you interviewed with and just ask them if any decisions have been made in the hiring process. I can't imagine a situation where they'd be intent on hiring you, but then because you called for a status update they would decide to go with someone else. If the person you call says "I'll have to get back to you on that" I would respond with "No problem, can you please let me know when I can expect to hear back from you?" just so your expectations are set.

As for "make her feel like she should not do this to people in the future" I don't know how big of a stink you want to make about this. Sometimes people get busy, etc.

Also, if you have a phone #, I'd call them, rather than email them. Just my $0.02.

Good luck!
posted by xotis at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2008

This has been great advice, thank you so much all for being the voices of reason. What I should have made a little clearer from the beginning is not that the HR person is busy with work, but it seems more she is busy with her personal life (a wedding) at work.

Any further advice will also be appreciated.
posted by atlman at 1:57 PM on May 19, 2008

As for "make her feel like she should not do this to people in the future" I don't know how big of a stink you want to make about this. Sometimes people get busy, etc.

Don't make an issue over this at all, as you would be insulting the person who makes the decision whether to hire/fire you.

If you were exceptionally well qualified, or the position was very important, they would have got in touch with you already. The other possibility is that the person in charge of hiring you is incompetent, in which case you should not accept the job in the first place.

Rejection letters/calls are a courtesy, not a requirement.
posted by meowzilla at 1:58 PM on May 19, 2008

Yeah, just be persistent but unfailingly friendly. The key thing you have here is the person's laziness, which means that she probably doesn't want to have to make any kind of time-consuming decision. If you're persistent and keep sending follow-up e-mails, she may pick you for the job simply because she remembers you're there.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:01 PM on May 19, 2008

Did you interview with anyone else besides the HR person, like your potential supervisor? I would recommed calling him or her directly and bypassing HR, if possible. "Hi, you may recall that I came in to interview last week. I'm still interested in the job but haven't heard back yet. Do you know if any decisions have been made?"

Be persistent (in an enthusiatic way), but be sure to keep it polite and friendly. No offense, but you sound a little bit judgy...maybe she is ignoring her job due to her personal life, but that's a big assumption to make and you won't do yourself any favors by bringing it up. So be careful to keep your tone professional and upbeat in all of your communications.
posted by emd3737 at 2:18 PM on May 19, 2008

Another possibility is that this firm is not on the ball, and you might want to rethink an internship there. Inasmuch as an internship is resume-building, what's to say they won't pull this crap when prospective employers call them or when you need them to write you a letter of recommendation?
posted by nax at 2:21 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

What I would like to know is what is the best way to email her and tell her to get off her ass. Ideally it would seem gently reminding but I would certainly like there to be some reproachful context.

Don't be such an ass. That kind of attitude is almost guaranteed to lose you the position even if you were being considered (if the person you're emailing has any say in the decision). You need them a lot more than they need you, you should be respectful to this person (you should be respectful to everyone, regardless of how you think they've treated you, but especially when you want this person to do something for you)

11 business days isn't that long, did you ask or did they indicate when they would be making a decision? As Miko suggests it could be that the candidate they have selected hasn't got back to them yet with a decision.
Have you considered that you might not have been the last person they interviewed, if they're taking half a day on each applicant it could take a while to get through everybody - just because its 11 days since they interviewed you, doesn't mean its 11 days since they finished the interview process.
posted by missmagenta at 2:45 PM on May 19, 2008

You know you guys are right. It seems to me I have been getting a little bitter :/ Seeing as this is my last opportunity of the summer before I resort to flipping burgers I guess I am just feeling the pressure.

Thanks for setting me straight.
posted by atlman at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

In my last few years of experience, I'd say that employers getting back to you (like they should) runs at about 50 percent. About half will get back to you, about half won't. If I haven't heard back after x + 5 or so days, where x is the number of days after which they said they'd let you know, I call or e-mail to see what's going on. I can't put my life on hold for some HR person who's too timid or lazy to do the job they were hired to do.

It's okay to be pissed off, but as everyone else says, generally not a good idea to express it.

(Oh, and in a perfect world, you'd be able to bill them for the time you spent on all this. What is the deal with the four-hour interview marathons these days? Don't these people have businesses to run?)
posted by gimonca at 4:33 PM on May 19, 2008

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