In a perfect world, if you interview for a job but don’t get it, you would get a letter letting you know. But in many cases, this doesn’t happen. Here’s why.


A TechRepublic member recently e-mailed me and, boy, is he steamed:

What I would ask of ALL EMPLOYERS, is to have the professional courtesy to tell the interviewee of his status in the process; in other words, tell them when they have been disqualified or are no longer being considered for the position! Don’t just leave the poor slob hanging…

He has hopes and dreams, and has put a lot of time and effort into applying to this job. He’s done the research on the company, he’s pressed his best suit, he’s re-arranged his personal schedule to accommodate your only availability, etc…. He deserves the same consideration in ‘rejection’ he gets when there’s a possible ‘acceptance’…

I’m going through this very scenario right now. I’ve made it to the ‘final three’ in the interviewing process and all of a sudden, it’s like I’ve hit one of those ‘dead zones’ Verizon scares us with in their commercials.

I’m sitting here in THOUSANDS of dollars of debt in education loans, waiting for my “I’ve made it moment.” chewing my fingernails to the quick…AND NO ONE EVER CALLS AGAIN!!!!!HOW FRUSTRATING IS THAT?!?!

I agree that all interview candidates should receive some kind of notification that a job has been filled, especially if the search had been narrowed down to three people and you were one of those. And I’ll address that in a moment, but let me talk about the fingernail problem first. I know waiting is frustrating. You’re talking to the biggest Type A in the world. The trick is to fill the time you spend “actively” waiting with other pursuits. Put out a gazillion job feelers so that you’re not left sitting by the phone waiting for that one call. You won’t be able to change the behavior of the employers, but you can alleviate your reactions to it.

Now on to the employers: Bigger and more savvy companies (those with HR departments) often make it a policy to send out letters letting job candidates know if they didn’t get the job. Sometimes they even do this for people who have sent resumes but did not get an interview.

Unfortunately, some companies just don’t take that extra step. Why not? Three reasons:

Laziness. A lot of people don’t cross their t’s and dot their i’s in anything work-related, much less put appropriate closure on a hiring situation. It’s a real shame. They’re also hurting themselves because the next time they have a job opening people may be less likely to apply because of the previous treatment.
Cowardice. Many people are uncomfortable delivering bad news, especially when the purpose of it is telling someone they didn’t, in some way, measure up. I can understand the feeling, but if you want the manager job, you have to buck up on things like this.
Slyness. Some managers just want to leave the door open as long as possible. You could be the second or third choice for a job, and the hiring manager is waiting to see if the first candidate accepts the job offer. If that candidate doesn’t accept, then he can offer you the job. But he doesn’t want to tell you in the beginning that you might have the job if his first choice doesn’t pan out.

I would be interested in finding out from hiring managers why they don’t notify everyone they interview on the status of the job.

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We’ll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.