Can I ask if I'm still in the running for a job?

After getting laid off in September, a friend told me about a publication opening that a recruiter had contacted her about. She wasn’t interested, but she passed along the info to me. I contacted the recruiter, who passed along my info, and I had an interview with the publisher and other managers at the publication two weeks ago. The publisher said he would be interested in doing some sort of a one-month trial, if he could get the details worked out with HR. Sounded promising.

The day after the interview, I sent the publisher references as he requested. So far, none of the references have been contacted. I sent a thank-you card after I got back to town, and then followed up with a phone call last Wednesday, a little more than a week after the interview. The publisher said they appreciated my enthusiasm for the position, but they still needed more time to decide and (big red flag) needed to get in touch with the recruiter to see if there were any other applicants. I haven’t heard from him since then.

Then today, I found that the recruiter posted the opening on Craigslist last Monday, a week after my interview. Should I assume that they’re moving on to other candidates and don’t have the balls to tell me? Can I somehow ask the publisher if I’m still in the running?

I feel sick to my stomach and nervous as hell. I really thought the interview went well, but now I don’t know what to think.

I wouldn’t call them again at this point. You’ve followed up; they know you’re interested. All it will do is bug them (“I appreciate your enthusiasm” typically does not mean they really appreciate it) and leave you unsatisfied since they won’t tell you anything. It very likely would decrease the chance of getting the job and I see no reason why it would increase it in any case.

While it’s not impossible that you could get the job at this point, it doesn’t look good. Perhaps they have some requirement to see X number of applicants, or they just need to meet with others to see how good you are (or to demonstrate that, no, they can’t hire someone at half your salary requirement and get what they need). However, in my experience, the jobs I’ve gotten and hired for never involved checking for more applicants. If you’re good, why bother?

I know that’s not really what you want to hear. However, I hope it motivates you to keep looking and to consider what will happen if you do not get the job.

Have you tried contacting the recruiter? They might be able to give you a straight answer even if the publisher can’t.

I’d wait a week or two, and might give a call, keeping the call as low-pressure as possible.

Unless of course, you get another offer, in which case you’re not only perfectly justified in calling to check in, but also make yourself more attractive, rather than more annoying.

The answer is “depends”. My first job, I must have called for like three months before I eventually got hired. I wasn’t obnoxious about it, but I was like, “hey, I wanted to see if you had reached a final decision.” Since they never said “no”, I figured it was ok to call about once a week or so. Eventually I did get the job.

I once faxed a resume in for a job and I never heard a response. I really wanted the job so I hunted down a phone number and called to see if they’d gotten it. As it turned out they hadn’t; they found it and loved it, and had me in for an interview.

They didn’t get back to me for weeks and weeks. I kept calling and they kept putting me off without giving me an answer. Eventually they offered me the job. I found out later what happened:

They conducted interviews (before finding my resume) and there was one candidate they really liked. I called immediately after she left the office. Then I came in and they liked me just as much. The next few weeks were spent trying to figure out how to split the position so they could hire us both, which is what they ended up doing.

It worked out extremely well. We’re still good friends and close associates, and the job has benefited both of us career-wise.