Can You Move Forward While At A Holding Pattern?

What does it mean to be in a holding pattern and can a candidate stay top of mind during one?

A holding pattern could become a real nuisance, especially if you are flying in an airplane and expect to land at a certain time.  You’re now late and everything that you had planned for the day is completely off schedule.  It’s the same when you are expecting to be moving forward in the interview process and there is no movement whatsoever.  Is there anything you can do to push the process forward?  The answer regrettably is no.  However, there are things to do that will keep your name in the forefront as the process slowly unwinds.

Radio Silence Vs. Holding Pattern

Unlike radio silence, holding patterns are different.  In radio silence, you have completed a step in the interview process then there is no contact whatsoever.  You are literally in the dark and there is nothing that can be done.  The holding pattern is different in my mind.  The firm has said they are interested in you, but for now, they cannot move forward yet there is definite communication between the parties.  What I want to touch on are the ways to keep your name uppermost in the hiring person’s mind.  The way to do that is to have communication by you, the candidate, during the holding pattern.  The best way to do this is to have data circulated to them during the holding process.  What you send to them is critical.

Staying Top Of Mind

For example, I have at least two candidates that are in this pattern.  Both hiring managers have expressed a great desire to continue with the process, but for one reason or another, they are in that dreaded pattern.  There is not a formal hiring freeze, which we have regrettably started to feel.  I do not want to say, “See, for the right candidate, there is always a position to be created in the opportunistic approach.”  Here we have the situation where a hiring manager needs more time or more data to move forward.  The executive summary/business plan is going to be the answer.  Creating an extremely structured and thorough plan, which can be sent to the hiring manager to have the data while they are sorting out the next step in the process, is crucial.  I do not believe that a holding pattern by the hiring manager should be a holding pattern for the candidate.  The candidate should be proactive in this pause.  By putting a thorough plan together, the hiring manager now has a lot to digest during this holding pattern.  He or she can start to see where you can fit into their system.  If the data is strong, this will definitely keep your name at the forefront of their decision-making process.

What’s New With You?

Another thing that should be done during a holding pattern is continual email communication.  During the process, you should send every couple of weeks an email to the hiring manager and give them an update on your status.  I am specifically talking about what new information they could be adding to the data that you have already provided them.  For example, you could share that if you are a bond counsel you just got hired on a new matter.  Or if you were a public finance banker, you were just appointed as a financial advisor with a new client.  The more data that they have to digest the more they are going to try to move the process forward with you.  For example, they may have been thinking about going into a new sector, and you are clearly the dominant force in the sector.  Providing more information may be the persuasive factor they need to make that leap into that new area.

Need Help?

The overall point is that a holding pattern does not have to mean a stoppage of all movement forward.  It could just be a circling till the plane lands.  They move forward with you to bring the plane down on the runway of your next opportunity.  Let us coach you through this process. If you find yourself there and show persistence and desire by providing continued information, you are doing your very best to land your next opportunity.


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.