Q.  It’s been over a month since I interviewed for a job.  While they appeared extremely encouraging at first, I’ve heard nothing since a positive email exchange a week after the interview.  After two weeks, I called several times but only got voice mail and no response.  Suggestions?  -CA

A.  Other than making too many phone calls, you have done all you can do at this point.  I encourage job seekers to adhere to a 5-step process for job-interview follow up.

During the interview when you are asked if you have any questions, inquire about the anticipated timing for a hiring decision.  (If they say two weeks, mentally double it since I’ve never seen a search move as promptly as hiring managers might desire.)  Next, be sure to send a short thank you note immediately after the interview–ideally handwritten, but email is becoming the norm and is quite acceptable.  Handwritten notes simply are rare and, therefore, more memorable.  Third, seven days after the interview, send a follow-up email note expressing interest and inviting them to contact you if they have any questions.  In that note, you also might briefly mention anything you’ve seen about the company/agency in the news since your interview.  Nothing that you are aware of the news will indicate you have more than passing interest in what’s happening at the organization.  Your fourth step should be one phone call timed to when you were told they might be making a decision.  Don’t sound desperate.  If you get voice mail, leave relevant contact information and wish them luck with the hiring decision, noting that you know it is not an easy process but you are keenly interested in the position and feel you would help them achieve their objectives.  If you get no response within a week, write off that organization so you can focus on other opportunities rather than dwell on what have gone wrong with this one.

No response suggests something has happened within the organization (internal hire, loss of client, etc.) that has altered hiring plans.  In some cases, over-worked HR staffers simply fail to close the loop with other candidates. Whatever the situation, it’s time to move on.