No matter what the circumstances, no one wants to feel rejected or unwanted. Other than a terrible first date, there isn't much worse than building yourself up for the thrill of starting a new job, only to be told by an employer that they aren't going to hire you.
They might give you official notice that they're not interested, or they might not tell you anything at all. Sometimes the mixed messages you get from an employer are easier to understand if you think about them like you would a potential romantic interest.
We broke out our well worn, ice cream-splattered copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You” to figure out when an employer is dropping hints that it’s time to move on.
Chapter 1: "He's just not that into you if he's not asking you out."
What happened: You applied, they didn't call.
You've sent out all the signals to let them know you're interested: you applied online, wrote an awesome cover letter, everything. They're just not picking up on your signals, and you're not sure why they haven't called you back. Sorry, you aren't what they're looking for. It's okay. There are a lot of fish in the sea! But this particular fish just isn't biting.
Chapter 9: "He's just not that into you if he's disappeared on you."
What happened: You interviewed, they didn't call.
Your job interview was great: you wore your favorite outfit and you sent the interviewer a thank you card or follow up message afterward, but now they aren't calling you back. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes they just don't feel the spark, or maybe they were looking around and found a better match. Give it a couple of weeks, but keep applying to other jobs.
Chapter 10: "He's just not that into you if he's married (and other insane variations of being unavailable)."
What happened: You called to follow up and the employer said they aren’t hiring.
Sometimes employers like to play it safe and put up a "Help Wanted" sign when they don't have a position open at the moment. It's hard for them to know when someone will quit or get fired, so they want to be sure to have an application waiting when a position becomes open. This is called proactive hiring, and it's a little like dating around. They want to keep it casual and explore their options. They may call you when you least expect it! But if all signs should be pointing to "yes" and their answer is still "no," then they're just not that into you.
Chapter 12: "Don't listen to these stories."
What happened: You’re waiting to hear back instead of applying to other jobs.
So maybe you're thinking, "But I know someone who did get the job when an employer put their application 'on file.'” While it's possible that you'll get a call out of the blue months after you apply, don't bank on it.
Chapter 13: "Now what do you do?"
What happened: They’re not going to hire you. Ouch…
Just like after any failed relationship, you've got to get back out there. You can't afford to wallow in self-pity about a job that just wasn't a good fit. You've got to keep looking, and eventually you'll find a job you can settle down with!