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Liz Ryan Headshot

They Love Me, So Why Don't They Hire Me?

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Dear Liz,

I've had three interviews with the same company and they are the nicest, most complimentary people in the world. They gush, they get me cappucino from the cafeteria, they give me plant tours. At the same time, I couldn't say there's been any forward motion in the process at all. Maybe when I've met everyone on the payroll they will begin to think about making me a job offer.

These people are so easy-going, you wonder why they ran a job ad in the first place. There doesn't seem to be any urgency to fill the job. I forgot to say that the three interviews have taken place over a period of nine weeks!

Any ideas?



Liz's Reply

Dear Justine,

Don't you love shiny, sparkly people who happily use up your time and flatter you with cappucino and ask your opinion? They are getting what they want -- your time and good ideas -- and you're getting bupkus.

This has got to stop.

Before you go back there, have a talk with your hiring manager. (You may have forgotten who that person is, by now!) Here's how that conversation could go:

YOU: Hi Stan! Justine Rodgers here.
HIM: Hi, Justine! You know, Joyce and Arnie loved meeting you.
YOU: That's outstanding. I'm glad to hear that. I enjoyed meeting both of them, too.
HIM: Yeah, we need to get you to meet Catherine and Paolo pretty soon.
YOU: You have a terrific staff. Say Stan, how are things going with the inventory control issues we talked about?
HIM: Oh, that's ongoing, we keep meeting about it, and making small steps. It's a big project.
YOU: Talking with your colleagues, I'm wondering whether your inventory issues are perhaps not as urgent as I had understood them to be, when I first met you. If that's the case, that's great news. Would you say that situation is on your back burner now?
HIM: Well -- I wouldn't say that. It's certainly one of our priorities.
YOU: As much as I'd love to meet Catherine and Paolo, I'm not sure that the set of issues your business is facing necessarily require someone like me. If you don't see inventory control and supplier quality as fairly high-stakes topics for 2010, I may not be your gal.
HIM: Oh, our team loves you --
YOU: That is tremendous to hear. If you'd like to sit down this week and brainstorm about your issues and my availability and needs, that would be fantastic.
HIM: Wow! It sounds like you want to get down to brass tacks.
YOU: Well, only if you feel that I'm the right person. I don't want to rush your process, of course, but I'm not sure that I can justify more meetings to meet your colleagues if we haven't agreed that I'm the person for the job, and that the job is a great fit for me -- for instance, role-and-compensation-wise.
HIM: Well, let's cut to the chase. How much would it take to get you on board?
YOU: I'd say eighty K would be a good starting point.

You don't have time, Justine, to waste futzing around with the cappucino people. They are earning a salary right now, and you are not. You are not on an-call, friendly, free consultant who can drop her life to meet them whenever they want, no strings. You have requirements too, and right now is a great time to start making them plain.

Keep in mind that whenever they call and you jump, you're training them not to value your time and expertise. Stop rewarding their bad behavior, Justine. If they truly like you -- as in "like you as their future colleague" and not "like you as a great source of free information" you'll know it when you require them to fish or cut bait.