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Ask the Headhunter: I’m waiting for a job offer… Now what?

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 Sen$e 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 met David, the president of a well-known consulting firm in my area, via networking. He invited me to a 90-minute meeting with him and some of his team last fall. I recently had a follow-up meeting with him during which he began to speculate about how he could use me in his company in a management role. The VP of human resources had a phone interview with me (at David’s request) five days ago regarding that specific position and seemed pretty sold on me. In his response to my email (in which I expanded on what I said and made clear I want the job), the HR VP said he’d do his best to move it along ASAP.

READ MORE: This employer punished me for trying to negotiate

I’m not sure if it’d be overkill or too aggressive to get back in touch with David directly, and whether I should request another meeting or put together a summary of what I see I could provide in that role… or what. The position was posted publicly just a few days before my phoner with HR, and I know they’re swamped with applicants for this plum position. I don’t want to lose it!

I know you do private consultations. Can we set something up immediately?

Nick Corcodilos: Nice work! Since you’ve already had face-to-face interviews with David and a phoner with HR, the next move is theirs. I’d be careful about going around HR at this point, especially since David asked them to handle it at this point.

Please keep this in mind: “he said he’d do his best to move it along ASAP” doesn’t mean they’re going to hire you. Nor does it mean you’re getting an offer. You might be, and I hope you are — but be careful about drawing conclusions. When a company has an HR department and the president relies on HR, there’s a process — and I’d be careful about violating it.

I think the most I’d do is send an email to David, thank him for setting up the interview with HR, reiterate your interest and let him make his decision. (For more about that email, please see “What’s the secret to the thank-you note?”) I would not ask for another meeting — that would be presumptuous. What would be smart — without being pushy — is to ask him in that same note whether he feels he will need to meet with you again. That’s as far as I’d go.

The other thing to keep in mind is most job interview processes go south. That is, they don’t result in job offers, no matter how well they seem to go and no matter how much the applicant wants the job. (See “I’m still waiting for the job offer.”) The best thing you can do is start working on your next opportunity. That gives you leverage if these guys make an offer, and it gives you a degree of control over your future if they don’t.

If you’d like a consultation, I’d be glad to schedule it. But I’d hesitate to take your money to talk about this situation, because it seems there is no additional information beyond what you’ve shared that we could discuss. I think you’re at the wait-and-see point with these folks. I know that’s frustrating, but don’t fall into the trap of “trying to do something” just because you really want the job. I think they know that. The rest is up to them.

The Reader Replies: Thanks so much for your speedy and thoughtful reply!

Your comments make total sense to me and honestly confirm what my instincts were telling me. A well-intentioned friend or two had urged me to “Be Bold! Storm the Gates!” I also very much appreciate your candid suggestion that a phone consultation at this point would be of limited value given the circumstances.

READ MORE: Why it’s risky to give notice when you quit

I already own a well-worn copy of your “The New Interview Instruction Book” and just purchased a few more of your books in PDF form. I think the best thing is for me to do as you said — start working on my next opportunity — and hold the consultation possibility in reserve in the event it seems appropriate at some future time.

Again, your generosity in providing the succinct, on-target input is much appreciated. I have and will continue to recommend you and your books as a resource to others.

Nick Corcodilos: If anything I suggested is helpful to you, I’m glad, and I’m even more glad that I helped confirm your own instincts. I would focus now on your next targets, and if this one “pops,” great. If not, you’ll have already moved on. In any case, I wish you the best!

Dear Readers: How long have you waited for a job offer after an interview went well? Did you do anything to goose the process along? Did it work, or did it blow up in your face? What advice would you give this reader?

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,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

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

Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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