A reader writes:
Three weeks ago, I interviewed for a job with a major media company. This was/is a dream job . I was interviewed by HR, and after the interview I was taken to a second interview on the same day with my potential supervisor. I believed both interviews went well and was even given an homework assignment to test my skills and qualifications.When I got home later that day, I sent the HR person a thank you note but not my potential supervisor. Was this a mistake?
Four days later, I turned in my assignment to my potential supervisor but I did not receive a confirmation email from him stating that the assignment was received. I wrote a follow-up email asking for confirmation two days later. My letter was a formal, succinct letter, nothing unusual. I felt it I should be formal with my potential supervisor because we are not peers, so addressing him by his first name was a no-no.
Within minutes of my email, I received this note from him: "Received. You will hear from us shortly." No salutations, no closing, just those words.
This email was received about two weeks ago. Since then I have spoken to my references and was told by all of them that no one contacted them about me. These are references from individuals whom I trust to tell me the truth, individuals who are forthright and are great communicators.
A few days ago, I accepted a non-paying position at a company owned by a friend. The position is similar to the one I interviewed for. Although I accepted this job, I am still interested and enthusiastic about working with the media company. I want to show them that I am in demand as well as a valuable candidate. Also: As the job duties with the other company amounts to something that is part-time and unpaid, in the short term, I am hoping that by informing them of my new circumstances, they will give me an answer about the job I interviewed for. Is this crazy?
In informing them of my new situation, I do not want to communicate to them that I am impatient or desperate ( I really am) so what do I do? Should I forget this experience and move on or should I forge ahead and gamble? If I gamble, how do I inform them that I am doing the same thing somewhere else but am still interested in working them? I do not want to communicate that I am unreliable or unfaithful. Please advise.
1. I wouldn't say that only sending a thank-you note to the HR rep and not the hiring manager was a mistake per se, but it would be better to send it to both of them. Of the two, if you were only going to send one, I'd send it to the hiring manager, as he has more influence at this stage over whether you're hired. But that's unlikely to make or break you so you really shouldn't worry too much about it -- although it's not too late to send a follow-up note now.
2. His note confirming receipt of your exercise was a bit brusque, but I wouldn't read anything into that, other than that he's busy.
3. Now as for your major question, whether to tell them that you've accepted a non-paying position: No. For several reasons:
a. First, unless you're very specific that it's short-term and the employer is okay with you leaving at any time, they'll assume you're now committed elsewhere. I would be very hesitant to hire a candidate who just accepted a different position, as her willingness to screw over that employer would be a huge negative. You can explain the situation of course, but then they're just going to wonder why you're telling them at all.
b. The fact that it's non-paying may potentially devalue you in their eyes. I'm not saying it should, but it could. I don't see enough benefit to justify that risk.
c. You're really just looking for ways to push them into action, right? This won't do it. There are only two ways to push a prospective employer into action, and neither of them are guaranteed:
- You can mention that you have another offer and a deadline for answering it. (This is not something you should lie about, since they may just tell you they can't meet your deadline and so you should take it -- and then you're out of the running with them. So you should only do this if it's true.)
- You can contact the hiring manager, reiterate your strong interest, and ask for a timeline. This may or may not get them moving, but it's really all you can do.
(Wow, check out this outline format I used above. The numbers, the letters, the dashes...)
Meanwhile, continue your job search. Hopefully you'll hear from this company with good news, but you can't plan around that. You've got to keep searching until you have an offer in hand. Good luck!