Q: I’ve been in a drawn-out process to get hired at a new firm (since summer); every time it seems like they are ready to make an offer, there is a new road bump. Is there a message here to me? How should I handle it? —Tony, 59, sales executive
A: While the hiring company is in the driver’s seat on timing, you can take steps to maintain a sense of personal control.
The main perspective that may help is to remember that a hiring process is a two-way street. Through this process, you have the chance to learn about your potential new employer. What are you seeing that you like or that gives you pause?
Don’t jump to conclusions that you will end up with a negative perspective on the process to date. You may find, for example, that you like the inclusiveness of the process. Or you may find that, even though the process is slow, communication is prompt and respectful.
On the other hand, you may have less positive takeaways. Upon reflection, the company may feel disorganized or be sending mixed messages.
Put this together with other information you have about the company, and consider whether you still wish to remain in the running. If it’s a great role and the company seems like a fit, then choose to stick with it. If not, either give yourself permission to withdraw or at least ease your emotional connection to the position.
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Assuming you are staying the course, there are steps you can take to help maintain your patience. One valuable approach is to put yourself in their shoes.
Staffing changes, leadership shifts or corporate reorganizations can put the brakes on hiring decisions, especially if it’s a more strategic level hire. If you are not sure if something like this is at play, spend some time doing research about company changes. It could help set your mind at ease.
Also try thinking about your experience as if it’s happening to a friend or colleague. What advice would you have for them?
There are steps you can take to keep on the company’s radar, apart from direct check-ins. Create a list of key people involved in the decision, and keep an eye out for articles or news relevant to the company, and your proposed role. Touching base with items of genuine value builds your reputation. Use social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter, sharing and commenting on items they may have posted.
Keep your job search open. It can be very tempting to rest on a promising option or two, but maintaining your networking activities and continuing to identify and pursue new opportunities will be energizing and empowering. It’s also a much safer strategy.
Finally, keep your life in balance. Enjoy the holidays and special events, and do things that are fun. Pursue activities that are challenging and keep you growing and engaged. And find ways to give back to others to help maintain your sense of making a difference.