When a Strong Follow Up Doesn’t Lead to an Offer

By Deb Koen

Question: I went for an interview and followed up with an e-mail right away. The hiring manager replied that he would make a decision on the outcome in a couple of weeks. When no response came, I followed up again with a voice mail and e-mail. It has now been three months, and I just saw an ad for the same position. I am still very interested. What can I do?

-- Alice, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alice : It seems that, for whatever reason, the hiring manager made the decision to continue the search instead of offering you the position. Avoid getting caught in a never-ending, one-sided loop. You followed up appropriately, and this would have made it clear that you are interested in the position. While there is nothing preventing you from sending yet another e-mail to express your ongoing interest in the unfilled opening, it is doubtful your overture would yield a favorable reply. It would be most helpful, however, if you could obtain some feedback on your candidacy.

Feedback isn't easy to come by when there is no real incentive for an employer to come forward, but give it one last try at connecting and then move on. If there is an involved third party (like a recruiter) who could seek feedback on your behalf, try this route, as an employer is more likely to respond to a third party. If that isn't an option, send an e-mail to deliver your request, briefly explaining that you saw the ad and would greatly appreciate any feedback that might offer insights regarding your candidacy, as this could be extremely valuable as you continue your search.

Regardless of whether you receive a response, on your own or with the aid of an objective professional, conduct a personal audit to compare your qualifications against those sought in the advertised opening. In addition, critique the interview. Upon careful reflection, insights often are revealed around certain moments in the interview when you felt like there was a disconnect or as if the chemistry just wasn't right.

From CareerJournal November 2004

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