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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Interviewing: "I Came Back Four Times In A Week, Expected An Offer And Then Heard Nothing"


I thought I would explain what happens when a company rushes its candidates through the interviewing process and then there is total silence - it seems to die.  Unfortunately, this happens frequently. What happens is that the hiring manager finds a candidate he or she likes, then rushes him or her through the process and then, once they identify the person they want to hire, they can't get permission to hire.  Then, there is nothing.  Complete silence.  It can go on for days, weeks or even longer until the candidate is forgotten by the company or the candidate gives up on the job.  The result is negative PR for the company. 

Here is what happens.

Most companies do not have a “sign-on” procedure to start the interviewing process, but most have a “sign-off” system to finalize the hire.  So they start interviewing.

Hiring managers are generally in more of a hurry to get someone on board than the company management.  After all, when they need an employee to get work done, they need him or her now.  Once they find someone they have to get a final approval to hire.  Unfortunately, most companies have a sign-off process prior to final commitment.  

A small part of what happens is that CFO’s understand that if they can hold up, say, a $60,000 executive for two weeks, that puts $2,500 right to the bottom line.  But it isn’t as simplistic as that.  Sometimes the people needed to sign-off on the hire are not immediately available. (I have had occasions that I have waited over a month before getting permission to extend an offer.) During the waiting period there is usually absolute silence.  

Then there are other considerations. Often, companies need to wait for a new account to come in so that the new hire is funded.  Sometimes, hiring a new person requires dismissing an existing employee or moving a current employee to another position.  That may take time because that process is usually not started until a new person is found.  And it can often take weeks to accomplish.  And then there is the problem of internal candidates who generally get first consideration.  Rarely are any of these considerations told to or explained to a candidate who is waiting to get hired.  Companies are reluctant to communicate unless there is something definitive to say.

In this day and age of computers and applicant tracking systems, there is no excuse for the candidate to be left in limbo.  An explanation should always be given to the applicant.  Unfortunately, people tend to wait for new information before speaking to a candidate.  That information may be promised for a particular date, but the exigencies of the business cause it to be delayed, sometimes with the promise of “tomorrow”.  So the tendency is to wait for new news before contacting the candidate.  Sometimes that news just never comes and, unfortunately, the candidate is forgotten.  (It happens with recruiters as well – companies which have expressed an interest in a candidate just never get back to their recruiters either.  I always feel stupid when I have to tell candidates that I have been calling and emailing but have not heard a single word and can’t get the company to give me information or feedback.)

Human nature being what it is, time passes and a person who has been rushed through the process actually gets forgotten.  It happens in every company in every industry.  I truly believe that a human resources person should be assigned to track and be responsible for all candidates so that they can be kept up to date.  A simple phone call or email to a candidate, even if it is to say there is no news, can go a long way towards good public relations.

Managing the expectations of people who are hoping to work at a company is simply polite and good business.

3 comments:

  1. Paul - this doesn't just happen to individuals, it’s a food-chain-wide affliction. Great war story from my past, involves pitching a major tech account that was ready to make the jump from a very small shop to a much bigger footprint. As you’d expect, we approached with guns blazing—first meeting featured videos, thought pieces, you name it. Was good enough to get us a 2nd meeting, also featuring a ton of “here’s how we think” pieces. And a third meeting, ditto; a fourth, all the way up until the phone rang in my then-partner’s office the day before we were supposed to troop back for what was positioned as the 6th and “this is it” round. “I have some unfortunate news,” said the direct client. “Turns out, everyone knew we were doing an agency review, except for one person: our CEO. And not only is his daughter interning over at the current agency’s office, but the CEO and the agency head play tennis once a week. Needless to say, the review is off.”

    ReplyDelete
  2. Paul - this doesn't just happen to individuals, it’s a food-chain-wide affliction. Great war story from my past, involves pitching a major tech account that was ready to make the jump from a very small shop to a much bigger footprint. As you’d expect, we approached with guns blazing—first meeting featured videos, thought pieces, you name it. Was good enough to get us a 2nd meeting, also featuring a ton of “here’s how we think” pieces. And a third meeting, ditto; a fourth, all the way up until the phone rang in my then-partner’s office the day before we were supposed to troop back for what was positioned as the 6th and “this is it” round. “I have some unfortunate news,” said the direct client. “Turns out, everyone knew we were doing an agency review, except for one person: our CEO. And not only is his daughter interning over at the current agency’s office, but the CEO and the agency head play tennis once a week. Needless to say, the review is history”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch. But at least they told you it was off. Nothing worse than pitching and pitching and then hearing nothing. Same for interviewing.

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