Waiting… and waiting… (and waiting some more…) to hear about how your job interview went?

You’re not alone.

I’ve been hearing from executive recruiters and job-seekers that more job interviews than usual have been extended, delayed, stretched into additional rounds, postponed and – most frustratingly- suspended altogether, sometimes without any feedback from the company.

But, employers, you’re killing us with this hurry-up-and-wait scenario.

What’s a candidate to do?

1) Realize the delay is not (necessarily) about you.  I am seeing some absolute superstars who are in limbo with some great companies while the companies re-think the roles they want, or their product strategy, or realize that Q2 wasn’t as good as they expected so they’re putting off hiring.

2) Continue to fill the Top of the Funnel (TOFU).  Sales people think of their sales process as a funnel (see the left side of the funnel, below).  They know they need a lot of leads to put into the Top of the Funnel (they call it TOFU), and that throughout the course of the sales process, many leads will drop off, and only a few sales will result from the many initial conversations.  So, even if they have a potential client who’s right near the end of the process, they’re constantly trying to fill the top of the funnel with new leads.


The right side of the funnel refers to the job search process, with many leads up top, some of those turning into job interviews, then narrowing down to one or two eventual job possibilities.  As a job seeker, leads/connections come from networking, typically.  It’s possible that some may come from job posting boards, although there’s such stiff competition for publicly posted jobs that you’re much better off if you can find someone to introduce you.  The more NEW potential contacts you’re meeting/speaking to weekly, the more likelihood that you’ll have a job at the end of the process.

3) Continue to prepare and to research the organization and the sector/industry it’s in.  Follow them on Twitter to see what they’re posting about… create a “Google Alert” about the organization to keep track of any public developments… use the time while you’re waiting to map your skills and success stories to the possible job/organization.  They may call you out of the blue and ask you to come in two days from now, so it’s best to stay organized.

4) PLEASE don’t get yourself so frustrated with the wait that you communicate that frustration to the employer.  Some of my clients over the years have gotten so mad about not hearing back that they want to send an email “taking themselves out of the running” or “finding out where things stand.”  I’m all for a gentle “still interested in the job if you haven’t yet filled the position” email- those are fine.  It’s the ones that have any kind of rebuke to the employer (“I haven’t heard from you since my job interview”), or the ones that pre-emptively close out the opportunity just because you can’t handle waiting.  Focus on other things, check in GENTLY from time to time, but please, don’t self-sabotage.

If it’s taken a long time on your end- recognize that the hiring manager and the team is probably feeling the EXACT same way.  They created a role because they have extra work, they started the job interviews to find the right person, and are dreaming of the day they can have someone on board to help out.  They’re probably double-annoyed that they have to delay, for whatever reason.

So… don’t take it personally, be patient, fill the top of the funnel, do your homework in the meantime, and – if/when the day comes that they actually are ready to get to the finish line, stay positive that your slow and steady perspective may win the race.