Does the Squeaky Wheel Really Get the Grease?

10 Apr

“All right. Sounds great! We will contact you next week.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this response after an interview and was not contacted in the next week, I would have about 20 cents. Jokes aside, I have faced a lot of frustration these past few months after having an interview over the phone or in person and waiting for a response email or call.

The problem might stem from our own excitement.  After interviews, we are so excited about what just transpired that we want to hear back immediately, and when the company says it will contact you, it couldn’t possibly do it soon enough.  When I don’t receive a response email, thousands of thoughts race through my brain—I get so paranoid that the company I interviewed with forgot about me or lost my email or hates my guts. Should I be more worried about not getting the response email, or is it my own paranoia I should be worried about? We must remind ourselves that patience is a virtue.

I have developed a few guidelines when it comes to responding before a company contacts you:

Wait your turn. When a company tells you, “We will call you in two weeks,” don’t have a panic attack if you haven’t received a call after one week. I know the thought is hard to swallow, but you probably aren’t the top priority of the company’s everyday problems or appointments. Be patient and wait your turn.

Be respectfully proactive. If the two weeks pass by and the company still has yet to contact you, then take the initiative and reach out to prove to the company how badly you want the job.  Some companies will purposefully wait for interviewees to contact them to prove their desire for the job.  Don’t jump the gun though—you will know when reminding the company that you are still interested is appropriate.

Be confident. It is easy to be afraid of seeming like an over-obsessed teenager who wants a job, but you do not want a recruiter to think of you as obsessed and crazed. Approach your response email in a professional way. If you send the recruiter a well-written and sincere “reminder” email about how badly you want to position he or she will respond in one of two ways:

  1. “Oh my, I totally forgot about this amazing candidate because I was swamped with work last week.”
  2. “This candidate really showed initiative. I will remember that he sent me this email when considering him or her for the job.

Seems like a win-win situation to me! Remember the guidelines I talked about and the importance of being patient, respectful, and confident, and you will never second-guess sending a “reminder” email ever again.

by Tim Cooney

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3 Responses to “Does the Squeaky Wheel Really Get the Grease?”

  1. lesliewu April 12, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Tim,
    I enjoyed reading your blog post. The subject is relevant to any business school student and it was entertaining to read your thoughts on waiting patiently to hear back from recruiters. It’s really important to remain respectful in these kinds of interactions and a big part of MGT 201 is helping us to gain a sense of how to maintain that respect.

  2. Jacob Trunsky April 12, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Tim and Leslie,

    Your blog and comments are right on. I think Management 201’s focus on tone really makes a difference in situations like this. Your followup communication with a person can easily get you a job or turn them off. What do you think is the most appropriate form of communication in these situations. The most common is email, but might a phone call be better to ensure the recruiter doesn’t misinterpret your tone?

  3. Jacqueline Chen April 13, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    This article is super relevant to really anyone who will ever look for a job in his or her lifetime. To answer your question, Jacob, I think it is completely appropriate to call and leave a message if the person has given you his/her number. If not, I feel like it’s not so appropriate to call the company’s office number, as he/she probably did not give you a number for a reason (many applicants, not enough time, etc.), in which case it would be more appropriate to just shoot an e-mail. I could very well be wrong, as I do not actually know what goes on in an employer’s mind, but just my two cents!

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