Painful waiting game with job recruiter

Marie G. McIntyre
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q: I do not understand how recruiters can be so thoughtless. After a networking contact gave my resume to a recruiter for a large local company, I received an email expressing interest in my background and suggesting possible times for a phone interview.

I responded immediately and accepted one of the appointment times. Having received no reply by the following day, I left a voice mail repeating this information. Four days later, my interview has still not been confirmed. So what should I do now?

A: You have unfortunately encountered a recruiter who is either inept, overwhelmed or inconsiderate. It’s true that many staffing departments are so inundated with applicants that they no longer respond to everyone. Once an interview has been requested, however, failing to follow through is extremely rude.

Before you abandon hope, remember that time passes much more slowly for applicants than for those doing the hiring. While you are checking your inbox on an hourly basis, this recruiter may be distracted by a multitude of management requests or an unexpected change in plans. So a reply could still be forthcoming.

Having left one follow-up voice mail, you must now wait for a while. After a week, if you have still heard nothing, send a polite email inquiring about the status of your interview. But if that also produces no response, you can probably assume that this particular opportunity is no longer available.

Q: I was recently shocked to learn that a relatively new employee has been promoted into a job equivalent to mine. It took me 20 years to rise to this level, while “Mike” just joined our company three years ago. I know for a fact that he is incapable of handling the responsibilities of this position.

When Mike applied for promotion, my boss assured me that his lack of experience would disqualify him before the interview stage. I have since been told that some policy exceptions were made to allow him to interview, which seems highly unethical.

As peers, Mike and I will be expected to collaborate on a regular basis. Since I know he isn’t qualified, I can’t imagine asking for his advice or assistance. How should I handle this?

A: To avoid damaging your own career, you will need to adjust your attitude. While you may believe that Mike’s promotion was a mistake, someone in upper management obviously has a different view. Making your displeasure known will not only insult Mike, but also offend his higher-level sponsor.

As a long-term employee, you may not realize that Mike’s lack of tenure could actually be a strength. People with “fresh eyes” are frequently able to spot unrecognized problems and suggest new approaches. If Mike’s superiors are unhappy with the status quo, they may be expecting him to stimulate change.

At this point, you should swallow your resentment and try to act like a welcoming colleague. If Mike succeeds, he could become a helpful ally. But if he turns out to be a dud, you will have the quiet satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”

Twitter @officecoach.