The Job Interview: Why Didn’t They Call You Back and What To Do

Tue, May 01, 2012 @ 10:46 AM / by ATR International

Waiting for a call backThere is nothing more frustrating than interviewing for a job that you really want and then sitting and waiting for a phone call. The interview seemed to go really well. You were prepared, dressed appropriately, and you arrived on time. All of the stars were aligned. So why aren’t they calling you back? Here are a variety of possible reasons, and how you should respond to each.

A better candidate
As much as you know you could do a great job in the position, the hiring company sometimes finds someone they like better. There’s really nothing you can do in this situation. The other candidate may have known someone on the inside, they may have had more relevant experience, or maybe the interviewer just liked them more than they liked you. Sometimes hiring decisions are made for reasons that are never fully revealed.

What you should do
All is not lost in this scenario. Write a follow up letter or email thanking the hiring manager and anyone else you interviewed with. Express your interest in working for the company should a role matching your experience open up. Monitor the company’s careers page and contact them if you see anything of interest.

They like you, but have other priorities
Hiring new employees is just one of many responsibilities for a manager. Every manager typically has a staff to manage as well as other timelines and projects to oversee. It is not uncommon that a company’s hiring timeframe is much longer than yours.

What you should do
Stay in contact. Emailing or calling once per week is sufficient. Any more than this may be seen as desperate or viewed as stalking. If you are a leading candidate for the job they won’t forget about you.

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They are waiting to see how you follow up
For certain positions, such as sales, the company may be waiting to see how you follow up and how persistent you are. Quite often, the follow-up is just as important as the interview. Follow-up should be timely, professional, and targeted.

What you should do
No matter what the position, always follow-up with everyone that took the time to interview you. Email is fine. Just make it personalized and professional.

Things got put on hold
The urgent need to hire a Marketing Specialist last week may not be as urgent this week. Other things come up, priorities shift, companies change direction. The position may still be open, but the hiring may have been put on hold for now due to shifting priorities.

What you should do
Follow-up and stay in touch. This may actual weed out some of the other candidates as others may lose patience or find other positions.

Waiting to interview other candidates
The company may have a handful (or more) of candidates they want to interview before a decision is made. And it's not always easy to schedule multiple interviews in a short period of time. Not only does the company have to fit the interviews within the candidates’ schedules, but everyone within the company who is interviewing the candidates must find time in their schedules to conduct the interviews. This process can take time.  

What you should do
Follow-up and stay in touch. Use this time to demonstrate your professionalism and ability to follow-up. You can also use this time to present some solutions you came up with to any issues/projects that were brought up during your interview. This is a great way to demonstrate your work habits.

You’re just not a fit
Despite what you may think, the hiring company just doesn’t view you as a fit.

What you should do
Follow-up, as you always should, with “thank you’s” to all of the individuals that interviewed you. Express your interest in working for the company should a role matching your experience open up.


Looking for a new job? Read: How to Optimize Your Job Search, A Comprehensive Guide for Every Job Seeker

Topics: find a job, job interview

ATR International

Written by ATR International

Founded in 1988 in response to the burgeoning demand for temporary personnel, ATR International has been providing our clients with IT consultants and enterprise-wide staffing services for over 25 years.

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