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How to Manage an Unresponsive Hiring Manager

I hear this bit of feedback more and more from my clients in the job market: employers are simply delinquent in getting back to candidates hungry for some closure. Candidates who have been asked to interview for up to seven rounds of discussions are getting left in the dark and feeling ignored, abandoned and disrespected. For candidates presently out of work and looking, this reality can be infuriating and even demeaning; candidates who have jobs but are looking to make a switch feel the pinch less so but are still annoyed. If this is you, below are four ideas to help you obtain critical information from employers and recruiters who just don’t think to give you the time of day.


Dealing with an Unresponsive Hiring Manager (Photo: iStockphoto)

Send email follow-up notes
Resist the temptation to send multiple emails asking for status updates. Send an email message once every 10-12 days. Be respectful, courteous and professional in your message. The last thing you want to do is knock yourself out of consideration by being a pest. No answer and waiting are better than an unequivocal no.

Ask to meet for coffee
In lieu of a follow-up email campaign, perhaps asking the hiring manager or recruiter to a “coffee catch-up” might be a good idea. It sends the message that you want an answer without speaking it, and coffee is a very non-confrontational way to humanize the process a bit. Use this approach if you have a particularly closer connection to the recruiter or hiring manager.

Network with an insider
Leverage your network to gain access to someone at the company who can give you some perspective. Usually, hiring decisions can get pushed back simply because the decision-makers are tied up on other pressing projects. It does not mean you are not a good candidate and won’t get an offer — it just means that the team hasn’t gotten around to making a final call. An insider can confirm this suspicion and get you to calm down.

Send a hand-written note
Yes, mail a hand-written note. If your handwriting is a disaster, just make sure it’s legible and not a total embarrassment. A handwritten note can be a touch of class that you need to spur some action, and it won’t hurt you. It’s a way to ensure getting someone’s attention outside of being another blip on his or her inbox.

Patience is a virtue here, but it is disturbing that companies are not demonstrating the kind of decency in the recruiting process that candidates are expected to follow (e.g. how not sending a thank you note can mean not being considered any longer for the role). Unfortunately, this reality may be the new rule of the game, so try these tactics to see if it helps get you some answers.

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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