Job Hunting Week, day three: Stressing about the timeline

Welcome to Job Hunting Week. Looking for a job is my whole life at the moment, and looking for a job is so not fun. None of the content of this week will be revolutionary or even anything you haven’t thought of yourself, but I want to get it all out there in the open. Let’s commiserate together about the worst parts of job searching and what makes it so truly awful.

Day three: Stressing about the timeline

When you talk with recruiters and, most importantly, when you interview, you’ll generally establish some sort of timeline for when they’re expecting to have a decision made.
It's like it's all I do.

Some interviewers aren’t proactive about establishing this, so it’s good to ask questions toward the end of the interview such as, “When are you looking to have this position filled?” or “What sort of timeline can I expect for hearing back about this role?”

Then you sit back and wait until the day they said you should hear by.

Here is what that looks like:

You have an interview on, let’s say, Friday. You’re supposed to hear by the next Friday. So of course, you try to convince yourself you’ll hear earlier than that. Monday passes and though you wish you would hear that day, you aren’t surprised when you don’t.

Tuesday and Wednesday, you start to feel the agony. Why haven’t they made a decision yet? They said all their interviews were last week. Why’s it taking so long to make a decision?

Of course, what’s taking so long is they all have jobs, and their hiring responsibilities are a teensy, tiny, minute part of them. Three days after the interviews, they may not have even had time to review their notes or meet with the other people who have a say in hiring.

So then Thursday and Friday roll around and you still haven’t heard. Midday Friday, you start to think you should maybe send a follow-up email soon.

Friday ends and, obviously, you won’t have heard anything yet. So then you play the follow-up game.

The follow-up game is where you have to decide when it would be appropriate to send a follow-up email or make a follow-up phone call.

That job you were supposed to hear about on Friday but didn’t? Over the weekend, it’s obviously all you can think about, so much so that you want to send an email on Sunday night. You convince yourself not to, of course.

Then Monday morning rolls around. Okay. You were supposed to hear by Friday. It’s the next business day. So today should be a fine time to email, right? But maybe you should give them today to reach out and then email them first thing tomorrow. Or maybe you should call, because they called you to schedule the interview, so maybe they prefer communicating by phone.

It’s a struggle. And when I'm waiting to hear, I'm thinking, why can’t hiring managers just do what they say they’re going to do? I’m not making the timeline for you. I’m asking you about a timeline and you’re choosing it. It seems like the responsible thing to do would be to make that decision within the time frame you established, or just quote a much longer time than you expect it to take. 

Of course, the reality is that life happens and things often come up that affect the hiring timeline and I can't expect a hiring manager to fill me in on every development.

I think the most important thing here is to remember that rushing things along isn’t going to make a difference. If you’re going to get the job, you’re going to get it. If not, you’re not. So while following up is important in order to keep yourself top-of-mind for the hiring manager, being too aggressive or too impatient also isn’t a good thing.

Basically, everything you do is wrong.

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