how to play the post-interview waiting game

So you had the job interview, things seemed to go well, and you left expecting that you would hear back soon. But now … silence. And you’re left waiting around with no idea of when or if you’ll hear from them.

It’s not at all unusual for the hiring process to take longer than a candidate would like, for all sorts of reasons — decision-makers are out of town, scheduling conflicts are delaying a final interview, the bureaucracy needed to finalize an offer takes weeks to work through (not necessarily a great sign about the work environment, but that’s a different topic), and so forth.

But you’re not entirely at the company’s mercy, although it may feel like it.

First, if the company didn’t give you a sense of when they expect to make a decision by, follow up to reinforce your interest and politely inquire about what their timeline is. If they did give you a sense of their timeline and that time has now passed, follow up, explain you’re very interested but understand that hiring can take time, and ask if they have an updated timeline. Companies know that candidates may be juggling other interviews and pending offers, and they won’t see this request as unreasonable.

Next, if you have time constraints, tell them. For instance, if you have another offer, tell the first company that you’re extremely interested in their position but you have an offer from another company that you need to answer within a week (or whatever your timeline is). Tell them that they would your first choice, but you’re constricted by the other company’s timeline. Employers who are very interested in you will do what they can to expedite things.

(Of course, be prepared for them to tell you that they can’t move any faster. That’s one reason why you shouldn’t play games with this, such as implying that you have another offer when you really don’t.)

And whatever you do, don’t let up on your job search, no matter how confident you are that an offer is coming. Things change, other candidates come along, plans for the position evolve or even get canceled.  Until you have a firm offer in hand, you have to proceed as if you don’t, since ultimately you can only control your side of the process — so keep setting up those other interviews.

And if you never hear back from the company, not even with a rejection (as seems to be a growing and incredibly rude trend)? That’s a company you don’t want to work for anyway. Bullet dodged.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 1 comment… read it below }

  1. Addicting Games News*

    Hi, I have read your article on How to Play the Post-Interviewing waiting game, and I think they were great tips! My friends always confuse on what to do after being interviewed they've wait for a long time to get notification, and sometimes they just don't get any notification at all after that. So these tips are very helpful :) Thanks for sharing. If you have time, visit my Download Games website. Nice to know you Alison.



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