If you don't hear back after your interview right away, don't fret.
If you have ever applied for jobs, even temporary ones, you have experienced the painful wait that follows each job interview. Even if you're highly qualified for the job and rocked the interview, you might be left waiting anxiously by the phone for days with no response. At times like these, it's natural to want to follow up immediately. However, too many follow-up messages right after the interview would make you look desperate and less desirable. So, how long should job seekers wait to hear back after an interview before following up or moving on?
The hiring process, from interview to job offer
Once a job opening is posted online, the hiring company could receive hundreds to thousands of applications. Big companies, such as Google, receive more than two million job applications every year — imagine that! Once a hiring manager or applicant tracking system (ATS) is done filing through the applications, selected candidates will be called for an in-person or phone interview. Keep in mind that the employer will be interviewing applicants other than yourself, so don't beat yourself up if you don't hear back from them immediately — it takes some time for the company to make a decision.
Typical waiting time after a job interview
According to Jobvite's 2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report, the average time-to-hire in 2018 was 38 days, down from 41 days in 2015 — that's more than one month to go from job opening to job offer! You can usually expect to hear back from the hiring company or HR department within one or two weeks after the interview, but the waiting time varies for different industries. For instance, Jobvite reports that an opening in “Accommodation and Food Services” is filled within an average of just 30 days, while it takes an average of 48 days to fill up a position in “Transportation and Warehousing.”
Keep this in mind and don't drive yourself crazy if your friend in another industry snags a job faster than you. If you need a plan, give yourself a timeline of one week after the final interview before applying for other jobs. You can set your personal timeline based on your circumstances and the industry that you're in.
When is the best time to follow up?
You should send a thank-you email to the interviewer within a day or two after the interview. A thank-you email is not only useful to express your appreciation, but it is also a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm, highlight your qualifications, and mention critical details that you might have missed during the interview.
Then, the waiting game begins. As a rule of thumb, you're advised to wait 10 to 14 days before following up. It's not uncommon to wait for a few weeks before hearing back from your interviewer. Calling too often can make you look needy and high maintenance. Worst of all, following up too soon makes it seem like you think that they're not efficient at doing their job!
Why haven't you heard back from an interview yet?
Sometimes, a few weeks go by without any response while well-meaning friends give their career advice on how long to wait after an interview before moving on. There are various possible reasons for this long wait that don't mean that you're out of the running for this job. The most obvious one is that the company is probably still interviewing other candidates, especially if the position is open to worldwide applicants. Don't hesitate to ask the interviewer about the approximate time-frame to hear feedback before leaving the interview to help yourself from obsessing about the response time.
When it comes to waiting after an interview, keep in mind that the hiring process is complicated and requires input and approval from many people prior to completion. If one person is away on vacation during the hiring period, they might have to wait for them to return before making the decision. Additionally, big projects could come up unexpectedly, requiring the hiring manager to shift their focus from the job interviews. Sometimes, hiring could also be put on hold for months due to budget cuts. This is why it's important to follow up instead of assuming that you're not good enough for the job. If you've followed up and not heard anything for weeks, then it's time to move on gracefully and explore other opportunities.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on our sister site, TopInterview.