Q: I interviewed for a job with a company in Houston and they said I would probably hear something before Thanksgiving, but, so far, nothing. What should I do?
A: Applying for a job in the fall can get a little tricky, hence the word “probably.” Most companies are finishing their budgets, getting ready for year-end reviews and, yes, planning around the holidays. When you are applying for a job, “not knowing” makes a lot of people anxious. Unfortunately, you simply have to stay the course. What you don’t want: your angst gets the best of you and you do something to disrupt the process, like sending an email with the wrong tone: “Dear Mr. Brown, I am writing to you about my application. You said I would hear something by Thanksgiving, but I have not. What’s up?”
I can tell you from many years of working with HR and talent leaders, that they rarely forget, nor do they give false information. Unfortunately, they tend to be a very busy group of people and they are often pulled in many different directions. We covered some of this in a previous column, but here is what you should do.
First, I would go back and reread your follow-up email, the company representative’s response to it and any other meeting notes. Then, craft a short email to the HR or talent representative – you may even work in a holiday message: “Dear Mr. Brown, I trust you are having a busy fall and preparing for the holidays. I am looking forward to our continued conversations and want to see if, at this point, you need anything for me. Naturally, I am also happy to provide you with any additional information you need to complete my application.” Then add a nice “thank you” and sit tight.
And keep in mind, you may need to follow-up with the HR representative or the hiring manager several times before you reach the offer stage. In each case, keep the right tone: you are simply checking in – you are very excited at the prospect of joining the organization – you are happy to provide any additional information that the hiring team might find helpful. I think I mentioned in June that it took me five months to get a job once and there were plenty of times that I thought, maybe, something had gone wrong. Every time I spoke to the hiring manager, she said that something else had come up, but that we were still moving forward. It was nerve-racking at times, but I took her at her word and it was one of the best jobs I have ever had.
In order to get ahead in corporate America, you have to pre-think these situations; you have to anticipate that there will be delays or, that sometimes things will move faster than you expected. Being prepared for various developments is the best way to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly: that you learn about the job, that your resume tells your best story, that your references support your story and that your thank you communications also make you stand out from the crowd.
Lilyanne has worked in corporate America for 25 years and has supported eight CEOs. She wants to answer your career questions – so you can get ahead at work. Email your questions to Lilyanne@racetothetopcareers.com <mailto:Lilyanne@racetothetopcareers.com> , email@example.com or through your favorite connection to the Houston Forward Times.