It can be tough knowing what to do while you wait to hear back about a job interview. You might have questions like:
- How long does it take to hear back about a job?
- Should I contact the employer if I don’t hear from them after a job interview?
- Is it okay to apply for other jobs?
- What is a second interview?
- What happens if I get offered the job?
- What do I do if I don’t get offered the job?
How long does it take to hear back?
How long it takes to hear back can vary a lot, and depends on the kind of job you’ve applied for. For a casual job in retail or hospitality, you might hear in a day or so – two weeks at the most.
For a full-time professional job in an office, it’s usually around two weeks. It might even be three or four weeks. This is because making a decision about who to hire can be a complex process. This is especially true in most larger organisations. The interviewer has to have meetings, do referee checks, and fill in paperwork before they can let you know.
Usually at the end of the job interview, they’ll tell you how long it’ll take them to get back to you with an answer on whether you have got the job. For example, they might say 'we’ll let you know within two weeks’.
How long should you wait before contacting an employer?
Generally, it’s best to wait for them to get in touch with you. If they really want you for the job, they’ll be working hard to get everything ready to make you a job offer.
If you’ve been told they will get back to you by a certain time but they don’t contact you by then , it’s okay to get in touch with them to ask if they’ve made a decision yet.
Send a thank-you email to your potential employer
It’s okay to send the employer an email to thank them again for the opportunity to be interviewed. A thank-you email also sends them the message that you’re serious about the job.
If you’re going to send a thank-you email, it’s best to do it one or at most two days after the interview.
Keep applying for other jobs
Keep applying for other jobs in the meantime. If you do get another job offer, it’s polite to let the first employer know.
You might even get to choose between two or more different job offers. If this happens to you, you should use it to your advantage. You’re in demand! Try to negotiate better pay or conditions for yourself.
Going for a second interview
Sometimes the employer will invite you back for a second interview. This means the selection process has been narrowed down even further. It’s probably just between you and one or two other people.
Second interviews might be held with different people in the organisation. They’ll probably use some of the same questions as the first interview. However, they’ll focus on areas that are most important to them.
These can be hard to predict, but the questions from the first interview might give you some clues about what to prepare.
What to do if they offer you the job
If you get a job offer in the interview, you should thank the employer right away. Don’t feel like you have to say yes immediately though. If you need to think about it, let them know you’ll get back to them within two days.
If you decide you’ll accept, ask them about the next steps in the process.
What to do if you don’t get the job
No one likes being knocked back for a job. But don’t get angry or resentful. Remember, even getting to the interview stage means you’re among the top applicants. It’s nothing personal, and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means there was someone else who better met the employer’s needs for this particular job.
Again, thank the employer for considering you. If you really want to work for that employer, you can ask them to keep you in mind for future jobs. Add them to your network and keep in touch with them.
And keep applying for jobs. Most people get knocked back a few times before they get a job offer. Think of it as a good way to practise doing job interviews. The more interviews you go to, the better you’ll get.