Monday, August 26, 2013

The Take Away Close

When it comes to interviewing and negotiating, what do you do when, after an extended amount of time, everything just – stops – you hear nothing but crickets and you’ve not received any information or correspondence? Make an effort to contact the last person with whom you’ve met to see what’s going on but, if you still can’t get any info, you can wait around collecting dust, or you can utilize the Take Away Close.

However, be forewarned, it should be your option of last resort, when you’ve exhausted all other avenues. It’s not a threat but instead a statement and using it as a bluff or crying wolf will get you the same result as the shepherd boy in the fable of Aesop. A sharp sales person might use this close to push the indecisive to be less so and to get a decision. They may say something such as “You know, I don’t think this is the item for you, I don’t sense there is much interest. Perhaps we should just forget it.” The simple rule is you only take away when you’re ready to walk away in order to focus your energy elsewhere. For the record, whenever there is a delay there is a reason for it although, for whatever reason they choose not to share with you. I can address some of this in another blog entry at another time.

If you’ve already interviewed face to face at least once and an inordinate amount of time has passed without any word or explanation, or you get repeated hollow and canned excuses for three or more weeks since your last communication, something’s up and you’re within your rights to follow up and, as far as I’m concerned, it is an issue of dignity. May I take this moment to suggest you’re not a piece of furniture and the same people with whom you’re interviewing would likely be just as frustrated if the tables were turned, eh. Indeed, companies and hiring managers juggle many responsibilities, but hiring is a part of their job description and if it’s not a priority there’s not a real need. And a curt response about being too busy is a non-reason and garbage excuse to which one must ask oneself, “Yeah and what, we’re all busy, does my time have any less value?” I always assumed time management was a basic job requirement for most managers so the excuse is pointless.

The take away close is the best way to either knock them off the fence they’re sitting on, or to conclude and proceed in another direction. Say something such as, “We’ve been meeting and speaking now for X weeks (or months) and during this period I’ve also been pursuing other opportunities. I don’t see any evidence that there is continued interest or perhaps filling the position is not a priority. Is there a time line or should I just move on?” Then stop talking, enjoy the silence and wait for their reply. You’re not being smarmy or snippy; you’re actually extending a courtesy by letting them know your intentions after you’ve likely moved on mentally anyway and who knows, you might even learn what is really going on.

I recognize that if you’ve got nothing else going on you can be forgiven for not wanting to do a take away and, while it may be difficult to do, ask yourself if what you’re waiting and hoping for is a legitimate opportunity or has it become more of a wish to which you’re still clinging? Sometimes it’s better to just rip that Band-Aid off and get on with other things. Personally speaking, I’d rather hear a no than to sit around with my fingers crossed about a process that’s outlived its shelf life or Best Before date on the label. Take the initiative, stay on offense, relying solely on others or the four winds to chart the direction of your career is not taking control of your destiny. Chance favors the bold, and what I’ve described is an example by which your attitude and belief in self can exert influence. So, if you determine a company for which you had interest has been demonstrating, as a result of inaction their disinterest, thank them for their time and go find another that is interested!

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