Don’t Go Over Recruiter’s Head for Hiring Answer


Tristan writes:
I work in higher education. Three months ago I applied for a pretty significant fundraising position at another university. For about a month I didn’t hear anything but then in June I got a call from the consultancy firm handling the search. The search consultant suggested that I was a “front-runner” for the position and told me that he would be presenting my application along with several other finalists to the university steering committee that week. Since then I’ve spoken with the consultant twice. Although he is generally responsive and helpful he tells me that the university search committee has not decided on interview finalists and has been slow to make any progress. I understand how enormously democratic and bureaucratic higher education can be but I’m beginning to get a bit frustrated since the process has been dragging on for the last three months and still I understand that interviews have not been conducted.

I don’t have another offer at present – and don’t particularly want to suggest that I do even though I work in an entirely different region – but I’m wondering what I should I do. Should I reach out to university personnel or HR and risk damaging my relationship with the search consultant or should I just continue to wait?


The Career Doctor responds:
I would definitely not suggest going over the consultant’s (recruiter’s) head; that will surely backfire. I know from experience that academia moves really slowly. I think you have few choices other than waiting it out and continuing to follow up with the consultant periodically. If you were dealing directly with the employer your followups would show persistence and interest. The same is true with the consultant but the persistence doesn’t have quite the same effect. You might try seeing if you can come up with something to update the consultant with say a new accomplishment in your current job or a new piece of learning (completing a course or certification for example).