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It's the most wonderful time of the year! Unless, of course, you're waiting to hear back about a job you've applied for. The resumes have been sent and handled with care, with hope that some job offer soon will be there.

So, we wait. Waiting is not fun, but this is that time of year that decisions about hiring new talent get delayed, and delayed. You see, the holidays are upon us. Everyone is gearing up for the next several weeks and before you know it, we'll all be ringing in the New Year!

So, what's going on behind the scenes at the company you so desperately want to work for? Why does it take so long to get an answer? Is anybody out there? Does anybody care? Even though you may feel like "just a castaway, an island lost at sea, another lonely day, no-one here but me" (that's a song lyric if you hadn't noticed this and the others!), you've got to consider what's happening now at some companies. You've got to appreciate things you may not fully understand.

This is the time of year when last minute, end of the year meetings take place. Coordinating schedules between key decision makers at companies becomes tough as people juggle their calendars to fit just a few more meetings in before 2013 begins. What kinds of things could be more important than sending you that offer letter you've been patiently waiting for?

  • Some companies make decisions on "headcount" - in other words, how many people can they afford to hire for the upcoming year.
  • Some companies may be downsizing and trying to figure out what positions stay and which positions gotta go.
  • The Hiring Manager may have been thrown into a series of unexpected meetings. This makes the delays in hiring you even longer.
  • The Human Resources people often rely on a specific series of events before they can hire you too. And, if that Hiring Manager forgets, delays, or overlooks some key element in this process, you might be waiting awhile.
  • Some companies have a "Use-It-Or-Lose-It" vacation day policy. This means some people within the hiring process may not be available to expedite things for you.
  • Some companies take "block vacation" (or "block leave") meaning they have gaps in the normal work schedule. This can delay decisions on your hiring too.

What can you do during this time in order to maintain your sanity?

  • Reach out to your close personal contacts at the company you've applied for. Anyone you know well enough to provide accurate information about where things are in the hiring process can prove not only invaluable, but can help you sleep better at night.
  • Attempt to understand the hiring process and realistic timeframes for getting hired. Hopefully, you asked about; what are the next steps? What happens next in the hiring process? And, when can I expect to hear about a decision?
  • Don't be a pest! Resist the temptation to call too much and ask too many questions about where things are in the hiring process. Be careful not to talk yourself out of a job! (Re-read the first bullet again if need be.)
  • Follow-up with a nice card or email wishing the Hiring Manager or Human Resources people for the holidays. It's probably a good idea to keep it free of comments about the whereabouts of your offer letter. Use your best judgment on this.
  • Be ready for anything! Especially, keep up-to-date on all that's happening at the company you wish to work for. Read and re-read Press Releases, corporate websites, News articles, etc.
  • Stay encouraged! Keep a positive attitude!

Remember, this is the time that companies must close out the year 2012! Keep your cool and make wise choices when it comes to how you approach this important aspect of getting hired!

What have you done to get ready for the waiting game?