Follow-up Failure: Being ignored by a potential employer

by epi on March 20, 2012

Q: I recently went through a job interview process.  For about two weeks, the company was eager to have me come in for meetings with various staff.  I sent thank-you notes promptly to each person I met with.  My contact at the company e-mailed me often to check in, set up new meetings, and ask questions.  After my third or fourth interview, all contact stopped.  I sent a couple of e-mails to my contact but never received a response.  Is this acceptable behavior on the company’s part?  If not, is it appropriate for me to send my contact a note pointing this out?

A: The company’s behavior was not appropriate.  When a business has involved candidates for a job in a hiring process, it is incumbent on the business to communicate with the applicant until there is closure in the process.  It is the height of rudeness for the company to signal its decision not to hire you by simply cutting off all contact.  That said, it is certainly appropriate for you to contact the company to find out whether your contact has been on vacation or ill — circumstances that could explain by you haven’t heard from him.  I would not contact the company with the express intent of pointing out the lack of etiquette, however.  It isn’t worth burning a potentially important bridge to make a point.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kell March 20, 2012 at 12:42 am

The Ask a Manager website runs a free service that will send an anonymous letter to employers who do this, pointing out that it’s rude. It’s at http://www.emailyourinterviewer.com

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Vanna Keiler March 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I think a friendly call to the company is a great suggestion. As EPI staff pointed out, there may be other reasons the incumbent was not further contacted – including the possibility that the contact may no longer be with the company. I would contact the company directly and enquire first if the position had been filled, then follow up with explaining you were one of the candidates and just wanted to confirm as you had gone through the interview process and were highly interested in the position. Sometimes the reception staff may have insight into the status of a position and readily fill you in, or they could direct you to another contact who could explain the outcome in greater detail, if your contact is no longer available. At the very least, it demonstrates your high enthusiasm for this company, and may keep you high on the list of other incumbents for upcoming openings.

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Lady Antipode March 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

And excellent suggestion. The phone call can also give you the opportunity to ask why you weren’t hired, so you can use that feedback in your next opportunity.

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Kristina L March 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Following up politely might make it possible to get the inside track on the next position that comes open.

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