You can taste the job offer right after the job interview — sweet! Your company research, practicing interview questions, and designing interview questions for the hiring manager worked beautifully. And the best part? The perfect job! Just the one you were looking for and one where you think the manager’s working style and the team fit right in with how you like to do your work.
The interview went so well and the job fits great…now all you have to do is wait for the job offer to come in. Finally! A new job is right around the corner!
And right here is where you lose your momentum. Right here is where you set yourself up for the big letdown.
You’re thinking, “They’d be crazy not to hire me!” Yup. But that doesn’t generate a job offer.
You may think the job interview went great — but you are not the one making the job offer decision. The perception on the other side of the table or desk could be anything from “this candidate is too good for how we work and would quickly leave” to “this candidate would be great but I can’t convince my management to hire because of budget cuts coming” to “this candidate thinks he/she is great, but my team would never tolerate the arrogance.”
It’s difficult to figure out what the thinking is in the hiring manager’s head, much less the other people you interview with for the job.
Thus, your perception of the interview doesn’t count in getting a job offer. Where it does count is in determining if you think you could work with the manager and the team if you do get a job offer.
Two days after your interview, the company can put in a hiring freeze. Or, your hiring manager’s manager can hold the offer until finding out if expenses will get cut. Or the person needing to decide on an offer is called out-of-town on business for an emergency that lasts two weeks and takes another two weeks to get caught up before even looking at your job offer.
You can’t control those changes in circumstances — but they do not match up with your perception of getting a job offer right around the corner.
One of my earlier managers was quite specific when it came to hiring: if you had an approved job opening to fill, your number one priority is interviewing and hiring the right candidate to fill that position. He was specific about it because, as above, circumstances can quickly change and he wanted his staff in a position to have all the right people doing work with a complete staff.
But he also constantly witnessed managers who had open positions take their time in doing interviews. Take their time in getting in all the interviews they wanted to make an offer. Take their time in getting around to making that job offer after the interviews were done. Distraction, lack of prioritization, and working the hiring process poorly is the killer of job offers to qualified candidates.
Unfortunately, many hiring managers talk the talk of hiring, but don’t walk the walk. No job offer for you, no matter how well you think the interview went.
There is only so much you can control in the hiring process. You can consistently reach out and respond to open positions. You can do your preparation for interviews. And you can do those interviews well, showing your results from your work and determining your fit with the manager and team.
But you can’t control the hiring manager. You can’t control the hiring manager’s circumstances.
There is only this: there is no job offer until a job offer is made.
Because of that, you always need to be marketing yourself, no matter how well you think the interview was with the hiring manager. A job offer is a job offer. And it isn’t until it’s made.