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Q  "Waiting to hear"
I interviewed for a job two weeks ago, and I thought the interview went very well. The interviewer told me that she would call me at the end of the following week for a second interview. I sent a thank you, and thought I did everything right.

Last week we had problems with our phone lines, so I called on Friday to give her a voice mail number. I wanted to ask how the process was going, but she didn't give me a chance to ask the question, just took the new number and said 'thanks for letting me know' and 'bye.'

Now it's Thursday, and still nothing. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm being paranoid, that most likely she was in the middle of something, and filling this job has been put on the back burner, but I really wish I knew what was going on. The $64 question is -- should I call and ask how the interviewing is going and if I'm still in the running?

You know, this whole process is like dating through the personals -- you answer an ad, hoping your letter is sexy enough to get you a date. You go on a date -- sometimes it's just awful and a big waste of time, but on occasion you and your date really seem to hit it off. Weeks go by, though, and he doesn't call... then the agonizing begins: Should I call? Will I look desparate if I call, or does it show I'm interested? Maybe he's just really busy... Ugh. I hate it. Thank god I'm married and don't have to do this to find a relationship -- I'd really want to take a big swan dive off a bridge! If I'm ever in a position to hire anyone, I promise: NO HEADGAMES! Thanks for letting me vent.

A  Oh, I love your analogy to dating! Interviewing is very much like that. And here's the answer: don't date anyone who isn't introduced to you by a trusted friend, or before you've checked them out carefully. If you like what you learn, have your mutual friend put a bug in your 'target's' ear before you 'go out'. The same goes for managers -- check them out before you meet them. That's essentially how headhunters get people and employers together. It's a delicate process -- and the more help you have, the better your likelihood of success.

One question: is the interviewer you mentioned in the personnel department? If she is, stop wasting your time. You will probably never hear back if two weeks have gone by. Let it go. Get on to the next opportunity.

If the interviewer is the hiring manager and that's how she treated you when you called back, well, you're not tops on her list. Again, go on to the next opportunity.

Sometimes a company takes a while to make a decision, and it's for good reasons. More often, when it takes this long, the dance is over. Find another partner. Don't beat yourself up. You'll never know why they aren't interested, or what you did 'wrong'.

<< but I really wish I knew what was going on.>>

The answer to that one is, there's probably nothing going on. Except no one's taking responsibility for sharing that with you. There's little that's less forgivable in my opinion than someone who takes up your valuable time and won't give you a decision or the time of day when you call them back. You can tell her I said that.

The best alternative to trying to decide whether to call them back again is to call someone else. Just like dating, eh? :-)

For more help with the 'next' one, I suggest you read my articles on Ask The Headhunter. I think  you'll find them helpful.

Best wishes,
The Headhunter


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