Candidate Limbo

Either you have interviewed or sent in your resume to an opportunity you a very excited about and now nothing is happening. No feedback, no contact for the company, nothing and it leaves you desperate for the least…closure. You have entered candidate limbo…so what can you do?
First off, let me pull the Band-Aid off quickly…no news is bad news. BUT there are a number of factors that could be at play and you still may be in consideration for the role. So all hope is not lost. Let us take a look at some of the possible situations and how to react. Most importantly, stay positive and focused. Although it is difficult not to be emotional your situation is not the hiring company’s concern. Their primary concern is getting the best person for the team.

You have just submitted a resume.

1. Are you being realistic? Are you truly qualified for the role? Do you have the majority of the requirements listed on the job description? If the answer is a resounding YES! Then work on getting your resume to a person that works for the hiring company. ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and 3rd party job listings are notorious for over screening a resumes. If the answer is NO.. but I can learn! Companies today are much leaner that the major training companies of yesteryear. Most don’t have the capacity to train. If it is your dream job…get the training yourself. A candidate I know was screened for a role because he had no sales experience. He said “I’ll be back”…he quit his job took a 100% commission role selling insurance and listened to positive thinking & sales courses between sales calls. He came back a year later and he got the job. It can be done but training & certification is your responsibility…not the company’s.
2. Your resume needs work. A simple chronological resume listing your companies, dates, responsibilities, accomplishments (very important), relevant industry terms, experience, and college degrees & dates is best. There are some cases a non-traditional resume will work. Know your industry. If you are a video game developer something over the top creative might get you the job.
3. The job posting is outdated or not real. In the majority of postings are just left to expire even though they have been filled. Another situation may the company posted the job description even though an internal candidate was in the process or as a procedural “check the box” when the job opened up…with little need to source the candidate externally.

You have interviewed.

Follow up on the interview…always…it is your responsibility. For the company it is a courtesy, not an obligation, to inform you of your interview results and courtesy is hard to find out there today. Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball…there are numerous factors that could be at play. Here are a few.

1. You are further down the list. Interviewing is a skill and most have had little opportunity to practice. Be patient, things may fall in your favor over time. A lot could happen. The number one could take another role or receive a counter and turn down the job. They could have poor references, not pass the drug test, or criminal background check. Keep up contact but no more than once a week. Keep an upbeat tone and stay positive in your communication.
2. The job is on hold. Budgets, poor quarterly results, or restructures could be affecting the status of the role. Frequently hiring managers won’t inform you of the problems because it may affect your interest in the company. Not much you can do here but be patient and keep up contact. Send notes that are not only pertaining to the job but also to the company. If you see good news on the company or the industry copy the article to the hiring manager with a simple note “I hope all is well with you! I say this great news on the company!”. If you do this is it is VERY important to read the whole article before sending. Just because the title seems positive doesn’t mean there isn’t bad news in the text. Weekly for a month and then biweekly at most.
3. They hired someone else but didn’t tell you. Again not much you can do here. Time to move on or if you love the company keep an eye out for similar openings. If you are not getting communication from the company keep up on updates on the company on Linkedin and network with other employees to find out the result.

Overall, don’t take it personally, learn from your mistakes, be honest with yourself, and when the time comes…move on. Every failure is a learning experience. Did you just halfheartedly send in your resume to a posting or go into an interview unprepared? Try to be a better candidate…interested, enthusiastic, knowledgeable yet humble, affordable, informed, and most of all qualified. If the job description says “MBA required” and you don’t have one it might be time to commit to success and start working towards your goal of that dream job. There are “Rudy” stories out there so don’t give up…but do the work and don’t expect opportunity to fall in your lap. You can do it!

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