1

I'm an academic and recently interviewed for a non-academic position at a national lab in the U.S. I don't have much experience interviewing for private sector or government positions, so apologies if these questions come off as naive - the hiring process in academia is not normal. Anyway, yesterday I had a panel interview in which I gave a 30 minute presentation and then spoke with the broader team for an additional hour or so. I thought it went really well and turned conversational about halfway through. I was invited to apply for the position by a higher up and referred for the position internally by a former colleague.

At the end of the interview, the hiring manager said they were still looking at resumes and had to decide how many people they were going to hire, and that I'd hear back from the internal recruiter I'd been communicating with early next week.

My questions:

  1. The job posting did not indicate multiple hires for one listing - is that a normal thing?
  2. The statement about "still looking at resumes" - is this indicative of the interview not going that well?
  3. The specific timeline for hearing back from the recruiter - is this how job offers/rejections are normally communicated, not by the hiring manager but the recruiter?

Just trying to sort out how hiring works outside the academy (and obviously trying to read tea leaves, which is probably futile, but still).

Thanks!

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for the advice! Today I was offered the position, nine days after the interview, with an 85% increase over my current salary. Totally thrilled!

1
  • 2
    I used to work as a student assistant for HR in a US National Lab 20+ years ago. Number 2 is not indicative of anything. You have to give everyone a fair chance. You are legally required to do so. You are also required to maintain a paper trail. Dec 21, 2023 at 3:50

3 Answers 3

5

The job posting did not indicate multiple hires for one listing - is that a normal thing?

If they have multiple reqs open and/or in quick growths mode, that's fairly normal.

The statement about "still looking at resumes" - is this indicative of the interview not going that well?

No. The hiring manager wants to hire the best person for the job they can get. If there are still high quality resumes coming in, it would be stupid of the hiring manager to not look at them. And yes, if a better candidate shows up, this will knock you down one line on the list. Such is life.

The specific timeline for hearing back from the recruiter - is this how job offers/rejections are normally communicated, not by the hiring manager but the recruiter?

Yes. It's just the recruiter doing their job. Communication with candidates is time consuming and hence and the recruiter's hours are typically cheaper than the hiring manager's one. In rare occasions (especially positive ones) the hiring manager will do it themselves, but typically there has to be a specific reason for doing so.

The specific timeline is actually good news. Sometimes these things drag out for weeks or even months and then just fizzle out. That' annoying, but it's an unfortunate fact of corporate life.

3

The job posting did not indicate multiple hires for one listing - is that a normal thing?

It could be a normal thing.

The manager may post the one job first, and depending on the business demand from the customers, he may need to hire more.


The statement about "still looking at resumes" - is this indicative of the interview not going that well?

This does not mean the interview did not go well.

Companies usually look at many resumes, and interview many candidates to fill one position.


The specific timeline for hearing back from the recruiter - is this how job offers/rejections are normally communicated, not by the hiring manager but the recruiter?

This is normal for many companies.

Usually, recruiters discuss job offers/rejections.

2

Number 1 is not abnormal, but less common. Unless the job listing specifies a count, I wouldn't make assumptions in either direction.

I wouldn't take number 2 as an indication the interview didn't go well. Since they indicated multiple hires, I suspect you didn't impress them enough that they automatically know they want to hire you, but you are still deemed a potential hire. They may not find any other candidates better than you or they might find 10. You'll need to wait and see.

There is no normal for number 3, some companies leave the entire communication to the hiring manager, some to the recruiters and some to HR (which can be separate from recruiting for a big company).

3
  • 1
    In other words, you were not an immediate "no hire," but you were also not an immediate "hire." It also could mean exactly what they said: they are trying to determine how many will be selected and likely then decide where each candidate rates.
    – Donald
    Dec 14, 2023 at 4:56
  • 2
    As a hiring manager at a national lab maybe I can give some insight (although processes at them all differ). If I post a job for one opening, I can't start the hiring process until the posting has closed and HR has screened all the resumes, regardless of when I interview someone. But if I post for 2 openings then I can hire one immediately (a must-have candidate) before the posting closes. And I don't have to hire the 2.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 14, 2023 at 13:45
  • @JonCuster, there are definitely rules (and the subsequent games) at different companies that make none of this normal or abnormal
    – cdkMoose
    Dec 14, 2023 at 16:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .