How Long Should You Wait After An Interview to Follow Up

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After completing a final round interview, you enter into the painful waiting stage. The stage where you’re anxiously anticipating word from the company about whether or not you got the job.

And it’s natural to want to know immediately whether or not you will receive a job offer. However, you want to be respectful of a company’s hiring process and give them the opportunity to complete their diligence to make a decision.

To that end, this article provides recommendations for how to wait after an interview to follow up, and unpacks common reasons why a company take so long to reply.

Recommendations for How Long to Wait After An Interview to Follow Up

Send a Thank You Note Within 24 Hours

Your first follow up after a job interview should be sending a thank you note. I would recommend doing that within 24 hours. And yes, I think that’s appropriate even if your interview was just a phone screen or video call. 

At the end of the day, someone from a company is giving their time to connect with you. And the least you can do to show appreciation is to send a follow up note.

This article provides some good recommendations for how to write an effective thank you note.

Wait Until The Timeline They Provided

After the thank you note, that’s when you have to wait for the follow up that you really want to do…a check in on the status of a job offer.

The best rule of thumb that you can follow for knowing how long to wait to follow up is to ask them when you should expect to hear back regarding a decision at the end of your final round interview

That way, they’ve committed to a timeline to you. And a follow up after that timeline would be completely appropriate. 

If No Timeline, Wait at Least Five Business Days

If the company did not provide a timeline by which they would respond to you, then my general rule of thumb would be wait at least five business days before you follow up. On the high end, I generally wouldn’t wait any longer than ten business days to follow up.

In my experience, a company will often try to stack interviews in close proximity to one another so that they can compare all of the conversations in close proximity to one another. Often, five business days will be enough for them to complete a round of interviews, but there are times where it may be a bit more so if you’re fine if you want to wait a bit longer.

Why the Wait?

There are a number of reasons why there may be a wait to hear back from a potential employer, including the following:

The Interview Process Hasn’t Been Completed

The most common reason to be waiting to hear back after an interview is that the process still hasn’t been completed. The company may be interviewing other candidates and want to finish talking to everyone before communicating a decision.

Organizational Changes

I have seen some instances where organizational changes may delay or stop a hiring process. For example, if the hiring manager leaves in the middle of an interview process, or there is a CEO change, that could impact a hiring process.

Lack of Alignment on the Role

Another thing that I’ve seen delay a hiring process is lack of internal alignment on a role. There are some instances where a company may not know exactly what they want, will go out and start talking to candidates, and then have further internal discuss about what the actual role or level of the role should be.

Vacations

Vacations are an obvious one that could cause a wait in the hiring process. However, if the hiring company is organized, they should be planning around that and/or communicating it to you.

They Don’t Want to Deliver Bad News

As discussed in the signs you didn’t get the job post, a possible reason for a delay is because the company has decided to go with someone else and doesn’t want to tell you. This is commonly referred to as a company “ghosting” you.

It’s unfortunate that ghosting happens as much as it does. Personally, I’d like to see companies communicate with candidates that are not going to receive a job offer after an interview process.

However, people are busy and don’t like conflict so ghosting often feels easier.

Conclusion

There are a variety of possible reasons to have to wait to hear back from a company. In general, you’ll want to wait at least five business days before you follow up. However, if they’ve given you a timeline for when to hear back, use that as your timeline and feel free to follow up if they miss that timeline.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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