Learn how to wait for job-search decisions

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During your job search, one of the hidden aspects you will encounter is the learned skill in patiently waiting for the next steps towards a job offer. A familiar feeling shared among job candidates is guessing when the employer might contact them after an interview.

Waiting for news can be challenging, especially when you had a good interview and felt connected with the interviewer. Sometimes the most challenging part of a job search has nothing to do with the mechanics of the process but rather the emotional aspects.

When there is a lack of communication, it leaves room for you to second guess the next steps in your future, and self-doubt can creep in to rein havoc on your confidence level.

Do they think I am over-qualified? Why the delay in calling me back? Is something wrong with my resume? Call it all the signs of an internal dialogue, searching for answers and predictions what will happen next in your search. It is human nature to personalize almost everything in a job search, and the lack of responses add to your eagerness in wanting to hear something back.

There will always be two perspectives at play in a job search: one from a job candidate’s point of view and one from the employers. To the candidate, time often becomes distorted, uneven, and slow, an hour means an hour, and when you don’t hear back from an employer, it can feel as though you have no control.

From an employer’s point of view, their time is scheduled. However, it can change at a moment’s notice with a flurry of activity. To an employer, getting back to you “as soon as possible” might mean seven hours or seven days.

You have more control than you might imagine. One option is to manage your expectations and understand the process. Here is what you can do – avoid connecting your value as a skilled professional to the lack of communication. Hiring decision-makers have numerous reasons for not responding as you would hope, and not all of them are negative, but somewhat unplanned delays.

You can increase your chances of a job offer by actively following up with leads and interviews. The person that lands the job does not always have the most vital skills but sets themselves apart by following up with the employer.

Before leaving the interview, always ask about the next steps, and express your interest in the job. There are several ways to convey your interest and inquire about the next steps. Before the interview is over, summarize your qualifications and ask a few clarifying questions, “After talking with you, I am confident this position is a good match. Is there anything I haven’t covered?”

Another way to reinforce your strong interest is to ask for the job, such as, “I am eager to make contributions, and this position is a good fit for my background and your needs. I want to work with you and your team. What are the next steps in making a decision?”

To help speed up the hiring process, when you are applying for positions, take the time to research who the job reports to. Through your contacts, find a personal connection that is familiar with the company to talk with someone instead of going into a pool of candidates.

Internal referrals give you instant credibility, and employers take them seriously. If two candidates are in a dead heat for an offer, the one that comes with a known factor is more likely to be offered the job.

Sending a follow-up letter or email to the hiring decision-maker is another way of staying in touch. Overall, a job search takes time, and even though time may seem like it stands still, you are making progress.

Instead of spending the energy second-guessing, stay persistent, follow up, and continue to build relationships, and more than likely, an opportunity will emerge.

While waiting for decisions from employers, what steps did you take to make your time more productive?

Kimberly Thompson, M.Ed. is a national board-certified counselor and coach. Send questions to kim@careerrescue.com or visit her blog at https://blog.chron.com/careerrescue/.

Kim Thompson