Accelerate the hiring process
March 16th, 2009
Job Seeker: I need some advice. A couple weeks back, I met with the head of a company (A) who told me that he liked my resume and background, but that it was premature to be interviewing with them as they did not yet know their staffing needs for the year. He suggested that I get back in touch in a couple months to set up an interview at that time.
Subsequently, I have interviewed with another company (B) and received an offer with a decision deadline of two weeks. But the role is not exactly the same and to be honest, I would prefer the other job if I could land it. Company B has given me a few weeks to think things over, so I’m wondering if there’s any way I can encourage company A to bring their process forward.
Andy: First, congrats on the offer with company B! That’s no easy feat in this tough job market. Now, call your contact at company A. Tell him that you have received an offer from another company and they want your decision within two weeks. Explain that you’re very interested in his job opportunity and would like to discuss if accelerating the hiring process is at all possible.
Job Seeker: There doesn’t seem to be any downside risk in this approach. Should I call or email? I don’t want to appear invasive. I honestly have no idea what the protocol is in situations like this.
Andy: No worries. Email is a safe way to set up a short phone call or meeting. I would recommend an in-person meeting (even if it’s short) because you can make your case more persuasively, it’s more difficult for him to say “No”, and he might be willing to turn your conversation into an interview process right there (you should be prepared).
If he doesn’t reply to you within 2 days, call him and speak live, or leave a voicemail with your request and the urgency level. If necessary, ask his assistant to help get your request in front of him.
Job seeker: What if he’s not willing to accelerate the process?
Andy: Find out if their hiring plans are solid and if you are really the top candidate. Ask, “I may be willing to pass up on the offer I have, but I need your candid feedback. Are you definitely hiring for this job and when does this person need to be on board? Where do I rank relative to the other candidates you’ve seen?”
If he’s uncertain about the hiring plan and timetable, it may not happen – especially in this economy. If he isn’t clear or enthusiastic about you as one of the top candidates, that’s a sign (and not a good one). No matter how big your last bonus was, or your title, or what school you go/went to, be careful to not overestimate your odds at securing an attractive job. There are lots of qualified (and over-qualified) people out there – who are all honing in on these attractive jobs. In this buyer’s market, the employers have the power and lots of candidates banging on their doors.
Then let go of it and have no regrets. This opportunity just wasn’t meant to be.
If you decide to accept the less-desirable job, know that this next job does not have to be, and will likely not be, your last job. The market will someday turn and new opportunities will come.
What things have you done to accelerate a hiring process?