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Were They Just Messing With Me In My Interview?

Were They Just Messing With Me In My Interview?


Dear J.T. & Dale: I had an interview for a truck parts sales job. I met with three managers, and they agreed that they could use me for several positions, and discussed where I would fit best. They said they would get back to me with an offer. After two weeks, I have called two of the three, and was told that the plan was still in the works. I don’t want to be too pushy, but I cannot understand what went wrong. How can I tell if this company was sincere or not? – Joseph

DALE: Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of these questions. Does that mean there’s a sudden rise in the cruel teasing of applicants? No. There is, in general, a continuing squeeze on managers’ time, and you don’t hire new people unless you’re already understaffed.

J.T.: In a job seeker’s world, a day feels like a month; in a hiring manager’s world, a day feels like a minute. Hiring is not their priority – doing their current jobs is the priority. As a result, the hiring process often stalls.

DALE: A good name for these economic times is “The Questionable Economy.” Because companies are unsure if the business will grow or slide back as we hit a new recession, their optimism waxes and wanes. They think they need a new person, and then they have a bad month, and… well, now they aren’t sure.

So, here’s the rule of thumb: When a company says it is “definitely” going to hire you, it means 50-50. If it says anything short of “definitely” – including “It looks promising,” “We just have to get our ducks in a row” or “We just have to figure out the best spot for you” – then you know your odds are less than 50-50. That’s why you never stop looking.

J.T.: Keep pursuing other possibilities, but don’t give up on this one. I would wait one business week between contacts. You can e-mail them all a quick note touching base, perhaps adding an article they might find useful. I know waiting is terrible, but stick with it. This is a sales deal you want to close.

DALE: Yes, this is a sales job you’re after, and no one wants to hire a laid-back, just-chill salesperson. So don’t worry about being too pushy; worry about not being pushy enough.

© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at [email protected] or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

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J.T. & Dale “JT & Dale Talk Jobs” is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country. J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten are both professional development experts.