Last time we spoke about identifying the true hiring decision maker (HDM). We will go on the assumption that has happened.
We will also assume that you have been in front of the interview panel and your keen intuition says you did well in the your interviews and made a connection with at least the vast majority of the folks you met with, including the HDM. If you feel your intuition is not working, then go ahead and flat out ask, and observe the answers. Here’s how to start things off when you are given the opportunity to ask questions:
“I really felt this conversation was positive and my interest in this role is very high. If I may ask based on what you heard from me, do you feel I am a strong candidate for this job?” “And is there anything you didn’t hear from me that you would like to know?”
Observe how they react to these questions. What you want to hear is a definitive response from them that you are a good fit. It should come without any major hesitation or thinking about what they are going to say. If they do mention things they would have liked to hear, address them with honesty and see if they seemed satisfied with your answer. You want to see them tell you this while looking you in the eye and not squirming in their seat or fidgeting with a pen. You want to also hear them give something slightly more than a “yes” response. Maybe a reason or two why they think you are a good fit.
When they finish up with you, see how they frame the future: “We are interviewing more folks and will let you know the next steps by___ ” (neutral) or “We will probably want to bring you back in to meet with Sr Management” (good) or only “really nice meeting you, thanks for coming in” (not so good). If they haven’t said it, ask the recruiter when approximately you should be hearing from them. Also ask if you will hear from them either way. Most will say yes.
When you get home that evening and are writing out thank you notes/emails to the interviewers, stop and have an honest conversation with yourself that you truly got the impression you are a strong candidate for this job. No wishful thinking or rationalizing “that although they didn’t say it, what they meant was…..”, etc. Be honest and don’t force the issue if in your heart of hearts you know it did not go well.
Either way, write out those thank yous and briefly recap the points why you feel you would be great for the job. Touch on things they mentioned as positive attributes as to underscore and validate their observations.
Here is a good insider tip to know if you truly did well with the team. Are you ready?? If you email the thank yous (perfectly acceptable) and they respond with anything more substantial than “yes, nice meeting you too, good luck”, that’s a good sign. Any language about “talking to you soon” or looking forward to____” are good signs. It usually means they have switched in to selling mode to bring you aboard.
So fast forward to the time frame the recruiter said they would be getting back to you (either way). Add a couple days to make sure you aren’t being too pushy. If you have other opportunities and are interested in seeing this one through before acting on the others, certainly let that be known and call them. If they don’t get back to you in 24-48 hours, call ONE MORE TIME. If still there is no response after 24-48 hours and you feel this is not consistent with your performance with the hiring team and especially the HDM, contact the HDM. Be very tactful and non threatening in your tone:
“It has been quite a while since I interviewed there and I still have not heard from (recruiter). I called on (date) and then followed up on (date) and have not gotten any response. I’m sure they are very busy. When you and I met, I felt our conversation was quite positive, and from your responses I believe that I was considered a strong contender for this position. If that is not the case, the position is not going to be filled, or you have identified another candidate that is more suited, I perfectly understand and do not wish to take up any more of your time. If you would get back to me with the status of my candidacy I would appreciate that greatly.
What you did there was contact them in a way that will hopefully cause them to act on this, one way or another. You were respectful in giving the recruiter the benefit of the doubt at the same time calling the HDM into action to find out why you have not been contacted. This still may cause some friction with the recruiter, but at the end of the day it is your career and livelihood on the line and you don’t want to miss a good opportunity due to an unresponsive and adversarial recruiter.