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Thursday, January 1, 2009

interview went well but still not hired

A reader writes:

Had the first interview - seemed to go well. The HR Recruiter told my recruiter that they were getting the req approved and that they wanted me and would be in touch for a second interview.

Second interview came and I felt it went well - just like before. On the way up to the interviewer, the HR Recruiter told me it was just a formality, that the offer should come the following week and that the start date would be around 1/5/09. This information was unsolicited. The interviewer was not feeling well but continued on the interview. He was the COO of the company. He was out all week last week - yesterday we found out that the position was now under a different HR Recruiter and that there was no word yet on the position. This info came directly to my recruiter.

I followed up with a call to the hiring manager, who was the one that really wanted me. I just stated that I was very interested in the position, and wanted to see if she could provide any insight on where the hiring process was.

This morning my recruiter got word from HR that they were going to go in a different direction. No explanation or feedback on the second interviews. We all were shocked and floored, as it had gone so well. The manager of the recruiter who I am working with is going to try to talk with the hiring company to get some feedback.

How can I get back in the game at this point? I have no idea what happened in those second interviews that apparently didn't go as well as I thought. With one of them being sick - could that account for anything? Is it appropriate to fight for it (so to speak) and if so how do I go about that? The opportunity would be a good one and so would the company. Any advice on how to approach this with the hiring company or my recruiting company?

Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon. Even if an interview goes well, someone else's interview may go better ... or the company may truly decide to go in a different direction, as they've told you here. A different direction could mean all sorts of things -- from reworking the job description, to focusing on candidates with more of a background in ___, to dramatically cutting the pay range for the position and thus focusing on cheaper candidates. It's also possible that you might not have been as well-matched with what they were seeking as you thought you were.

Your recruiter is trying to get more feedback, which is exactly what she should be doing. But aside from that, all you can really do is move on. And remember: Things are rarely as perfect as they look on the outside, so if the company felt the match wasn't right, you may have dodged a bullet.


Anonymous said...

I think that asking for feedback is appropriate, however when a recruiting decision is made, I'm sorry but it's usually final. I never tell someone they are not successful in obtaining a position unless I am absolutely certain, and I would guess that this HR department is the same. It's unfortunate that the road was a little bumpy in this recruitment process, but I think it's probably best for you to move on to the next opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this is something does happen and can happen. I had a couple of thoughts reading this post.

1. If it were truly a formality, you would have met the COO after your hire. In my mind, huge faux pas on the person/people giving that information.

2. Perhaps the interview didn't go as well as the writer thought.

3. When I have situations where we really do choose to go in a different direction, I will tell candidates the details. Recently we advertised for a position but the VP changed directions. We let all the candidates now the change with the expected position description and probable date. This had nothing to do with the quality/people who had applied. We simply identified a different business need based on feedback from a study and decided to use that FTE for it.

If the other feedback is that it DID go well, continue to explore other options with the company. Perhaps something else will open up.

Rachel - former HR blogger said...

Anything could have happened. Lesson learned is: Don't get excited until it's your first day on the job.

Anonymous said...

Re-read Rachel's post. You're not hired till you're hired.

That's always been sage advice, but it's even more important today. I've seen coaching clients simply stop looking for work because they were "sure" or were "told" that they were as good as hired. The fact is that "as good as hired" is not hired.

Today companies are looking for ways to cut expenses. One way they can cut costs without letting people go is to allow vacant positions to remain that way. Companies are also streamlining and consolidating operations. They're cutting back on expansion plans. Those are all things that might have been meant by "going in a different direction."

Anonymous said...

Just a little add-on. The company may have decided to not use this outside agency/recruiter to fill the position. I've worked at companies before who have worked with outside agencies on hard to fill positions, but then when crunching numbers, the additional 20% placement fee was a no-go.

I would not "fight" for this position. To be completely honest, it won't land you the job, and will probably come off as rude. As an HR professional, part of my job is filling a position with the most qualified candidate. Why wouldn't I want to succeed?

There are numerous possibilities for why you're no longer being considered, from budgetary constraints to fit. I would let the agency you're working with try and find out more feedback, and move on.

Anonymous said...

If I were you, I'd decide that if people in the company are being dishonest, it's not as good a job as it seemed. Yes, telling someone they are as good as hired, is not the same as hiring them, but, it is still a lie. Although, it could possibly have been that the one felt you were truly hired, s/he should not have said that without confirmation. There's nothing like being led around in circles.

Anonymous said...

Part of an HR Professional's job may be to fill the position with a most qualified candidate but the sad thing is, in a recent news article a lot of companies out there are complaining that there are not enough qualified applicants out there. I can understand if people are not qualified by education but to reject an applicant for an entry level job just because he/she lacks the years of experience the employer is looking for is questionable. Just how do these employers expect inexperienced applicants to get experience if they are unable to get it because no one is willing to hire them? Obviously an entry level job is meant to hire people right out of college with new fresh talent or a few years out of college with little or no experience to help them to grow and become qualified for experienced title positions. In addition, someone with 2-3 of experience already has the experience to claim an experienced title so what do they need an entry level job for?

Ask a Manager said...

Anonymous: The reality is that entry-level jobs aren't there to give inexperienced applicants experience to help them grow. They're there because employers need work done. So in an economy like this one, where employers can get more experienced people to do that work (which often means it'll be done faster/better), they often take that route.

Does it suck for inexperienced candidates? Yes, absolutely.