You Thought the Interview Went Well, But You Hear Nothing. What to Do?

By: Lauren Mineau

Stress often builds prior to a job interview. But there’s also a different element of pressure once you’ve gotten through a job interview: waiting to hear an answer.

Sometimes, days turn into weeks, the phone still doesn’t ring, and your inbox remains stagnant. You may begin to rack your brain about what you could have done differently or if they hired someone else. But there’s a lot you can do no matter what happens and it’ll all be part of the learning process.

No Offense

First thing’s first, don’t take the silence personally. Sure, you may not be getting the job, but don’t think you’re not worthy of a response — everyone is. So many things could be the reason for you not hearing back — for instance, the hiring manager could have had an emergency or a vacation. Interviewing takes a lot of time away from day-to-day tasks, especially if they are already short-staffed trying and trying to fill a vacancy within the company. Instead of blaming yourself, consider all the factors that could be the reason for the silence.

Give it Some Time

On average, a good rule of thumb is following up within two weeks. If you hear nothing at all, send an e-mail to the person or people who set up your interview. Even if they write back with a rejection, you’ll at least know to move on and focus efforts elsewhere. Any earlier than a week may seem too eager. Start with sending a thank-you e-mail shortly after your interview, closer to the day of or next morning. Then, if you don’t hear anything, try again within two weeks or so.

Great Expectations

Next time you’re in an interview, make sure you ask the interviewer when they expect to make a decision. The interviewee may not know right away, but you may gain some insight. Often, they’ll mention they are interviewing candidates for a certain about of time, then they’ll decide. There may be a second round of interviews as well, and if you find out when that is and don’t hear to come in — you’ll likely know to move on. Sometimes decisions to fill vacancies are dependent on budgets too, so they may not call with offers until a quarter ends or a fiscal year resets. But by asking, you may learn insight on the situation instead of radio silence.

Silence is Loud

If you reach out politely and hear nothing, perhaps take that as a sign of how that company does business. The actions may not speak directly for the company, but they also might be quite telling. Keep this in mind if another position ever opens up for that company and use your best judgement. If you’ve done your job by showing up for the interview, giving it your best, following up consciously, and you’re still left waiting — go with your gut.

Waiting to hear about a job, especially if it’s one you really want, can be stressful and cause worry. But trust the process and keep your sights set forward, and the right opportunity will present itself with time.