How Long Does It Take to Hear Back After a Job Interview?

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You’ve just wrapped up a face-to-face interview. Exciting, right? But beyond that, something is triggering some uneasiness in you. 

It’s the question that troubles most young professionals: How long after a job interview should you hear back from a recruiter? 

It’s a valid concern! After all, you’re feeling pretty good about your performance during the interview.

So there you are, fingers crossed and waiting by the phone. You wonder what’s going on. Did you say something wrong? Did they find someone better?

Don’t crack up yet! 

There are several meanings to the typical post-interview silence. But also within your reach are strategies you could use to expedite the process.

This article will break down the typical wait time after an interview. You’ll also learn how to act if a company doesn’t get back to you, including how long to wait before following up on an interview

How about we start with an overview of the post-interview stages?

What Happens After an Interview

According to Forbes, a typical job opening attracts about 118 applicants; 20% land an interview. Glassdoor estimates that corporate positions draw an overwhelming 250 applications, with only 4-6 applicants invited for an interview. 

The above figures place you among the select few. That’s worth a pat on your back. 

But what next?

Here’s what typically happens after a job interview:

  • Gathering feedback from the interviewers
  • Running background checks
  • Determining the best candidate
  • Checking with the references
  • Extending an offer

Gathering feedback

Each interviewer will submit feedback about your performance. The hiring manager or another executive then compiles the notes and makes a final decision.

In some cases, the feedback will be pretty straightforward and cut-and-dried: “Great candidate,” “Not a good fit,” or “I like him but I don’t think she’s ready for this level of responsibility.” 

It can be more complicated in other cases, especially if the team members have conflicting opinions about different candidacies. That will no doubt lengthen the interview process. 

Running background checks

Background checks suffice to counter any deliberate misrepresentation by potential employees. They usually include a criminal record, employment history verification, credit checks, and education verification. 

The company might check your social media profiles to assess your professionalism. 

Selecting the top candidate(s)

After gathering all the feedback and running the necessary background checks, an executive will decide (or recommend) whether to move forward. That entails selecting the top candidate for the job.

It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to have one or two backup candidates. This way, they don’t have to start over from scratch if their first choice doesn’t work out.

Checking with the references

Before making a job offer, the organization will likely contact your references. These should be professionals who can speak highly of you, your work ethic, and your experience. 

How a referee answers the question, “Would you hire this candidate again?” can make or break your candidacy.

Extending an offer

The length of the above phases varies by employer and industry, but it’s often at least a few days — sometimes weeks or longer. 

Should the company move forward with another candidate, the hiring manager will inform you (primarily via email). 

But if everything checks out and you’re qualified for the position, all that’s left is for the company to extend an initial offer. Then, congratulations — it looks like you got the job! 

You should receive an offer letter outlining the salary, benefits, start date, paid time off, remote working guidelines, and other terms and conditions. 

The hiring manager will likely call back soon for further discussions. That may include negotiating the pay, work schedule, or telecommuting terms. 

How Long Does it Take to Hear Back After a Job Interview?

Understandably, you want to know whether you got the job or keep looking for other opportunities. 

Well, analyzing candidates, making a decision, and hiring someone can take anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks.

The sections below provide a clearer idea of how long after an interview to hear back from the hiring manager. 

The average time it takes to hear back

According to Zippia, 44% of candidates receive feedback within two weeks of the interview. Only 37% are lucky to hear back from the company within a week. 

Based on the above averages, we can project the typical wait time after an interview at 1-2 weeks. If the job description included a closing date, expect to hear from the recruiter a week earlier. 

Remember, the selection process has many moving parts. Perhaps the person who interviewed you isn’t the one to make the final decision.

 Several departments may be involved. For example, the finance department could be crunching numbers to verify that your salary requirements match the company’s budget.

 And sometimes, emergencies happen that might delay the entire process. 

What causes the wait time to be shorter or longer

Based on 83,900+ interview reviews provided in 2017, Glassdoor estimated that US companies take an average of 23.8 days to screen and hire candidates.  Talking of university recruiting, it takes an average of 24.5 days for a college graduate to receive an offer after an interview. 

The average time to hear back from an interview can vary drastically depending on the company’s size, interest, and industry. Some companies complete their hiring process in as little as one week, while others take a month or so.

Suppose it’s a small company highly motivated to fill the position. You can expect them to get back to you within 2-3 days after the interview. 

Some industries have faster-paced hiring processes. So, don’t get stressed out if the organization is taking longer than you expected to get back to you—it could be a typical (and expected) thing for them. 

Automotive companies rank among the fastest, with an average hiring time of 12.7 days. Other sectors with fast-paced hiring include consumer services (13.5 days), marketing & advertising (14.9 days), and retail (15.2days).

According to Glassdoor, the slowest Industries include:

  • Government: 53.8 days
  • Aerospace & defense: 32.6 days
  • Energy & Utilities: 8.8 days
  • Biotech & Pharmaceuticals: 28.1 days
  • Non-profit (and Media & Publishing): 25.2 days

The type of role also determines how long to wait after the interview before giving up or following up. 

For instance, it typically takes 60 days and 45 days to fill the position of a professor and a business system analyst, respectively. The fastest filled positions include waiter (8 days), hairstylist (9 days), and marketing representative (12.5 days).

Generally, jobs with easily verifiable skills, high turnover, and flexible labor markets have shorter interview processes.

Why You Haven’t Heard From the Hiring Manager for a Long Time

A company can be slow to provide feedback after an interview for several reasons:

  • They’re busy with other applicants
  • The company has frozen the hiring process
  • A key decision-maker is unavailable
  • Departmental conflicts

Interviewers are busy with other applicants

This is a common reason you might not hear back from companies immediately. When a company is interviewing many candidates, it will take longer to assess the interviews and reach a decision. 

That is especially true for large corporations. And the more people influence the hiring decisions, the longer the recruitment process.

The company has frozen the hiring process 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, your prospective employer could temporarily put the job opening on hold. The reasons can range from management changes, budget cuts to employee attrition. 

For example, most companies had to freeze hiring to adjust their budget and expenses to the harsh reality of COVID-19.

A key decision-maker is unavailable

Most companies have a panel of people who decide who gets hired and who doesn’t. If one of those individuals is busy or out on leave, that may delay the hiring process. Unless you want to wait around forever, there’s no way around this obstruction.

Departmental confusion

Different departments within an organization can have conflicting priorities. That can result in the executives taking longer to finalize the hiring decisions.

What to Do When an Employer Takes Long to Get Back to You After an Interview

Thus far, we’ve covered the “when should you hear back from an interview” question in-depth. But what next when days go by and still nothing? Below are your two options:

Follow up with the company

It’s common courtesy to send your interviewer a brief and friendly thank-you email 1-2 days after the appointment. It’s a way to appreciate their time and effort and solidify your enthusiasm for the position.

A thank-you email is also an opportunity to remind the interviewer why you’re best qualified for the job. Still, there’s no harm in expanding on points you didn’t make during your interview. And don’t hesitate to ask a question or two unanswered during the appointment. 

Follow up with an email or phone call if you don’t hear back from the company within 10-14 days of sending a thank you email. 

Don’t email or call too often, though. That gives off a desperate vibe which will likely rub the hiring manager up the wrong way.

Haven’t heard back from the company despite following up on the thank-you email? Consider moving on. Otherwise, you risk losing other opportunities while wasting time with a disorganized company that’s disinterested in you.

Apply for other opportunities

Don’t place your stock in one potential employer. 

Things might seem promising, and perhaps everything went well during the interview. But you never know when the hiring manager will change their mind or settle on another candidate.

So, while you wait for a potential response from your interviewer, keep plugging away at other job applications. That doesn’t just help you find a new job. It’s a practical way to forget about opportunities that didn’t materialize. 

You can always withdraw your previous application if you land an offer from another company.

Summary

There’s no definitive answer to the “When should you hear back from an interview?” question. 

Depending on the considerations we discussed earlier, you could hear from the company within two days or even weeks. 

But by understanding possible reasons why you haven’t heard back post-interview, you can better plot the way forward (including following up) and handle any upcoming communication the right way. 

So, practice some patience. And that includes fighting the impulse to do anything unreasonable, like sending endless emails requesting updates.  

But again, keep your options open!

By tackling other job applications in the meantime, you’ll be proud to have some leads in your pocket if your recent interview falls through.