Career Advice

Why Can It Take a While To Hear Back From an Interview?

min read
Vera Chan

When it comes to finding a job, the most frustrating part of the interview process can be the waiting period. There may be one beforehand, where you are nervous and excited waiting for a job interview. Then there is one afterward where you are waiting to hear back from the employer. How long do you wait for and should you?

8 Reasons You Might Have to Wait After an Interview

There are many reasons an employer may not have yet reverted back to you after your job interview. Instead of jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst, consider the list below. There are logical reasons why you may not have had any communication from the hiring manager yet.

1. The Process

Hiring processes can be long and tedious. Maybe there are plenty of hoops to jump through before a final decision can be made. Or maybe the Human Resources system is not the most advanced and takes a while. There is a chance that the system is not automated and everything is still done manually.

2. Vacation

Someone may be away on annual leave. Maybe the hiring manager is away or the next interviewer in mind in a series of interviews. The first step of the interview process may well be to see Human Resources but that employee is away. Or the final decision-maker is away.

3. Other Candidates

The company is interviewing other candidates. An employer may or may not tell you, but you can expect that there will be some level of competition. No matter how niche your role is. If they share this information with you, you can expect a full week to go by before you hear anything. Whether it is feedback or a result on if you have passed on to the next stage — it pays to be patient.

4. Hiring Freeze

Oftentimes, there can be an instance where your role gets put on hold. Such as a department's budget gets cut or the company lays-off staff instead. Or a manager leaves and the team cannot function without one, so hiring priorities shift. Do not take it personally if this is the case. It is all about timing and the right opportunity coming together.

5. Time Lapse

Did the employer forget about you? Or did you get lost in the mix? This can happen even during the beginning stages of the hiring process. Such as a resume gets misplaced. Or an email gets pushed down by more important ones that require deadlines. Again, this is not personal. A simple follow-up email or thank you letter can prompt a hiring manager to remember you. It may not be that you are not memorable, but that they are too busy and get carried away with other things.

6. Happenstance

Something has come up or a deadline has been pushed forward. In this scenario, there may be an urgent case that completely takes away the hiring manager's mind. For you, waiting for a response to the job interview may be the most pressing thing on your mind. But for the employer, they could have a million and one things that trump hiring a candidate. It is not a personal vendetta against you. It is a rational and logical decision that is made in-line with the company's mission or targets.

7. Better Fit

There is a chance that you could be overqualified for the role. In which case the employer may be deliberating behind-the-scenes on a different position. This could be a position at the same level as the role you applied for. Or it could even be a level-up. There is only one way to find out — follow-up after with an email. But wait at least three days before you do so.

8. Right Fit

You may not be the ideal candidate but that is ok. You learn from your interview experiences each time and this will help with your next one. You could find a job in the near future or later down the line that ends up being a better fit. The company may not notify candidates that they did not make it into the final running. But it takes time to find out if you have waited too long. An employer may or may not tell you at the beginning how long the interview process may be.

In the End

Keep your options option. You want to keep an eye out for other opportunities that you can apply to. Get more job applications out and you will have higher chances of obtaining a job interview. Keep your focus targeted and apply to roles you are interested in with a tailored CV. You cannot control how long to wait and hear back after a job interview. But you do have control over your opportunities and applications you submit.

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