We have all been there: sitting in front of our computer, refreshing our email every five minutes, in hopes of receiving some positive feedback from a recent interview. Days turn into weeks and you assume that the lack of communication means that you’re not in the race and so you turn your mind to other prospects. This is a mistake. There are many reasons why a hiring process can stretch out and if you are really interested in the position, you need to take what steps you can to stay in the hunt.

An article in the Wall Street Journal reported that companies are taking twice as long to hire people with the average number of days taken to screen and complete a hire rising from 13 days in 2010 to 23 days in 2016 (and in my experience, both of these numbers are low in the legal industry). There are many factors that can contribute to long hiring processes including initial screening, multiple rounds of interviews, different types of testing and reference checks. The time of year can even have an impact; we historically see hiring processes stretch out during summer and other popular vacation times just due to the availability of key decision makers.

I regularly speak with candidates who are frustrated or confused by lengthy hiring processes. It can be especially difficult when a candidate is interviewing for multiple jobs at once and is trying to manage the timing with multiple positions. This is an area where recruiters can be of great assistance, especially when it comes to avoiding awkward “follow-up” conversations. We are usually in touch with the hiring company throughout the process and can provide insight on anticipated timing and delays. We can act as a buffer between the candidate and the hiring manager and follow-up with the company regarding the status of the hire any convey any important updates such as a candidate receiving a competing offer. Of course, this works bests if you keep your recruiter up to date about other applications and interviews you have going on.

Bottom line, no matter whose court the ball was in, if you drop off the radar at any point during the hiring process the assumption will be that you were not interested in the position. Convey your continued interest at appropriate intervals and ask about what the next steps in the process might be. You may also consider checking in with your references to see if they have been contacted as a way to gain insight into the status of the process. You don’t want to find out that you would have been offered your dream job had you just followed up about the process. Persistence (appropriately applied) really can pay off.

Jennifer is a Recruitment and Communications Consultant with The Heller Group. She is actively involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations and is also responsible for the corporate communications related to The Heller Group. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys travelling, curling and spending time with friends and family.

Image via Bigstockphoto.com