A job search is often compared with a courtship, and that’s a good analogy in many ways. Each side wants to make a good impression on the other. Every communication is over-analyzed for good signs and bad ones. Do they like me or not? Will they call or not? And, of course, often the question is…
What Should You Do When They Don’t Call Back?
Take a deep breath, and avoid assuming the worst. Don’t put your job search on hold until you get “the answer” on this job. It’s much better for your job search and your bank account if you keep searching until you receive the right job offer, so have several opportunities going in parallel. Worst case, you will need to choose from more than one job offer. A very nice “problem” to have!
Phone calls are usually best because they offer you the opportunity to ask follow-on questions and, perhaps, build a little rapport. Yes, email can work – when the message actually gets through (no guarantee), escapes the junk mail folder, and is read. So many technical problems get in the way of email communications (or are alleged to have gotten in the way) and are interpreted as rejection when the messages simply haven’t been seen or read. Fewer technical problems get in the way of phone calls and even voicemail.
1. Schedule your next contact attempt.
Take a look at your calendar, and wait at least one week from the date of the interview or your last contact with them (whether in person, by phone, or via email). In most cases, two weeks are better! The only exception is for your thank you’s, which you should send immediately, of course.
2. Prepare to make your phone call.
Make sure you are calling from a phone which will leave an appropriate “trail” on the receiving phone – “Caller ID” is used on most business phone systems and the number will be visible on most cell phones. So, be careful of the phone you use for the call because that number may be “captured” and used for their next contact with you. If you are calling from your current work phone, that may be the number used for the call back.
Don’t call using your cell phone in a busy and/or noisy location. This is an important business call. Call from a quiet spot where you can easily hear what is being said and be easily heard by the person on the other end of the call.
Be prepared to take notes – pen and paper or computer screen, what ever works best for you.
3. Call your contact.
On the appropriate day, call your contact, most likely someone from human resources or the recruiter. Be prepared to be “screened” by the person answering the phone. Also be prepared to leave a voicemail message. Be business-like and professional.
Be sure to give the best number to use for their call back.
4. Don’t expect to be remembered.
If they have many jobs open and many candidates being interviewed, whoever answers the phone probably won’t remember you. Don’t be insulted if the person you speak with doesn’t know or remember you or even know your name.
So, when you speak with someone (or leave a voicemail), start by telling them your name, the job you applied for, the date of your interview, and the names of the people who interviewed you.
5. Ask for details, next steps, and more dates.
Then, ask for the status of the job, and what the next steps are in the process of filling this job, assuming it is still open, and the time frame when they expect those next steps to happen. Chances are good that they will miss those target dates, but it’s worth knowing. Be sure to take notes on what you are told!
If you leave a voicemail but don’t receive a call, wait a week before calling again. If you don’t get a response from your second voicemail, put this job on the back burner. It may work out for you, but it may not. Don’t waste any more of your time or energy on it.
Contacting the employer every day or even every week is not a good idea, unless you have been specifically invited or requested to do that by the employer. Contacting them very often will make you look desperate or aggressive – not impressive in a job search or a courtship.
© Copyright, 2013, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
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About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.