Uncertainty is worse than failure. You went to the interview, two weeks ago. It went quite well–or at least you had a good feeling from your meeting with the employer. What’s more, you followed the books, sending a follow up email, or at least a short thank you note. You did everything you could, and there is no response. For the whole two weeks. What the heck does it mean?

Employer can decide to not contact you for two weeks after the interview for a variety of reasons. Some are expected and some are rather surprising, or even bizarre. Let’s have a look at them, one by one.

 

1. They chose someone else for the job, and aren’t serious enough to let you know

Let’s face the reality. Nobody likes the role of a bearer of bad news. Interviewers and HR managers are also people. They have their worries and concerns, and they avoid unpleasant conversations whenever they can.

Hence if the policy or company directive does not implicitly oblige them to inform all job applicants about the result of the interviews–including the losers and the unsuccessful, they will simply ghost you.

Do not take it personally though. You weren’t the only one ghosted. Perhaps just the chosen one got a call, and the second best applicant, so they have an alternative for replacement, if their first choice decides to not accept the employment contract…

There is also a bright side of this situation. It probably isn’t such a great company to work for, if they ghost people after interviews… Time to forget them and move on, applying for a job with someone more serious.

 

2. The hiring process isn’t finished yet, some candidates are still interviewing for the job

Corporations around the world do not follow some standard template when trying to fill a vacancy. One company may interview dozens of applicants in a single week. The interview sessions start on Monday and end on Thursday, and everything is clear on Friday. They know who got the job, and can let everyone know their decision.

But other companies may take weeks or even months to interview all shortlisted candidates for a particular position. 2 weeks in nothing from their perspective. This happens especially when we talk about prestigious jobs or some specialty engineering careers.

Candidates may fly to the interviews from different parts of the globe, and obviously quality people have their commitments, and not everyone is able to interview for a job during the same week.

If you happen to be one of the candidates in this scenario, they may let you wait simply because the interviews haven’t ended yet, and they do not know whether or not they’ll offer you a contract.

In an ideal world they’d update you about the situation, asking you to wait, explaining the reasons. But we do not live in an ideal world, corporate people are busy, and do not always do the most correct thing. If you cannot stand waiting, give them a call, and politely ask what’s going on, and when they will let you know their decision.

3 . They are testing your attitude, and your real level of motivation

If you really want something, with all your heart and soul, you will go after it. You won’t wait for someone else to call you and tell you their decision–be it two days, or two weeks after the meeting. When the time is right, you will simply call them, or even walk into the company and ask to talk with the recruiter.

I experienced this years ago, participating in the interviewing panel which I was not leading. The interviews were really close, and we had three great candidates for the job. But the company wanted to hire only one. The CEO set the rules:

We won’t call anybody from the candidates. No thank you note either, no response to their follow up letters. The first two phone calls from any candidate will also be rejected. The one who’d persistent enough, who calls the third time, will get the job–as long as it is one of the three shortlisted candidates.

And that’s exactly what happened. We gave the job to the guy who was persistent in their effort to find out the outcome of the interviews, who kept calling. Because they clearly demonstrated how much it meant for them, how badly they wanted the position…

Maybe they aren’t calling you, because they want you to make that final step. Think about it for a moment…

 

4. They lost your contact details, or your communication ended in a spam folder

With spam filters getting ever more strict, this happens to many companies.  And many business also do not have their mail server set properly… Here at InterviewPenguin we experience this on a daily basis. Emails from serious businesses seeking partnership or cooperation end up in our spam folder.

And, our emails, containing download details to a product our customers purchased from us, never reach their inboxes… this happens especially with hotmail, yahoo and some .edu main addresses.

Have you checked your spam folder? And what email provider do you use for your communication with the employers? Gmail is safe and will pass almost all spam filters. But if you communicate from yahoo, or some shady account on some rigged server, it may easily happen that an employer will never get your follow-up emails.

This can also be the reason why there is no response two weeks after your job interview.

5. They are waiting for an approval from the CEO or some other executive

HR Generalists of Managers do not control the budgets. Hiring you will be costly, and often also risky business for the company. Typically someone with a higher rank have to give a final green light.

This is an occurred situation sometimes, because the CEO might not talk to you and other candidates in person. They just read some reports from HR people, who might recommend you as the best applicant for the job, and shared a short profile of you with the CEO.

Now the decision maker can be hesitating for several reasons. They may consider conducting one last round of interviews–the final interview, when they will talk to you and one or two other shortlisted applicants. And since they are busy it can take time until they let the HR people know and they let you know, and so on.

Another reason for their hesitation can be the uncertainty in the air. Things are ever more unstable with global warming and pandemic threats. They might approve a new vacancy a month ago, but now, after the recent development in the world economy, they aren’t so sure about hiring someone new anymore.

It may happen that nobody gets the job at the end… because the CEO eventually cancels the new position.

 

Conclusion, next steps

Two weeks may seem like ages, especially if you need a job badly, or if you really want this one. It probably won’t console you, but you should know that many people experience the same fate. They are waiting for a response from an employer, with high hopes, but there is no call or email. For two weeks, or even for longer.

You have basically three options at this point:

  • Keep on waiting, hoping that scenario no 2. (interviews haven’t finished yet) or scenario no. 5 (they are waiting for a final green light from CEO) is taking place.
  • Taking action. The mild step is sending them an email, even repeatedly. Ensure that you use gmail or other reliable service, and your messages reach the mailbox of a recruiter. You can take it one step further and call to the company, asking the receptionist to give you the number of the hiring manager. The most bold move is to walk in and ask. Not many people have courage to do that, but if they don’t reply your calls or emails, it may be the only way to find out their decision.
  • Forgetting about it and focusing on other opportunities. Let’ be realistic. In 4 out of 5 cases scenario no. 1 takes places–you’ve been ghosted, they chose someone else, and decided not to talk to you anymore. Their mistake–they missed on an opportunity to hire a great guy like you :). Let’s forget about them. Job search is a game of numbers. Continue sending applications and interviewing for jobs. Sooner or later, you will get a great one…. I wish you good luck!

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Matthew Chulaw
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