How to Respond to a Company That Hasn’t Contacted You Since Your Interview

Deb completed the interview process at ValuCo to be the next Senior Data Computing Coordinator. She had several phone interviews with different managers before coming in for a pair of face-to-face interviews with the team. Her last interview was Friday, and it seemed to go really well. Everyone shook her hand and told her they would be in touch next week with a decision. Joan, the VP of Operations, walked her out to the lobby and while chatting casually, the two even came to the realization that they knew someone in common: Deb’s ex-brother-in-law Murton is Joan’s neighborhood association treasurer! What are the odds?! Small world indeed. Deb went home on top of the world. She immediately wrote a “thank you” note to ValuCo for having her. Her long job search was likely over!

That was last Friday. And now it’s Thursday.

When Monday came and went without word back, she didn’t think much of it. When Tuesday came and went, she began to get a little anxious. But then Wednesday came and went without word, and she legitimately began to panic. And now it’s 3pm on Thursday and still not a peep. Deb is losing her freaking mind.

Technically, it’s still within the boundaries of the vague timeline she was given. But when they said “next week” she assumed it would early in the week, not late. The last few days have seemed to crawl by slower than ever. All sorts of scenarios are flying through her head. “Did they forget about me? Was there a better candidate? Did I miss a call? Do they expect me to reach back out to them?”

“If they really liked me and wanted to hire me, why aren’t they more eager to reach out with the offer?” she asks herself. She considers many possibilities.

  • While it appeared that she was the lone candidate left standing, she could be wrong. Maybe there were a half-dozen other candidates just like her all interviewing that day, and now they are working to pick someone.
  • While it’s front-of-mind for Deb, it may be an afterthought for the company. “Hey, what are we thinking about that dunce we brought in for the Data job last week, guys?” “Huh? Who?” “Uhh, Deborah Tittsworth, she interviewed Friday.” “Oh, I don’t know. I kinda forgot about that.”
  • Deb was warned it was a fast-paced work environment, and come to think of it, it is November. People are probably just swamped getting ready for the big holiday push.
  • Perhaps ValuCo is doing its due diligence and doing background checks and checking references. These things can take time.
  • A formal offer may take a while to actually write up.
  • Maybe the interview didn’t go as well as she envisioned. She begins replaying the whole thing in her mind.
  • Maybe it was that dumb casual chat with Joan on the way out that cost her. Ugh, she never should have mentioned that she knew Murton. He’s a horrible person!
  • Somehow Deb missed the call or email. Maybe they got her email wrong and sent it to someone else and they’ll never catch the mistake!
  • Maybe there is a virus going around the office and everyone has been out sick all week.
  • Deb reviews her resume and realized she indented a bullet further than the others. That attention to detail is important in her job, and may have caused the team to cool off.
  • Uh-oh. Facebook! One of her friends tagged her in pictures from the bar Saturday night! Surely ValuCo saw those.
  • Worst of all, there is the possibility that a new candidate emerged at the 11th hour, moments before the formal offer was to be sent over. “Hey, Joan, you didn’t send that offer out to Deb yet did you?” “I was literally about to click Send. Why?” “We just discovered a new candidate you have to see first.”

Regardless why she hasn’t heard back yet, Deb needs closure now. She simply can’t sit around the house another day without knowing. She’s making herself crazy. What can Deb do?

  • Deb could just go on with her life. Put it out of mind and move on with other job applications. If it turns out she in fact isn’t getting hired, she doesn’t want to lose four valuable days of searching.
  • Deb could snoop around online and try to dig up dirt any way possible. She could go on LinkedIn and see if anyone else has the title Senior Data Computing Coordinator at ValuCo. Maybe someone else was hired and she has just not been notified yet. Go on the company’s job listings page and see if the position has been taken down.
  • She could send another follow-up thank-you note right now and ask for an update, but guess what. There’s pretty much a 0% chance that this will help. “Oh look, that Deb from last week wrote another thank-you note. This just comes off as desperate. It isn’t even the end of the time period we quoted her. Let’s move on to the next candidate.” And there’s no guarantee they’ll respond to that email either, further worrying you.
  • She could call the company and speak directly to Joan or one of the other managers. Then she will definitely get a real-time response, though it will likely annoy the company. “Can you believe Deb looked up my number and called to ask about the job? I’m now having second thoughts about this kook.”
  • She could email and say she’s weighing another job offer, hoping that gets them into action. But it has the potential to backfire monumentally. “Hi guys! I don’t mean to pressure you at all, I know this is a HUGE decision for you. But I have another offer on the table and I need to let them know asap. Obviously I’d much rather work at your company, but I don’t want to risk losing this one too!”  The company surely will respond with “Deb, we recommend you take the other job. We haven’t reached a decision yet and don’t want to cause you to miss out. Best of luck!”
  • You also have to stop and ask yourself if you even want to work for a company that handles hirings so sloppily. What does that say about the way they conduct business, and more importantly, treat their employees?

In the end, Deb chose to agonizingly wait it out. The company didn’t call back by the end of the day Friday, and Deb spent all weekend upset. At noon on Monday, she was in the process of drafting an email to the company when she got the call.

“I spoke to the team, and while we thought you were a really strong candidate and loved your portfolio, we decided to go with another candidate who emerged at the last minute. He’s just a better fit for the company’s needs at this time. Best of luck to you! Ta ta!”

Not the response Deb wanted, but she was relieved to simply have an answer and could put this saga behind her.

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My Hot Take:
It is agonizing to wait for a response after an interview! In the three primary full-time jobs I’ve had over the past 12 years, I thankfully received an offer almost immediately. In fact I think in all three cases, I heard from the company the next day. I’ve never been in the position to hire anyone, but I would definitely move fast to both be fair to the applicant and make sure I locked in the talent we were seeking!

Worried you haven’t heard back from the job you applied for? Don’t do anything drastic until after the quoted time period has passed.


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