Q: “What’s the biggest lie a hiring manager or interviewer ever told you?”

A: “We’ll call you back in a week to let you know, one way or the other.”

Has anyone else heard this old song and dance? I have on a couple of occasions. The implication is that whether the company plans to hire you or pass, they will do the right thing by calling you to let you know. This happened to me a couple of times before I got my current job with the Acme Widget Company of East St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Bottom line: If a company plans to pass on you, they’re not calling back. Best as I can tell, there are three reasons for this:

  1. It’s a waste of time and money. Look, bosses think nothing of taking a three-hour lunch at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Their underlings, however, must account for every minute of their workday. A five-minute (if that) phone call or email saying “thanks but no thanks” has no profit attached to it. So, workers are ordered to skip that “grab-ass bullshit” and get back to work.
  2. It opens the company up to litigation. If a company were to call a candidate to say “we went with someone else,” the person being rejected is bound to ask why. The company has no idea if the employee is recording the call and planning to use it in a lawsuit later. (Some of these companies have bullshit reasons for not hiring certain candidates.) From the employer’s standpoint, it’s too much of a liability.
  3. They’re cowards. It takes a lot of courage to reject someone. Why do you think people stay in bad relationships for so long? It’s because they don’t have the stones to look the other person in the eye and say, “I don’t love you anymore; I’m leaving.” It’s the same in employment situations. The business world by nature is a spinless, chicken-shit son of a bitch. For them, it’s easier to let the connection grow cold and hope the candidate gets the hint.

Now, I’m sure there are some cases where people were rejected via phone or email but I’d bet those are rare. If they say they’ll call you back, chances are they’re lying through their teeth. Sure, you can always call them to thank them for the interview and reiterate your interest in the company, but don’t expect much. I know this from experience.

Why This is So Fucking Personal to Me

Because some slick, double-talking hiring manager pulled this shit on me. It happened at the worst time in my life, too. I’d been out of work for over a year and was in about $40,000 worth of debt. I really needed a win and desperately hoped that job would be it. I didn’t hear back from them on the day they promised to call with an answer “one way or the other.” Two days later, my dad passed away.

May 8, 2015 is a day that will forever be burned into my memory. It was the day of my father’s visitation, and a few three days after the company said they’d call. I knew it was a stupid move that would lead to disappointment, but I had to try. Between rounds of mourners, I left messages with the three women who interviewed me. I never heard back from them at all.

In These Situations, Rely on Old Wisdom

There’s a saying that states, “No answer is an answer.” Its meaning should be fairly obvious to anyone who understands a language called Passive-Aggressive. For those who didn’t grow up in dysfunctional homes, I’ll translate it for you. The old adage is basically saying that if you don’t hear back from someone, the answer is no. In other words, they’re just not that into you.

About Indie Author John P. Ribner

Born in Flint, Michigan. Raised by narcissists. Victim of a drive-by shooting. Writer. Singer/songwriter. Punk rock enthusiast. Martial artist. Social critic. Iconoclast. Author of Wasted Youth: The Narcissism Recovery of a Punk Rock Kid from Flint.”