The 1 Way to Tell if You've Been Passed Up After an Interview (Or if the Process is Just Slow)

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Punya Sandhu301
10 yrs in Big4 Consulting, Founder - BYONDGOOD
April 22, 2024 at 3:24PM UTC

Does this situation ring a bell? 

It goes a little something like this: You get messaged on a networking site about an open position that you’re qualified for. After 2 phone interviews, another discussion on salary, and final negotiations on pay, you’re invited to visit the facility. 

You go out of your way to meet the staff and see the work place. You’re told they will follow up within the week. You send the typical “thank you for your time, please let me know the next steps email” and they request references. It’s now the end of the week after providing references and still nothing. 

Are you being ghosted or should you just wait patiently to hear back from the company? That's what one Fairygodboss Community member asked recently: 

The Fairygodboss Community gave a mix of optimistic and realistic advice.

The optimists

Ever in favor of thinking positive, our optimists advised that with COVID delays and summer vacations, it could take a while for references to check out. As long as the company has responded at every step, you’re getting closer to the goal. Be patient and wait for the process to run its course.   

“A week isn't that long; it just seems as if it is because you are the job seeker and this is personal," one member wrote.

“Wait a bit before worrying, especially around this time of year: our hiring process had to take a brief pause this month while two of the hiring committee went on vacation," another added.

“This may be the top of your agenda, but you don't know what's going on with the hiring manager — and maybe not even with your references," wrote another.

The realists

The post's realists made a few interesting observations about how the member should not have had to fly herself out to visit the company facility. They also asked whether she had informed her references in advance about the new company reaching out to them. And some commented on why she waited until the end of the week to send the thank you note versus sending it the next day. 

“No quality company would ever expect you to fly yourself out for an interview — crazy!  Count your blessings and move on," wrote one.

“They may be having trouble reaching your references. You did let them know they may be called or emailed or mailed something from this company?," wrote another.

“I also noticed the statement that you waited until the end of the week to send a thank you," said another, suggesting this might have slowed down the process.

Overall, most of the Fairygodboss Community agreed that recruitment cycles vary depending upon the industry, company, job level, the company’s desire to fill the position, and the number of internal and external candidates. 

The important thing is to ask about the next steps in the process and the timeline for each step. 

It's the only way to know exactly how long the process should take for the role you've interviewed for, and when to move on when you haven't heard back.

“In reality, anything could have happened, so if you don't want to let it go, send a follow-up email to check in with them," wrote one Fairygodboss member. "If they don't reply or have a vague message for you, cut your losses and continue job search activities.”

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