If you don’t hear back from your job interview, don’t worry. It’s completely normal for the mind to wonder whether or not you impressed the interviewer or hiring manager enough to receive a job offer. The longer the wait, the more you might think your chances are getting slimmer. Sadly, there’s no hard and fast universal rule on when an employer needs to give you an answer by.

In some cases, they won’t get in touch at all. As the weeks pass, the reality sets in that you didn’t get the job. However, there are certain signs that make it clearer how long you should wait, along with the actions you can take to receive a response sooner. If you’re getting nervous about hearing back from a job interview, here’s how long it can take.

The typical waiting time

While it can vary from business to business and country to country, especially in a working world that’s becoming more remote by the day, a 2019 Jobvite Recruiting Benchmark Report suggests the average time to hire in 2018 was 38 days. In 2015, it was 41 days. That means, on average, it can take over one month from a job post going live to an offer being made.

The same study suggests that you should usually expect to hear back from a job interview from a recruiter or hiring manager within one to two weeks following your interview. However, that can vary by industry, too, as the study claims responses are quicker in accommodation careers compared to warehousing, for example.

Keep these timeframes in mind when waiting for a response. Depending on your industry, you can set yourself a personal timeline on when to follow up, based on your circumstances and industry.

However, you can break down the waiting times further depending on the type of job interview you’ve had.

Phone interviews

Phone interviews are becoming more common, especially for remote roles or multi-stage interviews. If you’ve had a job interview over the phone, you should expect to hear back relatively soon, which could be anything between three to six days. That won’t always happen, though, so always end the phone call by asking the interviewer when you should expect to hear back from them.

This puts the onus on them to let you know in a timeframe you both agreed on, as it shows you value communication.

Second or third interviews

If you’re on your second or third interview, it should be clear that a response could take a while as the job interview process is lengthy and the hiring manager might have plenty of candidates to speak to. Typically, it can take around two weeks after an in-person job interview. The closer you are to receiving an offer, the longer it can take because there’s a lot to deliberate.

It can depend on the company, too. One might like you so much after an in-person job interview that they offer you the job in a matter of days. But chances are the interviewer needs to speak to HR, other team members and departments before an offer.

When to follow up after your job interview

First off, send a thank you email to your interviewer within a day after the interview. It’s a great way of showing your appreciation that they took time out of their busy schedule to speak with you. But it serves a dual purpose, as it keeps you front of mind while highlighting your enthusiasm for the role. 

Use this thank you email as another opportunity to do a quick sell with your qualifications and other details you might have missed.

After the thank you email, it’s time to wait. Don’t infiltrate their inbox too soon with an influx of messages. Be patient and wait for around a week or two before you follow up. If you contact too often, it can give a bad look of desperation and high maintenance. 

Why it can take a while to hear back from a job interview

There’s always a reason why there could be an extended delay regarding not hearing back from a job interview. To ease your concerns about any possible radio silence from an employer, here’s why it can take a while to hear back from a job interview.

They’re interviewing candidates

You aren’t the only person that applied for the vacant position. There could be hundreds of applicants a hiring manager or interviewer needs to work through before selecting a pool of candidates to invite to an interview. They won’t get in touch with you until they’ve met all of the potential fits before making a decision.

Think about the number of people they have to meet and then the possibility of multi-stage interviews. That process can take a while. So, if you haven’t heard back yet, it’s likely because other people are still being interviewed, so you just need to wait. Or, you can send a friendly check-in asking where the process is up to.

Decision-makers are busy

The person that interviewed you might be a senior in the company, but they might not have the final say on whether to offer you the position or not. Multiple people are involved, meaning there’s every chance the decision-maker is busy and nobody has sign-off rights to send you a job offer. If they’re unavailable, it will inevitably delay the process until they’re in.

That’s why the summer is the worst time to look for a job. With vacations, the waiting time can be longer than usual with the relevant people not around.

They’ve paused the search

While it can be frustrating, unforeseen events can disrupt any job search. Emergencies, lack of budget, higher priorities — any of these events can cause an organization to pause a search for a particular position. This is out of your control and you should continue applying elsewhere rather than holding out for that one job, or decide whether it’s a position for waiting weeks or perhaps months for.

They forgot to follow up with you

There’s every chance an interviewer had so many resumes and interview feedback to go through; they forgot to follow up with you. It can be easy to make a simple mistake like this with so many applicants, especially if somebody else is joining the hiring fold. You never know, a hiring manager might have thought they followed up with you and are waiting for you, but in reality, you’re waiting for each other to make the first move.

There isn’t any point in wondering why your resume slipped through the cracks. It’s the perfect opportunity to follow up to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Job offers can take time to prepare

Every company in every industry is different. While one can have the offer ready within hours, for others it can take time to prepare. Sometimes, companies just need extra time to prepare while making sure they’re preparing a good offer for the best person for the job.

They have other priorities

Hiring managers, recruiters and HR need to provide attention to all areas of the business across every department. If an emergency situation arises, it’ll need their full attention, which means the interview process and getting in touch with you could be delayed further. Hiring isn’t their only responsibility, despite it being high up on the priority list.

They aren’t interested

This is the harsh reality of job hunting, but silence from a company and why you’re still waiting to hear back from a job interview is because the company isn’t interested. While businesses should give feedback to candidates and let them know, this isn’t always the case, especially if you’ve been in multiple-stage interviews and dedicated a lot of time to them.

job interview

If this is the case, put all of your attention on your next set of interviews at another company. Tweak your resume, amend your cover letter and take the learnings and apply them positively.

If an appropriate amount of time has passed and you haven’t heard anything despite the interviews going well and follow-up emails, it’s time to move on with your search. Even the best interviews don’t always lead to a job offer, but if a company doesn’t get back to you with feedback, it could be a sign that it isn’t the right environment for you anyway. There are plenty of companies out there that are great at communicating after a job interview, so continue your search to find better opportunities.

If you’ve been knocked back after your job interview, always tweak your resume to see if you can improve it. To help you get noticed by the best employers, set up a profile on VanHack

Using our platform, you can complete skills tests, fill out your profile and create videos to have prospective employers notice you. If you need help preparing for the interview stage, The VanHack Premium Academy is also available. With mock interviews, example answers and more, the Academy will help you ace your next interview. Get started today.

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