May 20, 2016
I interviewed for a job, but have not received feedback. What are the reasons for the delay? When is it appropriate to follow up?
When a lawyer decides it’s time to make a career move, a variety of emotions tend to arise and remain throughout the process until the finish line has been crossed: excitement, anxiety, insecurity, relief…and frustration. For some, a job search is an unwelcome process where they look forward to placing it in the bad dream category once it’s over.
In this ultra competitive legal market, securing an interview is a feat in itself – so a pat on the back is warranted for reaching this milestone. But this is only one leg of the job interview marathon and after the interview, candidates anxiously await feedback to learn whether they will be moving forward or whether it’s the end of the road.
Quite often a lag time exists between the last set of discussions and employer feedback. This lag time can vary from days to weeks…to months. And for the anxious candidate, the time in between can be difficult – with a guessing game as to the reasons for the delay as well as the best time for following up.
The reasons for delay can be several and include the following:
- The employer is meeting additional candidates and would like to complete the current round with everyone for before deciding on their next round interview choices.
- The employer would like to pursue one candidate, but keep you on hold in the event that pursuit is unsuccessful.
- The employer is not interested in pursing your candidacy.
- Your candidacy has fallen through the cracks.
- The hiring manager is on the fence about your candidacy.
- The search has been put on hold.
- Interviewer travel schedules are creating delay.
- There is internal confusion about who would contact you about feedback.
- There is no feedback from the interviewers on your candidacy yet.
Regardless of the reason for the radio silence, it is reasonable and acceptable to follow up with an employer and request a status update. So when is the most appropriate time to do so? Generally speaking, I recommend 10-14 days before getting in touch. Following up after a week can be ok, but in many instances it’s a bit too soon and won’t yield the information you are seeking. If you do not receive a response…or are told that you are in you are in a holding pattern, your next follow up should not occur for another 14-21 days…and then the third (if you choose) for the same duration. After three attempts without response, it is highly unlikely that there is interest in your candidacy. So manage your expectations and move on with your search.
In most search processes, immediate interview feedback is uncommon. So the ball is in the candidate’s court to follow up for closure. While this “checking in” is professionally acceptable, it’s important for a candidate to use good judgment with how often s/he is contacting the employer…and how much time to leave in between pings. So use the advice above to guide you through your current interview process and you’ll increase your chances of getting the closure you need while keeping your reputation in tact.