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When you don’t hear back after an interview

January 27, 2021, 5:13 PM UTC
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State governments are hiring for more jobs than ever but research shows public sector employment doesn't attract talent as it once did. (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images)
Richard Levine—Corbis via Getty Images

Welcome to Worksheet, a newsletter about how people are working smarter in these turbulent times.

Every week, this newsletter will share analysis on the state of work by S. Mitra Kalita, a veteran media executive, author, and journalist.

In this week’s edition, Kalita delves into the new ways the young and jobless are approaching the job hunt.


Ghosting. Over and over, candidates find themselves finalists, writing memos or performing challenges as a part of the last interview round.

“Many times companies don’t get back to you…or they get back to you 3,4,5,6 months later,” Bradley said. “Sometimes when the company says they’re hiring for a leadership position but after they get those great ideas, they decide to lower the budget and hire for a lower-level employee and ask them to still do that level of work. The job seeker who hasn’t heard back is thinking to themselves, ‘Is it me? Is it me? Is it me?'”

Dutifully tracking her own efforts to find work in a spreadsheet, Bradley kept applying. “I approached unemployment from the mindset of being a business owner because that is what I had most recently been. What are my KPIs?” she said, referring to key performance indicators. “Is it how many jobs I apply to in a day? Or is it how many interesting conversations can I have in a week? What’s the ultimate goal? How do I growth-hack my way into the right job?”


Kalita goes on to explain that the pandemic’s unemployed aren’t just looking for jobs—they’re “career seekers,” motivated by values, purpose and a sense they belong.

Read her full column here.

Wondering what else the future of work holds? Visit Fortune‘s Smarter Working hub presented by Future Forum by Slack.

This week's reads

Beating burnout.

Something is definitely happening. Employees are hitting an all-time high on the burnout front, especially women, people of color and caregivers (imagine those of all three right now!). Here's how to get through. (Harvard Business Review)

Good jobs wanted.

Kevin Delaney's interviews in Reset are a must-read. This week he talks to an MIT professor about the metrics to look for to determine whether a job is a good one: staff turnover, salaries and internal promotions really matter. (Rest)

When you're in charge.

As the workplace looks to reskill workers and look around corners, great lessons might emerge from folks who do exactly this: entrepreneurs. Six lessons from them, including a favorite: Take responsibility. "Show up and know what your values are." (Chicago Tribune)

The graduate.

Faced with poor job prospects, recent graduates in China are continuing their studies. The country is investing in graduate schools, although some worry this will only prolong the crisis for young people not finding work. (New York Times)