Stop Toe-Tapping: Clarifying Expectations for Your Job Hunt, Part II

Toe-tapping

Photo by vintagediva_nat

Last week, I wrote that it is a good idea to clarify expectations for your job hunt. I focused on the fact that you need to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to land a job you want. If you’re convinced that a successful job search will be a 2-month process, when realistically, 8 months is typical, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.

Similarly, it will help your job hunt management plan if you clarify expectations for the all important, “Waiting to hear.” Most job hunters spent a lot of time “waiting to hear.” You’re waiting to hear if you’ll get an interview. You’re waiting to hear if you’re being considered…Waiting to find out if you made it to round two…If you’ll get an offer. Sometimes, it seems like the waiting never ends. Maybe it seems like waiting for Godot…

I recently received an email from a client who was anxiously waiting to hear back from a very large employer. They told her that she was under consideration for a position. That was two weeks ago. Her question: Does this employer typically take so long?

My response: When you are waiting for an employer to get back to you about a job (especially a large employer with an HR department and a lot of hiring layers), think in terms of months, not days.

Her reply was very smart: “I guess I should stop toe-tapping.”

There are a lot of productive things that you can do with your time while you are in the “waiting” stage.

It is best to always have several balls up in the air – never stop your search to wait for just one or two employers to get back to you.

One useful strategy to help avoid needless toe tapping:

If you do speak to someone who
lets you know that you are under
consideration for a job, express
enthusiasm and excitement and
ask about their time frame.

A great last question for an interviewee to ask at an interview: When do you expect to make a decision? Granted, their answer is not set in stone. Things change. Delays occur. However, if you know that they are interviewing 35 people over the next 3 weeks, it will help you plan your follow-up.

I really liked this list of ideas from the Villanova University School of Law about how to handle the waiting game:

  • Accept that two things are certain in the job search process: (1) the process will often be unpredictable and (2) you will often face uncertainty.
  • Take action on other fronts by pursuing other employers. Keep moving forward while you’re waiting for a response. Don’t wait passively for something to happen. Be proactive by targeting other employers.
  • Follow up with employers by phone, e-mail and/or letter. Mark your calendar so you remember the next follow-up dates.
  • When following up, convey your continued enthusiasm, not your frustration. Remember: the person on the other end of that call can be your best advocate or your worst enemy. How you treat them will dictate which role they play in your candidacy.
  • Continue networking with the organization-you may develop helpful relationships.
  • Be ready to move quickly if and when you finally do get a response. Use the “waiting period” to research the employer in greater depth and determine what questions you’d need answered before accepting an offer.
  • Know your audience when following up. Are they overwhelmed? Afraid to make hasty decision? Waiting for economic justification to hire? Trying to convince others to hire you? Empathize with your audience and don’t vent your frustration.
  • Expand your plan. Develop new targets. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Be honest. Don’t use ruses to get faster answers. Don’t say “I’ve got an offer from another employer” if you don’t. Honesty is always the best policy.
  • Make peace with the fact that closure may not occur in every situation. Persistence in the face of uncertainty will eventually produce results!

Although it may not seem like it, a lot of the job search process IS in your court…use your “waiting” time well. Prepare for a possible interview. Find an even better job and apply for it! Don’t forget to drive your own career bus. If it seems stalled at the station, it is up to you to put the key in and start the ignition!

Are you sure your resume will shorten your wait? Need help preparing for an interview? Keppie Careers is here to help!

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