What to Do When Waiting to Hear Back After a Job Interview

waiting to hear back from a job interview
Many of us know the feeling after a seemingly successful job interview: excitement! Then, a feeling of excitement quickly turns to one of anxiety when we don’t immediately hear back from HR.

Fortunately, delays after an interview are not uncommon and companies typically require roughly 24 business days after the interview to produce a job offer. In other words, waiting is normal! And so is anxiety when waiting for a job offer.

To soothe your nerves and check off all your boxes, what’s an eager candidate to do? Today we’ll be examining some follow-up steps when waiting to hear back after a job interview.

How Long After a Job Interview Should You Hear Back?

Unfortunately, there is no official rule or expected etiquette when it comes to how long it takes for a company to arrive at a decision after a job interview. Sometimes a hiring manager will give you a timeline estimate during the interview or you can ask towards the end. Waiting to hear back from a job can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or even months after interviewing. However, you should be aware that the time it takes usually has little to do with how well you do in the interview process.

There are several internal factors that affect how long you’re left waiting to hear back after a job interview:

  • Number of other candidates
  • Start date for the position
  • Priority of position for the company
  • How many people at the company are involved in the interview process
  • Company size

All in all, there is little you can do to speed up this process, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything at all.

What Should You Do After the Job Interview?

After a job interview, should I follow up?

Our first recommendation is to NOT panic and email every contact person you know after a few days. As discussed above, a wait after a job interview is normal, especially when multiple people and teams are involved.

Let’s take a look at some more concrete things you can do after the interview, in addition to waiting.

1. Send a Thank You Note ASAP

It seems simple, but sending a thank you note after an interview is often what separates you in a competitive market. In fact, 80% of HR managers find that receiving a thank you note from a candidate is helpful. Yet, only 24% of managers actually receive them!

The ideal time frame for both expressing thanks and showing initiative is within 48 hours of the interview. If sending an email feels forced to you, you can also send a handwritten note to the interviewer—another way to stand out from the competition.

2. Don’t Be Too Eager

As is true in many relationships, interest is good, but excessive interest can work against you. As noted above, it can take companies an average of 24 business days to respond to you with a job offer. Given that this number is in business days, you can expect to wait roughly 5 weeks to hear back. Beyond the timeline for waiting, coming across as overly eager and desperate can hurt your leverage when it comes time to negotiate a salary and benefits package.

3. Keep Applying to Other Jobs

Another point to keep in mind while waiting to hear back after a job interview is that you should never stop looking and interviewing for other positions, no matter how confident you are in your chances of landing the job. Until you actually have an offer letter, don’t assume you’ve got the position, and continue applying.

Fortunately, there are tons of online resources to use to find a job. BestCompaniesAZ offers up-to-date listings of stellar positions at some of the best companies in Arizona for you to check out.

See: Companies Hiring During COVID-19

4. Stay in Touch

If more than two weeks pass since your interview, it’s acceptable to reach back out to the hiring manager to both reiterate your interest in the position and to remind them that you applied. If done correctly, this can help you stand out as both a motivated and polite candidate.

Things to include in this follow-up can range from:

  • Whether the hiring manager can provide an estimated timeline
  • If there are any other documents or information you can provide
  • Repeating your enthusiasm for the position and appreciation for interviewing

5. Revise Application Materials

When you apply to several companies in an industry for a similar role, it doesn’t hurt to tweak your resume and cover letter based upon what you were asked in an interview. An interview process is both you getting to know a company, but also getting to explore your own strengths and weaknesses. If you find that something didn’t work in one interview, scrap it in the next. A job search is as much of a learning experience for you as it is a way to secure a great position.

See: How to Explain Employment Gaps in Your Resume

Try narrowing your interview answers with these helpful resources:

6. Set Up Informational Interviews with Employees in Similar Positions

It’s never too late to start networking within the company to get a bit more information, even if you’ve already interviewed. LinkedIn is a great place to find professionals at the company you interviewed with for a similar role. Try sending them a message explaining that you applied to the position and requesting a few minutes of their time to ask questions about what their experience is like.

Not only can this get you an internal ally, but you will become more familiar with what it’s like working at the company and if it’s something you really want to do.

Fill Up Your Application Pipeline and Remember to Follow-Up!

As we’ve seen, there are many things you can do when waiting to hear back after a job interview, but panicking should not be one of them! Remembering to use a blend of politeness, reasonable follow-ups, and respect is the best way to approach the job hunt.

For those who took our advice on looking for other positions, use this chance to line up more interview opportunities at awesome companies (like GoDaddy, Voya Financial, and more) by exploring jobs at the best companies in Arizona!

Originally published May 2019, updated October 2020.

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