You applied for a job you really want and made it to the interview stage. You put your best face forward (in person or online), and feel confident that things went well. Now comes the potentially tense time that comes after a job interview: the waiting game.
What are the best moves to make when you’re waiting to hear back after an interview, especially if the waiting period stretches into days or weeks, and you’re on pins and needles? How do you reinforce a good impression with the hiring manager and also harness any nervous energy you might feel after a job interview?
Here are some tips and tricks for occupying your time (and mind!) while waiting to hear back after a job interview.
There are certain professional courtesies and protocols for following up on job applications. For example, send a brief, personalized thank you note immediately after the interview (that same day, or the next) indicating your genuine appreciation for the time and effort they invested in the interview.
That said, after you’ve sent your thank you note, you’re probably wondering when you can follow up about your interview. It’s a good idea to ask during the interview about when you should expect to hear from them, and take it from there.
As a rule of thumb, following up within a week is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t hear back after an additional week, you can reach out again. However, if you don’t hear anything after a second week, it’s better to stay radio silent. Some companies have a long hiring process. Consider that in 2016, employers took, on average, 23 days to assess and hire new candidates. A long silence may just mean the company is taking it’s time, not that you didn’t get the job.
However, if you receive encouraging responses, consider it a green light to keep going in a meaningful way. Keeping them up-to-speed on any new accomplishments is a great way to stay in the game.
Don’t Come on Too Strong
It’s not always easy, but try not to come on too strong when waiting to hear back from an interview. For example, if the hiring manager says you can expect an answer in 48 hours, don’t email them at 48 hours and 1 minute asking if they’ve made a decision. While you may think you’re demonstrating how excited you are about the job, that excitement can come across as desperate if you’re bugging your contact.
Don’t Overanalyze Your Performance
While you’re waiting after the interview, avoid beating yourself up about any perceived missteps, or second-guessing your answers. Try not to read too much into how things went, especially if weeks have gone by and you haven’t heard back after a job interview.
Toni Frana, Career Coach at FlexJobs, advises job seekers to reflect on their performance, but not to overthink it. “It’s really good to reflect on how it went, but don’t be too hard on yourself, especially if you haven’t heard anything back for a week or longer. Reflect on what you felt went really well during the interview, and think a bit about what you may be able to improve for any future interview opportunities.”
It can be tricky to keep paranoia to a minimum—especially when you’ve interviewed and are waiting to hear back. Practice patience and consider what might be going on with your prospective new boss to understand why employers don’t respond right away in some cases.
Reasons can range from the obvious (you didn’t get the job) to something as simple as the employer’s schedule (they’re away on vacation). Keep in mind that Mondays and Fridays are often the busiest days of the business week for managers.
And, during the pandemic, it’s especially important to practice extra patience. Employers may take longer than usual to hire new staff. They may have many well-qualified candidates to choose from. Or they may have been told they can hire new staff, but those new hires have to be spaced out over weeks or months instead of starting several new people on the same day.
Continue the Job Search
Though you may think this job is “the one,” that doesn’t mean you should end your job search. You never know what else might be perfect for you, so keep looking, applying, and interviewing. “It’s not uncommon to have several interviews before being offered a job,” Frana points out. “So, while waiting to hear back after a job interview, be sure to keep searching. If you see another job you are interested in, go ahead and apply so you can keep your momentum going.”
It may be tempting to reach out to the employer and tell them you have another job offer on the table. If that’s your situation (congratulations!), then you should let them know what’s happening. After all, it’s not fair to keep the other employer waiting for an answer.
However, if that’s not the case and you’re trying to bluff your way into a job offer, don’t. For starters, the employer may tell you to go ahead and accept the other offer then cross you off their list! Worse, if you are hired, you’ve started your employer-employee relationship out with a lie that could, if discovered, get you fired.
Waiting is never fun, but neither is dwelling on a situation you can’t control. You can’t make the employer respond. So, instead of refreshing your email every five minutes, keep busy to take your mind off your waiting.
If you’re currently employed, lean in to your job. Even if you’re looking for new things, focusing on your tasks can help take your mind off the fact that you haven’t heard back after interviewing. If you’re not employed, consider working on projects around the house, volunteer ing while you search for a job, and update your portfolio and personal brand. Whatever it is, it will keep your mind engaged with something other than the wait.
Handle Rejection Gracefully
Worst case: they hired someone else, not you. It’s easy to take it personally if you didn’t get the job, but don’t—it’s business, after all. Thank them again, solicit any meaningful feedback they might offer, and ask whether you might be a good fit for a future position. It’s always a good idea to leave the door open for reapplying with a company after a job rejection—and maybe you’ll land a job that works better for you.
How FlexJobs Can Help You Succeed in Your Job Search
Whether you’re just starting your job search or wondering what to do when you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview, take a look at our remote job postings. With new postings every day across 50 career categories, you’ll find plenty of job opportunities that range from part-time jobs, freelance jobs, and work-from-home jobs. Log in today and start your search. Not a member? Take the tour and learn more about what a FlexJobs membership can do for you.
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