What is the Typical Wait Time After an Interview? How to Test the Waters After a Job Interview? What not to Do After the Interview? What if feedback never comes? Wrap up
What is the Typical Wait Time After an Interview? How to Test the Waters After a Job Interview? What not to Do After the Interview? What if feedback never comes? Wrap up
Updated 27/07/2020

When to Hear Back After an Interview

Nailed the interview but still not receiving feedback? Do not give up. Instead, consider the reasons and arm yourself with a detailed action plan from our guide.

Nailed the interview but still not receiving feedback? Do not give up. Instead, consider the reasons and arm yourself with a detailed action plan from our guide.

Imagine that you conduct a successful self-presentation, cope with the recruiter's questions, and leave the interview with anticipation of future cooperation. But instead of the desired job offer, the company keeps you in the dark for several weeks. It unsettles you, calls into question any further plan of action, and muddles all other employment options. In this case, a denial no longer seems to like the worst outcome. Unlike silence, it at least clarifies your applicant status and allows you to move on. So is silence a default failure? This guide will help answer the question of how long does it take for a recruiter to contact you, the reasons for delayed feedback, and the critical steps necessary to not miss your career opportunities.


What is the Typical Wait Time After an Interview?

In a perfect scenario, the recruiter will say the approximate waiting period right after the interview. Transparency always reassures candidates and helps to avoid endless calls with "so what have you decided?" questions. However, this practice is not used by all companies. If you have not received such clarification, be prepared to wait for feedback. The average time can vary from two working days to a month. The speed of the answer depends on external and internal factors that affect the hiring process. Keep them in mind and try not to overthink ahead of time.

Top reasons why they might not call you back

  • Highly competitive position. According to SmallBizGenius, on average, each job vacancy receives 250 job applications. This means that the recruiter is reviewing 250 resumes, appointing and holding meetings with top candidates, collecting and processing all the necessary information to make a decision, and announcing the results to each person. This process is quite time-consuming. Therefore, if you have still not been contacted, then most likely, your turn has not come yet.
  • Multistage decision-making process. Even if you have caught the interest and loyalty of the interviewer, they still cannot hire you on their own. Often, they provide reviews of each candidate and await approval from the department head, project manager, or another employer. Given that each participant has direct work responsibilities, the daily time for consideration of applicants is limited. Besides, the key decision-maker may be on their vacation or absent due to personal circumstances. Therefore, you can’t get feedback until all the puzzle pieces fall into place, and the recruiter gets a unanimous decision from all of the stakeholders in the process.
  • Tough choices. The search for valuable talent is always a costly process. Employers bend over backwards to choose the most qualified specialist who will cover these expenses through top performance. There is a good chance that the company is torn between you and other worthy candidates, paying extra time and attention to make a comprehensive assessment. Therefore, before giving up, remember that the scales may be tilting in your favor at this very moment.
  • Vacancy closing. Sometimes a company suspends the application process for a particular role due to budget cuts or changing priorities. Unfortunately, not all recruiters announce such decisions to the candidates waiting to hear back from a job interview. Therefore, if you do not receive feedback, make sure that the vacancy is still available on job boards.
  • The recruiter forgot to write you back or lost contacts. Unfortunately, such offensive oversights occur when there is an active flow of applicants or, for example, when a recruiter has a change of heart during the selection process. You cannot know for sure whether a similar situation took place in your case. But to play it safe, it's time to move on to the next step.

How to Test the Waters After a Job Interview?

Some applicants can not stand waiting a long time to hear back after the interview. Often, they perceive silence as a refusal and accept another job offer. But what if a long-awaited position or a once in a lifetime career opportunity is at stake? In this case, it is better to do your utmost than to regret the missed opportunity later. Therefore, be prepared to take several strategic steps to gain control over the situation.

  1. Send a thank-you email within one or two days after the interview. Here you can express gratitude to the recruiter for their time, productive conversation, and attention to your candidacy. To strengthen the message, mention a few strong points of the last meeting. For example: “I am still encouraged by our conversation about the company's prospects in the industry. It made me develop a deeper understanding of an issue.” Such tricks will show your genuine interest in the position and help to stick in the recruiter's memory.
  2. If 10 days to 3 weeks have passed since your interview, feel free to follow up via email or phone. No one will blame you for your healthy interest in your applicant status. Nevertheless, pay attention to the message of your appeal. It should not demonstrate your dissatisfaction or resentment. First, this behavior damages your business reputation and casts doubt on your conflict management skills which is not the best prerequisites for long-term cooperation. Second, no one likes to make excuses, and the recruiter is no exception. A candidate who gives a lecture is unlikely to be put on the list of favorites. Instead, choose a peaceful tactic and specify whether you can help with the decision-making. For example, you can provide additional information or clarify on a controversial issue.
  3. It will show that you do not require results but rather are contributing to its achievement.
  4. If you did not send your cover letter along with the other application documents, it's time to put things right. The cover letter will work for you as an unobtrusive way to remind them about you and as a source of valuable information for the employer. You can both recall your professional advantages and focus on the points that you missed in the interview. For example, talk about your motivation, the reasons for choosing a company, and so on. Perhaps these components were missing from the aggregate picture of your candidacy and will help the recruiter to make a decision.
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What not to Do After the Interview?

The longer it takes to hear back after the interview, the more the uncertainty will disturb you. It is a normal occurrence. Choosing a career path for the coming years is too crucial to remain indifferent and impassive. However, panic caused by a long silence can push you into taking inappropriate steps in the application process that will aggravate the situation. To avoid them, calm down and accept these useful rules.

  1. If the recruiter has indicated the terms of feedback, do not follow up ahead of time. Healthy interest should not be confused with annoying persistence. Calls and emails before the agreed deadline show that you do not respect the work of the hiring manager, refuse even to think about their urgent matters, and require excessive attention to your candidacy. Undoubtedly, your daily reminders will speed up the decision, but this decision is not likely to be in your favor.
  2. Do not stop your job search. Even if you are waiting for feedback from the company of your dreams, it is not a reason to lock yourself into one employment option. Let's be clear, no one is immune to refusal. But the refusal is much more painful if you spent several weeks just sitting near the phone and not looking for alternative job offers. You cannot make a company announce a decision as quickly as you want. But you can manage your application process and not depend on the choice of just one company.
  3. Do not doubt your professional aptitude. After a prolonged silence from the employer, many candidates begin to self-chastise and blame themselves for things that went wrong. Often, such soul searching creates fear of new job applications and makes you distrust your powers. But this attitude is a recipe for failure. If you doubt that you are a worthy candidate, you will never prove it to the potential employer. Think about the top reasons for the delayed feedback and accept that perhaps the decision-makers have not even started discussing your candidacy. And then remember that even a refusal does not discredit your professional aptitude. The company may be searching for a person with specific personal characteristics, lifestyles, or views that you do not share. In this case, it is better to get a refusal than to be in the wrong box.
  4. Do not rush to forgo your dream job. If you did not get a job offer after an interview, it does not mean that you will not receive it at all. Undoubtedly, you should continue your search to have several employment options in reserve. But when it comes to a desired and promising position, it is better to at least wait until the due date than to receive the cherished job offer after you already joined another company. This does not apply to situations where the desired company has already passed your waiting time or when your alternative career options are just as promising.

What if feedback never comes?

The lack of feedback after all acceptable deadlines is food for thought and an occasion to reconsider your loyalty to this company. If the recruiter left your thank-you and follow up letters unanswered, it is disrespect towards the candidate.

Even if you have not met all the requirements and expectations of the company, it is not a reason to keep you in the dark. On the contrary, professional HR specialists strive to help the candidate by identifying weaknesses and giving advice on improvement. That is the ideal scenario. But in the real world, a recruiter should at least thank you for the attention you paid to the job application process and time you spent on the interview.

If the company takes your efforts for granted, do not regret what might have been. Neglecting valuable talents, even in the early stages, proves that your work under their leadership would hardly be a positive experience for you. Therefore, just turn the page and continue your active job search.


Wrap up

It is always challenging to be in the dark, especially when it comes to a pivotal point in your career. Nevertheless, the end justifies the means. If the company needs more time to decide on your candidacy, provide it to them. It’s more pleasant to know that you got a role despite the complicated selection process than to understand that the employer just needed to fill the vacancy. Your task is to let the application process take its course. Continue to evaluate new offers, attend job interviews, and search for your vocation while you wait. Our mission was to reassure you during the period of silence and equip you with the tools to test the water, but the lion's share of success will always depend on your patience and motivation. Remember, these qualities are most often rewarded with a job offer.

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