How To Tell If The Company You’re Interviewing With Is Not Interested In You

How To Tell If The Company You’re Interviewing With Is Not Interested In You

Job seekers always wonder what happened in their interviews. After six to 10 Zoom meetings over the course of five months, communications from the company have abruptly stopped. You’re left wondering, “Did I do something wrong? Do they not like me?”

In the past, companies would freely share feedback and constructive criticism. The firm would divulge what the candidate did right and where they may need some help. The human resources person would also share some insider tips, such as, “Tell Bob when he meets with Karen, the hiring manager’s manager, he should give the same elevator pitch he gave to the manager. It was very strong and Bob’s background was right on point. Also, Karen is a big Giants fan and alumna of New York University. I know Bob went there too. So, tell him to talk about football and NYU.”

Over the years, things have changed dramatically. Companies are now reluctant to share feedback. It’s due to several factors, including concerns over saying something that could be misconstrued as racist, sexist, ageist or some other form of discrimination; human resources hiding behind technology; the discomfort people have with telling people bad news; the recent rise in rudeness and the lack of civility.

Since you can’t rely upon feedback from the company, here are some ways you can interpret and infer from the actions of the company and interviewers what they really think.

If you hear, “It was a pleasure meeting with you. You’ll hear from someone,” that is not a good sign. What you want to hear is something specific. “It was a pleasure meeting with you. Jane Doe from human resources will contact you Monday or Tuesday with the next step and who you’ll meet with.” There’s bonus points if they reference a specific day and time and the names of the folks with whom you’ll be meeting with. It’s even better if they offer the entire agenda, how many interviews will take place and a time frame in which they hope to conclude the process and extend an offer. 

 “Thanks for coming! It was nice to meet you. We are at the very early stages of the interview process and have a number of people that we plan on speaking with. The job advertisements garnered a large amount of résumés and we still need to go through them all.” Interviewers tend to hide behind these types of clichés. If they’re into you, the wrap-up statement would have been more positive with a call to action. Their vague statement can be interpreted as, “We don’t hate you. You’re okay, but we’re going to keep looking to see if we could find someone better.” They are also hedging their bets by not outright rejecting you, since they may not find a more appropriate applicant.   

If you ask a lot of relevant, smart questions and don’t receive complete, well-fleshed-out answers, it’s an ominous sign. When the interviewer doesn’t offer in-depth commentary on the responsibilities of the job, the people with whom you’ll work with, the possibility for advancement and a feel for the corporate culture, it’s not a buy signal.

If an interviewer really likes you, they will go to great lengths to answer any and all questions. They’ll gladly provide color and robustly describe the role. They do this to sell you on the job. That’s a very good sign. When you feel that the hiring manager is in selling mode, as opposed to interrogating you, that’s a big tell that they want you to come aboard and join the company.  

The absence of an effusive discussion of the responsibilities and job requirements denotes that they’re not that interested in you. To be fair, it could be that they’re not a good interviewer. This is a commonplace occurrence. It’s a weird quirk in the interview process that companies generally don’t train managers on the basics of hiring. They naively feel that a hiring manager can figure it out on their own. Some are natural at interviewing. Many are not that gifted and a lot are really bad at it.

When you’ve received consistent communications and they abruptly break off, it’s a warning sign. If your recruiter ignores your calls or leaves messages for you at super early or late times (knowing that you won’t be  around), it’s troubling—especially because they only get paid if they place you. They may have moved on to find more candidates for the role, since they are concerned that you may not be selected. If you try to follow up with the company by making  phone calls, sending texts and emails and don’t hear anything back, it’s not looking good. There are some caveats, such as unexpected business matters that need attending to, a family emergency, illness or other short-term distractions. 

“We may have some new roles opening up and will keep you in mind.” It’s true that sometimes they really mean what they say and are interested in hiring you in the right role. Most likely, it’s a polite way to say that they’re not going to extend an offer, but they at least like you.

Other things to watch out for include your LinkedIn invitations to connect went unanswered, you receive calls from other recruiters about the job you just interviewed for and the position was reposted on job boards. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are completely out of the running, but it’s not a good sign. 

Hiring managers are just as uncomfortable as you are with regards to the interviewing process. Arguably, they have more to lose. If the manager hires a person who turns out to be a dud, senior executives will question their judgement. This makes the hiring manager cautious about hiring and tries to find out any reasons why the applicant could end up becoming a problematic employee.

The vast majority of interviewers don’t take pleasure in rejecting people. They find turning down people uncomfortable and unpleasant. This is one of the main reasons why you hear vague, perfunctory statements. As decent people, they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Secretly, they hope that they don’t have to give the bad news to applicants and hope that they eventually get the message and move on. 

Interviewing is a lot like dating. It’s not easy to guess what the other person is thinking. I hope this offers you some valuable insights into what’s happening behind the scenes and translates corporate speak to real-life meanings.

Source: Forbes

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