Seven Signs that an Employer Just is Not that into You

Looking for a new job and wondering if a company is interested in you? Well, if they aren’t, there are some easily readable, telltale signs. BusinessWeek gives us a list of seven:

1. Silence After Initial Contact
2. Difficulty Scheduling a Phone Screen
3. Last-Minute Interview Changes
4. Delay in Post-Interview Contact
5. Too Many Changes in the Process
6. Slow Follow-Up After Second Interview
7. Delay in Extending the Offer

None of these are hard and fast rules — there are always exceptions. But if you’re getting a few of these signs from a potential employer, it’s probably time to move on to the next option.

When an Employer Just Is Not That Into You [Yahoo Finance]

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  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    “Delay in extending the offer” ?

    yeah, like forever.

  2. camas22 says:

    sounds like someone read “he’s just not that into you” from the oprah book club

  3. kellyhelene says:

    My company must be one of those exceptions… When I was initially hired (from being a temp) it was, without exaggeration, four and a half months from when I applied to my official start date.
    I recently switched positions within the company, even though my new manager knew he wanted to hire me, it still took well over a month (nearly two!) before a formal offer was extended.

    It’s also not uncommon for people to be given offers long enough after the interview that they’d already given up and accepted work elsewhere.

  4. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    It’s always tough waiting to hear back from a potential employer. A couple of times after the 2nd interview, it seemed like forever but they eventually made offers. Now from the inside of a company and seeing them try and replace people who leave I understand better. Quite often, major issues happen that need to be addressed so filling positions may be pushed down the priority list.

  5. figz says:

    I agree in part, but unfortunately much of the process is controlled by poorly-run HR departments. I don’t think it always reflects the rest of the organization.

  6. RandomHookup says:

    I’ve done recruiting inside companies for a bunch of years and the delay is often with the hiring manager, not the HR people (though HR is known in some companies for slowing things down). That said, I believe that a week in real time feels like a month to a candidate who is waiting.

  7. castlecraver says:

    If they use those sorts of tactics to silently convey non-interest, I’d consider it a blessing in disguise that I’m not getting that job. Why can’t the hiring folks just be upfront and honest when they’re not interested? I’m a big boy, and I’ve been rejected before. I find the coddling and rigmarole far more insulting than a simple “you’re not what we’re looking for, but thanks.”

  8. krom says:

    I think it’s impolite and irresponsible for companies to simply ignore a candidate who was brought in for an interview but passed over. In my field, I’ve learned that if I didn’t hear back within a week or two (some companies do take this long and sometimes even longer), then I presumably didn’t make it. Emails and phone messages will typically get ignored too.

    Hand to hand with this is that you don’t stop interviewing while you wait for the call back, because it probably won’t come. Go on other interviews. It’s always best to have more than one line in the water anyway.

    Only one company (a large one with a thorough process) ever gave me a “sorry but no” message. It was disappointment, but it was also closure.

  9. revmatty says:

    I’ve lost track of the number of candidates who had already accepted other offers by the time we got around to extending an offer. And this wasn’t “Gee, do we want to hire them or not? Let’s do some more interviews.” This was deciding within a day or two of the interview to extend an offer, and then having to hand it off to HR and the departmental VP to decide on the specifics of the offer and actually call the applicant. A process that generally took at least 6 weeks.

  10. RandomHookup says:

    Oh, and these same rules usually apply on the company side, too. If the candidate is hard to schedule, it’s very likely she isn’t that into us, either.

    And, yes, the recruiting process is very much like dating with all the same problems, though I recommend leaving sex out of it.

  11. fhic says:

    @RevMatty:

    I agree completely. Any and all of these supposed “signs” might just as likely be indicators of corporate bureaucracy. Good or bad, there’re an awful lot of people who have to give their blessing to a new hire in a big company.

  12. Nytmare says:

    @castlecraver: Maybe it’s for the same reason I left that half-bag of frozen chicken nuggets in the back of the freezer for a year before finally admitting that they just weren’t appetizing enough and it was time to throw it out.

  13. timmus says:

    1. Silence After Initial Date
    2. Difficulty in Scheduling Sex
    3. Last-Minute Date Changes
    4. Delay in Post-Date Contact
    5. Too Many Changes in the Date
    6. Slow Follow-Up After Second Date
    7. Delay in Extending Sex

    Yup — sounds like my dating experiences in a nutshell!

  14. 5cents says:

    I agree with many of the above comments. This list is bogus. The actual process is so much more nuanced and HR usually makes a hash of things.

  15. Cowboys_fan says:

    I had an interview a month or two ago and the interviewer answered his cell mid-sentence, started making lunch/date plans with some girl, and I knew I was out. There’s a major red flag if I’d ever seen one, not that I wanted to work for them anymore at that point.

  16. Wormfather says:

    On the other end.

    I got a screen call on Monday
    First interview Tuesday
    Second interview on Wednesday
    An offer on Thursday.

    Really, it feels like a drive by hiring. But the funny part is, they cant give me an offer sheet until next week because of HR.

    Worst part of it is, they gave me the exact salary I asked…I should have asked for more.

  17. Buran says:

    I had a company say they’d call to do a phone interview, never call, then when I emailed I got an out of office autoreply. I then got a “while I was out someone from the company accepted the position”. I then asked why I wasn’t considered and stated that I was not interested in working for a company that was that disorganized. They then called ME unprofessional. Hah!

    I’m not into them at all anymore.

  18. ARP says:

    I also think part of the problem is that many HR policies say you need to consider a certain number of candidates so you don’t look biased.

  19. j-o-h-n says:

    @krom: I think it’s impolite and irresponsible for companies to simply ignore a candidate who was brought in for an interview but passed over. In my field, I’ve learned that if I didn’t hear back within a week or two…

    That goes two ways too. If you are looking for a job, get an answering machine/service! I’m not going to call a zillion times.

  20. MercuryPDX says:

    I interviewed at a local interactive agency that had several immediate job openings on their website. I thought it went really well, but got crickets for a week after sending them references and code samples.

    A follow-up email got me nothing, nor did the first phone call. I figured one more follow-up, then I’ll just assume the worst. I made the second call two weeks after the interview, left another message and got an email back.

    “You’re perfect for the job, we think you’d do well here, we’d like to hire you… BUT we’re not hiring anyone through the rest of the quarter.”

    So now I’m unsure exactly what just happened. Was I good enough for the job but the company took some weird financial downturn, or was this their polite way of saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”? Incidentally, the position is gone off their website. My other contacts inside the company say the position is not filled, and as far as they know, there was no hiring freeze.

    My Adivce: If it’s a position you really want, don’t be afraid to follow-up on a weekly basis. Sitting back and waiting will do you little good. Be sure to have a Plan B, and don’t STOP interviewing or cancel interviews/meetings unless you have a firm offer in your hands that says “You start on Monday.”

  21. MercuryPDX says:

    @ARP: My previous job had a policy that you needed at least three candidates/resumes for an open position. The process took so damn long, we were lucky if we were able to place anyone.

  22. Buran says:

    @Buran: Oh, and then they asked the friend-of-a-friend for more suggestions for the same position and, by the way, we won’t hire that unprofessional person. My friend remarked, “bridge burned”.

    I’m certainly not the one who set it on fire!

    Why do we never hear more about abusive/uncaring/rude recruiters/managers and hear all kinds of stories about idiot job seekers? Apparently they can do no wrong, we can.

  23. DaWezl says:

    When I was applying for my current position, my soon-to-be boss knew as soon as he left the interview that he wanted to hire me. However, he was forced to first get VP approval okaying the hire (though he was filling a vacancy), and then he had to go through a process with HR to get the offer put together. He had told me that they’d be making a decision within two weeks, but it took him 3.5 to get back to me. It wasn’t indicative at all of the job

  24. MercuryPDX says:

    @RandomHookup: Having been on both sides of the table, I only half agree with you. I’m looking for work, and I try to have at least three phone or in-person interviews a week.

    If your company “only conducts interviews on Thursday mornings” (no joke… I was told this) and I already have one booked, I’d hope you can reschedule for next week or find some other way to be accommodating. If ‘you’ can’t be flexible in your hiring process, then don’t complain if I can’t fit in your window.

    From the other side of the table, if a candidate schedules an interview and cancels or tries to reschedule without a good reason (Death in the family = Good. Hung over from the night before = Bad), then I take that as a potentially unreliable employee who would NOT be hired.

  25. RandomHookup says:

    @MercuryPDX:

    Oh, there’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides. I just warn my hiring managers that when someone reschedules an interview, there is a 90% chance they aren’t really interested. It’s not even the unreliable piece, it’s usually that we are getting strung along as a last option -or- the candidate really isn’t interested in leaving his/her current job.

  26. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Buran: Maybe because people who work for such fine examples of corporate America just are too tired at the end of the day after putting up with all the bullshit politics to comment. But how true…I’ve run into some extremely rude recruiters, you know I’d rather hear “Sorry” than nothing at all.

  27. MercuryPDX says:

    @Buran: In the past two weeks I have two doozys:

    1) Schedule interview with company. Arrive 15 minutes early to interview. Discover 40 minutes later that the person who made and would conduct the interview was off and on vacation in Florida for the week. Still waiting to hear back from him so I can ask if he the interview was here or in Florida.

    2) Schedule interview with company. Arrive 15 minutes early to interview. Wait 45 minutes for interviewer to get out of “last minute meeting”. Interviewer comes out into reception only to tell me the position has already been filled, but “Thanks for stopping by, we’ll keep you on file.”. The kicker: Phone call the next day asking me to come back in because they offer they gave was declined.

  28. MercuryPDX says:

    @MercuryPDX: P.S. I share these tid bits with the recruiters that send me on these interviews, and at least two of them keep very good notes about junk like this if only to warn people going in there ahead of time.

  29. salsa says:

    What do you make of this email? I’m a recent graduate with a Chem degree, and I received this response from a major Pharma company:

    “Thank you for taking the time to speak with ______ for our future Pharmaceutical Sales Representative positions. Upon further review, we are pleased to announce that your recent interview was a success.

    Your file was thoroughly reviewed by members of our sales management team with reference to our future sales opportunities and we would like to continue to move forward with your candidacy to the next round of interviews. However, at this time we are unable to predict when those next interviews will be held. We ask that you remain patient, as your file will remain active for one year from your interview date. If at anytime during this period our management team secures an interview date, we will contact you to schedule an interview.

    Congratulations!”

    Huh? a YEAR?

  30. MercuryPDX says:

    @salsablaeu: You passed the initial “we’re casting out a wide net” interview, if any ACTUAL positions come up within the next year, we have your resume on file.

    One of the companies I worked for did this regularly and referred to it on their website as “Ongoing Applications”. It usually applies to positions with high turnover rates. If you really want to work for them, call and follow-up every 4 weeks in order to keep your resume closer to the top of the pile.

  31. salsa says:

    @MercuryPDX: Thanks, that does sound plausible.

    I just really enjoy the enthusiastic “Congratulations!” at the end of the email, hahaha

  32. Smashville says:

    As an HR professional…
    – If you fill out an application and you haven’t heard back in a week,
    look elsewhere. Due to the high volume of applications, the fact that
    some people apply far more than once, the time it takes to call each
    person and the cost of mailing denial letters to 100+ people for every
    single position, the only people that get called are the interviewees.
    – If you’re rude to anyone when you’re looking for a job, you’re not getting hired.
    – If you complain about the way the application process is done (we do
    all of ours online and so many people complain about the fact that it’s
    done online and not on paper…when you consider the fact that computer
    proficiency is part of the job, it’s kinda weird), you aren’t getting
    the job.
    – If you are rude, you’re not getting the job. I cannot express this enough. We have other candidates.
    – If the pay is too low, don’t take the job.
    – DON’T BE RUDE!
    – If you still have rollers in your hair, you’re not getting hired.
    – If you come to the interview drunk or stoned, you’re not getting hired.
    – If you have a felony drug conviction, you are not being hired to administer drugs to patients. Just forget about it.
    – Don’t lie about your work history. We check it.
    – If you get called back for a second interview, you are definitely at the top of the list.
    – DON’T BE FUCKING RUDE!

  33. Clobberella says:

    @Smashville:

    Just curious, why do you need to worry about the cost of sending “denial letters?” Why can’t you just shoot people a standardized email? “We regret to inform you that you will not be considered for this position. Have a nice day.” is all you have to say and it’s a hell of a lot better than completely ignorning someone. Just wondering because that is by far the most frustrating aspect of a job search and I have yet to hear a good reason as to why that cannot be done.

  34. castlecraver says:

    @Smashville: As a former and future job seeker…
    – If I’ve taken the time to research your company, navigate your
    careers site and evaluate the open positions, and submit a lengthy and
    complete application, the least you can do is shoot me an automatic
    email saying thanks but no thanks. It’s all done online right? It
    shouldn’t be that hard to automate that part.
    – Don’t be RUDE to me. That includes being condescending or
    patronizing. And certainly includes letting my application fester for
    weeks with no contact, not returing emails or calls, or giving me a
    runaround or vague, soft-blow language when you’ve decided against me.
    – We have other job leads. The application and interview process is
    likely the first impression we get of your company. It’s a two-way
    street. I’ve been through a couple truly awful interviews, and turned
    down an offer based on one of them. This particular company seemed to
    take for granted that it was quite an honor to even get asked to
    interview, and if they ended up sending out an offer, you’d take it for
    sure. Sometimes I think what HR folks really hate most, besides rude
    drunk applicants with drug felonies and curlers in their hair, is an
    applicant who knows what he wants in an employer and knows what he’s
    worth,

  35. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Smashville: Denial letters? What are you paying for e-mail?
    “If you are rude…” So being punctual for an interview and expecting HR “professionals” to do the same is now “rude?”
    Also I wouldn’t expect an HR “professional” to end a comment with …FUCKING RUDE. Perhaps you could give me your supervisor’s name…?

    Seems we have as many HR “professionals” as “decent upstanding lawyers.”

    Don’t be fuckin’ hating!

  36. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Really…denial letters. You sniveling tool. I had to come back to say two words: COMMON COURTESY or better still PROFESSIONAL COURTESY.
    I’m too busy to tell you if you can feed your kids next week or you should go elsewhere. Karma’s a bitch, assface.

  37. Buran says:

    @MercuryPDX: Wow, that’s as sucky as my story. The funny thing was — this was taking place IN FLORIDA because I’m looking for work so I can move down to my bf’s place. In Florida. (He was born and raised there).

    Yeah, doing it in reverse sounds better by the minute — we’re hoping the place I work at might have something for him as the guy who does what he does is going to be leaving soon since his wife is a grad student who is finishing up her education in the area.

  38. Buran says:

    @Smashville: Don’t be rude? HA. You people are rude to us so often it’s ridiculous and can’t be freaking bothered to call us back or email or let us know what the results were. It takes two minutes at most to type up a nice polite email!

    Pot, meet kettle.

  39. Havok154 says:

    I’ve found out that if they don’t call you in a week or so, call them back and ask for an update. A lot of times they see that you are very interested in the job and will give you some more consideration.

  40. Rusted says:

    @Wormfather: It’s kinda like that here. Anything over a week is unlikely to happen. If over two weeks, it goes into the “dead job” file. @castlecraver: I just turned one down after getting accepted. That was when I found out they got restructured last October, their stock was in the toilet and they just got bought out by a competitor. I ran away….fast. Been there, don’t want to do that again. @Smashville: I’m not rude. I’m a believer in courtesy though and it’s a two way street. I would like to know if I didn’t make the cut and not get left hanging. If I don’t hear back in a certain time, I know better then to waste my time with them.

  41. PHX602 says:

    Smashville illustrates a key reason why there is no longer organizational loyalty in Corporate America today. Actually the term “Human Resources” is telling — people are treated as commodities and not as humans. Through my career, I’ve found quite a few people who can’t “hack it” in their real job gravitate to HR, where they proceed to make life miserable for everyone, mostly through inaction and petty bureaucracy.

    Having been through the interview circuit in recent years — mainly to leverage my academic and professional accomplishments at that particular time – here are 12 handy tidbits for HR professionals:

    1. In the phone screen, nothing is more aggravating than answering questions for the screener, only to hear the clickety-clack of the keyboard in the background. They invented paper and shorthand long before the computer. Even if you’re Mavis Beacon, you’re not going to catch everything I said by fiddling with your computerized interview system.

    2. If one has a candidate traveling from out-of-town for an interview, try not to arrange it in the middle of the week. Candidates do end up burning a vacation day if they’re traveling for an interview, and it’s nice to keep the disruption to a minimum. I personally prefer interviewing on a Monday, because it does give the opportunity to check out the potential city on Sunday.

    3. If an out-of-town candidate is being brought in, please try to get that candidate a rental car. It gives the candidate the chance to check out the city and get a feel for the metro location, and doesn’t confine them to the hotel room like Andy Dufresne.

    4. Speaking of the hotel, make sure it’s centrally billed (same for the rental car and plane tickets). Nothing is more gauche than having the candidate pay for the room on their credit card, only to chase down the reimbursement check later.

    5. If an interview schedule of interviewers and titles is available, please send it beforehand, and make sure the listed individuals are actually going to BE THERE that day. It allows the candidate to customize any questions they have about the position to that interviewer. Having to rearrange the schedule six times on the day of the interview because of vacations, last minute meetings, presentations, et al, is a pretty good indicator your organization doesn’t have a clue.

    6. If the hiring manager is making or intent on making fundamental changes in the group, please do not have “old guard” members on the interview list. They have their turf to defend, and will sabotage any candidates they view as a threat to their job stability.

    7. If a candidate is being taken to lunch, places that involve ribs are not recommended. Neither are sports bars, pizza joints, and Denny’s (the latter really happened to me once).

    8. Because a candidate cannot go into absolute specifics about the current job, it’s not because the candidate is being evasive, it’s because one may have a confidentiality agreement with the incumbent company. Although one may be looking to leave, it’s still a matter of ethics and professionalism. You would expect the potential employee to safeguard your organization’s intellectual property and trade secrets.

    9. The question “tell me about yourself,” is the lamest and most unoriginal question in the history of humanity. (“Where do you see yourself in five years” is a close second.) Interviewers should be sent to an interview skills class before talking to any candidate. Try to show a shred of originality and ask job-specific or problem solving-specific questions, instead of asking about greatest strengths and weaknesses…oops…areas for improvement.

    10. Innocent questions regarding relocation requirements are borderline illegal. You may want to dig in your desk drawer (probably sandwiched between the orientation book and the benefits manual from three years ago) and check that handy guide to legal/illegal questions. Oh, and don’t play that cost-of-living card as an excuse to lowball on salary. We have access to the same data you have (and probably other sources you don’t have).

    11. I follow up with a written thank you note and an email within days of the interview, and THAT’S IT. I am a professional and not a stalker. I am not a bill collector or mafia loan shark either. If there’s an expense report, pay it promptly. If a company is rude or unprofessional to a candidate, it will get out. Vault.com is a great place for horror stories.

    12. If the decision is made not to hire a candidate, send a note for closure as a matter of professional courtesy. A stamp is $0.41, email is free. Personally, I’m not going to cry myself to sleep because you didn’t hire me.

  42. Cowboys_fan says:

    @Smashville: You are completely right in that we can’t be rude, its an obvious rule. I don’t know about others but I can say I definately have NEVER been rude for any interview. Also I have went stoned and got the job, but thats still a good rule not to. If the pay is too low, but I need the job, what choice do I have? Obviously you have some issues with rude applicants but I think/hope the majority of us still know better. I can live without the letter, just be up front about it, or don’t LIE. Say “If you haven’t heard by Friday, then don’t expect it”, and I’ll call back Monday. What I HATE is when they say “I’ll get back to you either way. I know what job hunting is like and I won’t leave you in the dark, I’m not like that”, and sure enough, don’t call back. Every time I’ve heard that, I didn’t get called, unless it was to hire me.
    Also, if your scheduling does not meet my needs, I’m not jumping through hoops for you. Simply, no thanks. I had an interviewer not budge about the schedule time. Well I’m NOT calling in sick to work for your interview. Would you want me calling in sick in your business to interview elsewhere? Definately not, in fact my supervisor in my last job got caught for that and fired on the spot.
    On some level, the onus is still on the job seeker to keep in contact. The seeker needs the job, the business does not necessarily need you, though may want you. If there’s delays, keep calling back maybe every week or two, if you really want/need it. Business process can be slow, on any level. The business typically is not desperate, the seeker is usually moreso. Thanks for reading, the 2nd edition will be published next year :p

  43. a_m_m_b says:

    @PHX602: well said!

  44. Orkinman says:

    “1. Silence After Initial Contact”

    This is pretty typical. The best thing to do is to call the employer several times after initial contact. Most places, consciously or not, will weed out the average “Joe” this way. If they think you’re really interested they will take you more seriously, and can often mean the difference between you and someone else with equal qualifications.

    “7. Delay in Extending the Offer”

    I had to wait a year for my current job, but they love me here and are thrilled they got me. This is because large corps and agencies will many times search for and interview applicants for jobs that may not exist in anticipation of programs or needs that have yet to be approved.

    Really, there are no hard and fast rules. Use your intuition and learn to read body language and subtext. As 5CENTS said “The actual process is so much more nuanced”

  45. @PHX602: Number 9 is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

  46. diamondmaster1 says:

    Did an interview on 12/20; they took an additional couple/three days to work up the monetary/job offer, contingent on background check. Money good, all is in order–still waiting on background check as of today (12/29) according to follow-up call. Of course, the delay MIGHT be due to the Christmas holiday just passed, but Plan B (less desirable, but a sure thing) goes into effect on Monday.

    NEVER put all your eggs in one basket, no matter how desired that basket is.