Q: I have a job, but I am looking for another one for more money. One company called me a week after receiving my résumé. I interviewed with the vice president and the human resources person. The VP was a New Yorker in his late 40s and seemed comfortable talking with me. The HR person was in her late 20s and was awkward with interviewing, as she asked trite questions right out of a textbook: “Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you expect to make? What are you making now?” I gave short answers. I told her I expect to be with the company in five years and make the advertised $35,000. There were silences after I answered, and I felt as though I had said the wrong thing, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I interviewed on a Thursday. They said they were traveling the next week but would get back to me that next Friday. I wanted them to receive my thank-you note before they left town, so I texted both a thank-you message; then I mailed a handwritten note expressing my interest. The next Thursday, I left both of them voice messages reminding them of my interest. I haven’t heard from them, and it has been a month. What did I do wrong?
A: Your answers to the trite questions may have seemed sarcastic. You could have discussed your philosophy on salary and asked questions that showed interest. Interviewers want candidates to be polite, but three contacts with each person in one week is overkill. They might have been afraid to call to say no, but they should have sent you a standard rejection letter because you took time out of your day to meet with them.