Q: About a month ago, I had a good interview with a company downtown. I took a whole Friday off for the interview. I left there thinking an offer would be on the way. I waited but didn’t hear anything. About a week later, I followed up with an email to the talent acquisition representative. A few days later, she replied that another candidate was hired who “seemed to want the job more than I did.” I am so disappointed. I wanted that job. What do you think happened? I thought I did everything right.
A: Thank you for submitting your question. When I read your question, there was a single moment when I cringed. When was that moment? I read two words: “I waited.” I am sorry to be harsh but I think that is what may have changed the course for you. Don’t wait! Don’t ever wait if you think this is the ideal role for you. I hear from some candidates, “I didn’t want to seem desperate.” Or “I wanted to play ‘hard to get’ with them.” I think that is a mistake. I think your actions need to match your interest level. If you are interested in a job, I would not email a thank-you note from my phone in the elevator on the way out. What I would do though is to compose a neat, grammatically correct thank-you email that afternoon or evening and email it within a day. Not a business day, but within the day.
Many of us work in environments where we are accessing emails after hours. Job seekers should too. I know some job seekers will grimace at this suggestion, but this is the reality of smart phones and technology.
You bring up my number one frustration with candidates. Unresponsiveness. I understand that job seekers feel this too. I have heard a thousand times from job seekers that they submit a resume and never hear back. I understand that frustration. I am not excusing it but, now with technology, it is much easier to submit a resume. Sometimes we have 10 jobs posted and we get the same resume for all 10! I call them perpetual posters. There are some job seekers who use the strategy of “apply to everything and see what might stick.” I don’t think that is an effective strategy. However, when I reach out to a candidate, and it may be on a weekend, I do expect a response within 24 hours. It demonstrates interest! If you have a serious interest in a role, send a thank-you email quickly. Follow up the next week. Behave in a way that demonstrates you are enthusiastic and excited about the role!
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.