I’m asking this question as an academic attempting to transition into industry/non-academic work. Two weeks ago a team at a national lab reached out to me out of the blue to inform me about a position that they thought would be a great fit. In a zoom meeting they sold me on their work, the job, etc. and encouraged me to apply. I did two days later, and managed to secure an internal referral from a former colleague that works there as well.

A week later (Friday before thanksgiving) I was invited for a screening interview for the following Tuesday or Wednesday. I replied with my availability (very open). I heard nothing until EOD Wednesday, when the recruiter apologized and asked to reschedule the following Monday or Tuesday. I replied with my (very open) availability within the hour. It has since been crickets. I followed up this afternoon, but still nothing. Is this standard behavior by recruiters/orgs in the government and private sector? Should I just move on?

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    Is the company or organization located in the US (or where Thanksgiving is the official holiday for many companies) ? Nov 24, 2023 at 21:56
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    I used to work for HR at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 20+ years ago. Many of the academics and scientists were workaholics, but us bureaucrats, we were super slow. I was only a student assistant at the time, but I was the only one in the HR office on sunny days. And during holidays, forget about it. My bet is that the lab is completely deserted this week, except for a few scientists, security, and janitorial staff. That's it. Everybody else is probably "working" from home. In any case, do not wait. Apply to other places. They will reply to you when they reply to you. Nov 25, 2023 at 0:25
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    This is super normal. Slow your roll by about 100%. If you get no response from a company after a month you’ve been ghosted, if they are following up in some way more of them than that then stick with it until you get a job (theirs or another’s).
    – mxyzplk
    Nov 25, 2023 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


Should I just move on?

No. You should give them a second chance, and go ahead to schedule an interview.

Is this standard behavior by recruiters/orgs in the government and private sector?

My answer below assumes that the company or organization is located in the US.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, as you can see, most people are allowed to take Thursday and Friday off. Some people even use their own PTO to take a few extra days off. Therefore, the interviewers and the recruiters may be out of sync in terms of finding a good day for your interview.

You wrote "I followed up this afternoon, but still nothing". Today is Friday, which is still a holiday in the US for most people.

During the normal work weeks (non-holiday), I am sure they will be responding to you more precisely and more professionally.

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    Yeah, patience, either it happens or it doesn't, there's no point being negative yet
    – Kilisi
    Nov 25, 2023 at 9:53
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    In the other hand, you should still be applying for other jobs in parallel with this application, so you aren't wasting time if this one falls through before, during, or after the interview. "Until you have a job, your job is applying for jobs."
    – keshlam
    Nov 25, 2023 at 14:14
  • Thanks for this - as someone who has been in academia for awhile, I'm not used to dealing with recruiters/talent management people. Every interview I've ever had has involved a straightforward scheduling process with prompt replies from those doing the scheduling. Nov 27, 2023 at 16:11

Thanksgiving week is typically a wash. Businesses are minimally staffed because people are out on vacation. Turn in some applications for other opportunities right now, and follow up on this opportunity again if you don't hear from them by December 8th or so. I'm saying this because the week after Thanksgiving is also a wash, as people are recovering from travel and turkey!

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