Can I Have This Job?

It was the last question I asked him at the conclusion of the interview.  We had talked for nearly two hours, and I was confident that I’d be a great match for the position.  I believed that he felt the same way.

As he walked around the boardroom table to shake my hand, I surprised him with an unexpected goodbye:

While extending my hand and smiling, I playfully asked “Can I have this job?”

He laughed as his hand met mine.  It wasn’t a “you’ve got to be kidding” kind of laugh — it was a good laugh.

“Well, we still have to interview some other candidates,” he said.

I nodded.

“Expect to hear from us either way.”

“Of course,” I said.  “I know it’s not a question you’re ready to answer.  I just wanted to make sure you know that I’m really interested in this position.  Thanks so much for your time.”

I exited the boardroom and made my way back to the receptionist’s desk.  As I said goodbye, I casually asked where the nearest post office was.  I wrote in the finer details of the Thank You Card I had prepared right there in the parking lot, and dropped it in the mailbox a few minutes later.

It is out of my hands now.  I have done all that I can do to help my chances of being offered this position.  The only thing left to do is wait.  The ball is in their court now.

Unlike the last interview I wrote about, this interview was real.  I’ve been invited to interview for a few positions recently — some of which I’m more excited about than others.

The thing that I hate about the application/interview process is the point when you’re left to hear back from someone else.  You want to get some kind of status update, whether it’s that they’re interested in what you have to offer, or that they’re not.  Unfortunately, sometimes you never hear back from them either way.

I believe that most people, especially job hunters, are familiar with this feeling:  You’ve done your part, and now you must wait for something to happen.

If you don’t hear from anyone, you always have the option to follow up — but it’s a delicate process.  If you contact them to ask for an update, there are many factors that can cause the inquiry to count against you.

Maybe they planned to finish interviews by a certain date, but scheduling problems caused the interview process to run longer than anticipated.  Maybe your inquiry interrupted something important.  Maybe they’re aggravated because they have a million other things going on, and they were already planning on contacting you to inform you of their decision.

Ironically, if you choose not to follow up, there’s a chance the position will be lost to someone else because you failed to act.  The 2007 edition of “What Color is Your Parachute?” says that Hiring Managers believe the way in which job applicants conduct their job hunt is an accurate representation of their work ethic.

In other words, when a job applicant fails to follow up on a position they interviewed for, the employer takes this as a bad sign.  “This applicant is lazy” — “this applicant isn’t seriously interested in this position” — “this applicant doesn’t see tasks through to the end,” and so on.

So anyway, I’m still in Career Limbo.  How are you?

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13 Responses to “Can I Have This Job?”

#1 Dora on 20, May, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Well, since you asked, I’m starting a job search myself – while still at my current job.

I wonder what this job is…this one you’ve just interviewed for.

Funny thing is, you (and many others) have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, and look for opportunities in a career change into something I’ve always thought of doing… give up my comfortable corporate job with great salary/benefits/health insurance/great boss/etc and go into the unknown.

I’m just taking my first step. And believe me, it took me a LONG time to even take this first step.

And here you are, trying to go back to where you came from. (or at least it seems like it)

#2 Leigh on 21, May, 2008 at 3:53 am

I’m in the extra special Michigan division of career limbo we both know so well. It’s comforting but not comforting to see that I’m not alone, you know? Six months ago I got word my office was closing, and didn’t feel too panicked. How hard could it be to find another boring but reliable desk job? I’m not exactly shooting for the stars here! But now it’s spring and I’m still quite underemployed, working a supposedly temporary job that doesn’t even require a high school diploma, let alone my BA. It’s very part time with no benefits. Yet I’m grateful to even have the work because I’m painfully aware of just how much things have changed around here. I graduated from college in 2005 and two weeks into my job hunt was getting anxious about the lack of response; three weeks in, I had several offers. If we only knew what 2008 would bring!

Best of luck to you in your continued search. Have you considered looking outside the state? I’m certainly leaning that way, but you know, my whole life is here in Michigan. Leaving friends and family behind and jetting across the country just to snag another crummy 9-to-5 is a disheartening prospect for me, to say the least (now, uprooting like that to be with your partner, that’s a different story!).

#3 AntonioCS on 21, May, 2008 at 10:11 am

I am currently on my new job! It’s not great, but it’s better than the last one 😀 Hope you get the job, good luck.

#4 Heywood on 21, May, 2008 at 11:35 am

how am i? angry that every day i come here hoping you wrote something new and you go for close to a month withou t a new post. i don’t get it man. you say you want to be a writer but your going back to a dayjob. your such a hypocrite

#5 Hunter Nuttall on 21, May, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Once I had an interview and didn’t hear back from them afterwards. Three months later, they apologized for the delay and offered me a job! I’m not sure that following up would have helped though.

#6 Dora on 21, May, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Following up on Heywood’s comment. Yes, you haven’t been writing a whole lot (here). Have you given up?

#7 Steve on 22, May, 2008 at 2:16 am

I have to say that I too feel your pain. When I was younger I was told to study hard and I would always have options for work.

Well here I am halfway to completing my Masters in IT and with quite a few years of IT Management experience and I’m going on a year with nothing much to show for it..Still unemployed after the closing of the company I worked for…

I live in Canada and I can assure you that things are just as bad here with useless and incompetent recruiters who lack in my opinion any ethics.

It seems that I am deemed over qualified for anything lower than an IT Director or Manager position so no one will consider me and IT Management positions are rare around here. (About 9 last year)

So I appreciate your blog very much and I also wish you would write a little more often. It’s feels good to read other people’s ideas and thoughts on this matter…

Thanks, good luck and keep up the great blog.

#8 Pat R on 25, May, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Shaun – I can relate with your job hunting. I was out of the corporate world for 6 years working on entrepreneurship and my own business and now finding I’m having to get back in. Not much fun submitting resumes to everyone online and taking tests and tests but you do what you have to do.

I’m happy to say I’m working as a temp for 3 months now – not sure where that will lead but it’s helping to pay the bills.

Don’t give up. I’m sure the perfect job is out there ready for your taking.


#9 László Monda on 30, May, 2008 at 10:11 am

Hi Shaun,

I’m a regular reader of your blog and I like reading your posts. You write with clarity and it’s apparent to me that you’re passionate about writing.

You write with excellence and feeling excellent should be conveyed to your future employers during interviews, but it seems to me that you’re doing it the opposite way.

Sending a Thank You Card after an interview conveys neediness. I consider myself damn good at my profession and I’d never send such a card to any employers. In my mind, they’ve made the best choice if they are smart enough to choose me from dozens of possible candidates. This attitude may seem arrogant and I do not explicitely say such things to people, but that’s my mindset and it’s something you should feel as well, because you’re excellent at writing and your future employer should be lucky to have your services! That’s the mindset you should adopt as well, the mindset of abundance, not the mindset of scarcity.

If Michigan is really such a horrible place regarding job opportunities, you should move or try searching jobs online as a freelance writer on for example.

I hope you’re listening to positive feedback this time. I’ve contacted you earlier to tell you about much cheaper hosting services when your server fees were so high, but you didn’t answer me. Months later you finally realized that your hosting provider has robbed you blind and moved to another provider.

Wishing you the best,

#10 Michael Miles on 31, May, 2008 at 10:14 am

Thanks for a clear and interesting post. I think once you’ve done your best then you should relax and let things take their course. What else could you do?

#11 grant on 02, Jun, 2008 at 10:37 am

So, will you know soon when you will get the job, I hope so, how are you supporting yourself. It would be nice if people would get some of their questions answered.

#12 Shaun Boyd on 02, Jun, 2008 at 4:39 pm

No, I haven’t given up on writing — it just isn’t providing enough income to cover my living expenses. I’ve been focusing my efforts on the job hunt, so that I can find a way to make ends meet. Ideally, I’ll find something to supplement my income that won’t exhaust me, so that I can continue writing at night.

Incidentally, I didn’t get this particular job. I wrote a follow-up to this article called We regret to inform you that No, You Can’t.

#13 Raiha on 07, Jul, 2008 at 6:12 am

Have just came across your blog and started off with “my interview with google”. Great read by the way. It sounds like you are in a really tough situation and hope it gets better. I recommend reading The Brazen Careerist blog, by Penelope trunk… look at the section prior her divorce, it was far more objective. It definitely helped me, whilst i was job searching. Best of luck!

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