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You don’t hear back after a Job Interview: Here’s what you do Next

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Your interview went well, so you’re expecting a call… but your phone has been silent.

Unless there has been a breakdown in the process, or communications, then it’s probable that you ain’t got the job.

Recruiters, like everyone else, are human-beings – motivated to use energy on the activities that feed them (and keep them in BMWs and sharp suits) such as pursuing more placement opportunities, and to avoid expending energy on activities that don’t feed them (such as telling you that you haven’t been successful in your application.) Besides, like all human-beings, these people don’t enjoy giving bad news, so they will avoid it.

It sucks, but that’s the way it is. Without knowing for sure, there is still hope. And even if you’re unsuccessful this time, you still want to know what you can do to improve in your next application, right? Here’s what to do.

  1. Be sure that you’re past the time that the recruiter would feed back. You’re keen, perhaps impatient. But your timescale isn’t necessarily the same as everyone else’s. Did you find out when you could expect to hear back? Are you past that time?
  2. Prepare for bad news, and a learning experience. Rejection is tough. Get used to it. Bad news doesn’t mean you have to be sad or morose about it. If you haven’t been called yet, then best to accept that the job isn’t yours now, and work on how to build a stronger position for yourself next time over. A learning opportunity is at hand, so any feedback you receive hereon is a gift, and will help you.
  3. Contact the recruiter with your ‘learning hat’ already on. Call or email your recruiter and start with a ‘disarming’ statement to the effect of “I know you’re busy, so I appreciate your help in advance. I’d very much appreciate feedback on my application.” If instead you go in with a criticism or any form of hostility, don’t expect a positive response.
  4. Set the relationship up for future opportunity. If the job you applied for has gone, it’s gone. But you can salvage something out of the situation. You could add to the above: “I know you’re busy, so I appreciate your help in advance. I’d very much appreciate feedback on my application, and if there is anything I can do to improve future applications with you.
  5. Be honest about any shortcomings you are aware of. Sometimes, you know inside what went wrong in your application – you don’t need any help in that. There is nothing wrong with honesty in this situation: “I know you’re busy, so I appreciate your help in advance. I’d very much appreciate feedback on my application, because I think I didn’t prepare very well in doing my research on the organization, and I also would like to know if there is anything else I can do to improve future applications with you.”
  6. Don’t be a pest. If you don’t get an immediate response, be patient. Harassment will get you nowhere, fast. Wait at least two days between contacts.
  7. Don’t subvert the hiring process. You might be tempted to connect to the hiring manager on LinkedIn or Facebook, and try to move things along that way. Don’t. By law (in most countries) the hiring process must be fair and indiscriminate. Taking this kind of ‘initiative’ goes beyond acceptable behavior. This could seriously backfire on you – if you do end up getting the job on the merits of the process, this connection could actually be a liability!
  8. Don’t take it to heart! Rejection, and a lack of response isn’t meant as a personal slur. Recruiters are just doing their job, and they’re busy people. Even if they’re behaving unprofessionally, getting upset about it isn’t going to help you. Don’t criticize or attack the company on social media – they are certain to pick it up (and maybe take action.)
  9. Be courteous, always. Never lose your cool, and always be gracious in your approach. If you begin to throw insults and accusations, this reflects your personality and you will lose any chance of employment with this employer now and in the future.telephone-anger
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This post is part 15 of 18 in the series Interview Preparation

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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