Why You Should Never Wait to Hear Back

I recently met someone who was on the job hunt, and he told me that he applied to over fifty companies in the last month. He had interviewed at four of them that week alone, squeezing in interviews during the lunch hours of his current full time job.

But there was one problem. The interviews went really well, yet he kept getting stuck in the phase of “waiting to hear back.”

As a career matchmaker and the cofounder of Jobsuitors, I hear this constantly from the jobseekers who come to me for help:

“I sent in my resume and now I’m just waiting to hear back.”
“I had a fantastic interview, so now I’m just waiting to hear back.”
“I sent the founder an email and I guess I’ll just wait to hear back.”

From the jobseeker’s point of view, waiting to hear back is the next logical step. You did your part by showing up and having a kickass interview. Now the ball is in their court, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works, especially in the startup world.

For an analogy, let’s compare this to another life scenario where you’ve got a potential long-term commitment at stake: dating. Imagine if you went on a fantastic first date, but then went home and decided to simply wait to hear back. It’s quite possible that your suitor would interpret your silence as disinterest, and you could quickly fall off their radar as they get swept up in other priorities (and other dates).

So, let’s think about what could be happening while you’re waiting to hear back on that resume you sent in, or that great interview you had…

Your resume reviewer thought that yours was excellent and immediately printed it out, but someone else accidentally picked it up from the printer when they retrieved their print job. Then your reviewer went out to lunch, and had meetings scheduled the rest of the day. By the time they got in the office the following morning, they were hit with a new set of responsibilities and priorities, leaving your resume long forgotten.

As for your interview, it indeed was fantastic, and the interviewers loved you. But they also had 6 other interviews that day, and loved lots of those people, too. And while you were sitting at home waiting to hear back, one of your competing candidates was proactively tweeting your interviewers and inviting them to cool events, which made them feel increasingly comfortable with that candidate’s attitude and work ethic.

In these scenarios, proactivity can go a long way. You’ve already overcome the initial hurdles of reaching out and letting them know that you’re there and that you’re interested. The worst mistake you can make at this point is to hit snooze and allow yourself to fade from their radar. Stay engaged at all costs!

Remember, people are busy. Their lives are complicated. This applies as much in the dating world as it does in the business world, except in business, it’s probably even harder, because in order to land a job at a company, you need to be a good fit for the team, not just a single person.

So what can you do to keep the engagement high?

Here are 3 action steps that will keep you at the top of an employer's priority stack:

1. Engage them and their brand on Twitter

In the startup world, whether someone’s a founder, investor, influencer, or recruiter, chances are they’re active on Twitter.

If you want to get noticed, and stay noticed, begin making personal connections with them by leaving them insightful comments, answering their questions, and standing up for their brand in public fora.

This does not mean mindlessly retweeting them or making awkward small talk. You need to be real and authentic. You can even be a bit creative. Check out what a friend of mine did in order to get an interview at a fast-growing company in NYC:

“After applying to VaynerMedia, I created a YouTube video in their style and ran Twitter ads to it that said, “Working at VaynerMedia? Take a break and check out this video.” I targeted people who followed the company’s twitter account, and I got about 50 employees to watch it and reach out to me. The hiring manager called me in for an interview over Twitter after seeing the video.” ~ Gregg Clunis

2. Set up coffee chats and/or phone calls with your prospective teammates.

When employers prepare to make a hiring decision, it’s common for them to encourage the team to vote on whether they think you can do the work and whether you’re a good overall fit. Assuming you meet the baseline qualifications for the role, you can quickly gain some internal buy-in by reaching out to others at the company to ask about their experience working there and what the overall culture is like. After all, this workplace — this team — could be your next long-term relationship, and you are every bit as entitled to make sure they’re a good long-term fit for you as well.

Remember to turn to your existing network to help you with this! My friend recently pulled this off perfectly by asking me for a targeted intro. Such intros can be extremely powerful.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to what a perfect intro looks like:

a) The Ask

b) The Outreach

c) The Connect

d) The Confirmation

e) The Followup

f) The Win

3. Become so indispensable that they wonder how they ever got by without you.

You know what’s cooler than applying for a role as marketer of a company’s product? How about actually marketing their product? Record a video of you creatively supporting their company/product/mission. Write blog posts where you evaluate them and their competition. Use their API to build something cool.

Here’s a quick example of this approach carried out to perfection: 
My friend Dan wanted to work at Boosted Boards, the electric skateboard company in San Francisco, so he threw together a simple website for letting people try out his personal Boosted Board, then began doing some rapid marketing:

Needless to say, he got the job.

Basically, if you really think you’ll be a valuable asset to a company or team, then chances are there’s something you can be doing now to leverage your skills and expertise to help them out. Go earn that positive karma!


Thanks for reading! 
If you yourself are on the job hunt, you can use my startup, Jobsuitors, to discover how well you match to jobs around the country and immediately begin chatting with the people in charge.

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  4. About me — I’m an online dating consultant as well as a romantic and professional matchmaker. I like to write about dating, relationships, and how to get connected to awesome jobs and careers

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