Two weeks ago, I requested a status update, on an internship application, from HR, following a couple of interviews. The individual from HR promptly responded and gave me a timeline for decisions. Today, that same recruiter emailed me again and gave me another update. I was wondering if it is expected of me to respond to these emails. I feel as if it would be nice and would show my continued interest in the position but on the other hand there isn't much that I can really say except, "thank you for the update". What would you do in this situation?
Reply to a Status Update from Human Resources?
As a job applicant, everyone is always trying to do things just right because it feels like any little thing can make or break your chances at landing the job. While this is likely untrue, you should still try to go about things the correct way. Questions like, "how to ask your recruiter for an update" or, "Should I send a thank you email to a recruiter for an update" often arise. And while these may feel like important questions, it is more often than not that the recruiter for the HR department does not actually care about anything that trivial. Plus, HR is almost never who actually decides whether or not you are hired. That is left to your interviewer. Instead, we should look into the actual hiring process.
In the very in-depth words of user @SSits:
- HR doesn't make the decision. Instead, your interviewers plus maybe 1-2 others in the group you're trying to join make the decision.
- Decisions are formed on the basis of relative performance of candidates in interviews and relatively brief discussion between the various interviewers (typically less than 15 minutes spent talking about the final shortlist of 2-3 candidates). Resumes are largely for filtering and providing grist for the interview discussion.
- Polite e-mails to interviewers don't make a positive difference. The interview is the testing ground. A polite e-mail later is too late, won't change a ding decision and is just an annoyance to the interviewer if you've already been dinged.
- If there are banks that use HR to do all the interviews, I would be wary. That indicates the business cares less about the interns they end up with.
- It's incredibly asymmetrical. Both in terms of power and in terms of the huge amount of psychological angst and fretting candidates spend worrying about this process that is in no way matched by the amount of care or even organisational energy put in by the investment banks.
You spend 6 weeks polishing your resume and cover letter? I spend literally 45 seconds looking at the resume. You spend 6 months worrying about securing an internship? We spend maybe 2 - 3 x 30 minute interviews with you, then maybe 15 - 30 minutes in aggregate discussing ALL the candidates who we didn't ding in the interview process.
From SSits's words we can glean that:
- HR plays little to no role in the hiring decision
- Polite email responses will do little to nothing to affect their decision
- If they do use HR for their interviews it may be a red flag for the interviewee
- The amount of effort and thought you put in is in no way returned by the hiring party
- The main thing is to focus on killing the interview
So, if you want to send that little thank you message to HR, go ahead. Is it likely to make a difference either way? No, but if it calms your nerves to send it there is absolutely no reason not to. Just remember that your real focus needs to be on really impressing the decision makers when you get the chance. The feeling that they get from you is more impressive than any measurable or action you could take outside the interview process.
Read More About Dealing With HR and Interviews
- Interview Science: Slow Talkers Don't Get Hired
- What Do I Need To Know To Get Hired
- E-mailing Higher Ups about Job Opportunities
- Thank You Email After Interview
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