How to tell when employers are “just not that into you…”

December 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

Some recently laid-off journalism friends were remarking the other day how job hunting can be much like dating. For the long-married, we’ll clue you in: That means waiting for a call; wondering whether it’s too soon for you to call; wondering if the silence is because they’re busy or traveling or if it’s that they forgot who you are or remember who you are but aren’t interested; or if it’s simply that they’re really married or engaged and didn’t bother to tell you.

In the job-hunting world, that translates to: Waiting for a call (or actually multiple calls); wondering if it’s too soon for you to call; wondering if the silence is because the hiring managers are busy or traveling or forgot who you are or remember but aren’t interested; or it’s that they have an internal candidate or another candidate they prefer and likely won’t hire you but prefer to slowly torture you by not telling you that just yet.

Taking a page from the (silly yet cute, and it’s set in Baltimore which somewhat redeems it!) recent movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” here are some signals as to when hiring managers just aren’t interested or actually may be interested, and tips on what you can do about it:

*A hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t call you and doesn’t return your calls or emails. As a sister of a then-dating friend once told her in exasperation, “He’s not going to call you to tell you he’s not calling.” If they repeatedly have said they’ll get back to you and then don’t, and if you have left polite Voicemail and email messages to no avail, they’re likely not interested and are too chicken, busy or lame to let you know that. Continued radio silence means you’re not a strong candidate. If they are interested, they will get back in touch with you at some point because they don’t want to lose you — even if they have other strong candidates. If a hiring manager is interested and doesn’t respond to you for long and inexplicable stretches,  consider whether you want to work for them, even in this lousy job market — they don’t sound like a very adept manager.

*A recruiter or hiring manager initially appeared quite interested in you and occasionally responds to your inquiries but usually only after long stretches. This could mean they’re not interested but it could also mean — especially in this market — that they are taking their time pursuing a number of other good candidates. Also, you could have been and possibly may remain a top candidate but others may have emerged later in the process and they are still talking to them. They also may have made an offer to someone who is considering it. That means you may not get the job though sometimes a candidate turns down a job and they will turn to you: their second or even third choice, but you won’t know that you were second or third. So wait it out somewhat but if the silences seem to be getting longer don’t put a lot of stock in this opportunity. If you know someone at the organization this would be a good time to have them check to see what’s really going on, though prepare yourself for unhappy news and don’t blame the messenger for it.

*A hiring manager keeps making you jump through hoops to get a job. Though managers are increasingly asking for tryouts or completion of assignments as part of the hiring process, along with multiple interviews with everyone in the office including the pizza-delivery guy, if the process becomes prolonged it’s time to ask yourself just how interested they really are in you. This may be their way of saying that they’re not confident you can handle the job. But don’t give up just yet, this presents an opportunity for you to ask them — especially as you’re in touch with them — whether they still consider you a strong candidate and whether the tryout or work you’ve done has been viewed successfully. Definitely ask. If they obfuscate or say it’s not what they had hoped but you’re still under consideration, it doesn’t look good for you. But if they say you’ve done well but they are just considering others, it’s probably wise to hang in there a bit. Sometimes, especially in cases where you may be making a transition to a new field, they may need some time to determine if your skills would be a good fit. So give them that chance but only if you’re getting the right signals.

*They respond to your calls and emails positively, but this is taking FOREVER. If you can, hang in there. The hiring manager may not be good at telling people no and may be stringing you along; it can be hard to tell. But try to do some research to determine if they’re still interested in filling the job. If they are, you may want to hang in there. Hiring processes are drawn out these days and you still may be under consideration. If you are confident that you are close to snaring another offer, it’s smart to let the slow-hiring organization know that and see how they respond — this may get them to move. But be careful not to bluff if you don’t really have another interested party as it could backfire.

*As always, some job and internship leads…

*ABC’s Good Morning America needs a D.C.-based producer:

GOOD MORNING AMERICA has an opening for a WASHINGTON, D.C. BASED PRODUCER. This position will be working alongside bureau correspondents on day-of-air news pieces. Responsibilities include conceiving, coordinating, writing and producing all production elements for general assignment live and tape segments.

Candidates must have experience working on political stories and must be capable of overseeing anchor level segments and sweeps series. Must have experience with breaking news. Candidates must have network level producing experience, strong writing ability, demonstrated creativity, and an interest in politics. This position requires flexible hours.

There is a strong internal candidate for this position.

Internal applicants apply through JOBS ONLINE on the HUB and use requisition #216839.

Please also send resumes to Michael Corn, Senior Producer and Cindy Smith, Coordinating Producer.

*The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, part of the New America Foundation, is seeking an intern in D.C. for next semester:

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is looking for an enthusiastic intern for the 2010 winter/spring semester. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget ( is a bipartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact. The Committee is housed at the New America Foundation.


  • Maintaining and updating the website.
  • Posting daily blog entrees on
  • Tracking budget-related news.
  • Conducting research on tax, entitlements, and budgetary policy.
  • Helping to draft press releases and op-eds.
  • Other tasks as assigned.


  • Enrollment in an undergraduate program;
  • Interest in fiscal policy and budgetary & economic issues;
  • Proven research and analytical skills;
  • Strong writing and editing skills;
  • Familiarity with internet research tools;
  • Ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment; and
  • Be a flexible and enthusiastic team player.

Application Process

E-mail resume, cover letter, and one writing sample (no more than six pages) to Human Resources Please state “Intern, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget” in the e-mail subject line.

Applicants must be currently eligible to be employed in the United States. The New America Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

*The hat tip on this next opening is National Geo Magazine and National Geo Traveler needs an interactive editor in D.C.:

Job Summary
Editor, Interactive NGM/Traveler POSTED: Dec 07
Salary: Open Location: D.C.
Employer: National Geographic Society Type: Full Time – Experienced
Required Education: 4 Year Degree
Employer Information
About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to ”increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 350 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and four other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; DVDs; maps; and interactive media. ….more info

View all our jobs

Job Description
National Geographic Society is seeking an Interactive Editor for National Geographic Magazine and Traveler Magazine. As part of the Society’s continuing evolution in storytelling and providing innovative and rich consumer experiences across multiple platforms, National Geographic has launched an Interactive Publishing business that will, among other things, enhance its magazine and book print portfolios through the development, marketing and global distribution of:  (1) interactive editions closely related to their print analogs, (2) derivative products, and (3) wholly new interactive products and services, across a wide array of platforms such as eReaders, consumer electronic devices, mobile phones, online, smart boards, game consoles and in-flight systems.  As part of this important initiative, National Geographic magazine is looking for an experienced Interactive Editor to support the growth of this new business endeavor by helping to develop, lead and inform its editorial, design and production efforts in this regard.
BA or BS required, MBA or advanced degree preferred. Significant experience (5-10 years) with a media company, including at least 3-5 years of editorial project management in consumer print, technology production, consumer electronics, mobile and/or online media. Solid experience in multi-platform production, user interface design and storytelling using and editing of multiple forms of media formats in addition to print including, for example, video and film production, photography, music, digital mapping, games, etc. Experience in the distribution of interactive multimedia (e.g., video, photography, film, music, digital mapping content) through boxed software, applications, consumer electronic, mobile or online platforms: including through premium services and retail / eCommerce offerings. Experience with content development, use and distribution rights and clearances. Experience in product management; writing business requirements, working with development teams on launching new products/services and competitive intelligence. Mobile, consumer electronic, eReader and premium services product development and publishing / distribution experience preferred. Passion for storytelling through interactive consumer products and technologies. Strong project management skills and ability to lead cross-functional teams without direct reports. Solid understanding of software and application development, platform distribution, premium services and web technologies. A working knowledge or and/or aptitude for publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign, K4 Publishing System and Final Cut. Ability to translate technical requirements/limitations to business and nontechnical editorial staff. Effective oral and written presentation skills.

To learn more and to apply, please visit

*Finally, George Washington University in D.C. is looking for an assistant editor for its alumni magazines. The hat tip is to

Company: GW Magazine/The George Washington University
Assistant Editor/GW Magazine
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Not Specified
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
January 11, 2010
Job ID: 1131748

The George Washington University seeks an assistant editor to write and edit copy for publication in the university’s alumni magazines and other venues as well as perform magazine production and editorial project management tasks.

Requires a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization and 3 years of appropriate experience.

To apply online, visit and search for Job Posting Number 0601562 (writer/editor).

Or, you may send an e-mail to Managing Editor Jaime Ciavarra Gacek at

GW is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to snare a job in the non-profit world Making a decision on a buyout

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