Waiting is the Hardest Part

No one wants to hear it, but when people ask me when a company will follow-up after an interview, I have to be blunt. Don’t hold your breath.

A conversation I have frequently with my coaching clients goes something like this:

I had a job interview a few weeks ago and things went really well. They were definitely interested. But I’ve followed up with several emails and phone calls, and I’ve heard nothing back. How long should I wait around?

My reply: Don’t wait around at all.

There are countless reasons the people you interviewed with haven’t quickly responded. It may be the company’s process.  Or you may be getting the brush off, also for countless possible reasons, some of which have nothing to do with you.

No one wants to hear it, but when people ask me when a company will follow-up after an interview, I have to be blunt. Don’t hold your breath.

You may think the interview went well. You may think they were blown away by you. You may think you are perfect for the position. But even if everything seems to be ideal on your end, you must assume you didn’t get the job. Always.

If you are serious about landing a new job, proceed with your search the very next day regardless of how promising your interviews seemed. Remember that interviewers are, essentially, playing a role. Part of their job is to sell you on the position and the company. They want you to be interested. They want as many options as possible. You might not be their first choice, but hey, if number one doesn’t work out, you could do as a back up. There’s no reason for them not to lead you on.

Most interviewers will leave you feeling pretty good about your prospects. But that feeling doesn’t mean an offer is forthcoming.

Of course, I’m in no way suggesting you write them off the moment you walk out the door. Moving forward includes using post-interview best practices such as sending a prompt thank you, and a follow-up call or message after some time has passed. You’re still trying to get that job.

But you’re also trying to get others.

Whether you get an offer or not, pushing forward with your search has another advantage. It will give you options, and the more options you have, the more power you have. I had a client recently who received a job offer a full two months after interviewing. At that point, he had another offer on the table as well and was able to do some pretty aggressive negotiating. That only happened because he didn’t sit around waiting for the first company to get into gear.

You never can know what factors impact hiring decisions. Much of it is outside of your control. No matter what you’re being told, or promised, or led to believe, nothing is final until you’ve signed on the dotted line. Until that happens, stay active and engaged in your search. There is a finish line, and there’s no reason to stop running until you’ve crossed it.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.