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I've had 3 interviews with a company applying to replace a lead developer of a team of 7 that specializes in making tumblr themes. The first Interview was a casual sit down, which at the end of they gave me an assignment to complete by the end of the week- If completed I would receive a second interview. I completed it within 3 hours, and sent it to them. I got contacted for a second interview which would be a several hour sit down interview in which I had to produce code in front of their developers. Everything went swimmingly well, and I was invited for yet another interview. This was another casual interview in front of a panel of developers, and we all seemed to mesh together very well. They all mentioned that they were impressed with my level of understanding and my lack of redundancies within my code. At the end of this interview they mentioned they would contact me on friday regarding if I got the job or not. Friday past... I did not receive any email or phone call, so i emailed them asking if they had made a decision. No response. I emailed them again today (four days later) , once again inquiring if they had reached a decision. And I've yet to get a reply.

The only part of the interview that seemed a bit weird was when they inquired about my age. I'm 20 years old and they are all in their late 20's which they all seemed very uneasy at (I think mostly because I just look older then I actually am)... Other then that, my skill level is up to par with their developer's, if not better and we all got along together very well.

Are there any steps I can take now that might improve my chance to get a response? Could this have to do with Tumblr being sold?

  • It seems that you did very well in the interviews. For me, it looks like something wrong with the company. May be it is better to avoid it. – samarasa May 22 '13 at 6:52
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    I see several questions all included in this making it a bit clear. The way I read it you want to know either (A) "An employer promised to let me know if I had the job 4 days ago and isn't responding to follow-up e-mails, what does that mean?" or (B) "What is proper etiquette for following up on the results of a job interview?" I think (B) is the better question, so if you edit the post to focus it on that question, you'll get a lot more answers. – jmac May 22 '13 at 6:56
  • My guess would be that they're choosing between you and another well qualified candidate. Perhaps they've made the other candidate an offer in which case they're unable to tell you one way or the other. No news is good news and all that... – Robbie Dee May 22 '13 at 10:29
  • This other question might be relevant too, given your discussion of age differences – enderland May 22 '13 at 11:21
  • Wether it is normal or not in the industry is irrelevant to if it is normal with the specific company. I have changed the question to ask something constructive (is there anything you can do now.) – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 23 '13 at 12:42
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Unfortunately employers don’t always deliver bad news. Many people who are hiring someone, especially if the person is not in the HR department, don’t get back to the candidates who didn’t get the job. It’s not the best practice, but it does happen. Follow the rules about contacting people but, if it’s been weeks and weeks and still no word, you can send another note. (That said, if it’s been weeks and weeks, you can also assume you didn’t get the job.) It may also be beneficial to even send a feedback request to see if there is anything from the interview itself that may have impacted on their decision and may make them a little more willing to share information about the job.

Employers direct most of their efforts towards ensuring that successful candidates get feedback Sometimes this means that those who have had the misfortune to just miss out at interview need to pursue their own lines of enquiry in order the get useful feedback.

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There's the potential that some people in the company may be sick or the work load shifted recently that makes you a lower priority and so they may take a couple of weeks from when they said they'd get back to you to get back to you.

In my experience, I'm used to companies not telling me I didn't get the job so that is quite typical. At the same time, be careful how quickly you write off this opportunity as it may be that if they are replacing a lead it could require executive approval that may take some time and if the executive is on vacation, this could delay things.

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Emailing or calling to find out the status of an opportunity isn't a bad practice as long as you do it at appropriate intervals with appropriate content. Michael has it right. Many companies have policies to not contact candidates that don't get offers, for potential liability reasons.

In this particular case though, there could be a legit reason for the delay given the Tumblr acquisition. That probably has a company like that scrambling to make sure that line of business is still going to be viable for them long term. I would personally wait until next Friday and send a final email thanking them for consideration and wishing them well.

Two other items that could be relevant and haven't been mentioned elsewhere:

1- You mention it's for a 'lead developer' position but you don't indicate if that includes managerial responsibility. It could be that, while the developers were impressed with your development skills, that they don't feel comfortable with your age/experience leading a team.

2- Many companies that do group interviews like this (like mine) have a policy of unanimous approval. So, while everything seemed to go well with all of the people you interviewed with, one person could have a reason for not seeing you as their ideal candidate and that would be enough to not make you an offer.

  • liability issues?! What's the liability of telling someone they didn't get the job vs no response at all? – thursdaysgeek May 22 '13 at 23:11
  • @thursdaysgeek: There are a number of factors about a person's life that, if explicitly factored into a hiring decision, could be considered discriminatory. It's safer to say nothing than to run the risk of accidentally mentioning a reason that could open the door to a lawsuit. – Jacob G May 23 '13 at 1:28
  • No, you simply thank them for applying and telling them that you are going with someone else. No details, no reasons why they aren't chosen, but please, don't just drop them! That is completely rude. – thursdaysgeek May 23 '13 at 16:10
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I recommend reading AskAManager about post interview etiquette. Lots and lots of companies don't get back to the people they don't hire, but at this point you really can't tell. It could be one or more of

  1. There's a hiring freeze, because of Tumblr being sold or some other reason
  2. They're trying to decide between you and someone else also qualified
  3. Someone is out sick or on vacation and they won't make a decision until they get back
  4. They're rude and would rather say nothing than say 'no'
  5. They're checking references
  6. Things are just taking longer than they expect
  7. They have reservations but haven't made a decision
  8. They're waiting on a reply from someone else who slightly edged you out, but want you if they say no.

There are probably lots of other valid reasons. Other than contacting them once via email expressing your continued interested and asking for an updated hiring timeline, you should move on and continue searching for other jobs. If they come back to you, you can be pleasantly surprised, and if they don't, you will come to realize that is all too common.

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