An interview process is all about a romance between the candidate and the interviewer(s) – the goal is to create a succesful long-term relationship.  You don’t want to come across to needy or desperate, but at the same time you still need to look enthusiastic and keen.

There are inevitable occasions, especially in tepid hiring markets like now, when firms you are interviewing with go silent.  Most worryingly is when a manager who has, up until this point, been very responsive, suddenly clams up.  So how long is too long to wait before following up?

Here are three top tips on how to call it right when the phone stops ringing:

1. Judge how keen they are to hire 

Sometimes HR and interviewers are just busy, sometimes the role itself has been put on hold (but typically, none of the candidates have been told!), and sometimes it’s just the candidate themselves who is being ignored and pushed to the bottom of the list.  You will have to exercise judgement to decide which of these scenarios applies to you.

2.  Is the HR department up to scratch?

Large firms are particularly bad culprits at this as they tend to rely more on their HR divisions than smaller ones, where managers might themselves be co-ordinating the interview process.  The more HR employees a firm has, the more likely you are to get lost in the machine somewhere.

3. Keep an eye on the news 

Make sure you’re aware of current “big picture” issues facing your prospective employer, as they might explain the lack of contact.  You’ll look foolish if you telephone, for example, a hedge fund manager to find that his team has been absorbed into a bigger group, and therefore is struggling to retain their existing headcount, let alone recruiting more people.

In job hunting as in life generally, patience and discretion are key. Don’t push it. You don’t want to seem desperate.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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