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The Waiting Game After the Interview

By Jeff Lipschultz

So you had the big interview. You prepared well, had a great conversation, and are convinced you got the job. You go home and wait for the phone to ring. And wait. And wait...

When it does not ring within 24 hours, you start to wonder what is going on? Don't panic! You may be out of the running, but you may not.

What IS Going On?

If you interviewed early in the process, you are likely one of the first candidates to be considered. Companies rarely select a candidate without alternatives to compare to.

Although the candidate selection outcome is probably at the forefront of your mind, it is likely to be a lower priority for the business. After all, they have today’s burning issues to resolve. The candidate selection process is important, but it can usually wait a day or two (or more) without an impact.

Many companies have a process in which all members of the team who interviewed you must come to consensus on all candidates. Scheduling a time for all of them to meet can sometimes be difficult. Even putting together an offer can take time if many approvals are necessary.

There are many more reasons why the phone has not rung within 24 hours. Instead of wondering what’s going on, think about things within your control.

What You Should Be Doing

  • Discuss with the external recruiter the pro’s and con’s of the opportunity.

    If you are working with an external recruiter (one who recruits on behalf of a company, but is not an employee), you might find through a follow-up discussion that the con’s you identified are not as critical as you first thought. And, that the positives might have more benefits associated with them.

    The beauty of working with an external recruiter is they know the client better than you and can help sort through your observations and opinions about the team. Additionally, the recruiter can provide an objective perspective based on their own experiences with the company.
  • Weigh alternatives.

    Whatever methodology you use, start thinking about this opportunity versus others (or your ideal opportunity).

    Determine if you have any major reservations to taking an offer if one is made. Although it is premature, since no offer has been made, you should be prepared to talk to your recruiter about your requirements for an offer (when the recruiter asks for them). Be sure to clarify specific deal-breaker items from flexible ones
  • Communicate activity on other job offers.

    Hopefully, you and your recruiter have been communicating throughout the process about other opportunities. At this stage, it is even more critical. The external recruiter needs to know if you have other opportunities that may reach an offer stage soon; they may be able to move the process along with their client. Similarly, if you would like to slow the process down to let another opportunity catch up, the recruiter should know.
  • Send out thank you notes to all interviewers.

    Always send a thank you note. If you think the mail will not arrive fast enough, send email. More on this subject in this blog post.

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What You Should Not Be Doing

  • Quitting your current job or job search

    No matter what you are told during the interview, until there is an offer in writing and both parties sign it, there is NO JOB. Many hiccups can occur at the end of the process. It may sound like common sense, but there are stories galore on this one.
  • Negotiating with your current employer

    In most cases, when someone decides to leave their current employer, they should actually leave. Having second thoughts and negotiating for more pay is not recommended. Many managers will not appreciate having an ultimatum thrust at them, “more pay or I leave.”  Even if an agreement is made, often times, it is short-lived and the employee leaves later.
  • Calling the recruiter every day for an update

    The recruiter will call you as soon as there is news to share, typically only after an offer is accepted by another candidate or one is coming your way. Until then, everything is still up in the air and anything can happen. Recruiters don’t like to spend time hypothesizing what might happen. They wait until something concrete does happen.

    With this in mind, asking the external recruiter where you rank relative to the other candidates is also not recommended. If the recruiter did a good job presenting only the best, then it would be hard to answer your question. Plus, there could be candidates in the mix that the recruiter does not know about.

Bottom Line

Stay focused on the positives and be prepared for any outcome. If you have done your best to have a great interview and you truly are the ideal candidate for the job, the phone will ring.

For More Information About What to Do After a Job Interview:


About the author...

Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He is a unique recruiter with Lean Engineering experience and a Six Sigma Blackbelt. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter (@JLipschultz) and on GooglePlus.


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