Your interview for the dream job you want is over, and you’re confident you did well. But how long after interview to hear back? Below are some recommendations that will help you learn when and how to follow up after the interview is complete. 

Recommended Wait Time

Generally speaking, you’ll want to give the interviewer at least 5 business days to reach out. So if your interview was held on a Monday, you’ll want to wait for the following Monday. Then, if they still haven’t contacted you, wait another 1 or 2 business days before contacting them, which for this example would be a Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Why does it take so long for companies to reply?

Interviewers can take up to a week or longer to respond for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Their candidate search has paused
  • Their interview process is ongoing
  • They went on vacation or became ill
  • They’ve received lots of applicants which take time to process
  • They have certain institutional needs or there is departmental confusion

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in detail to understand how they can cause delays.

Their Candidate Search Has Paused

There are various factors which can cause disruptions or pauses in candidate searches. Examples of these include inadequate registration funding, emergencies and company turnover. In some cases, a candidate search pause can last for weeks or even months. If this is the case, you’ll need to decide whether it is better to wait or look for another source of employment. 

Their Interview Process is Ongoing

If you’ve applied for a coveted position with a highly-recognized company, you won’t be the only applicant. There could be dozens of other candidates, and it will take time for the company to interview and assess them all. Usually, the Human Resources department will interview a large number of persons over a period of days and weeks, and if you were one of the earliest candidates to be interviewed, this means you might have to wait until all the subsequent candidates are processed before you receive a response.

They Went on Vacation or Became Ill

In most organizations, a single person will be responsible for making the final selection process, usually an executive. The person that interviewed you will rarely make the final decision (though they may make recommendations), and if the person that does make the final choice is on vacation or has to take time off due to illness or a family emergency, this can increase the amount of time it takes for them to get back to you. 

They’ve Received Lots of Applicants Which Take Time to Process

Jobs which offer high pay, lots of benefits and other perks will always be high in demand, especially if they don’t require tremendous skill or many years of experience. As a consequence, there could be dozens of people applying for the same position simultaneously, and it will take time for human resources to process them all. This means you’ll have to be patient and wait for a response. 

They Have Certain Institutional Needs or there is Departmental Confusion

There are instances where confusion occurs within human resources due to a large candidate pool and a limited number of staff members that can process them. This can be very frustrating to candidates, and because it implies disorganization, it might make you question whether you even want to work for them. If they haven’t responded within a reasonable time frame, it might be best to look for employment opportunities elsewhere. 

Steps to take after the Interview is Complete

The one thing you don’t want to do is badger the prospective employer once the interview is complete. This comes across as being needy and obnoxious plus you’ll also look desperate, which is always a turn off. Instead, you’ll want to start by respecting their existing deadlines, if they have them.

For example, some companies will let you know how long you can expect to wait before you receive a reply. You’ll want to make sure you adhere to it and don’t contact them until after that deadline has passed plus one or two business days. It is also important to recognize that you may not get a response at all if the company decides not to hire you. However, once enough time has passed, you’ll definitely want to send the follow up message. 

How to Write the Follow up Message

When writing your follow up message, you want to begin by selecting a subject line which is appropriate. Start the letter by thanking your interviewer for their time, and then mention something exceptional about your qualifications which will distinguish you from the majority of candidates. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to conclude with your relevant contact details. Be sure to show enthusiasm throughout your message, and do not make the follow up letter too long winded. 

If you’ve applied for a lucrative job that is sought after by lots of other people, there is a good chance that their HR department won’t contact you at all if they decide not to hire you. Don’t take it personally. Most likely their staff doesn’t have the time or resources to contact every person that was not chosen just to let them know this. If enough time has passed since the interview and you’ve already sent the follow up message and still not received a response, it is best to assume they have no interest in hiring you and move on.

Actually, you should continue pursuing other job opportunities while waiting for the company to reach out. This will keep you sharp and focused. The last thing you want is to become emotionally invested in any one company. Even if you want to work for one organization badly, you should accept the possibility that you might not get hired and mentally prepare yourself or this. Once you’ve done so, this will give you the confidence to keep pushing forward until you find the lucrative position you want.