The Silent Dilemma

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on March 29, 2011

Imagine this scenario, which unfortunately is all too common.

An employer has taken the time and the resources to find a candidate to fill a very difficult position that has been open for some time.  Imagine further that this candidate has been on 2-3 interviews and has met the staff and everything is moving along at an exciting pace.

After references have been checked and after all the proper due diligence has been conducted,  an offer is extended to the candidate.  The candidate responds by saying “thank you” and that he/she would like to think about it and speak with their family about it, and will be back in touch “shortly.”

A few days go by and nothing is heard from the candidate.  So the employer calls the candidate to inquire if the candidate has reached a decision or if any more information is needed, only to reach a voice mail.

So a voice message is left.

And then silence.  And more silence.  And after a few days a disturbing amount of silence.  Hello?!!!!

Now the head games begin.  Why has this candidate not called back, even if the offer is being turned down?  Not even the decency of a common courtesy response.  If fact, it is common that given the circumstances above I have actually been involved in situations in which a candidate never calls back.

The old silent treatment.

This is when silence is not golden.  This is when silence is disrespectful.

So what gives?  Clearly given the above scenario, the candidate had no intention of taking the job but there is no excuse for not following up in writing or by verbally responding.  No excuse.

Sometimes candidates are afraid or intimidated to say no to a job offer.  Saying no is much more difficult than saying yes, but silence is unacceptable.

Sorry, there is no excuse.

In summary, clear and concise communication in every aspect of the interviewing process is key to a successful hire.  If during the process, the candidate is not responding in a rational amount of time, then this is a warning sign and should be addressed immediately.

Otherwise, you could find yourself in the silent dilemma.

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at  I welcome your phone call.

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