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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

January 25, 2017

I interviewed for a job and the hiring manager said that she “might” seek a more experienced candidate for the position. What does this mean?

Julie Q. Brush

After a job interview, feedback from an employer can either be unequivocal…or along a shade of gray spectrum. If it’s the latter, an anxious candidate can go mad trying to decipher what a particular message, sentence or word might really mean.

Employers are careful with their communications to candidates. And there are several reasons that drive the desire keep the real meaning of their words between the lines. A few include:

  • Limiting potential legal liability
  • Buying time
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Avoiding a continued dialogue
  • Keeping a candidate warm
  • Preserving a relationship
  • Managing expectations
  • Letting a candidate go

In your situation, you have interviewed for a job and the hiring manager has told you that she might seek a more experienced candidate for the position. So what does this message mean as far as your candidacy goes?

This hiring manager is telling you that you are not the right person for the job and that she is going to move on – either because you don’t have enough experience or there is something else about your candidacy that doesn’t work for her. If it’s the latter, you’ll never know what the real reason is so don’t waste your precious time trying to speculate. Either way, it is more than likely you will not move forward to the next interview round for this opportunity. So manage your expectations accordingly and don’t stay up late waiting for the phone to ring.

Job interviews can be stressful. Waiting for a response can be nerve-wracking. And deciphering the feedback can be a maddening exercise in “riddle me this”. At the end of the day, time will tell which way the wind is blowing, so do your best to stay as detached as you can and focus on moving forward to your next opportunity.

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