Bewildering hiring manager behavior

by Evil HR Lady on December 6, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’m trying to get some clarity on a recent situation I found myself in.
I applied for a job at a very successful and reputable company back in August.  One of the main reasons I was interested in working there is that they actually put out meaningful content into the world, responsibly.  After a week I got called in for an interview which went really well.  I got asked to come in for another interview 2 days later.  And then a 3rd interview 2 weeks later.  This was the final interview where I met nearly the entire team I was interviewing to work with.  5 hours long.  
A couple days later I got an email saying everyone loved me but the hiring manager was going on vacation and would get back to me when he returned. Promptly upon the hiring manager’s return, I got an email saying that now that he’s back from vacation he’s going to start pushing to get the final approvals, that this is unofficial good news, and that the entire team has signed off on me, etc etc.   I was so excited, but not too excited, because unofficial news is not good news.
This went on until mid-october.  He would email me to check in and update me on the stages he was in and some of the bumps he was encountering but kept reassuring me that he is pushing for a positive outcome.  Around mid-october, our latest correspondonce, he as asked me to check in with him the following week, which I did and never heard a response.  He had always been very very prompt with his responses  so I even though I got a bad feeling in my gut, I figured he had no updates for me.  The week following Sandy hit the NYC and most offices remained closed.  After things from Sandy cleared out enough to get most businesses up and running, I emailed him again.
Coincidentally, because I am (and have been for several years) and avid follower of the work the company does, I was reading their blog, as I do regularly, and saw a post that mentioned their new ____ (the position I had applied for).  I googled the woman’s name, her website came up, as well as her resume, and to my horror I saw that she started in that position at the company back in September.  I was horrified.  I was upset for the job, yes, but I was so deeply hurt that I had been lead on, unnecessarily for months!  Worse even, after over 50 emails back and forth with the director of him consistently saying how much the team wanted me to start there, he just completely drops off.
Do you have any advice to help me process what happened?  I’m at a loss and don’t know how to interpret this and use it as a lesson.  I cooled down for another 2 weeks and finally sent him one last email saying that being an avid follower of the blog, I couldn’t help but notice the position was filled.  And then I thanked him for the consideration and correspondence and said I hoped to work with the company in the future.  I was hoping that at least he would finally respond with an official ‘yes, we gave the job to someone else.’   I assumed that after 7 hours of interviews, and a weekly correspondence, it would be a decent thing to do.  Nothing!
I know that there’s nothing I can do about this, that this is the way the hiring process is sometimes, but I wish there was something I could do?  Is there an appropriate way to check in with him down the line, or to connect with him on a social platform like Linkedin, so he would keep me in mind for future openings?  Although at this point, I’m not sure if I’d like to work with a group of people that treat others this way.
What are your thoughts?  Any feedback would be so much appreciated.

This is the most bizarre story, ever. Why would he keep communicating with you if the position was already filled? Why say he was pushing or approval when the position was filled?

I’m dying to know the company and call them up and ask WHHHYYYYYY, but I suspect you’d rather not have that bridge completely burned. (Although if you are, I’d love the guy’s email.)

My question is, was he doing this alone, or was there a recruiter that was also involved in this deception? If he was alone, he probably is so super wimpy he couldn’t say no. Which means you dodged a big bullet by not getting that job.

The only possible logical thing was that he wanted two people and only had approval for one, but was pushing to get an additional headcount. Still, just weird.

I just don’t know what else to say. So, I throw this out to my readers. Help this poor woman make sense of the nonsensical! Or share your horror story.

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