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How to Deal with Radio Silence from a Potential Employer

I’ve been hearing this bit of feedback from my job-searching clients far more frequently than I thought possible, and from some of the biggest names in banking and consulting who, quite frankly, should know better — and that is that hiring managers and recruiters are simply neglecting to call candidates back with a clear and final decision. This is happening with candidates who they have brought in for third and fourth round interviews! Employers: This is unacceptable. Have the decency to contact all of your candidates. If you cannot make phone calls, you should at least have the decency to send an email. After all, would you like to be left hanging? If you are on the other side of this, know that you are not alone, it’s happening everywhere, and in the highest levels — VP and above. Below are three things you can do to handle radio silence.

Radio Silence from Potential Employer (Photo: iStockphoto)

Send an additional follow-up
If you wrapped up what you think is the final round of interviews and you are now just waiting, give your potential employer a week to give you a status update or decision. If you don’t hear within a week, send a follow up email to the thank you email you would have sent after your last interview. In that email, invite the employer to reply with a simple status check or expectation of when a decision might be made. If the recipient doesn’t reply to this note in a timely manner, keep track of your calendar and possibly check in one final time. After that, I say it is time to move on to greener pastures. Desperation is not the play here.

Continue to network and search for opportunities
Things will continue to happen and other opportunities will present themselves. You might find that the silent employer suddenly comes back. Think to yourself  — do you really want to work for a company that left you hanging for so long? Is this place the best fit for you given that you followed up so diligently but never heard anything? Remember, the hiring process is a two-way street. You also have a decision to make. Given that you are going to be spending a lot of time in a role, you want to ensure the decision you make is a smart one. How the recruitment process is handled is an indicator of how you will be treated once inside the doors.

Gather information through indirect channels
If you have gone through the interview and recruiting process, chances are you met more than just the hiring manager. To the extent that you can obtain an update on the situation from an equal or junior-level employee with whom you interacted, try to get some intelligence. Gathering information on what’s going on from the inside may yield some information. Sometimes there are things going on internally that delay the process. This could very well be a timing thing totally unrelated to the decision to hire you. If requests for information yield no reply, move on with your dignity intact and assume no offer is coming. This is the hard truth. Don’t worry!  It will not be a case of “Always the Bridesmaid and Never the Bride.” It is not a question of if you will secure another role, only a question of when. Bolster your spirits and keep plugging away. I assure you — it will happen.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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