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Ask The Headhunter: Can I nag this employer for a hiring decision?

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Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979, and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: I had three rounds of interviews with a large company and met with nine people. My last interview was a week ago. A couple of hours later, HR called and said that they received really good feedback from the team, wanted to get my references, and to discuss where I was salary-wise. The salary I want is a little higher than they’d like to spend, but I stated this at the beginning, and when it came up again they didn’t balk. I found out that they spoke with all of my references. I checked in with HR yesterday and they informed there was no update yet. I am on pins and needles. This is so stressful. Do you think it’s too soon to be concerned? Thank you!

Nick Corcodilos: You’re stressed because you’re excited. But pressing HR for news after just a few days is unreasonable, and appearing so anxious puts you at a disadvantage when negotiating. I suggest that you find something else to work on in the meantime, to get your mind off it and to keep you from pawing at their door.

The next move is theirs, and there’s nothing you can do to rush it, except screw things up by nagging them. The best thing you can do is to get started on your next opportunity. That’s the best position to be in, if or when this employer comes back to you. Never rely on a job you really, really want or that you really, really think you’re going to get. (See “There is no sure thing.”) Having options will make you a better negotiator, and it will help you avoid appearing desperate — which is almost how you sound now. That never plays well. Chill.

Reader’s Reply: Thank you and that’s good to know. I only checked in with HR based on how quickly everything else was moving. I am going to chill and continue with the rest of my interviews. Nonetheless, when would it be appropriate to check back in if I have not heard anything within the next two to three weeks?

Nick Corcodilos: This might sound harsh, but I would not check in again at all. You have done your part. Either they will decide they want you or not. The interviewing is done. But, if you appear overly eager, it will give them the upper hand.

If they decide you’re their candidate and if you really want that bump in salary, it’s best if they pursue you. Let them come to you. But if you keep calling, they could very well issue a lower offer because they might read your eagerness as desperation. (I give you credit for establishing your salary requirement up front. For others who may need help with this, see “How to decide how much you want.”)

Even if two weeks go by – don’t call them. If you don’t hear back, I’d let it go. The reality is — take it from a seasoned headhunter who’s been there, done that — most situations like this never result in job offers. If this one is going to happen, they will tell you. Since you cannot control the employer, the best thing to do is control yourself. Move on and let this encounter take its course. If you’re going to get an offer, you’ll find out soon enough. And if no offer appears, the best place for you is to be working on another offer with another employer.

Dear Readers: Do you get frustrated while waiting for an employer to decide? What’s a reasonable amount of time to wait before calling? Do you think it helps or hurts?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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