Don’t let delays discourage you in job hunts

Sometimes an employer seems inscrutable to a job seeker. Legal reasons, failure to communicate well, even a need for time to make sense of multiple impressions delay decisions.

Don’t give up in despair.

Watch the person’s body language in the interview, suggests Emad Rahim, who sits on both sides of the interviewing desk as chief learning officer at Global i365 LLC. He’s often interviewing or being interviewed by clients, vendors and subcontractors.

“Body language gives you an idea whether you should consider altering what you’re saying or changing your own body language,” he says.

Rahim says facial expression and leaning forward or backward signal interest or disinterest, respectively. He says note-taking conveys interest, as does nodding in agreement. Poor eye contact and a clue to disagreement or dissatisfaction in folded arms tell you to shift gears.

During the interview, listen for a clue to indecisiveness to prompt you to keep marketing. Wendy Klein, founder of Towne Search, a New York executive search firm, says that if you’re not the only candidate, you might still be in the running. Rahim would concur.

“Continued marketing may eventually lead to an offer if an interviewer informed you that a decision hasn’t been made,” he says.

However, he adds that exclusion from another step in the process bodes ill.

“Sometimes hiring managers are uncomfortable just saying no; they’ll try to let the candidate down gently by saying a number of gentler things,” Klein observes, “such as, ‘An old employee might be coming back,’ ‘The job is going on hold’ or ‘We’ll keep you in mind for other opportunities.’ ”

Watch for external signs, too. Rahim says that if the company is asking probing questions of references and previous employers and a number of people in the company are checking your LinkedIn profile, your candidacy is still solid. The same is true if they’ve given you some new things to do or they tell you they’re considering new people. If your contact shifts from the interviewer or committee to human resources, your references and background aren’t checked, the posting disappears or its status changes to closed, your prospects aren’t as bright.

Is the employer fence-sitting? Klein advises having references or a senior individual the two of you know get on the telephone.


If you find this process unpalatable, you might be working in the wrong field.

San Francisco’s Teja Yenamandra, CEO of Inc., runs an online platform for freelance software developers. He says, “We like to remove uncertainty on both sides of the market. We encourage developers to move the ball forward to the engagement by asking questions to get details about how the employer wants the project to unfold.”

Because the process could last several hours, for which the freelancer isn’t compensated, Yenamandra recommends volleying about four or five times. Of course, developers are in great demand.

“The power tends to be in the hand of the freelancer,” he notes. “Be very careful about how you spend your time in following up on leads.” Listen to whether the employer knows roughly what he wants to do.

“An employer who can’t be straightforward about this isn’t one worth working for,” Yenamandra continues. “Ask straight up and, if they still equivocate, state the above. They’ll either respect your grit or tell you the truth.

“This works for software developers, at least,” he concludes, “given the four open jobs (per) developer and that 95 percent of them are already employed.”

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at © 2014 Passage Media.