The more clients I coach through the job search and interview process, the easier it is for me to draw parallels between dating and hiring someone for a job.
For jobseekers, it is hard to relate to what’s going on with an employer and their process if you’ve never been involved in hiring someone for a position. You start to read into every little thing, and in many cases what you’re perceiving as a problem in how you’re presenting yourself is really an issue on their end that you have no control over.
I’m finding that helping people remember a time when they were “evaluating candidates” from the dating pool helps put things in a different perspective.
Jobseeker Complaint: “I interviewed with them a week ago, but I haven’t heard anything. They must not have liked me.” Or “I can’t believe the company called me 2 months after I interviewed there…they must be a disorganized mess.”
Dating Equivalent: “I had a great date but I haven’t heard from them in a week. They must not like me.” Or “I can’t believe he/she called me 3 months later. They can’t be that into me if it took them that long to call.”
For this example, I’d like to introduce the concept of “guy time” in dating. I read in some book/Cosmo/Glamour article years ago that men and women are on different timelines, and that time moves much more slowly for a woman than a man (i.e. 7 days will feel like 14 days to a woman, and only 2 days to a man.) So while the woman is sitting around, counting the days that she hasn’t heard from the guy and writing him off because he’s clearly not “into” her enough, in his mind, they just talked a few days ago and everything’s cool.
On the employment side—the same thing happens. You can have a great interview with a company, they like you—you like them. It’s all happy-happy-joy-joy. But then you don’t hear from them for a week or two and you immediately assume that they’re just not that into you—only to have them call you back for another interview a few weeks later. And from that you assume they’re a disorganized group.
The part that amuses me most is when men start panicking about this employment timeline and I get to remind them about the “guy time” concept…but I digress.
Jobseekers in this scenario have one distinct advantage over daters because before they leave an interview they can ask the hiring manager or HR person what their timeline is for making a decision. (Not recommended date-behavior.) You can ask a company what the most convenient way is to follow up. Then keep in mind that unexpected situations can arise. Many times the position is put on hold pending a budget review, or someone else in the company gives their notice, which causes them to rethink the duties/necessity of the position you interviewed for. Both perfectly valid reasons. Both have absolutely nothing to do with you.
So the advice is the same for jobseekers as daters. You can not change the rules of “guy time.” After a week and a half has gone by without a word from the employer, you can politely email or call them to just check in on their timeline to hire (if you forgot to ask in the interview). However companies—and men— will not make their hiring (or dating) decision on your timeline.
In the meantime you should definitely continue your search (unless you currently have a job or aren’t desperate for a relationship, in which case you’re fine waiting to see how this pans out.) If you have a great 2nd interview with another company—but your dream job still hasn’t made an offer—then it’s OK to go back to the dream job and let them know that there’s another company with serious interest in you. That’s really the only leverage you have. If they remember you as a fantastic candidate, and can get their act together on their end, they’ll throw their hat in the ring.