One of the biggest mistakes that an employer can make is to let too much time go by during the interview process without communicating to the prospective employee.
After an interview, most applicants need feedback almost immediately. Employers who intend to further explore a professional relationship with a candidate should provide that feedback within 48 hours of an interview.
If a candidate does not hear back after an interview, the following assumptions are usually made:
“They're not interested in me.”
“I had a bad interview.”
“Do I really want to work for a company that takes too long to make decisions?”
The first impression of a new employer is just as important as the impression made by a candidate. Candidates often judge employers by their decision-making abilities. If too much time goes by (without reasonable communication) and then an offer is made, an impression might be inferred that the employer is unable to make timely decisions.
Candidates tend to wonder “What other decisions do they drag their feet on?” and often are hesitant about accepting an offer. “If I take this job, how long will I have to wait if I need more resources or more staffing? How long will I have to wait for my employment review?” In the recruitment world it is a given that “time kills all deals.”
On the other hand, employers should never make rash hiring decisions. That is not the message being conveyed in this article! There should be no less than two interviews and, of course, references should be checked, but this does not have to take weeks and weeks as it often does.
If there is a legitimate reason why the interviewing process needs to take a long time, then it is incumbent upon the employer to communicate, communicate, and communicate! We are living in the digital age so an easy e-mail is all that is really necessary to communicate intent, but why not pick up the phone and give it a personal touch? The personal touch goes a long way. Communication is key.
Bernie Reifkind is CEO and founder of Premier Search (
www.psihealth.com), a healthcare executive search firm in Los Angeles. He can be reached by e-mail at
Bernie@psihealth.com or (800) 801-1400. Long-Term Living 2010 September;59(9):53