I've been going through an interview process with a major technology company at an intermediate level software development position and up until recently, things have been going great. All of the interviews were challenging, but I made it through. Communication with the HR person who is in charge of my file, let's call her Rachel, was fast and concise. Most recently, I've been invited to conduct the final round of interviews, but no date was set.

However, after that invitation was extended to me, e-mails I sent to Rachel have been ignored, until eventually they started bouncing back. After calling the company and asking, it looked like she had left the company.

In addition to this, a new HR person (Mike) has reached out to me, inviting me to the first round of interviews, and for a junior level position! Mike replies to one e-mail for every 10 I send, saying unspecific things like "We should be contacting you by the end of next month".

As demotivated as I am, I need a way forward.

Is it appropriate for me to reach out to the people who interviewed me? What other actions can I take to mitigate my situation?

  • 3
    If geography isn't an issue, you should strongly consider paying them a visit. Specifically, ask for Mike. Have a sit-down, and make him understand the situation. He likely has a lot on his plate too.
    – Alec
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:14
  • 3
    Absolutely not. You can go there to simple schedule a meeting. It's harder to dismiss you in person than it is over e-mail.
    – Alec
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:29
  • 32
    @Alec Maybe this is a cultural thing but showing up to an office unannounced is a serious breach of business etiquette. Do not ever do this.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:33
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    @Alec Hmm, I find it hard to believe that that would be a mainstream practice for the reasons outlined in the articles I linked. I wouldn't consider disrupting someone's workday or circumventing the hiring process by going outside established channels to be a positive indicator of a candidate's initiative. I could see this being acceptable for blue-collar or pink-collar positions but as a European myself I'm certain that it would be a faux pas at any office I've ever visited.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:58
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    I'm sorry: he replies to "one e-mail for every 10"?? How many emails are do you actually need to send this person? I think that you might need to back off and look elsewhere.
    – NotMe
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 18:40

5 Answers 5


What you describe is at its core a simple miscommunication. I'm assuming that you already clearly explained your situation and how far you made it in the original interview process by e-mail. If not, that's the first thing you should do. Be professional and patient and assume that Mike is simply unaware of your interview history.

However, it seems like you already communicated that. Your next step depends on the exact content of the mails you received from Mike. If they acknowledge your interview history or mention the correct (mid-level) position then you've cleared up the misunderstanding. If he still says that they won't contact you until the end of the month then you should take that at face value. It's not unexpected for the interview process to grind to a halt if one of the core people involved left the organisation. Presumably Mike will go over all of Rachel's notes and reinterview where necessary before continuing the process.

However, if Mike is still referring to an incorrect position, you need to clear that up. It could be that there won't be delay in the process and you don't want to fall out of the running due to an oversight. If you're unable to reach Mike by mail, call him to explain. If for some reason that still doesn't work, your next step would be to contact the hiring manager for the position if there is one. As a last resort, reach out to the HR manager to explain what's going wrong.

One thing you need to watch for though is that as a candidate you should generally avoid swamping your contact with e-mails. I'm going to assume that you didn't actually send ten or more e-mails but it's going to come across as strange if you're sending multiple e-mails without waiting for a response. If you suspect that Mike is ignoring you, you'd need to try reaching him by phone or finding someone else who's involved in the process.

  • 7
    To be fair, I think it's reasonably acceptable to send up to two emails to a contact without receiving a response. Given how many emails people receive on a daily basis, it's not unheard of for them to miss one entirely by accident. Beyond two, I'd recommend giving them a call.
    – Cat
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 17:16

Is it appropriate for me to reach out to the people who interviewed me? What other actions can I take to mitigate my situation?

Certainly it's appropriate to help correct what appears to be an honest mistake.

Contact Mike immediately. Explain that you are sure it's just a mistake, but that you have already been through all but the final round of interviews for the intermediate level position. Indicate that you are sure the information got lost when Rachel left. Ask what you need to do in order to get that process back on track. Be helpful, not accusatory.

You could also call or CC the hiring manager and the HR manager (if you have a name). Again, this is just to be helpful, since it's possible that the hiring manager isn't aware that the ball was dropped in the HR transition.

These things happen. Treat it as a simple mistake that you can help correct.

Even if it's not actually a mistake, this approach will give you your best chance.

  • 3
    I've contacted Mike, communicating my current standing in the interview process. He always seems to ignore the part of the e-mail that states this. The hiring manager idea seems like a good idea, it's a sentiment expressed in various answers, but I'm trying to do it in a way that doesn't undermine Mike Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 12:42
  • @concerned_user Kudos to you for not making it personal.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 23:25
  • @concerned_user If he repeatedly ignores the part of your email where you say have already progressed through interviewing for the intermediate position, then they're not looking for an intermediate at the moment. Unless you want to take a junior role & be mucked about to get there, look elsewhere.
    – Thomas W
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 3:17
  • Tell them 1) you are interested in the intermediate role; 2) that you are not interested in the junior role; 3) Ask them to contact you should suitable intermediate roles become available. Say this clearly & politely, then spend your productive energies looking elsewhere.
    – Thomas W
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 3:22
  • @concerned_user you might not have the current standing that you have stated. If a key HR person who was running the interviews left they might have started from scratch. It is their process, it is they who dictate what stage you are at. Either way it seems like you need to call them and clear up the misunderstanding but be open to the possibility that it is you who doesn't understand the current status and not this new guy.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 10:25

It sounds remarkably like you're being stonewalled.

Did Rachel ever provide her manager's name? I'd be CC'ing them on a communication documenting (yes, again) to Mike saying that he doesn't seem to understand how far down the process you were with Rachel, and that you were x steps toward a more senior role than what Mike seems to be assuming.

Adding in a manager of an uncooperative individual to communications is normally quite effective at improving their behaviour ;)

  • 2
    That seems like a reasonable approach. I wonder if I should tread lightly though; is it possible that seeking Mike's superior might reflect negatively on my image at the company? I don't have the information yet, but I believe I could obtain it. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:42
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    @concerned_user At this stage if you are getting nowhere with your assigned HR person, I can't see how it can really hurt.
    – Jane S
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:43
  • 1
    @concerned_user I was just about to write that in a comment as well. If you don't have prior experience with the manager and don't know how his relation is with Mike or how it was with Rachel it might be a bit risky. However you sound like you're stuck right now, so you have nothing to loose.
    – Reaces
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 10:43

One additional possibility: as far as I can tell you don't know what the circumstances were for Rachel no longer working there. It's possible she quit (and she perhaps had given her two week notice towards the end of your interview process and didn't need to mention it). But it's also possible she was fired.

And I point this out because it's possible she was fired as the side effect of a company re-organization. And it's very common for a company re-organization to basically reset and nullify any existing job listings in progress. It's also possible the position no longer exists.

The odds are really good that the other answers here (miscommunication, honest mistake, stonewalling) are the real culprits but just be aware that it's entirely possible that due to unlucky timing the job in question is forfeit.

  • 1
    +1 for considering what happened with Rachel. In most organisations a proper handover would be performed so that the person (or persons) who pick up any outstanding jobs should be well aware of the status of everything. It raises flags as to the nature of her departure.
    – Jane S
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 21:49

I think your idea of asking someone you interviewed with, with whom you connected well would be a strong idea here. By going to your HR representative's manager, you are really implying that there is something that he is doing wrong that needs to be corrected-which ultimately could be detrimental to your relationship with both of them.

Asking this contact (who knows your potential worth to the company and respects you) for context will probably less threatening than you reaching out within HR. Also, if they are your future colleague, they probably have more of a motivation to bring you on board-and soon-than does HR.

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