What to Do When You Haven’t Heard Back from a Job Interview [Try This!]

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Uh, the waiting game after an interview!

You prepared for the interview beforehand, aced it in person, and perhaps heard the “We’ll let you know” brush-off statement. Now you’re sitting at home wondering if you’ll ever hear from them again.

 It’s hard enough to go through the grilling, and waiting for a response can be nerve-wracking. 

Don’t dwell on this!

You don’t want to come across as a pushover or someone too eager, either. But again, you can’t just wait by your phone, hoping for that confirmation call from the hiring manager. 

So, what should you do?

To help you navigate the situation with confidence and professionalism, this blog shares advice on what to do when you haven’t heard back from a job interview. Also included are examples of follow-up emails after a job interview for your inspiration. 

How Long After a Job Interview Should You Hear Back?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a company has blown you out of the water or is still working its way through the candidate list.

Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb for how long it takes to hear back after an interview. Hiring processes vary by industry and position. Some companies have a well-defined process that they can call you back within a few days, while others keep candidates hanging on for weeks.

While there’s no strict time frame, 1-2 weeks is standard for most companies. Zippia reported that 37% of job seekers receive feedback within a week; 44%% hear back within two weeks.

Why is it Taking so Long to Hear Back After a Job Interview?

While it’s frustrating not to hear back right away — especially after an interview when you’re so excited about the opportunity — there are several reasons why companies take longer than expected to make decisions:

  • They’re still interviewing candidates: Companies typically assess several candidates before making the final hiring decision. It will take some time to gather feedback on the candidates and settle on the best fit for the role and company. 
  • Every company is different: Some may take longer than others to make hiring decisions. You might even find yourself “chasing” employers for a response. 
  • Other priorities take precedence: Big projects and budget cuts can distract from recruiting, as can problems with organizational changes or other company issues.
  • A key decision-maker is missing in action: Perhaps, Jane (responsible for hiring new employees for her department)interviewed you. But she has to present her recommendation to her supervisor, Bob, who has the final say on hiring. However, Bob might be unwell, out of town at a conference, or on business. That could add days or even weeks to the process.

How Long Does it Take for a Hiring Manager to Make a Decision?

According to research, the hiring process takes an average of 23.8 days. The specifics will depend on the position, company size, and industry.  

But what do statistics say? 

Talking of industries, Government ranks among the slowest, with an average hiring time of 53.8 days. Following closely behind are Aerospace & Defense (32.6 days), Energy & Utilities (28.8 days), and Biotech & Pharmaceuticals (28.1 days)

Among fast-paced industries, according to Glassdoor research, are:

  • Private security (11.6 days)
  • Automotive (12.7 days)
  • Marketing & Advertising (14.9 days)
  • Retail (15.2 days)
  • Real estate (17.2 days)

The type of role also determines how long hiring managers take to decide. Expect a shorter hiring process for jobs with high turnover, easily verifiable skills, and more flexible labor markets. 

For example, filling the position of a professor and finance manager takes 60.3 days and 40 days, respectively. Fastest filled roles include brand ambassador (8.6 days) and marketing assistant (11.1 days)

Should You Email After an Interview if You Haven’t Heard Back?

Yes, but not how you think. 

Proper interview etiquette demands that you send a thank-you note within 24 hours of an interview. 

A follow-up email is appropriate if you don’t hear back from an employer after sending the thank-you note

But after how long should you follow up, and what should you include in the email? Our next section on what to do when you haven’t heard back from a job interview has the answers you need.

What Should You Do if You Haven’t Heard Back From an Interview?

There are several ways you can use the waiting time after a job interview to both better your chances of landing the job and stay productive:

  • Don’t take it personally
  • Send a personalized thank-you note
  • Focus on the job search, not the silence
  • Send a follow-email if you haven’t heard back within 2-3 weeks
  • Sometimes it makes sense to move on without a final answer from the company
  • Don’t take it personally

It’s easy to take it personally if you don’t get the call or email from your interviewer the next day. But remember that they have other candidates to consider, and they may be interviewing for multiple positions. They might be out of town on business or busy with other tasks.

It’s never appropriate to ask, “Did I get the job?”  While following up, staying professional and polite can help the process without being desperate or pushy. 

You should also realize that even if you did well in the interview, there might have been other candidates who were just as strong or stronger than you. 

  • Craft a personalized thank-you email

It’s always appropriate to send a brief thank-you email within 24 hours of a job interview. A staggering 7 in 10 recruiters (68%) claim that receiving a thank-you note/email influences their hiring decisions. Plus, 16% reported having dismissed ungrateful candidates who didn’t send a thank-you note. 

If you interviewed with a panel, ensure each interviewer receives a separate, personalized thank-you note. 

Keep your message brief (80-150 words). Say thank you for the interview and reiterate your interest in the position. And include any vital details mentioned during the interview, such as relevant skills or accomplishments that might not be obvious from your application materials.

But the question is: is it better to email or mail a thank-you note after a job interview? 

If you interviewed for a job requiring some formality level, have the time, and want to stand out, go for a handwritten note. Email is acceptable if:

  • You’re interviewing for a casual or fluid, high-tech work environment
  • You know the recruiters are making their decision fast
  • If the interviewer explicitly instructed you to do so

If you’re not sure which way to go, send both. It’s a sneaky way of staying on top of the hiring manager’s mind. Never thank an interviewer via social media or text message. 

Thank-you email after interview example

Dear [Name of interviewer],

Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the [job title] position at [company name]. I enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about the role, my potential team, and the company’s culture.

 I’m genuinely excited about the opportunity to help [insert specific example of a project/task that came up in the interview].

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please feel free to request additional information or ask any questions. 

Best regards,

[Your name]

  • Focus on the job search, not the silence

Once you’ve sent a thank-you note, you can’t control whether or not a company will get back to you. Shift your focus elsewhere instead of waiting by the phone. 

Keeping busy is an effective way to alleviate your energy and spirits and put your mind off the silence after the job interview. You could take a sport, catch up with friends and family, volunteer, or start a new project in your community.

Most importantly,  put more effort into your job search. 

Make your résumé and cover letter as appealing and impressive as possible, but customize them to each job. Research the company and role in order to make a tailored resume and cover letter. In addition, continue building your professional network and refining stories around your strengths and experiences. 

Send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back in two or three weeks

You don’t want to appear desperate. Sending a follow-up too soon could annoy the hiring manager and hurt your chances. Waiting too long could result in your application being archived.

If you haven’t heard back from an employer 10-14 days after the job interview, send a follow-up email inquiring about your candidacy. 

Keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Use an eye-catching subject line. Try “Following up on interview results,” or “Quick Question about our conversation on [date].”
  • Salute the interviewer by their first name
  • Maintain a friendly tone. It’s best to remain professional during interviews and refrain from sending cranky messages or displaying frustration.
  • Mention the job title and the interview date
  • Keep the email brief. Get straight to the point without repeating what you said in your thank-you note. 
  • Restate your interest in the position and request an update. In addition, ask if the interviewer needs additional information that could help with their hiring decision and imply that you look forward to hearing about the next steps. 
  • Sign off with your full name
  • Ensure your email is free of typos and spelling mistakes before sending it.

Second follow-up email after job interview example

Hi [interviewer’s first name]

 I am sending a follow-up message to check on the status of the [job title] position we discussed on [date]. 

As we discussed, I genuinely appreciate the opportunity and am excited about the prospect of contributing to your company’s success. 

Could you please update me on the status of the position?

Please let me know if you need any other information from me, and I look forward to hearing about the next steps.

 Thank you very much in advance. 

[Your full name]

  • Sometimes you have to move on without hearing a final answer from an employer

If you haven’t heard back within three weeks, it’s still acceptable (and often recommended) to reach out one more time. Restate your interest in the position and mention something new about them highlighted on their website or in the news. 

Suppose the hiring manager gets back to you with a job offer. Well, your efforts paid off. 

But what if you didn’t get the job?

Sometimes, your interviewer will tell you why. For example, they might say, “We had another candidate that we felt was a better fit for our team.” Other times they won’t provide any information beyond “We went in a different direction.” Either way, thank them for their time and wish them well. 

It’s essential to remain professional even if you’re disappointed by the outcome so that you don’t burn any bridges!

If the employer offers no response after the third email, assume that someone else got the job. Let not this affect your overall job search. Move forward with other applications and interviews so that rejection doesn’t get you down. 

Summary

And folks, that’s what to do when you haven’t heard back from a job interview. 

Sure, there are no guarantees when you should hear back about a particular position. But a thank-you note and a second (perhaps third) email sent at appropriate intervals could increase your chances with the role. I suggest keeping it light and non-confrontational. 

While you should manage your expectations, exploring other job opportunities doesn’t just help you overcome disappointments when your recent interview falls through. You also put yourself in a favorable position to land the job of your dreams.

Best of luck in your job hunting!

And if you want to know the signs that you might get the job, check out this post: Top 9 Signs You Will Get the Job after an Interview