It hurts getting no response after any interview, but it is especially annoying after the final interview. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and hope into this opportunity. Several interview rounds, online or face to face, traveling to the company, meeting the decision makers. And yet they do not even bother sending you a short email or giving you a phone call to tell you the outcome of all your efforts. What does it mean? And what you should do in this case? We will try to find the answer on the following lines.

From my own experience in recruitment, I know about 4 possible reason why it may take them a long time to respond after the final interview with you, or why they may not respond at all. In each of these cases you should react in a different way (or not react at all, which is also a sort of a reaction :)), so let’s dive into it and look at each situation in detail.

 

No 1. Reason: They chose someone else, are negotiating with the candidate, but the process hasn’t ended yet and therefor they want to keep other options alive.

Many people do not realize that the hiring isn’t over once the company chooses the best applicant for the job, after the final round of interviews. This person can still say NO to their offer, or demand something the company cannot agree with. What I try to say here is that until the employment agreement is signed by both parties, the deal isn’t closed. Maybe the candidate doesn’t agree with the salary offer, but the company cannot offer them more, bearing in mind the budget for the position.

Or they want the candidate to start within a month, but their obligations (with their previous employer, family, etc) do not allow them to do so. What follows is the typical negotiation and handling, why they are looking for compromises that both parties will accept. But you never know whether they will eventually come to an agreement. And if they do not, they will likely call the second best candidate–which can very well be you!

Of course, in an ideal and transparent world of recruitment, they would call you and explain the situation. But we do not live in an ideal world. Perhaps they do not want to give you false hopes, or they just think letting you waiting is the best option. I’ve seen this several times, and on some occasion the “second best” candidate eventually got the job, since the company did not reach agreement with their first choice.

 

No. 2 Reason: The hiring process hasn’t ended yet, and some people still interview in the final round.

Another misconception of many people who never worked in HR or recruitment is that only one person gets an invitation for the final interview. This can be the case sometimes, when the final interview is a mere formality, but more often than not, a group of shortlisted candidates gets the chance to interview with the decision maker, who typically leads the final interview. It can be two, five, but rarely even ten people.

The difference to other rounds of interviews is that in this case, unless they are under extreme time pressure, the company really wants to interview all shortlisted candidates. They are the best, and each one should get a chance to convince the decision makers and get the job. As you can imagine, many of these candidates have another job or obligations, and all won’t interview on a single day. It can take several weeks to complete the final rounds of interviews, especially if the decision maker (the person who will lead the final interview) is also busy, and finding fitting schedule for both him and the applicants get difficult.

Again, in an ideal world they would let you know this. A simple phone call or email (“sorry for the delay but we are still interviewing, we will let you know the decision in XX days, when we have finished the interview with the last candidate”) would do the trick. But world is not ideal, corporate employees are busy and often confused, and many of them actually suppose it is all right letting you wait for weeks. It can be the reason why you are still waiting for their response.

 

No. 3 Reason for no response after final interview: They are undecided, and wait for the candidates to make the next move, to demonstrate their real level of motivation.

Best of the best compete in the final interview. Sometimes it isn’t easy to make the decision, since each candidate is a good match for the job, and each one has something unique to offer to the employer. I’ve seen this situation a few times first-hand, and know it can take days to come up with the decision. In such cases, taking initiative can move the needle in your favor. Because it shows the extra motivation and determination to get the job–which can set you apart from other candidates.

What I try to say here is that in this scenario, they often even wait for the applicants to make the call. Who really wants the job? For which candidate it matters the most, so much actually that they keep calling to the company and asking about the outcome? If you think this may be scenario you face after your final interview, and couple of days have passed already, make sure to give them a call and emphasize that you are still interested, and cannot wait to hear the good news.

No. 4 reason: Everything is done and dusted, they have their new employee, but aren’t serious enough to let other candidates know.

Obviously this is the worst case scenario. In my opinion, it should not happen in 21st century, especially not after the final round of interviews. With all the efforts candidates put in, they deserve to hear the negative news. Of course, you hoped for a different outcome, but at least you know now, and can shift your focus to another interview, another opportunity.

In this case it is good to realize a few things. First of all, job search is a game of numbers. Dozens of people compete for each great offer (and even for each decent offer in recession). And only one person gets a job. It isn’t a tragedy that they chose someone else. At least you made it to the final interview, achieving more than the majority of the applicants. Time to look back, analyze what you could have done better, and move on.

And second thing to realize: perhaps it wasn’t such a good company to work for, when they do not even find time to write a short email or make a short call to candidates who eventually didn’t make it. No doubt you deserve better :).

 

What to do when there is no response after a final interview

Now you know the 4 possible scenarios. But what should you do in each one? As a rule of a thumb, a phone call never hurts. This is a final round of interviews, and after all time and effort you invested into this, you do not need to think twice whether or not it is ethical to “bother” them with a phone call. Just call them, ask what’s going on, and emphasize that you are still interested in the opportunity.

Communication is the key. Demand some information, in a polite manner. At the end, in 95% of cases, they will admit that one of the 4 scenarios I described in this article is taking place. Then you will know what’s going on, and can react accordingly. You can also try sending emails, but with emails you never really know. Have they read your message or not? And have the right person read it, or just some secretary or assistant? Phone call is much better, and unless you are panic on the phone you should go for it.If you decide to write an email instead, check the following article: interview follow-up email after two weeks.

Thank you for reading, and I hope for a good outcome for you eventually!

Matthew

Matthew Chulaw
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