The waiting is the hardest part.”
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Waiting to hear back from a client, recruiter, or company with a “yes” or “no” on the sale, an interview, or job offer is hard. As the job seeker, salesperson, or simply trying to move a process forward, you likely have a greater sense of urgency to get feedback, a decision or see action taken relative to the other parties involved.
This sets up an Urgency Paradox – when different levels of urgency between two or more parties exist but are not properly taken into account as we try to make a “fair” assessment of the situation and predict outcomes. Unfortunately, a typical response is to fill in the void (an absence of complete information) with self-limiting and abundance-lacking statements about what might be happening.
When it happens to me, it is as if I’m hitting “play” on my favorite scarcity soundtrack, blasting the hit song, “I’m not (blank) enough”, (Sung loudly to the tune of “Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson). You’ve done this before too so feel free to insert your favorite shortcoming.
Universally, job seekers say that they wish companies did a better job communicating during the recruiting/hiring process. There’s no question that the waiting sucks but we can’t really control timing. What is easily within our control? Let me suggest that our internal dialogue is the best, first place to start to help you start arriving at healthier, more appropriate, and more perceptive beliefs.
Job Search Example: You’ve applied for a job online but haven’t heard anything from the company in a week.
The Scarcity “Soundtrack” If they haven’t called yet, they are not interested. I’m not what they’re looking for. I don’t have enough experience. My resume is weak. I’m too old/young. They won’t hire me.
The More Likely Reality:
- You were one of the first (of many) candidates screened so they may have more candidates to look at. It’s not about you or your fit for the role (at least not yet).
- This could be a new role at the company and they are patient to find the right candidate.
- The recruiter or hiring manager has been out of the office traveling
- This company has always had a slow hiring process.
In the absence of facts being told what’s actually going on, the second sets of reasons are healthier, more optimistic, and definitely more kind to oneself? Don’t leave them out of the equation – You behave as you believe!
Sales Example: You’ve delivered a sales proposal to to a prospect/client several weeks ago and haven’t heard any feedback.
The Scarcity “Soundtrack”
I’m not going to get the sale. They’ll go with my competitor. They don’t want to work with me. My product or approach is wrong. I’m not closing well. I’m short, fat and ugly (ok, I’m just laying it on to make the point).
The More Likely Reality:
- The client may not care if she makes the decision today or 6 months from now.
- The client has other priorities competing for time and resources.
- The company may be in a research mode and not ready to buy
- They may be stuck in the resistance of indecision or not be sure if this spend will produce the desired results.
Until you have more information, why make it about you?
What does your soundtrack sound like? It might be time to change the lyrics.
Eli Howayeck (MBA, Kellogg School of Management), Founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts, is passionate about helping motivated people achieve their career, educational, or personal goals and helping businesses, large and small, overcome a variety of challenges facing their business.