The tech interview process is a long, winding road that sometimes goes nowhere. Much of it is out of your hands, and you only have one point of contact for most of the process: your recruiter. Here’s how to know when your interview or recruiting process is derailing.
Your first indication the interview process is going south is communication (or lack thereof) – and it may not be your fault. “I have yet to meet a recruiter who intentionally meant to go silent on their candidates,” says David Bernstein, Head of Partnerships for recruiting firm AllyO. “The unfortunate reality, though, is that the recruiters these days are often over-burdened with a very large number of requisitions that they are simultaneously recruiting for.”
As such, “they find themselves overwhelmed with the important but time-consuming administrative work that interferes with their ability to maintain ongoing communication with all candidates,” Bernstein added. “There simply is not enough hours in a day for a human maintain the right amount of communication with all candidates across all the positions they are recruiting for.”
Bernstein also advises two weeks is enough time to give a silent recruiter: “Where a candidate is in the recruiting process is key to understanding if the process they are involved in has stalled. For example, if the candidate has initially applied and is waiting to hear regarding next steps, it would be safe to assume that if they’ve not heard back from the employer within two weeks, that things have stalled out.” He advises one week is enough time if you’ve had at least one face-to-face interview.
In some cases, the communication breakdown may be your fault, but not for the reasons you think. Recruiting is a back-and-forth of email, texts, chats, and phone calls, and it’s entirely possible your story isn’t resonating with the right people. “In the recruiting process, both sides are ‘selling’ their value to the other,” Bernstein adds. “Candidates who really want the job should start by making sure their résumé is tailored to convey why they are the best person for the role, and subsequently use all phone, email, and in-person interactions to continue to tell that story.”
It’s also important to remember that you’re in control as much as the recruiter or prospective employer. If you’re just not “feeling” the process, it’s okay to tell the recruiter you’ve lost interest; just don’t fire off an email at 9:00 PM when you’re a bit buzzed and angry it’s all taking so long. Always be respectful. As we’ve noted, it’s entirely possible that the recruiter has a lot going on, and had no intention of leaving you hanging.
Bernstein tells Dice that candidates should look at the interview process as “an ongoing, two-way street where both they and the company are evaluating each other.” If you’ve lost interest in a company, it’s time to bow out of the process gracefully.